Thursday, September 13, 2007

JESUS THEN AND JESUS NOW

When Jesus was restricted to one human body, his passion seemed twofold. He spread good news in a land approaching ransack and control by foreign soldiers. And, he loved, loved to attend to the underdogs. He healed and encouraged and healed and motivated.

All through the years we've had those among us who have led exemplary lives of caring for the stranded and the upset and the ignored. Don Pittman, who passed away a year ago, saw a church built powerfully on the twofold passion of Jesus. He would not quit accepting those who would/could likely be judged out of most fellowships. The heart of Jesus lived in Don's and the two of them ministered steadfastly to Jesus' favorite sort.

My daughter, Wendy Chapel, is of the same nature. At an early age she developed a love for complete strangers who touched her heart so deeply simply because they were deprived in some way. Once she had us pack and ship her first (and only Bible at the time) to an unknown (by us) five year old boy in Burlington, Iowa because she heard me preach that his family was found to only have a bottle of Heinz to eat (true story). She was seven.

Joe Almanza amazes me with his drive for the down and out. The man will not give up nor in. He risks and he aches to see new life come to old, weary spirits. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses: Pat Casey, Larry Wishard, Paul Whitmire, John Dobbs, Brenda Hughes, Tiffany Ferguson, Jeffery Sikes, Liz Moore, Greg England, Eric Magnusson, and on and on and on..........the list doesn't end. Listen to me now, it doesn't end.

Be encouraged today. If the present body of Jesus were to be suddenly extracted from society there would be such a stark and cavernous gap. The mountains of good being accomplished through the Spirit of Christ right now is an awesome, indescribable, unreportable, immeasurable fact. Be delighted to be connected to such a race of people which lives to love and loves to accept and accepts those who yet do not realize the beauty of our glorious God.

Day by day even more join us in spreading the same good news which kept the fire burning in the heart of God's son. Who can imagine the stories of God's most fascinating action...every day?

10 comments:

Dennis Wilson said...

Terry, you don't know me...but Tim came and worked with me while I was a missionary in Russia and did a marvelous job!

I loved reading your last few posts...and even though I am sitting in Cozumel, Mexico...I wanted to share what God has done with the "little" group of believers in Lubbock who continue to bless me as one of their missionaries.

Every Sunday we talk about being a church of Christ, a church for Christ and a church like Christ. There are so many people out there who are broken and bruised - and need someone to be Jesus in the flesh to them.

God is opening the floodgates with people who hunger and thirst after Him - but have been beat up so bad they don't know where to turn. There have been several added to the kingdom as well as many who have been restored!

It is so good to read about your mission - giving people "A place to Start Life Over" where they can meet Jesus in the flesh.

Rex said...

The list does not end ...

Cline and Jo Paden, Bill and Jo Boyles, Dennis and Theresa Wilson, Lynn and Celia Staggs, David and Rebekah Boyles, Cheri and Larry Smith, Tim and Kim Rush, Doug Oakes, Heidi Dockray, James and Radonna Kinnaird, Ray and Sonya Young, Foy and Rosemary Anderson, Thomas and Orpha Marion, Lee Anderson, Paige Foreman and others - would not "give up or in" on me. While others passed by on the other side, they, like the good Samaritan, saw me broken and bruised by my own sin, had compassion on me, bound up my wounds and gave me a safe place to rest and to heal. While others questioned my motives, they, like the prodigal’s father, came to find me … hugged me, kissed me, and celebrated my return home. While others stood ready to condemn, they, like the Savior refused to condemn the one that was caught in the act, as they stood with me before my accusers. Each of them has (or is) helping in some way a small group of broken and bruised people in Lubbock build a resting place ... a hiding place ... a healing place ... a church that is not just a church of Christ, but a church like Christ. We honor the work you and yours do in the place to start life over.

Jim said...

Terry, I had to reprint some of your very own words to your readers:

Be delighted to be connected to such a race of people which lives to love and loves to accept and accepts those who yet do not realize the beauty of our glorious God. the list doesn't end. Listen to me now, IT DOES NOT END.

I changed the order some and emphasized 4 words with all caps, The list does not end. I agree with you b/c every fellowship has those described in your writing. BUT WHY AREN'T THERE MORE? Worldwide the list does not end, but why are there pew sitters coming for few purposes and not doing? I have been one of those but why aren't all believers motivated to do something? If believers did all they could do would we have the problems we have today? Would we have a Presidential candidate with conservative ideas and values that far outweigh the current candidates and would we vote for this person or choose one of the others because of our race, sex (M or F), or other somthing? I am looking for someone like you to write something that everyone could add to that reads what you say and send it to every newspaper in the USA that would be printed in the Sunday edition everywhere in the editorial section where readers can express his or her opinion. We need to stand together as Christians to get back what our founding fathers founded as a Christian nation. I believe we have to unite like never before, not necessarily shoving our points down people's throats, but voicing our most important beliefs, before something very positive in terms of God's Kingdom flourishes like it can. God Bless America has been sung for years but it is Time For America to Bless God, and make a difference. What do you think? Thanks for your inspiring thoughts, Jim Cooke

Terry Rush said...

Jim, now I am going to quote a part of yours. You wrote, "I am looking for someone like you to write something that everyone could add to that reads what you say and send it to every newspaper in the USA that would be printed in the Sunday edition everywhere in the editorial section where readers can express his or her opinion. We need to stand together as Christians to get back what our founding fathers founded as a Christian nation. I believe we have to unite like never before, not necessarily shoving our points down people's throats, but voicing our most important beliefs, before something very positive in terms of God's Kingdom flourishes like it can."

I encourage you that this is what my article is about. It's about the amazing, unreportable, immeasurable things going on. While we wish for an article in the USA TODAY, the truth is we are standing so united so well it still can't be reported. Yes, and we do have light years to improve. The truth is we are gaining momentum in being united as the body of Christ is literally bigger than our pea-brains can imagine. If we could get into the USA TODAY, great. But we aren't dependent on them. We have this body of Jesus shaping hearts and minds through blogs, for one, which is reaching millions of readers everday.

Therefore, I encourage you that what you are wishing is taking place because of the faithful moves of you and tons of others. The world isn't deaf. It's hearing from God and much of it through the Dennis' and the Rex's and the Jim's and the Paden's and the Thornton's and the and the and the....which is my point.

Don't despair where we aren't. Yet, get there too, as quickly as possible. But in the meantime, rejoice. We are everywhere. We are everywhere.

Last thought to encourage you. I believe the reason the war in Iraq lingers is because God has agents in there under the guise of coalition forces who are spreading and planting and watering the deep seeds of Jesus Christ.

We are everywhere and gaining momentum! Does this help? Hope this encourages you.

Eric said...

To quote one of my favorite teachers, "All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

To believe in a God of resurrection, a God who creates out of chaos (or "the formless void", e.g. Gen 1), is to believe that God is doing miraculous things in spite of what might seem all evidence to the contrary. That is a part of faith, not just the belief, which is only the first dimension of faith, but then living out the faithfulness of Jesus in response to and in partnership with the God who is somehow making all things new.

I think that Terry is brilliantly showing how God might very well be knitting this new creation together in and through us, little patchwork pieces of fabric that are coming together into something brilliant, beautiful, amazing, and strong. A new creation of weak clay vessels that are somehow held together by the supernatural epoxy of the Spirit (2 Cor 4:7ff.), as they continue to follow the pattern of downward mobility exemplified in Jesus' own life (Phil 2:1-11; see also Nouwen's Selfless Way of Christ).

It's only when you believe in that God, the God who works amongst and from the margins to do something beyond our expectation, that you can speak Julian's words with confidence.

On the War, I would also love to remind us that the war is taking place in one of the early hotbeds of Christianity. The Syriac church thrived in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and western Iran and is one of the most important, though poorly known, facets of early Christian history. It could very well be that it is not the coalition forces bringing good news to Iraq, but pockets of faithful, believing Christians who still remain in those areas bringing the good news to the "visitors" from the west. Wouldn't that surprise be just like our God!

So much more to write, so little time! Alas, I must end with the above poorly conceived, stream-of-consciousness meanderings.

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

Bud and Daphna Worsham, Bill and Carol Kuhn, John and Linda Chaffee, Doyle and Kathleen Barnes, Barbara Cagle, Cordelia Burke, Larry and VaLois Prince, Steve and Laura Hay, Bruce and Wanda Martin, Jim and Marilyn Mullins, Kevin and Cindy Bither, Harold and Natalie Bither, Ross and Janet Clardy, Steve and Judy Ebey, Tom and Arlene Dubas, Cecil and Barbara Walker, Monty and Sallie Cox, Don and Brenda Adkins, Jessica England, Josh and Heather England ... just to name a few more.

This morning as I drove to work, I was hearing one news story after another of how heartless humans can treat other humans. Your blog this morning was a cup of hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream!!! (I don't drink coffee)

Thank, Terry. You encourage me day after day after day.

Liz Moore said...

Terry,
I've been behind on my reading this last couple of weeks. I have so enjoyed getting to catch up on all your encouragement and enthusiasm!! You are such an encourager! Every time I read your words, I can just picture myself sitting there listening to you speak. Today, with your comment "Listen to me now", I thought you literally popped right up in my office! I love you friend and I am so thankful to God for blessing my life with you! Have a great weekend!

craig hicks said...

Thanks Terry. Your words are encouraging to me. And I love it when you say "listen to me now." Especially when you're preaching. If no one has pointed this out before let me say you should think about writing a book. You're good.
craig

Jim said...

Brother Terry,Your words back to me do help. Sometimes I get frustrated and want all of the world's problems to get quickly fixed somehow, but that is not my individual responsibility. I do rejoice b/c we are everywhere, and somehow God uses us as agents to deliver His Love to others. We can't though leave Him out of the equation, and think more highly of ourselves than we ought. As scripture says, "we are more than conquerors" and your words expressing and honoring good people who make a difference show from you an outstanding message how good people can do great things. And you take no credit and you leave us to think your thoughts which have a divine inspiration b/c God deserves the glory, but it is b/c of ministers like you who do encourage that puts in people often the desire to serve. Thanks for being such an encourager, Jim Cooke