An Audience of ONE

AudienceofONEThere is an incredibly understated theme all throughout biblical history that I’ve recently uncovered. It’s gone virtually unnoticed because we live in a culture that believes if we are not popular, loved, or accepted by everyone, we’re not popular, loved, and accepted by anyone.

We underestimate the impact our influence can have even on a small scale. With celebrities, performers, and athletes drawing crowds of thousands, and having social media followers in the millions, we undervalue the importance of small-scale interactions; the up-close and personal, one-on-one encounters we have almost all of the time. We can tend to feel if we can’t do it on a grand-scale, it’s simply not worth doing.

I’m so glad God never felt this way about us! While we were yet sinners, Christ loved us and gave His life for us. When we had nothing to offer in return, Christ chose the route of making the first move toward our redemption. But, before He died for the world, take note of the interactions Christ had during His earthly ministry.

  • Just Jesus and a woman at the well
  • Just Jesus and a woman caught in adultery, after the crowd scatters
  • Just Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of night
  • Just Jesus and a little girl healed as they were already mourning her death
  • Just Jesus and Peter walking on the water
  • Just Jesus and Zacchaeus
  • He even faced down Satan one-on-one in the wilderness
  • Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Christ for the Gardner

This theme is not unique to Jesus’ day. God chose to have these encounters with individuals from the dawn of time:

  • Adam in the cool of the day
  • Enoch walked with God, but God took Him because Enoch pleased God
  • Noah, all by his lonesome found grace in the eyes of the Lord
  • Abraham, called out of the family idol-making business to become the Father of Many Nations
  • Jacob wrestling his “Angel” all night long became the father of the Israelite Nation.
  • Moses met God one-on-one at the burning bush

This theme is important because many of these seemingly small inconsequential interactions resulted in transformational and pivotal moments in people’s lives. I call these encounters, An Audience of ONE.

No large crowds. No big venues. Just a one-on-one, up-close and personal, intimate Audience of ONE that would go on to have a huge ripple effect!

  • Mary had an audience of one with the Angel Gabriel and went on to become the Mother of Christ!
  • Zechariah had an audience of one with the Angel and he and Elizabeth became the elderly parents of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said there was none greater!
  • Peter’s conversation with Jesus after His resurrection, later resulted in Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost that saved thousands in one day!
  • Saul on his way to kill Christians was blinded and sent to Damascus where he had an audience of one with Ananias that resulted in Saul becoming Paul, the greatest missionary of the Bible!

It’s my sincerest belief friends that Jesus still desires these one-on-one intimate conversations with His followers. I believe He still invites us to have an Audience of ONE with Him on a daily basis. Without these small interactions, this Audience of ONE, how can we ever expect to have the monumental impact our predecessors did? It’s just not possible.

Before David ever strummed a calming note on his harp for a tormented King Saul, David had an Audience of ONE with God while tending his father’s sheep.

Before David slew the giant in front of thousands in the Valley of Elah, David had an Audience of ONE with a lion and another with a bear!

Today, do not underestimate the impact your Audience of ONE can have with God. It’s like to become the most transformational moment of your entire life and could potentially have an impact upon you, your family, and those you lead, for generations to come.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Reference vs. Reverence

RefVSREv

Thomas Jefferson wrote one of the most pivotal documents in all of American History, if not human history. The Declaration of Independence is viewed by many as almost a sacred mandate upon all humanity. Even as I read the words Jefferson penned in 1776, I still get goose-bumps, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What you may not realize however is that Jefferson created another not-so inspirational document called the “Jefferson Bible.” In this unofficial bible, Jefferson edited the Holy Bible, specifically the New Testament, to remove the parts of Christ’s Life that he felt were not necessary, namely the miracles of Christ. He literally went through and physically cut those portions of scripture he disagreed with, and kept others like the teachings of Christ for reference purposes only.

Entitled, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” was completed in 1820 by cutting and pasting with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson’s condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels that contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages that portray Jesus as divine. (Wikipedia citations [2][3][4][5])

For obvious reasons this has disturbing implications, to say the least, but sometimes one letter and its placement can make all of the difference in a word. The words “Reference” and “Reverence” are great examples of this principle. As it turns out, one letter, an F or a V has the potential to be an effective barometer in our walk with Christ.

Our lives can be lived in “reference” to Christ i.e. His teachings, His principles, His ideas, His values, and incredible insight. Much of the world has a “reference only” view of Christ’s earthly life and teachings. While admirable and even inspirational, this narrow view lacks a vital component. A view of the Life of Christ as merely a good reference for living our lives places a dangerous distinction between the characteristics of Christ versus the character of Christ.

To extrapolate Christ’s teachings from His Life, without allowing for His Divine Presence to enable, equip, and empower us, sets us up for some unrealistic expectations because much of what Christ taught ran counter to the culture of His day and even ours. In other words, His teachings were not popular, and to exercise His teachings without His empowering Spirit, can set us up for discouragement. Christ did not just teach, He embodied His teachings which provided His followers with not just instruction, but demonstration of how those teachings should be lived out.

John states it this way in the his account of Christ’s words, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (15:4-5)

While a life lived in “reverence” to Christ does so as a way of elevating Christ’s teaching in our lives to a place of Holy Reverence and Honor. A perspective of reverence enables and empowers us to embody the life-giving teachings, principles, and most importantly, commandments of Christ. We live our lives as a way of allowing Christ’s true character and nature to shine through us.

From a cold dark prison cell in Philippi, the Apostle Paul penned these very famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

How could Paul write such things facing such dire circumstances? Paul knew that it was only “through Christ” which gives us strength, and in another place, the all-sufficient grace to face unthinkable trials, tests, and even power to live up to the self-sacrificing, counter-intuitive and counter-cultural teachings of Christ.

With a mere reference view, we have the option of taking or leaving things as the world does. But, maintaining a reverence for both Christ and His teaching, it will provide us a holy compulsion drawing us into a relationship with the originator of the principles, teachings, and ultimately commandments of Christ.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Don't Wait Till Morning to Get Your Joy

WaitMorningFor his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5

A couple of preachers were banished to prison for preaching this gospel message of Christ crucified, raising again on the 3rd Day, and then ascending back up into Heaven.

They were bound and thrown into a dungeon for preaching that Christ shed His innocent blood for the sin of mankind. For preaching that you must be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit!

But as they sat shackled in the stocks, Paul and Silas weren’t about to wait until the morning for their JOY!

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25-26)

  • At the darkest point of the night…
  • At the lowest point of the ministry…
  • In the worst of conditions…

These courageous preachers forgot about their shackles, and their hopeless situation. After all, God wasn’t any less deserving of praise.

Like Paul and Silas, don’t wait for the morning to start praising and thanking God!

Don’t wait until the doors of your prison open before you praise and worship God!

Don’t wait until the morning to start getting your JOY!

Starting praising God in your “night season” until your prison doors open.

Start praising God until your JOY comes.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

Big Lessons in Small Packages – Pray vs. Prey

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31 – 32

One day while I was waiting for the light to change, a brown blur of feathers entered the intersection. Three sparrows were entangled in what resembled a World War II “dogfight.” Tragically, the embittered birds were so engulfed in warfare they never saw the vehicle that seconds later wiped out all three combatants in one fell swoop.

The analogy was inescapable. The misguided birds were so fixated on attacking each other they all lost their lives. Paul warned us, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12).

Our enemy is NOT each other! Satan is our foe, and a defeated one at that! He wants to destroy all hope of you spending eternity with Christ. But, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4).

Let brotherly love continue, building up rather than attacking each other. Let’s stop “warring” against each other or the enemy of our souls could easily destroy us “unawares!”

Sparrows are NOT birds of prey. Likewise, we should pray for, not prey on, each other.

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“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes and Sermon Ideas  for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  Rev. RD Mangold

The Danger of Doing Nothing

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21

Winston Churchill called World War II the most preventable conflict in history saying, “Never was a war more easy to stop than that which has wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.” Cowardice and timidity ruled the day!  Europe’s constant side-stepping and appeasement cost millions their lives and brought the world to the brink of a dark and militaristic reign of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.

Evil in our modern day is pandemic. More blatant than ever is the world’s disregard for God and His Word. Laws are enacted and bills passed daily that are subtly making what you believe and practice as a Christian, a criminal activity!

What is a Christian to do?

Cowering from and ignoring the devil is not the answer – Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Paul admonished the Romans to overcome evil with good. Our Christian duty is not to declare war on our neighbors or society, for “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Rather, “He (God) hath showed you, O man, what is good; and what the LORD requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Weakness = Perfect Strength (Part 2 of 2)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10

Weakness reveals areas where strength is needed. Later, as weaknesses are revealed, those that are wise build support around those areas of their life, shoring them up and guarding them, where others hide them or behind them. Of course, try as we may, hiding our weaknesses from God is futile.

Our strength is imperfect, where God’s strength is perfect when we allow Him full reign. See, God can use our weaknesses to better reveal deeper facets of His Grace and Mercy. Rather than curse our weaknesses, we should glorify in them as the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9…Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Rather than hide from them, or behind them, Paul allowed the sources of weakness; his embarrassment, shame, and perhaps even his past, to be a source of glory, not that he was proud of them, but rather than bring him down, Paul allowed those “flaws” to remind him, and others, as long as they were there, Christ’s power was resting upon him, as if to say, Paul had Christ’s undivided attention.

If you are weak, stop hiding behind, or even from your flaws; allow God’s infinite omnipotent power to equip you in every way possible to overcome your weakness and become strong, not in your power or might, but in the Lord’s!

Link to Part 1 – Weakness = Perfect Strength

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Weakness = Perfect Strength (Part 1 of 2)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10

Whether genetic or social, it seems engrained in us to want to please our parents. With few exceptions, we take great pride in gaining the approval of our parents. We want to show our independence and strength almost as if to say, “Hey Mom and Dad look what a great kid you raised.”

Ironically, this same display of “strength and independence” is viewed quite differently by God. Our text indicates the source of our strength should come from…The Lord and the power of his might (my emphasis). In fact, Apostle Paul learned this lesson while facing perhaps the most difficult time of his ministry. God’s answer to Paul’s request, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9).”

When we “grow up” our inclination may be to want to take the reins. Not so with God. We become God’s “poster child” of perfected strength when we gain a proper perspective of our weakness. Weakness, borne out of humility, builds a strong reliance on God. His perfected strength revealed through our weakness brings God optimal Glory, and for us ultimate victory!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold