Monday, August 31, 2015

Influence Your World in Five Ways

Every person has a certain amount of influence in their world. Christians Can Influence Their World in Five Ways.  First off this is not an exhaustive list of how we can influence the world for Christ. This is however a useful and thought provoking idea that can help us maximize our influence.

1. Pray- Seems obvious doesn't it. Every Christian prays, right? I'm not talking about the prayers that we have memorized or the prayers found in our Sunday bulletin. I'm talking about having genuine conversations with God. Conversations mean speaking and listening. If we want to influence our world we will start having blunt and honest conversations with our Father who loves us. Do you have children that are far from God and living in destructive environments. Cry out to God for their rescue. Plead with God for their return to His safety. Mean business with God because Satan means business with your loved one.

Pray for yourself. That is not being selfish. That is being smart. Pray for wisdom. Pray that God will enlighten your mind and spirit and you will know how to answer the questions that people have. The world around us is sick and tired of our Rosie and worn out church talk. Clichés like, pray about it, Jesus knows, Your child is an angel in heaven, God must have needed little...  That might be fine in church but hurting and wounded people need more than platitudes.

Ask God Almighty to fill your heart and mind with words that refresh the weary world around you.

2. Live for your appointed purpose-  God has gifted every Christian to accomplish His purposes. When each of us embraced the truth of Christ and His sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension we became new creatures quickened by His Spirit and made heirs with Christ. He empowered each of us with at least one spiritual gift. It is our responsibility to read scripture that reveals what these gifts are and then to discern our own. Once we understand our gift than that is a part of our appointed purpose in life.

I knew that I was gifted in preaching because God's presence confirmed it and other members of the body of Christ have confirmed it as well. It has however taken me longer to understand the deeper meaning of my appointed purpose. Today I know that my appointed purpose is not only behind the sacred desk, the pulpit, but behind the keyboard as well. My gift is in the communication of the message of Christ and His bringing all of creation into wholeness. The time is coming when I will no longer be able to stand and preach the beauties of Christ. But, I will have the appointed responsibility of writing and teaching those as long as I have breath.

You must find your appointed purpose and live for it and eventually die doing it.

3. Enjoy Living- I have known Christians that are allergic to fun and enjoyment. It is as if every morning they get up and eat lemons and stub their big toe on purpose. Theirs is a life of misery and endless sacrifice. Every Church has at least one person like this. My second church appointment had such a lemon eater. I came to the point of bargaining with God. I wanted to know if her mansion was done yet, and if not could the builders please hurry.

God has given us a beautiful and fantastic world to live in. Some need to open their eyes to the wonder of children playing in the park. The absolute joy of watching little children play with a puppy dog. Yes, there is evil in the world, but, there is a whole lot of love and happiness. Jesus told us that we would have abundant life and joy in this world. It is time to embrace the incoming waves from the lake and let pure clean water smack you in the face.

Find what gives you joy, discover what puts a grin on your face. Share laughter, it is contagious.

4. Open the Vault of Your Soul- When God transforms a person a treasure beyond any price is placed in the soul. It is the Love of God. God Himself witnesses to our spirit that He loves us and has accepted us into His eternal family. Such a gift must not be hidden in the heart. That truth must be allowed to have expression. The salvation of the soul should cause us to have a smile on our face and compassion in our heart. I'm not saying that everyday we walk around with some phony-bologna smile. But we can be genuine in sharing the love that God has placed in our hearts.

There are people all around us that are hurting and in need of compassion and understanding. The love of God in our hearts is the healing balm that many need. Many people that come across our path everyday have burdens that cripple them, weigh them down, put them into depression or despair. The heart filled with the love of God can be sensitive and discern when a friend needs to talk, a co-worker needs prayer, a family member struggles with their faith.
Decide to open your heart, be vulnerable, genuine, compassionate, understanding and LOVE.

5. Face your Fate- The bible is pretty plain in its message that all of us, unless the rapture comes first, are gonna die, buy the farm, push up roses, or daisies, or black eyed susies. What ever you want to call it, none of us is getting out of here alive. We are allowed a certain number of days and then it's over. What you do with your allotted minutes, hours, days, weeks, months will tell future generations a lot about you. How many years after you are gone will you just be a person that was a part of the family? Three or four generations at the most and then nobody will remember you. Unless, you pass on to others the eternal gifts that were given to you.

I believe that the value of oral tradition is all but lost. We do not pass on the great stories of our families and heritage. What a gift it would be to families if we took the time to write about our families and our faith journey. Thousands upon thousands of families would be able to hold the precious history of saints gone and their faith in Christ. Do something that will have an impact for generations to come. Write a family book. Put together a photo album with historical facts that can be held and touched.
You, my friend, are only gonna live here once. Do something with your life.

Tedd Galloway is the author of #2Amazon best seller, A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God and his novel, Encounter at River's Edge.
His website is 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dance of the Innocents

Dance of the Innocents
I closed my eyes as the gifted fingers of our pianist brought to life "Amy's Lullaby." With the world around me shut off I envisioned the lullaby. Jesus is standing on a hillside covered in a blanket of daisies. To his right the hillside slopes away and the flowers converge into a blanket of white, as bright as the purest snowfall. The daisies seem to be dancing as a gentle wind moves up the hillside. Up to his knees in the dancing and waving of the petals he is smiling. He is not grinning or cracking a little smile, like one who is trying to be restrained or respectful. He is smiling with his mouth open wide, for all the world to see.

As the breeze moves and the petals dance I am captivated by the sound of giggles and laughter. It is the laughter of children, the music of the soul, giggles and squeaks, and the beautiful blending of the glee of boys and girls. Up the hillside they come, some running, some skipping, some falling and tumbling in the field of dancing flowers. Jesus is standing there with his arms outstretched, with such a smile that he is expecting all of the children to jump into his arms.

As the children run and dance and skip their way up the hill they take no notice of the language, color or clothing of their partner in the dance. There is no language in laughter, for it is universal, there is no disdain of clothes for all are wearing the same white, white as bright as the snow, the same white that Jesus is standing in. Theirs are the colors of every nation and every tribe that has ever graced the earth.

As they dance and laugh I can sense that these precious children are the Innocents. Fragile and helpless sons and daughters of the land. Innocent ones taken from the earth, from the arms of their mothers and the sheltering strength of their fathers by sickness and disease. Taken by the greed and envy and lust of those whose hearts are consumed with the thirst of power and rule.

Many of the dancing Innocents move towards Jesus and I can tell by the purity of their smile that they are laughing and dancing by the grace of God, as their lungs never filled and their feet never felt the earth. I know as a certainty that these that are dancing the Dance of the Innocents are so happy to see Jesus and feel his embrace that they sense no wrong has been done and wish for the day that all mankind will join them in the Dance of the Innocents.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Jesus Christ- Lord or Lunatic

Lunacy or Lordship-Maniac or Messiah
To believe in Jesus as the Christ of God is to believe in his lunacy or lordship, that he is a maniac or the messiah. Jesus made no claim to be anything but, One with the Father, the Christ of God. His words can leave little doubt, "I and the Father are One."

Before looking into more detail about Jesus' self-identity with the Father, what did the people closest to him believe and voice? Let's back up a moment. What about a historical voice first. The Jewish historian, Josephus, places Jesus as a real man, with a recorded birth and life. Now, tradition and history paint a pretty clear picture of Jesus and His followers.

For close to three years a group of men and women followed Jesus from Nazareth. Some of the men who followed him later on became apostles. After a while some of his followers(disciples), left him. Those who stayed witnessed many events that could only be described as miracles. A very accurate account of the miracles, and other events, were recorded. One such record is from a doctor and historian, known as Luke. Three other men also recorded the events that surrounded the life of Jesus. As each man wrote through his own lenses and experience we have a very rich compilation of his life.

Now, after following Jesus on a daily basis, listening to him, watching him, even when there was no big crowd, his strengths and weaknesses would be evident. Because of this close and convincing life-evidence their belief and trust in him was strong and enduring.

At one time Jesus asked Peter what the crowds thought of him and who he was. Peter told Jesus what the crowds said. Jesus, then asked him, "Who do you say that I am?" To this Peter replied, "You are the Christ of God", to which Jesus again replied, "The truth you speak is not from man or the earth".  It should seem evident that these men and women who followed Jesus, even to his death, were absolutely convinced that he was sent from God, the Jewish Messiah. Oh, they disagreed on the implications and goals of his Messiah ship. Their ego and understanding would give them problems until their character transformation took place on Pentecost.

We have the witness of men and women who confessed Jesus as the Christ. Tradition and some historical writings tell of their conviction and trust. The Apostle Peter was crucified by the Romans upside down. Phillip, the half-brother of Jesus, was beaten to death with a club and cast down from a wall. All of the original Apostles, except John, were executed for their faith. Such a fate they could have escaped by renouncing their trust in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John escaped the cauldron, to be banished to the island of Patmos. These, and countless more, faced death because Jesus Christ was, Real God.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How to Stay Positive

How to stay positive in a negative world

I am sure that all of us have met folks that always seemed to be very positive. They seemed to always be smiling. They always had nice things to say and positive words of encouragement. Those dear people are rather rare. On the opposite side of the fence are the folks that seem to live on a diet of lemons and bitter roots. It is difficult for them to smile, it might even hurt. To get a kind or encouraging word from them is near impossible. They seem to thrive on negativity and discouragement.

I suppose that most of us seem to dwell somewhere in the middle, depending on the day of the week and what side of the bed we got out of. It is difficult for some of us to be positive when we are suffering physical discomfort or pain. The same is true if we are suffering from a depressed spirit, overcome by anxieties or anyone of a million stresses in life. Trying to be positive in our world is tough.

How do we stay positive in the church? Well, we do know the end of the story. One day the Lord Jesus Christ is going to establish His kingdom. That is going to happen. He said it would take place and I for one believe Him. The Christ Followers will reign for eternity and love and righteousness will be the norm of the kingdom.

But, what about now?  How do we stay positive in the church when things aren’t going right? How do we look on the bright side when people want to rain on our parade? Our attitude is probably the single most important weapon that we have. With a bad attitude I can criticize and destroy. I can pour cold water on every idea and find fault with every plan. With a positive attitude I can find the best in every person I deal with. I can encourage my friends that seem down.

How do I cultivate a positive attitude? The first thing is to face the fact that at times I have a bad attitude. Once I do that I can look for ways to cultivate a positive attitude. At this point I want to draw our attention to words that always strike home, words from the Bible.

Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible has this advice taken from the book of Philippians the fourth chapter. “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your mind and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.”

I am responsible for my attitude. I can make excuses, but that is all they are. I can blame other people, doesn’t change a thing. I am the only one responsible for my attitude. How my attitude impacts my family, friends and my church is huge. Build up, or tear down. Be a sour puss or an encourager; it is entirely up to me.