Allen Stark

Allen Stark

First, Jesus has called all of us not to be just churchgoers but to surrender our entire lives into His hands. If Jesus is not Lord of our lives every hour of every day, then we are not Christians.

Christianity is not about attending church. It’s not about doing good deeds. It’s not even about living a strict moral life. It’s about giving our insides, our heart, away to the Person of Jesus of Nazareth and letting Him own our life. There really is no other kind of Christian life.

Christianity — is brotherhood and sisterhood and family — not just Wednesday evening meetings and weekend services and occasional acts of worship. It’s none of those compartmentalized things. It’s about our lives belonging to each other day in and day out, seven days a week. We are not true believers unless Jesus is the core of our existence, individually and together.

If we are not cultivating a deep, personal relationship with Jesus, then we are only department store mannequins, rather than a body. Those who truly live in the Body of Christ live in intimate friendship with the Living Jesus and have vulnerable, walking-in-the light, confessing-sins-to-one-another relationships!

Believe me, we have many sins which need to be confessed so that God can use us as a body that can be used to carry out His work and deliver His message of love and deliverance. My blinders began to fall off several years ago, and I began to see a much bigger and better way of life. Let me suggest that you look Jesus in the eye, from the bottom of your heart, and give Him your whole life. Not just once or twice a week. Over the years I’ve had a desire for God to seem more real to me.

There have been times I really needed someone I could feel was listening to me, not just my wife or members in my congregation. Someone I could really open up to and tell them what I was feeling. I’ve needed to feel a close relationship with such a person. Over the years, and especially recently, I’ve come to realize that person is my Heavenly Father.

In our conversations, He encouraged me to try and answer the questions: “Who do you think Jesus Is?” and “Who do you think I Am?” In my attempt to answer these questions for myself, I began to realize that I needed Jesus and our Heavenly Father to show themselves to me personally.

When they did it soon became apparent how much I needed them in my everyday life, not just during our times of fellowship. I now feel them as family, not just some “higher power.”

The more I listen to Jesus and my Father, the more I realize just how shallow my attempts at communication with them and others have been. I am beginning to hear that there is a great work we are being called to do.

This past week I was reading Ephesians 2:20 which says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

So I asked God, “Is there something I and my wife can or should do as a couple, or as individuals?” I’ve received some definite answers. And so I suggest that you think and pray about that also. Didn’t Jesus say He came to be with us that He might send us out? And isn’t that the way Jesus lived? I have never been real good at math, but this past week

I believe God taught me a new equation that includes the elements of caring, giving, serving, and sacrificing. This new equation is not concerned with worship services, or any other forms of religiosity. What I now see is a people that are spiritually sick and in need of healing; people that are suffering from ignorance, who are divided and violent, needing to learn kinder ways when dealing with each other — and a people being oppressed by corrupt powers, systems, and governments.

I believe that Jesus has the only solution for saving the world from itself, and for saving us from ourselves. History has shown us that mankind has been an unforgiving, ignorant-in-the-ways-of-God people for most of this earth’s history and no one can rescue us from ourselves except Jesus. We are a selfish, greedy, lustful, fearful, prejudiced, apathetic, and ignorant species.

And when I refer to Jesus as Savior, I mean that he is the only one that can save us from all of that. Jesus is working hard to restore us, to lead us out of our ignorance, and to heal our hearts from all the evil the world tries to cram into them.

And because the only one I still have any real confidence in is Jesus, I want to be part of what he is doing — not only his sharing of who he is but the commitment to physical labor that goes along with it. Jesus himself told us to not be hearers only but to be doers. That means we must get out of our pews and chairs in order to be his followers. He is calling us out at this time in history to be his Warriors. If the apostle Paul was addressing your congregation, could he say, “I thank God in all my prayers for all of you, because of your partnership in the gospel?” And would he also say, “You are standing firm in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel?”

I believe, as I hope and pray that we all now do, that God has sent His messengers to awaken us from being casual Christians so that we can respond in whatever ways He has in mind for us in the days ahead. And while you think about that, I want to give you the following four scriptures to read: Psalm 91:11-12, Isaiah 26:3, Second Corinthians 4:18 and 5:7.

— Contact Allen Stark at amsstark@msn.com.

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