Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm Back!!!

     Gilberto’s family was called by the local police to identify the body of a man that had been murdered.  They went down to the morgue, and sure enough their fears were confirmed.  The body laying there looked like their Gilberto.

     Gilberto’s family and friends gathered for a wake to honor and remember their loved one.  Then an unexpected guest arrived – it was Gilberto!  Mourners were so shocked to see him alive that some fled for safety, while others fainted from fright.  He tried to reassure them saying, “Guys, I'm alive, pinch me!”

     Was it a ghost?  Was it a miraculous resurrection?  No.  There was nothing other-worldly about what happened here.  It was simply a case of mistaken identity.  The body had been misidentified.  Perhaps it had some disfiguration or the family couldn’t bear to look too closely at the body that bore a resemblance to Gilberto.  However, the emotional impact for the family would be similar to if he had actually come back from the grave.  They were given a new chance to have a man in their lives who they thought they had lost forever. 

     There was another time when mourners were frightened by a real resurrection.  We read about it in Luke 24:36-41 (NKJV) 36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?"

     Like Gilberto’s family, they were frightened.  Like Gilberto, Jesus offered his body as evidence that he was alive in the flesh.  Unlike Gilberto, there was no mistake here.  Jesus had actually been dead and resurrected.  He had conquered death and returned to lead his followers to a similar victory.  Death would never again hold the same ominous finality.  Conversely, for the believer, death is just the beginning of greater things to come.  All of which is possible only because of Jesus.  You have the chance to have Jesus in your life now because of his resurrection.  Are you taking advantage of that chance?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Leave Them Alone?

Explorers Told: Leave Remote Peru Tribe Alone:

Peru has called on explorers to stay away from an isolated Amazon basin rainforest tribe after pictures of "uncontacted" tribal members were published online.The pictures show a family of Mascho-Piro people in the Manu National Park, in remote southeastern Peru on the border with Brazil.
They were taken at the end of last year by an archaeologist and tribe supporter and published on the website of pro-native group Survival International
 But the office for Natural Protected Areas warned even indirect contact with the indigenous people could bring in deadly viruses that do not already exist in the region - and the natives could be hostile.They called on outsiders "to never attempt to enter in contact with these (isolated) communities", whose people "are trying to remain apart from the outside world".She also urged people to not leave food, clothing or other gifts like locals or tourists sometimes do "with the goal of starting a contact with the isolated natives". There are some 15 uncontacted native groups in Peru's Amazon rainforest, according to government officials, with Survival International saying there are 100 uncontacted native groups around the world.
 Sightings of the Mashco-Piro have increased in recent months."Many blame illegal logging in and around the park and low-flying helicopters from nearby oil and gas projects, for forcibly displacing the indigenous people from their forest homes," the activist group said.


“Leave them alone” sounds like a great strategy for preserving an ancient way of life.  But it’s a horrible strategy for saving souls.  Yet that is the very strategy that too many Christians are applying, not just to isolated groups of tribesmen, but to their own neighbors and coworkers.  “Let’s not force our views on anyone else.”  “Let everyone live their life anyway they want to live it.” 

What if Jesus had that attitude?  What if he had looked down from heaven and seen the mess we were making of life and said, “Leave them alone.”  “Sure they’ll be lost eternally.  Of course they desperately need to be saved even if they don’t realize it, but it’s better not to disturb their way of life.”

Friends, we cannot leave each other alone.  We cannot leave those in the world alone.  Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. “ And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
Why do we do it?  Because Jesus has all authority and he tells us to.  What are we to do?  Make disciples of all nations.  What does that involve?  Baptism and teaching to obey.  As we go about this mission, Jesus promises to be with us.
Quit leaving people alone and start leading them to Christ.