Menial Missions

It seems my every work in ministry has been up front and prominent. There are many “behind the scenes” jobs in Kairos; but I’ve never had one of those. At any church there are many who pray, clean, bake cookies, and do all the things that are required to make any ministry work. I’ve never had any of those kinds of jobs. I’ve always been a teacher or preacher. So today’s My Utmost for His Highest devotional struck me hard.
” I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, ‘Well done.'”
I would like to think that I would  be willing to toil for God in some way that is never noticed and never appreciated. But I’m frankly not sure.

I appreciate those who work behind the scenes those whose efforts in the kingdom are never known. I know that those whose efforts go “unrewarded” in this life will be greatly honored in the next. I need to seek and perform those tasks that are never noticed and never appreciated. “Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket – to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.”

Perform the Menial Missions and
Be Blessed.
Nick

Love ’em Like Jesus

I am tired this morning and it will be a long day. Kaydence had a bad night with her asthma. She was up coughing most of the night, coughing to the point of vomiting. Rosemary was the one who stayed up with her. I tried to sleep; but I knew Rosemary would need relief by early morning and there would be no daycare today. I finally gave up and got up about 4:30. Even tired my heart melts when she coughs and cries, wanting to sleep but unable to. I know her Dad will be back on Friday and she will leave us for three weeks and I will miss her even the vomit and the sleepless nights.

It’s times like this that I feel I don’t really love the Lord like I do my “loved” ones. 
“Paul says he is overruled, overmastered, held as in a vice, by the love of Christ. Very few of us know what it means to be held in a grip by the love of God; we are held by the constraint of our experience only.” No matter how grateful we are for what God has done for us, our relationship with Him is still “spiritual.”We are constrained by our experience and our experience is predominately physical.
 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20.
Yet it is by our love for each other that men will know we are His.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
This is what I conclude: I can love the loveable on my own, my grandchildren when they are cute, my wife when she behaves; my fellow Christians when they act right.  But to love everyone, always, I need Him. And on those rare times that I do it; I know He is here. 

We are called to love more than the precious ones. We are called to love the Haitians whom we don’t know. We are called to love the Muslims whom we think we know. We are called to love our “loved ones” even when they’re not very lovable. 

Covered with vomit and tired from a sleepless night, I love my great grandchild. Thank you Jesus.

Love a little like Him and maybe you do love Him.
Be blessed.

Nick

Reveal Your Son in Me

Five years ago today my son Jason died unexpectedly. Like most of us, he could be a difficult man; but I could see Jesus in him when he was with his children. In those moments, he functioned as God means us to function: as projectors of the image of His Son.

OC reminds us today. ” Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me.””

John Bevere in Extraordinary talks about our images: Our projected image is the front that we attempt to put up. That image we want people to see when they see us. We often fool ourselves that we are successful in that projection. But we are not. There is a second image: our perceived image; that is what people see us as. It’s not the same as what we think they see; but it’s also not who we really are. What we really are is what Bevere calls the actual image.
It is sad to think that for most of us for most of our lives, no one, not us and not others, knows who we really are. I believe what OC is saying is that what we are meant to be is carriers of the light. When others see us they should see Jesus. We need to stop trying so hard to project any image other than Him.

In our unguarded moments, when we stop trying to be who we’re not, we become transparent. And if Jesus is inside, He is seen. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting glance; sometimes it’s a satisfying look.

Jason, I saw Jesus in those moments with your children. I look forward to seeing you and Him again.

Be transparent and
Be blessed.

Nick

Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16

Yesterday I stopped by Academy. I thought maybe I needed another piece of Saints gear. I have a black sweat shirt and a Number 9 Jersey. I thought maybe a nice golf shirt with an understated logo would be good to wear the rest of the time. You know when it’s too warm for a sweat shirt and a jersey is a bit too tacky, like when I’m in court. I resisted the temptation. I couldn’t believe the prices.

This morning I resisted the temptation to wear the Jersey; but I thought about it. I am proud of the Who Dat Nation who rose up in arms when their right to proclaim “Who Dat” was challenged.

Less than ten percent of all “Christians” ever share their faith with someone else. Only two percent share their faith on a regular basis. Lot’s of reasons are given; click here to see if your reason is listed. 

We think we’re pretty bold if we wear a t-shirt that identifies us in any way as a “Christian.” “Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact.” Today OC isn’t really talking about witnessing. He is talking about resisting the call of God to preach. But most of us don’t get to that. Why would we even consider a call of God to preach or teach or to be a missionary or to work full time in God’s service or to step out even part time to serve prisoners or widows or orphans, since we don’t even perform the basic call: to testify to the fact of what God has done in our lives?

“Who Dat say we’re a Christian?” Who indeed?

Say “Dat” and
Be blessed.

Nick

MIssion Possible – Lift Up Jesus

Remember Mission Impossible. Not so much the movie but the television series. At the beginning of each episode the Peter Graves character would receive his assignment on a cassette tape (remember those) which would self destruct after being played. Remember Leonard Nimoy pre Star Trek? The Mission Impossible Team would be given an “impossible” mission which they nevertheless completed. It always seemed to me that the assignment itself wasn’t so impossible; but that the team carried out the mission in such a complicated way that they made it seem impossible.
We do that with out mission.  Our assignment is to lift up Jesus, nothing more and nothing less.  That’s a straight forward assignment; but we make it near impossible.  “We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God.”

When we try to do more than our assignment, we accomplish less than our goal. If we believe our job is salvation, we are disappointed when others don’t make protestations of faith. If we believe our job is sanctification, we are doomed to disappointment in the lives of others. If we focus on our real job, Jesus, we are bound for glory. He never disappoints. He never fails. If we lift Him up, we never put ourselves as the model; He is. If we lift Him up, we never get confused that somehow we are responsible for results; whether good or not. It’s easy to lift Him up, He’s not heavy. And He saves and He sanctifies.

The very simplicity of our mission is what makes it difficult. Our nature seems to deplore simplicity. Our souls cry out “It can’t be this easy.” or “I’m not doing enough.” When the truth is we are usually doing too much. Our actions get in the way of His message.

No matter what the question; the answer is Jesus. There is one tiny little tricky part to this lifting up of Jesus: it’s not just an oral exercise. We lift Him up more with what we do than with what we say. If our words and actions are not in accord; our message is scrambled. We can’t say, “Jesus” and do something else.

We need to take the old “What Would Jesus Do?” question and convert it into action. We need to Do what Jesus would do. Is the Mission starting to sound Impossible again? Take heart, when we let Jesus lead the team, nothing’s impossible. We don’t do; He does.

Lift Jesus and
Be blessed.

Nick