Are You In the Dark?

by Eddie McDonald

Ever been in the dark?  I mean, pitch black, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark?  Besides being a bit frightening, it’s pretty frustrating.  If, walking through a darkened room, you’ve ever caught a shin or knee on the corner of a table, or your foot found a stray Lego®, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

When it comes to the big questions in life – the ones that can keep us up at night – there is a source little tapped anymore in our culture that sheds light on that seemingly endless black hole. Be it the darkness of suffering, discouragement, pain, loss… this light, in fact, answers those questions, causing that very darkness to flee.*  Yes, this includes the very matrix of success according to God.  The common thread for the Successful Life Series is this foundation.

“What is this wonder source?” you may ask.  Simply put: the Bible.

You may be reading as a skeptic who has concluded that I’ve immediately discredited myself.  Question: have you truly examined the evidence, or are you simply being intellectually dishonest by parroting another skeptic’s talking points?  (Let me suggest a few resources: Why Believe the Bible? and How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur, and The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.

Now, either for arguments sake or because it is a true reality in your life, let’s say you agree that the Bible is God’s revelation to mankind.  Are you still stumbling in the dark?  Do you have more questions than answers of late?  Is the source of wisdom and truth, for you, Hollywood?  Facebook?  Then allow me to suggest to you that you need to turn on the Light – get in the Bible!

Jon Courson suggests four simple yet profound steps to reading the Word:

  • Consistently: Have a specific time and place you can go every day to read; Read cover to cover; Don’t stress parts you don’t understand – you will in time!
  • Expectantly: Don’t go through the motions – read expecting to hear from the Lord (and journal what you find!).
  • Conversationally: If God talks to us through the Bible (and He does), then engage that conversation by praying as you read. After all, a relationship involves dialogue.
  • Obediently: When God convicts you of something or shows you a deep truth to be acted upon – do it!

Why stumble in the darkness of this world’s bankrupt philosophies when you can turn on the light of God’s Truth by simply reading the Bible?  It sure beats damaged shins!

*This needs to be taken in the context of all of Scripture.  All wrongs will be righted; all suffering and pain will cease when this world ends (see Revelation 21:1-4).  Until that time, however, God allows these things to accomplish His perfect plan of redemption (Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:7-18).

If you want to stop walking in the dark please click here.

 

Rescued

by Tim Leahy

On The Gathering Blog we’ve been talking about Success as God defines it. We have been using the acrostic S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to communicate what success God’s way is. We are now on the E in S.U.C.C.E.S.S.  At this time of year, you may be guessing that the E stands for Easter, but instead it stands for Evangelism.

Now, Easter is not a bad guess. After all Easter is in a few days, and Easter and evangelism go together like eggs and bacon. Evangelism is telling the full story about God’s amazing love, beginning with Christmas and concluding with Easter. The full story of how the Son of God left heaven, came to earth, became one of us, lived a sinless life, and then died on a cross at Calvary just outside the walls of Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago to rescue all mankind from the wages of sin. The wages of that sin is separation from God for eternity. (John 3:16, John 3:68, Matthew 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Romans 6:23)

Easter is the most important event in human history and evangelism is the greatest responsibility ever given to the human race. It is the message of love, forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, adoption, joy, peace, and hope.  The fact that God would become one of us to restore us, who rebelled again Him, is incredible. It’s amazing, it’s awesome, it goes beyond anything we could imagine. One who is perfect came to rescue those who aren’t. Now that’s love.

About now you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with success? Everything! As we have already mentioned, The S stands for Salvation, which is the basis for success (see “God Created Us to Be Successful”). As the Scriptures say: What good is it if you have all the success that this word can give, but spend eternity separated from God? (Mark 8:36) Without trusting and committing our lives to Jesus as our Savior and ruler of our lives we can never be successful God’s way, which is the only success that is truly success.

Here’s another truth about Evangelism. It’s the responsibility and privilege of every person who has ever been rescued to become rescuers. It is the Chief Rescuer’s (Jesus) rescue orders for those who have been rescued (Matthew 28:18-20). Here’s the bottom line on success and evangelism – God does not bless disobedience and not telling others about God’s love and rescue plan for mankind is disobedience. Since you’ve been rescued, go rescue others.

If you’ve been rescued and want to learn how to share that with others please click here. If you have never been rescued, or have no idea what it means to be rescued, please click here.

Created For More

by Tim Leahy

Do you want to know how to live the life God created you to live? Follow Jesus.                                                                                                                           Do you want to fix your broken life? Follow Jesus.                                           Do you want to find meaning and purpose for your life? Follow Jesus. Do you want life to make sense? Follow Jesus.                                                   Do you want God to lead you? Follow Jesus.                                                     Do you want to know what life is all about? Follow Jesus.                           Tired of your life? Follow Jesus. – Matthew 11:28-30

We are created by God to follow Jesus, point others to Jesus, and to help others follow Jesus. This is known as the Gospel (John 3:16) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Gospel points us to Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and our reconciliation to God. The Great Commission tells us to point people to Jesus and to help them follow Jesus.

As you follow Jesus you will learn how to live the life God created you to live. The world we live in will begin to make sense as you read and understand the Bible – God’s written revelation to us.

If you know people who are following Jesus, ask them to help you follow Jesus. If you don’t know anyone who is following Jesus, click here to find a gathering of people who are following Jesus. Visit and let someone there know that you want to follow Jesus and want to learn how to follow Jesus.

Use the resource at LMIQ.org to learn how to follow Jesus.