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A Director’s Journey

A Director’s Journey by Joshua MacLeod, Executive Director of Watermelon Ministries

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. For the Seeker of Truth
  3. Earth isn't Heaven...So Why Are We Here?
  4. For the Christian
  5. The Future

Introduction

If the world were a box of 64 crayons, each crayon would represent about 100 million people. If you were to take red, white and blue out of box, that would represent the amount of people living in the United States. If someone would have asked me as a teenager what percentage of the worlds population lived in America, I’m not sure what I would have answered…but I know I wouldn’t have said 4%. I don’t know where most people get their worldview. I got mine from traveling the world. I’ve been impacted deeply by people I’ve met in clinics, huts, skyscrapers, orphanages, slums, churches, classrooms, airplanes, and remote desert villages. I’ve had the tremendous privilege of visiting every continent (except Antarctica) and learning from the people I’ve met. I am a Christian who believes wholeheartedly that every person is created with equal value and should be treated with respect. I am convinced that something tremendous can be learned from each and every individual on the planet. The following notes are conclusions from a relationship with God and interactions with His people.

For the Seeker of Truth

Is there a God? I was on a walk with my daughter and I asked her the question, “Do you believe in God?” “Of course,” she said. “Why,” I asked? “Because I didn’t make myself and we came from somewhere”, she replied. I then asked her if she would believe in God even if I stopped believing. She waited for a bit, and then responded, “yes.” “Why,” I said? “Because, we still had to come from somewhere!” How do you find God? God is knowable. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). God didn’t say that we would find facts about God; He said that we would find God Himself. According to God, if we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. God wrote a book. There are tons of people writing books with answers to spiritual questions. However, there is only one book that provides all the answers. It is the only book written by God Himself, the Bible. It is the only book that perfectly resonates with the knowable God. Many people say they are seeking truth, but are unwilling to read the best selling, most impactive spiritual book of all time. I never really understood that. If you read the Bible, you will meet with God. If you want to be happy... Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” According to the Bible, In God’s presence there is fullness of joy. Fullness of joy does not have to do with what we have; it has to do with our proximity to God. The only way that we can have any fullness or satisfaction in life is through a relationship to God. If you want to be happy for a long time... The second part of Psalm 16:11 says, “At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” I have experienced and know this to be true; in the presence of God is fullness of joy. What’s exciting is that this joy is meant to be permanent. What every person craves is joy that lasts. It is God’s plan to give people the fullness of joy in His presence forever.

Earth isn't Heaven... So why are we Here?

Man was created We are created in the image of God and God delights in us.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:27-31)
Man was separated from God God and angels were around before God created man. An angel named Lucifer (Satan) decided that living submitted to God’s absolute authority wasn’t good enough. He rebelled against God and convinced a third of God’s created angels to follow him. Sometime later, God created man and placed him in a garden called Eden. He gave man the choice of submitting to or disobeying His decrees. He told Adam and Eve not to eat from a tree called “the knowledge of good and evil” and that if they did, they would “die”.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, you may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:15-17)
Satan convinced man that they should disobey God’s command and rebel against God like he had…
“But the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Gen. 3:4-6)
Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and they died. We think of death in the physical realm as separation from the living world. Spiritually, death is separation from God. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and died spiritually, and eventually they also died physically. Disobeying God’s order is called sin, and sin always causes death. Adam and Eve’s DNA was changed when they disobeyed God; it now included sin. This sin DNA has been passed down to every human since. Sin causes all sorts of problems and is difficult to fix. God doesn’t need man, especially man who decides to rebel against God. Our world is a perfect example of what happens when we don’t submit to God. Every murder, rape, addiction, tyranny, genocide, famine, etc. is a result of sin. All of these things are present because of separation from, and lack of submission to God. God has appointed a day to remove sin forever. The fact is, He is perfectly justified in wiping away anyone who doesn’t submit to Him now, but He decided to take a different route. He decided to give us a second chance.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)
Because of His great love, God decided to send His Son Jesus to earth to pay for the penalty of sin; a penalty that only Jesus could pay. Jesus, who is intrinsically God himself, became a man and took the punishment and consequence of sin on Himself in order to give us a second chance.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (Col. 2:13-15)
“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
God gives us recognition of sin and fear of death God has placed inside of every person a reality that something happens to us when we die. For the person who doesn’t know God, death brings a natural fear. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived wrote, "… he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Why did God put this fear of death in us? Mercy! God places a deep inner knowledge of His appointed day in us so that we will be right with Him before we die. That we might repent that we are sinners and commit to submitting to Him for eternity.
"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4)
God gives the ability to be right with Him We are all born sinners and worthy of separation from God. What God calls us to do is be honest and confess it. Then He calls us to commit to serving Him and obeying His ways.
“and Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:38-39)
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
There are a myriad of religions out there telling you what you need to do in order to be right with God. Christianity is the only religion that says you can’t do anything. The only way for you to get right with God is not an action on your part, but a gift on God’s part. God calls us to acknowledge this through repentance; this is how a person becomes a Christian. It’s basically saying and believing that we are a sinner, but that Jesus made a way for us to be right with God. Once becoming a Christian we are commanded to be and make disciples. This is covered in the next section.

For the Christian

What is the primary action of my life? What does the entire Bible point to? A lawyer asked Jesus what is the most important commandment. “And he said to him, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matt. 22:37) The First Command Jesus said the most important commandment was to love God, heart-soul-mind. God does have a most important thing. It’s such an important thing that it’s commanded, and God always commands what is best for us. We can see by God’s willingness to send His Son to die on the cross, that He wants what is best for us. His commandments are gifts. The most important commandment is to love God with our heart-soul-mind. As a person who wears glasses, I see everything clearly when I put them on. For the Christian, our glasses need to be: loving God heart-soul-mind. The Second Command Then second commandment, which is our second deepest need and benefit is to love others. When asked who the others were, Jesus gave the example of the good Samaritans. He instructed us to love those who are in need and those we don’t like.
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37)
The Unbelievable Statement Finally in this verse, Jesus makes a staggering statement, “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Everything in the Bible has to do with love for God and love for people. It sums up the entire point of human existence. Every time we open the Bible we can look for verses that point us to either loving God or loving people. What is love?
"In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
The only way to understand love is to receive it. Love does not begin with us. Love starts with God who created everything, giving Himself up, becoming a man, taking a punishment for our sins so that we would be able to live in relationship with Him. Love is birthed out of the perfect nature of God. We are only able to love God by receiving His love for us. We are only able to give love to others by receiving His love and giving it away. Loving God and others is simply giving back to God what He has given to us. Where do I get the strength to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and my neighbor as myself? God is one being, but He has three different persons. God the Father decided to have mercy on us and sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. Jesus willingly came, died on the cross and received back His former glory in heaven. The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to dwell within us, teaching us about God and giving us power to do His will. The following verses are about the Holy Spirit.
“But the Helper, The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”(Acts 1:8)
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Rom. 8:9-11)
When we become a Christian, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of us. The Holy Spirit enables us to overcome our sin nature if we allow Him to. We have a choice to either walk by our flesh or by the Spirit. When we walk by the Spirit we are able to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. How do I walk by the Spirit? Walking by the Spirit requires us to set our minds on the Spirit. Reading, memorizing, and meditating on the word of God is the only way to accomplish this.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5)
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
Walking by the Spirit is a sowing process that sometimes takes a while to see the fruit.
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8)
How do I know if I’m walking in the Holy Spirit?
“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)
You know by the fruit. If you don’t have this fruit, you are walking in the flesh. What should I do while walking in the Spirit? Make disciples. Before going back to heaven, Jesus gave us final instructions before He comes back to destroy sin and wrap up time.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19)
This can be broken up into a series of small commandments.
  1. Go – don’t sit around…go.
  2. Make disciples – share the good news about Jesus’ mercy.
  3. Of all nations – Jesus wants every person on earth to know.
  4. Baptizing themin the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Baptizing means immerse). This is something to do literally and spiritually.
    • We are to be fully immersed in relationship with God the Father.
    • We are to be fully immersed in relationship with Jesus
    • We are to be fully immersed in relationship with The Holy Spirit.
  5. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded – disciples of Jesus are not know-ers, they are do-ers. We learn what Jesus wants us to do from the Bible and do it.
  6. I am with you – nothing that we do should be done without Jesus.
How do I prioritize?
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33)
We are living in transit. Earth is not our home, heaven is. We are not to put stakes in the ground and live for now in a sin stained messy world. We are to live for eternity. Our goal is to get as many people right with God as we possibly can before we die. Our jobs are given us to represent Christ at work. Sports, leisure, eating, drinking, anything we do is to be a representative of Christ Jesus.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)
How do I invest in the kingdom? Take care of our families.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than a unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:8)
“for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim. 3:5)
Take care of others.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)
“the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” (Matt. 25:34)
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Where do I get the resources to invest in the kingdom?
“John answered, ‘A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.’” (John 3:27)
“my God will supply every need of your according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)
“do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12:21-39)

The Future

God has a mysterious plan that results in Jesus Christ uniting all things in heaven and earth. We’re part of the plan.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:7-10)