ACCESS is more than just a neat logo (in my opinion). It is a formative effort to structure and focus spiritual growth in my life and in the life of those the Lord allows me to serve. Many times Christians approach the Christian life aimlessly. They take only what they hear from friends and the pulpit and try to integrate that into their life. But sometimes preaching doesn’t give an organized presentation of the scope of what it means to be a Christian. That is my goal in ACCESS. My wish is to present material and a structure that helps form habits of spiritual thinking. So what does the logo of ACCESS represent? After encountering the Cross of Christ which leads to salvation by grace, Christians should develop into “5 bar Christians.”
Bar #1 – Surrendering to the will of God daily.
For the first bar we don’t have to look farther than our ministry verse. Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” It is an amazing study to look at how Jesus grew as a boy but also as God in the flesh. However, what was the key to His growth? I believe you find this in the previous verse. Luke 2:51 “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” It sometimes becomes trite to say that Christ is the example for our lives, but it is true that there is no greater example of a life surrendered to God’s will. Jesus, the mighty Power that holds Creation together, humbled himself to the will of God the Father. Do you want a life that grows in wisdom? Do you want a life that grows in favor with God? Do you want to be favorable to man? Then this first bar is for you. Surrender daily to God’s will in your life. If you are struggling with humble obedience, then take a moment today and ask the Lord to help you to surrender your will to God.
Bar #2 – Separating from the world to Christ.
“The Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind, won great success as an operatic singer, and money poured into her purse. Yet she left the stage when singing her best and never went back to it. She must have missed the money, the fame and the applause of thousands, but she was content to live in privacy.
Once an English friend found her on the sea sands, with a Bible on her knee, looking out into the glory of a sunset. They talked and the conversation drew near to the inevitable question, “Oh, Madame Goldschmidt, how is it that you ever came to abandon the stage at the height of your success?”
“When every day,” was the quiet answer, “it made me think less of this (laying a finger on the Bible) and nothing at all of that (pointing to the sunset), what else could I do?” [Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations]
1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
It’s pretty clear. We aren’t to have any desires for the world. This is the essence of separation. But you can’t be Vulcan and turn off all desires. You must redirect your desires and that redirection goes to Christ. Pour all your passion and love and desires into Christ. He will never disappoint you.
Bar #3 – Studying the word of God faithfully.
The Bible has been likened to a map many times, and the application is so true. There is a destination for everyone and you want to make sure you get to the right place. Psalm 119:30 says, “I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me.” Throughout life you have some choices to make and your destination will be the result of those decisions. At the beginning of life’s journey your destination is simply heaven or hell. The Bible gives plenty of guidance for this destination. After you make your turn for the right destination, heaven, you then have a few destinations to choose from. These range according to the success of your Christian Life. From failure to delight, one day you will stand before God according to the destination you reached in your Christian life. How can you arrive at the “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” destination? Only by studying God’s Word daily. The Bible is trustworthy. It is up-to-date in its application to your life. There is a guiding principle or precedent in Scripture for every situation you face in your life. Use your map to the max and you will never regret the final destination.
Bar #4 – Spreading the message of the Gospel.
“Christ’s last command should be our first priority.” We often focus on someone’s last words. It is the last handle on our memories of that person. In the case of Christ, we seem to focus a lot on the teachings of His ministry, but fail to remember His last words to His disciples. Christ said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In ACCESS we will be encouraged to spread the message of the Gospel. The only hope for people is not politics, economics, or social services. The only hope for people is to recognize they’re sinners and accept the gift of salvation by the blood of Christ. In this passage, notice that Christ said, “Ye shall be witnesses.” This is more than you will witness on Saturdays from 10-12. This is a higher calling than inviting your neighbor to church. This is a call for each Christian to embody evangelism exactly like Christ. Christian, is your life modeled after the evangelistic methods of Christ? Are you a follower of Christ in all points, including being a witness? Don’t just v. witness; be a n. witness!
Bar #5 – Serving the needs of those around you.
Servant leadership is a buzz word, a current trend. Lot of quips such as “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” float around whenever serving is discussed. I don’t think anyone would disagree that service is vital. We talk of our military as servicemen. Politicians state that they serve the interests of their constituents. Basically you can only get somewhere in life by shoving or serving. You can move people out of your way or you can serve them.
Jesus Christ unarguably is THE example of service. In his final teachings we read Matthew 25:40 where Jesus [the King] is speaking to those who have served selflessly and answers their surprised question “when did we feed, give drink, take in, clothe, or minister.” He says, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” This verse fascinates me because it is repeated word for word to those who did not serve others but only thought of themselves. What does this tell me? Whatever you decide to do, serve or shove, you are doing it unto Christ. In ACCESS, the norm will be to look at people as Christ looked at them. Service shouldn’t just be encouraged among Christians, it should be expected because what we do in this life is as “unto Christ.”