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Summary: #1 in a series focused on the foundational biblical truths found in The Prayer of St. Francis: Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.

Turn to John 14: 15-21

15) “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17) the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19) Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20) On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21) Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Jn 15:10 (Vine & Branches) If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

Throughout the fall, we’ve been teaching you about the Kingdom of God. Teaching & encouraging you to step out of your comfort zones and enter into Jesus’ ministry.

To believe that Jesus saved you for more than just your eternal security.

To believe that she could be used to heal others, to encourage others, to make a difference in others lives.

Don’t you believe you are here for a purpose? Don’t you really want to believe that there is more to your life than just going to work, going to church, eating three meals per day, sleeping eight hours and then getting up tomorrow and doing the same thing?

There is a line in the sand in Jesus’ mind.

Much of what you & I call church …Christianity…sitting in pews. Singing a few dry boring songs, listening to some old preacher like me bore you to death…lighting a few candles & throwing up a few prayers to heaven every now & then…..was not on Jesus’ mind when He commissioned His friends to go.

Throughout the fall, if you didn’t hear anything, hear this…

Jesus clearly has a MINISTRY that is continuing from the moment He originated it 2000 years ago to the point of His return.

THE LAST DAYS have been going on for 2000 years now. The spot light is on OUR GENERATION of Christians to see what we’ll do with Jesus’ words & works?

You may be saying…YES MARTY, I AGREE.

But I don’t know HOW to make it all practical for my life.

HOW DO I LIVE THIS RADICAL KINGDOM OF GOD LIFESTYLE?

How do I practically live out the principles of Jesus’ teachings?

How do I stop being an American Christian & start being a “Follower of Jesus”?? How do I OBEY HIS COMMANDS?

THESE ARE VITAL QUESTIONS that EVERY GENERATION NEEDS TO ASK & WRESTLE WITH?

It’s in the wrestling with these questions that true heroes of the faith arise.

In a generation of church life much like ours….a young man named Francisco living in Italy struggled with similar questions.

Born in Assisi (central part of Italy, less than 100 miles from Rome) in 1182, Francis lived in a time of Holy war. He was a soldier who served the CHURCH well in the GREAT CRUSADES. Actively participated with upper crust of society, son of a wealthy merchant, benefited from the death of many Muslims in Holy War. But something just didn’t taste right about a HOLY WAR.

He had a powerful encounter with the LIVING GOD. Let me read...

"Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life. Prayer led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! If you wish to know my will, everything you have loved and desired in the flesh, it is now your duty to despise and hate, And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy." From the cross in the neglected field-chapel outside his town, Jesus spoke clearly to him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down."

Friends, I dare say the Lord is looking for more FRANCIS’ in this hour to build HIS HOUSE…to build the FATHER’S HOUSE….for it is nearly falling down.

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