Making Our Hearts Right With You
We are rebels from you. We think we are our own gods. We think we can make our own decisions. We think we can do and say whatever we want because we think our lives are our own. We doubt You. We put ourselves in charge of our lives because we don't like the way You do things. We reject You and make other people and things more important than You.
What happens as a result? We ignore Your prescription for a blessed life and a healthy society. We mess up our lives! We get into trouble. We cause ourselves a lot of pain and suffering, Hatred. Violence. Broken relationships. Self-destructive behaviors. Confusion. Meaninglessness. Frustration. Bitterness. Violence. Cruelty. Crime. War.
You cannot have rebellion in your presence. You are the Holy God. Therefore, we deserve Your eternal wrath, an eternity separated from the blessings of Your grace and mercy. There is no religious ritual we can do to erase our rebellion from our record. We cannot live a good enough life because even our good deeds are motivated by doing things our own way.
However, Your love for us is so incredible that you provided someone to erase our rebellion for us. You provided someone to take on Your wrath for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He lived the perfect life we cannot live. He never rebelled from You (or else He would have to die for His own rebellion). He received Your wrath in full that we deserved. He died. However, You raised Him from the dead because You were pleased with Him, You wanted to prove that His sacrifice had satisfied Your wrath, and to pave the way for eternal life for all who believe in Him.
He now reigns and He will reign forever. He is working in individual lives, in communities, and in nations for one purpose - that people throughout the earth will find freedom from the catastrophe of their rebellion from You.
However, evil spirits know all these truths. Knowledge of these things does not save. We must personally confess our rebellion from You and ask that what Christ did paid the penalty for our rebellion. We must commit to live in obedience to Your call for us to love You and others. We must surrender our will to Yours. In other words, we must stop trying to be our own god. We must stop worshiping other things. We must stop doubting You.
Father, heal our lives by forgiving us of our rebellion in the name of Jesus Christ. Transform us into people of love, joy, peace, gentleness goodness, perseverance, kindness, compassion, mercy, generosity, good works, patience, self-control, and faithfulness.
Loving Our Neighbors?
Your people should be exceedingly grateful. You saved us. You rescued us. We should desire to tell the world! Look at what Jesus Christ did for me. Testimonies. We know what brokenness is like. We know what suffering is like. We should be eager to help people in crisis. In fact, it is a command from You, to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Father, less than 3% of 2,000+ church websites we visited in 2015-2016 had any testimonies of transformed lives. Not one church website featured a testimony on their home page above the fold. Information about outreach ministries were buried on secondary pages. There were no stories of members of congregations sharing the blessings of serving the needs of hurting people in the local community. The church websites were largely silent (or a whisper only) about adversities like divorce, illness, bankruptcy, addiction, poverty, or incarceration. Apparently, either Your Son doesn't rescue people in such crises or Your people who have been rescued are not willing or able to honor Him by sharing their stories. "Shh! Don't tell anyone!"
What does this scream to those who have not placed their faith in your Son? Jesus Christ is irrelevant to the problems people face in the 21st century.
Instead of sharing our testimonies and building relationships of love with people in prison, the poor, the sick, and the addicted, we are shedding tears about the moral decline of our nation. We disregard Your formula for societal transformation (testimony sharing and volunteering in the community) and place our faith in politicians and government.
Father, forgive Your church in America. We dedicate Gramazin to awakening Your church to the task at hand - to speak with our mouths and to prove with our hands and feet that Jesus Christ does change lives in the 21st century.
December 2020 - The Church Unites Over Stories of Renewal
How dare I challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ if I am not prepared to practice what I preach? Father, I've shared on Gramazin and in Take Every Thought to Prayer what You've taught me. I've been transparent and vulnerable. I now dedicate my life to Gramazin (amazing grace). Father, I believe you have given me the following objectives:
- Foster a mindset in believers to be willing to share their testimonies and to volunteer in their local community.
- Help believers compose their testimonies and volunteer stories.
- Encourage churches to publish, on the front page of their websites, the stories of the work of Jesus Christ in people's lives in the congregation.
- Make the general public aware of the new commitment churches across America have to share evidence of the love of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.
Father, I thank you for the very favorable response my mission has received from other believers and church leaders. However, I believe there is a need for urgency. "People, time keeps on ticking. People are dying without hope." Without a sense of urgency, individual believers and church leaders will write off testimony sharing as a "nice idea" but there are more pressing things to deal with today. Father, I believe You have let me know that a movement of change and transformation will not occur if there is not a target date for when testimonies and volunteer stories need to be published.
December 6-12, 2020. A one week celebration by believers across the United States of the stories of Jesus Christ.
Revival in Our Nation
Father, our nation is spiritually lost because so many people have no idea how Jesus Christ can heal their broken lives. Let Your people have a vision for what our country could be like if 10% of our churches started to publish testimonies on the front page of their websites. 20%. 30%. 40%. 50%. Let Your people have a vision for what our country would be like if 5 people in each church shared their testimony. 10. 20. People who don't know You, struggling with addiction or divorce or financial crisis, might actually think they could find stories of hope about these issues on the websites of local churches. They could search on Google for alcoholism and find testimonies of local believers, published by area churches, who have been rescued from alcoholism.
Father, I ask You to make the 2020s a decade where our culture discusses true stories of how Jesus Christ rescues people, stories published by churches in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, and the Pacific regions. May the debate about the relevance of Christianity in our culture soon be energized by millions of witnesses who tell what Jesus Christ has been up to.
Father, I am a mere man. Broken. Weak. Needy. I cannot accomplish this vision. However, You can. You delight in using messed up people like me to accomplish things that honor and glorify You and Your Son. Therefore, Father, use me!
January 12, 2017