Monday, June 24, 2013

You Are Important!

Today, we had what I call a "rolling staff meeting" at Youth For Christ. That's when we get in a different location and have a discussion, a prayer meeting, some time alone, a reflection, a teaching, or whatever seems necessary in the moment. Today, we traveled to Duke Chapel, where each staff member was given a reading, told to find a quiet place, slowly pour over the reading and listen for God to speak in the quiet. Maybe, just maybe, you need to hear this today, too. 

You are Important!

A reading (from the paraphrase, The Message): 1 Corinthians 4
1-4 Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment.

5 So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.

6 All I’m doing right now, friends, is showing how these things pertain to Apollos and me so that you will learn restraint and not rush into making judgments without knowing all the facts. It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay.

7-8 For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle. Without bringing either Apollos or me into it, you’re sitting on top of the world—at least God’s world—and we’re right there, sitting alongside you!

9-13 It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.

14-16 I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God’s Message to you that I became your father. I’m not, you know, asking you to do anything I’m not already doing myself.

17 This is why I sent Timothy to you earlier. He is also my dear son, and true to the Master. He will refresh your memory on the instructions I regularly give all the churches on the way of Christ.

18-20 I know there are some among you who are so full of themselves they never listen to anyone, let alone me. They don’t think I’ll ever show up in person. But I’ll be there sooner than you think, God willing, and then we’ll see if they’re full of anything but hot air. God’s Way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.

21 So how should I prepare to come to you? As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide.

A message: Jeremiah 5:1 Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. (ESV)

You are important.

Do you have moments where you doubt it?

In Jeremiah’s days of prophesying, God challenged him to look all over Israel to see if there was one person who was upright; one person who was righteous. There was none, but God would have saved all of Israel if there was one righteous person.

One righteous person makes the world of difference.

In Christ, you are righteous. There is hope for mankind, because of Jesus, and, in Him, you are important. Through Him, you ought to see how important you are.

Don’t forget it; YOU ARE IMPORTANT.

If for no other reason, you’re important because YOU are made in God’s image: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27, ESV)

Don’t you dare forget this: YOU ARE IMPORTANT.

Sure, you know it…you were made in God’s image, and sin ruined it. You know that. But, you are so important to God that He gave His Son for you. Have you forgotten that? You better not! You are important! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18, ESV)

You were DEAD in your trespasses and sins, but God, who is rich in mercy, called you out of the kingdom of darkness and into the dominion of His beloved Son. Get that? Why would He deem you so worthy? I cannot fathom it, either. But, He did.

As the Will Reagan song says, “You see me, And You know me, And You love me, Through and through.” 

None of who we are is a surprise to God, but we are surprised by His love.
You are, aren’t you?
Me, too.

The Apostle John was used of the Spirit to say to us, “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2, ESV)

Do you know what that means? This: THERE IS MORE TO COME.

In Christ, you have a part in that. You’re included in what is to come.


Can anyone so loved be unimportant?

Really. Think about that… let it soak … let it settle … would God go to such great lengths to provide salvation and call YOU into it if you were not important?

And, think about this, God has placed you in the Body of Christ, that YOU may be gifted and equipped to BE JESUS hands and feet on Earth. Whoa! Do you get that?

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8, ESV)

God doesn’t need you. He wants you.
God can take care of His own affairs. But, He calls you in.
God is able to do everything on His own. But, He involves you.

Your enemy is a liar. He is a thief. He is a destroying locust. He is a murderer.
He wants you to think you are nothing.
On your own, you are.
But, in Christ you are important.
Don’t forget that.

Not for a cotton-picking second!

You are important!
Do you hear me?

Now, remember, that’s all tied up in Christ. Be humble.
Now, remember, that’s all because of Christ. Be thankful.
Now, remember, that’s all through Christ. Be servile.
Now, remember, NOTHING can separate you from the love of God. Be wowed.
In Him, YOU are important. 

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