VIDEO Go! Go! Go!—and Preach.. Time To Serve

And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 10:7

When John the Baptist began his ministry: He preached (Matthew 3:1). And when Jesus followed on John’s heels, He did the same thing: He preached (Matthew 4:17). After Jesus ascended to heaven, His followers in Jerusalem did what they had been taught: They preached (Acts 4:2; 5:42). And after Stephen’s martyrdom, when the Church was driven from Jerusalem, Acts 8 is evidence of their single-minded focus on preaching (verses 4-5, 12, 35, 40). Then Paul was converted and “immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

Regardless of who, when, or where, the early followers of Jesus preached! In the early stages, John and Jesus declared or announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand. After the resurrection, preaching became more focused: proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s identity, death, burial, and resurrection for the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Why was there such a focus on preaching? Paul answered that question with another question: “And how shall they hear [and call and believe] without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

Wherever you go today, be ready to preach the Good News (2 Timothy 4:2)!

Preaching is the chariot that carries Christ up and down the world.  Richard Sibbes


Matthew 10:5-15, Time To Serve

Fighting Life’s Dragons

Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15

Have you ever fought a dragon? If you answered no, author Eugene Peterson disagrees with you. In A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, he wrote, “Dragons are projections of our fears, horrible constructions of all that might hurt us. . . . A peasant confronted by a magnificent dragon is completely outclassed.” Peterson’s point? Life is filled with dragons: the life-threatening health crisis, the sudden job loss, the failed marriage, the estranged prodigal child. These “dragons” are the supersized dangers and frailties of life that we’re inadequate to fight alone.

But in those battles, we have a Champion. Not a fairy tale champion—the ultimate Champion who has fought on our behalf and conquered the dragons that seek to destroy us. Whether they’re dragons of our own failures or the spiritual enemy who desires our destruction, our Champion is greater, allowing Paul to write of Jesus, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). The destructive forces of this broken world are no match for Him!

The moment we realize that the dragons of life are too big for us is the moment we can begin to rest in Christ’s rescue. We can confidently say, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What “dragons” are you facing in life? How can Christ’s victory on the cross provide encouragement as you deal with them?

Father, thank You for being more than enough for the threats I will face today. Give me the wisdom and strength to walk with You, trusting You for the grace I need.

Read Overcoming Worry at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0711.

God’s Saving Initiative

Acts 9:1-9

In other religions, worshippers pursue their god. In Christianity, however, it’s God who takes the initiative. This is obvious in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later known as Paul). Far from seeking the Messiah, the future apostle was actually persecuting Jesus by hunting and imprisoning Christians. The Lord was the one who sought Paul, opened his mind to believe, and transformed his life forever.

All throughout the Word of God, we see His active pursuit of sinners. Consider Adam and Eve, who, instead of seeking the Lord for forgiveness of their sin, tried to hide from Him in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:8-21 reveals that it was God who called out to them—He promised a redeemer through the woman’s offspring and covered the shame of their guilt with animal skins (which was also the first blood sacrifice).

Similarly, when Christ came to earth, He’s the one who took the initiative in choosing disciples. In fact, the same can be said about the Lord drawing every one of us who has trusted in Him for salvation (John 15:16). And now the Savior has allowed us to participate in His pursuit of sinners by proclaiming the gospel and imploring people to believe and be saved. Are you living out that calling?

Know The Great Physician

“But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matthew 9:12)

It almost goes without saying that a person who is seriously ill would do anything to regain health. But the sad fact is, few people really pay attention to their health until they are threatened with its loss.

On the other hand, testimonies without number have been chronicled that relate an individual’s refusal to acknowledge the claims of Christ until he or she had been stricken with personal problems or physical illness. “You’ve got to be on your back before you will look up,” so the saying goes. But what does the Great Physician have to offer the one whose health seems to be strong from an outward perspective?

Instead of being well, however, the Bible says that everyone is born into this world with a dreadful disease in our souls called sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). The sin disease is most tragic when we do not feel it and do not know we have it. “Because thou sayest, I…have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Jesus Christ is the only One who can heal us: “Neither is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12). And just as He never sent anyone away who came to Him on Earth for physical healing (Matthew 12:15), so “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37) when he comes seeking salvation.

Certainly one of the most important steps in this process of being healed of our sin sickness is recognizing our desperate need for healing. When we say, “Be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee” (Psalm 41:4), He will respond with forgiveness, grace, and healing. JDM

Many Scramble for Popularity

Blessed are ye, when men shall re—vile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. —Matthew 5:11-12

Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous….

Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline. Her eager fawning at the feet of the world’s great is a grief to the Holy Spirit and an embarrassment to the sons of God….

Lot was a popular believer…. But when trouble struck, he had to send quick for Abraham to get him out of the jam. And where did they find Abraham? Out on the hillside, far away from the fashionable crowds. It has always been so…. For every Noah there is always a vast multitude who will not believe it is going to rain.

We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it.   NCA020-021

Deliver me from the scramble for popularity and strengthen me to serve alone, oblivious to the roar of the crowds. Amen.

Alone…Together

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple…did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. —Acts 2:46

There are other experiences deep and wholly inward that cannot be shared with any other: Jacob at Bethel and Peniel, Moses at the burning bush, Christ in the garden, John in the Isle of Patmos are Bible examples, and Christian biography will reveal many more.

A community of believers must be composed of persons who have each one met God in individual experience. No matter how large the family, each child must be born individually….So it is in the local church. Each member must be born of the Spirit individually.

It will not escape the discerning reader that while each child is born separate from the rest it is born into a family, and after that must live in the fellowship of the rest of the household….

The church is called the household of God, and it is the ideal place to rear young Christians. BAM112-113

Next to God Himself we need each other most. We are His sheep and it is our nature to live with the flock. BAM114

I have Seen a Few Things

1 Corinthians 2:9

Grandpa, were you ever young?” There were overtones of doubt in the voice of the five-year-old questioner. But the answer had a ring of confidence: “I sure was, Bobby!” The eyes that met the little boy’s had both a twinkle and a far-away look. It was a long way back, but what was there was enjoyable to remember. “Young? Of course I was!”

The Psalmist said it too: “I was young and now am old” (Psalm 37:25). He wasn’t answering a little boy’s question. Rather he was looking at life’s varied experiences from the vantage point of piled-up years. David lived a long time ago, but when he wrote those words he was writing for us. He is worth listening to.

David remembered his youth. We who are older sometimes act and talk as if we never had a taste of life’s springtime. Recall it now and give thanks to God for it. There was a time when life was a succession of mountains to be climbed, and we had the strength and daring to scale them. Those years and those experiences were ours and we ought to recall them with gratitude.

David remembered his age. He had lived many years and he wasn’t trying to kid anyone—least of all himself—about the calendar’s uncompromising arithmetic. “I was young, now I am old.” To say otherwise is a delusion. Age can be carried with dignity when it is worn proudly. It is never more pitiful than when it is cloaked in the ill-fitting, borrowed trappings of youth.

David remembered his God. He looked down the long vista of the years and said, in the preceding verse of that same psalm, “the Lord upholds,” (v. 24) and in a following verse, “The Lord… will not forsake His faithful ones” (v. 28) To have a faith in God and a trust born of experience is to have a strength greater than the best muscles and a vision sharper than the keenest eyes. Such a faith adds life to years, not just years to life.

Since David’s time, God has revealed himself through his Son, Jesus Christ. His cross is the eternal evidence of divine love and the empty tomb is the triumphant symbol of divine power. So we go beyond David’s words and say with Paul, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV).

I’ve seen a few things, but I’ve yet to see the best!

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point