Friday, October 17, 2008

#12 Broken Road Ahead

Luke 6:44 NASB "For each tree is known by its own fruit…”

Michigan has been a wonderful new experience for us so far and we love being here. As with any new place, there are things about a particular place that you like more than others, right? Well, for me who drives about 3,000 miles a month I wish the townships spent more money on roads. I am not trying to knock our new state that we love, but the roads could use a little help in some areas. I was blown away the first time I came across a sign that actually labeled the road as a “rough road.” I thought to myself, “It can’t be that bad, can it?” As I ventured down that particular road I discovered that the sign should have read “horrible road.” There was what appeared to multi-colored scabs all over the road where someone had attempted to patch the road, but what happened was it made the road incredibly bumpy and rough to ride upon. At that time the struts and shocks in my car were in need of being replaced so I felt as if I was riding upon the high seas in the midst of a great storm. I felt myself wondering which was worse; the hundreds of mismatched patches or the gaping holes where the pavement was totally gone? I realize that not all of the roads here are like that. In fact , I can actually tell you where the worse ones are and I have learned to avoid them as I am routing myself around doing visitation. One thing is for sure, when the great state of Michigan puts up a sign to warn me of the condition of particular road I am going to take the message to heart and proceed down that road with caution.

So how does this relate to our Christian experience? I am convinced that as Christians and just as people in general we give off signs to the world around us. The various signs can warn us about dangerous people, they can tell us if someone is in trouble, they tell us that people either like us or dislike us. Each one of us give off signs to the world around us. Some of us are aware of this and attempt to control the signs that we give off. Others are more oblivious to this and are surprised when someone comes to them about a particular issue. As Christians we need to be keenly aware of what goes on around us. We need to look for the signs in people’s lives as it will facilitate us being able to reach them for the gospel. If you begin a conversation with someone about religious things and they start showing signs of not being interested we may have to take a step back and not push the issue at that point. I have seen people with the best of intentions attempt to share the gospel with someone who was obviously putting up signs of disinterest. It should have told them to stop pushing the issue, but instead they kept right on plowing ahead and they ended up turning the other person away. Within the church we need to have our eyes open to what is going on within our church family. If we see a need we should seek to find a way to help take care of that need. If we see someone with signs of depression then we should reach out to them. Often times we can even see signs of a troubled marriage. There are many things we can see if we simply learn how to recognize them. Along with our study of the gospel we should study people too. If we have a thorough understanding of the gospel but we do not know to deal with people then it will limit our ability to be effective.

The inverse to this is for each of us to realize that we are putting out signs for the world to see. Christians should be especially aware of this because we have an obligation to rightly represent Christ to the world around us. Although Christians should be the happiest people on earth we too have problems. The difference comes in how we deal with the problems that crop up in life. We should not despair as do those who know not God. We should seek to give our problems completely over to Jesus. Jesus has promised that if we give our problems to Him then He will give us His light burden and His easy yoke (Matt11:30). Sometimes that is not easy for us and we need others to help us. Sometimes there may even be a chemical imbalance and we may need medication to help. Whatever the case may be, we all need to have our eyes open to what is going on around us as it relates to other church members and the world in general.

Dear Father,
Please help us to pay attention to each one in our church family. Please help us to careful about the signs that we give off to the world around us. As Christians Father, we want to rightly represent You and our Lord Jesus. Please help us give off signs that will make people want the peace that we have found in You and the joy that we have as Christians. It is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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