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This is a great section from Max Lucado’s book “Outlive Your Life“.  The book speaks about seeing the things of the Book of Acts in the church today. I thought this section from Chapter 1 (pages 5-7) was very thought provoking, and I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Acts announces, “God is afoot!”
Is he still? we wonder.  Would God do with us what he did with his first followers?
Heaven knows we hope so.  These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, 1 billion are hungry, millions are trafficked in slavery, and pandemic diseases are gouging entire nations.  Each year nearly 2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.  And in the five minutes it took you to read these pages, almost ninety children died of preventable diseases.  More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities.  As a result, 10 million of them die each year from diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles.  Many of those deaths could be prevented by one shot.
Yet in the midst of the wreckage, here we stand, the modern-day version of the Jerusalem church.  You, me., and our one-of-a-kind lifetimes and once-in-history opportunity.
Ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever.  We are bright, educated, and experienced.  We can travel around the world in twenty-four hours or send a message in a millisecond. We have the most sophisticated research and medicines at the tips of our fingers.  We have ample resources.  A mere 2 percent of the world’s grain harvest would be enough, if shared to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world.  There is enough food on the planet to offer ever person twenty five hundred calories of sustenance a day.  We have enough food to feed the hungry.
And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans.  Here’s the math.  There are 145 million orphans worldwide.  Nearly 236 million people live in the United States call themselves Christians.  From a purely statistical standpoint, American Christians by themselves have the wherewithal to house every orphan in the world.
Of course, many people are not in a position to do so.  They are elderly, infirm, unemployed, or simply feel no call to adopt.  Yet what if a small percentage of them did?  Hmmm, let’s say 6 percent.  If so, we could provide loving homes for more than 14.1 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.  Among the noble causes of the church, how does that one sound?  “Americans Stand Up For AIDS Orphans.”  Wouldn’t that headline be a welcome one?
I don’t mean to oversimplify these terrible complicated questions.  We can’t just snap our fingers and expect the grain to flow across borders or governments to permit foreign adoptions.  Polices stalemate the best of efforts.  International relations are strained.  Corrupt officials snag the system, I get that.
But this much is clear: the storehouse is stocked.  The problem is not in the supply; the problem is in the distribution.  God has given this generation, our generation, everything we need to alter the course of human suffering.
A few years back, three questions rocked my world.  They came from different people in the span of a month.  Question 1: Had you been a German Christian during World War II, would you have taken a stand against Hitler?  Question 2: Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism?  Question 3:  When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day in which 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?
I didn’t mind the first two questions.  They were hypothetical.  I’d like to think I would have taken a stand against Hitler and fought against racism.  But those days are gone, and those choices were not mine.  But the third question has kept me awake at night.  I do live today; so do you.  We are given a choice…an opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time.  What if we did?  What if we rocked the world with hope?  Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life?  What if we followed the example of the Jerusalem church?  This tiny sect expanded into a world-changing  force.  We still drink from their wells and eat from their trees of faith.  How did they do it?  What can we learn from their priorities and passion?
Let’s ponder their stories…Let’s examine (them) through the lens of this prayer: Do it again, Jesus.  Do it again.  After all, “We are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2.10 NLT).  We are created by a great God to do great works.  He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in (the age to come), but here (and now).
Here’s a salute to a long life:  goodness that outlives the grave, love that outlasts the final breath.  May you live in such a way that your death is just the beginning of your life.
Section from Max Lucado’s book “Outlive Your Life: You Were Made To Make A Difference” pg 5-7

3 Responses to “Our Once-In-History Opportunity”

  1. on 24 Mar 2013 at 11:10 amTim (aka Antioch)

    My mother in law once commented that ‘baby Christians’ should not be allowed to speak for five years. It was in jest but her point is something I have seen from ‘mature’ Christians – that new Christians have a temporary zeal that will wear off and once it does, then they will begin the long process of sanctification that will make them more mature Christians.

    Then I think of that early church – those times following the moment in Acts 2 when 3000 were added to the church. Those and the apostles were all ‘baby Christians’. Look what they did!

    In my small group, we have one young man who is a ‘baby Christian’ and sadly, I see now that early zeal of the spirit seems to be waning in him. He was always so bright and cheery and he gleefully would tell us about the people he was witnessing to and the things he was involved with (doing something about sex trafficking was a key one). In the last few weeks, he has looked bored and has been mostly quiet.

    It reminds me of my own early Christian phase. I attended a men’s group and it floored me that all these ‘mature Christians’ were sitting around and whining about trivial matters and trying to get support from the others to ‘stay true to God in their walk’. At that time, I was so full of that early spirit zeal, I could not understand what their problem was – YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN YOU, HOW CAN YOU BE WHINING ABOUT ANYTHING?!?!

    I continue to come to grips with and lament my own loss of that early zeal, but I am thinking more now about seeking out baby Christians or any Christian that has that zeal. I just want to surround myself with such people and try to listen to their leading. Perhaps, like the early church, it is those baby Christians that are getting a purer leading from the spirit than most of those who have been Christians for decades?

  2. on 26 Mar 2013 at 12:07 amDoubting Thomas

    I agree Tim (aka Antioch),

    When I first came to finally understand the bible and began to not believe in the Trinity. I didn’t know what the word Unitarian meant, but it just felt good that suddenly all of the contradictions that I had been struggling with were gone. And I had finally found this inner peace. An inner understanding. My faith had never felt stronger than at this time in my life. Then I found out about Unitarianism and I got really exited when I found out there were other people on-line that I could talk to that shared my beliefs.

    That was about 4 or 5 years ago now. I have lost that excitement. I don’t think my faith will ever be as strong again, as it was when I first felt that God was revealing the secrets of how to understand His word to me. I don’t know what I can do recover that passion that I felt just a few short years ago. I think it would be nice (invigorating) to surround yourself with people who are strong in faith. I’ve met a few of them on-line and I do enjoy reading their posts.

    I guess I should start praying for my faith the be re-invigorated…

  3. on 27 Mar 2013 at 12:43 pmTim (aka Antioch)

    Thanks for sharing, Tom. From reading the epistles of the early church, so many were exhortations and encouragements to ‘keep the faith’. It seems that even the young church had this problem.


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