Keep Racing!

matt 24 13

In the wonderful theological “comparison” that’s the parable of the sower (Matt. 13; Mark 4; Luke 8), Jesus said that salvation is a process which must begin, continue and persist to the end. It all depends on an initial intelligent acceptance of the “seed” Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus preached it. Only those who maintain faith and obedience to the end will be saved (Matt. 24:13).

Salvation for New Testament Christians is like a race. The goal, salvation, “is now closer to us than when we first believed” (Rom.13:11). We are “being saved” now (1 Cor.1:18; 15:2), and we were saved “in hope” (Rom. 8:24), and we will be saved at the return of Jesus.

You don’t win a gold medal when the starting gun goes off and you don’t graduate from the university at orientation. Salvation is a race to the end and the stimulus which gets us started is the Gospel of the Kingdom, which imparts to us the energy of God Himself (1 Thess. 2:13; John 6:63; Gal. 3:2).

-Anthony Buzzard of Restoration Fellowship (http://focusonthekingdom.org/)
Advertisements

Sharing the Pearl of Great Price

Matt 13 45 46

Matthew 13:45,46 – the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

We applied this parable to Our Hope of the Kingdom. Now let’s think about applying it to the hope of others for the kingdom. When we go out to preach about the kingdom we should realize that we’re holding the pearl of great price. It is so valuable because everybody needs it and everybody wants it, they just don’t know where to find it. We have it and we should be bold to show them where it is. To explain the kingdom to them and teach them about the kingdom. It is the pearl of great price it’s what everybody wants and everybody needs. So let’s preach without fainting or without looking back to what we have had in this world.

Just like the one who sold all he had to get the kingdom we should be willing to sell all we have to tell others about the kingdom. Hebrews 12 verse one tells us to lay aside every weight and run the race. God has given us this world not that we should enjoy it as if it were the kingdom but that we should use it to bring others to God’s Kingdom. So let’s abandon our desire for enjoyment now in the search for the joy that comes in finding the kingdom whether it be us that finds it or whether it be through our effort others that find it.

-Larry Rankin

I’ve Got to Tell Somebody

John 1_41 42

John 1:35-42

Not much story about Andrew is recorded in the Bible, but his enthusiasm for sharing with his brother is of special note. We believers have found the Messiah, The Christ, the savior of Israel and coming King. Are we as excited to share with our relatives, friends, and neighbors as Andrew was? We should be. As the popular hymn says, “The need of the world is Jesus.” We should be about the business of proclaiming the gospel message at every opportunity we meet. The messiah has appeared and died for our sins. He will appear the second time to restore the earth wide Kingdom to his Father. This is good news and every body needs to know about it.

-Larry Rankin

Greener Grass or Selflessness

Gen 13 9

In Genesis 13 Abram and Lot had trouble. Their servants were quarreling about the feed for their animals. Abram suggested that as Brothers they shouldn’t do this. So, it would be better to separate. He asked Lot to choose which part of the land he would get. Lot chose the plain where the feed for the animals was better. It was near the city because everybody wants greener grass. Read until chapter 19 then ask yourself, am I doing like Lot and looking for greener grass, a better life now? Or am I wiser like Abram staying where I depend on God to take care of me. Abram was wiser. Are we?

-Larry Rankin

How Remote are You Willing to Go?

acts 1_8 earth

“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

 

Going to the remotest part of the earth can sound overwhelming and scary.  But with the new Roman road that God prepared for us, it doesn’t have to be.  When you reach out to people online you have time to think about what you want to say.  You can look up verses and you can consult with others before replying.  You don’t even have to get out of your pajamas!

Are you up for the challenge?  Are you willing to give a little of your video watching and game playing time to God?  Imagine sharing Jesus’ gospel in Muslim countries without the risk of getting put in prison!  I was thrilled the other day to connect on a 3-way Skype call with a man in Russia (Pastor Maksim) and an Indian in Oman (Majo).  It was awesome hearing their joy as they met one another and heard each other’s stories (with me translating) and how they both love the One True God and His kingdom hope, even though they have no other Christians in the cities where they live.  They were both so encouraged in their faith and in their kingdom work and evangelistic outreach!

Read Matthew 25:14-30.  Which servant will you be?  In America we have been given many “talents” or things we can invest – time, money, opportunities and freedom.  It would be quite arrogant to think that we deserve more than our brethren in third world countries or those who live their faith out in Muslim countries.

As the verse says, much is expected when much is given.  How will you use what has been given to you?

-Tracy Zhykhovich

Where is Your Judea and Samaria?

Acts 1_8 JS

“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

 

Yesterday we got started in you and your home town.  Obviously, in order to be a witness, one must have something to witness about, and it is natural to start closest to home.  Take some time to read Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36.  He addressed the important doctrines (teachings) and gave the people hope.

Jesus’ disciples must be able to teach what Jesus and his apostles taught.  When we become passionate about this kingdom hope, there is no greater joy than sharing it with another person!  I was an All-American athlete and had many highs on the soccer field and on the basketball court, but nothing comes close to the high you get sharing your faith that you have in such a wonderful hope!  God’s words are alive and they not only pierce to the inner most being, but they also empower and ignite an inner flame in the speaker.

Now consider how this might help you not only share with those closest to you who haven’t heard this Great News, but how it might help you share in your Judea and Samaria, the cities and states around you.

This summer some friends and I are going to rent a space at the county fair and have a survey for people to take.  This will open things up for people to talk and we may find a genuine truth-seeker!  If you or your youth group would like more information on that or would like our questionnaire, please get in touch with me and I would be happy to pass it on!

-Tracy Zhykovich

What’s Your “Jerusalem”?

Acts 1 8

“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

Today we are going to consider what is your Jerusalem and how do you witness there.  The disciples were told to be Jesus’ witnesses first in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was where they were at, their home town, their local churches.

What is your Jerusalem?  That is where you should start doing the Great Commission.  The mission conference I mentioned yesterday will help, but what can you do today to prepare?

To get started it is necessary that you know and are passionate for the message Jesus gave us to preach.  You should know this message so well that it just rolls off your tongue without hardly thinking.  But how does one get to that point?  It is just like any other area of study or favorite hobby.  You must read about it, talk about and talk more about it.  We do this naturally with things that we are interested in.  How many of you know all about your favorite musician or sports team and can recite trivia any time the topic comes up?

I have found that the more we talk about things, the more we know and internalize them.  What we put in will come out. What we invest our time and energy in, shows what we love.

What did the early church do to prepare for the kingdom work they were given?  “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)

Read Acts 2:37-47 to get a taste of the excitement and results of God’s spirit at work in the people after they heard a great sermon!  Be encouraged and dialog with other believers about what you read in the Scriptures.  This will put you on the right path to doing your part of the Great Commission in your Jerusalem and onward.

-Tracy Zhykovich