Now That’s a True Story

I love meeting new people; I think everyone has a story to tell. We should all listen sometimes. ~Kim Smith

I come from a large extended family of liars. No one is to be trusted.

You might get a phone call from “the sheriff” telling you your husband is in jail. Or, perhaps, a letter in the mail from some lost relative wanting to give you money.

Mostly the lying is good-natured; playing cards with us can be tricky, but we have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Here’s a heads up: if someone says, “That’s a true story right there,” don’t believe them.

Jesus told a lot of stories. The most well-known, culturally, is The Good Samaritan.

A man was hurt and beaten along the road, left to die. People who should have stopped to help him, walked by on the other side. Then an enemy came by. He stopped to help the man- going above and beyond the call of duty. He was the good Samaritan.

The early church was confronted with a real-life good Samaritan, and they didn’t know what to do about it.

Cornelius was a centurion in the Italian Regiment. He was trouble with a capital T. That rhymes with G and that stands for Gentile.

But Cornelius was a good man. He was generous, caring for the poor and needy. He was devout, praying to God. He was loved by God, and an angel visited him.

Cornelius and all of his family turned to Jesus. They became Christians and were given the Holy Spirit.

Some people weren’t too sure about it.  But Peter answered, ” . . . God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation . . .”

Did you know there are Christians in Congo, India, Ethiopia, China, Kenya, and Tanzania? Did you also know there are Christians with tattoos, piercings, and purple hair? There are Christians who are older than dirt and others who like to eat dirt.  There are Christians who sing and shout and some who quietly kneel.

We all have ideas of what Christians look like and how they behave. Creating book covers in our minds is what we do.

Telling stories so astounding they have to be true is what God does.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:8-9 NIV

Growing and Giving

I try to live my life like my father lives his. He always takes care of everyone else first. He won’t even start eating until he’s sure everyone else in the family has started eating. Another thing: My dad never judges me by whether I win or lose. ~Ben Roethlisberger

If you give a mouse a cookie, you better have crayons and cleaning supplies handy, as well as a glass of milk.

It’s funny how one thing leads to another.

An old friend was bemoaning the state of her church and that “young people just don’t seem to care” about being involved in church life.

Many times what seems important to one person is brushed aside by others.

A Christmas pageant is planned and only half the children are involved. A community yard sale for charity is scheduled and not enough people participate to make it a success. An elderly couple’s home needs to be weatherized before winter and only the two oldest men in the congregation show up to help.

Our lives are so busy that it’s easy to pass by these opportunities. We have our own schedules, priorities, and problems.

What can be done?

The early church seemed to have an answer: eating and praising.

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it?

Yet, when we take time to eat with people, we also take time to talk. Talking leads to concern and compassion. That leads to reworking our schedules and serving others.

And THAT leads to encountering Christ.

So grab a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. It’s time to share Jesus with the world.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15 ESV