Monday, December 27, 2010

Insulated but Not Isolated

Jesus prayed to His Father, "I do not ask you to take them (His disciples) out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." The "world" He's referring to are all the people who don't know God, along with all their attitudes that are hostile and ungodly. Our first response is to run away and isolate ourselves. That's why monks went to monasteries in the wilderness, where no one else would go. They were trying to escape from "the world" so they wouldn't be tempted by it. But how could they be "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14) if they were not in it?

Jesus wants us to go into the world, but He doesn't want the world to get into us. A submarine can't fulfill its purpose if it is out of the water. It must be submerged into the ocean before it can be effective. Even though the sub is surrounded by water, the water can't get inside because it is insulated. The submarine was prepared ahead of time, before it went into the sea, to have all possible areas sealed where leaks could occur.

In the same way, we are to be insulated from the world but not isolated from it. We need to be prepared ahead of time, before we go into the world, to seal off all possible areas where the world can leak in. The Lord wants us to influence the world--but not for the world to influence us. To hear the entire message on this topic go to:
"Living in a Changing World"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Using the Wrong Method

A lady had a pet dog that was sick. Every day she tried to force a tablespoon of medicine down its throat, but the dog would always resist and pull away. One day she accidentally knocked over the bottle and the medicine spilled all over the floor. To her surprise, the dog went over to the puddle and started lapping it up! The dog hadn't been resisting the medicine. It was resisting the method that its owner had used--forcing it down its throat.

As Christians, we have the only medicine that is able to save a person's soul and put that person's life back together. Jesus came to bring life and light to people who have no hope. But so often we use the wrong method to get the message across. We try to force it down people's throats instead of presenting it in such a way that they will willingly receive it.

Jesus said, "Let your let shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). We can shine our light in the right way or the wrong way. "In such a way" means that we use the right method to present the gospel so that they will be converted. They will see the light in us and say, "I want what you've got!" When we do it the right way, they will "glorify your Father." That means they will receive the message, be converted, and their lives will change so that they will be glorifying God.
To hear the entire message on this subject, go to
"Shining Your Light"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning From Kudzu Vines

If you've ever driven along the Interstate in the South, there's a good chance that you've seen miles and miles of Kudzu vines covering trees and bushes along the road. Have you ever wondered how they got there? No one planted them, at least not along the road. They spread there from somewhere else.

Kudzu wasn't native to America. It was imported from Japan. It all started about 1935, when farmers were encouraged to plant it to reduce soil erosion during the "dust bowl" years. It looked like a great idea at first, but they didn't think about the problems it would cause in the future. They had no idea it would spread so quickly that it would become uncontrollable.

The vines can grow a foot a day and up to 100 feet long. It creeps up trees and over bushes, cutting off light and eventually smothering the life out of them. If you pull up a vine, you had better make sure you destroy it because it can root itself and start over again! No one has found an effective way to stop it and that's why you see it along the Interstate highways.

This menacing plant is an object lesson for us. When making a decision, don't just look at the immediate results, but think down the road about how it will affect your future. Too many people want instant gratification and ignore the disastrous consequences that are sure to come. This is why so many people are in financial trouble due to credit card debt. They bought what they wanted but the interest has compounded like Kudzu. Wise people will make their decisions by thinking long-term. That means saying no when everyone else is saying yes.

To hear the entire sermon on this message, go to:
http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and click on
"Increasing Your Wisdom"