Monday, January 26, 2015

Face to Face with Jesus



Yesterday I had the privilege of helping a lady at church have a face to face encounter with Jesus where she accepted Him as her Savior.  To hear her pray to receive Jesus’ forgiveness and life was truly an emotional and special moment.  I believe leading another person to see Jesus face to face and receive Him as Savior and Lord is one of life’s greatest joys.

Once again I realized that all God asks of me as a believer and as a pastor is to take each person to a face to face meeting with Jesus.  I must never get between Jesus and the person I am leading to Him.  For Christianity to work, there must always remain an unobstructed view of Jesus.  All I do is lead people to Jesus and leave them focused on Him.

This morning I left my car with a mechanic and called a taxi to  bring me home.  As I talked to the young taxi driver I took him toward a face to face meeting with Jesus.  I was surprised how easy it was to get beyond issues like churches and dishonest pastors and finally arrive at Jesus.  I was deeply impressed at how much he wanted to focus on Jesus and make his own decision about Christianity.

I told Him Jesus is all the Christianity there ever was or ever will be.  I told him he could never go wrong if He focused on Jesus and chose Him as all of Christianity.

As I paid my fare I gave him my cell phone number and said I would love to continue our conversation about Jesus.  I know he was face to face with Jesus as we drove the crazy streets of São Paulo
.
Now I pray that other disciples who are willing to focus him on Jesus will be led to him and not obstruct his view of Jesus.

I believe millions of people are waiting for someone to lead them to an unobstructed view of Jesus.  I pray that all of us who believe Jesus is all will be led to all of them.


Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying,
“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” John 12:21

 


Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One Elevator A Day



I do not like elevators.  When I enter an elevator I feel closed in and anxious.  I know I am not the only person who feels this anxiety. One elevator a day is more than enough for me.

I discovered that I do not have anxiety in every elevator.  I feel anxious in elevators that are completely closed to the outside world.  If I enter an elevator that has a view to the outside of the building I feel no anxiety.  I am totally calm.  The elevator can even stop between floors and I am fine.

The perspective we have during our day to day reality really does impact our level of anxiety.  When people like me who do not like elevators find one that has a view we are fine. No view to the outside equals anxiety.

Everyone feels some level of anxiety during their day.  All of us eventually feel closed in and anxious.  Everyone has their “elevator a day.” One’s “elevator” may be public speaking, traffic, doctor’s visits or just leaving home.  It is when we are going into our “elevator a day”  that we must look beyond our immediate environment for relief.

Someone described faith as “opening the window of the soul in God’s direction.”
I agree!  Opening our soul in God’s direction when our “elevator a day” appears before us is our daily cure for anxiety.

Each day will have its “elevator.”  Open the window of faith and you will win the battle one day at a time.

 
 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:33-34


Bud McCord
Abide International

Saturday, January 10, 2015

“Je Suis Charlie” “I am Charlie”




A terror attack against free speech rocked France as 2015 stumbles to a violent start.

The staff of a small magazine dedicated to satire and stinging social commentary was killed in a burst of gunfire.  France’s passion for free speech came under attack.

Almost immediately the French people took to the streets declaring “I am Charlie”.
They painted a bullseye on themselves and said we now are the ones you killed. Come for us!

Everyone holding a “I am Charlie” sign knows that they are not the ones who died.  Everyone knows, however, that for those who died to live on thousands upon thousands will need to live on as lives of free speech just like the lives that were so violently taken.

This explosive social reaction signals a change in the landscape of Europe and perhaps the world.  From the death of freedom of expression  in some comes life of expression in others.  Only time will tell if the fervor of the moment will last and reverse terrorism’s  advance across the world.

As I watched these incredible moments unfold in Paris,  I found myself  thinking of Jesus’ crucifixion at the hands of sinful men 2000 years ago.  He was brutally killed in an awful public display of hate for God’s presence and love.  His only “crime” was love.

There was no immediate street demonstration for Jesus on the day of His death.  It took well over a month before His small group of followers would stand openly in Jerusalem and say  “We are Jesus!”.

All who stood for Jesus in Jerusalem painted a cross on themselves and said “Come for us!” They knew they were not really Jesus but they knew He was living in them and wanted to express Himself through them.

Nearly 2000 years later as disciples  of Jesus we are still here publicly saying to the world that Jesus’ death was not an end but a beginning.  Every disciple is a manifestation of His life .

“Le Suis Jesus!”  “I am Jesus!"

Lift up your cross publicly and say “Come for me!"

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20

“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:20




Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Starting Point




Habits are hard to break.  Once we settle into a habitual pattern of behavior it is as if that pattern takes control of us. We would like to think we are still choosing the behavior but any attempt to stop the behavior lets us know that something has settled in and we are now tied to the behavior.

What has “settled in” is not the habit but the power of a starting point.  As humans we were meant to live with God as our starting point.  We were created to begin each day settled into God. 

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of God and evil they opened the door to hundreds of  potential starting points.   The history of humanity is the sad story of the failure of all of these starting points apart from God.  They just do not start and sustain life.

When Jesus called His first disciples to follow Him, He was offering Himself as the new starting point for humanity.  He was calling us to break the old habit of starting at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and begin again to start in God. 

There is a direct link between the quality of our life and what we choose as our starting point.  There is a direct link between Jesus and life because He is the tree of life-the starting point.


Start each day with words that establish Jesus as your starting point.  Even before you get out of bed say  “Jesus, you are welcome here in me!”  Let Jesus become the habit you do not want to break.  He is life!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Christmas Do Not Underestimate Jesus




No one knows for sure how many people actually held in their arms the baby Jesus.
What we do know for sure is that none of them fully understood the quality of the life they held in their arms.

There is one story in the book of Luke where an elderly Jewish man received from the Holy Spirit a revelation of at least a part of Jesus' true worth.

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,  he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
And Joseph and His mother[h] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.  Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:25-25


Simeon did not know everything about Jesus but he did not underestimate him.  He confidently spoke what He knew was true of the child he held in his arms.

Every disciple of Jesus holds Jesus in the arms of their interior life.  Every disciple is a Bethlehem where the presence of Jesus rests waiting to be revealed.

This Christmas ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you exactly who it is that you hold with the arms of  your inner life.  He will.

To underestimate Jesus is the greatest mistake we can make as humans.  We may not know all that He is but what we have received from the Holy Spirit about Him we can affirm this Christmas.

This Christmas do not underestimate Jesus.  He is all and is in all who believe. Hold Him and declare what you know.


 

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Words of Jesus




Jesus called special attention to His own words.  He measured His relationship with His disciples by their appreciation of and obedience to His words. We should learn to take the words that came directly from Jesus’ mouth very seriously.

The authors of the Scriptures faithfully received and recorded inspired words from God to bless mankind.  Only Jesus became those words fulfilled in flesh and blood and spoke as the voice of God with us.

Jesus’ words are a fulfillment of the Scriptures that were given before He was born.
All of the written words of Scripture find their final fulfillment in the Person and Life of Jesus.  Every word of the Scriptures is written so that we will hear Jesus.

Reserve a special place in your inner life for the words that came from the mouth of God made flesh among us.  Hearing Him and obeying Him continues to be the measure of our discipleship.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:31-32

 

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Things



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.
II Cor. 5:17


Jesus living in a disciple by the Spirit is the source of new things that are coming to each disciple every day.  The things of the old creation do not match with Jesus within.  New things birthed by Jesus in the new creation do.

New thoughts come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

New desires come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

New ideas come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

New paradigms come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

New ways to love others come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

New relationships come to us every day when we receive them from Jesus.

In the world dominated by death things are always getting older.    In the new creation birthed in Jesus all things are becoming new for us and in us.

Stay with the new things in Jesus.  They match with Jesus who has made you new and lives in you.

Bud McCord
Abide International