Mar 7, 2009

Irresistable Influence

I have two neighbors “Mike” and “Bob” (not their real names) who stopped over recently. Both are great guys to have as neighbors. To my knowledge, neither man attends church. “Bob” (who lives down the block) stopped over last month. I was busy shoveling out my driveway before supper on a very cold, snowy night and he wanted to discuss eschatology (“eschatology” = any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc. It is the branch of theology dealing with such matters). The economic turbulence that we are going through as a nation and a movie he had seen had started him thinking. He stopped over to ask me how I understood the world was going to end; said that he wanted my opinion. Thing is, “Bob” isn’t a religious man (in his own words); didn’t care for it because he saw too much hypocrisy. But he said knew that I was a minister and wanted some answers to how I thought it all was going to turn out in the end. As I stood in near blizzard-like conditions listening to “Bob”, I was humbled; wondering how I came to this position where “Bob” was asking me his questions. I did a whole lot more listening than talking; not once leaning on information that I learned from classes that I had taken in the past dealing with eschatology. My answers would need to wait; I wanted to hear what was behind his questions. I still wondered why he chose to ask me. My next door neighbor “Mike” stopped over today. “First time I’ve ever been inside your house”, he said as he walked into our kitchen. We’ve been in our house for 25 years and “Mike” has never been inside; pretty sad. He has been to our yard, in our yard, placed items on our back porch, snow blowed our sidewalks and driveway, but never been inside our house. “You guys are always gone or going some place”, he said, “I never seem to catch you at home”. What makes it even sadder for me is the fact that we live on a corner; “Mike” is the only one who lives next door to me and he’s never been inside my house until today! I’ve prayed for (not with) “Mike” and “Bob” over the years. We reached out to “Mike’s” wife while she was still alive. Invited her to our church and sent her “Decision” magazine as a way to have influence in her life. I’ve tried to be a good neighbor to both “Mike” and “Bob”; to be a good example of what a Christian should be in practical ways. I’ve prayed for (not with) them and their households when I cut their grass, and snow blowed and shoveled their walks. I’m a firm believer in Joshua 1:3 where it says; “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Also Deut 11:24 “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours, from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea shall be your territory”. I’m wondering if we forget that part of being used by God is allowing Him to change us into vessels of “IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE”. And that starts with loving God and then loving others. I mean, really loving others. And that is something only God can do through us.
Ir`re*sist"i*ble\, a. That which can not be successfully resisted or opposed; superior to opposition; resistless; overpowering; as, an irresistible attraction. In"flu*ence\, v. t. To control or move by power, physical or moral; to affect by gentle action; to exert an influence upon; to modify, bias, or sway; to move; to persuade; to induce.
We pray for opportunities and seek opportunities, and then, when they come we can be thrown off because it doesn’t always seem to be connected to any particular event or action that we took. IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE is something that is comes in time; it is earned, it is given by others and by God. It isn’t dependant upon what degree you have, or whether or not you wrote a book, or if you have a street named after you. You too can have influence right where you live - IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE! Each day we have opportunities to get to know our neighbors, families, co-workers, and those around us. I mean really get to KNOW them, not superficial; they already experienced that when they’ve walked through the doors of a church and they will have none of it. They’ve had it and aren’t buying any more. They want real, authentic examples of God’s love. And they will cling to anyone who will model a belief. My friends, we need to become people of “IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE”. These are the days to become completely irresistible so that we can be the vessels God uses to draw others to His lavish love. These are the days for us to live our lives so transparent with the love of Christ so transparent that people will have a hard time choosing to go to hell. These are the days to AWAKE and RISE UP! “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth. And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you. And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light; And kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3 (NKJV) Each day is a precious gift from God. We don’t know how many days we have left; or how long this old earth can keep going on. There are no guarantees that tomorrow will come. None of us with all of our perfect theology are able to predict when Christ will return. Jesus said; “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 (NKJV). The Apostle Paul said: “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 (NKJV)

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