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Thots for Today's Church

Being faithful to God
in the last days.


The Mythical Lumberjack
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The Lumberjack
Did you hear about the guy who walked into a logging camp one day looking for a job? They asked what he did and he said he was a lumberjack.

They looked at all 5’ 8” of him and thin as a rail, and laughed. They told him to go find a job somewhere else but he persisted. He just wouldn’t go away, so finally the other lumberjacks took him to the camp boss thinking he would certainly get rid of him.
The boss laughed too, but the guy still insisted he was a lumberjack so they gave him an axe and walked out into the forest. They picked out a big tree and stood around to humor themselves by watching him a while.
The little guy goes “whack, whack, whack - - -”and in about two minutes the tree falls. They couldn’t believe their eyes, so they picked an even larger one. Same thing, “whack, whack, whack- - -” and down it went.
They looked at him aghast and said, “Where did you learn to cut trees down like that?” He said, “In the Sahara Forest.” They said, “You mean the Sahara Desert?” and he said, “Well, it is now!”
The Mandate
We all know “The Great Commission” of Mt. 28:18-20.
And we’ve read Jesus’ appeal to the Father in John 17:9-23 where He prays for our joy and sanctification. We read His repeated petition there for our unity with Him and with each other; His “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it”; and His “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
And then there’s’ the “Beautiful Attitudes” of Mt. 5:3-16 which characterize the Jesus follower and the fruit their lives would bear.
We read all that and we sigh. We wonder, “Is that really for us? Is it actually for today? For Americans in the land of opportunity? Is it even possible?”
Our Sahara Forest
When Jesus went back to the Father and left those expectations with us, He knew we were in a world that was under the dominion of the Eph. 2:2 “prince of the power of the air”.
And He knew that we were dealing with the Eph. 6:12 spiritual powers of darkness and that trying to use human willpower to be godly, or good arguments or techniques to win people into His Kingdom, would be as futile as our little lumberjack looking at a Sahara Forest with axe in hand.
It would have been irresponsible for Jesus to leave us in that situation if He had not given us the tools to deal with it. And He did.
Tools For the Trade
Jesus’ “go and tell” in the Great Commission connects to His “and surely I am with you always” there. And to His “but stay in the city until” of Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, and the “you will receive power” of Acts 1:8!
He gave us His Spirit for holy living too, and Gal. 5:16-25 is one of many scriptures which speak of that. And of course Luke 9:23-26 is a key that opens the door to so much that He offers us.
Yes, we receive the Holy Spirit when we are born again, but we are a spiritual child in every way and must grow to adulthood. That is just as true spiritually as it is physically.
Part of adulthood is that we accept responsibilities that children don’t, and spiritual adulthood requires that we accept the responsibilities that Jesus left to us.
The Book of Acts is the book of the Acts of God as He established the New Testament Church through the Apostles and those who soon joined them - - by the power of the Spirit of Jesus in and through them.
It is His full intention to continue that today. It is time for God’s people to grow up. We must humbly receive His empowerment to live godly and serve effectively so that the Good News of the Gospel can reach our neighbors and those in the world’s darkest corners.
Thinking we can do that without His power is a myth, but it is entirely doable for Spirit-filled adults.
This is #10 in the “Thots for Today’s Church” series and is one of many short articles that can be found at © 2014, Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636 USA. May be printed for personal use and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes without further permission if proper acknowledgment is given. Bible quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted. Posted: 3/7/14
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