[CF Devotionals] 2014-08-29 - GOD Challenge

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It is amazing how viral this ice bucket challenge has been in the last few weeks. Half of my Facebook news feed on some days appears to be these challenges. If my memory serves right, it originally kicked off last school year as just a fun thing to do as I remember seeing it just among a few people but now it is back with a vengeance and a purpose. Heck even Batman, Ben Affleck, and Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, have gotten in on the action. Largely it is raising awareness for charities since often you're asked to donate to one of your choosing, with ALS being the biggest winner from what I have seen. But God threw out a challenge years ago and at one point it too went viral but its popularity seems to be waning.

ALS is a terrible disease for which there is currently no cure but S.I.N. is an even worse disease infecting every human with a 100% mortality rate but it is also 100% curable. However, those with the cure don't share it because they get busy with lots of other "good" things when they could be doing the "best" thing.

Matthew 28:16-20 (NASB) But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; (Him here is in italics in Bible) but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Jesus called out eleven guys and issued the first ever GOD Challenge. It's as if Jesus said, "Peter, James, John, Andrew, and all the rest, I'm calling you out – I gave my life for you now you must do this for me. Share my story everywhere. Don't stop until the whole world hears."

Jesus' challenge to us is a 3-step process. Step 1 – Go out. Step 2 – Make disciples and baptize them. Step 3 – Teach them to do everything I have told you to do which would include all three of these steps. Therefore, the cycle should never end. That is his plan anyway.

Flashback much earlier in his ministry and we get a feel for Jesus' heart in giving this challenge.

Matthew 9:35-38 (NASB) Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Bob Pierce, World Vision founder, said, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." Moreover, what broke his heart time and again was seeing lost people without a Sovereign savior. I am going to summarize this GOD Challenge and then break it down piece by piece for you. Because God ESTEEMS us, God ENTREATS us, EQUIPS us, and EMPOWERS us to go and meet the challenge laid before us – sharing the good news about him with the world.

God loves us but I like alliteration and, since everything begins with an E, so I will say God esteems us. Esteem means to hold in high regard or love. God so loved the world that he sent his only son that whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 paraphrased) It is this love that caused him to lay down his life on the cross for our sins. It is this love that compelled him to endure the agony and humiliation of the beatings and crucifixion. God does not just love the eleven and me; he loves everyone and so to those who discover and accept his love he offers the three step challenge we saw in that first passage.

God entreats us to go – he passionately pleads with us to do this work for him. He urgently calls us because he cares so much for all our souls. As an author named Keith Wright put it, "Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us."

God equips us to go – he gives us the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit and all the authority in heaven to do his bidding. There is not much more he could give really. The famous missionary William Carey said, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."

Lastly, God empowers us to go – he gives us a spirit of power not fear. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells all believers.

So who will accept the GOD challenge? Who will go and tell others about Jesus and ask them to become followers of Jesus? "The evangelization of the world waits not on the readiness of God but on the obedience of Christians," said Bill M. Sullivan, an author on church growth. How many of you want to do great things? How many of you are willing to storm the gates of hell with a water pistol full of holy water?

I wish to leave you with two quotes to chew on:

"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell." – C.T. Studd (a missionary to Africa)

Today, right now, I challenge you to come to Christ if you've never acknowledged him as Lord and Savior, do so now and wrap up your eternal salvation in him. Ask him to save you from sin and surrender your life to him. And, if you have come to him then go for him – tell others, make disciples.

"Of course it's dangerous. But it's a lot more dangerous for all of us if we don't do it. Even in a conquering army there are casualties. Safety is not the issue when we look at the Great Commission. The purpose of the church cannot be to survive, or even to thrive, but to serve." ― Brother Andrew in "Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ"

Live life on the edge of hell snatching as many from its cliffs as you can.

Author's Note: This devotional is based off a message to youth on August 20, 2014. I pray that people of all ages will be able to identify with it and be challenged by it though.


[email adam] acdum@hotmail.com

All scripture references are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

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