I Don’t Look Like Jesus

5839424_sWhat makes one “like” Jesus? How does one know what to do in answering the question, “What would Jesus do?” What does it look like when Jesus is “formed in” us (Gal. 4:19)?  What does it mean to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29)?

I wish to be like Jesus, I really do. I want my life to look like Him. I pray that I am more like Him today than I have ever been. But I also know there are so many ways in which I am not like Him. I don’t look like Jesus when…

  • my response to humankind is anger or resentment or disgust instead of compassion (Lk. 7:13).
  • I cannot feel comfortable in the company of the irreligious (Mk. 2:15).
  • my only associations are other church people (Lk. 15:2).
  • people with wrecked and ruined lives do not feel comfortable around me (Matt. 9:36).
  • my own preferences and ideas carry more weight in the practice of my faith than does God’s own word (Jn. 4:34).
  • I do not possess an overwhelming sense of utter and complete dependence on God always (Jn. 5:30).
  • in helping serve people in need I fail to also point them to spiritual food and clothing and shelter (Jn. 6:27).
  • I isolate myself from the world (Lk. 13:22).
  • I think everyone will love me (Jn. 15:18).
  • protecting personal comforts prevent me from engaging the world (Lk. 9:58).
  • my family ties prevail over spiritual ties (Matt. 12:48-50).
  • I only preach to people and fail to serve them (Matt. 9:35).
  • prayer is only of marginal importance and infrequently practiced (Mk. 1:35).
  • tradition takes priority in my actions and practices over God’s own word (Mk. 7:8-9).
  • temptation cannot be met and defeated through the use of Scripture (Matt. 4:4,7).
  • I expect people to come to me and I am unwilling to go to them (Lk. 13:22).
  • if concern for the condition of lost souls is not the highest concern in my life (Lk. 19:10).

It appears that I don’t look much like Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, it is NOT that our being accepted and received by God is based on our ability to emulate Christ. It isn’t as if He’ll love me more the better job I do of being Christ-like. That would put my standing with God on the basis of human merit and that is actually “contrary” to the gospel (Gal. 1:8).

Neither is this about heaping up guilt for our shortcomings. If it were, that wouldn’t be like Jesus either.

Instead, I need to know that growing up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” is the objective (Eph. 4:13). And, no matter how far I’ve made it, I still have a long way to go. There is no place to stop, no time to look around and compare my progress with others, no reason to despair and give up. He is there every step of the way to help, to encourage, to restore, to heal, to forgive, and to guide.

The fact that I’m not like Jesus in so many ways motivates me. It’s like Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Php. 3:12).

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027: Ordinary People Extraordinary Faith Interview with Dema Grischuk, Ukraine Preacher

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Ukraine-Map_(Renovated)Tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine.  In certain areas, like the Dontesk/Donbass region and the city of Donetsk itself, it’s particularly tense.  The new Ukrainian president has initiated an “anti-terrorist” military campaign intended to oust the pro-Russian insurgents in various locations.  The result has been much fighting and the disruption of daily life.  The city of Donetsk waits for these efforts to be brought there.

Dema Grischuk is a preacher, teacher, and ministry director who has taken a leading role in trying to minister to the suffering and hurting citizens of Ukraine.  His efforts extend beyond the local congregation. The Let’s Love ministry which he directs has long been reaching out to orphans, children at risk, and the poor and needy throughout the Donetsk region.  With many of their efforts suspended due to the unrest, much attention has now been directed to refugees; those leaving eastern Ukraine to escape the violence and danger.

In this “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interview, Dema shares his thoughts and experiences of trying to share the peace and comfort of God with his countrymen in a nation torn by aggression, violence, and turmoil.  Not only is Dema involved in addressing physical needs, but also the often-overlooked spiritual dimension of these troubled times through an active, public prayer grouped that has assembled every day since the first difficulties arose, over 100 days ago.

 

Photos:

Dema's family

Dema’s family

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Dema leading Donetsk prayer group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Prayer group meeting daily for prayer in Donetsk for over 100 days.

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid

Former prisoner of insurgents being given aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Burned out public transportation, Kramatorsk

Work with refugee children

Work with refugee children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Passages:

These are the Scriptures that Dema shared that he has found most helpful, not only for himself but those to whom he ministers, all coming from Isaiah.

  • Isaiah 40
  • Isaiah 41:14
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Isaiah 54:15-17

Prayer requests:

• For peace in Ukraine
• For the Vacation Bible School program to be conduced for refugees’ children (end of June)
• For the week of Bible camp for refugees’ children (end of July)

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026: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Ukrainian Christians During Upheaval and Conflict

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UkraineUndoubtedly one of the most remarkable world events of the past three decades was the fall of the “Iron Curtain” and dismantling of the former Soviet Union.  Though considered by many a great event in the progress of freedom and democracy, the fallout from these world altering events is far from over.  Several nations broke away from the USSR including Ukraine in 1991.

The church in the west saw this as a great opportunity to evangelize this atheistic.  Many Christians, myself included, were completely unaware of the long and rich history of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Still, massive efforts were made, hundreds and thousands were converted and numerous congregations were planted.

The move to a free market system and democratic political process has not been easy or smooth.  Right now Ukraine is in the throws of political upheaval.  Mass rallies ousted the sitting president with a new presidential election scheduled for the near future.  In the meantime, pro-Russian separatists have taken action in eastern Ukraine (the area most heavily populated with native Russians) going so far as to holding a referendum election to separate the eastern part of the nation from the rest of Ukraine.  Blood has been shed, ordinary daily life has been greatly affected, and the churches find themselves in very difficult times.

This episode’s interview is with two of the preachers from Kramatorsk, Ukraine—Vladimir Paziy and Vitaly Rodichev—as well as some of the Christians in that community.  In it they speak to the uncertainty of their situation, their efforts to maintain peace in the church amidst a variety of political viewpoints, and the assurance and comfort they draw from their faith.

 

Photos:

Screenshot 2014-05-14 11.20.33

Vladimir Paziy

Vitaly Rodichev

Vitaly Rodichev

 

 

Screenshot 2014-05-13 10.40.19

Christians in Kramatorsk, Ukraine during Skype call–Eugene Tebel (in blue shirt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Bible Passages:

These are passages mentioned by Vladimir and Vitaly as well as several of the other Christians that they find most helpful in the middle of their uncertainty and turmoil.

     Psalm 37:3-9
     Psalm 71
     Psalm 89
     Psalm 23
     2 Kings 4
     Romans 8:28
     James 1
     1 Peter 1
     Revelation 2:10

Appeal

Do you know someone think would be a good subject for an upcoming Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith interview?  Send me their name and a little information to feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

 

Submit a Bible question

These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

 

Subscribe in iTunes

If you’d like to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, click HERE

 

Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living podcast.  Come back and visit again soon!

 

God bless!

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025: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Betty Robins; Surviving the Oklahoma City Bombing

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At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995 a massive bomb destroyed the Alfred E. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  At the time it was by far the most destructive terrorist act in American history.  It was, of course, surpassed by the events of September 11, 2001.

In that April blast—19 years ago on this podcast release date—168 persons lost their lives and nearly 700 were injured.

In this episode, we return to our “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith” interviews for a conversation with Betty Robins who was in the Murrah Building that fateful morning. Had she not been detained mid-errand by a co-worker she would, in all likelihood, have been the 169th victim—she was headed to an office at the front of the building, which took the brunt of the impact.

Betty shares her experience, not only on that fateful day, but of her recovery process.  Primary she shares with us the emotional and spiritual impact and the journey of recovery.  Betty provides excellent insights for anyone trying to cope with traumatic events of any kind in their lives.

Photos:

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                                                                              The bomb’s devastation

 

         Betty Robins

 

Betty’s Favorite Bible Passages:

These are passages Betty shared that played an important role for her in the difficult days of her recovery and healing.
Philippians 4:13—“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Jeremiah 29:11—“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

Links:

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial website:
http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/

Mandi Cofer’s blog:
http://fiveminusone.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/waiting-for-wings/

 

Submit a Bible question

These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

 

Click below to subscribe to this podcast via:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-enjoy-true-living-podcast/id609352632

 

 

Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

God bless!

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ETL.023: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Faith Interview with Pat Peters; All Christians Ministering Effectively and Compassionately to Hurting People

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Pat Peters began years ago as a youth minister attempting to encourage and train the young people he worked with to reach out to people in places of pain; at that time to people in a local hospital.  Before long, this led to his being invited to serve as a chaplain in the oncology ward of that hospital, which he did for several years.

Since then Pat has devoted a great part of his ministry as a preacher to serving people who are in places of pain.  In more recent years he has also devoted himself to training and encouraging individual Christians and congregations to do the same through workshops, individual speaking opportunities and even special training sessions with preachers in Christian universities and preacher training schools.

 

You will want to hear Pat discuss:

Recommendations for Christians to enter the world of the hurting

—a place we’d rather avoid
—how to have the right mindset going in

How to be be most effective in this situation

—letting them speak instead of worrying about saying the right right thing or making sure you get a chance to talk
—avoiding common mistakes (being afraid of saying the wrong thing, assuming you know the persons feelings or thoughts, telling “war stories” about similar (or not) situations
—practical things to do (listen honestly, make them the center of attention, ask them if they’s like to talk about it—the let them do it or not,

Thoughts on getting others involved in ministering to the hurting (and everyone is hurting in some way!)

 

Scriptures for Ministering to the Hurting

Matthew 22:34-40 and 25:40
loving our neighbor is so closely related to loving God

Psalms 22 and 23
“Psalms 23 always follows Psalm 22”
Psalms 22 expresses distress over God’s apparent absence and the hurting one feels, bhen Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…”.

The book of Philippians is very encouraging

All the situations were people are in dilemmas and God helps them and passages of the constancy of through all kinds of situations.

 

Email Pat

Pat invites you to contacts to with questions or further communication about any of these matters
plpeters20@hotmail.com

 

Sign Up!

Be sure to sign up for the Enjoy True Living email update list.  The sign up form is at the upper right hand section of this website homepage.  Just give us your name and email address to  received updates on released podcasts, blog posts, and other important information.

 

Submit a Bible question

These questions will be answered in an upcoming podcast. Send an email to:
feedback@enjoytrueliving.com

 

Click to subscribe to this podcast via: iTunes

Thank you for checking out this episode of The Enjoy True Living Podcast. Come back again to listen soon!

God bless!

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