John the baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and he turned to his disciples and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29   John pointed away from himself to Jesus, whom He exalts.  Again, John stated: “He must become greater; I must become less.”  Other translations state: “He must increase and I must decrease.”   John 3:30  John acknowledged that this Jesus must have the preeminence. 

  Joann and I attended a celebration party July 23rd for Gene Beckstein here in Gainesville, Georgia.  Several hundred people gathered for supper and the program. Mr. B, as he is affectionately called, celebrated his 90th birthday. He is the founder of “Good News at Noon” which he and his wife started 22 years ago.  It is a ministry to feed the hungry.  Only 12 men came to eat at the first lunch they served.  58,000 meals were served at the shelter in 2011. The ministry is supported by 55 churches and hundreds of volunteers, who come to feed the hungry.
Beckstein was once homeless and living on the streets of Chicago.  His life changed when he became a Christian.  Ever since that change, he has endeavored to “lift Jesus up.”

  I could not help but think, as I sat at my table with others, and looked over that great crowd, ‘this is what the church is all about.’  Hundreds of people gathered and together we have sung, together we have eaten, together we have prayed, together we have read God’s Word.  The scripture that we read in unison was: “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Matthew 25:35-36   All of this was being done by a group of people made up of different nationalities, background, religious beliefs.  There were Presbyterians, Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholics, and others, but in that meeting, at that time, in that room, we were ONE.  Mr. B in his speech told the crowd that no person, organization, was being exalted, ONLY JESUS.  He concluded his remarks by telling the people: “LIFT JESUS UP, LIFT JESUS UP, LIFT JESUS UP.” 

  I thought, isn’t this what we are suppose to be doing all the time? Isn’t this what the church is all about?   Isn’t this the way the church should act?  Jesus prayed for this kind of ONENESS as recorded in the 17th chapter of John.  Hear Jesus pray these words: “My prayer is not for them alone, I pray also for those (that’s us) who will believe in me through their (Apostles) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  John 17:20-21 

  Our divisions (divisiveness) destroys our effectiveness in LIFTING JESUS UP.   Christians make up the Body of Christ, His Church.  There is but ONE Body with many parts.  “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.”   I Corinthians 12:27  As obedient believers in Christ, we need to join hands and LIFT JESUS UP.  If you are in Christ and I am in Christ, we are family, children of God.

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