August 7, 2019 – Pastor Brian’s Blog
If you spent any time on social media, you will eventually come across posts from people that are either very unhappy, very angry, or both! Have you ever wondered the real reason why? Why is the suicide rate climbing in the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave? Why does drug and alcohol abuse seem to be so rampant? Why do people hang on so tight to hurt, that it actually ends up hurting them more than the original painful encounter? Could it just be a result of a society that is living their lives upside down?
God operates His world in ways that seem to be totally opposite of the way that many Christians act or think. Imagine if we were to live out Matthew 16:24… Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” But what does that actually mean?
William Borden grew up in a wealthy family in Chicago, and was the heir to the Borden dairy estate. For his high school graduation gift, his parents gave him a cruise around the world. On the cruise, William became burdened for all the spiritual needs he saw at each port. Borden knew that God was calling him to missions.
While in college William Borden’s dad passed away and Borden inherited the family estate, which would be equivalent to $2 billion dollars today. Turning down many prestigious jobs, Borden would give away much of his inheritance to various mission boards. Borden would leave for Egypt to work with the Muslims, only to die there within the first year after his arrival. Upon receiving his things, Borden’s family discovered that prior to his death, while laying sick in Egypt, William wrote in his Bible:
“No Reserves…No Retreats…No Regrets”William Borden
Borden had it figured out: to deny oneself and take up your cross meant that we will give Christ whatever He wants. Borden lifted up Christ in his life and the world is still feeling the effects of it today.
Our upside down world wants to be served; it wants everything to be about us. We want to know, “How do I feel, what do I think, and how does that affect me.” Yet Jesus said in Mark 10:45… “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Amy Carmichael went to India as a 28 year old woman in 1895. Upon arriving in India, Ms. Carmichael found many infants, young children, and young women being taken captive and sold into slavery to the religious Hindu fathers. They would then be raised to become temple prostitutes. Amy’s first thoughts were, “What can I do, how can I serve, and how can I rescue these girls from their plight?”
So Amy Carmichael stayed in India… for 45 years. Without a furlough. It wasn’t easy; often she would fear for her life! It was dangerous and very difficult work. Amy had to withstand religious and cultural views that were embedded in centuries of tradition and superstition and of course contrary to God’s views.
While serving in India, Amy received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked Amy, “What is missionary life like?” Amy wrote back saying simply, “Missionary life is simply a chance to die.” Amy understood what it meant to be willing to give one’s life as a ransom for many. Amy is also quoted as saying, “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desire that He creates.”
The hospital Amy founded at Dohnavur continues to this day, supporting approximately 500 people on 400 acres with 16 nurseries and a hospital. Imagine the difference Christ’s church could make in this upside down world, if we looked and saw the people around us and became as willing to serve them, as Christ serves us.
Ever met anyone that was hurt by someone and allowed the hurt to turn into bitterness? Imagine how we could turn the world right side up if people could see Christians living out Colossians 3:14… Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
We watch as Jesus forgives us of everything; then we become the forgivers. Jesus demonstrates how we are to forgive; we then follow His example. Jesus tells that person that they are forgiven, we look for that person that has sinned against us and do likewise. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 Jesus said that about us, how can we do less?
Why are there so many in the world angry and unhappy; why do we see so many lives being lived upside down? Two Godly men from our past insinuated that the problem just might begin with the church. Vance Havner said… “The church is so ‘subnormal’ that if it ever got back to the New Testament ‘normal’ it would seem to people to be ‘abnormal.’”
Judy’s favorite Bible teacher, (other than me of course!!) Oswald Chambers said:
“Today the world has taken so many things out of the church, and the church has taken so many things out of the world, that it is difficult to know where you are.”Oswald Chambers
Imagine if Christ’s church would become “abnormal.” What would happen if we ditched the things the church has taken from the world and was actually living out the things taken from the Bible. How different would our world be? I honestly believe that if we as the church would consistently lift up Christ in our lives, people would become attracted. Hmmm… matter of fact I think I read something like that in a book once… “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:32