Return to Sender

Over the Christmas holiday we had sent several cards through the mail to wish family and friends a Merry Christmas as we do each year.  There were a great deal of many changes that have happened over the course of the year.  Many friends changed jobs, changed phone numbers, some had children and some had a relative pass on.

Of all the cards that were sent we did receive a few of them back.  A handful of friends had moved over the course of the year.  We either neglected to change the address or had forgotten about the move.  Consequently those friends never received a card to wish them a Merry Christmas from our family.  Now comes the worry.  Will they be angry at me the next we see each other?  Will they not send me a card the following year?

Yesterday a young gentleman, who obviously has had a difficult life, came up to me as we were serving at a soup kitchen. He wanted to know how to become closer to God.  We some time talking about scripture and how the Bible lays out how one becomes and Christian and the gravity of such a decision.  We prayed together and he went on his way. Someone then asked, “You think we will ever see him again?”

For a millisecond i began to doubt…then I was reminded of a verse.  “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)  We may never know who will be impacted by God’s word.  It is not our place to judge who should be allowed to hear the Gospel of Christ and who should not.

Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  Peter stated that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  For the whole world, God sent Jesus (cf. John 3:16).

The Christmas cards that were returned, have come back void.  No one read them but the sender.  When we send out the Gospel message in any form, it makes a difference.  When we share our story of salvation, it makes a difference.  When we share scriptures, it makes a difference.  When we pray, it makes a difference.

The mission given to us by Christ, “to go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) is a universal and serious issue.  Without hearing the Gospel to believe the Gospel one cannot obey the Gospel.  Without obedience to Christ there is no salvation. (cf. Acts 4:12; John 14:21; Matthew 7:21)

It is our Christian duty to plant the seed of God’s word and to water it…however, it is God who provides the increase.  (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

~David S. Deagel

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Spreading the Gospel of Christ

What a wonderful blog site to share the Gospel of Christ with others who are seeking him. As an Elder in the church I have struggled with the proper and most effective way to share the Gospel of Christ. Past practices of door knocking and correspondence courses, and fair booths don’t seem to be getting the word of Christ’s salvation out there.

I have searched the scriptures over and over seeking the way Christ would have us spread his word. Then it hit me! I had been too concerned about adding to the number in attendance in our church building as a measure of success. Close attention to the Gospel shows that our charge is to spread the Gospel to anyone who will listen. That’s it. On the day of Pentecost and at other gatherings many heard the good news, but not all responded to the call.

We cannot measure our success of spreading the good news on the number of those who respond. We can not know a person’s heart nor make one believe, that is on you. All we can do is spread the word. Matthew 16:15 says, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” And Mark 16:16 states that “and he who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

So you see, we can only spread the good news, but it is up to the person to hear the word, and allow it to prick their heart and believe. I will no longer worry about the numbers in the seats of the congregation, but rather the continued effort to spread the word and hope and salvation of His promise.

~Tom Flickinger

Are You Drowning?

Drowning? Yeah that sounds very inspirational doesn’t it.  So many time we can be drowning from all sorts of things in life.  We drown in debt.  We drown in relationship issues.  We drown ourselves with work, hobbies, activities…anything.  Most of the time we never anticipated it happening.  We never go and get a credit card and say to ourselves …I just can’t wait to max this thing out! But gradually over time it happens.

I have been thinking about the man in scriptures referred to as the Rich Young Ruler in Luke chapter 18 and Matthew chapter 19.  We know how the man came to Jesus and wanted to know what he could do to have eternal life.  I had often wondered why Jesus just did not say to this young man what he told Nicodemus in John chapter 3.  And I think it may because this young man was drowning.

All of this young man’s life was filled with keeping the Old Testament laws – specifically the Ten Commandments.  He knew what he needed to do to be a good person but yet he was seeking greater things than he had known.  He was wealthy, what was there that he could not have bought?

He was seeking something greater – something he could not purchase and yet something that he could not obtain because he was drowning.  Jesus told this young man if he wanted to be perfect to sell the things that he had and become a follower of Him.  However, instead of doing what Jesus suggested this young man went away.

You see, he was drowning in his possessions and riches.  Those things had him tied to the world.  It must have been what he worried about and thought about continually.  If he didn’t care about it so much he would have gladly gave what he had away and followed Jesus.

What kind of things do we all drown ourselves with?  Each day we awake and worry about things like work, bills, the economy, politics, …..and some odd fascinations with the zombie apocalypse…..(whatever that is all about).  How many of these things and other like it literally consume our lives – and when things like this consume our lives we begin to drown in them and we fail to survive and to thrive in this life.

Worry less and live more.  Seek God above all things (cf. Matthew 6:31-34)

~David S. Deagel

Where Does God Fit?

Football, baseball, soccer, Facebook, Candy Crush, shopping, work, family time, sleep, friends, cars, motorcycles, gardening, eating, cooking, home repairs, cutting grass, shoveling snow…..

With all these things in life where is there room for God?  With more advancements in technology, entertainment and the comforts of home, we have secluded ourselves from the outside world. We stay home and are entertained with the television, playing games, and watching YouTube videos in the heated and cooled environment of our homes and rarely take the time to socialize and befriend our neighbors, besides the casual “hello.  How are you?” greeting.

I greatly fear that this society norm is making its way through the Lord’s church.  There seems to be a decreased desire to spend additional time fellowshipping with other Christians and studying God’s word together.  I recently conducted a survey concerning Sunday Evening services.  The majority of those who replied, expressed that they did not regularly attend evening services because they were too busy or too tired.

We all spend too much time worrying and working towards things we cannot change and not enough time seeking after the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:25-34).  Paul’s states that Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things (1 Tim 4:8).  It serves as a reminder for us to be more focused on the spiritual than the physical.

What (or who) has made us so busy that we have little time left of our day and week to spend in worship and study to God? – Satan! When we are too busy and exhausted to serve and worship God, Satan has won.  Let us never be too busy to serve God.

If it is the case that we are involved in multitudes of activities and find ourselves with little time, serve God in what you are doing.  Matthew records Jesus’ statement, “Go therefore” (Mt. 28:19) and the idea of the wording is “Having gone” – While you are doing whatever it is that you need to do throughout your day, serve God in addition.  Utilize Facebook as an evangelistic tool. When you have a family gathering talk about scripture.  When you are at the soccer fields watching your child compete tell your story of salvation. Talk to the waitress about your faith, leave them contact information about the church along with your tip.  There are ample opportunities for us to serve His Kingdom through are busy schedules and bring glory to God. (1 Pt. 4:11)

~ David S. Deagel