Lights in our Community

Jesus said in Matt.5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” With the dawn of 2017 upon us, what should the people in our community – especially those near our church building – see in us? Here’s a few thoughts.

1. A godly people. In our profane, modern society people should see something better in the Lord’s people. Peter said, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Pet.1:14-15).

2. A kind people. There are needs all around us, and our neighbours should view us as people who are concerned for them. We can’t deal with everybody’s problems, but we can be kind. Paul said, “…Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col.3:12). Will people view us as cold and indifferent, or warm and helpful?

3. An engaging people. If we want the community to be interested in our message, we must be open to them. People have questions and wonder about who we are. Peter, who wrote about the church’s relationship to the world, said, “…always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet.3:15).

4. An enthusiastic people. Many religious groups practice rituals with lukewarm habit. The community needs to see us as people who are happy and enthused about the faith. Few are interested in religion that is sleepy and dreary. “Therefore, gird your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).

5. A people of the truth. Some think the church should accept everything and stand for nothing. More respect is given to those who know the truth and stand on it firmly. John wrote to “all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever” (2 Jn.1-2).

Let’s be determined to let our light shine effectively in 2017.

– Tim Johnson

People in the Way

A large crowd pushed its way through Jericho one day with Jesus in the middle. Leaders out front felt important as they shooed people out of the way, and hangers-on protected their positions close to the Lord. It would have been easy for Jesus to go with the noisy flow and get to his destination in good time. But He made the crowd stop.

A beggar on the side of the road was calling out for him. This was Bartimaeus, a poverty-stricken blind man. Despite efforts by the crowd to silence him, he cried out all the more – “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Lk.18:38) He was not a nuisance to Jesus. He spoke with him and, moved with compassion, touched his eyes and restored his sight. Only then would He allow the crowd to move on.

We’re living in a world that likes to act like that single-minded, pushy crowd. It’s as if we have our lives set on speed-control and we’re reluctant to back off. When others get in the way we don’t like it. Horns blare and people must scurry out of the way. It’s a selfish, arrogant way to handle things.

Jesus shows us a better way. I’m sure he was in a hurry at times, but he didn’t mind stopping for those who needed a hand. Don’t we want to be treated like that? Nothing is more important than a person. Jesus thought so. He was courteous to friends and foes alike. People felt his kindness and appreciated the fact he was interested in their lives. All we have to do is look around us at the many needs and hardships of people. You can’t solve everything, but you can care. “Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Col.3:12). Bartimaeus isn’t far away.

– Tim Johnson

He Felt Compassion For Them

Our country is known as a kind place where people treat each other fairly. But with our busy schedules requiring us to be three places at once, our finer qualities seem to be lagging these days. Our worst offense is simply be in somebody else’s way.

God has always called on His people to be kind and sympathetic, even when others urge us to be mean. The prophet Elisha managed to trick an invading army and disarm them single-handedly, in 2 Kings 6:22-23. He led them blinded into the middle of Samaria and, surrounded by bloodthirsty Jewish soldiers urging slaughter, Elisha insisted on feeding them instead. “So he prepared a great feast for them, and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away.” Such consideration was unheard of in such violent times! It granted years of peace for Israel. Continue reading