Imagine: You have just finished the chores for the evening at home. All of a sudden, gunfire rapidly tatters just down the block from your house. People scream and take cover as the two opposing religious militias in your community exchange shots as they vie for the upper-hand.
Surprised and shaken, you peak out your front window to see how close the battle is to your doorstep. More gunfire--and a stray bullet rips through the wall of your home only inches away from you.
You know you and your children are no longer safe here. The only option you have is to pack up whatever you can carry on foot, and lead your family to seek refuge in the next state over. What would you do?
When I die, I want to be known for something.
I pray that the legacy I leave behind, perhaps summarized on my grave-stone someday, will be one of generous love, peace-making, and excellent creative-work--all for the glory of Jesus. This is something I think about often, because quite frankly, life is short. What do you want to be known for?
As the monsoon rains continued to fall in their rural village in India, the farming families were helpless as the warm, muddy water seeped into their modest clay homes.
Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters huddled together in the center of the room as the flash-flood gradually soaked their feet and ankles, rising carelessly around their belongings. The water quickly turned the lower-half of the walls of their homes into moldy mush, easily eroding the clay away.
"What do we do now? Is God punishing us for something?" many of them thought to themselves, pondering about what little resources they had left. Then, your love showed up.
Easter Sunday has passed and the celebrations are over. We each enter back into our daily routines and settle into our work-week. Perhaps we feel a bit more "spiritually refreshed," or we feel slightly more "in tune" after the beautiful Sunday services. Most likely, we feel like we are just going back to whatever we call "normal." Is this all?
We believe and proclaim that the man Jesus Christ who walked the earth 2,000 years ago is the one and only Son of God who was crucified for our sins, died, and then rose up from the grave. This is huge. The fact that Jesus was resurrected from death back to life changes everything in history. Think about it -- what if Jesus had stayed dead?
One year ago this week, the country of Ecuador was struck with a massive earthquake. According to USAID, 660 people were killed, over 4,600 were injured, and more than 30,200 were displaced from their homes.
In the midst of catastrophic devastation such as this, it is difficult to see how God could possibly use the situation for good. But, He does indeed! Thanks to your faithfulness in caring for these suffering families, local churches and Ecuadorian mission organizations in the area are being equipped to rebuild homes and share the Gospel. And, God is working miracles amongst them.
According to Pew Research Center, the word "church" is searched for on Google more frequently on Easter Sunday than any other day of the year. The LifeWay Christian Resource network reports that 41% of American adults will attend church on Easter Sunday, while approximately 1 in 5 "don't know" if they will attend. In comparison to the average number of regular church-goers the rest of the year, which hovers in the mid-30's percentile range, this indicates around a 10% increase in church attendance for Easter Sunday (PRC).
As we enter Holy Week, the week leading up to our celebration of Easter, it is important that we consider the amazing opportunity presented to each of us by these trends. We have a responsibility to love, reach, and pray for the visiting 10%.
What is your gift or talent? Have you ever thought about if or how God may use it to bless those in need?
IDES' Harvest of Talents program is an "every-person" ministry centered upon the truth of 1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
Find out how YOU and your church family can provide nutritious food for hungry people around the world by using your very own gifts and talents in unique ways by watching this new video.
The process of aging may be effortless, but it certainly isn’t easy.
Having crossed the “Mid-Life” summit more than a decade ago, I am now traveling the downhill side of the average life expectancy mountain. And some days the journey can be a little taxing.