Be ready to act for others

How many times do you think we’ve all had opportunities to help other people and show the love of God but have failed to act?

So many times I find myself praying to God and asking him to help a person get through a situation they’re going through without stopping to think and pray on what I can do to help them through that situation.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing in the world wrong with prayer and it’s a vital part of building your relationship with God. But sometimes I think we fail to consider that perhaps part of God’s answer to a prayer can be to use us!

Sure, it’s great to pray and rely on God to help a family struggling with financial hardship. But wouldn’t it also be good to bring that family a meal ourselves during a time of need?

Sure, it’s great to pray and ask God to comfort someone who has experienced loss. But what could you do to help those people during hard times?

God wants us to pray and communicate with him constantly, and he’s proven that he will be faithful and he will guide us when we seek his help. I also believe there are times when God wants us to be the instruments by which he performs his miracles and his help for other people.

I’m sure some of you are familiar with taking prayer requests for people at church or maybe in your small group of friends. How much of a difference could be made if we prayed to God and asked for his help but also asked for his guidance on how we could best help meet the needs of those prayer requests?

As you go out this week, be on the lookout for ways that you can minister to other people through your actions. Never hesitate to pray and ask God for help, but never fail to realize that sometimes God calls us to action to help meet other people’s needs.

Don’t be afraid; just believe

Jesus was approached by a synagogue leader named Jairus in Mark 5, who fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with him to come with him to heal his 12-year-old daughter, who was dying. While Jesus was speaking while on his way to the home of Jairus, people came from the house and said to Jairus “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”

When Jesus heard what they said, he told Jairus in Mark 5:36:

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” 

Jesus went into the house and took the dead girl by the hand and said “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Scripture says the girl immediately got up and began to walk around.

Just imagine how distraught and troubled Jairus must have been at what his daughter was facing. She was near death when he went to find Jesus, and he had just been told that his daughter had died once they returned.

But then Jesus said five words to him that changed everything. And those five words can be applied to our lives on a daily basis.

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jairus had every reason in the world to be fearful of losing his daughter. But he also knew that Jesus could heal her, and ultimately, that Jesus was in complete control. All Jesus asked of him was to just have faith.

There are so many different situations in our lives that we ultimately realize that we have no control over. People show up to work only to be laid off of a job they’ve been working for decades. People go into a doctor’s office for a routine checkup only to leave with a scary, life-changing diagnosis.

But as Christians, we live with a constant reassurance that we have a guide. We have a friend looking out for our best interests. The Lord wants us to trust in him and follow the path that he has set out for every one of us.

There is so much power and freedom in being able to put your faith in Jesus and watch him work in your life. It’s a peace that fills your soul that is so calming and so abundant.

If you’re reading this today and you don’t know that peace that is found in Jesus, reach out to someone today who can help you find it. Whether that’s me or a trusted friend or family member…..whoever. There’s nothing Jesus wants more than to have a relationship with you, and there’s nothing you’ll ever do that’s more fulfilling.

For my fellow believers, never forget that you’re not alone in whatever you go through in life. Jesus has always been there and will always be there. When things get hard or uncertain, don’t be afraid. Just believe.


Don’t underestimate what God can do

Too often we fail to grasp or remember the power of the God we serve and what He can do in our lives.

What we have to remember is when there are circumstances that seem like they’re too big for us to handle, that doesn’t mean that those circumstances are too big for God to handle.

Jesus was explaining to a wealthy man the pathway to having eternal life in Matthew 19. The man, who was deeply concerned about his earthly possessions and wealth, became discouraged when Jesus said “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 

Jesus then talked about how it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. When his disciples asked who would then be able to be saved, Jesus replied in Matthew 19:26:

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

All things are possible. When you are having trouble finding a job and can’t seem to find anything that works, trust in the Lord. When you’ve been given a terrible diagnosis at the doctor’s office, trust in the Lord. When your life seems like it’s in shambles, trust in the Lord.

We serve a God who gave each of us life and created the entire universe and everything in it. We serve a God who cared for us so deeply that he sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins and then raised him from the dead three days later.

If God can do all of that, just imagine what he can do in your life. Whatever problems you have that you think are too big, God can handle. Whatever daily stresses or concerns you have, God can help. You just have to let him.

But it’s going to take faith from you to Him in order to make that happen. If you trust in the Lord and truly believe that He can guide you through any obstacle, no matter how daunting, then He will be with you.

Jesus healed a boy in Matthew 17 who was possessed by a demon and was suffering from seizures. The boy’s father had originally brought his son to the disciples, but they were unable to heal him.

When they came to Jesus to ask him why they couldn’t drive the demon out of the boy, Jesus replied in Matthew 17:20:

“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 

Sometimes all it takes in life is to have a little faith. If you’ve been struggling with your faith, reach out to God and ask him to help you today. Trust in Him fully and see how He moves in your life.

Don’t underestimate the power of God.

Forgiveness knows no bounds

Perhaps the easiest thing in the world to do is to take what you have, and who you have, for granted.

We don’t mean to do it. We don’t wake up every day with the intention of taking our loved ones for granted, but oftentimes that’s exactly what we do.

If you’re someone like me who has two loving parents, two wonderful siblings, four gracious grandparents and reliable friends in your life, you are more blessed than you probably realize.

There are so many people who would give anything to have one more conversation with a parent or child who has passed away. Yet there are so many people who go months, even years, without speaking to some of their immediate family members or former close friends.

Some of you have been wronged by people who were once closest to you. There have been unfaithful partners in marriage, disputes over money, arguments over disagreements that seem minor now but have led to an estranged relationship between you and somebody you once cared deeply for.

Today is the day for you to cast all of those feelings aside and do what can sometimes be the hardest thing to do for someone who has wronged you….forgive them.

I know what some of you are saying. “You have know idea what that person has put me through or how terribly they’ve treated me.”

You’re right. I have no idea. But I do know there is no limit on the forgiveness that has been given to you. And because of that, there should be no limit on the forgiveness that you show to other people.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:13:

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Think about some of the things you’ve done in your life that you deeply regret. Think about how many times you’ve lied or stolen or sinned.

If you’re a believer in Jesus, you have been forgiven of those sins. There hasn’t been a point of no return where you lose your salvation or are no longer forgiven by God because you’ve done something so terrible. Jesus knows all, and yet he still forgives.

Should we not also forgive others just as we have been forgiven?

Holding grudges against other people doesn’t accomplish anything. There’s no good that comes from it for you, and it becomes more a weight on your mind that it ever did for the person who wronged you in the first place.

I challenge you today to forgive those who have wronged you. Try to reach out and repair those estranged relationships. Cherish those who you have in your life because there will come a day when they are no longer there.

God’s forgiveness knows no bounds in your own life. Try to extend that same sort of forgiveness to other people.

Jesus said in Mark 25:11:

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

News too good not to share

Think back to when you were a kid and you aced a big test at school or hit a game-winning home run in Little League.

Or maybe think about your adult life. That moment when you landed your first job out of college or got engaged. What was the first thing you wanted to do? Tell somebody else all about it!

Yet we all, as followers of Christ, have literally the best news in the history of the world available to share with other people around us and too often we don’t say or do anything. I’ve been guilty of this for years.

Sometimes I think we forget, or maybe even take for granted, the sheer magnitude of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us.

We were all destined for an eternity apart from God. Your sin and my sin causes us to fall short of the glory of God and the requirements to be in his presence. And because of that, we were all destined to be in hell apart from him with continuous suffering. Forever.

Think about the magnitude of that for a second. An ETERNITY of hell.

But Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life that you and I could never live. He performed miracles. He healed the sick. He comforted the weak. He raised the dead. He walked on water. And ultimately, after living a perfect life, died on a cross for our sin and then rose again three days later.

We have hope through Jesus, and we have salvation through Jesus. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God and admits their sin and repents from it is saved and gets to spend eternity with God in heaven.

Friends, you can search far and wide for the rest of your life. The truth of the matter is you’ll never find anything that’s better than that. Not anywhere close. And yet too often we don’t share that truth with the people around us.

Think about your own life and the people you come into contact with on a daily basis. How many people at work, school, football practice or even the people who live with you or are in your family… many of those people don’t know Jesus or don’t have a relationship with Jesus? How many of those people don’t know the hope of salvation? How many of those people don’t know the power of what Jesus can do?

Now ask yourself this……what can you do to help them?  We’ve always got a million things going on and commitments pulling us in different directions. But remember this: Nothing will ever be more important than sharing the gospel and the hope Jesus provides with lost people and unbelievers. Nothing.

I challenge all of us to make more of an effort to share the good news of Jesus with those people around us. When that happens, you’d be amazed at what God can do.

Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Don’t be afraid to share what Jesus has done for you in your life. And if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus and want to know what it’s like to have that hope, ask him to come into your life today. You will never regret it.

Why is it important to joyfully give to God?

Talking about finances and the allocation of our money can sometimes be an uncomfortable topic. If you’re anything like me, there are times when money can be tight and you’re not looking to spend it anywhere that’s not absolutely necessary.

But I think you’ll find that giving to your church that you attend is not only necessary but also very rewarding. Giving with a joyful heart will help facilitate missions, supplies, programs (etc.) both locally and around the world for the advancement of the gospel…….and I think you’ll find God will be faithful to you and your giving as well.

In my own life, I have seen his faithfulness firsthand. Some of you may know that I work in the sports journalism field. While the job certainly has its perks and it’s difficult to complain about getting paid be around sports, the pay isn’t great.

A couple of months ago I felt a calling to begin giving to my church, Long Hollow Baptist in Hendersonville. My parents have been faithful in their giving for years and I’ve seen the difference it’s made in their lives. At the time, I was searching for another job to go along with my current one at the NHL because I didn’t have any steady money coming in after the season was done, but I wasn’t having much luck in finding one.

One day in late June I just made the decision to give and give joyfully and let God do with that money what he saw fit. I wasn’t in a good spot financially, but it didn’t matter to me. I decided to put my trust in the Lord and just do it. It’s funny how God provides. A couple weeks later I found another job as a groundskeeper at a property management company, and the best part about it is that it’s a job that I can still do even when hockey season returns in a couple of weeks.

I’m not saying to give to the Lord just because you’re expecting him to return the favor to you and provide. I believe your heart has to be in the right place when you give. It can’t be a burden for you to do so. But I also believe that if you give with the right heart and with the right intention, God will provide for you.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Jesus is not against you having money or being wealthy or earning a comfortable living. However, I do believe Jesus is against money consuming you and being what drives you. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Again, that’s not saying you can’t have money and still serve God. It’s saying you can’t be consumed by money and greed but also by God at the same time. It’s just not how it works.

The bottom line is this: Whether you want to admit it or not, nothing you have is truly yours. It belongs to God. So why not give back to God some of what he’s given to you and trust that he will use that money better than you ever could.

Give consistently. Give with no reservations. Don’t let it be a burden. If you tithe 10%, or whatever your percentage is, trust that you can do more through God with 90% of your money than you can do on your own with 100%. If you do this, you’ll find that God is faithful and that He provides.

If you don’t give at all, consider starting today. Whatever amount you decide to give, do so joyfully and see what God can do with it. Giving is a form of worship. Here’s a link to a video from Robby Gallaty at Long Hollow discussing this topic more at length:

Building Your Foundation

What would you say if someone came up to you and asked, “What takes up your time? What constantly has your attention? What are the things in life you willingly give your time to?”

I think most of us know what we’d like to say. Family. Friends. Faith. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, sometimes the foundation of what we build our lives around are material things. We get immersed in our jobs, our sports teams or our favorite Netflix shows and ignore what the foundation of our lives are supposed to be.

Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49:

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

For a long time in my own life, I had been caught up in putting my time and effort into material things instead of bettering myself through the word of God. I was quick to anger. I was harshly judgmental at times. I went through times of extreme selfishness. I thought I had everything figured out.

By no means am I now perfect. I still battle some of those very same things every day. However, I recently have rediscovered what — or rather Who — is the foundation on which to build my life.

I started attending Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee with my girlfriend, Heather, back in February and it just seemed to click and resonate with me from the start. Long Hollow’s pastor, Robby Gallaty, said something that seems so simple but really has all of the power in the world:

“Jesus never has to say another word again because he’s already said everything that needs to be said through the word of God.”

I’ve been a Christian since I was nine years old and I’ve always heard your classic “Read the Bible and you’ll be changed!” lines but never really invested in reading it like I should’ve.

Guess what: Reading the Bible and truly taking the time and effort to invest in God’s word… makes a huge difference. Your entire perspective on life, relationships, work….everything. It changes.

I’m not saying don’t watch Netflix and read the Bible all day. I’m not saying don’t enjoy watching sports or don’t spend time and effort on your job. I am saying don’t let those things CONSUME your life.

Jesus said hearing his words and putting them into practice are like a man building a house who laid the foundation on a rock. When the storms of life come, the house gets hit but isn’t shaken because the house is well built.

I would encourage you all to get into the word of God and see firsthand what a difference it can make in your life. Pastor Robby has a saying that goes “Get into the Word until the Words gets into you.”

Invest some time in God’s word. Make Jesus and his teachings the foundation upon which your life is built. And then share that foundation with other people and see how it can change everything.