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!