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Minister’s Message

Imagine God

Hi there, Joseph McKinney Jr. here. For the past six months I have been making daily devotionals for the church in João Pessoa. I want to share some of the thoughts with you.

The purpose is to take five or ten minutes to meditate, deepening your relationship with God and then share with one other person, thus deepening your relationship with a brother or sister in Christ. So say a prayer, take some deep breaths and let this verse wash over you.

Colossians 1:15 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Have you ever tried to imagine what God is like? Did you imagine an old man, a ball of light or a cloud? It is impossible to imagine God, not because He is all powerful or so immense, but because He is Spirit. He is invisible. God wanted to reveal Himself in a way we could see Him.

Now imagine Jesus, a man with a physical body like ours, but with the character, love, and justice of God. Look to Jesus and you are seeing God. And when people look at you, guess who they should see.

Jesus is the bridge between God and us, and we are the bridge between Jesus and other people.

One of us

Is it truth or blasphemy? When we returned from Brazil in 1995, we became reintroduced to American TV and one of my favorite shows seemed to me at first to be blasphemy. It was named “Joan of Arcadia” and the theme song by Joan Osborne went like this:

“What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus Trying to make His way home?”

The gist of the story line was a teenager who God chose to appear to in a way that He seemed to be a stranger on a bus when someone in her life needed divine wisdom. It reminded me of the conversation between Jesus, Phillip and Thomas in John 14: 5 – 15:

5 Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

It is a historical fact that a man, Jesus of Nazareth, lived about 2,000 years ago. We know where He was born, the names of some in his family, how He died and, yes, that in him was life and that He himself was LIFE. His coming was a demonstration of life and this life is eternal. With Christ, “LIFE” stopped being just an abstract theory of philosophy. LIFE manifested itself as a carpenter’s son, who walked, talked, ate, slept, cried and loved and whose resurrection from the dead proved Him to be who He claimed to be. He said of Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Christ is life and life is Christ. If you have eternal life it is because you have Christ. If you don’t have Christ, you don’t have life. Real life, eternal life, which is the life of Christ, is much more than mere existence. Many exist who have never found “life”. If you ran into Jesus on the way to work on a city bus, would you recognize him? That’s not a strange question. After all, He became like one of us, didn’t He?

Don’t Wait

Don’t wait …
for a smile before you are pleasant to others.
until you are lonely before you recognize the value of a friend.
until the funeral to appreciate someone important in your life today.
for a better job before you start working hard.
until you fail to remember good counsel.
until you are ill to recognize how fragile life is.
until you are bitter to ask for forgiveness.
until you are in pain to believe in prayer.
until you have time in order to begin to serve.
until you are separated before you seek reconciliation.
for recognition before you start to serve.
until you are rich to be a generous giver.
for the other one to take the initiative if you are guilty.
for someone to say “Me too” before you say “I love you”.
until the day you die to give your life to the Lord!!!

Give honor to whom honor is due

This is why we want to honor so many of our dear sisters in Christ. Just think about the Caring Kitchen meals, teas and showers, funerals and the bereaved, Life Groups, sick and shut-ins, pot-lucks and more. You all are truly remarkable and worthy of praise. We praise you and the Lord who inspires you to tirelessly serve others.

We belong to Him and each other.

Do you know any walnuts?

They may be tough nuts to crack but if you succeed, you’ll find beauty, potential and a valuable source of nutrition. To crack a walnut open, just place it on a rock or a concrete surface, hold it at the right angle, lift a hammer into the air and force it down rapidly. If you hit it hard enough, it will open, but you may sometimes crush it to smithereens. God has a better way. Just bury it in the ground, expose it to the right moisture and temperature and wait for it to crack open from the inside, just like a chicken egg. You never need to beat it over the head to make it sprout and grow and be transformed into a very useful tree. Human beings, when placed in the proper environment, can grow and become what God designed us to be. God’s power to transform people is incredible. There are some important factors in the process of transformation:
1. The potential for greatness that God designed into human beings.
2. The environment conducive to growth provided by Christians who look beyond a  person’s faults to see their needs.
3. A person’s own free will and ability to choose between good and evil.
4. The gospel of Jesus Christ that motivates people to love and goodness.
5. The Holy Spirit present in the life of a person. I know it happens. The Bible says it  happens and I have seen it happen.

I am just a nobody who wants to tell everybody about somebody who can transform anybody.

The Magic Bank Account

Sam Hagan shared with me “The Magic Bank Account”.

“Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 into your account but there were rules to follow:

  1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
  2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account; you may only spend it.
  3. Each morning the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
  4. The bank can end the game without warning and close your account permanently.

What would you personally do? Would you buy anything and everything you wanted? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for; even for people you don’t know, (you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself).

Would you try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning?

Actually, this bank is real and a deposit is made into your account each morning. The deposit is “TIME”.

  1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
  2. When we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not rolled over; what we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
  3. Yesterday is forever gone.
  4. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING.

So, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds? Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to use wisely every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think. Invest wisely; love deeply; enjoy life. It is a gift from God!

Thank, You, Father, for the gift of LIFE!

Joe

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