Tag Archives: christian

One seed planted

Last Saturday I preached at a Men’s Breakfast for a church with which I work on an informal basis.

Lately, I have been wrestling with the idea of how one Christians idea can create change… real change… change that can move the world.

So, I wrote a sermon about how one could do such a thing…. kind of an audacious thing to do at 8 am on a Saturday morning to church members who have just feasted on bacon, eggs, biscuits, sausage, grits, gravy and plenty of coffee…. a sermon designed to rouse and inspire men who were comfortable, relaxed, happy… good men who do good things….

And so I started “Today I want to talk to you about changing the world”…. they gave me their attention politely… and listened….  I just wanted to plant an idea that one man can do something that can catch fire and change the world or at least your little end of it for Jesus Christ. 

Wonderful people, good Christian men all… and women…they were invited to this breakfast too…. listened contentedly….. around the room I saw a few furrowed brows… I hoped that meant thinking instead of dissatisfaction. 

I spoke for about 15 minutes…. good response… the pats on the back… then hand shakes… “good job Pastor”… “great message”….”you did good”…. I was pleased and disappointed.  Somehow I had allowed myself to think that i was gong to change the world that morning..  We stood around enjoying a great visit, good laughter, good prayer… then we went out separate ways….

“Father?  Was that really what you wanted me to talk about?  Was that message useful to you…. pleasing to you?  I left full of doubts…

Sunday morning…..

I walk into the sanctuary running a bit late because of another obligation I had at another church.  And when I walked in I heard my name. 

One of my good friends, a great man in the church was telling the church about my message and how it had moved him… I would never have guessed. 

We talked a bit later about some ideas he had…. he thought about the message and became more and more excited….

Father… maybe that was the right one… maybe I did say the right words…. how often inspiration seems so hollow until later…

Thank you Father for using that little 15 minute message to do something that may turn out to be wonderful…

One seed planted…. watered with the pure water of the Holy Spirit….

We plant the seeds, we sow the word…. and He waters them and raises them.  I am anxious to see what God grows from this one little seed.

Thoughts on the influence of one person…..

So many people believe they have lived lives of little influence.  But they are often so wrong.  One person or a small group of people can change the world.   And human hands can work miracles when serving Jesus Christ.

 

 

Look at the first Christian church in the world.  It was not made up of the rich, the famous, those of influence, those of importance… No… it was made of you and me… fishermen, tax collectors, woodworkers, potters, sales people, crafts people… young, old, beautiful, not so much…

But from that first church has grown the Christian movement… the effort to bring the gospel to the whole world…. because the first Christians had passion.. had an abundant and excited love for Jesus Christ.   They wanted everyone to know about him… these were not just people to whom miracles had been done… these were common everyday folks who went out and told the world about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am thinking of a few friends who got together some time back.  They thought it would be a good idea to just set up a little booth with food, information, offered prayer, balloons for kids and a message.  They asked an apartment manager if they could set up in his apartment project where the demographic was quite poor… a place where many would say they were in danger.  But they decided to do it anyway…. the first time they set up they were amazed at the turn out… and the spiritual response… The Lord blessed their idea… So they continued… Now when they set up it is a production… lives are changed, souls are saved, medical care is given, counseling is provided and the world is changing because of their influence… just a few men and an idea….

I am thinking of a woman with a beautiful spirit, who decided that if she knew about it there would be no child who didn’t have school supplies… so she set out to get donations of school supplies for the local elementary and middle school… Again, she was shocked at the response of the community and the businesses… First, her local two schools benefited… then the abundance of the Lord started pouring in.. so that every Tuesday she and several other devoted women receive and divide school supplies… soon they had all their local schools needed.  Other schools heard of this and asked for help from the women.  So they branched out… now thousands of kids in many different places receive school supplies…

I am thinking of another person who took it upon himself to supply blankets to the homeless during the cold nights of the Houston winter….  the difference here is that this is a boy only 12 years old… he felt he had heard Gods word and decided to ask his parents to go to a local store and purchase basic blankets…  When they went to distribute the blankets they found that there were not enough to do around at all… the boy then started asking companies for blankets and friends for volunteer help… God blessed his work… now he distributes thousands of blankets every winter… lives are saved… lives are changed through the reality of the love of a little boy…

I am thinking of a person who decided that every senior citizen deserved at least a call a day… to break their loneliness… to insure their safety…. to insure they knew they were loved and cared for in their infirmity… he soon found he couldn’t do it alone because soon others suggested elderly who couldn’t go to church… now nearly one hundred volunteers work out of a church building with a phone bank built with donations calling to check on many, many senior citizens each day… the world has changed because of his good work….

I am thinking of a retired teacher who thought that the kids in her local school could use some math tutoring in the afternoon… Her first afternoon in the library was lonely… but soon one shy little boy came in… he needed help on his fractions…. the next day he brought a friend… then another and another …. The program now serves hundreds of kids in many schools and has raised test scores of students as well as the self-esteem of the kids because one woman cared.

These are all the products of one person’s hands…. one persons heart… one persons Holy idea that the Lord blessed immensely because all of them were done in His name and for the least of His children…

Never doubt how you can influence the lives around you..   God has given you all the power and ability you need… he equips those he calls….

Answer the call…. find something that moves you deeply… something that calls out to your heart… something that calls from within your soul… if you look into your heart, your soul and listen to the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit your work will be blessed and will truly change the world…

Visions of Service … Power in choosing a ministry for everyone

Be Thou My Vision…  in a couple of days I am going to give a short sermon on “changing the world” to a Men’s Ministry Breakfast…

Yes, changing the world… can one man.. one woman… or one child to that… certainly…

Can “common” people do that… can you do that without million of dollars, without abundant and immense resources? … Yes, definately…

Look at the first Christian church in the world.  It was not made up of the rich, the famous, those of influence, those of importance… No… it was made of of you and me… fishermen, tax collectors, woodworkers, potters, sales people, crafts people… young, old, beautiful, not so much…

But from that first church has grown the Christian movement… the effort to bring the gospel to the whole world…. because the first Christians had passion.. had an abundant and excited love for Jesus Christ.   They wanted everyone to know about him… these were not just people to whom miracles had been done… these were common everyday folks who went out and told the word….

I am think of a few friends who got together some time back.  They thought it would be a good idea to just set up a little booth with food, information, offered prayer, balloons for kids and a message.  They asked an apartment manager if they could set up in his apartment project where the demographic was quite poor… a place where many would say they were in danger.  But they decided to do it anyway….  the first time they set up they were amazed at the turn out… and the spiritual response… The Lord blessed their idea… So they continued… Now when they set up it is a production… lives are changed, souls are saved, medical care is given, counseling is provided and the world is changing because of their influence… a few men and an idea….

I am thinking of a woman with a beautiful spirit, who decided that if she knew about it there would be no child who didn’t have school supplies… so she set out to get donations of school supplies at the local elementary and middle school… Again, she was shocked at the response of the community and the businesses… First, her local two schools benefited… then the abundance of the Lord started pouring in.. so that every Tuesday she and several other devoted women receive and divide school supplies…  soon they had all their schools needed so they branched out… now thousands of kids receive school supplies…

I am thinking of another person who took it upon himself to supply blankets to the homeless on the cold nights of the Houston winter….  the difference here is that this is a boy of 12… he felt he had heard Gods word and decided to ask his parents to go to a local store and purchase basic blankets…  When they went to distribute the blankets they found that there were not enough to do around at all… the boy then started asking companies for blankets and friends for volunteer help… God blessed his work… now he destributes thousands of blankets every winter… lives saved… lives changed through the reality of the love of a little boy…

I am thinking of a person who decided that every senior citizen deserved at least a call a day… to break their loneliness… to insure their safety…. to insure they knew they were loved and cared for in there infirmity… he soon found he couldn’t do it alone because soon others suggested elderly who couldn’t go to church… now nearly one hundred volunteers work out of a church building with a phone bank built with donations calling to check on many, many senior citizens each day… the world has changed because of his good work….

I am thinking of a retired teacher who thought that the kids in her local school could use some math tutoring in the afternoon… Her first afternoon in the library was lonely… but soon one shy little boy came in… he needed help on his fractions…. the next day he brought a friend… then another and another …. the program now serves hundreds of kids in many schools and has raised test scores of students as well as the self-esteem of the kids because one woman cared.

These are all the products of one persons hands…. one persons heart… one persons Holy idea that the Lord blessed immensely because all of them were done in His name and for the least of His children…

Never doubt how you can influence the lives around you..   God has given you all the power and ability you need… he equips those he calls….

Answer the call…. find something that moves you deeply… something that calls out to your heart… something that calls from within your soul… if you look into your heart, soul and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit your work will be blessed and will truly change the world…

My Grandmother’s Words… Visions of God’s Glory

This week I went to the going home celebration for a beautiful grandmother….

And in that service as I listened to “Go Rest High On That Mountain”….

I thought back to the grace of my own grandmothers words…

I called her MaMaw…..She was a poet… 

I have come to realize that at my age I have come to only care about mountain top experiences…. one of the highest was listening to this poem by my grandmother which was read at her going home…..  just before I an my cousins carried the simple wood casket she wanted all the way to her final resting place…. across a red sand East Texas Road… to the old Magnolia cemetary…. overlooking a beautiful lake…

These are the words she wrote:

VISIONS OF GOD’S GLORY

The brightness of God’s Glory

No human Eye can See

But we can get a vision of it

in Every Flower and Tree

—-

The pear tree robed in snowy shite

A red bud clothed in pink

A dark green pine with yellow blooms.

All make me of God’s glory think.

—-

The gorgeous colored red bird

Against a sky of lovely blue

Is a vision of God’s glory

And of his love and mercy too.

—-

The lightening shining through the clouds

His wondrous glory shows

The rolling billows of dark clouds

When a storm is growing close.

—-

The rainbow shining after rain

The gleaming snow on mountain peaks

The blackness of the canyons depths

of God’s majestic glory speaks

—-

The Beauty of the sunrise

With it’s rays of precious light

the glory of the sun set

Bringing restful sleep at night.

—-

Yes! The visions of God’s glory

can every where be seen

The springing flower and singing birds

and Earth arrayed in lovely green

—-

The Heavens declare the glory of God

The firmament his works do show.

Night following day, day following night

Helps us His wondrous love to know

—-

How careful all of us should be

To praise his Holy Name

To seek His will each day and hour

His love and mercy to Proclaim

Aunt Nancy Vann

July 14, 1991

Copyright 2010, John J. McGeough

                                                                                                    

Leading Like Jesus Christ

Leadership…. thousands of books, articles…. thousands of seminars every year try to teach men what is leadership….

Leadership is at once the easiest thing to define and the hardest thing to do…. as I see it…. it requires a degree of honesty and integrity to such a degree that the leader is an outlier… someone who is off the charts…. because they lead by showing….

Jesus walked at the lead of the disciples hundreds… probably thousands of miles…  in fact he did not ask them to do this he just did it and they followed. …

Jesus taught his disciples to pray by praying… by worshipping his Father in Heaven…  He taught them to pray through the harsh watches of the night… because he did it they did it… Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat and have faith that he could walk on water…. Peter was successful until he let his faith grow weak…. but he would likely never have done it had Jesus not been already walking on water…

Jesus taught them that the gospel is for all mankind by visiting with, eating with and staying with the lowest of the low in a town… he showed his disciples that we should care for the poor because he cared for the poor….

Jesus taught mercy by showing it… when Mary Magdalene was brought before him to be judged and stoned…. Jesus stood with her …. the perfect example of courage in holding back a mob with his sheer personal force… then he taught forgiveness by asking where are your accusers…. when she said she did not know, he told her then neither to I condemn you… Go and sin no more…

Jesus taught love by giving it… in the Sermon on the Mount, the most beautiful of Christs teachings we find him telling us how to treat each other, then we see him doing what he says by saying… let the little children come unto me…  

Jesus taught love and care for our physical well-being by feeding the people who had come miraculously… He taught that the body must also be fed as well as the soul because he did it.. he fed the thousands there from a few fish and a little bread…

Finally the greatest example was his willingness to give his life on the cross…. He paid the ultimate penalty for us… and in that example he tells us what we are to do for each other…  to love others as much as we love ourselves…

If Fathers would just show, instead of lecturing,  do the hard things instead of berating his children, not drink so his kids wont drink, not do drugs so his kids won’t do drugs and be able to and do everything that he asks especially his sons to do; then young men would be far less lost than they are today. 

If we would just imitate Jesus Christ…. the simply show what a Christian life is in love and friendship we would attract more people and youth to Jesus Christ because what we have as Christians will intrigue them… Then our opportunity will come to become men who are

Leading like Jesus Christ. 

The primary example is Jesus Christ… he was the leader of leaders, the king of kings,  lord of lords… because he was the personification not only of God but of Men… of fathers…. of leaders…

Jesus Christ was so tender and loving in his leadership… and in that he was more powerful than any leader who ever has existed or ever will exist.. His was always the first step as well as the initiating example…  He really did just a few things that are the most powerful principals in leadership. 

He, unflinchingly did the hard things that he asked the disciples to do.   He never asked his disciples to do anything he would not do himself…. He prayed longer… he was up earlier in prayer before the sun…. His step each day was the initiating step… he was the first one starting on the journey each day… He just asked his men to do what he did….  there is so much power in that.  The disciples realized that what he asked of them he would co and could do.  A leader who will not do what his followers are asked to do is doomed to be discovered as the fraud he is.  The school principal who never teachers, the field commander who stays back in the rear issuing commands, the factory supervisor who never comes out of the air conditioning onto the shop floor where it is hot, dirty and unsafe….  all these are not leaders but frauds who ask others to do that which they will not do…

The Power Of a Godly Father in His Son’s Life

I’ve been thinking more about the Redmond video I posted yesterday.   I have to feel that every part of that video is an analogy illustrating something good in the relationship of a father and his son in a very broad sense.  As I go through my work with young people, young men, as a youth pastor, teacher, mentor….. I see so much anger….so many boys who have just gone off the rails… in every case there was no man in the boy’s life…

No father… no mentors…. no role models… no leaders…. no one….

Abandoned kids… abandoned boys…. adrift, angry, like rogues… I recall a fascinating story about a problem in Africa with young bull elephants….

If a young male elephant is raised without a bull elephant around… it seems to lose control… it goes wild…. roaming through the country side with other young rogue adolescent elephants destroying everything in their path… essentially gangs… they are led by their testosterone at its worst…. power without direction…. power unchanneled. 

Apparently, the solution is to capture the crazed adolescent then put it in with fully grown bulls, larger, more powerful, experienced…   so the story goes the bulls will get the young elephant between them just holding it until it calms down… that will be repeated when it gets out of control… nothing horrible… no goring… no damage… the other bulls just restrain the adolescent until it calms enough to follow their example…

Could it be…. possible … that young human males are at least analogous to young elephants…. that without the leadership of a strong father…. they… go wild?    Can a young man become so lost without the example of a father that he strikes out at everything?  I think so. 

I am watching the little league world series… the coaches are miked… what they say to a kid on the field can be heard by millions of people…. a young boy is pitching…. obviously nervous…. not settled…. like a young colt… unsure… frightened….

His coach walks calmly out to the mound, signalling time out as he does… the boy simply stands waiting… the first words out of the coaches mouth are “you are doing great”…. the boy stands with his head down turning the ball…listening to his coach as the coach praises his skill, his character…. as the coach tells him how proud he is of the young pitcher… he gives him a hint about pitching… the camera angle changes… the slight smile on the boys face is visible… his coach pats him on the shoulder and says “you are the best, have fun, just have fun”….  as the coach turns and walks away the boy wipes his sleeve across his eyes… takes a deep breath… stands up straight and strikes out the next two batters….  And I think… it is that simple…  

Derek Redmond was seemingly alone when he started his race for the gold at the 92 Olympics…. but he wasn’t alone… the entire lifetime his father had spent with him was there… in his entire being…. the tenacity his father had taught him….probably just by example…. was with him… but most important…. his father actually was with him…. an appropriate distance away because his son had gone on his way as the Bible teaches that young men must do…. but his father was watching…

Derek had obviously been taught independence… determination… character… because when his father did see he needed help… he came to his side… and when he did…. he said “you don’t have to do this”… but Derek said… “Yes, I do”…..

What happened next… he gave his son just the help he needed… he kept the people who would stop him away… he just removed the stumbling blocks from his path… and he gave him support when he needed it…. but then something even more important happened….

When they approached the finish line Derek’s father let him go…. he released him to let his injured son finish the race by himself….

Derek’s father was being the perfect Biblical example of a father… he had trained Derek up in the way he should go… Derek had already proven that when he said “Yes, I do”…. Derek’s father then allowed his son to be the man he wanted to be by finishing the race alone.  His father could have gone over the finish line with his son…

but he knew something about young men…. they need dignity… they need to feel both supported but strong enough to do it themselves…. and at every opportunity a Godly father will let his son have the responsibility he needs to grow into the man he wants and needs to be…. so that he can carry that responsibility… that sense or ability and confidence into his work life…. his relationship with a woman…. he relationship with other men…. and to be an exemplary father to his own children….

The power of a Godly father in his sons’ life was shown in that simple video…. the power to direct strength…. to teach responsiblity… to teach courage… tenacity… to teach all the traits men need to make it through life… and something else was obvious to me…. though I could not see or hear it… I’m betting that at some point in that run with his father Derek heard the words “I love you son”. ….. “I am proud of you”…  just as I am sure he heard them throughout his life… 

Those all important words… I know… will be repeated to Derek Redmond’s own sons and daughters… as he leads them by the example his father used to lead him.

Feed my Flock…faithful hands….

These are the hands of God… because these hands are following his commandments… that the beautiful things we know about God can be made manifest…  that the true radical faith can be shown to be true… that we feel his pleasure when we are helping his least… when a thirsty child receives a cool glass of water… when an elderly widow doesn’t have to worry about rain leaking into her house… when a child lost in the world can find a place of love and safety….. Yes, these are the hands of God….
 
Because he put us here that through our hands his work can be done….
And these hands are doing just that….
 
 

Faithful hands

Is it the grand things that we would like to do?    Is it building the giant cathedrals and beautiful architectural masterpieces that is important to Jesus Christ?  What is radical Christianity?   If Christ were given the choice between a giant cathedral of marble and crystal… what would he choose?  I know what God would choose….  

Since 1974 I have been a youth worker in some way… some of that time was spent as a conductor working with young musicians…. some of it was spent as a teacher working way out of the mainstream and under the radar with kids who just didn’t fit in…  the vast majority of it has been spent in some kind of youth ministry…

In that time I have seen kids who could not study because they were hungry…. I have seen kids who were left alone in homes while their only parent was hospitalized… kids who were not reared at all… who did not now how to be …. in any sense… lost… without guidance… with no compass… Today even in America there will be hungry kids who needn’t be hungry… who needn’t be without good clothing… who needn’t be in dark, dank housing…   fatherless, motherless…  

    

   

 Thank you Lord there will always be people of faith….the radical Christians who truly imitate you…  like the ones of this church… who in imitation of you will get up in the middle of the night… to work.. to cook… to be sure that there are no hungry mouths if they can find them.. no children without food, without clothing…. without decent housing…To be sure that the elderly in the place the Lord has given them to minister have care… someone to check on them… someone to know if they have fallen… to know if they need food, or medicine, if they have a cool or warm place to live…. to be sure they have a roof that doesn’t leak…  

Christians who practice radical faith… real faith… the faith that insures that all those around them believers or not will be full of both food and the Holy Spirit… that those around them will know the mission of Jesus Christ… that those who may not know you will know that they are looking at people who love their neighbors as well as themselves… and who act on it…. that as far as it is in their power hunger will be banished, abuse will be stopped, loneliness with be destroyed, medicines will be delivered, love will be given…  

 The thing that young Christians want is a radical faith… that fulfils the real gospel as this church is doing… to help those who are weak, to feed those who are hungry… to stop pain when they can, to be sure that tears of sadness are replaced with tears of joy… that loneliness is replaced with love…  they have grown beyond the mindless activities that so many think kids want… what so many young men and women want is a real working faith… a faith that puts it on the line… that risks… that  

makes sure that the gospel has real meaning… these are young people who mean it… who take what God said seriously… who want to live a real life of faith… not an artificial, routine “religion” but radical Christianity focused on the  

Person of Jesus Christ and his true Mission… to bring souls to God.. and to take care or the Earthly needs of the people around them…  

to fulfil the two greatest commandments of the Lord God… To love the Lord with all your heart and because of that……….To love your neighbor as much as you love yourself….  

   

so that the love of God can be known… and felt… and real….