At Shiloh, I have been noticing a positive trend that gives me great joy.
Recently, a woman told us she wanted to be a part of our church. I would like to tell you, it was because of my marvelous preaching. That was not case.
A few years ago, this lady was living in an apartment complex and the power went off. It was at night, so darkness enveloped her living quarters. She heard a knock on the door. Lisa Beasley, one of our Shiloh members was there, with some candles in her hand.
“Here,” she said. “I thought you might be able to use these.” With those words, Lisa entered in and served.
At that time, the woman was a single mother with two teenage children. In a stressful time, Lisa physically and spiritually brought light into her home.
Jason Smith was at work a while back. He became acquainted with a young man experiencing challenges in his life—as we all do.
Jason shared Jesus with the young man; he shared with the young man, from his Bible, about how to respond to Jesus. And the young man did! That relationship is growing, and now others in our church are getting to know this new Christian and sharing God’s word with him.
I can’t help but think this is the way it should be.
I love our church building. People from all over the Tyler area are using our building every day. Many are not part of Shiloh. Some are not Christians. I hope people continue to use our building. However, even if everybody in the area wanted to use our building, we could not bring them through fast enough to match the growth of Tyler’s population.
So, we, at Shiloh, go out.
The last thing Jesus told His disciples was—go.
We remember that we are ALL missionaries.
There is a sign, Shiloh family members pass under, on the way out the door. It says, “You are now entering the mission field.” And we are.
Sundays are great. I love being with our community of faith and, together, entering into the presence of God. Nevertheless, like Jesus told three of his disciples, we have to leave the spiritual mountaintop and go into valley where the people are.
Sometimes, they are in difficult places. God is not present where they are, so we take God there. We take with us beauty, and light, and wholeness to face up against the ugliness, and darkness, and fragmentation the Evil One has brought into their lives.
We minister to them. We serve them. We look for opportunities to put in a good word for Jesus—the epitome of all that is good.
On Sundays, I believe having five hundred people leaving Shiloh in this way—Tyler will be a better place. And God’s Kingdom will expand.
Five Things I Think I Think (with a nod to Peter King for this idea)
1. I would like to see how many had Connecticut, Butler, VCU and Kentucky for their Final Four Brackets. This is why I have never filled out an NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket. I will stand behind what I wrote last week, “I have a feeling we are going to hear the name of Brad Stevens (Butler’s coach) this time every year when major schools are looking to hire a new coach.” All of this notwithstanding, I am predicting Connecticut to win the National Championship next Monday night.
2. I hope Baylor wins the girls’ National Championship. Look out for Connecticut in the girls’ bracket as well.
3. TIME had a fascinating section in their issue last week. It’s called TEN IDEAS THAT CHANGE THE WORLD. One article was titled “Fix the Deficit? We can Do That?” As you might imagine, that caught my attention. Here’s a link: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2059521_2059686_2059682,00.html
4. I just finished my series on Revelation. Never have I been so concerned about a series and it turn out so well. I’m glad I preached Revelation.
5. I have become a fan of Timothy Keller. He is a preacher who lives in New York City. He has written several thought-provoking books. His latest is on the gospel of Mark entitled KING’S CROSS.