Every year the week of 4th of July there is a parade and a carnival in our area. For the last 10 years my wife has been taking the kids (our kids, nephews and nieces) to go on rides during the parade. It works out perfect because they walk by the parade participants on their way in to the park so they see most of the floats, and then there is almost nobody at the carnival so they are able to get on the rides without a wait. Usually I am not able to make it to the carnival with them because I am working, but this year I was able to go.
For the rest of the story to make sense you should know, my wife is the last person in the world that would want to make somebody uncomfortable, she does not want to put anybody out, she is terrified of dogs, she is extremely cautious about strangers, and she absolutely does not like being outside her comfort zone.
We had just ate a corn dog, purchased a $20 (non-refundable) unlimited ride pass for 5 kids; 4 of the 5 went on 1 ride and the sky to our west went black and was heading our direction. My wife frantically said, "we have to go, let's go NOW!" Then she told me to hurry up and get the truck, which was 6 blocks away; but apparently I wasn't hurry fast enough because before long Wendy and the kids were right up next to me. We were 3 houses out of the park and the wind was really picking up and it looked very bad. Wendy charged up to a house with people standing by their front door watching the clouds move in and ask if we could go in their house. (She told me later that it didn't matter what they said she was going in). I was somewhat ahead of her and the kids, and I turned around see this happen; so I quickly went toward the front door and got there just behind her. She led the kids in the house, charged right past this massive pit bull and went in the dingy basement of strangers.
Why am I sharing this story today? Notice how a persons priorities and fears are dramatically transformed when they believe something to be true. Wendy knew that the weather conditions that were approaching were extremely dangerous (and the trees that were destroyed attests to this fact). Her "mamma bear" instincts kicked in and she was going to protect the kids no matter what. When I was razzing her about charging past the pit bull later on, she laughed and said it could have been a lion and it wouldn't have mattered (and I believe her).
Speaking to Christians only now....do we really believe the Gospel? The Gospel clearly says that the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Those that die in their sin will face hell for eternity. The wrath of God is the most horrifying "thing" a person will ever face, yet we don't have the same sense of urgency as a woman trying to protect her kids from bad weather. I am just as guilty as anyone else, so please don't think I am preaching this from a lofty position. I am writing this that we all may feel the conviction of the great commission and not let the mockery of this world stop us from sharing the Gospel with a lost and dying world. Let's get outside our comfort zone, let's make people uncomfortable, let's charge past "pit bull's" to share the gospel. After all, that is what all the disciples did until the world killed them.
1 John was written by the apostle John when he was put on a "criminals island" for sharing the Gospel. I am not sure of the timing, but at the time of his writing 1John all the other 11 disciples and Paul would have already been (or were soon going to be) killed for the faith, just as Jesus told them they would be:
Matthew 10:14-40 (Jesus Words) And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the
land of Sodom and in the day of judgment than for that city! 16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 21 "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Gomorrah before the Son of Man comes. 24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. :25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 27 "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to 'SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW'; 36 and 'A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THOSE OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.' 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. 40 "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. Israel
Matthew 24:4-9 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
In the next post we are going to get started on 1John and I would like to encourage you to read 1John in light of the fact that these men were committed to sharing the Truth about the "storm" that is coming, they didn't worry about "comfort zones" or how the world would receive them because they already knew how the world would receive them, Jesus told them:
John 15:18-19 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.