Insubordinate Witnesses

I recently overheard a conversation among friends about a company that fired an employee after he refused to follow the demands of his supervisor.  I chimed in that “he deserved his punishment” and shouldn’t have been surprised since he knew what was expected of him when signing on for the job.

Several days later while preparing for a missions workshop in our state, I read again the familiar Acts 1:8 passage, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. 

While the concept of insubordination is often linked with the military, it can as I’ve already referenced, also occur in the workplace.  But does it occur in the church?

Webster’s dictionary defines insubordination as “not obeying authority or refusing to follow orders”.  Before being taken up into heaven, Jesus gave final orders to His apostles, and to us in Acts 1:8.  Has the church failed to obey His authority and refused His orders?

I’m not an attorney, but as I understand it, there are several characteristics that must be present before a situation can be considered insubordination.  First of all, the order must be clear and in the form of a verbal or written statement.   If Jesus had said, “I suggest that you guys consider being witnesses after I’m gone,” it would not be considered an order or a command to follow.  God made sure that this command was recorded in the scriptures to ensure that we would understand His expectation of us.

Additionally, if it’s insubordination, the order must be proper and cannot violate the law.  Being His witnesses doesn’t violate the law, at least in very many places in the world.  But it definitely doesn’t violate God’s law.  It only seems appropriate, that if His message is going to go to the ends of the earth, His followers must be the ones to take it.

I don’t know of a church that has directly refused to be His witness.  Yet many members have done their own thing and failed to be witnesses of Christ in their community, state, nation or world.  However, whether direct or indirect, it’s still insubordination if the order is not carried out. So, are you guilty of insubordination or are you actively involved in carrying out the command given by our authority, Jesus Christ?

The Summer Is Ended

School is back in session and, although you would not know it from the 90ᵒ temperatures we are having, summer is almost over.  It has been fun seeing pictures on Facebook of students as they return to school.  Parents have posted side by side pictures of their children from last school year and this school year.  This morning I saw a picture of a young lady that started her first day at the University of Kentucky.  It seems only yesterday that she was in kindergarten.  My, how quickly they grow up.  Where has the time gone? 

Although there are still several weeks of summer left, for many the beginning of school seems to mark the end of their summer.  Please pray for students, teachers, faculty/staff, bus drivers, lunchroom workers, administrators, and all those in the school system to have a good and safe school year.

Back-to-school also tends to mark the end of summer schedules for our missionaries.  Mission teams have come and gone.  Many families have been ministered to, the Gospel has been shared, and lives have been changed.  Praise God for their willingness to serve and for those who have experienced new life in Christ as a result.

Although much has been done, there is still much work to do.  Missions do not end with the end of summer.  There are opportunities to serve throughout the year.  Thousands in our backdoor, in our state, our nation, and around the world still need the Gospel.  We must not slack; never give up.  We must be about our Father’s business of taking the message of hope to them.

The children at my church sing a little chorus that says, “I hope you see that my hope in only in Jesus, and I hope you see that your hope in only in Him.”  We must go.  We must share that hope.

Be on the lookout for Fall and Winter mission opportunities.  Projects will be updated soon on the KBC Mission Opportunities page (www.kybaptist.org/go).  Churches have already begun to fill Christmas Backpacks (www.kybaptist.org/backpacks) for needy children where the Gospel will be shared.  Let’s keep on showing and sharing the love of Christ.  Many still need to hear. 

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20).

Loving Children Like Jesus

There are times we don’t always see things like Jesus does. We struggle with it often, and as I look in the scriptures, the disciples struggled with it too. There are several times recorded in the Gospels where Jesus had to correct them. I sometimes will ask myself, “when will I ever learn?”

I am reminded specifically of the passage in Luke 18:15-16 where people were bringing their babies to Jesus so that He might touch them. What did the disciples do? They tried to prevent these parents from bringing their children to Jesus.

And I love Jesus’ response to them, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” I can hear the tone of His voice. I can sense the compassion and love He had for these precious little ones. I can see the smile on His face.

I have watched children, even my own grandchildren and love the innocence of their hearts, the excitement for life, the joy simple things bring, and a smile that will just melt your heart. When did we lose those things as we grew up? Why don’t we look forward to a new day with excitement? We can learn so much from our children.


And yes, I know children can be loud, obnoxious, and even disobedient. But let us love these children enough to spend time with them. To teach them. To show them new things and experience this world. To tell them the truth, correct them when they are wrong, and hug them when they hurt.

Most importantly, let us love them enough to show them the compassion and love of Jesus. May we tell them about Jesus and how He loved the little children. May we disciple them, teach them, and tell them about how Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross for us.

May we not be so consumed with our own lives that we miss what our children can teach us. What they can show us. And just maybe, the excitement they have for life will be contagious just enough that it will rub off on us.

Let me encourage you to take a few minutes to:
• Pray for the children in your life… that they will know Jesus.
• Play with the children in your life…that you may bring joy into their day.
• Prepare to learn from the children in your life…that you enjoy each day a little more.

Maybe loving children like Jesus will ultimately change us.

Jesus: The Great Savior Who Forgives Great Sinners

Just who is Jesus? That’s really the question that the gospel writer Luke is seeking to answer as he writes his book. Luke chapter 1 tells us that he writes to a man named Theophilus.  We are not exactly sure who he is, but it seems that he is an important person, perhaps a government official of some kind (“most excellent Theophilus”- Lk 1:3).  Stories about Jesus are spreading.  Luke’s concern is to paint an accurate picture of Jesus for Theophilus—both what He did and who He is.    

The gospel of Luke reveals many things about Jesus.  Luke 6, for example, records for us the greatest sermon ever preached; we often refer to it as the Sermon on the Mount.  But Jesus is more than a great preacher.  Luke continues painting this accurate picture of Jesus in chapter 7 with 5 different scenes or encounters. 

In chapter 7, Jesus travels to Capernaum, northern Israel, where he encounters several people.  In summary, Luke shows us that Jesus is the one in whom we have faith (v 1-10); he is the one who raises the dead (v 11-17); he is the one who heals disease, afflictions and cast out demons (v 18-23); and he is the one who is a friend of sinners (v 19-35).  But there’s more.

The last scene of chapter 7 involves verses 36-50.  Yes, Jesus is the one to whom we have faith in.  Yes, Jesus is the one who raises the dead and heals all kinds of diseases.  He is even a friend of sinners.  But this last scene described by Luke gives us understanding as to why He is more than a great preacher, why our faith is in Him, and why it matters that He heals diseases and is a friend of sinners.

Jesus is invited to a party at the house of Simon the Pharisee.  During the evening, a woman shows up whom Luke describes as a “sinner” (v 37).  She stands over Jesus’s feet wetting them with her tears and wiping them with her hair. She then kisses his feet and anoints them with oil.  Simon is appealed by this action from the woman and concludes in his own mind that Jesus certainly is not a prophet, or he would know what sort of woman she is.

Jesus, knowing Simon’s thoughts, shares a story of a moneylender forgiving the debt of two debtors (v 40-42).  When the two debtors could not repay the moneylender, he forgave the debt of both, Jesus explains.  He then asks Simon, “Who will love the moneylender more” (v 42)? 

The answer is obvious from the story Jesus shares.  The debtors neither could earn nor deserved the cancellation of their debt.  Jesus wants Simon to know that he is referring to the woman, the sinner.  Her debt was great, but Jesus forgave her (v 47).  And herein lies the story of the gospel.  Jesus is the great Savior who forgives great sinners. Our debt of sin is immeasurable.  We can neither earn nor deserve pardon.  Yet, in Jesus’s infinite grace, He forgives all who come to him broken (perhaps even at times weeping) over our own sins.  While our sins are great, His grace is greater. 

John Newton knew this all too well.  He was from London in the United Kingdom and lived in the 1700s. He was raised by a Christian mother but later rejected his mom’s teachings about Jesus.  As a young boy he left home, became a sailor involved in the slave trade of Africans, and later was converted to faith in Christ through a series of events revolving around sailing a ship that nearly sunk while working the slave trade.  As a result, he fought to end slavery.  He was a self-described wretch of a man prior to coming to Christ in faith. As you know, he would later write:

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see…”

He died at 82 years old, and it is told that many friends would visit him prior to his death as his health faded.  He is known as saying, “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”  

Praise God that Jesus is the great Savior who forgives great sinners!