Set Apart to be Different

“This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt” (2 Kings 17:7)

These words come as an explanation of why Israel was defeated and deported by the Assyrians. For generations, God had been patiently waiting for Israel to turn from her wicked ways to follow God. But anyone who has ever read through 1 and 2 Kings knows that obedient, good kings were few.

Listen to how the bible describes the primary sin of Israel:

  • “They worshipped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel” (2 Kings 17:7-8)
  • “There they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them” (2 Kings 17:11)
  • They followed the nations that were around them” (2 Kings 17:15)

Did you see the pattern?

God chose Israel and set them apart to be different than all the other nations on earth. But in time, Israel became indistinguishable from other nations because instead of following and obeying God, they walked and followed what the other nations.

Little Church and Lakewoodgrace, God placed us in Lakewood and the neighboring cities so that God can bless the nations through his church. The church is a blessing when she is different, set apart from the other nations. It is a travesty when the church begins to model and mimic the culture she is in. For when the church conforms to the image of this world, instead of God changing the world through the church, the world has changed God’s church to its own image.

The church is God’s instrument to change the world. That’s the job – to change the world, not to become acclimated to the world.

So what is the solution? The answers are found in the Bible. Get into God’s word. We’ve all got the time. Spend 10-15 minutes a day in God’s word.

If you’ve never read the Bible before, go to http://www.youversion.com and find a devotional you can sign up for.

If you are new to the Bible, start with the Gospel according to John, Mark.

Be a blessing! Help God change the world.

Walking Bibles

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).

For people living in a world that distrusts the church and organized religion, in a society that continues to reject God and God’s word, in a world hurting and despondent due to the economic downturn, the global pandemic, the continued racial unrest, multiple natural disasters one after another, how will they ever discover the hope and the peace that God offers in Jesus Christ?

Is a person who is far from God going to find a Bible and start looking through it to find answers to the problems that our society faces? Even if they were to read sections of the Bible, will they be able to understand it? Would a person far from God ever consider turning to the Bible?

The obvious answer is a resounding, “No.”

So how will those who do not know God in such a context ever come to know God?

That’s a great question. Here’s the Bible’s answer. “You yourselves are our letter…and you show that you are a letter of Christ.” Although a person far from God will not likely turn to open up the Bible, you – Christians, Christ-followers – are being read by those who are far from God.

God forbid that they don’t notice any difference in how you are coping and thriving in the midst of the same difficult circumstances! God forbid that we get down by the same things are people who do not know that there is a God who loves us and is in control! What a crying shame it would be if people did not see a qualitative difference in our outlook and hope and how that knowing God is in control shapes and changes how we live and respond in this world.

Little Church and Lakewoodgrace, you are the first “bible” people far from God will encounter. Are our lives, hopes, dreams in the midst of 2020 clearly spelling out the love of God for people who are far from Christ?

God is at work in our world. God is in control. God loves us.

Go ahead! Let the world know by how you live.

What Are You Looking At?

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17)

I admit. These months have been long and difficult.

I’ve limited how much news I will see and read. I want to know what’s going on but listening to news radio all day, and watching news reels all day is not helping. It just upsets me.

I’ve stopped Facebook for the same reason.

But, it doesn’t mean God’s no longer at work. In fact, I have seen the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace step up to serve and care for one another in beautiful ways. It’s not just the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace, there are people doing wonderful things all around us.

This is exactly what the devil would love for us to do. Focus on all that’s wrong. Because when we’re focused on what’s wrong it will paralyze us.

Stop.

I challenge you to focus on God. Look for where God is at work. And give thanks.

I spent ten to fifteen minutes jotting down everything that I am thankful for, the areas where I see God at work.

And you know what? The world doesn’t look so messed up anymore. God’s not done with us. God is still very much at work in his world.

So won’t you do that? Take some time and write down everything you are thankful for, for the places where you see God at work.

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”