When Your Life Bumps Into Sin

bumper cars

Bumper cars are one of the carnival rides at Dollywood’s amusement park near us.  The fun of the ride is doing exactly what its name says – bumping – into another car, into the walls and the poles around the structure.  The cars are equipped with soft bumpers so the “crashes” don’t hurt you or anything you hit (Wouldn’t that be helpful at those drive-in’s where scratches and bumps are inevitable?!). Anyway…

It’s fun to go in with a group and get an eye on your target car and head for them as quickly as that little electronic car will let you travel.  Their car goes reeling and you speed off, laughing that you got the first “hit!”

That fun scene isn’t so pleasant when the “bumping” happens when your life crashes into a situation that is sinful.  I recently had an alarming experience when I slammed right into a lifestyle that is not only different from anything I’ve ever been close to, but one that the Bible renounces.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I was blown away.  I was burdened for those involved.  And honestly, I felt offended by the bruise it gave my soul.

For days I could not shake the disturbance this scene caused.  I prayed about it.  I pondered my response, and then I turned to God’s Word and dug in, looking for what God wanted me to learn.  If I wanted to know how believers are to respond when their life bumps into sinful situations, I needed to be reminded of how Jesus responded.  I turned to John, Chapters 2 and 4.

In John 2 we find Jesus overturning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple.

In John 4 Jesus meets the Woman at the well – the lady who had been married multiple times, and was now living with a man to whom she was not married.

The way He responded to the sins of both of these people taught me how He expects me to respond as well.

When my life bumps into sinners ~

  1. Consider the location
    • At church – Sin shouldn’t be practiced in this place.  The money-changer was selling in the Temple, the place where worship and the teaching of God’s Word was to occur.
    • In the world – We should expect it!  There’s no reason to be surprised by sin here; these dear people don’t know the Redeemer (yet!).
  2. Consider the person
    • Money-Changers sold for a religious occasion out of a greedy heart.  They were making merchandise of this Holy custom.
    • The Samaritan woman married five times to fill a void in her life.  She knew no better!
  3. Consider the need
    • The Money-Changers were making a living by abusing the Passover.
    • The Samaritan Woman lived this way due to her sinful nature.  She didn’t know better (yet!).

Application for you and me:

  • Sin is never to be overlooked, ignored or tolerated.  That sin that I bumped into was in the world, a place where I shouldn’t be surprised at seeing it, but that doesn’t mean I can accept it – it’s still an offence against a holy God.
  • Sin should be answered through the Scripture.  We mustn’t  argue or debate the truth – we share it with the love that Christ showed the Samaritan Woman.  We engage in the sinner’s life and ask good questions that will give us the opportunity to give God’s Word as the answer their hungry hearts are seeking.
  • Sinners should be introduced to Jesus – John 4:29
  • Share and live the Truth, then allow sinners to make up their own mind – to turn to Jesus or not. John 4:42
  • My response – 
    • In the world:
      • Love the sinner
      • Point to Jesus
      • Live out the life of a believer
      • Go my way looking for other sinners.
    • In the church:
      • Remember your own sin first!   If it were not for God’s grace, we, too, could be overcome with sin.
      • With a humble heart, point out the sin to those that claim Christ.
      • Use God’s Word, not my standard.
      • Ask questions.
      • Pray for change and then let the Holy Spirit do the convicting (we cannot change anyone).

Though I didn’t especially enjoy the bumper car experience when I banged up against sin in the world, I’m so thankful for what God taught me after the crash!  I pray that my response will be biblical, both in the world and in my church from here on out.

Oh, and if I ever see you across the arena of the Bumper Car course, look out!Image result for emoji images

 

Have you struggled with how to respond to blatant sin in the world?  How about at church?

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Bringing People To Jesus

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I’m one of those strange people who enjoy grocery shopping.  I love to walk the aisles and see new items and also find the best deals on the things I’ve written on my list.  Sometimes, though, it can be difficult when you’re trying to find something you don’t usually buy.

Such was the case this week when I went looking for Gluten Free tortillas.  Would they be in the Organic section?  No.  How about the Ethnic food aisle?  Not there.  An employee at the Kroger store where I was shopping must’ve seen my desperate searching and came to ask me if I was finding everything I needed.  I explained that I was looking for Gluten-free tortillas, to which she said,

“I think they’re over in the dairy (I would’ve never looked there!).  Follow me and I’ll take you there.”

I told her she could just point me in the right direction, but she insisted that she was happy to walk over with me to be sure they were really there.

As my cart and I shadowed her steps across the store, the Lord brought to my mind that this is exactly how my life should tell others of Christ!  It’s not enough to just give an explanation of who He is and what He did!  They need someone (me) to say, “Follow me and I’ll show you where you’ll find Him!”

How and when does that happen since He’s not simply on the other side of the building?

  • At home –  I engage in people’s lives and have a hospitable heart so that I can invite others into my home where I can share the Gospel.
  • In my neighborhood – I invite my neighbors to my church and church activities.
  • In my social contacts – I give them a Gospel tract and a testimony of God’s goodness to all of us.
  • At church – I engage in conversation with visitors at church and I look for a opportunity to ask them about their relationship with Christ.
  • At the grocery store, bank, doctor’s office – I learn the names of the people who work there and build relationships so that I can share the Gospel.

It’s such a privilege to share Jesus with others.  Why? Our lives are empty and searching for something and He is the answer!  He came to die for the sins of the entire world, yet each person individually.  He came to take our place on the cross.  He took the punishment that should have been ours so that we could have a relationship with God and go to heaven when we die. He’s the only way to heaven.   Having a relationship with God now makes life’s trials have purpose, and makes this life here abundant and purposeful!   This is a message that every person needs to hear, and it has to come from people who know the Truth!

I love Kroger for lots of reasons, but their personal touch is one thing that always stands out when I’m there.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, others should constantly be receiving a personal invitation from me to come to my Savior.  It happens when I invite them into my life and ask them to follow me.  “Oh, Lord, open my life and my lips to bring others to You!”

It’s my duty, but it’s also my highest privilege!

I struggle with this – I really do, but I so want to bring people to my Savior!  Are you inviting others to follow you so you could take them to Jesus? How are you accomplishing that?

Lovingly,

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Open Eyes, Open Doors

Biltmore door.jpgIsn’t it easy especially at Christmas to be focused on self? We can easily be consumed with all that we still need to do – buy, wrap, bake, write, attend, host and clean, that we become task oriented instead of people oriented. The whole reason for Christmas – that Christ came to give His life a ransom for the world, bespeaks the fact that we, too, are to focus on PEOPLE.

The line of people ahead of us at the grocery store are delays while we wait, instead of opportunities to give the Gospel. The cashier is the end of our wait, instead of a person who needs the Good News that we have to share.

Our focus can even be turned so much to the small circle around us that we don’t see the opportunities that are at our fingertips. Aside from the public strangers we meet, we may also know others who may be especially tender and open to the Gospel right now. Who are they?

  1. Those that are hurting due to a loved ones’ death in the past year are even more desperate during the holidays.
  2. Those that are sick, or waiting on a sick loved one at the hospital, are even more lonely or anxious.
  3. Those that are financially hurting really feel the crunch now, when not only are they trying to make ends meet, but they’re also trying to come up with a little extra to purchase gifts for their families.
  4. See the need – a meal, a monetary gift, a gift purchased and do it.

Do you know anyone in any of those three categories?  I’m sure we all do. How about praying about what you could do to serve and minister to them this next week? What to do?

  • Send a card – not a generic Christmas card, but one that is especially suited to their need.
  • Call them or go to their home and have prayer with them.
  • Take a gift that would comfort them.
    • Did they lose a loved one? Do you have a picture of that loved one you could enlarge and frame?
    • Give an ornament that would be a keepsake of that person so they could hang it on their tree every year in memory of their loved one.
    • If you know someone who’s lost a baby, an ornament for that little one is an earthly reminder that they exist.
  • Spend time visiting with them. Read Scripture to them.
  • Give them the Gospel – the Hope of the Christmas!

I’m asking the Lord to open my eyes, not to my “To-Do list,” but to the people around me so that I might use this wonderful season to minister to their needs – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you join me in praying for open eyes and open doors?

Lovingly,

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A Peek From My Porch – What I’ve been Up to This week

Here’s my week:

What I’ve decorated:

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My mantle for Fourth of July!

The best picture I’ve taken:

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We passed this old barn on a drive we took. Isn’t it picturesque?!

A favorite thing I made for supper:

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Breakfast for supper was so yummy one night this week. I bought a used Belgium Waffle maker from a friend and it worked like a charm!

What I’ve purchased:

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I went shopping with friends from church and found these cute bowls that I’ve needed. I found them at West Elm, a place that sells Pottery Barn merchandise. These were $3 each. I now have a set of 8! They’ll be perfect for cereal, yogurt, ice cream…pretty much anything that requires a bowl!

What I did with my hair:

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Not a huge change, but just longer on top and less bulk on the sides. I can flip it out, tuck it behind my ears or wear it like I normally do.
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The “tucked” style.

What I’ve crafted:

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I’ve been having fun sewing up some “Taggie toys” for friends who are having babies. This soft fabric, the ribbon, the nubby wings and the ribbons all make for a nice tactile toy for a baby. The wings also have a sensory material inside that makes it crinkle. I have all kinds of ideas in mind for future toys!

What I’ve thanked the Lord for:

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This is my husband sharing the Gospel with a man he met in this parking lot. He rarely ever misses an opportunity to share Christ with those he meets. He challenges my life every day.

Where I’ve been:

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We had an impromptu picnic at this beautiful location on July 4th. It was peaceful, quiet, breathtaking, refreshing and fun!

God is so good to me.  When I look back on all that He allows me to do, I only see His hand of blessing in my life.  You are a part of that!  Thanks for stopping in to take a peek!

What have you been up to in the past week?

With love from my country porch,

Door Knocking? Are You Serious?!

Yesterday I had the blessing of joining a group from West Coast Baptist College and four others from my church  to go
“Knocking On Doors.”  The team from West Coast was a singing group that had come to our church Tuesday night to minister in song and the Word of God.  Before they left Johnson City, they desired to go out and canvas the area.  That was a tremendous blessing to us! This isn’t their church, but they desired to invite people to visit Boones Creek Bible Church.  We were out for about an hour and a half, and I can tell you that we had the best time!

Knocking on doors is a pretty old-fashioned term, and to some it’s a really old-fashioned idea.  You may be asking, “What do you do when you “knock on doors?”  Let me walk you through a visit:

  1. With tract in hand, we walked up to a door, a smile on our face.  We tried to watch for things like swing sets or toys in the yard that would tip us off that this family had children.  We looked to see if anyone was in the yard.  If we didn’t see anyone outside, we would knock on the door or ring the bell and wait for an answer.
  2. When someone opened the door we would say something like, “Hello!  We’re from Boones Creek Bible Church and we’re just walking through your neighborhood inviting folks to visit our church!  Do you go to church anywhere?”  If they said, “Yes.”  We’d say, well we’re not wanting to pull you away from your church, but if you ever have the opportunity to visit, we have services on Sunday and Wednesday, and the times are on this brochure.  We’d love to have you!”
  3. If the person didn’t have a church, we’d show them the times and address of the church, clearly marked on the tract.
  4. If they had children, we also invited gave them one of our VBS invitations and told them about when and where it was happening.
  5. While talking to them, we were always looking for the opportunity to bring in the Gospel and to share Christ as the Only Way.  That doesn’t always come, but it’s wonderful when it does.
  6. We thanked them for their time, said goodbye and were on our way!

How easy was that?!

Perhaps you’re asking: Why do we go?  What is the need?  Is it just some old-fashioned idea that needs to be forgotten?

  • We go because that’s what Jesus commanded – not suggested – before He ascended back to heaven.
  • We go because lost people aren’t knocking on the church doors to get in – they must be invited!
  • We go because we are missionaries as Paul and Barnabas were.  This is our Jerusalem.
  • We go because we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
  • We go, not because we’re not afraid of rejection!  We know it will come!  But we go out of obedience, and we leave the results to the Lord!

Paul and Barnabas were terribly mistreated.  Paul was stoned and left for dead!  The closest I’ve ever come to that is tripping over a stone in a driveway!  No, I have it so easy!  I even got into my air conditioned car and went and got a Pal’s Tea when I was finished!  That is NOT suffering!  =) Oh, and at the stop at Pal’s, the worker at the window asked if I was having a great day.

“Oh, yes!  We’ve been out going door to door, inviting folks to our church this morning!  Do you go to church anywhere?”

“I’m Methodist.”

“Oh, I see.” I answered.  “Well, the most important thing is Christ.  I trust you know Him as your Savior.  Here’s a little pamphlet that will tell you how you can know Him.  Can I give this to you to read later when you have a break?”  I then handed him a tract.  He took it and thanked me.  I got my tea and smiled all the way to my destination.

I was so blessed by our time out.  Blessing comes after we obey – not before.

Blessed are they that keep my ways.  

Proverbs 8:32

We often don’t get goose bumps and excitement before we go –  it’s more like shivers and shakes!  But after we’ve obeyed Christ’s command, the joy is overflowing!

I haven’t mastered this, by any means, and still have much to learn, but I do know that God is so good to not only let us serve Him at someone’s door, but then He rewards us for doing it!  What a God we serve!

Have you ever gone Door Knocking?  What is keeping you from joining your church to reach your community for Christ?  If someone visited your church as a result of your visit at their house, wouldn’t that make it all worthwhile?  It’s our choice to obey…or not.

With love,