Losing Ourselves In Service

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“I just need some ‘me time’… I need to focus on me for a while and make sure my needs are being met… I need to spend some time finding myself.”

This type of language is very common in our society. The “self-help” section of bookstores always has a best seller or two. Even the music we listen to encourages us to focus on ourselves. Toby Keith tells us, “I wanna talk about me… what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see.” Sara Bareilles sings, “All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy while I just hurt and hide, waitin’ for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide.” And Bon Jovi proudly shouts for all to hear, “It’s my life.”

As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to start thinking this way. Our concern should be finding God, not finding ourselves. If we want to follow Christ, we are called to “deny self” take up our cross and follow Him (Matt 16:24). That is where our focus should be.

Certainly, at times there is a need to get away from the hectic world around us and spend one-on-one time with the Lord. Relaxation and vacation can be valuable to reenergize ourselves for service. But we can never take a break from denying self in order to serve self for a little while instead.

Jesus took time with His disciples to rest from their work (Mark 6:30-32). Yet, Jesus did not use this time as an excuse to stop serving others (Mark 6:33-34). God designed the Sabbath day for man to recuperate from a long week of hard labor. Yet, this was a day especially focused on worship and devotion to God.

We can never truly take a break from serving God and serving others. Denying self and taking up our cross is something that we must practice on a daily basis (Luke 9:23). There is no point in this life at which we can say we have carried the cross far enough and deserve to lay it down for a while.

This type of life may not seem very appealing to many. We may feel like we deserve some “me time” every once and a while. But Jesus reminds us, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24). The more we try to grasp for the life this world has to offer, the more certain it is we will miss out on the eternal life that God has to offer.

We cannot be enticed by the fleeting fulfillment the world advertises. God is the only one that can truly fill us up. And we have to come to Him empty before there is any room for what He has to offer.

Just like Jesus, we must empty ourselves in service (Php 2:5-7). We must become so absorbed in seeking and saving the lost, lifting up the fallen, comforting the broken hearted, and exhorting the weak, that there is no room for self any more. Our thoughts can no longer center around what I think, what I feel, or what I need. Self must be a distant memory superseded by a 100% devotion to the will of the Lord.

If we continue to reserve a small section of our hearts for ourselves, we will only end up miserable. The weight of service will be too much for us to bear. We will be tempted to reserve more and more space in our lives for self. But this won’t fix the problem; it will never fill us up.

However, if we come to the Lord completely empty, He promises to fill us up with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:19). Being filled with Christ we can say along with the apostle Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). We can say along with king David, “in Your presence is fullness of joy” (Ps 16:11) and “my cup overflows” (Ps 23:5).

Do we truly trust that God has the power to fill us up? Then let us show that faith by losing ourselves in service and coming to Him completely empty.

“But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, and the joy He bestows are for them who will trust and obey” (John H. Sammis, 1887).

-Grady

 


Selfish Motives Are Not Strong Enough

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

One of the most powerful things we can do is improve the quality of our motives. Since we obey our conscience only when we’re sufficiently motivated to do so, our motivation needs to be as energetic as possible. But it is mainly as we move toward higher and nobler motives that the strength and effectiveness of our motivation increases.

Motive is the key to motivation. So the improvement of our motives is a matter of great practical importance. Whatever the reasons are that move us to do good right now, personal growth requires more than just believing those reasons more strongly. We must acquire some other, higher reasons.

To be specific, we must become people whose hearts are less and less self-centered. If we are moved by no more than the desire to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want, then our motivation is going to fail us eventually. In the hardest moments, selfish motives (however “noble”) are simply not strong enough to move us toward right conduct.

The purest and most powerful motive we can have is simply the real love of God. When Jesus said “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15), His point was not just that those who love Him are expected to keep his commandments, though that’s certainly true. Jesus was also teaching that loving Him is the key to keeping His commandments.

Only when we act out of love will we find that His commandments are “not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). No other motive is strong enough to keep us moving consistently in the direction of obedience.

And so we must get outside of ourselves and be drawn into concerns that are more vast and “moving” than the mere rise and fall of our own happiness. To a great extent, this is what growth toward spiritual maturity is about. It is learning to live by the strong laws of love.

We must live not by the laws of self-interest disguised as love, but by the laws of real upward-looking love itself. When we’ve grown in health to the point where our spirits are genuinely turned upward, then we’ll know a strength that we couldn’t have known while sick with selfishness.

“A man’s spiritual health is exactly in proportion to his love for God” (C. S. Lewis).

-Gary Henry

 


Clash of Cultures

Posted: July 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Many students of our nation’s history point to the 1960s as a time when definite cultural changes took place. Defiance of authority, belief in mind-altering drugs, rejection of biblical moral values, and exaltation of a humanistic philosophy of life took root and openly manifested cultural fruit of a new kind.

Some thirty years later, in 1992, our country elected as president for the first time a “baby boomer” who grew up in and came out of the new way of thinking. Long before President Clinton took office as the leader of these United States he was well-known for his unfaithfulness to his wife and his disregard for telling the truth. These things were reported during the campaign of that year, but despite these accounts our nation chose this man to be its leader.

Out of Texas came a man, a little older than the president, who grew up under the old system of thinking. He had been taught to respect and obey his parents and to speak the truth to every man. His father had been a gospel preacher and this young man was taught to respect Bible values and its principles of morality and ethics. This upstanding citizens was appalled at the life and practices of our president.

The lad from Texas was Kenneth Starr who had become a lawyer and who in the years of the Clinton presidency was appointed a special prosecutor to investigate possible wrong doing on the part of the president. It, in hindsight, might be expected that the two men would view differently many matters of moral value. And surely they did.

Mr. Starr was appalled, as were many citizens, that the president, a married man, would engage in sexual immorality with an intern in the oval office at the White House. The president, however, felt no pangs of conscience at all to engage in this kind of conduct—even at the moment he was doing the business of the nation. When the evidence showed that such conduct did occur, the president with a straight face looked into a TV camera and lied to the nation he was attempting to lead. “I did not have sex with that woman,” he blatantly affirmed. When all of this was brought to the attention of the nation, citizens found just how far we had come as a country since the 60s.

A gargantuan clash took place in which the special prosecutor pressed hard to establish that the president’s behavior was an impeachable offense—including especially lying under oath to conceal such heinous conduct. The president’s men and many lawyers scoffed at Starr’s view of the matter and the case he made—even belittling his severity over perjury about sex. Everybody lies about sex, the nation was told. “Rebuke the president, Mr. Starr. That’s fine. But let’s get over it and get on with the business of governing.” This was the attitude that was sure to win out—and it did.

What this showed was the great divide that had developed when the new morality and situation ethics of the 60s arose in the 90s to replace the old values of generations before. The clash was startling 20 years ago, but now is so commonplace that less and less discussion is given to it. It is a reality in our nation with which citizens who have moral values must live. Along with abortion, which was accepted during those years, our nation is now being ridiculed, berated, and browbeaten into accepting and legalizing same-sex marriages, drug use, and who knows what else.

Are we prepared to face this ridicule and the new culture that will belittle our “puritanical” beliefs and in time shut down the voices of men of faith who from the pulpit denounce these things and all forms of ungodly behavior? As Paul wrote, brethren, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith” (1 Cor 16:13).

-L. A.

 


He Came To Himself

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

The unfaithfulness of a spouse may be the only pain that compares to the agony parents suffer when a son or daughter rebels. It is not infrequent, even after years of spiritual teaching and training, for teenage children to reject the wisdom of their fathers and mothers and strike out on their own.

The “prodigal son,” a story Jesus told to illustrate the need for sinners to repent, portrays all too realistically what many families have experienced. What Jesus teaches as a parable, as parables were designed to do, describes what many parents have faced personally. They find this story to be chillingly accurate (see Luke 15:11-32).

The son, Jesus describes, found the restraints at home too confining. Youthful hormones kicked in, lust to wander arose, and the young lad rebelled against the rules and regulations of home and of the God who created him. The ways of the world, according to the roaring lion who seeks to devour mankind (1 Pet 5:8), were attractive to this son. His flesh sought freedom from the constraints of his spirit and training, and the youngster headed off toward the glitter and glamor of carnal attractions that are rampant in the world of evil lusts (see 1 John 2:15-16).

What are a father and mother supposed to do when it is their son? This is no hypothetical question dreamed up from a fertile and creative mind. It is one I have been asked many times—as recently as this past week. I had no answer for the mother whose daughter, a Christian, is following her fiancé, a Christian, into the world of doubt and unbelief. And this article provides no magical answer.

By the time a wayward child leaves the comforts, training, and love of a godly home, concerned parents have already pleaded with him/her about their foolish choices, destructive ways, and the dangers of an ungodly and evil world. They have also prayed, cried, and paced the floor for hours in search of a sensible answer.

The prayers, of course, must continue. But at some point fathers and mothers, as some of us have learned, can only shut-up and wait. Waiting is hard when the fear of drugs, disease, pregnancy, prison, and death grip the mind day after day and week after week. The time for talk, warning, and rebuke passes and parents can only pray that God will protect their child until the seeds of his training take root, he sees the foolishness of his ways, and the fruit of righteousness begins to bud.

Hormones are glandular secretions—not brain cells. They do not respond to facts, argument, reasoning, or emotional outbursts. Until young people follow out their course, and maybe even work harm, their hormones disengage their brain cells and in their carnal minds they are beyond reason. Only when youths come to themselves, as did the prodigal son, will the dominance of hormones and disobedience cease. When the prodigal son came to himself—engaged his brain cells—he saw the blessings of the world of grace, love, duty, and responsibility.

Sometimes, as I told the mother in pain this past week, it can be a long agonizing wait. And, frankly, sometimes it is a fruitless vigil. Either way godly parents must not torture themselves with the “hows” or “wherefores” of a spiritually brain-dead child. If you have sown the seed of truth and provided training and discipline, you can only wait in hope and prayer that the child will come to himself. Until he/she does, fathers and mothers are helpless and must make their own peace with God.

-L. A.


Correct Me, O LORD

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer 10:23).

We are simply not capable of navigating our own way through life. God is the potter, we are the clay, and we desperately need Him to mold us (Jer 18:1-6). Trying to take control of our own lives has just ruined the original beauty that God had envisioned for us. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…” (Is 53:6). God had a safe path plotted out for us, but we refused to listen to His guidance. We have rejected the narrow way for an easier road of our own devising. With the world cheering us on all around, we rush headlong toward destruction (Matt 7:13-14).

Yet, trusting our own instincts we are often blissfully unaware of the danger we are in. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death!” (Prov 14:12). We convince ourselves that we have it all under control. Stop and ask for directions? Never! In our certainty we forget the warning of Jeremiah. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). Is it possible that our heart is deceiving us? Is it possible that we are mistaken? Maybe we don’t have it all figured out and under control. Maybe we need help.

Recognizing we cannot direct our own steps, we must cry out with the prayer of Jeremiah: “Correct me, O LORD, but with justice; not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing” (Jer 10:24). Yes, we need correction. We need God to show us where we are deceiving ourselves. With His help we can stop covering up and minimizing our faults. We can rather expose and address them.

This process is not quick and painless. It is very difficult to see ourselves the way God sees us and constantly grapple with our insufficiencies. Yet, this struggle is exactly what we should expect traveling along the narrow way. And we can find comfort in God’s grace. He does not correct us in anger, but in love. He is always there to pick us up when we fall and strengthen us to press on to higher ground. Though we continually fall short of His perfect character, He has made a way for us to bridge the gap through Jesus (Rom 3:23-24).

The important thing is that we never harden our heart to His correction. It’s when we are most at ease in our faith that we are most at danger (1 Cor 10:13). We must allow God’s word to function as a mirror, showing us what corrections need to be made (James 1:23-25). We must allow it to function as a scalpel, opening up the innermost thoughts of our hearts (Heb 4:12). Like Jeremiah, we must pray for and welcome God’s correction at all times, because there is no doubt we need it.

-Grady

 


Watch Your Language, Brethren

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

I recall those days in college when we sat around the dorm late at night reasoning and arguing about what makes certain four-letter words vulgar. Christians must remember that for each of these TV censored words there is a legitimate and socially acceptable word they can use. Why some words are off-limits and others are not may not always be clear, but these “vulgarisms” do, nonetheless, leave a less than stellar impression of Christians when they use them in the presence of their brethren or their friends of the world. They surely qualify as “corrupt,” ”filthy,” “shameful,” “obscene” words that do not edify (see Eph 4:29; Col 3:8).

But one thing is certain: It is irreverent and sinful to abuse and misuse in any way the name of God. “Holy and reverend is His name,” says the Psalmist of Jehovah (Ps 111:9). Moses in the ten commandments, after condemning the worship of any god other than Jehovah, said of God’s name: “Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain” (Exod 20:7).

Man has violated this sacred law in many ways, and in some cases these men are brethren. Some brethren have done it viciously and others have done it carelessly and ignorantly. Regardless of a brother’s motive, “Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.”

Men have used God’s name in vain by swearing oaths they do not intend to keep. These are ungodly men who use God’s name to deceive. Such oaths are sacred and Jesus said, “Thou shalt not forswear thyself, meaning a man must not lie under oath or refuse to keep his oath. Our Lord said plainly that a man “shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths” (Matt 5:33).

Others use God’s name in vain by cursing their fellow men. James points out the inconsistency of “blessing” God and then “cursing” men who are made in the image of God (James 3:9-12). This is as unusual as a fountain giving off both “sweet” and “bitter” water and a fig tree yielding both “olives” and “figs.” Only God, man’s creator and judge, can consign men to condemnation with a curse. Men who, as the common expression goes, “God damn” someone are using God’s name in vain. Even “damning” someone or some thing in the absence of God’s name is beyond man’s right and is vain. The same can be said of the trivial use of “hell” in telling people where to go. Only God and our Lord Jesus can threaten or cast men into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (see Matt 25:41).

But where brethren are more likely to bear guilt is in their flippant use of such expressions as “Oh, my God” when something surprising or shocking occurs. Brethren will say, “God, she’s beautiful” or “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, what a terrible crime’.” Brethren are more likely in these expressions to use the word “Lord.” These expressions contain no sacred or reverent use of God’s name. That these utterances are vain is clear by the fact that brethren use them habitually and carelessly with no awareness of having used them.

And let us not forget that Jesus is God—the Word who was with God in the beginning, was God, and came in the flesh (John 1:1,14,18). We use our Lord’s name in vain when we casually exclaim, “Jesus Christ, that hurt.” The same is true with the thoughtless use of the name “Jesus” when one is suddenly alarmed or surprised by a shocking event.

It’s important, brethren, that we watch our language: “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt 12:37).

-L. A.

 


The Apples In A Seed

Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

In the fruitful tree there is an apple. Deep within the apple, many seeds.
So the Father set all things in order, Knowing just what everything would need.
You may count the seed within the apple, You may count the apples on the tree.
You may count the trees within the orchard. Who can count the apples in a seed?

Who can count the apples in a seed? Who can say how much the fruit will grow?
Who can know the harvest of tomorrow? Who can count the apples in a seed?

From the mind of God before creation, From the heart of heaven, mercy’s plan,
Bringing peace to every tribe and nation, Heaven’s hope for lost and dying man.
God would take the brightest Star of Heaven, Send Him down to hang upon a tree.
Tell the world that Jesus is redemption. Say He came to pardon you and me.

Do not doubt that someone will believe it, Though a hundred hear and turn away,
For if only one heart will receive it, Through the one, a thousand may obey.
It may be a gentleman of ninety; It may be a child of only ten.
Sow the precious seed for the Almighty. You can watch it multiply again.

Who can count the apples in a seed? Who can say how far the Word will go?
Who can know the harvest of tomorrow? Who can count the apples in a seed?

-Anne F. Stevens

 


“Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary”

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Few things symbolize hard labor or burdens in life as clearly as the word—“yoke.” The word yoke most commonly denotes a cross-bar or beam that attaches two items together. We usually think of it as joining two beasts of burden so they can together pull a plow to turn the soil. From a biblical perspective most Bible students think of oxen bound together for work in the fields. But the term is also used in the New Testament of the bar of a scale that joins weights on one end and a pan to hold commodities on the other (see Rev 6:5). There it is translated “balance.”

It is generally used metaphorically in the New Testament. It is, for example, employed to denote the master-slave relationship—that slaves by law in the Roman empire were bound to their owners and were burdened with labor at the demands of their masters (1 Tim 6:1).

A couple of times yoke refers to the Law of Moses to which the Jews were bound—a yoke of bondage that bound them to both sin and death (see Acts 15:10; Gal 5:1). This was an unbearable yoke from which there was no relief and no escape. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin of which every man was guilty and the wages of sin is death (see Heb 10:4; Rom 3:23; 6:23). What a prospect! What a thought! What a burden!

The other two uses of the word denote a disciple’s relationship to Jesus. Twice Jesus uses the word in an invitation that he extended to all men: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

Jesus here speaks of that inward burden men bear and endure in the soul. All men, as noted above, sin and their souls labor under the weight of both the guilt of sin and its eternal consequences. “And these,” Jesus says, “shall go away into eternal punishment” (Matt 25:46). But our Lord also promises that in Him the yoke of sin is easy: that he will lift and bear the burden and provide “rest unto your souls.”

The weight of sin and its consequences are too heavy for any man to bear. The relief available that Jesus promises is the grace of God, for “by grace,” Paul says, “have ye been saved” –freed and delivered from the weighty yoke of sin (Eph 2:5). Jesus, Peter says, “bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness” (1 Pet 2:24).

Those, the scriptures teach, who are bound together with Jesus find the yoke “easy” and “light” because the weight of sin is removed by forgiveness (see Acts 2:38). This, of course, demands that every sinner be yoked or bound together with Christ by the obedience of faith.

The apostle Paul explains how this is accomplished: “For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ” (Gal 3:26-27). And this, Paul explains elsewhere, occurs because as many as are “baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Rom 6:3).

As the hymn says of Jesus, his death, and the shedding of his blood: “Burdens are lifted at Calvary” (see Matt 26:28).

-L. A.

 


Evangelism Report (June 2014)

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Our personal evangelism class on Wednesday nights is about to come to a close. We’ve tried to drive home the importance of seeking and saving the lost. It’s the reason Jesus came to earth (Luke 19:10), it’s the reason you and I are here (Rom 10:14), and it’s the reason the sun rose this morning (2 Pet 3:9). We have attempted to provide some material that may equip you in teaching your friends or neighbors.

The question is, where do we go from here? Will the seed remain in the barn? Will the nets lay clean and mended upon the shore, never to be used? Or will we take action? Let’s see how many seeds we can sow. Let’s see how far and wide we can cast our nets. And when they come up empty, let’s cast them on the other side. It is our job to plant, water, and pray; God will give the increase (1 Cor 3:6).

To help us keep this important task before us as time moves on, I want to begin a monthly “Evangelism Report” in our bulletin. The last Sunday of each month, I will provide an update of our evangelistic work and some encouraging thoughts to keep us motivated. I want to keep the congregation informed and involved in our efforts to spread the gospel.

While I believe evangelism is especially my responsibility as the evangelist, it needs to be something that we are all working in together. The fields of harvest are too large for only a select few to be laboring in. I need your help in this work and I’m here to help you. I hope these monthly reports will help us keep one another motivated and accountable in this effort.

So, what is our plan of action? What are our goals? Let’s start with the short term. I am in the process of designing a congregational business card. It will have all the church’s information as well as a place for you to write your name and phone number. It will offer free home Bible studies and correspondence courses as well as invite people to our assembly. Start thinking about how you could put these cards to use—at the bank, your favorite restaurant, the hair salon, the grocery store, at work or school.

Along with that, we are working on picking out a good correspondence course to use. We have a few different courses that have been used in years past, but would like to settle on one and buy the first lesson in bulk. We could pass out these lessons along with a business card around the community. This doesn’t just have to be done in Kirkwood either. The wider we cast our net the better.

I also want to encourage you all to fill out the prospect evaluation forms available in the foyer. Just tell me who you want to reach with the gospel and how I can help. I won’t contact anyone unless you want me to. I would be glad to do anything from add them to my prayer list to come visit with them in their home. Just let me know how I can assist you in your efforts. Feel free to approach me with any questions.

What about long term goals? I’m starting to work on a set of evangelistic videos that we can put on YouTube and link to our website. I have all the equipment I need and have picked out 14 different video topics to begin with. Now it’s just a matter of script writing and shooting.

This is new territory for me, but I have a brother-in-law who works in videography. Given enough time, I’m hoping to come out with something relatively professional and attractive. Scott Bale is working on integrating our website with social media to help spread these teaching resources more effectively.

I’ve also begun looking into a local group organizing site called: www.meetup.com. This site informs people about groups meeting in their area to do anything from play board games to discuss politics. The site shows over 300 meetup groups within a 10 mile radius of our building. It would be great to start some small group Bible studies at public locations and advertise them on this site. Let me know if you would be interested in leading or participating in a study like this.

Hopefully these goals will get us started in the right direction. Next month I’ll try to report back on our progress. Our evangelism class may be ending, but let’s keep the dialogue open. Keep me accountable. Give me your ideas. And above all else, let’s get to work!

-Grady

 


Christianity Is Not a Detour

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

When Jesus prayed for His apostles, He prayed that they might have the help they needed to survive the attacks of the evil one. Christianity was never meant to be a detour around the world—instead it is a particular path through the world, the only one that finally turns out to be safe. So Jesus prayed that while His apostles lived “in the world” (John 17:11) they might not be “of the world” (John 17:14).

Would He not pray the same for us? Since the world is the environment in which we must live, there is nothing much we can do about that. However, we must do what we can do, and that is to reject the spiritual values of the world. We can refuse to give these principles any place in our hearts. As an old sailor would say, a ship’s place is in the sea, but if the sea gets into the ship then there is serious trouble.

Devotion to God does not mean that we dispense with any regard for the world that God has created. The more reverent our regard for God, the higher will be the quality of our connection to the world. “Far from turning us away from the world, Christ directs us to it. He awakens within us an altogether new concern for it” (Paul Tournier).

As we live in the world without being of the world, we will look more respectfully upon all things that God has made, even upon those that have been broken and marred by sin. Like our Lord Himself, we will be moved by compassion to enter the world on our own missions of mercy.

Let us also remember that “sanctification” does not require secluding ourselves in private, though it would surely be a good idea for us to do that more often nowadays. To be sanctified, or “set apart,” does not mean physical separation as much as it means moral separation. Even more than that, it means separation from any use of ourselves other than the Lord’s use. To be His people, we must be distinct from the world, but it is in the world, after all, that the Lord intends to make use of His people.

“Consecration is not wrapping one’s self in a holy web in the sanctuary and then coming forth after prayer and twilight meditation and saying, ‘There, I am consecrated.’ Consecration is going out into the world where God Almighty is and using every power for His glory…” (Henry Ward Beecher).

-Gary Henry