In The New Testament book of Acts we come across an interaction between a couple of Jesus’ disciples and a man who was seemingly stuck in a hopeless situation. It is a "crisis of the will" moment for the man. It is a moment, in which, God provides a transformative opportunity to step into a new way of living. In verses one through six we read-

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Our primary responsibility is not to minister to people’s felt needs, but to provide, through God’s truth, ministry to their greatest needs. We have a heart to provide for physical needs in time of crisis, but we have a greater desire to provide a transformative opportunity, by which people can break out of unhealthy cycles.

God has called us to share the gospel. A gospel that, if trusted, not only liberates us from the sin of our past, but also frees us from wrong ways of thinking and coping.  A gospel that positions us and empowers us to put on a prosperous future for ourselves and our families — a future that includes taking what we have learned and sharing it with others. In other words, we are disciples who make disciples.

God’s plan for our lives is to give us a hope and a future, but that only happens as we are released from that which is holding us captive. This requires that we align with God’s way of doing things. This takes time and commitment. This takes a desire to want God more than we want to feel better — a desire to want God more that we want our circumstances to get better. Our foundation needs to be righted.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds a house, the laborer labors in vain.

Belief (Trust) in Jesus includes, building our lives with the building materials he has provided. These are the principles of God’s Word; if obeyed, they give us the ability to put off fear and put on faith.

What commitment are you willing to make to address things at a core foundational level, instead of the symptom level? Are you ready to relinquish control of making decisions based on your unresolved fears and distrust, and enter into a journey, trusting God to direct your decisions?

If you have made critical life decisions in the past, based on your personal preferences, or what is comfortable for you; how has that worked for you?

What opportunities are you taking advantage of that will best position you and your family for God’s definition of success?

Ecclesiastes 11:4 “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.

As my church family has heard me say often lately, “It’s not that we are too busy. It is that we become busy about the wrong things.” On an ongoing basis, I minister to families in crisis. Some are in continual crisis. Their ongoing crises have accumulated into a lifestyle. Most often, their reason for being in crisis is not circumstantial, it is foundational. Their lifestyle of crisis stems from not being in the renewing presence of Christ. God’s communication is critical to forming proper decision making abilities and practices. All too often, many people forsake that which is essential for that which is comfortable. The result…they and their families become casualties of (spiritual) war.

So, Again, I ask the question-

What opportunities are you taking advantage of that will best position you and your family for God’s definition of success?

Sunday morning fellowship, Bible studies, recovery ministries, counseling, significant relational groups — all of these are examples that can be employed and/or utilized.

Sometimes, when I mention some of these things, I am confronted with polite protest in the form of excuses. Excuses like, “ I wasn’t getting fed at that church,” or “A person in that ministry hurt me,” or “That counselor was bad.”  I have heard a variety of excuses, none of which helped these people become unstuck.

Let us not let the fear of the past prevent us from a promise-filled future.

I am fully aware that there are bad ministries out there and that abuses have transpired in “The Church.” I would not dare to minimize someone’s pain, but I think these are the exceptions and not the rule. The fallibility of God’s people does not invalidate the infallibility of God’s truth — and the local church is still His chosen vessel by which to convey this truth.

We are all wounded…we are all broken…relationships, at times, will cause pain. We cannot avoid it. Avoiding it is what got us stuck in the first place.  But, it is also in relationship, with God and his family, that life’s meaning and purpose is experienced. I don’t think there is any greater example to a fallen world, than someone who is tenaciously loyal to God’s family, is willing to resolve issues and follows through on commitments. This is the gospel that was handed down to us. This is the true gospel. This is the transformative gospel. This is the gospel that is to be passed on.

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