Building People. Spreading Hope.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Push People Up

Most of us want to be helped. We appreciate when others help us get what we want. None of us can make it alone. It is not selfish to desire the goodwill of others. However, we’re created to help others. It is in our giving, not our receiving, that life becomes fulfilling.

Calvin Coolidge said, “No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” We all know people who are constantly seeking their own. They are me-driven. Sometimes they just can’t help themselves. What they need is a mind-shift. As long as we stay focused on ourselves, we’ll never experience the joy of helping others.

In the early eighties, my two brothers and I were new to the country of Nepal. We had left our motherland to help people in the Himalayas. Nobody knew us and we were a struggling ministry. At this infancy stage, Charles Mendies, lovingly called "Chaldai" (big brother Charles) came to our assistance. He helped us call for a breakfast inviting all the Christian leaders of the country. We introduced ourselves and our purpose and, overwhelmingly, a majority of them accepted us as co-laborers in the ministry. Chaldai even paid for the breakfast in the newly built, three-star, Himalayan Hotel. 

I say this to the glory of God, and to honor Chaldai but what followed over the years is history! My brothers and I went on to minister in over 150 countries touching millions of lives. And we’re still at it. It all started with Chaldai believing in us when we weren’t credible. He had a high reputation but he put it on the line to endorse the Anderson brothers. Not only did he put us on the national stage but he was instrumental in helping to channel the millions of dollars coming into our hands to reach the world with the Gospel.  How grateful we are for Chaldai! We’ll be forever thankful to him and his family for pushing us up.

When you help someone up a mountain, you’ll find yourself close to the summit also. If you want others to improve, let them hear the good things that you think and say about them. People live up, or down, to or down to how we view them and what we say about them. Everybody needs to feel the wind beneath their wings to believe that they can fly. Anyone can find the dirt in people. It takes a genius like Chaldai to dig for the gold in others. What means the most in life is what you’ve done for others. Albert Pike said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

This is what happened to David in the Bible. He came from a humble background. When David was anointed to be the next King of Israel, nobody believed in him – not even his own family. Eventually David made it to the palace but King Saul was jealous of him. He spent a significant part of his life trying to exterminate David. Saul would have been successful had Jonathan not been keeping David informed about his father’s plans to kill him. Jonathan was King Saul’s son. He was next in line to become king but he sacrificed his own royalty so that David could become the next king of Israel. Eventually, David went on to become one of the greatest kings of Israel while Jonathan was killed on the battlefield. It may sound unfair but nobody can associate David’s rise to the throne without mentioning Jonathan’s role to put him there. Many of you mothers should take courage from this. You may think all you do is endless diaper changes, clean, cook, and repeat but never forget the big picture. You’re not just raising a child but a husband, wife, leader, preacher, businessman, politician, and a world changer! Your love, tears, and sacrifices are not in vain. Jonathan pushed David up and what history he made!

We all need a Chaldai or a Jonathan in our lives. At the end of his life, Alexander the Great said, “We all suffer. They all came to the end of their time and in the end, when it's over, all that matters is what you've done.” J. M. Barrie said, “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. One may read the Bible but thousands read you and me. You may be the only Bible others will ever read. It is the duty and privilege of every Christian to help others get better. Multitudes followed Jesus everywhere He went because our Lord always left people better than He found them. We should do the same. The best exercise for the heart is to reach down and to lift someone up. Today, let’s find someone to help. I love you and I believe in you!

“Knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord” (Ephesians 6:8 ESV).
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Why Go to Church

In the West it is cultural to go to church. This is a good habit for every Christian. But why we go to church is far more important than merely fulfilling a religious obligation. While any reason is a good reason to be in church, it will serve us best if we go to church with a heart of worship.

Every other Christian activity can be done individually but when we worship Jesus corporately, a special power is released over our lives. Many flock to church for good teaching, motivational speech, and great concert-like worship services and that’s all good. However, the most important reason God wants us to be in church is so we can worship Him for who He is!

We’re created to worship our Creator. Some of the ways we can show our worship to our Savior is to express our gratitude. Worship is easy. Remember the day of your salvation. Remember the day God healed you and set you free from wrong desires and addictions. Thank Him for your children and family. Express your gratitude for His bountiful provisions. Give Him some praise for protecting you from accidents, plagues, and sudden calamities.

Many Christians are uncertain about how to worship. The posture of our heart is far greater than our physical appearance. Let us take at least as much time preparing our hearts as we do looking good on the outside. God still looks at the heart! He will not turn away a broken and contrite spirit. King David, the greatest worshipper in history, often danced before the Lord with all His might. The Scripture exhorts for us to worship God “lifting holy hands.” Singing and clapping are common expressions of a heart of worship. Many are uncomfortable with being emotional at church but it is completely alright to “let yourself go” in the presence of the Almighty. A church is not a place to showcase perfect people; it’s a hospital where broken hearts are mended by God. If you’re uncomfortable looking at others getting emotional in church, you’re looking in the wrong place. Let’s focus on Jesus -- the object of our worship. Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing. Worship for the audience of One!

Much emphasis has been given to tithes and offerings in the church. While you cannot love God without giving, don’t do anything out of religious obligation or membership “rules.” Why we give is far more important than what we put into the offering plate. You have heard about giving 10% of your income to God. May I challenge you to a greater blessing? God doesn’t want a percentage of your life. He wants your whole heart. Friend, surrender your whole life to God and you’ll be amazed by how easy it will be to give. Make Jesus your greatest Treasure. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It is sad to say but many people treat church as a social club. While it is healthy for believers to fellowship with one another, church should not be a place for us to grow our business connections. It may happen organically and that’s alright but don’t go to church with the intent to scout for customers. Seek God and customers will find you! The only reason we should go to church is to worship our Lord and learn the Word to bring others to Christ. The intent of our heart is the test of our character. 

Preachers, one of our main responsibilities is to feed our sheep. Men, women, and children in your congregation are looking for answers. Let’s teach them how to be a better husband, how to be a better employee, how to be a better witness for the Lord. Teach them how to live a victorious Christian life Monday to Saturday. Let’s lead our flock to an encounter with God. Don’t try to beat your people to submission. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” If you lead them to green pastures of God’s love, joy, and peace, they’ll follow you by the droves.

Friend, God is pleased with you. It honors Him to meet you in His House. You are the body of Christ. You don’t have to be in the gathering of others. However, your life will be enriched when you surround yourself with other like-minded believers. If going to church was good for our Lord, there may be something in it for us as well. Let’s put aside the hurt and disappointments of the past. This time around, let’s follow Jesus and not people. Let’s worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. I’m proud of you for taking your family to church. God is smiling down upon you.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4 NLT).

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