CALLED TO SERVE

With GOD as the HEAD… We can be the Arms and Legs!

By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

God has rightly assessed our human nature. We are sinners who foolishly ignore and contradict the word of God. The Bible warns of the dangers of evil, that multitudes have chosen darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Adam and Eve, whom God made, rebelled against God and turned to sin, rejecting God’s teaching and guidance. That rebellious spirit has been our inheritance ever since. The Bible teaches that we all are in conflict with evil. We must flee evil and not embrace it.

“For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him…And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:17 & 19)

What the Bible says about human beings is accurate. He calls upon us to turn to him. From God flows discernment, truth, righteousness, goodness, understanding, and salvation. God wants us to be people of integrity, adhering to the truth, keeping promises, doing what is right, loving what is good.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1,2)

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

We have the privilege of learning about Jesus, believing in him, finding life in him. He teaches us what is right. We need to be his followers. He bids us join him in his ministry in this life.

“But seek first [the Father’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:30)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation God’s own people that you may that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 1:9)

As believers in Jesus Christ we are not a separate clan loosely associated with him. We are stunned to realize that we are called to work with and for him.

“And whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17)

God has called us to a great service! We my tend to think of Jesus as distant, not closely connected. Actually, he is right with us, wherever we may be. Let us not say that we cannot help. Let us accept the opportunities that he sets before us. Isn’t it great that our Lord needs us in his work! Should we not recognize that we are honored to be called on by our Lord to work with him?

“And [Jesus] said to them , “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Luke 10:2)

The Lord calls some to be missionaries—but what about the mission God calls us to, where we are?

FORGIVENESS

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By Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Please Read: Matthew 18:23-35

A very rich king had loaned ten thousand talents to one of his servants. This would be a very large sum, probably the equivalent of several million dollars today. After a period of time, the king called upon the servant to repay what he had borrowed. The servant said he no longer had the money; he could not pay. As a consequence the king ordered the servant to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment would be made for them. The servant was shocked, he fell on his knees and begged the king to forgive him and that somehow, he would be able repay the loan. The king had pity on him, and ordered him released, and the debt forgiven.

The text tells us that when he went out, he met a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii (call it one hundred dollars). He grabbed the servant by the neck, and demanded that repayment be made. The servant was unable to repay, so he fell down on his knees, and begged for forgiveness. The king’s servant ordered his fellow servant to be put in prison, until he should pay the debt. Other servants reported to the king what he had done. The king summoned the servant who had been forgiven much. The king rebuked him, and ordered him put in jail until full payment be made. Jesus said, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

The meaning of this parable is obvious. We come to God seeking forgiveness for all of our sins, because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. He forgives us for every sin: what we have thought, what we have said, what we have done. We need to seek his forgiveness every day!

Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came up and said to him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

I hope that we all get the point! What God has done in forgiving us is exceedingly greater than any forgiveness we may give. When we forgive a member of our family, or an employer, or a teacher, or someone that made an unfilled promise—we must not carry around the faults of others for all of our lives. It will dishonor our Savior. Our hurt can turn into bitterness; we can become slaves in resentment; we can even become self-righteous.

Our Lord wants us to be free of resentment and hatred. I am not suggesting that we should commend bad manners, or crime, or evil. We honor our Lord when we look through the cross of salvation and forgive. Indeed, we can rejoice in the grace and mercy of our Lord! We can show our gratitude through our faith and our loyalty.

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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The IMPORTANCE of FREEDOM

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by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Thursday, July 4, is the day in 2013 that we annually celebrate the independence of the United States of America. What does it mean to be free? Not to be coerced, not to be compelled to do something contrary to your will. Freedom is having the ability to decide your own destiny, hopefully within the will of God. When God calls us to believe in Jesus Christ—he wants us to be free from false allegiances, from harmful loyalties—from dangerous courses. Sin is tyranny. Faith and trust in God is freedom. People seek freedom from tyranny because they want to be free from the domination of a despot. Unfortunately, many people surrender their freedom when they become addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, or hatred.

Freedom is believing in Jesus Christ—walking in his will. Freedom is making your own decisions, and not being compelled to do things that are contrary to your will. There is a false freedom that celebrates the will of man above the will of God. This freedom ultimately leads to destruction and disaster. Liberty consists in the freedom to do good—not to do evil. Freedom of speech does not give us the right to make malicious or false statements about others. Freedom of worship means that every person has the right to worship God as they please.

Our nation was built on the principle that the source of law and freedom comes from God. Note the highlighted references to God in The Declaration of Independence:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….

We therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,…And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The founders of our nation understood the seriousness of human sin when constructing the Constitution of the United States of America. They reckoned with Lord Acton: “All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Therefore, the political power was divided between the national government and the states, with the balance of power left to the states. It was further organized by dividing the powers within the national government between Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial. Our founders recognized that we can barely trust ourselves—for many people have a lust for power, and a desire to use it for their personal benefit. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

God offers us freedom! I Peter 2:16, “Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as servants of God.”

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

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Lance Armstrong: The Truth about Lying

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

“Every violation of truth is a stab at the health of human society.” ~Emerson

Lance Armstrong, winner of seven Tour de France Titles, celebrated as an
exceptional and stellar athlete, has for years been accused of doping with a number
of stimulating drugs to achieve maximum performance. Until last week he has
denied any use of performance enhancing drugs, and has virulently attacked those
who accused him of “doping”. It is a sad scene. Much, perhaps everything, that he
has gained has been lost. The adulation and respect that had been bestowed upon
him is gone. One wonders how much he would have gained—and how little lost had
he refused to use the illicit drugs, and had he been completely honest.

Lance Armstrong’s fall from fame and success raises a latent issue that has
been boiling underneath the surface for a long time. How widespread is lying, how
much is lying an accepted part of our culture, and how many people care little when
they resort to lying? Do not many argue that lying is acceptable if it is to protect
one’s reputation? How many of our politicians lie to us to attain or keep a coveted
position?

Why should we avoid lying? Why should we be assiduous in telling the truth?
The basic reason is because lying is a sin and offensive to almighty God. John
8:31,32, “Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, if you continue in
my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will
make you free.” John 8:44b, “ When [the devil] lies he speaks according to his
own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Revelation 21:8, But as for the
cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and
brimstone, which is the second death.” We must add that there is not one of these
sins that cannot be forgiven, if one believes in the Savior and confesses the sin to
him!

It has been said that truth is the coin of the realm. We cannot have
justice without truth. We cannot achieve wholesome and happy families without
truth. Governments must depend upon the truth to achieve justice and
righteousness. Truth is essential in personal relations if there is to be trust. The
most careful adherence to the truth was essential to the Mar’s Rover, “Curiosity”,
successfully landing and completing its mission. Any malfunction would bring
disaster. Truth is essential to the preparing of wholesome foods and building good
automobiles.

Deliberate or casual lying is not only counterproductive and damaging, it is
wrong.

Foster H. Shannon

Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments by typing the address below into your mail program:

I applogize for the inconvenience, but this helps us avoid spammers! Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is:www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.