Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Little Dash Of Salt Will Do!

This is a short story that I told to the members of Valley Baptist Church of Salinas to help them understand the missional posture that we who are followers of Christ are to have. I pray that it gives you encouragement as well. It is called:

A Little Dash Of Salt Will Do!

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Matthew 5:13 (NIV)
There’s a story about a young inquisitive man who wanted to understand the meaning for life. He tried different things like reading books and watching movies to discover it but none of them seem to give him a clear understanding of what would be his purpose in life. Then one day he was told about this old sage that live high atop a mountain in one of the far corners of the world. It was said that this sage was very wise and had been able to help many a person in their quest for knowledge and understanding. So the inquisitive man decided that he would make the long journey to this far off corner of the world, climb to the top of this mountain and ask this wise sage, “What is the meaning and purpose of life?”
It took a lot of preparation but finally this inquisitive man was ready to set out on his journey to inquire of the wise, old sage about the purpose of life. After several months of traveling he finally arrived at the monastery where the wise old sage lived. He walked up al long but narrow flight of stairs came up to two huge oak doors and rang a big bell to make known his presence. From around the corner came a small, lean and elderly man. In a very quiet voice he ask, “May I help you?” The young inquisitive man replied, “I have traveled a long distance to speak with the wise old sage that lives here. May I speak to him?” He invited the inquisitive man to come around the corner and then into a very small and humble hut where he asked, “what do you wish to ask of the wise old sage?” “I would like to ask him,’what is the meaning of life and what is the purpose for me living?” The elderly gentleman quietly gazed at the inquisitive man and then walked over to a pile of sacks of salt, picked one up and handed it over to the inquisitive man. “What’s this?” The man asked. That is a sack of salt. Why did you give this to me? Because you wish to know the meaning of life! How does a sack of salt reveal to me the meaning of life? It doesn’t but what you do with it will. I want you to leave this place and go out to where the people live and I want you to find different uses for the salt that help people. Once you have found three different uses then come back and tell me.
The inquisitive man left monastery and climbed down the mountain where he entered the first village that he came along. He thought to himself, “How in the world am I going to be able to use this salt to help other people?” He began to walk around and observe the people who were in village. Many of them were out doing their daily chores. They were buying, selling, and working. But then all of a sudden he saw a store owner of a meat market ranting and raving to one of his employees. The man obviously distressed and concerned about something. So the inquisitive man walked up to the meat market owner and ask him what was wrong and why he so upset. The meat market owner began to tell him how he had left instructions with his employee to get some salt to keep the meat fresh for the day but his employee had forgotten and now the meat was about to rot. In reply the inquisitive man offered to give the meat owner most of the salt in the bag but he would have to keep a little for himself. The owner of the meat market was extremely grateful and offered to pay for the salt but the inquisitive man refused to accept the payment.
Once the inquisitive man had filled a couple of small bags with some salt and had given the remainder of the salt to the owner of the meat market he then set out for the next village. The inquisitive man had learned some things from his first experienced. He learned that in order to know how to use the salt he would have to watch the people to see who may need it. So he once again began observing the people as he was walking through the village. When he came up to one particular house he saw a man sitting down to have a bowl of soup for lunch. The man took a big spoon full of the soup, put it to his lips and began to swallow when all of sudden he spit the soup out and began to make an ugly face. He began yelling and screaming at his wife that the soup was horrible and tasteless. He ordered her to go back into the kitchen and fix him another bowl of soup but this time it better taste good. The wife horrified over her husband’s outburst went back into her kitchen with tears filling her eyes. The inquisitive man went around back of the house and knocked on the back kitchen door. When the wife came to the door he shared with her that he could help notice commotion that had happened between her and her husband. He asked her, “Is there anything I can do to help?” The woman looked at the man with big tears in her eyes and said, “We have had a very hard year and all of our spices are gone and I have nothing to season my husband’s soup. The inquisitive man took out of his pocket some of the salt that he had left and offered it to her to use in her husband’s soup. The woman was extremely grateful and repeatedly thanked him for his generosity. She took the salt put it into the soup and then took it out to her husband who was very pleased with the taste.
Inquisitive Bob then left that town and traveled to the next village along the way. When he arrived he now knew that all he needed to do was to look around at the people in the town and see who might be able to use the remaining salt. As he was walking around he noticed a wedding procession beginning to form. However, the bride was extremely distraught. As he walked closer he could the bride telling her mother that she had nothing that could be used to symbolize purity as she offered herself to her new husband. So the Inquisitive Bob said to the bride, “Where I come from salt often symbolizes purity would this little bit of salt help solve your problem?” The Bride began to smile with the biggest smile that anyone had ever seen and, “yes, oh yes. Salt also symbolizes purity here in our town also. I how much can I pay you for the salt that you have?” Inquisitive Bob would not take any money. He was just extremely happy that he could help someone on their very special day of their wedding.
After Inquisitive Bob had given her the remainder of the salt he then set out to return to the wise old sage back up the tall mountain to the monastery. As he arrived he saw the wise old sage. The sage asked him, “What have you done with the salt that I gave you?” Inquisitive Bob answered, “I saw a man who owned a meat market and had no salt to keep his meat from decaying. So I gave it to him. I saw a woman who had not seasoning to put into her husband’s soup for flavor. So I gave her some. And then I saw a bride who had nothing to use as a symbol of her purity. And so I gave her the last of the salt that I had.” The wise old sage said, “Well done, go on your way and live your life.” However, Inquisitive Bob shouted out, “Wait just one minute! You said that if I would go out and help people with this salt that you would tell the purpose of life! So tell me and make me wait no longer.” The wise old sage looked at Inquisitive Bob and quietly said, “YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH. Now go out and help preserve people’s lives. Go out and be the flavor in other people’s lives. And go out and be a symbol of what a life of purity is like.”

Friday, October 9, 2009


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Back in early 2009 I wrote this short story to help the members of Valley Baptist Church understand that God expects us to take the light of his glory, that he has placed within us, and go out into our dark communities and shine so that Christ can receive all the glory. I share this with you now in the hopes that it will motivate you to be more intentional about engaging the community with the good news of Jesus Christ. Read it and go do something about it!

"In a world filled with darkness there existed a large elegant building with beautiful renaissance architecture. The inside of this building was bright with a brilliance that is almost unimaginable. It was so bright that there was not even a shadow that was able to be cast. It seemed as though the light came from every direction. The reason why it was so bright was because inside this building lived hundreds, maybe even thousands, of individual lights that illuminated at different degrees of brightness.
These lights usually spent their time trying to outshine each other. One light would get up on stage and begin to show how bright his light was only to have a different light stand up and try to out shine him. These lights looked for creative ways to shine their lights. Some would get up on stage and shine their light in such a way that it seemed that a choir was singing a beautiful cantata but others would display the brilliance of their light by gathering a few other lights around them and make it seemed like they were teaching the great lessons of the century. Other lights shined in ways that seemed as though the greatest chiefs were creating a delicious and delectable multicourse meal. It seemed as though the only reason for their existence was to try and outshine each.
Then one day one of the younger lights was wondering around the building exploring when he came upon a room that appeared to have been closed up for a very long time. He opened the door and found lots of old books and files just stack up in the four corners of the room. They were stacked high and filled most of the room. There was only a very small place for this young light to stand. Being young and curious this young light began to look through all the stuff. There were all kinds of things. There were birth certificates, legal papers and books with stories. But as he was looking through all the boxes he came across a book that looked older than all the rest. A he opened the book he read the first line, “The official manual on how all lights are to conduct themselves as they go out into the darkness and shine.” That really got this young lights attention. He had never heard of any light ever going out into the darkness. He thought the only reason for lights to exist was to try and outshine each other but now this book was saying their purpose was to go out into the darkness and shine where the evil and scary unlit wicks lived. As the young light read farther into the book it also said that they were to not only shine but also do good things for these unlit wicks because they are cold, lost and afraid. This young light at first thought this book must be some practical joke but then he saw that this book was signed and had the official inscription mark of the FIRST AND BRIGHTEST LIGHT. It also stated that the teachings of this book were to be followed and obeyed completely. The first light was also the light from which all other lights were able to be lit. He was not only the first light and the brightest light but he was also the creator of all lights. He knew all things, heard all things and could do all things. This young light had always been taught that all other lights were to obey the first light totally and completely. With this new information this young light became very concerned because he realized that for as long as he could remember the only thing all lights ever did was stay inside their nice, warm and beautiful building and try to out shine each other in new and creative ways. Never once had he ever heard that they were actually to go out into the dark world that existed and shine. He had never heard of any light ever doing that.
So this young light decided he needed to show this very important and old book to the elders so that they could know that the lights have not been doing what they were supposed to be doing and that they needed to go out into the darkness and shine brightly. Bu when he shared with the elders about what he had found and what they needed to do they all said in one accord, “We cannot go outside where it is dark! We don’t know what’s out there or what will happen to us. It is scary outside. No, it would be better for us just to stay inside our nice warm, bright and safe building and keep on trying to outshine each other.”
But something in the heart of this young light knew that was not the right thing to do. He had this pounding conviction that he needed to go out into the dark world and do what that book said they were to do. So he got some of his friends and shared with them what he had discovered and asked them if they would be willing to join him on this adventure out into the dark world outside. Most of his friends were too afraid and refused to go with him. But his best friend, who was a very bright and brave light, said they would go and together they would face the challenges and the unknowns of the dark world outside. So shoulder to shoulder they walked to the front door, a door that had never been opened that they could remember, and opened it. All of sudden everyone in the building stopped what they were doing, stood perfectly still. They just stood there and stared at these two young but brave lights as they stepped out into the dark world. In amazement all the lights stood at the entrance of the beautiful building looking with amazement as these two young lights began to go farther and farther into the darkness. The other lights began to scream and holler, “Come back! Come back!” But it was too late they were so far into the darkness they could no longer see their lights shining. Everyone feared the worst. They thought that these two young lights had been lost in the darkness.
As these two lights walk together they began to notice two things: First, they noticed that wherever they went the darkness seemed to run away. Each time they took another step the light that shined from them began to illuminate the way and there would be no more darkness. Secondly, they noticed that there were others who were out there. They were not alone. These others were different from them because they did not have any light but also in some ways they were very similar. They weren’t exactly sure how but they just knew inside they were a lot alike. Some of these others would run away and hide when these two young lights began to shine on them but others seemed to be gravitated to the light and would come close. As these others came close it was apparent that they were sad and in need of help. So in little ways they began to do whatever they could to help these others. As they did the others asked them why they were being so kind. So the two young lights began to tell them about the FIRST LIGHT, how he is the giver of all lights and how he commanded them to come out here into the darkness and do good to those they found. Some of these others asked, “Can we be lights also?” The two young lights replied, “Well the first lights knows all things, hears all things and can do all things so I guess if you call out to him and believe in him you to could also be a light.” Some of the others believed what the two lights had said and called out to the first light saying, “We believe in you! Would you give us also the light that shines?” All of sudden something happened! A flash of light exploded and the others who had cried out to the first light began to shine with a brilliant light. The two young lights stood in amazement as they saw these others now shining as bright as they. The others began to sing and rejoice because now their life was bright and filled with hope. They shouted praises and thanks to the FIRST LIGHT for the wonderful and powerful thing he had done.
The two lights said to the new lights, “You must come back with us so that we can show and tell all the other lights what has happened with you and how they can come and join us as we all together go and light the world and chase away the darkness." by Jay Moore
Jesus said that we are to be the light of the world and to do good deeds in such a way that it brings glory to God our Father. Too often we fail to do good things for other people. We have become insensitive to the needs and hurt of others around us. We walk past people on the street but never really look at them. We don’t smile or even acknowledge their presence. If that is the case how can anyone expect us to help others in need? But that is exactly what Jesus is asking us to do. It is time to get out of our comfortable church buildings, homes and offices and engage people in the real world. There is a lot of darkness in this world but we have the ability to ignite a light that can chase the darkness away.
Some people are not able to shine a light into the darkness because they have no light to shine. Their life is filled with nothing more than darkness but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you feel that you are walking around in spiritual darkness and desire to see the truth of the light then I invite you to discover THE FIRST AND BRIGHTEST OF ALL LIGHTS, JESUS CHRIST. He will se t your life on fire and help you to shine brightly for His Glory. Developing a personal relationship with him can totally transform your life from one of darkness to one of light.
If you already do have the light of Jesus shinning in you where do you shine that light at? Are you hiding in some nice building that you call a church. Remember this: Jesus did not call us to be the light of the Church, he called us to be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. I want to challenge you with the same challenge Jesus gave us, “Let your light so shine before men, in such away, that they see your good deeds and glory your Father in Heaven.” GET OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD – WHERE REAL LOST PEOPLE ARE AT AND LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Missional Keys For Fulfillment

It is time for every follower of Christ to consider themselves a missionary. A missionary to their neighborhood, work and social group.

in reference to: Google (view on Google Sidewiki)


"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13

In my last post because of my strong emphasis on ordinary believers being raised up, trained up and unleashed into the church planting fields some may have felt that I have little regard for professional ministers. That would not be accurate. I myself am a professional minister and make my livelihood serving our Lord in full time capacity. There is an important role that professional ministers play. It is not only important it is also vital. If the professional minister do not fulfill their task completely then the laymen will not be able to do their job fully.

But what exactly is that role the professional minister is to play? I believe the verse at the beginning of this post gives the best description. Professional ministers exist to prepare and to equip God's people to be effective in doing the work of the ministry. In that verse Paul list four different gifts to the church or as some would call four different servants. They are apostles, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teachers. If the church is going to get serious about raising up, training up and unleashing ordinary Christians into the church planting fields then the professional ministers will need to get serious about performing their jobs with excellence.

If the ordinary believer is going to be effective in being the church planters then they will need excellent Bible and theological training, they are going to need good training in witnessing and church planting, they are going to need direction given on where the gospel needs to spread and they will need a strong prophet voice warning them against the subtle evils that will encroach upon the church. To fulfill this mission that Christ has given us will require both the professional minister and the ordinary believer fulfilling their responsibility. You can't have one without the other. We need both.