Let Us Rise and Build

The theme for consideration this year is “I will Rise and Build”. The scriptural focus is on Nehemiah 2:1-7.  Nehemiah personally answered the call and made the determination that he would rise and build and then was able to challenge the remnant of Israel in verse 18 to let us rise and build.

Often times it is easier to answer a call to action when others are joining or have answer a similar call.  Others will act alone if there is something in it for them.

However, the challenge this year is a personal one. Who will answer that call that Bill Haybels call, “Holy Discontent”?  This he said is when something wrecks you from the inside, when your spirit will not rest until you respond to the call.

During this year’s convention we are focusing on the individual call to build.  Nehemiah was in a secure job that carries certain risk but it was a prestigious position.  Upon hearing the news of the destruction of the old city he was moved to act.  It is this initial conviction that placed him in a position to be able to encourage others to act.  As Christians, we have to first accept the challenge and then act on the challenge, if we are going to be effective at encouraging others to act.

This was not a hasty action, one that was not properly informed.  Nehemiah counted the cost. Ultimately, the decision he made could have cost him his life, but he was willing to take the chance.  This move was not for selfish motive but to accomplish the mission of God (redemption-restoration of a broken relationship).  Answering the call of God is worth the risk all the time.

I believe we are living in a time when the motivation to stand alone, on principles, seemed to be abnormal.  However, I have a strong feeling that many are standing alone but are not in the limelight. It will take a conviction of the Holy Spirit to motivate us to abandon our individual pursuits in order to fulfill God’s call on our lives.  What is holding you back from answering that “Holy Discontent”?

Ten years ago I felt this “Nehemiah Unction”.  I could not resist and I could not rest until I answered that call.  The result of that call is this church and this ninth year celebration. Those who are members and regular attendees have also answered that unction and today we reflect and celebrate God’s goodness together.

Many lives have been changed and have experienced that call to come up higher. Yes, it is because others answered the call why we celebrate today. Lives have been changed because you and I answered the call to “Rise and Build”.  Like Nehemiah you have left something or someone to follow God and today we rejoice together.

My prayer this year, is that we all look with ourselves and respond to the challenge of the Holy Spirit.  There is a lot of work to be completed and the challenge ahead is great but God can use a committed heart to do extraordinary feats.  I am praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will cause a “Holy Discontent” within our souls until we get up and act on the call of God on our lives.

What will stir our hearts right now to action? Right where you are what do you see and hear that will cause you to move?  What does God has to do to get you to move?

Individually, we have to see the need and make up our minds that we are not going to delay anymore, even if we are the only one-we will act.  We will not wait on anyone else to act but we will sacrifice everything to be where God wants us to be and to do what God wants us to do.

After Nehemiah answered the call he was able to challenge others to build. If together we are going to build, then individually we have to rise and build.

This year, this is an individual challenge.

The Challenge of Easter: The Gethsemane Challenge

Acts 10:38-41 & Matthew 26: 36-46

Have you ever had to perform a task that was very challenging? This task tested your will power, you were not sure that you could accomplish the steps but you determined that you would pursue the task no matter how difficult it might get. I remembered accepting the task of leading a team of 4 families to plant our current church. The magnitude of the task overpowered me, just after I signed the lease for the new worship site.

The weight of the responsibilities seemed to multiple. How am I going to do this? What if it fails? Those were some of the questions that came to mind. But in that moment of feeling powerless the Holy Spirit whispered to me that He is in charge and He will give me what is necessary to perform the task. My requirement was to remind in prayer and be faithful to the task.

This Easter season I want to focus on the challenges that Easter had on Jesus and how we can embrace the challenges that this God of Easter is calling us into.

For many of us Easter has become a ritual. We look forward to fasting through Lent, worshipping on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We have often focused our thoughts and worship around the Resurrection Morning. This truly is the focus and it is the resurrection that has sealed our hope of eternal life in Christ. But I want to take you a little deeper past the resurrection because indeed there was a struggle before the resurrection. The challenges to get to the resurrection were many but Jesus faced them and was victorious because He determined to do the will of God the Father.

Every challenge is manageable when viewed through the will of God. So, what is the challenge or challenges that God has placed at your feet? Accept it and fulfill the will of God.

Luke documented this in Acts 10:38-42, How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on he third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”

Our Christian walk is filled with challenges. We are always endeavoring to accomplish something. Let us look at the Gethsemane Challenge and see what truths can be applied to our everyday Christian walk.

Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem marked the final moments in His journey to Calvary. It is in the last moments leading up to fulfilling your task that the burden gets extremely heavy. The days following the triumphant entry Jesus gave may hints as to his intending purpose. His ultimately challenge was to do his father’s will. In the garden of prayer documented in Matthew 26:39, Jesus cried, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Here again, Jesus demonstrated that His purpose was to fulfill the will of God the Father. On the cross, He declared that it is finished, indicating that his mission was accomplished. The ultimate mission was to become the substitution for you and I.

Jesus was not afraid to die but I believe that the humanity of Jesus was on display in this passage. He knew of the pain of isolation. He would be isolated from his close friends and most of all, His father. This was going to be happening at the time of his greatest need. The weight of the sins of the world and the separation from his father was too much to bear. In thinking about this hour Jesus found a way to deal with the pain that he was experiencing. He found a way to always realign himself with the will of the Father. Here are six (6) things Jesus did in His effort to realign with the Father’s will.

1. Jesus found a place where he could meet God – verse 36

The verse tells us that Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane; Jesus found a place that was symbolic and meaningful but at the same time provided Him some isolation. It is important that as we continue in our journey that we find meeting places. These are places that we can pour out our heart to God. Places were we could be real with God. These are places that you will not be judged and looked down on. Jesus found a place call Gethsemane, a place of submission versus resistance. As with every aspects of Jesus ministry the significance of this place cannot be overemphasized. The meaning of Gethsemane is “oil press”. “At the Mount of Olives was a private garden which Jesus often had used as a retreat (John 18:2). Gethsemane means “oil press,” a significant name in the light of our Lord’s agony in that Garden.”[1] Your meeting place will provide room for you to be pressed into pure oil.

2. Jesus met his challenges with prayer – verse 36-39

The verse continues to say that Jesus told his disciples to “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”[2] Jesus wanted some personal time with His Father. As demonstrated throughout Jesus’ ministry, prayer was a key ingredient in his ministry. It was so pronounced that when He asked his disciples for what they wanted him to teach them they said teach us to pray. Prayer is a key ingredient in our Christian walk. We cannot face our daily challenges without prayer. We must get in the habit of praying for everything no matter how insignificant. Develop a prayer list and watch God answer those prayers. Everywhere Jesus went and no matter what he was going to do He always makes time to pray. He began his ministry with 40 days of prayer and fasting.

3. Jesus had people around him during his challenge – verse 37

Verse 37 indicated that Jesus had people around Him that He could share His burdens with. The scripture states, “And He took with Him Peter and kthe two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.”[3] In the middle of our challenges we should find people that can help us pray. Sometimes they might fall asleep during the intercession but the fact that they have come to your Gethsemane is important. Not everyone can be with you at your Gethsemane. This is a place pressing. It the pure oil is going to come out of your soul you will undergo a pressing. If you could see past the pressing and see the end you will cry out press me Lord.

Jesus took Peter, James and John with him. These three have seen Jesus up close and personal. They have witnessed His glorification on the mount of transfiguration; they have had intimate discloser of Jesus ministry. And now at the time of the ultimate fulfillment they were the ones that Jesus took with Him. Not everyone that is around you can witness your moments of challenge. These challenges sometimes push you towards the point of giving up. Therefore, you must take care as to who you share your struggles with, because it can have lasting impact for both you and the hearer.

4. Jesus shared His burden or challenge with His friends – verse 38

Once you have Identified trusted intercessors do not be afraid to allow them to help you bear your burden. In verse 38 Jesus said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”[4] Oh how we all need to have people in our lives that can hear and bear our burdens. Jesus found this in Peter, James and John. Leading up to this moment there was a sense that something was on Jesus’ mind. And now he was revealing it to His friends. Jesus recognized that His time remaining with His disciples was limited and He realized that they did not fully understand His purpose. It was here in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus was going to fully reveal the struggles He is facing.

When facing ones own mortality you can understand the pain but when you have to face your mortality in place of others imagine the pain you will experience. I believe that Jesus was at this point, the weight of what He was about to undergo was heavy and He needed time with His father to walk through this part of the journey. When we are at our point of ultimate challenge as we turn to others for comfort and consolation we should turn to God first, who alone can help us accomplish the task. As we form these small groups I pray that lasting and meaningful relationships will develop. We need others to stay and watch with us. There is strength in numbers. Do not think you can fight the battle by yourself.

5. Jesus separated himself to be alone with God the Father – verse 38- 39

In verse 39 the Bible stated, “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and mprayed, saying, n“O My Father, if it is possible, olet this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, pnot as I will, but as You will.[5] Even in the company of his closest disciples Jesus still needed a more personal time with his Father. He went a little further and prostrated before God. The sense of insufficiency must have overcame him. He recognized that He needed His Father to help Him through the next level. You and I must not think we can fulfill God’s plan without God’s help. It is sometimes perplexing to see Christians claiming to be doing God’s will but pursuing it on their own terms. There is no greater help that that which comes from God. The Psalmist echoes this by stating in Psa. 121:2, “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Oh how we can learn from this example, Jesus found a place and the time to be alone with God the Father. At the moment of deepest testing He found comfort in the presence of God the Father.

6. Jesus submitted to His father’s will – verse 39-46

Imagine knowing that you have ultimate power to counter any challenge. You have full knowledge of the severity of the task or challenge and you know with just one word you can stop it. You even know, that those you are going through this process to help do not even know they need help and even when they know they will turn their backs on you. How would you react? The pressure was great but Jesus submitted to the will of the father.

We too should learn to submit to the will of the Father. Even if we determine that it is not worth the effort we should still submit to the will of the father. Three times Jesus prayed if it is possible, olet this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, pnot as I will, but as You will. That should be our constant cry; Lord, I which this too will pass, I wish I do not have to do this and Lord please pass on me this time never-the-less whatever you want, Lord your will be done. In the end Jesus was able to face his challenge he said to his disciples in Matthew 26, “Behold, the hour 9is at hand, and the Son of Man is being sbetrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” [6] He face is destiny with a resolve; no matter what I will face I will go forward in the power of the Lord. You and I can learn from Jesus’ challenge and move forward and face your destiny.

As we face the challenges of our various situations let us imitate Jesus’ behavior. We can apply these 6 principles to any challenge that we are facing. I pray that you will allow the Easter Challenge to realign you to the will of God. For this realignment to occur you must:

  1. Find a place where you could meet God – verse 36
  2. You must meet your challenges with prayer – verse 36-39
  3. You should have people around you during your challenge – verse 37
  4. You should share your burden or challenges with your intercessory friends – verse 38
  5. You should separate yourself in order to be alone with God the Father – verse 38- 39
  6. Once you are alone with God submitted to His will – verse 39-46

This Easter will you face your challenge with a resolve like Jesus had one that said I would do what God’s will is for my life.

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Mt 26:31.

[2] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 26:36.

k Matt. 4:21; 17:1; Mark 5:37

[3] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 26:37.

[4] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 26:38.

m Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; [Heb. 5:7–9]

n John 12:27

o Matt. 20:22

p Ps. 40:8; Is. 50:5; John 5:30; 6:38; Phil. 2:8

[5] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 26:39.

o Matt. 20:22

p Ps. 40:8; Is. 50:5; John 5:30; 6:38; Phil. 2:8

9 has drawn near

s Matt. 17:22, 23; 20:18, 19

[6] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 26:39–46.

Speaking into the Next Generation (1 Samuel 3: 1-21)

The church is faced with a challenge, this challenge will determine the kind of church that we will have in the future.  The ability to speak into the next generation is crucial and the challenge we face.  It is hinged on the relationship between the “now” generation and the “next” generation as demonstrated between Eli and Samuel.

It is even more crucial in this transition because the current generation is facing serious challenges and they are living in a fast pace informational time.  We call them the Millennials those 35 and younger.  The most important group in this generation is grouped between 18-35.  As David Kinnaman, and Aly Hawkins said in the book, You lost me, “The story –the great struggle-of this emerging generation is learning how to live faithfully in a new context, to be in the world but not of the world.”[1]  This generation he contends, is about doing their faith not just hearing their faith or doctrine; it is about faith in action.  The important thing that the older generation must accept is a new mind as Kinnaman, Hawkins stated, “Christian community needs a new mind to pass on the faith to this culture and future generation”.[2]  We can still speak into the next generation; the door is not yet closed.

So here is the challenges; how can the now generation speak into the next generation?  Are the Millinnaials willing to hear from their predecessors?  We turn to the Bible for answers to these questions.  I will tell you the story of a boy that became a man and had a tremendous impact on the course of history.  This was possible because he had a relationship with is parents and guardians.   In the book of Samuel we find a man, a prophet and a priest selecting and anointing the first and second kings of Israel.  David the second king of Israel became the symbolic forefather of Jesus Christ.  To this day, David remains the greatest leader in all the history of Israel.  His life was ministered and poured into by this little boy that became a man, a prophet and a priest.

How did this happened?

Let us step back into time into the 1st & 2nd chapters of Samuel.  The parents of Samuel were God-fearing parents (Elkanah & Hannah).  They practiced their faith, in particularly Hannah, Samuel’s mother.  Her faith in God was unshaken even when Eli, the priest, in charge of the temple worship did not understand or recognized her earnest prayer.  She kept on praying and interceding year after of year.  Her request was her simply request, Lord I need a child and if you give me this child I will give him back to you.

Parents and guardians must practice what they preach and teach.  They must remember their vow to God.  Their fulfillment of this vow or pledge will have an impact on the next generation.  When Hannah’s prayer was answered she remembered her vow and brought little Samuel back to the priest, Eli, so he could raise him in the service to God.   We should not hold back our service to God through the church because leaders are not living right; we are serving God not the leaders.

Let us concentrate on the 3rd chapter of 1 Samuel.  The church has been witnessing a mass exodus from its pews of those between 18-35 years old.  The transition between the now and next generation, as we will see in Samuel’s life, was crucial.  The relationship between those in charge and those that will be in charge is critical.  Understanding this relationship, I believe, will help us to be more effective in the ministries of the church.  Bridging this gap is fundamental to speaking into the next generation.  Let us focus on the two main characters in this chapter, chapter 3, Samuel and Eli.  The next generation must listen (hear and do); they must pay close attention to what is being transmitted (hear) and they must follow these Godly instructions carefully (do).

The now generation is represented by Eli.  Here are four (4) things that the Eli Generation should consider as they endeavor to speak into the lives of the Samuels’Generation.

  1. The Eli Generation must not cover up the bad behaviors of their children, (1 Samuel 1:3 & 3:11-14).  Eli knew of the bad behaviors of his children and did not corrected them.  He allowed them to defile the temple and God was not pleased with this behavior.  One might wonder what it would be like if those two boys were mentored properly by Eli.  Here we see that Eli was no able to effectively minister into the lives of Hophni and Phinehas.  Parents and leaders should not cover up the bad behaviors of your children.  Some parents sacrifice the ability to directly speak into the future of their children for the opportunity to be liked.  This is a lie from the pit of hell.  You are only damaging your children’s future.  Parents if you see and know of bad behaviors speak up do not keep quiet.  God will hold you accountable for your inactions.  In verse 13 and 14 God spoke to Samuel about what he was going to do to Eli and his family because of his sin of inaction.  Parents you have a responsibility to speak into the next generation do not avocate your responsibility.
  2. The Eli Generation should recognize that there is always a second chance, (verse 1-3).  1 Samuel 1:1, samuel said that, “The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested.”[3]  If you have messed up in the past by not speaking into the lives of some of your children you still have a second chance.  Even if you are old and have began to loose some of your strength as long as you have life you can speak into the lives of the next generation.  The caution here is that inaction or turning a blind eye can cause spiritual decline.  Even thought Eli had failed at speaking into the lives of his sons the Bible said that Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli.   Samuel provided another opportunity for Eli to speak into the lives of the next generation.  As leaders of the church we must allow room for the younger generation to minister unto God.  Recognize the opportunity we have been presented with to speak into the lives of the next generation.  We can walk along side them and help them to serve God.
  3. The Eli Generation should be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the Samuel generation, (verse 4-10).  This is a crucial time in the lives of the next generation.  It requires the older generation to accept the changing of the guard.  We have to understand that God is at work and his grand plan has you and I working at different time and place.  We have to recognize when it is time to past the baton to the next generation.  The fact that Eli a man of God, old, and seasoned could not understand the call of God on Samuel’s life, not one time but twice, is a serous revelation.  Leaders and parents we must prepare our lives in order to hear and discern when God is leading and calling the next generation.  It might be that what God has hidden from you He is now ready to reveal it to the youths.  Jesus said in Luke 10:21, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”  We have a glorious opportunity to help the Samuel Generation discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  We who are familiar with the voice of God must make it our duty to help others discern the voice of God in their lives.
  4. The Eli Generation should Recognize God’s call on the person’s life, (verse 9-10).  As the Holy Spirit is speaking there is a call of appointment on that life.  Our responsibility is to help the next generation discern the call of God on their lives.  We have little time and it is imperative that we waste no time in helping the next generation answer the call of God on their lives.  What is God leading them into is the question to answer?  Help them discern the call of God on their lives.  Samuel sought and received the instructions because he “did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”[4]  After two times of failure Eli was able to discern that it was God that was calling Samuel.  His instructions were clearer go and lie down and if you hear the call again this time answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”[5]  What a joy to know that you have walked beside a Samuel and help them discern the call of God on their lives and see them live out such call.  This is one of the most important responsibilities of the Eli Generatiuon.

Samuel represents the next generation.  Here are four (4) things that the Samuel generation should consider as they endeavor to walk into their calling and take over leadership of the church.

  1. The Samuel Generation must Serve faithfully in the church, (verse 1), regardless of the failures of the now generation.  While Eli was busy covering up for his boys, Samuel was serving in the temple.  He must have seen what Hophni and Phinehas were doing but he did not succumb to that presser.  The Bible said he ministered unto the Lord before Eli.  It is key as you serve to recognize that you are serving God first and that those in authority are second.  Therefore it does not matter what those in authority are doing.  Even if they are sinning you should not give up on your service unto God.  God might be calling you to reveal to you his plan for the future.    He has a work for you to do.  There are lives awaiting your prophetic words.  The anointing you carry is for a greater impact on history.  It is often sad to hear of people leaving the church because they were offended by what others did.  They gave up their relationship with God because of others.  Do not let anyone or anything stop you from serving and from walking into your calling.  Young people, Samuel, you have a responsibility to prepare yourself for the future.  Do not stop serving God regardless of who is not working and doing the right thing.  Your life has been ordained for this time so that the Glory of God will be seen.
  2.  The Samuel Generation should seek counsel from the older generation, (verse 4-10).  You have a glorious opportunity to get counsel from those that have past your way before.  Do not despised the older generation because they might not readily accept your way of doing church.  Seek their counsel because they too had to deal with similar issues like you are now facing.  The Bible said in 1 Samuel 3 verse 7, “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”[6]  As much as you have been serving in the church there are certain things you have not yet learn.  Do not think that because you are more educated and fluent in the technology of the time that you do not have time for the older more mature generation.  The issues you face has embedded in them certain principles that are evident in every generation.  Those Elis that have past where you are can speak with more authority because of their experiences.  The wise man Solomon can teach us a few things on this matter.  Even the Apostle Paul in his instruction to Timothy and the Early Church admonished them to develop a relationship between the older and younger generations (Titus 2 & 1Timothy 3).  You might be serving but you might not have full understood of discerning the call of God.  Let those that are mature in the Lord help you discern the call of God on your life.  It is even more imperative to be able to discern God’s call in this generation.  So many false prophets are risen up and are confusing and clouding the voice of God.  Samuel you need the tutelage of the Eli generation.  Making the distinction between the voice of God and that of the world is crucial therefore seek the advice of those that are mature in the Lord.  Do not turn your back on the adults because you are aware of their past.  Listen to the wisdom and learn from it.
  3. Samuel should always Recognized your potential.  Wrapped up in all of us is a level of potential to do Gods’ work.  As you serve in the church you will begin to understand and discern what are the gifts that God has given to you.  Do not allow external sources that you do not have control of control you and limit your potential.  There are Saul and David to be anointed.  There are many people waiting to hear from you what God has to say.  There are many lives that you will impact.  You are a bungle of potentiality.  People will fail, leaders will fail, friends will fail, families will fail and your finances will fail but for heavens’ sake you must keep going on walk into your calling.  You can do all things, through Christ who strengthen you, (Philippians. 4:13)
  4. The Samuel Generation must be honest and speak, as God will let you.  No matter how harsh the truth, the truth must be spoken.  God is preparing you to be bold.  Eli was able to lead Samuel into identifying the voice of God and to ultimately speak the truth regardless of the circumstances.  It was this training that allowed Samuel to become such an effective leader.  The time you live in will witness an avalanche of people that will want you to compromise by offering position, money and prestige.  They will want you to not correct them but to stand with them knowing quite well that your very presence will signify your endorsement of their behaviors. When it was time to face the great king Saul and to look him in the eyes and tell him the harsh truth about his demise, Samuel did not relent.  I cannot help but think that the morning after Samuel’s revelation and Eli’s willingness to hear from the young boy helped developed his character.  Samuel, understand that God has put you in place to clean up the mess of the Eli Generation.  He is not looking for a compromiser like Eli; he is looking for a truth teller.  Samuel you have seen first hand what happens to those that fail in their responsibilities and now you can learn from those experiences without going through them yourself.

I conclude with these two reminders.  In order for the Eli Generation to impact and speak into the lives of the Samuel Generation it is imperative that they develop a relationship.  The common thread in this story was that there was a relationship between the older graying priest and the younger boy; the now and the next generation.  Samuel could feel okay with approaching Eli with questions and Eli was able to speak into his situation.  It was that relationship that allows Samuel to follow the instructions of Eli.  Both generations must make it a priority to develop a relationship between them. Dallas Willard, author of Knowing Christ Today, said “we must connect spiritual wisdom with real-world knowledge and teach through experience, reason and authority if we are going to pass on the values and principles to the next generation”.  While there is an effort to classify groups of people around birth year I believe that what we should be focusing on are the principles that can impact any generational transition. Kinnaman, Hawkins said in their book, You lost me, All is not lost, they said, the ‘Millennaials’ (Samuels) are looking more to historical forms of their faith and the younger generation needs the older generations to help them identify the voices of God like Eli and Samuel.  It is about helping fewer people go deeper in their faith rather than mass evangelism.

[1] David Kinnaman, and Aly Hawkins. You lost me: why young Christians are leaving church– and rethinking faith. Grand Rapids, Mich.: BakerBooks, 2011, Kindle location 128.

[2] Kinnaman, Hawkins. You lost me, Location 3432. 

[3] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2002), 1 Sa 3:1–3.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Sa 3:7.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Sa 3:9.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Sa 3:7.

A Higher Call to Love

The fundamental principle of our Christian calling is LOVE.  This love is one that brings us into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savor.  This is not an abstract love rather it is a practical love.  To truly love, we have to first experience the love of God.  This now holds us to a higher level of our calling.  This is greater that our consciences and motivations.  Since as Dr. Mohler stated that one would not know oneself to a level that you separate yourself from our motivations. This idea says that the judge or the politician cannot ignore his religious and non-religious worldview and make decisions in an abstract way.  John laid it out this out in 1 John 3:20 & 21, “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.”  Therefore, the call of love is greater than our own desire.  This call has to respond to the demand of God to love God and our neighbors.

It is this higher calling that requires us to love.  This love is demonstrated in our daily acts, loving God by keeping his commandments.  Jesus said that the greatest commandment is this, Matt. 22:37-39, Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we truly love God then our actions are filled with obedience, our lives are free from willful sinning and, we love our neighbors. I trust we can truly live up to this standard of living.  Love is the foundation of our faith.  Can we find someone in our community to truly love?

It is this love that will allow us to fulfill the Great Commission and practically demonstrate the Great Compassion.