[advance to content]
On "Reaching Your World" Luis Palau tackles the question of "Who is my neighbor?" You’ll be encouraged to reach out to the people in your life with the Good News.
Picture this: A man is a huge sports fan. He knows all the players’ names. He knows their statistics. He knows the coach’s history. He finds joy and excitement in watching the game. One day, this man is given season tickets for twenty people. You’d think he’d be elated. And yet, he doesn’t give even one away. The man hides the tickets and continues to watch the game from the privacy of his living room. He doesn’t call his buddies and invite them to the stadium. He doesn’t even tell his wife or kids about the incredible gift. Doesn’t that sound absurd?! If I met this man, I’d say, “What are you thinking?! You have the opportunity to bless so many people and yet you’re not! How can you be so selfish?”
But, friend, don’t we all act like this man sometimes? The Bible says that the “gift of God is eternal life.” If you know Jesus Christ, you have this gift. You have eternal life. In today’s world, the number one fear is the fear of death. People are afraid to die. And yet, we have the gift of life! Because of Jesus, we don’t need to be afraid of death because we know that we’ll live forever.
Not telling people about Jesus’ gift is worse than hiding season tickets. We have something that the world craves. We have news that the world is anxious to hear. And so, let’s not keep this incredible gift to ourselves; let’s share it with as many people as possible. This is Andrew Palau.
The world can be a very unpredictable and frightening place. It seems like it is getting more and more violent with each passing day. It is hard to feel safe anywhere when there are shootings in schools, movie theatres, airports, and malls. Not only that, it can be hard to know what is true. Everyone has his or her own angle, and it can get confusing about what to believe and what to do. Advertisers and leaders know that people are more easily persuaded when they are afraid or confused, and so they try to make us believe that they know the answer, the fix to our fears.
The best way to escape fear and confusion is to find our identity in Jesus Christ. This doesn’t stop bad things from happening, but we are able to find joy and peace in an often terrifying world. Jesus is the only truth, the only safety. He is our strong tower, and as Proverbs says, “the righteous run into it and are safe.”
What about our neighbors, though, who are afraid and confused because they don’t have Christ? Well, Proverbs also says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” What is our good word? The love of Jesus Christ! We must share Him with our frightened or confused neighbors, and so reach our world.
This is Luis Palau.
Part of life here on earth is loss. It’s one of the hardest parts of being human. We can lose people, relationships, jobs, homes, and any number of other things. When we lose things we love, the natural response is a deep sadness, one that doesn’t easily go away. Sometimes people talk about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Not everyone goes through all of these stages, and some people get stuck at one stage or another. But God wants us to move to acceptance of the loss that we’ve suffered. That doesn’t mean we are no longer sad; it just means we find comfort in God’s care. As Psalm 147 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” When we are comforted by Christ, we are ready to move on with our lives and move forward into God’s plan.
Sometimes God’s plan is for us to use our own experience of grief to help our neighbors in need. In 2 Corinthians we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
You can use your losses to show others in your world that God provides comfort and purpose to life.
This is Luis Palau.
Did you ever switch schools when you were young? Remember the first day on the playground? When you didn’t know who to play with or what to do? That is one of the worst feelings in the world: seeing everyone else play, and feeling like an outsider.
In Matthew, Jesus says the two greatest commandments are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” And who is our neighbor? Jesus’ story about the Good Samaritan says everyone who is in need. In great need these days are those who feel like outsiders in any way.
God knows the outsiders need special care and attention. In Deuteronomy, it says that God “executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing.” In most societies, foreigners are the people with the least power, who feel most on the outside of the culture. The next verse is a command to those who love God: “Love the foreigner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” God says to love the outsiders, because we were once outsiders ourselves! We have all felt alone, and so it is our job, as members of God’s family, to make everyone feel loved, wanted, and cared for. In Jesus’ name, let’s make the outsiders insiders!
This is Luis Palau.
There are some stories that come up in every children’s Sunday School class. One is the story of the Good Samaritan. A Jewish traveler was beaten by robbers and left by the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite walk by. Both ignore the traveler. The Bible even says they “pass by on the other side.” They didn’t want to be near him. But the best part of the story is when the Samaritan saves the day. What your Sunday School teacher may not have said was that Samaritans and Jews did not get along. Of all of the people who pass by, the Samaritan man was the one least likely to stop and help. But he did.
This Samaritan man stopped, looked, and did something. He gave his time, his money, and even potentially his reputation. He did all of this to help a stranger who was in need.
When Jesus told this story, he asked those who were listening, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” When they said, “The Samaritan,” Jesus responded, “You go, and do likewise.”
It’s not just a story to Jesus, and it shouldn’t be to us either. Our calling as Christ followers is to help those in need, whoever they are and however they need us. When we take this story and put it into action, our neighbors will see God’s love shining through us and want to know more about the God we serve, and the Savior we love. This is Luis Palau.
In life, people sometimes fail us. They break their promises or don’t keep commitments. But God always keeps His word. His promises never fail. On "Reaching Your World" Luis Palau shares some of God’s biggest promises to us.