Reaching Your World with Luis Palau
Summary: Listen in as Luis Palau encourages Christians to share their faith with easy-to-use tips on reaching your world for Jesus Christ.
In the midst of life’s battles it is easy to forget what God has done for you, to wander, and even to desert Him. You may have trusted Jesus when you were younger, but drifted away. Now you’re wondering if God will take you back. Perhaps you have been unfaithful to your spouse or you lied and cheated to get that promotion. You may be involved with pornography or you are holding a long-standing grudge against someone who hurt you. A young man called me and said, “I’m nineteen years old. Six years ago my parents got a divorce. Because of that, I blasphemed and cursed God and turned my back on the church. Will God forgive me and take me back?” I reassured this young man by bringing him back to the foundations of our faith--Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and His indwelling presence. Today you can be restored by returning to those same two marvelous foundational truths. Never forget: Christ died for you, Romans 5:8, and Christ lives in you, Galatians 2:20. What marvelous truths, indeed. This is Luis Palau.
After his coach told him what the Lord did for him on the cross, a player for the Seattle Seahawks trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Immediately afterward he asked, “Coach, teach me the fundamentals of Christianity.” That NFL player knew the importance of learning the basics. In any sport, the fundamentals are essential if you plan on a winning sports career. A player has to know how to hit, catch, kick, or throw the ball, and what the rules of the game are to perform successfully. The same is true in Christianity. Two important biblical phrases come to mind. When we remember Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, the biblical phrase is “Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8. When we remember Jesus Christ’s indwelling presence, the biblical phrase is “Christ lives in me,” Galatians 2:20. These two biblical realities help us live holy lives in spite of immense and increasing pressures from our upside-down world. And these two foundational truths of the faith can bring us back to the Lord if we have wandered. Never forget: Christ died for you, and Christ lives in you. This is Luis Palau.
Are you afraid to stand out? Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” We cannot live light-filled lives in our society without standing out, without people noticing. Your faith should make a difference in how you live your life. As a follower of Jesus, you have an incredible opportunity to shine the light of Christ constantly. God speaks the light of Jesus into our hearts, and his light shines so powerfully through us that as Philippians points out, we will be like stars in the universe that point the whole human race toward real life. It’s important to remember that Jesus did not say to live our lives in such a fashion that people will see our good deeds and say what marvelous, outstanding people we are. A lamp does not call attention to itself. It’s simply placed on a lamp-stand, from which it will give the best illumination. Embrace the light you have as a follower of Jesus and let your light magnificently shine through good works and bold evangelism. This is Andrew Palau.
I once heard a story told about Albert Einstein that he got tired of checking out churches because their God wasn’t the God that he saw in creation. The God he saw in the universe through his telescope was so big and grand. The churches’ God, he reported, was too small! I don’t know if this really happened to Einstein, but it is true: often the way we see God is too small. If we could see God in his grandeur, we wouldn’t stop singing his glory to everyone around us. Psalm 96 is a beautiful Psalm! It says, “Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations.” That Psalm, when you read it, gives you a sense of the grandeur of God, you know. He is worthy to be worshipped and all creation should and will worship Him. And we should do it over, and over again. The first line of the psalm says, “Sing to the Lord a new song!” We should sing so loud to the Lord that others will want to know who Jesus is. Then we can then tell them about the grandeur of God, a God who loves them so much he sent his Son to die for them. Let’s be a reflection of God’s grandeur, and be a light to our world in our generation. This is Luis Palau.
Over a hundred years ago, there was a missionary named A.W. Milne who went to New Hebrides to share the Good News with a tribe of headhunters. All former missionaries to this tribe had been killed by them. He lived among the tribe for 35 years and never returned home. When he died, the tribe buried him and wrote the following epitaph on his tombstone: “When he came, there was no light. When he left, there was no darkness.” Man! When the light of Christ is within us, we are the light of the world. Like A.W. Milne, Christ uses us to spread His good news. We come and shine the light in the darkness and the light cannot be hidden. What a joy and what a responsibility! In Ezekiel, in the Bible, the Lord says to the prophet that he is responsible for telling the people that judgment is coming. The people can choose whether or not to respond to God’s call, but first they need to hear it. That’s the job of the prophet and of all God’s followers today. Whether unbelievers hear or refuse to hear, you did what you were supposed to do. You told them about Jesus Christ.When Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” the word YOU is a strong one. It means “you and only you.” Let us be brave like A.W. Milne and be a light wherever we go, whether it’s New Hebrides or New England. This is Luis Palau.
Educators often talk about the history of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Enlightenment refers to a time in the 18th century when science became more popular than religion. Intellectually it’s true. The Enlightenment came out of the dark ages, and the Renaissance was the result. People starting thinking more freely. Coming to Jesus is true spiritual enlightenment. We wake up from the darkness of our world, and we have the chance to live in the light of Jesus. But Jesus Christ is far more than the renaissance or enlightenment eras. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. That means Jesus enlightens us intellectually, he enlightens us morally and he enlightens us spiritually by guiding us to His truth revealed in the Bible. Psalm 119 says, God’s word “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I love that verse! The good news of Jesus is a lamp near at hand and shows us what to do, right now. The holy scriptures – the Bible - is a light that shines broadly and guides us forever. The Word of God enlightens our future. As followers of Christ, we are the light of the world. And if we are the light of the world, then our responsibility is to light the path for others. Don’t you think? What an awesome calling it is. And whatever your work, your business, or your educational situation may be, God will use you to be His light. This is Luis Palau.
I’m amazed at what a mini flashlight can do when it’s dark. I have a mini flashlight on my keychain. It doesn’t look too impressive. But when it’s dark, that mini thing can give all of the light that I need in most circumstances.In the days of the Bible, it was a big deal when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have eternal life.” His light is able to shine in a world of darkness. And do we live in darkness today! Whenever you read the headlines, people are lying and cheating, hurting each other. Darkness seems to be everywhere. But we are called to proclaim the word of Jesus Christ, to be His light. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says to His followers, “YOU are the light of the world.” YOU, yes you! You are the light of the world! When Jesus left this world, His disciples were to spread the light. What an amazing, awesome calling! You and I have been chosen to shine full time. We are Jesus’ light in the darkness around us. We are called to shine like a light in the midst of it all. Even the smallest flashlight makes the world brighter as we reach our world for Jesus Christ. Imagine thousands of those flashlights shining every day. This is Luis Palau.
What’s the longest period of time that you and your closest loved one have been apart? A week? A month? A year? Two years? Career-dominated jobs abound in the military, firefighting, professional sports, and many other fields of endeavor. It was no different for the twelve disciples of Jesus. Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John, and each of the other apostles to follow Him—and didn’t wait around for an answer. It was either instant yes or automatic no. What was Jesus trying to teach them during those three years of life together? A lot! But mostly, He showed them what the marvelous, amazing mercy, grace and love of God looks like in flesh and blood. As we read the Gospels, sometimes we miss the elbows and fist pumps, laughter and ribbing, humor and sarcasm of Jesus. Sometimes we miss the bone-tired walks, the leisurely meals, the beachside BBQs. Everything, everything, Jesus said and did was done a hundred percent in love. If I’m the average of the five people with whom I spend the most time, I want the Lord to be one of them! I hope the same is true for you. Cut other things, if need be, but please don’t skimp on your time with the Lord. This is Andrew Palau.
We’re all weak. We all fail. Our marriages stand or fall depending on how we respond to our spouses’ shortcomings. So, watch out for unforgiving attitudes. Maybe your spouse has hurt you deeply by unreasonable expectations or an ungodly focus. Or maybe your spouse is unforgiving toward you. No matter. Decide in your heart today to “forgive as the Lord forgave you,” Colossians 3:13. How has He forgiven us? First, sacrificially — by dying for us on the cross. Second, completely — by washing away all our sins. Third, eternally — by remembering our iniquities no more [Hebrews 10:17]. After 60 years of marriage, my wife Pat and I still find that practicing forgiveness is a vital key to our relationship. We’ve had to forgive each other a lot. That doesn’t mean we go around all day long saying, “Forgive me, forgive me.” For us, at least, forgiveness is more an attitude. When I lose my temper, for instance, Pat often tells me by the way she looks and acts that she has forgiven me. Sometimes, of course, I need to actually say: “I realize I’ve hurt you — will you please forgive me?” Now, I want to encourage you to do the same in your own marriage. This is Luis Palau.
The first three typical underlying reasons for divorce are first unreasonable expectations, secondly ungodly focus, and thirdly uncontrolled passions. As much as we in the Western world pride ourselves on our technological and scientific advances, we are incredibly impulsive. One of our most uncontrolled passions is spending. We have bought into a distorted materialistic philosophy that says, “Get more out of life.” So we spend our lives trying to accumulate things, often to the neglect of people – the people in our marriages. Another uncontrolled passion is sensualism. We are made callous by the immorality we see in the media. A little girl sent me a simple letter written in pencil: “Dear Luis Palau: Please will you pray for my daddy because he left me and my mommy. Please ask God to help Daddy realize what he has done wrong leaving me alone.” Her dad left for a younger woman. Now this seven-year-old and her mom must suffer terrible loneliness, deep heartache, financial devastation, and much more. Other uncontrolled passions are: drunkenness, drugs, shouting, and cursing. The Lord warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” (Proverbs 4:23). And Paul states: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Yes! This is Luis Palau.
Did you know that Satan whispers excuses into the ears of men and women—even Christians—trying to persuade them to divorce their spouses? His rationalizations sound convincing to people going through difficulties. His rationalizations, however, always lead to an ungodly focus. I love the song lyric, “Only Jesus can satisfy the soul.” If our relationship with Jesus isn’t right, it’s no wonder that we feel unfulfilled and discontent. We may blame our marriages when in reality our spiritual poverty is the problem. A marriage is in danger whenever the partners maintain a wrong center of focus. Some focus on their spouses, others on their children, and too many of us on ourselves. The only truly satisfying focus, however, is Jesus Christ. He said, “Whoever believes in me…streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38) Jesus alone has the power to restore marital relationships and give you “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair,” Isaiah 61:3. Ask Him to do that in your own heart and life in coming days, weeks, and months. Then thank Him for every blessing He gives. This is Luis Palau.
To protect your marriage now or in the future, I encourage you to learn how to identify and overcome the typical underlying reasons for divorce. The first is unreasonable expectations. Ironically, while marriages in this generation are failing in historically unprecedented proportions, our expectations for marriage have never been higher. Couples expect completely unrealistic things from marriage. In a word, they want total fulfillment. They expect marriage to meet all their sexual, emotional, and personal needs and desires. Of course, such expectations eventually lead to disaster. No spouse can totally fulfill our every need, let alone our desires and fantasies and dreams. No husband can give his wife everything she wants, and no wife can do that for her husband. In marriage we help, encourage and bless one another, but we can’t fulfill each other. Sometimes the key to improving our marriages is bringing our expectations down to earth. God commands in Ephesians 5:33 that a man “must love his wife…and a wife must respect her husband.” God wants to revolutionize your marriage. He wants to bless you and your spouse. I challenge you to pray. When you pray, ask God for wisdom [James 1:5] to help you embrace more reasonable expectations. Then thank Him for every added joy along the way. This is Luis Palau.
Have you ever wondered if you were too far gone? I know I have. When I was in my twenties, I was working in Boston, far from home and family, and I had completely turned my back on Christ. I was living for myself, partying, and drinking too much and all the rest – all the common things of this world. Every time a friend tried to talk to me about Jesus, the guilt of my choices kept me from following Him. Thankfully, my friends and family never stopped praying, and I was able to give my life to Christ. When I did finally receive Jesus into my heart, I realized that despite my behavior, God had never stopped loving me. God never turned His back on me. Even on the nights when I was broken, alone, and living in complete sin, God was there – I just hadn’t opened my eyes to it. Maybe you’re somebody who is struggling right now. Perhaps you’ve turned your back on Christ. Whatever your situation is, I promise you, nothing you have done is too much for God’s forgiveness. God sent His one and only Son to fix our situation. When Jesus came and died on the cross, He did so so that we could be forgiven and live in a relationship with God once again. The Bible says in Romans 8:39 that “nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God.” This is Andrew Palau.
I’ve talked before about a “God-shaped hole.” It’s a funny term, but it describes the needs that each of us have which only God’s love can fulfill. Deep within our soul, we long to know God’s love. We long to be accepted just as we are. But sometimes, we mistake this longing and latch on to counterfeit love from another person. We try to fill our “God-shaped hole” with another person’s love or approval. The trouble is, when we derive our sense of worth, or value, or get our needs filled from another human, we will always be let down. Even if the relationship or friendship lasts, at one point or another, we will experience a disappointment. So, how can we avoid feeling despair when this happens? Well, if we’re followers of Christ we can make sure it doesn’t happen by remembering daily God’s love, and getting our worth and value from Him! Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Friend, we don’t have to earn God’s love—and He will never let us down. I urge you today to let God fill your “God-shaped hole.” Share with those around you about His consistent, unending love. This is Luis Palau.
Technology is amazing! We often take for granted things like turning on a light, or instantly heating the stove, or even asking Siri for directions. Technology sure has made life easier, but when it fails, it can really mess things up. A few years ago, a winter storm caused power to go out on a friend of mine. During that time, he couldn’t watch TV, cook, or even read in bed at night. Technology had failed him. And you know, at some point or another, whether it’s technology, or a person in our life who lets us down, we will all experience something that fails us. But, did you know that while most things in this life will fail at some point, God’s love NEVER fails? I Corinthians tells us: "Love never fails." Can you imagine? We are used to things going wrong or failing - Electricity. Food. Cars. Jobs. Relationships. We start to expect failure. But what joy it is to know that true love never fails. And, because God IS love, we can trust Him. He will not fail. There is nothing more attractive to those who don’t know Jesus Christ than His unfailing love. Will you share it today? Tell them He showed His love by going to a cross, giving His own blood to forgive our sins, and then rising from the dead to give us the assurance of eternal life. Now that is the love of a true, divine friend. This is Luis Palau.