Tag Archives: body of christ

If we are the body

“A church is just a building if there’s no one in it.”

I think, many times, in the West we associate church with the building and not the people.

The church is the body of Christ- not the building they meet in. The church is the men, women and children sitting crossed-legged on cold tile in a living room, singing worship songs loudly and with total abandon.

Mike Yankoski’s book, “Under the Overpass,” is a wonderful reminder of who the body of Christ is.

Yankoski spent several months as a homeless man on the streets of six different cities. Why? He felt God leading him to walk into the shoes of the homeless.

I have great respect for what Yankoski did. I’ve seen the homeless in Asia and it breaks my heart every time. I loved that Yankoski took the time to do as Jesus did, walk in the people’s shoes.

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song, “If We Are the Body.” If we are the body, why aren’t our arms moving and reaching the homeless?

The book confirmed in me the desire to help the homeless here in Asia, through buying them food or stopping to acknowledge them.

I’d encourage you to do the same.

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prayers for the persecuted

I recently read the testimony of a believer who experienced tremendous persecution.

He was beaten for being a Christian and nearly lost his life. He’s experienced what it means to suffer for Christ. I can’t even imagine.

Platt’s book, “Radical,” that I’ve referenced several times, encourages us to pray for the entire world as part of radical experiment in the next year.

I’d like to encourage you to pray for the persecuted believers around the world. Pray for the men and women in India and Bangladesh who take lashes for Jesus. Pray for Christians in Iraq, in the Middle East who die for their Savior. Pray for brothers and sisters in the most populated country on earth who meet underground.

These men and women don’t pray for the persecution to stop. They pray for strength and faith to stand strong. As you pray, pray that the Lord would be their comfort, and that He’d grant them faith and grace to withstand.

The Bible never promises being a Christian will be easy, and these believers aren’t putting their trust in Christ to be comfortable.

Stephen, the first martyr, didn’t have to give the speech he did, standing up to the authorities. He stood up for what he believed, even if it meant stoning. His last words were a prayer for his attackers, that they’d find forgiveness.

In the testimony of the believer I mentioned earlier, the believer said God has provided for all of his needs. He continues to pray in the midst of the storm.

How easily I complain about the minutest things. It’s a reality check to read testimonies of persecution, especially after I’ve just complained about something as small as someone who did something annoying to me.

I had an awesome Thanksgiving season this year. I was able to celebrate four times. And what I’ve realized, through Bible reading, personal experience and reading testimonies of believers, is that I think giving thanks, thanksgiving, is a crucial part of withstanding persecution. I don’t mean in the “Thanksgiving,” the American holiday sort of way, I mean in everything, giving thanks to the Lord. We have no right to demand anything from God. He is the Creator of all, who am I to demand an answer?

Giving thanks also takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on God. When we’re giving thanks, we’re less likely to dwell on our pain.

Prayer also takes the focus off of ourselves. When we pray, we are, or should be, looking upward to Chris. In praying for the world, we are praying for others and not ourselves. We take a step away from self-absorption. The Bible tells us to pray for others. It also tells us to go and tell others about Him.

I have so much to learn. I look at the faith of believers throughout Asia who’ve been beaten, imprisoned or tortured, and I’m inspired and amazed. They’ve experienced so much, relied on the Lord and their faith is exuberant and unfaltering.

So now, if you would, take a moment and pray for the persecuted church.

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Grace

Grace, she became my mother.

Jimmy Needham’s song, “Moving to Zion” has a line that resonates within me. “Grace, she became my mother.”

Grace is my mother. And my grandmother.

My mom’s name is Grace Lyn. My grandmother’s name is Grace. If I have a girl, I want Grace to be a part of her name.

Grace is my heritage–in my earthly family and my heavenly family.

If there’s a theme, a thread or trace of an element in my life, it’s grace. Through Grace and Rudolph, my mom came into the world. Through Grace Lyn and Jim, I came into the world. Through God’s grace, I am His child.

Reading Andy Stanley’s book, “The Grace of God,” and listening to Jimmy Needham’s song, I am reminded of how crucial grace is in all of our lives.

“Grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness,” Stanley writes. “Grace is the offer of exactly of exactly what we do not deserve.”

Sometimes I forget this. I try to earn grace, but grace can’t be earned.

“It is the knowledge of what we do not deserve that allows us to receive grace for what it is. Unmerited. Unearned. Undeserved. For that reason, grace can only be experienced by those who acknowledge they are undeserving,” Stanley writes.

Stanley says grace is understood best when viewed within the context of relationships. I agree.

In his book, Stanley outlines grace throughout the Old and New Testament. It’s part of our heritage as God’s children.

Stanley’s book reminded of me the ways my parents showed me grace throughout my growing up years, mirroring what our Heavenly Father does.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

I love that grace is the undercurrent in my life.

How is grace playing out in your lives?

Thomas Nelsons’ Booksneeze program provided me with Stanley’s book. My opinions are my own.

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