It seems I wasn’t able to keep up the WordPress Weekly for too long. I skipped out on blogging last week. I hope my thoughts were missed by some, but I just had too much to do. This week is no different really, but I wanted to post something. I’ve kind of made up for last week with this post because it’s so long… I hope you have the time to read it all. I probably won’t get around to posting a daily photo for the rest of this week but we’ll see how we go. Don’t forget to check out what I’m reading on the web here: My Shared Items from Google Reader. Add this to your RSS feeds to see what I’m reading about and liking enough to share. Speaking of sharing, if you like what you’ve read, don’t forget to press one of the share buttons at the bottom of the post!
Calendar For Sale
I have just released a calendar for sale. I ordered one last week to check out the quality and see what the product looks like. It arrived today in the mail, and it’s fair enough to say that I am quite happy with the result. RedBubble has done a fantastic job of the printing. They print their calendars on A3 paper which presents the photography for your kitchen wall in a fabulous manner.
To order, you can visit the product page here. The price is $26 + shipping. At the moment you can get free shipping by using the promotional code: ‘FREEPAUL’ at the checkout.
Reading Mark 5 last week sometime made me think about the value of a personal testimony. From verse 1 to 20 Mark tells the story of the healing of a demon-possessed man in the area of the Decapolis on the other side of Lake Galilee. This man is freed from his captivity as Jesus allows the legion of demons to enter the large herd of pigs nearby. They, subsequently, got into a frenzy and plummeted off a cliff into the lake.
This made the townspeople unhappy and they sent Jesus away before they gave Him the chance to share with them. I think this was part of the demons’ plan but Jesus had a greater one. The healed man, who had been possessed begged Jesus to allow him to join His group of followers. Jesus did not let him, but rather commissioning him to “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (verse 19).
This man had nothing more than a brief personal encounter with Jesus to share with his people. Yet, he “went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (verse 20). When Jesus returned to this same area in Mark 7:31-8:10, great crowds gathered to listen to His teaching. It seems to me that the healed demon-possessed man had done some wonderful missionary work with the small, but powerful story that he had. I have always wondered why Jesus allowed the demons to cause such havoc in the area. Perhaps it was because Jesus could see into the future and knew that the harvest would be greater if he came back later after the groundwork had been done by the first missionary.
A personal story testifying to the saving power of God and His grace must be one of the most effective ways to share the His Good News. Garth Bainbridge, in his devotional book, “Immanuel: The Man Who is God”, makes some great points on the testimony of the blind man in John 9. “The healed blind man spoke confidently from the platform of his own encounter with Jesus and the difference it had made for him.” The Pharisees did not like what was happening, yet they could not deny that the story was the truth. They were skeptical and argued matters of religion. They could not accept Jesus as a Man from God. Denying this reality, however, could not take away the miracle. As with the demon-possessed man, who doubtless knew very little theology, both men could only share their stories: “I was blind but now I see!” or “I was possessed but now I am free”.
The power of a testimony is huge, as it cannot be refuted. The Holy Spirit fills in the gaps with the right words to frame this experience in perspective with the Gospel. Our personal stories of ‘Jesus encounters’ have great potential to bring light and hope to the darkness. Why don’t you tell yours?
This YouTube video below talks about the way to be a mission focussed church. I think it’s got a great point on this week’s topic.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” — Romans 12:1,2 The Message
“We may think God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain sort.” — C.S. Lewis
Something to Say by Matthew West is an awesome song. It sort of fits today’s thoughts. Take a listen on iTunes.
Title: Something to Say
Artist: Matthew West
Album: Something to Say
Weekly Photos – Multnomah Falls
Today’s photos come from the Columbia River Gorge on the northern border of Oregon. Enjoy.