Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

Virtue and Vice: Impulses

In Mere Christianity 11-12, C. S. Lewis writes on the subject of impulses from the context of a mother's love, patriotism, sex, and the fighting instinct. At first glance, one may have a positive regard when it comes to a mother’s love and patriotism whereas sex and the fighting instinct may hold a cautious reaction. Lewis suggests the following, “strictly speaking, there are no such thing as good and bad impulses.”

Lewis further suggests that a mother's love, and a man’s love for country may have to he suppressed or they may lead to unfairness towards other people’s children or countries.” Continuing, Lewis states, “But there are situations in which it is the duty of the married man to encourage his sexual impulse and of a soldier to encourage the fighting impulse.”

Lewis uses the illustration of a piano. “It has not got two kinds if notes on it, the ‘right’ notes and the ‘wrong’ ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another...”

The Great Commission: “So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(St. Matthew 28:16-19)

It is incumbent upon the Christian church, to evangelize and disciple. In order to contribute to a meaningful Christian lifestyle the new believer may need to begin attending a local Christian Church. As a new attendee, one may then place oneself under the tutelage of a local Christian pastor.

New believers come from all lifestyles so it is important for the older believers to recall where they were when the first encountered the Gospel.

“Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test!” (2Corinthinans 13:5)

“So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Upon the conversion and inception of a person into The Ecclesia, The Christian Church, one begins the transformation known in Christian circles as sanctification, “the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion,” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
(St. John 17:17, 1Thesaonians 5:23)

The new believer may need to learn about the importance of … an introduction to the greatest commandment: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” to love the Lord God with all of his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind.’ And to ‘love his neighbor as himself.’
(St. Matthew 22:37-38)

An introduction to the Lord Jesus’ new commandment: “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”
(St. John 13:34-35)

“If anyone says, “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.”
(1John 4:20-21)

Personal Spiritual Needs

1. Instruction on private prayer for others and ones own need.
2. Personal devotion (time spent alone- with God)
3. Private bible study
4. Developing a rule of life to follow

Corporate Spiritual Needs

1. Church attendance
2. Group Bible study attendance
3. Financial contributions to the ministry

Again Lewis, on the subject of impulse, “By the way, the point is of great practical consequence. The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them, which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials 'for the sake of humanity’, and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.”

When one thinks of God’s will, it is to love God … and one’s neighbor … The Lord Jesus, identifies through the parable of the Good Samaritan, found in the Gospel according to St. Luke 10:36-37, that everyone is our neighbor. Based in part on true events, the following modern day story of the Good Samaritan, may illustrate what Lewis is speaking. For the next few days, upon completing the text of this story, one may feel moved towards a re-examination of one’s regiment of prayers and reading of Holy Scripture.

Let the Story begin…

A certain employer assigned his employee, Rick a certain task. Rick was to drive a company van from the Los Angeles, California business office, where he worked, and to deliver the vehicle, safe and sound to the company business office in Houston, Texas.

The day arrived for Rick’s journey to begin. Rick’s employer handed over to Rick official business documents for the Houston plant personnel, an authorized airline ticket for Rick’s transportation home, and a company credit card with some company cash for expenses, and the van’s set of keys.

Rick began his trek. Three peaceful days had passed. On the fourth day it came to pass as Rick was journeying across the open space of the Texas landscape, suddenly, without warning, there was a loss of engine power.

Moving at a speed of fifty-five miles per hour, Rick having taken a defensive driving class, began recalling what he learned for this type of scenario. He safely brought the vehicle to a stop without injury to himself or damage to the van.

Rick pondered the obvious to himself, "Where am I? What am I going to do now?"

Cars whizzed by not stopping. A complete depletion of energy or strength began to seep into Rick’s imagination.

He remembered the first rule for this type of circumstance, "Don't Panic.” … “by casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him belongs the power forever.” Amen. (1Peter 5:7-11)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It happened that a certain man drove by who also was on a journey. When he saw Rick sitting on the ground by the company van, the stranger felt compassion. The passer by pulled over his old VW bus and stopped. Getting out of the bus the stranger approach Rick.

"What is the matter?" The man inquired.

Like a medicine balm from Gilead, the presence and sound of the stranger’s voice began to soothe Rick. After a short exchange of conversation, Rick accepted the help offered by the stranger.

Leaving the company van on the side of the road, the two men continued to share congenial conversation as the stranger drove them both to the next small desert town where an auto repair shop was located.

The stranger used his Automobile Club card to cover payment for Rick’s tow.

The shop's tow truck was dispatched. The van was towed safely to the repair shop. The two men departed company. Rick phoned his employer who in turn phoned the repair shop manager in order to authorized repair work for the van. After securing the vehicle, Rick found refuge at a local motel for the rest of the night.

The following day, carrying personal baggage, traveler checks, official business documents, an airline ticket, and a company credit card with some company cash, Rick checked out of his room and walked to the local bus stop. When Rick arrived at the bus stop he found that the bus came through only once daily and that it had already come through earlier that morning.

Becoming desperate and a bit touched by the desert heat, Rick decided to hitch hike to El Paso, sixty miles away. After standing out on the highway for not a short time, Rick turned to prayer, asking for God's providential protection and that God may move upon someone to provide him with a ride.

Moments later an old pickup truck pulled up. The driver offered Rick a ride. Jumping up into the empty truck bed he settled in for the bumpy ride back to EI Paso. An hour went by when the driver once again pulled over and stopped. The two separated on friendly terms.

Standing on the outskirts of this unfamiliar town, Rick reflected on how God had provided for him thus far. He thanked the Lord above. Finishing his prayer with a hearty “Amen,” thoughts began to drift into his mind reminding him of the Bible story of the Good Samaritan that he first learned at St Brigit’s parochial elementary school.

He began to recall how the man had fallen among robbers, and how they had stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead. Rick decided he did not want to become a victim of a robber himself therefore taking a moment to reflect; a solution began to materialize within his imagination. Thinking to himself, "'I know what I will do. I will contact a local Catholic Church in the area. The priest will help me!"

Finding, a local gas station public phone booth with a phone book directory, Rick located the phone number of the local Catholic Church. Dialing the number, the phone began to ring and by chance, a certain priest answered the phone. When the priest heard Rick’s story, he declined to help explaining that he used this time for his daily hour of devotional prayer. He apologized. Before hanging up, the priest stated that he would remember Rick in his prayers.

The priest ended the conversation with, "Go in peace. Good luck and God bless."

Once again Rick began thinking to himself, "'I know what I’ll do. I will contact a local Protestant Church in the area. The minister will help me!"

Using the phone directory once again, Rick located the local Protestant Church phone number. After dialing the number, the phone began to ring and by chance, a certain minister answered the phone.

Rick began the conversation as he had with the priest. The Protestant minister after hearing Rick pour out his heart and request for help, declined to help explaining that he used this time for his daily hour of devotional Bible reading.

He apologized. Before hanging up though, the minister offered another alternative. There was a non-denominational street Mission which helped the poor, the downtrodden, ex- cons and prostitutes, that lived on the street located on the outskirts of town right by where Rick was calling from.

The Protestant minister suggested that Rick call an information operator and get the street ministry phone number and call them. The minister ended the conversation in a hearty voice, "Good luck and may God bless you." The pastor offered no remembrances of Rick in his prayers.

Following the minister's advice, Rick got the phone number of the local Mission. After dialing the number, the phone began to ring. A man answered the phone. He identified himself as a lay minister.

For the third time, Rick began to share from his heart his plight. Before finishing the story, Rick began to cry.

"Where are you?" The voice asked.

He told the street missionary the address.

"That is just around the corner from our Mission," the worker stated. “I will be there shortly."

The two exchange supportive words. Rick waited for the Christian layman to arrive.

In a short time, the lay minister arrived and began heading in the direction of the phone booth where Rick stated he would be waiting. As the lay minister came upon of this stranded pedestrian, seeing the lost and bewildered man, he again felt compassion.

It was the stranger that had used his Automobile Club card to cover payment for Rick’s tow.

Once again, he helped Rick, putting his belongings into his own vehicle. They arrived at the Mission. With Rick’s property secure, the layman continued taking care of Rick. He first provided medical treatment to care for Rick’s hand scratches and leg scrapes which had occurred while traveling in the back of the bed of the pickup truck. He poured a tropical anti-infective solution and applied a first aide cream on Rick’s wounds. He then bandaged the more serious wounds. Aspirin and cold water to drink, were then provided along with some refreshments.

Having recovered from the heat of the Texas sun and fed, Rick used the Mission phone to contact his boss. With arrangements made for his departure home the lay minister offered a ride to the airport.

Arriving at the airline terminal the street missionary declined the generous tip that was offered him saying, "My actions are a prayer to God.” “My daily devotion of the Bible has shown me that God's Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”(Psalms 119:105)

The two departed in peace.

Home Practice

For a reflective exercise, I would like to offer a few definitions first and then offer some poignant question for you to peruse.

Webster’s College Dictionary

Inception is a beginning, an initiation.
Impulse is a stimulation of the mind to action.
Impetus is the energy of motion.

The key questions to ask oneself.

1. Regarding your inception into the body of Christ: Examine the motivational circumstances, which lead you into salvation.

“And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved!– and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. (Ephesians 2:1 –10) Write a reflective essay.

2. Regarding your impulse toward service: Examine your developed regiment when it comes to your personal and corporate spiritual needs

Personal Spiritual Needs

1. Instruction on private prayer for others and ones own need.
2. Personal devotion (time spent alone- with God)
3. Private bible study
4. Developing a rule of life to follow

Corporate Spiritual Needs

1. Church attendance
2. Group Bible study attendance
3. Financial contributions to the ministry

“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
(St. Matthew 21:28-32) Write a reflective essay.

3. Regarding your impetus to serve God towards service: examine what is the continuing motivating factor that is leading you to love the Blessed Trinity, your neighbor as yourself and fellow believers within the Body of Christ as exemplified by the Lord Jesus during his earthly ministry.

“Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. The latter do so from love because they know that I am placed here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, because they think they can cause trouble for me in my imprisonment. What is the result? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice.

(Philippians 1:15-18) Write a reflective essay.

Remember, Lewis writes, “strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses.” He uses the illustration of a piano. “It has not got two kinds if notes on it, the ‘right’ notes and the ‘wrong’ ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another...” Use your impulses for good choices.

4. A Time for All Events in Life

For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to rip, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

What are you using your time for? Write at least one paragraph.

If a doctor told you that you only had one year to live what would you use your time for now. Write at least one paragraph.

Review both paragraphs. You know what to do. Do It!

To share your thoughts please contact me at .

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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