D.T. Niles said, “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” I love that definition of the Faith. It’s also true many times for me as I find my necessary spiritual food for the day, week, or hour from some other source.
It happened this morning as I read the pastoral newsletter from Charles Simpson. So I’m passing some of that bread along to you, and letting you know where you can check out the whole loaf if you wish.
I find this season of change disorienting, and I know many of you do too. Even if you see it from a Biblical and historical perspective, giving it framework and meaning in the great story of God and man; this pace of change makes one dizzy. May this help you keep your senses in check, to keep your balance, to keep you from falling or becoming unconscious to what’s important and real.
In this short season I’ve heard the words  persecution  discipleship  generations  story  risk  joy and  Jesus. They’ve come quickly and intensely from several sources within the last two weeks; books I’ve read, sermons, things friends have said, daily Bible reading, bill boards — like sign posts, everywhere, “signs of the times.” 🙂 I’m not sure what the world’s concerned about at the moment, and don’t really care that much. But when I sense the Spirit is speaking to me or my community, I want to get still, and listen.
This newsletter and this morning was one of those stilling times for me. On a cool, rainy June morning, I arose early, built a fire outside and read. Here are some of my journal entries or quotes. I pray they encourage you, strengthen you , and enlighten you, as they did me.
Sometimes change does not happen in small increments; sometimes it is unexpected and cataclysmic. How can we be ready for the seemingly radical and unplanned events that are beyond our control? …What about the more catastrophic events that are unforeseen such as the loss of life or financial collapse? Can we be prepared for what we did not expect? I believe so.
A renewed mind looks for the purpose of God in any situation and that makes us different-no longer conformed to selfish thinking or the cultural thinking.
In the past, we acted by rules and habits; now we are learning to respond to change as Jesus did, as the apostles did. Jesus prophesied, but He also prepared His disciples. He did not “promise them a rose garden.” … His focus in preparing was primarily in three areas:  Be filled with the Holy Spirit,  understand the Kingdom of God,  and make disciples of all nations. He warned them that there would be trouble.
In Luke 24:49, He commanded them to go to Jerusalem and receive the “promise of the Father”. They would need the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:5; 8). This was not a “do it yourself project.”
Then Acts 1:3 tells us that He spent 40 days teaching them about the kingdom of God, and that was after three-and-a-half years of teaching about the Kingdom. God’s government is always vital, but in times of change it is absolutely necessary.
Finally, He commanded them to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20). Jesus expected them to give what they had received. Failing to do so would cause them to lose what they thought they knew (see Mark 4:21-25).
These three issues prepared the disciples for the future, and they changed the future! The transformed became transformers. We are called to be different and to make a difference.
Again, if these quotes from Charles Simpson strike a cord with you, I hope you’ll examine the whole loaf! Bro. Charles who is in his seventies is still actively preaching the kingdom in the power of the Spirit. He is also a man of prayer and relationship who can many times tell you what’s on God’s heart. I attended his leadership conference this year and was encouraged very much by it’s focus and spirit — discipling the next generation.
This comes on the heels of reading the most enlightening, motivational book I’ve read in a while, “The Insanity of God,” hearing a good, but rare sermon on persecution from John 16 last week, and attending a men’s group where we are reading and discussing “The Cost of Discipleship.” God is speaking! Are you listening or asleep? Do what it takes to hear!