Twenty years ago on February 7, 2000, a teary-eyed group was gathered in Florida around a big yellow school bus. The time had come for the Philip Ebersole family to leave for Honduras, and the church family had come to see them off. I—the oldest son of the family—still remember quite distinctly the mixture of emotion I felt. On the one hand, I was very sad to leave so much behind. No longer would I be able to go next door every Thursday evening to play chess with my Grandmother. I would be leaving behind the times of singing with a men’s group.
God has many ways of preparing people for life. My school teaching experiences as a young man helped to prepare me for life and, in many ways, has shaped who I am today. Maybe God hasn’t and won’t ever call you to be a teacher, but I am sure that if you follow Him, He will lead you and bring experiences into your life to mold you into the person He wants you to be. Someone could just as easily be writing about the blessings they are receiving by following God in another vocation.
Our local school district here in Missouri reports more than one-thousand homeless school students in Miller, Camden, Morgan, Phelps, and Pulaski counties. I suspect your church community is similar. Praise God these homeless children are reachable from our congregations.
The school district’s definition of homeless is, “Those who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes:
Children who are sharing housing with others due to a loss of housing from an economic hardship;
Many times, as individuals we live in our own little world, only considering the present. But God tells us to be concerned where we came from and where we are going. What have we been taught and what are we passing on to the next generation?
Psalm 78:6 says “that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should arise and declare them to their children.” We are not to live just to ourselves, but realize the importance of teaching and giving the things of God that have been given us to the next generation.
Do we have a vision for helping the lost to find Jesus? Then we should continue in an active pursuit of souls. We should do all we can to win them to the Lord. There are many opportunities and ways to reach out to the lost.
Slowly the rays of the sun recede behind the darkening skies. Mount Calvary is engulfed in an unusual darkness. The world hides its face for the shame that it is looking upon. Jesus, a god man, is hanging on a cross dying between two thieves, bearing the shame of the nakedness of man and his folly of sin. A huge storm has gathered, for there is a battle between the spiritual powers of heaven. Darkness is everywhere, not only in the sky, but in the hearts of men. Lightning flashes and thunder echoes down the valley.
"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
It is a common practice of the world today to clap for someone who performs as a way of cheering for them. When our chorus sings at rehabs and elderly care facilities, the people often clap after each song. The better the performance is, the longer the round of applause. This attention is somewhat addictive. Our flesh likes it because we feel their approval.
School is out and we are coming to the time of year that many Americans know as “summer vacation.” Summer vacation means several things. To the school children, it is approximately three months away from school. Most of us recall the anticipation of letting the books and school schedule go to absorb the delights of summer.
For many, summer vacation also means a trip, some travel plans, or a vacation to the beach, the mountains, or a resort. Those down south travel up north. Those in the hills head to the waterfront.
Satan with all the powers of darkness is opposing the people of God through the evil world around us. But he is also working more subtly within and among us to hinder our evangelistic effectiveness. We do well to stop and analyze from time to time what we are doing and how we could improve. If we study the story of Achan, we soon learn that the problem was not the Israelite army’s lack of ability. Neither was there a deficiency in Joshua’s capability in leadership, but rather it was sin among the people—and more precisely with one man and his family—that caused the defeat at Ai.