How to solve the world's problems

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How to solve the world’s problems

February 23, 2016 - Jim Denison, PhD

Can you hear me - a man holding a Bible and looking up to God (Credit: Prixel Creative via Lightstock)

Scientists say the oceans are rising at the fastest rate since the founding of the Roman Empire, leading to tidal flooding that is already affecting coastal cities. A partial truce in Syria was announced Monday, but it does not apply to the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, two of the most lethal extremist groups fighting there.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say the shootings and random violence we’ve seen in recent months—in South Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, and San Bernardino, California—are now a permanent part of life in the U.S. Not surprisingly, a new study reports that one out of three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Stress ranks high on the list of reasons.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems we face, to despair of our ability to make a difference. And we’re right. But desperation can lead to the kind of faith that enables Almighty God to act.

In Exodus 4 we find Moses grappling with God’s call to liberate the Hebrew people from their Egyptian slavery. The fugitive shepherd is understandably confused: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (v. 10). Then God responds: “Go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (v. 12).

Did the Lord keep his promise? Moses gave the world the Ten Commandments and the first five books of the Bible. And his speeches to Pharaoh and the Hebrew nation were some of the most persuasive and powerful addresses in human history.

Now consider Jesus’ invitation to the fishermen who became his disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Their job was to obey; his was to equip. And these men went on to lead the mightiest spiritual movement the world has ever seen.

In the world, the equation is simple: Get prepared, then find a job. With God it’s the reverse: Find a job, then learn how to do it. God does not call the equipped—he equips the called. Some spiritual truths can be learned only by experiencing them. As Charles Spurgeon admitted, “I never learned half so much as upon a bed of pain.”

As you think about the problems we face, what is God calling you to do? Don’t wait until you have all the answers—start with the answers you have. Begin where you are, with what you know and those you influence. And the more you step out by faith, the greater your faith will become.

Mother Teresa was right: You’ll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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