An Ambassador for the Lord
If you’re familiar with ESPN, then you’ve most likely viewed and or listened to Insiders such at Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst (NBA), Buster Olney (MLB), and or Adam Schefter or Chris Mortensen (NFL).
These gentleman have the unique privilege to provide for the public fan base any important and breaking news. They bring us information that we normally wouldn’t receive till much later on. In a sense, these men are ambassador’s / messengers for their leagues. We might not always like what they have to say, but it is reported as truth and facts.
In much the same way, Followers of Christ are considered God’s Ambassadors in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (NLT)…[reconciliation…is a change from hostility to harmony] 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
We are sent out as representatives, as Insiders, with a message / an errand to deliver…Good News to share with any and all listeners so they too can live in harmony with their Creator/Savior. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17)…the Good News. That’s our job and responsibility. One author states that, “Christians are God’s ambassadors in that they have been ‘approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel’ (1 Thessalonians 2:4)…imploring men and women everywhere to be reconciled to God.” https://www.gotquestions.org/ambassador-for-Christ.html
We might not always be liked because of the message we deliver, but I pray that each of us will do our part in getting the Good News out to the public as soon as possible. Allow God to take the stones cast by those resenting the news they just received, and rest assured that you did your part of faithfully and obediently taking His message to all nations. The Great Commission of delivering the Great News…He died, was buried, and rose again, we serve a risen Savior…He Lives within our hearts! Now go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere.
Wouldn’t it be odd if the ESPN Insiders received this all-important information and then kept it to themselves? Wouldn’t you wonder why they didn’t share it with you when they had every right and opportunity to do so? What’s keeping you from sharing the Good News with those whom God's placed in your circles? God is entrusting you with His message…He won’t give you a task that you can’t handle. Trust in His perfect way and time, and then act on it.
Recently I watched the Chris Singleton special on ESPN’s E:60. It isn’t available on the internet in full just yet, but here are a couple of links to portions of it, and the second link below is Chris sharing his story in a Church.
After watching these videos, what was it that Chris’ mom embed in him that God had embedded into her?
2 Timothy 1:5 (NLT) I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.
**The lesson and message that Chris learned and relayed was this, “I just say love is always stronger than hate. So if we just love the way my mom would [then] the hate won’t be anywhere close to where love is.”
1 John 1:5 (NLT) This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.
Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT) 21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT) Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
If love, hate, forgiving others are areas that you’re struggling in, then according to the verses/passages/message above what are the next steps that God would have you to take? Please let me know if I can help in any way. Praying for y’all.
Here is an article from gotquestions.org that answers the question, "How Should Christians View the Black Lives Matter Movement?" https://www.gotquestions.org/black-lives-matter.html
I know this is a sensitive subject these days, but hopefully you'll find this article to be informative and applicable to all that's going on in our world.
This past Saturday Sam Yoder provided his testimony for us in person and on our youtube website. Here’s the link for that…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdC6HioeGI4. We had 17 men present, and many more who let me know they were able to view it livestream and or on our website. Even though we had low on numbers we did have two new visitors, which was a huge blessing. Let me encourage you to view Sam’s testimony if you haven’t already…I’ll also provide some notes below that I took that morning. Thanks for all each of you do to make this community god-honoring.
Practicing His Presence,
Sam started us off with quoting Matthew 16:25.
Sam grew up on an Amish farm in an Amish family. He’d frequently ask his dad to play with him, but would often hear the words, “maybe tomorrow.” His dad had an anger issue, but no one else saw it. His dad would never show his anger when visitors were around. All of Sam’s life he tried so hard to get his dad’s approval. He longed to hear “good job,” or “I’m proud of you.” But he never heard it.
At age 11 Sam knew he no longer wanted to be Amish. He’d sit and dream of owning a red pickup one day. At age 15 he rode his horse 1.5 miles into town on his own. At that moment he got a taste of life outside the Amish community and had a sense of freedom.
A few years later he moved to Tennessee. He got into drugs, alcohol and smoking. Worse yet, he discovered that some men were out to kill him. He sensed God stepping in. A friend invited him to Kansas to live and have a fresh start. He stopped the drug use, but still drank. He came to a point of hopelessness. He’d easily down a 6-12 pack every night. During this time he met a girl at an Amish softball game. For the first time in his life he finally felt like someone cared about him. The drinking habit became less and less. That next spring she became pregnant. They made plans to get married that next spring. During the planning process his dad found out he had cancer. They planned to get married on June 14th, and on May 20th his dad passed away. Sam was now 21 years of age and had become angry towards God. This anger had spilled over into his marriage and life. After being out of state for some time Sam moved back to Iowa to take over his dad’s clients in the horse shoeing business. In 2018 Sam’s marriage was on the rocks. He became good at putting up a front so others couldn’t tell what was really going on. He and his wife took the step of attending a marriage conference together…in hopes that it’d fix his wife. Later, Sam attended a men’s encounter conference and was re-baptized in 2019. Galatians 5:1
In life God plants, His seed grows, and He keeps showing us what to weed out of our lives. Sometimes we have to lose it all before we can see what He has for us. Sam felt empty in life. He felt like he was just going through the motions. He’s learned that he needs to deal with several words that have the selfish word “I” in the middle of each one. Learning how to deal with prIde, obedIence, and how to dIe to self. He’s learned to take small action steps and God continues to bless him for it.
Satan has a subtle message in life…stay busy, and remain under his yoke. When you do, you begin to experience anxiety. He learned not to tell God that he had big problems, but rather he learned to tell his problems how big his God is. In time, Sam has been practicing living an obedient life before his God. He’s practiced praying over his wife at the beginning and end of each day. He says that he either prays over her, or Satan will PREY over her. He’s been letting Satan know that he can’t have his family. Do you know what happens when you’re obedient to God? Hell loses. Sam wanted us to know that he was able to mend things with his father before he passed away.
Challenges from Nate:
I'd like to give you a week or so worth of articles to read through and consider. One is dealing with what the Bible says about prejudice, and the other two deal with what the Bible says about racism.
I would encourage you to reach out to others and see what part you can play in helping remove prejudice and racism from your community and country. Be Christ with skin on in all you do.
Practicing His Presence,
Question: "What does the Bible say about prejudice?"
Answer: Broadly speaking, prejudice is preferential bias, and it can be either favorable or unfavorable. But the term prejudice most often refers to a negative opinion, not based on fact or experience, formed without just grounds or sufficient knowledge. Prejudice targets groups or types of people rather than responding to people as individuals. Prejudice is usually expressed as unreasonable and hostile feelings, opinions, or attitudes toward ethnic, racial, social, or religious groups. Prejudice has been a significant part of religious history, with some even defending acts of prejudice in the name of Christianity. It’s good to look at what the Bible says about prejudice.
Humans have a natural tendency to show prejudice toward anyone who is different. Both Old and New Testaments were written during times of human history when racial, national, and sexual prejudice was expected. Women were treated as property, and the enslavement of other nationalities was common. When God gave Moses the Law for Israel, He incorporated moral and ethical standards that were unheard of in that barbaric day (Deuteronomy 4:8). God decreed that His people would be different from the violent and godless nations around them (Leviticus 20:26). Part of that difference would be in the way they were to treat others: foreigners among them were to be treated as their own brothers (Leviticus 19:34), eliminating prejudice from their ranks.
Prejudice among Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans was rampant in Jesus’ day. Jews hated Samaritans and considered Gentiles unclean. Jesus transcended the prejudice by placing particular emphasis on a Gentile man’s faith (Matthew 8:10–11) and the kindness of a Samaritan (Luke 10:30–36). God had chosen the nation of Israel through whom He would send His Messiah (Romans 1:16), and the Jews were proud of their heritage (see John 8:33). When the church began, the first Jewish converts to Christianity believed God’s salvation belonged solely to them. But as non-Jews began to respond in faith to the gospel, the ingrained Jewish prejudice led quickly to discord and controversy within the church (Acts 11:1; 15:5).
God gave the apostle Peter a vision to teach him that God is not prejudiced and will not tolerate prejudice in His people. Because of what God revealed to him, Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34–35). Paul, chosen specifically by God as the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8), explained that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, offers salvation to everyone who trusts in Him. That faith grafts every believer into God’s family. Paul wrote, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26–29). There are no second-class Christians. Faith in Christ is the great equalizer, eradicating any foundation for prejudice.
The historical accounts of fighting and bloodshed in the name of Christ—Protestants killing Catholics and Catholics killing Protestants—look nothing like the Christianity of the New Testament. Religious prejudice is just as evil as any other kind and is nowhere validated by Jesus or the apostles. Religious prejudice is still rampant in many parts of the world and is directly opposed to everything Jesus taught. While we can strongly disagree with other Christians in doctrine and lovingly oppose false teaching of every kind, we are never to force our views through hatred, coercion, or violence (see John 18:36).
Jesus’ teaching combats prejudice. God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,” Jesus said, “and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). “Love your enemies,” Jesus said, “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:27–31). Such commands steer us away from prejudice of any kind.
The Bible states that love must govern every action we take (1 Corinthians 16:14), and prejudice is opposed to love. Love sees the image of God in every individual; prejudice pre-assigns judgment without just cause. First Corinthians 13:4–8 defines what love looks like. We are not the judges of a person’s worthiness. First Corinthians 4:5 says that we should not “pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
Prejudice has no place in the heart of a believer in Christ. Our lives are to be ruled by humility, obedience, and love for God and others (Romans 13:7–9). Prejudice violates all three. To be prejudiced means we consider ourselves better than someone else, which is pride (Philippians 2:3). It means we are directly disobeying Jesus’ command to treat others as we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). And it means that we are not fully loving God, since we are unwilling to love people created in His image (1 John 4:20–21). Due to our fallen human natures, we all struggle with some form of prejudice; we should be quick to recognize it as sin and ask the Lord to rid us of it. When we are willing to see our prejudice as God sees it, we can repent of it and seek His help in changing it (1 John 1:9). https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-prejudice.html
While there is no ethnicity that can claim to be the exclusive recipients of racism, blacks/Africans are the recipients of racial injustice, prejudice, and discrimination more than any other ethnic group in most parts of the world. In the USA in recent years, there have been numerous high-profile examples of black men being treated unjustly, to say the very least, by police officers. It is distressing, shocking, and for some, rage-inducing, to see a black man die due to the treatment he received when a person of any other ethnicity, under the same circumstances, likely would have essentially received a slap on the wrist.
Before I dive into what the Bible says about racism, let me give a few friendly reminders:
(1) We should never be quick to judge or condemn. We should never assume intentionally malicious actions. This is relevant whether we are prone to defend the police officer or the black man involved. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a hallmark of our justice system. We should not automatically assume the black man is guilty, nor automatically assume the police officer is guilty. James 1:19 instructs us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Jesus strongly rebukes hypocritical judging in Matthew 7:1-5. How many times have we all prejudged a situation only to come to a different conclusion once all the facts are available?
(2) Only God knows the heart (Proverbs 21:2; 1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). The “outward appearance” of something may seem clear, but we have no knowledge of what is going on in a person’s heart. What happened before the video recording started? What happened earlier in the day? What happened earlier in a person’s life? While these questions absolutely do not excuse evil actions, they should cause us to pause before coming to conclusions about the reasons and motives behind a person’s actions.
(3) Just as it is wrong to judge a person solely on the color of his/her skin, so it is also wrong to judge an entire career field based on the evil actions of a few of its members. There are approximately 800,000 police officers in the USA. The vast majority of them strive to treat people fairly and justly, regardless of race. To say that all police officers are racists, or at least racially biased, due to the actions of a few police officers is just as wrong as a police officer treating a black man poorly due to having difficulties with black men in the past. Again, we cannot automatically assume anything about the individual police officers or black men involved in a given situation. Nor can we automatically apply whatever was true in that situation to every other situation. Just because one black man committed a crime does not mean all black men are criminals. Just because one police officer abused his power does not mean all police officers do so.
Clearly our society needs healing, and specific solutions might come in a variety of ways. But what I would like to discuss here is the broader issue of racism in a bit more of a conceptual sense. Why does humanity even have this problem? For each of us as individuals, what is the solution?
What does the Bible say about racism?
Racism has been a problem throughout human history. Why? The answer is simple—sin. We harbor evil thoughts about other people and commit evil acts against other people because of sin (Romans 3:10-23). Sin appears to make us innately suspicious of people who look differently from us. Racism is clearly, biblically speaking, evil (Ephesians 2:14; James 2:8). We should never judge an entire ethnicity based on the evil actions of one member of that ethnicity, or many members of a particular ethnicity for that matter. Martin Luther King's dream was of a nation where people are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Only through the transformative power of salvation in Jesus Christ can racism be overcome (2 Corinthians 5:17). Only through seeing all other people as being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) can we rid ourselves of racial prejudices. For some of us, that might begin by first acknowledging that racism exists and that we likely have prejudices of which we are unaware. For others of us, that might begin by acknowledging that not everything is about race. People treat one another differently for a variety of reasons, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. We all need to be willing to listen to one another. If we do not adequately understand the problem, we can do nothing to resolve it. As we each individually seek to set our prejudicial tendencies aside and to instead see people as God does, we can become part of the solution.
As said above, the only lasting solution is the power and work of God. When we are secure in our identity in Christ, resting fully in His forgiveness and His love, we are less likely to be defensive over the issue of racism. It comes as no surprise to us that human hearts, including our own, harbor sin. It also comes as no surprise that God transforms people and brings healing. It is only with God’s help that we can examine our hearts, listen to others in order to understand their perspective, and work together toward unity. While racism can be expressed systemically, it is ultimately a matter of the hearts of people. So, if we want to live in a society with less racism, we need to view others as God views them. More than that, we need to love them as He has called us to. And to do so, we need the redemption of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the end of the matter? Perpetuators of racism, you need to repent. “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices” (Jeremiah 25:5). Victims of racism, as hard as it may seem, you need to forgive. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). All of us would do well to see each other as people loved by God, for whom Christ died, and whom we are called to love. No matter the color of our skin, we are all part of the human race.
We can celebrate our unique differences, and we can even disagree with one another, but we cannot discount one another's inherent value. https://www.gotquestions.blog/racism.html
Question: "What does the Bible say about racism?"
Answer: The first thing to understand in this discussion is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are different ethnicities of the human race. All human beings have the same physical characteristics (with minor variations, of course). More importantly, all human beings are equally created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to lay down His life for us (John 3:16). The “world” obviously includes all ethnic groups.
God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9), and neither should we. James 2:4 describes those who discriminate as “judges with evil thoughts.” Instead, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (James 2:8). In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “racial” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their status and despised the Gentiles. Jesus Christ put an end to this, destroying the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross.
Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). If God is impartial and loves us with impartiality, then we need to love others with that same high standard. Jesus teaches in Matthew 25 that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him. If we treat a person with contempt, we are mistreating a person created in God’s image; we are hurting somebody whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.
Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees, has been a plague on humanity for thousands of years. Brothers and sisters of all ethnicities, this should not be. Victims of racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Racists may not deserve your forgiveness, but we deserved God’s forgiveness far less. Those who practice racism, prejudice, and discrimination need to repent. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:13). May Galatians 3:28 be completely realized, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” https://www.gotquestions.org/racism-Bible.html
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter