Jesus came down and became a man to take the sins of mankind on Himself. He willingly left paradise, He willingly lived in a world of sin and led a perfect life showing us how to live by His example, He willingly allowed Himself to be beaten and reviled for our sins and He willingly mounted the cross and died for us.

Today is the day when we mourn for the pain and suffering that Jesus endured for the sake of each of us. As with the apostles, we need to tremble with great fear at the awful thing that occurred and then we can be filled with great joy when we celebrate Christ’s rising tomorrow.

As we give thanks every day for what God does for us we must remember that Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Praise the God who came to us to give us eternal life, not for what we did but for who we are. No, not for who we are but for who He is. The God of all mercy who saw us in our sin and by His grace made a way for us to come back to Him through Jesus. Any person who accepts Jesus, acknowledges their sin, asks for forgiveness and believes that Jesus rose to be with the Father is saved.

There is a woman in her eighties who has been volunteering at CAP for 7 or 8 years feeding the groups that come in to help CAP participants. Miss Anita fell last week and hurt herself. She is here but unable to be the Martha (Luke 10:40-42) that she has always been.

The other ladies are helping her to be comfortable and waiting on her It is difficult for her to accept the servants role but she is learning with a little help from her friends. There are times in our lives when w can serve others and there are times in our lives when God expects us to sit and be waited on. Anita has always been a gracious and faithful servant and right now it is time for her to be the one waited on.

Remember as you serve that there will be times when you need to be served and likewise remember when you are being served that there are times when you will be expected to serve. Follow Anita’s example and be both a gracious servant and a gracious recipient.

Met a man named Doug from California and a man named Joe from New Jersey while serving in Kentucky this week. One is a retired high school teacher and the other works for various magazine publishers in New York. One is a small older man and the other is a large man in his prime. One speaks with elegance and other with the typical Jersey accent.

The common thread that binds these men together is not complicated at all. They both have an abiding love for the Lord and want to pass that passion for Christ to the next generation. They both see the good in this teen generation and they both see the need to help others.

Despite a light snow and some freezing mornings they will both be back next year with another group of teens to be of service to the needy and hurting in Appalachia. They both understand the meaning of faith. They both understand how to turn their love of the Lord into a faithful testimony about Him. Praise God for these groups who come and serve and grow in God. You too can show your faith.

As one ages there is a choice to be made. We can live for our own pleasure collecting our social security and pensions and pursuing our own pleasures or we can use our time and talents to further the kingdom of God. The choice is ours and we need to choose wisely or we will deny the next generation the benefit of our wisdom.

There are many opportunities for people who are on a fixed income but have the time and the health to serve. The retired need to be examples to the community of how to let the love of Jesus shine over the world. Working when possible, counseling when necessary, praying always and always keeping Jesus in every situation.

As the body slows down we can teach, we can exhort and we can pray. The example of a Godly person speaks volumes to the young people of today and will last them a lifetime until they are in the position to mentor the next generation.

As you retire and chart the course of the rest of your life remember the Lord. Remember that all that you have came from God. You must return to Him what is His. What better way than to give the rest of your life to Him to use as He pleases.

Refreshed is the soul of the man who can have conversation with young people who understand the three pillars of community, service and spirituality and are ready to go home and disciple others. I am such a man. Watching these long-term volunteers who have grown in their faith gives hope to tomorrow.

I have been truly blessed with the added privilege of seeing my wife come alive with the joy of serving with other people who are fully committed to the Lord. I have been truly blessed with an awesome helpmate and the aches and pains all seem to fade away as we say our nightly prayers and reflect on the joys of the day.

There needs to be a way to show others why it is so important to give a hand up to someone in need and not just a handout. Everyone needs help at some time in their life, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual and to walk away is just plain wrong.

Volunteer to help. Give of yourself. Reap the rewards of good deeds.

Revelation 3:15-16 “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

These verses have been much on my mind lately. I can’t help but compare Laodicea to the United States. We sit in our churches, and we have a multitude of churches here in America, self-satisfied and complacent because we are giving lip service to God on Sunday. We give cheerfully to the church because God loves a cheerful giver, but probably not the full tithe. After all, who could possibly be expected to give up $3,000 out of every $30,000? And before taxes at that!

Who could be expected to give up their leisure time to help others? After all, we have earned our time off to do as we please and play with our toys.

If you need another reminder read about the wealthy man Lazarus in Luke 16:20-25. He was a wealthy comfortable good man who did nothing for his fellow man and see how he spends eternity.

Ignore God’s warnings at your own peril.

Acts 20:35: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

As we begin a new week of serving, I look around at the volunteer kitchen crew and stand in awe of what God can do. These people have listened to the voice of the Lord, stepped out in faith and come to Eastern Kentucky to serve.

It is true and very evident that Jesus uses the weak to show His strength and be His hands and feet. There are people here who have survived all kinds of physical problems and still serve. There are people here who get up every day with aches and pains and move with prayer and faith through the day to help the needy.

God calls us to spread the gospel wherever we are and under all circumstances. What better way to spend the time God has allotted you is there than to be helping others instead of yourself while you talk about Jesus? And talk about the Lord, you must.

Philippians 2:13-15 “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world”

As we watch our world turn more and more to self gratification, we see less and less of God and an increase in violence. The presence of the children of God needs to stronger than ever. The followers of Jesus must shine brighter in this sad and perverse world. We must take the blessings that God has bestowed on us and through prayer, supplication, study and worship spill those blessings out into the world. You must become the light on the hill that shines through the darkest evil and draws people into the light of God’s love.

In a fallen world that seems to be darkening it is imperative that the love of the compassionate God be expressed loudly and often. If you and I won’t do it then who will.

One week of Youthfest done, two to go. This is a trip that everyone who can, should go on. Living in our comfortable lives, doing comfortable things with people we are comfortable with is not what following Jesus is all about.

Following Jesus involves taking chances. Taking the chance that you will be doing and learning new things, working with people who test your patience or tolerance or even your belief system. Following Jesus means allowing the box in which you live to be stretched. Helping those in need regardless of who they are how or they got to this point.

Each week is tiring, more for some than others. But each week is also exhilarating and by Sunday we will be ready to begin anew. We serve an awesome God who enables us to follow Him with true joy and peace. By following God, Linda and I found each other and by always putting Him first we are able to love each other more deeply each day.

If you don’t know Jesus in your heart, you need to. He stands at the door to your heart. You know you can hear Him knocking, open the door and let Him in. Life will never be the same.

Day 2 of volunteering at Christian Appalachian Project – Youthfest complete. Linda and I are still alive and ready for day 3. We serve such an awesome God. He has allowed us the extraordinary privilege of working with the freshman class from St Anne’s Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia. These young high school students came as a class to be of service to poor and needy families in the area.

What they will take home is a greater appreciation of the need to serve others (Mat 25:40) and the need to be in community with other Christians (Rom 1:12). What they will leave behind is the aroma of the love of Jesus that will linger for a long time in the hearts of those they have helped. So, we will continue to work through our aches and pains as we are called to serve. Every place that God has put us has been for His glory. We but dimly reflect the love we receive from the Lord.

Let this be a call to you to go… serve… obey. Do not disobey God. The consequences are eternally disastrous. Of course obedience also has eternal consequences of joy and bliss.


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