Wednesday, July 23, 2008

God Saved Us but, Will We Follow? - Austin Mayberry

This was written by Austin Mayberry, one of the elders at Kingman Christian Church. He recently underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed. This ordeal has given him a new perspective on life. What he has written is a challenge to those of KCC, but it is a challenge to any Christian as well. May you be challenged by his words.

God Saved Us but, Will we Follow?

My Personal Challenge and Dedication

Austin Mayberry
July 22, 2008

Life can be a pain in the rear at times without us being the cause. Some just take on more problems than others; have more heartaches than others; have more physical stress than others and are just in what seems to be, and what some say is, the result of “Bad Karma”. I am glad I don't believe in Karma. I have been fairly healthy all my life and as soon as I reached 60 things have started to go wrong, physically. My perspective is also changing. I don't know how long my actual recovery will take. I don't know what or if I will suffer more physical challenges after this, however, what I do know is that my life is being shaped by God into the “being” he wants me to be. He has laid a plan for me that only he knows the why, when, what, where, and how’s of everything I have done, or will do, during this little wisp of time called, “My life.”

I occasionally wear a tee shirt that says,” Aged to Perfection”. I am far from perfect in every way or form! We all are. What I hope to say by it is that God is perfecting us in His way and in His Time and for the reason of glorifying himself. Paul said in 2 Cor 2:16b, “Though our bodies are dying our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day.” I am not one of those people who speak against God and say He is a self centered, egotistical God or use his name to satisfy my own bigoted self-serving life ambitions. On the contrary! Based on what he has done in my life to date is only the beginning of something good, or even great, of which I can not understand or foresee due to my limited intellect. All I do know is that my service to him thus far has been “weak,” if you can put it in a word.

As Christians, some of us go through our lives hoping that we are serving the Master to the best of our abilities and everything we do we label it as serving him. We tend to fall into a habitual pattern which is not really service to God at all. When things turn to habit we tend to become “carnal thinkers” in our service to him. We tend to look more toward the physical needs rather than the spiritual needs of those around us, including our selves, family, friends, and the non Christian. Both the physical needs and the Spiritual needs of people are important, however, we sometimes tend to treat the physical needs thinking the Spiritual will be met automatically. When we lose sight of the Spiritual nature of God and our responsibilities of service to Him, our stewardship to the church and our personal finances fall apart; our families fall apart; our worship of God becomes more limited; our attitudes change and we sometimes become more contentious with the things around us; our goals and dreams tend to become more self-satisfying; and our daily routines do not measure up to what God has called us to “be and do.”

God has warned us of this in Luke 21:34 (NIV) when he said, "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”

He again warns through Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:6-8 (MSG) “Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.”

When we become “carnal thinkers” all we have done is put ourselves into a box of our own creation, our own comfortable lifestyle. In this box is a lot of sin; mostly, the sins of omission. We omit doing the things we ought to do for God, when we ought to do them, and at the time they ought to be done. We become lethargic and our walk with him becomes “weak.” There is only one cure for our spiraling, self-serving life style that we have living within that box. That comfortable zone of “our box” must be stepped out of and the ownership of our destiny, our worldly existence, must completely, and without hesitation, be turned over to our Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to be the True Master of our lives,

Going to worship on Sunday’s is good. We have some fellowship and many learn a few more “Christian” words or clich├ęs that we tuck away into our box to be used at some future event which makes us sound more "Christian." This doesn’t describe all Christians because there are many who have, and are, being used by God in very dramatic ways, and have truly committed their lives to serving, Him outside “the box.” I am trying to open up some facts and truths for the rest of those who are still stuck in their box. If we have slowed our pace in our race for the prize, what should we do? If we have altered our service to God to have more “personal time,” what should we do? What about the rest of the day; the rest of the week; what are we doing with our lives to bring glory to the Master? The truth, be it known, is not enough! It is never enough because we should be working together towards the “Aged to Perfection” quality that God so wants us all to be. We will be perfected when we come face to face with Him and share at His table in heaven. But for now our work is here on earth to bring more lost souls into the knowledge of Jesus and help them to make the right decision to follow him. We are to work out our “Perfection” in this earthly life. We also have the responsibility to help others climb out of their boxes of complacency, toleration, self-reliance and self-serving lifestyles and restore them to the call of “serving God.”

We, as Christians, all belong to the Body of Christ and we all have gifts or talents or some unique quality that God has blessed us with to be used within the “Body” and in the community we call “the world.” We can not ignore our calling. As I have said, this would be a sin of “omission.” We can not dump our responsibilities onto someone else’s shoulders and expect to be glorifying God. When we are called upon for service to the “Body” through ministry involvement, it is usually based on several qualifying tests. The need itself which may be established by the leadership through the directing powers of the Holy Spirit; the individual’s interest in serving God with the gifts he has been provided; and the personal trust that the body has in your fulfilling the call to that ministry. This is only a touch of what might be your calling in serving God. To ignore it would be to ignore God. We can not give lame excuses that we are too busy because if we truly examine our dedication of time, resources, and talents, we would find that we are still thinking carnally and not spiritually. God will not put any burden upon you that you can not bear. When you serve, do it whole heartedly. Do not slip back into the box. Always look forward to the day that your efforts will be rewarded in heaven when God says “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You will then be perfected in your service to God our Master.

We as Christians must individually and collectively relight the fire of dedication and devotion to the Commission that God has given us. The eldership at KCC will continue to grow into perfection as God guides us into His truth. We shall embark on new endeavors to perfect, on purpose, our personal walk and the direction of KCC to serve the community. Where God leads us we shall follow. I pray it will be your desire to follow and serve to bring Glory to our God as we serve and lead you. What is your calling? What is your purpose? Whom do you serve?

Christ has called me to serve as an elder with purpose in the reestablishment of our calling, as Christians and the Body of KCC, who will be dedicated and devoted to serving God through the Great Commission. He shall light the fire. We shall carry the flame.

Within my life the “how” is yet to be known. The “desire” has been planted by Him. The timing is in His hands. His truth will be the fire for me to engage the future. I declare my devotion to God; to the leadership of KCC; and to you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. May our light shine in Kingman and through the world as we carry the torch of enlightenment and the salt of truth into the lives of people we know or meet.

Where are the matches that can light your fire? Where is your desire? What box are you in that you need to step out of? Who are you devoted to? Are you ignoring His call? In Matthew 7:21 (NIV) Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Our salvation is the first step towards perfection. What we do afterwards will determine our rewards.

My friends, the age of “His perfection” is at hand! I submit this challenge to you; will you join with us as we proceed together in the service of our Lord?

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