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A.J. Holst

The Great Commission

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I was told no Christian is exempt from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don't know where this thread will go, but I hope to learn, encourage and enlighten with positive posts, responses, questions, and critiques. I want to be a better Christian today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today.

I hope there will be enough information shared for folks make a decision about Christianity, free from hypocrisy and enough discernment to identify hypocrisy. That's what makes evangelism so hard and so I'll avoid it with the truth.

Being 50 year old man, but only an 11 year old Christian, I was sure I wasn't prepared. Not a Bible scholar nor a theologian.

Nice thing is I see this Christianity thing as a child does...it's not hard, it's not confusing. It has not been tainted by religion, the bias of my upbringing in the Catholic Church nor blinded by hypocrisy.

I was actually saved in a Catholic Church, so the cause and event are probably the best place to start.

You should all know I am a sinner; past, prssent, and future. I have broken more of God's commandments more times than I can remember.

In 1988 I turned my back on God. Mom passed after 9 months of chemo and cancer. It was obviously God's fault, so I was ready to be like Frank Sinatra and do it my way.

Had a pretty successful run, ups and downs but mostly up. Then a strange thing happened while bitching about having to wash some dishes in 1997. I had been married about a year and Mrs GtGs was the subject of my ire. 

All of a sudden, it occurred to me, if Mom hadn't passed, the likelihood of moving to Tennessee was zero. Not saying I'd still be living at home, but I loved my Mom and still miss her.

It also revealed Mrs GtG was His gift to me, to love, cherish, lead and protect.

Coincidence I had this errant thought, perhaps. Too much opium trying to connect randon events, maybe. God's plan for my life, with revelation of why I had / have trial and tribulation: this is my obvious choice considering my perspective.

It was also a healing moment, my anger and hate towards God evaporated because I had an understanding of why. 

Here is where I missed the boat, when the anger faded, I was cool with God. I was aware of Him. That was about it, I didn't acknowledge, worship, glorify, or give Him any real credit. My lifestyle didn't change much. Went to church a few times, like any good C&E Catholic,  I dropped some spare coin in the collection plate on the high holidays. 

Fast forward to 2007. Life (on the surface) was great. No cares or worries. Health, wealth, marriage...it was picture perfect. 

So I bought a bigger boat. 

The first Saturday I owned it, I was sitting on the bridge after washing and waxing. She was shipshape and in Bristol fashion.

While surveying mine domain, another one of those errant thoughs, "I'd never thought I'd have a boat anything like this, I'd better get me to church."

Strange to say the least, but at that moment the vague awareness of God manifested into, "GtG, you ain't all that and a bag of chips and somehow you think or know or feel God has been helping you out."

So I went and talk about a religious experience. The folks in the pew next me probably thought my family just died or I getting ready to die myself.

In the Gospel of Luke, there is a parable of the barren vine, the landowner and the gardner. 

So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

I was rocked to my core.

This is what I heard and understood.

I was the barren vine which had accepted 40 years sun, fertilizer, care, labor, space, investment, mercy and Grace for no yield.

God was done with me and I was going to hell. 

Even my savior Jesus Christ, as the laborer, was willing to shield me, but I had to do something, because scripture doesn't say how long the season is.

That's when my heart and mind opened to the truth recorded in the Bible, as I understand it with my childlike perception. 

The very next week, another religious experience. The Prodigal Son.

Yep, through scripture, God revealed there was a party in Heaven over my return to the flock.

So when I have zero doubt of heaven and hell and I was certain I was on the hell express, God showed how much he loved the wretched, selfish sinner I was by sending that message to save me from myself.

What if I had hit snooze...yikes.

So I found the Lord and got right with God and even went and got saved when times were good. I heard and read about trusting, patience, faithfulness. All those things you actually need when times are bad. Didn't quite understand as that stuff doesn't apply to me since time were good.

Pretty important, because things got bad.

2009-2011 are tough financial times, I'm working 2 part time jobs to supplement my full time income, our home environment was not marital bliss.

I'm reading my Bible a lot during this time, but truthfully, I didn't or couldn't feel God's presence or understand much of what I read.

Except for Psalms and Job. There are some wonderful nuggets in Psalms which capture how I want to speak to or cry out to God.

In Job, he praises and glorifies God regardless of his situation. He knows the Lord blessed him in the goods times, this is a test of his faith and he will trust God with tomorrow.

I clung to this like a drowning man at the end of the rope.

2012 there was light at the end of the tunnel, it wasn't a train, and life got a bit easier with a new job.

In August, out AC broke and so did my blindness. Mrs GtG was not happily married and didn't particularly care about the future outcome of our marriage. You see, like Paul, I was still blind to my sin. Yes, I got right with God, accepted who Christ is and what he does for me every day, began to forgive myself for treating God so poorly, but forgot I thing.

Why do you persecute me, through her?

In my selfishness, I had become a monster. When I looked at my behavior I was ashamed - I wouldn't want to be married to me either.

I confessed and asked for forgiveness.

Still married and it's better today than day 1.

Well, that's my story and it's still being written. 

Welcome to the religious thread where all are welcome!

Edited by Gotthegoods
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I just read a book called "Love Does", written by Bob Goff. It has a religious aspect to it, but is in no way preachy. I learned a lot from the book. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

He believes that God is love, and to be more God like, we should exude God's love to one another. I am not a people person, and have a hard time doing this at times, but will work on it.

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19 minutes ago, gregintenn said:

He believes that God is love, and to be more God like, we should exude God's love to one another

When I need a check up, I'll read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and replace "Love" with my name. 

Its gentle reminder that I've got more work to do to become the man I want to be.

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Warning against Prejudice

James 2:1

My brothers and sisters, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, we must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance.

It not too much of a stretch. to consider our skin is just the covering appearance of our bodies.

If that is true or even plausible, I know a lot of racist Christians.

Oh, they can quote the Old Testament all right. Do they know it's a Jewish law, written for the Jews, to ensure they stay Jewish? Apparently, even the Law of Moses became perverted when the teachers and keepers of the law added the twist of, "hate your enemy," to "love your neighbor."

Perhaps it was to help keep like minded folks about God together and bring in those who were curious and wanted to learn more.

Face it, if you are the only Jew ( or Christian) married into a non Judeo-Christian tribe, you'll probably begin to assimilate away from God to worship / fellow / accept the gods of that culture.

Fortunately, I've been able to share the above scripture to at least soften the hearts of a few.

I also personally learned the more traditional lesson, based not on outward appearance, but outward action from the limited perspective.

Traveling south on Broadway one evening, as I passed KARM, I noticed a huge amount of waste on the sidewalk and street. City workers cleaning up

"Animals," was my first thought.

Yep. Harsh. Ugly. Judgemental. Shameful. Not too different from prejudices or racism.

I was begging for forgiveness before I reached Summit Hill.

The homeless are people, individual creations, children of God.

Next time traveling through, someone installed garbage cans, and very little garbage in the ground. the

It represented these people care about their immediate environment and choose to keep it as neat and clean as possible. 

We have a sizable homeless community / village under 40 on the west side overpass off Broadway.

What it has placed in my heart is how to help more. We are able to support KARM on a regular basis, but with cold weather setting in, I figure I can do something to ward off the winter cold.

Some kind of small water resistant/proof pack with gloves, hat, socks, rubber galoshes, fleece throw? 

If I can get unit cost to $10 per, I can outfit 100+ people. Military Surplus a valid avenue?

Thanks for your prayers and support, I really appreciate it

Edited by Gotthegoods
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We work with the homeless weekly from November through March - providing hospitality, feeding, and actually spending the night in a church building with them. Socks, underwear, and chemical hand warmers are by far the items that are sought after the most.

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10 hours ago, MacGyver said:

We work with the homeless weekly from November through March - providing hospitality, feeding, and actually spending the night in a church building with them. Socks, underwear, and chemical hand warmers are by far the items that are sought after the most.

Mac, thanks for the suggestions and your service!

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It’s surprising how much of what people who struggle with homelessness have is really considered disposable.  

If you’re spending the night at the mission or someplace like that, they’re not going to let you bring more than a single, small backpack in.  They might have storage lockers, but they’re not going to be secure.  Your stuff is likely to be stolen. 

Other cities may be different, but with Room In The Inn in Nashville, no one has to spend the night on the street during the winter.  We have enough churches to take people in. So, the issue changes to whether or not the place where they’re staying has showers or a washer and dryer.  Most little churches don’t, hence if they can get new socks/underwear, they will.  

Softer protein bars are great, too.  So is lip balm. 

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For what it’s worth, I try to keep a few ready-to-drink protein shakes like Myoplex or Muscle Milk in the door of my truck during cooler months, too  

If you want to acknowledge someone’s humanity, but are wary for whatever reason of giving them money - protein shakes are good solid calories.  

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We used to encounter a fair number of homeless people in college. We quickly adopted a standard response of, "I don't have any money, but I'll get you something from the cafeteria if you're hungry."  

One guy took us up on the offer.  We loaded him up and he thanked us, sat down, and ate. 

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I think it is great that people step up and help the less fortunate and I have done it from time to time back when I was working and making good money. I did learn pretty quick the difference between the true homeless and the not so true ones. I use to watch folks give to men standing on street corners holding signs saying "Will work for food" so I thought I would put some to the test I tried 11 different guys on 11 different days that I had odd jobs I needed done at the shop. Out of the 11 Three took me up on the work. I took them to my auto repair shop and just kind of had them clean up a little, maybe wash the office windows. Nothing really hard. With that person there would be 4 of us and I would spring for lunch that day. That evening I would take them back to where ever they were staying and stop on the way and get them supper and give them $30.00. I ask one of them one day about the guys holding sign like his but when offered work they would refuse. He said they are not like us. They are true bums and give the ones of us that will work a bad name so we try and stay out of their areas.

I had a little fun with one of the non workers. He was holding a sign that Read Vietnam Vet will work for food! I pulled to the curb and motioned for him to come to the windown and he did. I politely told him he might want to change his sign to Gulf War Vet and he ask me why and I told him because I don't think you were born yet when the Vietnam War was going on. A couple days later he had a new sign and was 3 blocks from the corner he was using.    

Edited by bersaguy
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One of the challenges is knowing homeless people do pan handle but not all pan handlers are homeless; it is their chosen career.

Had an opportunity to be a secret agent. Was at Kohl's, noticed homeless woman asleep along the parking lot borderline.

Approached cautiously, carefully, and courteously. No response, she was in a deep sleep.

Placed 2 bottles of water by her back pack and slipped a $10 in a side pocket then scurried off.

You don't have to be classified as a saved Christian to do on to others and love thy neighbor

Edited by Gotthegoods
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29 minutes ago, Gotthegoods said:

One of the challenges is knowing homeless people do pan handle but not all pan handlers are homeless; it is their chosen career.

Had an opportunity to be a secret agent. Was at Kohl's, noticed homeless woman asleep along the parking lot borderline.

Approached cautiously, carefully, and courteously. No response, she was in a deep sleep.

Placed 2 bottles of water by her back pack and slipped a $10 in a side pocket then scurried off.

You don't have to be classified as a saved Christian to do on to others and love thy neighbor

Thats kinda what I was trying to do was find those that were truly homeless and willing to work verse the pan handlers. The ones that did work for me all went to a homeless incampments except 1 and he went to the Homeless Shelter because the Temps were going way down that night and all the people from the camp had already been picked up by a church.

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Everytime I walk out of a restaurant with leftovers, I keep an eye out for someone who could use that food a lot more than I could before I make it to the fridge.

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6 hours ago, btq96r said:

Everytime I walk out of a restaurant with leftovers, I keep an eye out for someone who could use that food a lot more than I could before I make it to the fridge.

Done that a few times too. 

We were in downtown Chattanooga and had eaten at Mellow Mushroom.  As we were walking back we came across a homeless person. My oldest offered up his pizza leftovers (still warm).  Proud papa moment. 

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Been thinking about lepers.

In the ancient world, they were discarded, forgotten, and shut off from society. 

Biblically, it was particularly hard for a Jew, especially with Levitical law. Shut off from society in general and your family, friends, and culture specifically.

Religiously, the afflicted had obviously earned God's (or the gods') disfavor or invited in Satan and his minions into your very body.

Enter Jesus, heals those with leprosy and shows that leprosy doesn't make a person unclean nor unloved by God.

Rings a little bit with James and not judging based on appearance.

All in all, the lepers were universally shunned, both by members of their own family and society as a whole.

We don't have wide spread leprosy today or leper colonies, so the teaching tied to leprosy seems a bit dated and hard to relate to.

It does seem to me that the homeless are treated as modern day lepers.

Shunned, forgotten, unwanted, a simple head turn to the right or left and they don't exist.

 

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On 10/18/2018 at 2:20 AM, btq96r said:

Everytime I walk out of a restaurant with leftovers, I keep an eye out for someone who could use that food a lot more than I could before I make it to the fridge.

I had a guy in Portland hit me up for my leftovers. He was sitting outisde a delicious restaurant. I thought it was a brilliant strategy and told him that. He didn't even look homeless, just a broke hipster I think. 

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1 minute ago, Erik88 said:

I had a guy in Portland hit me up for my leftovers. He was sitting outisde a delicious restaurant. I thought it was a brilliant strategy and told him that. He didn't even look homeless, just a broke hipster I think. 

It's hard to discern with the professional pan handlers working the crowd.

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On 10/18/2018 at 1:20 AM, btq96r said:

Everytime I walk out of a restaurant with leftovers, I keep an eye out for someone who could use that food a lot more than I could before I make it to the fridge.

That is a great idea.  I will try and remember that, the trouble is, I don't eat out much, but it's still a great idea.

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Listening to Joy 620, one of the radio pastors hit on something I found helpful in terms of living with some purpose.

How am investing my time, treasure and talent?

From the Christian view, it should be stuff pleasing to God.

How am I spending my time? During waking hours, it's probably the only thing I really own. Like most, work is required, but common to everyone I know.

I believe we are created to do stuff, so binge watching Hell on Wheels (guilty) or simply existing on a couch off work hours is probably not pleasing to God, and truthfully, not particularly productive.

When I feel couch like, I am now more aware and will force myself to do something.

Investing your treasure biblically refers to tithing, supporting the church, and helping those who need a hand up.

For believers and non believers alike, are you a good steward with your income both with saving and borrowing?

If you are drawn to charitable giving, is your chairty a good steward with your investment?

Remember, the dollars in your pocket and the stuff you buy tangibly represent your time investment in the work portion of your life.

Is that thing worth the X number of hours you spent at work?

I think this forum is a great example of investing talent. Shared experiences, best practices, encourage, enlightment, and education have been present and maintained during my tenure.

It hasn't been all gun stuff!!!

Opportunities will present themselves for us to share talents (gun and otherwise) out on the world of real people.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ be with all of you!

Edited by Gotthegoods
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Almighty God,

Please forgive my sins of this day, in my thoughts and words, what I have done and failed to do.

Thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ, who gladly takes my sins and burdens upon himself each and every day and whose blood washes me clean and makes me acceptable before you.

Jesus, please let you be in my heart and in my mind and upon my lips and help me to reject Satan and all of his works, and resist the glamor and temptation of sin.

Please have mercy on me, a sinner and help me be a better Christian tomorrow than I was today.

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The Gospel of Luke is my favorite

As you watch, as Linus speaks, he discards his security blanket, which some Peanuts experts say is unusual. Throughout the comics and cartoons, he is never without it and desperate to recover from Snoopy.

As Linus speaks of the birth of Christ, Schultz demonstrates the source of and in whom true security exists.

Oh Joy!

Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on Earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father; we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father, Lord God, lamb of God; you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer.

For you alone are the holy one, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the most high, Jesus Christ.

With the Holy Spirit in the glory of the Father.

Edited by Gotthegoods

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To celebrate the event of Nelson Mandela's birthday and promote the  anti aparthied movement, a rock concert was held on 6/11/88 at Webley Stadium.

Star studded cast, after hours of rocking and screaming for curtain calls, the closing act, unannounced, un promoted, and more than likely unknown, walked on to the stage and captivated the audience

Perhaps, if man is born broken, and life is mending, God's grace is the glue.

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