Ministry Blog

Discipleship 1

 

There are no crown wearers in heaven, who were not cross bearers on earth. - C.H. Spurgeon[1]

 

Recently I have been really challenged by the read letters of Jesus. It is unwise to simply dismiss verses in the Bible because they make us feel un-comfortable. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 KJV) These are serious words. They are not seeker friendly words. You don’t build a big church or a large ministry on these words, but He (Jesus) does reveal what it looks like to be committed to an unshakable kingdom, which calls for radical devotion. Keep in mind this was said to the multitudes not just Jesus’ disciples. We are all works in progress but Jesus is not looking for fair weather fans. He is looking for people who are more committed to him then they are to even their own life or family. We all know that people and life itself can be demanding, but nowhere near as demanding as Jesus.

 

Grace commands more then the law demands. The commitment that Jesus requires of his followers is very rarely communicated but it needs to be said and so I find myself here trying to do just that. Salvation is worked out not worked for, but there is work involved. Jesus didn’t just tell him followers to believe, he told them to “follow him.” To follow him means to leave everyone and everything that isn’t moving towards Jesus behind. The implications of really following Jesus are radical which is why he said to, “count the cost.” Jesus never manipulated people into the kingdom of God he simply invited them. The gospel is good news. But it is also an indictment and an invitation at the same time. The gospel demands that we all make a choice.

 

[1]Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (282). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

 

Adam LiVecchi - follow me on Twitter - https://twitter.com/AdamLiVecchi

NoTeeth

 

On November 27th, 2013 several churches and our ministry partnered together and had a love banquet in the city of Paterson, NJ. The goal was to love people. The expressions of love were good hot food and dessert, dinner music, free clothes and having our honored guests leave with groceries and some left overs. On top of that we prayed for the sick and preached the gospel. It was a great time, the guests felt honored, and there were no verbal or physical assaults. All in all it was a good night. In fact we had too many volunteers, over 100 volunteers to serve 50 to 60 guests. Having too many volunteers is like having to much money, it’s not a problem at all.  

There were two things said to me that night that I don’t think I will ever forget. To be honest I hope what was said to me bothers you almost as much as it bothered me, I hope these words move you into action. So here it goes. An elderly homeless man, about 65 years old, comes in early to eat. So I mention to him that we have jeans and clothes to give away. So he comes with me to the table where the jeans and clothes were. We quickly found nice thick Ralph Lauren jeans for the man. After he took the first pair with a smile, I mentioned to him “why don’t you take another pair?” He looked at me in a serious way and said, “What you see on me is what I have. I don’t have room in my pack for the another pair.” I choked up; held back crying like a baby, teared up a little and said - ok. I walked away gripped by this man’s reality, but in reality I have no clue what he feels or thinks which is why I am glad I listened to him and tried to love him. Only that man and Jesus know how he really feels, but I can tell you this - it is good that we hurt when people hurt. Hopefully the pain and injustice we feel for others will lead us into action on their behalf. Hopefully we learn to care enough for people that we actually do something for them. I dream of a church that has a burden for people that way Jesus has a burden for us.  

A few minutes later I found my way to the desert table. What I found was wonderful Red Velvet cookies that were donated by Panera Bread. These cookies are almost 400 calories a cookie, which means they are really good. Anyway, another homeless man walks over to the desert table I recommend one of these fabulous cookies that I had almost just inhaled. I said something like this to him, “man you got to try these cookies, they are awesome.” His almost immediate response was “I can’t, I got no teeth.” This really disturbed me, again I was feeling the immediate sting of his words “I can’t, I got no teeth.”  Something as simple as eating a free cookie was impossible for this man. My thoughts were, “how does he feel?” I will ask you this, “how would you feel if you could not eat something because you did not have teeth?” I would feel undignified, in others words I would feel embarrassed, ashamed, sad and angry. We have a choice to either listen to the cries of humanity and do something or be numb to their cries and keep asking God to do what he commanded us to do. By the grace of God “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” What will you do? 

 

Adam LiVecchi - follow me on Twitter - https://twitter.com/AdamLiVecchi

  


#Save Saeed

 

#SaveSaeed

Pastor Saeed is in prison in Iran serving an 8-year sentence. His only crime was following Jesus. This man is not a prisoner of Iran he is a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not a victim of anything - he is an overcomer. The real victims to fear and satan are the Iranian authorities and much of the Obama administration. They (Iranian Authorities) are genuinely afraid of peaceful biblical Christianity, which is why they would imprison an innocent man. The Leadership of Iran and other Islamic nations persecute followers of Jesus simply because they are afraid of losing people to the truth, because the truth speaks for itself. The governments of this world try to silence the voice of the church, but when they try to silence the voice of the church the voice only gets louder, deeper and stronger. And now with social media the voice goes further and continues to echo and reverberate. Even people who don’t follow Jesus see the injustice of this situation and are speaking up. We are thankful for their help. Ultimately Jesus and Pastor Saeed win, no matter what. The Kingdom of God is unending and unstoppable and the voice of God in the earth (the church) will never be silenced. Paul the Apostle’s words from a Roman Jail still echo through human history. (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) Friends the truth will keep marching on! 

We need to pray for Pastor Saeed’s release, we need to pray for his family to have grace during this horrible time. We should use social media to make our voices heard. We should care about the well being of our brother in a jail cell in Iran. I am writing with tears in my eyes. Let’s remember this - this man is not a victim of injustice - he is a hero in the Kingdom of God and great is his reward in heaven. He has a reward in heaven that many of us who are advocating for him don't yet have. He is a hero, remember that and pray that his wife and kids know that as well. 

The scriptures teach us how royalty is to behave. “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are ‍‍appointed to die. Open your mouth, ‍judge righteously, And ‍‍plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NKJV) These are commands not suggestions. Here is what I know, there are two people that Jesus gets up off his throne for. God arises not for the rich and famous, all though I am not against being rich and famous, but God arises for the poor and the persecuted. If God stands up for them then we should do what we see Jesus doing because that is real faith and real faith always leads to both prayer and action.

▪   God stands for the Poor and Persecuted - “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”(Psalm 12:5 NKJV)

▪   God stands for the Persecuted – “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! ‍I see the heavens opened and the ‍Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:54-60 NKJV)

 

3 Ways to help

1.    Like - this page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/freesaeed.

2.    Change - your profile picture to the profile on the page above. 

3.    Share - this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKP1LUqlMBo

 

Adam LiVecchi - follow me on Twitter - https://twitter.com/AdamLiVecchi

  


Got Trouble?

If you don’t have trouble check your heart beat. Jesus promised that in this world we would have tribulation, which means we will have trouble. Many of our troubles are un-necessary while some are not. We live in a world filled with sin therefore sometimes doing what is right may result in trouble. Here is a Biblical example, Joseph doesn't sleep with Potiphar’s wife and he gets thrown in prison for several years. Sometimes limitations are the result of doing what is right, not what is wrong. Just because we have trouble doesn’t mean we have to be troubled. We must not let the circumstances around us define what is going on in us. 

There is a profound scripture that my Pastor’s wife, Pastor Denise Greco brought to our church’s attention recently. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” (Hosea2:14-15) So Israel is running away from whoring around with others Gods. God in his kindness pursues her. He brings her into the wilderness, which is an uncomfortable and dangerous place. There he speaks comfort to her and gives her vineyards. It’s interesting the God gives her vineyards in a place where there are no vineyards. The valley of Achor actually means troubled. So the valley where one would be vulnerable is a troubling place but from God’s perspective it is really a door of hope. God brings her to an uncomfortable place to speak comfort to her. He pursues her and brings her to a vulnerable place where she was troubled deeply. When people are deeply troubled then they become willing to change. From that place he leads her to walk through the door of hope. Here is some practical wisdom. To get through the door of hope we must keep walking. So let’s keep moving forward. Keep pressing on.

 

 

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