Good News For the Poor
Marie and I came out to Thailand in 1980 to serve Indo-China refugees in Thailand for what we thought was to be 3-5 months… we have just celebrated our 40th year being in Thailand. We have been a part of the Christ Church community since 1984.
We have missed worshipping with you on Sundays at Christ Church. In this challenging time we have so appreciated Rev. Norman, Ben and all of the others who have made our online gatherings, blogs, Bible studies, Friday Fasting & Prayer and Saturday morning Zoom Prayer times very special. I would encourage you to try these resources as a way of staying connected and spiritually healthy.
Along with staying active spiritually, I would encourage each of you to establish routines of physical exercise, eating well, sleeping more, and keeping social distancing while being able to stay connected with your family and friends. We do not know how long this will continue and must not put life on “pause”…we all still have a “mission” and just need to find what form that takes presently.
In between Zoom calls, video conferencing, Facebook, What’sAp communication, leadership and Board meetings, prayer time with Marie and others online, we are being able to catch up on our reading, studying, listening to God to see what He is saying to us at this time. We are continuing to be involved in our projects in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan…though obviously from a distance…and without the smell of diesel fuel and jetlag!! We are grateful for the technology that allows for all of this. If you would like to know more about what these ministries are doing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have often found myself asking the question…”What does Good News to the vulnerable look like? How did John the Baptist ‘prepare the way of the Lord’? He was leading a renewal movement at the Jordan River. Many people were coming to be baptized, the poor, the rich, tax collectors, even soldiers. Through this prophet, they were dedicating themselves to a new way of life. John had strong words for them and they questioned him, “What should we do”? In Luke 3:11 (CEV) John told them,
“If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.” “ When tax collectors came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?” John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.” Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?” John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.” Everyone became excited and asked if John could be the Messiah. John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is going to do greater things…”
John was the forerunner of Jesus. When we follow Jesus, He will change the way that we look at money. He will change how we resolve conflicts and He will change how we look at the poor. I find I am always led to Luke 4:18-19 (CEV) and what Jesus said about Himself. “The Lord’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers, and to say, ‘This is the year the Lord has chosen.’”
If you read on in Luke, these greater things from Jesus included:
• Ordered evil spirits to leave people and they did…
• Jesus ordered high fevers to leave people and they did…
• Jesus laid hands on a man and he was immediately healed of leprosy.
• Jesus healed a crippled man through the faith of his friends.
• Jesus healed a crippled man’s hand on the Sabbath day.
• People listened to Jesus teach and were healed by His power.
• Jesus raised from the dead a widow’s son
• Jesus healed people long distance by just saying the word.
• Jesus provided food for the multitudes
How can you and I communicate this Good News to the poor?
• Bless people who are poor.
• Bless those who are hungry
• Bless people when they are crying
• Bless people when others hate or insult or say cruel things about them.
This is a word to all of us in the Body of Christ and some practical ways we can “bless” as we follow the model of Jesus in our current world
• Calling on the phone and listening to people, re-connecting with them and letting them know that we care.
• Praying for those in challenging situations.
• Taking the elderly to hospital
• Being generous to Christ Church and the outreaches they support.
• Asking Holy Spirit to give us “nudges” that lead us to those in need – those who may just need an encouraging word
• Visiting those in prison and those in detention
• Providing emergency food to asylum seekers/ refugees/ the elderly/homeless and assisting those without work
• Serving those who are seeking asylum in 3rd countries…
That same anointing that was on Jesus is upon us as His people.
Come Holy Spirit….Show us what you want us to do and how we can serve You at this time.
There are some great, free resources online to help you in your walk and journey with the Lord that have been a blessing to me and want to share them with you.
1. The Bible Project - https://bibleproject.com. This is a free, animated, short video study (4-5 minutes each ) of the Bible showing the various themes, books, studies with the goal to make the Biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. You can also read through the Bible in a year with a daily, short animated, video. I am re-listening to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (or as they say, it is really the Acts of Jesus and the Holy Spirit) Everyone learns differently and I highly recommend giving this fresh, anointed, animated (cartoon) presentation a view.
2. Another free, resource is https://www.biblegateway.com It has 150 versions of the Bible in 55 languages. This is my ‘Go To’ electronic Bible that I use when I am reading/studying my Common English Version (CEV).
3. Another amazing TV Series is ‘The Chosen’ which has completed the first year of 8 episodes. Check out the trailer here where 22 million+ have watched these stories from the Bible with different perspectives and a new way of seeing Jesus, the Disciples, the Roman authorities and much more.
This post was written by our Christ Church member, Steve Goode