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the gospel

The Vineyard

Dear Friends:

When I first entered enter Christian ministry, my purpose was to introduce young people to Jesus Christ and to help them become a true disciple of Jesus. In a few words, my goal was to led youth to a “re-birth” experience.  But as I grew up in my ministry, I often focused on other things that are also associated with the Christian faith—-from good works to being involved with “religious” programs and running a summer camp.

But as my sons have talked to me about their struggles lately (they are 7, 9 and 14), I realize that my first call has sometimes been ignored.  I say this because for the past week, as the boys have continued to make the same poor choices (lying, disobeying, talking back, breaking promises, etc, etc)  I have asked them, “Why do you keep doing this?!”  But of late, I have seen them “come clean” and tell me, meekly and quite bluntly, “I don’t know why and I can’t help it.”   And that is what lies at the heart of the matter in ministry. Those outside the body of Jesus Christ “don’t know why” they do the things that they do not want to do,  and are powerless to stop.  

I am not suggesting that we are not responsible  for what we do, but we often do the wrong thing and wonder, “Why in the world did I do that?”  Sadly, like an addict, we are infected with these wrong things (sin) and are unable to stop!

My boys know when they do the wrong thing, but since they find themselves unable to change, they have grown somewhat comfortable with their sins. On the other hand, they are quite unaccommodating to the sins of the other brothers and are less than charitable when one tells the other that “he can’t help it”.

That of course points to our need of a “re-birth”. My boys (and I) readily admit there are some things we simply cannot change or stop doing on our own—-we need outside help.  Jesus Christ came for this very purpose and that is what I was called to preach and teach.  There is no means whereby I can live the life I was called, created and destined to live short of Jesus being reborn within me. That’s the good news  (gospel) of the New Testament.  My boys will continue to wonder why they do they things they do and why they cannot stop doing the things that they know disappoints and saddens me until they receive supernatural intervention. That intervention is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the One who died in my place and provides a new mind—one set upon God—for those that surrender their lives to Him.

It seems so simple, and yet I somehow forget the main point sometimes. Thank goodness that God is merciful to me.

Dean Barley

The Vineyard

336 351 2070

919 360 8493 (Mobile)

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