Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Did I Tell You the One About...

I am writing this week with a great challenge. It is my privilege to share with you about an issue that is very close to my heart and very important to our culture. I hope you will take the time to read, think, pray, and act on the challenge presented.
Have you ever wanted something so bad that you would give or do anything to have it? And then when you finally received this material object, job opportunity, or gift you couldn’t wait to tell everyone that you came into contact with about this amazing thing that you have been given. Well, I have certainly had that experience numerous times. But one instance that really made an impression on me was when I received my letter of acceptance to Grove City College (GCC).
I had applied early admission to get into this school that has a reputation of denying really smart people the opportunity to expand their education. So of course I was really nervous because I am not one of those smart people who received a high grade on my SAT’s and my grades in High School were average, so I was preparing myself for the worst. You see, the thing that made this such an important decision in my life was that I had not applied anywhere else and this was the only place I wanted to go! I began to pray really hard at the end of my junior year that God would help me do my best in my senior year so that I could prove to GCC that I could be a person that would work hard and do my very best. God was certainly helping to do this as I entered my senior year of high school. I wanted to honor God by doing the best I could and I wanted to show Grove City that I was a man who was willing to do what it takes to get into Grove City. I really wanted to be a music major. I knew God had given me the gift of music so I wanted to develop that gift for Him. So I practiced a lot through the end of my junior and the beginning of my senior years along with doing the best I could in high school and a lot of prayer, I thought I couldn’t go wrong. Well one day my parents took me down for an audition and what they call a senior crimson day. This was a day when all the seniors in high school could go and check out GCC and see if it was a place where they could grow in knowledge, wisdom, and skill. As I sat in the orientation meeting for the day my hands began to grow very cold and shaky. I began to get really nervous that this school was not for me because the people who go here were really smart and I wasn’t and I just grew very pretentious of my lingering audition for the music department that would follow after this meeting… I became very scared! My mother being the very compassionate caring, yet very daring mother she was saw that I was nervous and asked me what was up. I told her that I didn’t think that I could get into this school. At the end of the meeting she then got up and went up to the lady who had been the master of ceremonies and also the head of student affairs. This lady had been working at GCC for seemingly forever. She knew everything that went on, she had to make tough calls about students for acceptance or denial. She was the boss. My mother went up to her and began to tell of my desire to go to this school. As I watched my mother speak to her I kind of fell down into my seat and grew tearful because I couldn’t go up and speak to her myself. I was seriously pathetic. My mother came back to the place where my father and I were sitting and she said that Mrs. Paxton would be happy to write me a letter of recommendation for acceptance. I was blown away. Mrs. Paxton never even met me. I could not believe that she was going to write me a letter of recommendation. Wow!!
I applied as a commuter to the school because I lived close enough to drive, but I had also heard that you have a good chance of being accepted if you apply as a commuter. So I did. I went to my audition and met two very kind men who were very patient with me as I clumsily moved around to the different percussion instruments. I played the best I could and left feeling like I did exactly that. So now, the waiting game.
About two months passed and it was time for the letters to be sent out. I was anxiously going home everyday and checking the mailbox. Then one day, it was there. The enveloped bore the insignia of Grove City College and again my hands grew cold. I went inside and set it on the table. Seriously this was a scene right out of a movie. I watched the envelope like it was going to get up and move around or something. Finally I opened it up. I read down along: Dear Mr. Bradley French this letter is to welcome you to the Grove City College family. If you wish to accept this welcome please send the form enclosed along with a 200 dollar check or money order to secure your place in the class of 2007. I GOT IN!!! I was so excited. I told my dad right away! Then I waited for my mom. When she came home I gave her a big hug and handed her the letter. She read the letter and did her little idiosyncratic excited gasps.
I had already filled the form out and was waiting for her to sign the check. She said that right now was a little tough financially but she and I both trusted that God would provide. The money was due by the end of the following week. Well, as the excitement calmed down we began to open the other mail that had accompanied this letters journey to our mailbox. Inside one envelope was a little Christmas letter. It was quaint but the as we opened it something fell to the floor. I picked it up read it. It was a check for $200.00! WOW again! I took it that God was saying yes and I was to go to GCC. Well naturally I accepted and went there for all four years of my college career. But the key point out of all of this was that, when I received that letter I immediately called friends, family, and teachers to tell them of my acceptance. I am wondering today, how many of us do that with the greatest gift that has ever been given to mankind—the gift of Jesus.
Read Acts 4-5-12.
5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (NLT)
Let me give you a little background into what was happening here. Jesus had just been taken back up into Heaven 40 days after his crucifixion. He commanded the apostles to go back to Jerusalem and wait. They did so after a little prompting from some men dressed in white that appeared as they were all still watching the sky after Jesus had ascended to Heaven. So as they waited in the upper room in Jerusalem God sent the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised the father would do. At that point tongues of fire appeared above the peoples’ heads and they begin to speak in different languages. The awesome thing about this part of the story is that it happened to be the time of Pentecost which brought Jews from all over to Jerusalem. These Jews could all understand Aramaic but because they came from different areas they all brought different dialects with them. Greek was also being spoken at this time and some people in Jerusalem could understand Greek. But the point is that the Holy Spirit did not waste any time in causing people to tell about Jesus.
After the time of the Holy Spirit had come, people began demanding a rational reason for what had just happened. Peter addressed the crowd and spoke with great boldness that these men and women were not speaking in all languages because of alcohol but because the Holy Spirit gave them ability to for the cause of Jesus. Then God added to their number 3,000 people.
The next event that we see occurring in this timeline of history is Peter and John going to the temple for prayer meeting. As they enter the temple they encounter a lame man who has been outside begging for money. This man has done this day after day after day of his life. Peter spoke to this man and told him to look at him and John. The lame beggar did so hoping that they would have some money for him. Peter spoke saying “We have no silver or gold to give you. But what I do have I will give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth get up and walk.” At that Peter took the beggars hand and lifted him to his feet and instantly his ankles and feet were healed. The beggar then began to rejoice and went into the temple running, and leaping, and praising God. It is at this point that Peter enters the temple and preaches to the people about what had just happened. Peter didn’t pull any punches; he let the people in the temple “have it” as far as calling them on their guilt of crucifying Jesus. Peter though, went on to testify to the fact that it was not his power that healed the lame man but only the power of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. It is at this point that we come to the scripture passage of the day.
The religious leaders called a meeting to find some guilt with what Peter had done. They could find nothing wrong. Peter was clear in his dealings with them that it was not he who healed the man but Jesus! Peter simply asks if he and John are being put on trial because of something good that happened to the lame beggar. The religious leaders could find no fault with Peter and John’s actions. Peter and John had simply done nothing wrong, but Peter would not miss an opportunity to tell about his Savior, Jesus.
You see, Peter had an experience with Jesus. Peter knew from this experience that he could passionately trust Jesus and commit to follow Him. When we look at the word passion the literal meaning in the Latin meant “to suffer or endure”. That is where we get “The Passion of the Christ”. But later in history the Latin word passio was used to translate the Greek word pathos. Pathos had two meanings. The first meaning was any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love. The second though is the one that I would like to focus on. Pathos also translated into ardent which means to be intensely devoted to. When we are ardent in following Jesus we are passionately committed to Him and to His cause. From being ardent in following Jesus, Peter could then be enthusiastic in following Jesus, never missing an opportunity to tell about Him! You see when we experience God and become ardent in following Him we cannot help but become enthusiastic. Enthusiasm, you see, is not excitement, but, enthusiasm causes excitement! Excitement literally means to be “stirred into action”. Wouldn’t it be an awesome thing if those of us who call ourselves believers became ardently enthusiastic to the cause of Jesus that we couldn’t help but be stirred into action (tell someone about Jesus, invite someone to church, be servant hearted, help others, be kind when you feel angry, etc.)?
So here lies the challenge: Will you experience Jesus, become passionately committed to following Him, and become enthusiastic never missing an opportunity to share of the great love of Jesus and the sacrifice He made on the cross for you and me.

Let’s get practical. How do we achieve experience, passion and enthusiasm?
1. Read the Bible for 10 minutes each day.
2. Ask God in prayer to give you an experience this week with Him-and He will. But don’t stop there keep talking to Him. He may give you this experience right as you are praying!
3. Tell somebody what Jesus has done in your life this week. Even if it is just one person. Tell them. If you have been holding back telling a certain person about Jesus or inviting them to church, just do it. Mark 13:11 says do not worry about what to say because the Holy Spirit will speak through you! What a promise.

The challenge is in our hands! Let us not grow weary as we endeavor into the amazing journey of following Jesus Christ!

Again, if you ever need antyhing please don't hesitate to contact me!
Make sure to check out the Relevant Student Ministries Webpage!
New Life's Webpage

Let this video encourage you. :-)

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