The Insanity of God. An eye catching title, I know! When this book was first recommended to me, I have to admit, it didn’t sound like a book I would read. You can never judge a book by its cover! From the first pages I was struck with the powerful testimony of God’s guidance in the life of Nik Ripkens who sought God earnestly. Here are some of the lessons I learned from the book and why you need read it as well.
- God is a Rewarder: “…he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Nik’s heart to seek God and to do His will is obvious throughout the book. There is a progression of growth in the author’s life that makes one thirsty to seek God also. By the last chapter, there a sense that Nik had experienced enormous growth in both the knowledge and love of God. It is time that American believers seek God in sincerity.
- God is Working in the Midst of Persecution: Much of the world does not know the freedoms that we experience in America. Persecution is a daily occurrence for many believers around the world. As Americans, we think restriction and persecution limits the work of God, but the opposite is true. God’s power is revealed in the most amazing ways in the most heavily persecuted countries. Persecuted believers in Somaliland, Russia, China and in Muslim lands are seeing God work as He did in the pages of the New Testament. Though we ought not seek persecution, we ought to embrace living for and serving Christ with same focus and passion as our persecuted brethren. As Stoyan said, reference American believers, “I took great joy that I was suffering in my country so that you could be free to witness in your country.” He went on to say, “DON’T YOU EVER GIVE UP IN FREEDOM WHAT WE WOULD NEVER GIVE UP IN PERSECUTION— AND THAT IS OUR WITNESS TO THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!”
- God uses Dedicated Disciples: I discovered that these persecuted believers knew by experience what Jesus meant in Luke 9:23 when He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” I was left asking myself, “Do I know what that means.” They serve Jesus gladly even in the face of death because Jesus is worthy. Reading of their dedication, I have no question why God used them as He did. Let us decide to be dedicated to Jesus no matter what happens. He is worth it!
- God is the Same: The Bible tells us that God is always the same. We read the Biblical accounts of God’s powerful works and conclude, “That was just for Bible times.” Nik asks, “Is the resurrection power that the New Testament describes still real and available to believers in our world today? Nik discovered that the God of the New Testament had not changed and was still able and ready to show Himself strong. Our God is not limited by governments. He is not limited by evil. I was personally convicted of my lack of faith in the unlimited power of God. How we need a fresh realization of the grandness and power of our God.
After reading this book, I plan to recommend it to everybody I can, simply because it was a huge help to me. I am hungry to see God work in America and more specifically in my own community. This book challenged me not to get sidetracked by the thrills of life, but to seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
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I am sure you are like me and shaking your head as you watch the news. There seems to be a spirit of lawlessness rising in our country. I do not claim to know all the details of the Dallas shooting, however I do want to just give a couple of thoughts that followers of Christ ought to practice in these days.
- Pray for Americans to Turn to Jesus
Those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ will be peacemakers. Jesus taught His disciples to seek peace. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” One cannot be a peacemaker without possessing the Peacemaker Himself. Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Let’s pray for a great awakening in America to the person of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers to all.
- Respect Authority
It is always right to obey the authorities that are in place over you. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Followers of Jesus ought to be bold examples of respecting police officers. If you get pull over, do what he or she says. Be submissive and if you were doing wrong (like speeding), be humble enough to admit it.
- Appreciate Local Law Enforcement
Everyday the police officers in your city show up to roll call and wonder quietly if their shift will go without a violent situation or a socially charged attention getting incident. They get into their cruisers wondering if they will return to their homes safely. The vast majority of officers simply want to keep their communities safe, no matter the races represented. They wear a uniform and a badge, but behind it is a heart that needs encouraged and appreciated. Find a way to appreciate your local police officers.
My heart hurts for what I see in my country. The Bible tells us that in the last times things would get worse and worse. We are experiencing that on many levels! Let’s be sure to shine for Jesus brighter than ever in everything we do.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Everyone has a To-Do list. For some of us, it is kept on a smart device or on sticky notes, while for others it is kept in the head. No matter where you house your list, you are very mindful of all the things you must get done. Let me ask you a question. Do you consider a prayer meeting as an opportunity to get things done? What is prayer all about to you?
Many times when we talk about prayer meetings we think of something that is mechanical and merely a religious routine. We pray because we are expected to and if we don’t we will feel bad. Yet, a prayer meeting is, in reality, an opportunity for believers to come to God with things that need to get done. Prayer meetings can be quite productive. Many people view them as passive. They should be viewed and conducted as anything but passive. John 14:13–14 says, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Notice in the verse that we are told to ask so that things may be done. Prayer meetings are about getting things done—specifically getting God’s will done on earth.
At our church we are looking forward to three weeks of Cottage Prayer Meetings in preparation for Easter and Revival. As you prepare for Easter, take time to call for and participate in prayer meetings so that God’s will can get done in our churches and cities.
There are few methods of evangelism that I enjoy more than door-to-door evangelism! I love getting out, meeting new people, taking time to hear their story and then offering them hope in Jesus Christ. I have had people stop me in the local store remembering me stopping by their door and have an opportunity to continue the conversation. While there are some who would not use this method, I want to share with you some reasons that I still believe that door-to-door evangelism is a method we should employ in our churches today.
- Biblical Method—This ought to be the basis of any method that we employ in our church ministries. Throughout the book of Acts we find that the early church and its leaders were active in teaching the Gospel by two methods. They taught it publicly and from house to house. Acts 5:42 “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:20 “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,” I believe that this Biblical method is time honored and very practicable today!
- Measurable Method—We have been commissioned by Jesus to preach the Gospel. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be His witnesses in our own cities and throughout the whole world. We can witness on street corners, at parades and other public events, but none of those are measurable. They do not allow us to know that we have touched the whole city with the message of the Gospel. I believe in using all kinds of methods, but nothing allows us to measure progress like door-to-door.
At Grace Baptist Church we measure our progress with a map system. We have a book of maps in a three ring binder. Members check out a map that with a highlighted street. They take the Outreach Cards that are in use at that time and go out in teams of two knocking on the doors. They turn in the map once they have completed it. The street is then marked as accomplish on our large progress map which is displayed off our lobby.
- Personal Method—Businesses covet word of mouth advertising. Personal endorsements of a product or business are extremely powerful. I believe this is one of the reasons that God told us to go and verbally share Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). He created us and knows that we respond to the witness or testimonials of others.
- Involving Method—Ephesians 4:12 tells us that every believer is a minister. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are all witnesses. I believe that every Christian should be actively involved in sharing Jesus Christ in their community. I believe the church should organize, equip and encourage believers to be obedient to the Great Commission. Door-to-door soulwinning provides opportunity for everyone to be involved.
Recently I shared an outreach vision with our church call Target 45429. It is our goal to knock each door in this area three times before moving on to other parts of our city. There is a large opportunity for many to be involved. Furthermore, there are some who legitimately cannot get out there on the sidewalks for health reasons. I shared with them that we need people to come meet at church while soulwinning is in progress and pray that God will empower those out knocking doors. We also need babysitters so that younger families can be involved. These are additional and important ways for believers to be involved.
- Proven Method—I can think of people right now in our church that have be reached in that past several years by door-to-door. I was recently on a ministry trip with our teens and my wife had the opportunity to lead lady to Jesus at the door. She has been attending her church and has even brought a guest. Maybe you can think of a story of someone in your church reached through door-to-door.
Don’t give up on this awesome method! Get a map of your city, divide it up and determine to knock on every door in your city. You will be amazed how God will bless your desire and faithfulness in the harvest.
This past Sunday evening I was blessed to have the Weber family present their ministry to Mongolia. I was touched by their sincerity and unity as a family. During his presentation he gave us four ways to pray for them. These points are worthwhile in praying for missionaries in general.
- Falsehoods—pray for those who have believed the falsehoods of religion. Fifty percent of Mongolians are Buddhists. Forty percent claim no religion at all. The rest nominally claim Christianity. Pray that the truth of God’s Word will break through the error liberating these souls through its truth.
- Fruit—pray that the Mongolians will respond and follow Jesus. This would be the fruit of souls.
- Future—the future of any nation or even church is the children. Pray that God will draw the children to Himself. Pray that they would understand the Gospel and receive it.
- Favor—every missionary, whether at home or abroad, needs favor in the eyes of the people. They need to earn trust as the outsiders. Pray that God will give them creativity and open doors as they seek to build relationships from which they can share the gospel.
You can find out more information about the Webers at their website.
In the wake of the ruling that has been passed down from the highest court in our land, I want to point attention to a biblical character that gives an excellent pattern for Bible believing Christians. Daniel was unashamedly a follower of the one true God. He openly loved Him and sought His guidance daily. Daniel was so open, that those who worked closely with him knew his habits of prayer. When the new law was handed down from the king saying that the citizen could only pray to the king and no other god, Daniel’s co-workers knew that he would continue to pray to the God of Heaven.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Before we look at today’s ruling from the Supreme Court and bunker down, lets remember what Daniel did. He continued walking with God and seeking Him daily as he did aforetime. What do Bible believing Christ followers need to do today?
- Seek God
Don’t react publicly until you have sought God privately. Take time to pray today. Pray for God’s grace to stand and shine for Him. Pray for other believers to remain steadfast. Pray for our leaders to come to trust and follow Jesus. Pray for a revival of the fear of God in our country. You cannot go wrong in seeking the Supreme Ruler of All first.
- Share Jesus
Continue to witness for Christ. If you have not been an open witness, seek God’s forgiveness and begin right away. Jesus needs you to stand and shine for Him in the midst of spiritual darkness. Don’t allow fear and cultural trends to mute your witness for Jesus. He is the answer to all the chaos!
- Show Christ’s Love
As you witness, remember to speak the truth in love. Christ always showed compassion to those that were against Him. Let the love of Christ be most evident in your voice and eyes as you proclaim Jesus Christ. Remember, there is not a single person alive on planet earth that is beyond the reach of His love. Let Jesus love them through you.