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Charlie's Encouraging Words (published June 2017)

A hymn we used sing in my home congregation was written in the early 1900’s as a call to Christian men to “Rise Up” and be leaders in the church, the community and the home.

The name of the hymn? “Rise Up Oh Men of God.” Through the years the title and words have changed to be more inclusive. “Rise Up Oh Saints of God.” That’s cool.

Lots of Christians probably don’t feel comfortable being called a “saint.” But biblically, every Christ follower is a “saint.” Check out Acts 9:13; 23; Acts 26:10; Romans 16:2; Ephesians 4:12; Philippians 4:21.

The word for “saints” is used over 65 times in the New Testament referring to – you guessed it; Christians. So a worship song which challenges the saints of Christ to “Rise Up” and get on with His mission in the world works for me.

Full disclosure, there are some theological ideas in the original lyrics of the hymn with which I might have issues. It will cost you a cup of coffee to find out what they are.

OK, I’ll buy.

Theological aspects aside, I like the call to “Rise Up Oh Church of God.” Another lyric change.

And especially the last part of the first verse, “Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of Kings!” That’s good stuff.

And when sung at full voice standing with thousands of church leaders at a conference in the Atlanta Dome, it gets the heart pumping and the spiritual adrenaline flowing.

“Rise Up Oh Saints of God. His Kingdom’s task embrace. Redress sin’s cruel consequence. Give justice larger place.” Another version of the lyrics but compelling and ministry focused.

And when you sing with a bunch of committed disciples of Jesus, it is a powerful call serve those in need of spiritual hope and bring some justice and grace and peace.

Sounds like the sermon Jesus preached in in His home “church” in Luke 4:14-21.

“Rise Up Oh Followers of Christ!”

That’s the challenge we’re going to issue over the next 5 Sundays as we unpack the life of one of the most colorful and dynamic characters in the Bible; Elijah the prophet of God.

The Lord called this humble, ordinary person to “Rise Up” and be His leader during one of the most spiritually dark periods in Old Testament history.

You might check out 1 Kings 17-19. That’s where we’ll camp as we draw inspiration from Elijah’s life story.

This Sunday the topic is “Rise Up When My Faith is Pressured.” If you are wondering how to hang on to Jesus and your commitment to Him in a world like ours, then I’ll have good news.

Friends who are searching to make some sense out of the crazy culture in which we live will find spiritual encouragement as well. They’ll come with if we invite.

Elijah’s story is not for the weak of heart. We’ll see him on the spiritual mountain top and in the pit of despair and depression.

We'll find him hiding from politicians who are out to get him and having to trust God for daily food that gets air freighted into his hide out. Seriously.

Ever been there and didn’t know when God would provide or if you could you trust that He would. Elijah gets that.

How about swallowing your pride and seeking help from someone who has nothing to offer but flour and oil? And not much of that. But still invites you in for supper. But God often works that way.

So let’s “Rise Up” and trust Him. Let’s “Rise Up” and let Him work through us to accomplish His good purposes in our slice of the world at this time in history.

“Rise Up CCC members and friends. Give heart and soul and mind and voice to serve the Lord of heaven.” My version.

I’ll look for you Sunday. Charlie

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