sos Acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud), BRB (be right back), and TTYL (talk to you later), are vey common in text messages and on social media websites. However, “SOS” is not one that is frequently used. Perhaps this is because asking for help is minimally tolerated and not encouraged in our culture. In fact, it is often seen as a sign of weakness. Instead of nurturing group development and support we have created a culture in which everyone has to prove themselves, so we do not need help.

Nicodemus was an old man who served his community as a Pharisee. In this role, he used his intellect to study God’s Word (the Old Testament), follow the law in the best possible manner, and impart his knowledge to others. Many of his colleagues ignored the meaning and intent of the law and chose to hypocritically focus on technicalities and literal obedience. These actions clashed with Jesus’ teachings and practices. Although we do not know much about Nicodemus, we do know that he was curious enough, albeit embarrassed, to invite Jesus to his home so that he could get his questions answered and learn from this renowned rabbi. This occurrence is recorded in John 3:1-21 (ESV).

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

This conversation is very important because it is filled with truth. First, Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be reborn in the Spirit, which is a concept not mentioned before this point in the Bible. After condemning unbelief, He explains that He will be lifted up just as the serpent on the stick was by Moses (Numbers 21:4-9). He promises everlasting life to those who believe in Him and segues into the most known verse in all of the Bible, John 3:16.

As a reminder, this whole conversation occurs before the crucifixion. I want to highlight verse 17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” The key phrase in this verse is “saved through Him”, and Jesus again emphasizes the importance of believing in Him.

This is a good time to do a quick word study on the name of Jesus. The given Hebrew name of Jesus is “Yeshua”, and it means “God is salvation”. So Nicodemus talks with “Salvation” and is told he must be reborn in the Spirit. He must believe in “Salvation” and needs to understand God loved the world so much that He sent “Salvation” so that whoever believes in “Salvation” will not perish but will have everlasting life. For God did not send “Salvation” into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved. Do you get the point here? We all need help. God has provided us Salvation so that we can have the assistance we need, even though we may or may not issue a distress signal because asking for help is against our nature and outside of our comfort zone.

So is asking for and receiving help really a sign of weakness? It is my opinion that not seeking and refusing help is weakness derived from arrogance and an unwillingness to learn. A strong and wise person recognizes when help is necessary and uses it without hesitation or shame. So many of us walk around confused and frustrated, inadequately perform tasks, or fail to meet our goals and expectations simply because we do not ask for help or choose to forgo it. Jesus tells us that such behavior leads to hell. The only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, according to Jesus, is by accepting God’s Salvation. This means we must acknowledge our limitations and accept the help that is offered to us. Jesus promises eternal life to those who will accept His salvation. Refusing it leads to condemnation, suffering, and eternal death.

In today’s society, generations are at war with each other because we refuse to ask for help and learn from each other. Older generations have experience and wisdom to offer the younger generations. Through their naïveté and positive outlooks, younger generations can give new insight to their elders. Matthew 18:3 says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We need each other. We were made to be a community not a collection of individuals. We were made to support and complement each other as we interact in our nation, cities, homes, and churches. Instead of acting like a bunch of know-it-alls and failing to effectively contribute to our communities, we need to demonstrate humility, self-awareness, and solidarity.

In conclusion, we need help. If we do not want to spend eternity in hell, we need to accept salvation from Jesus. We need to turn away from our pride and sinful ways, believe that Jesus can save us from our life of sin, and accept His help. This will grant us everlasting life in the Kingdom of God. While we are here on this earth, we need to learn to work together. We need to get rid of our stubborn attitudes, ask for help when we need it, and start living as a community that fosters acceptance, support, and growth. Do not allow yourself or your neighbor to fall through the cracks. Let us not be afraid to send out or answer an SOS every once in a while.


Cause Something To Happen


What is responsibility? Merriam & Webster lists the primary definition of responsibility as, “the state of being the person who caused something to happen.” Perhaps, like me, that is not the definition you most recognize. I am more familiar with definition number 2: “a duty or task that you are required or expected to do” and definition 3: “something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.” So what is the significance of the first definition?

In Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV), Yeshua tells a story of how three servants acted upon the same task and received different consequences.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more. ’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. ’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more. ’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. ’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. ’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

So which of the three servants caused something to happen? The first two traded, invested, and multiplied their money. The third servant caused nothing to happen and was punished for it. That was irresponsibility. But the root of the problem for the third servant was not actually irresponsibility; it was fear. I do not think the third servant was punished for being lazy. He feared his master but not in the right way. He says, “I knew you were a hard man. You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed. I was afraid, so I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here! Take what belongs to you!” In other words he was saying he was afraid to touch his master’s funds even though he was placed in charge of them. He did not want to mess up because he knew his master would be very angry. Of course, he received the very thing he wanted to avoid – his master’s wrath.

How does this tie in to our lives? Yeshua called 12 disciples to follow Him. They were not the best of the best. They were not even good. They were pretty low on the totem pole. That is because He was not looking through the eyes of a human, He was looking at their hearts (See 1 Samuel 16:6-7). He knew that given the responsibility, they would step up. He knew that once they received their commission, they would not be afraid to cause something to happen. This is exactly what happened. If you read the Gospels and continue on to Acts after Yeshua ascended into heaven, you find evidence of this. How is it that similar miracles were still being performed? Because the disciples took their commission seriously demonstrated responsibility.

I think some of us are not confident enough in our trust in God and so our fear of messing up overpowers our desire to cause something to happen. God has called us to the mission field, but our response is, “Surely He meant someone else. There is no way God can use me. I’ll just take that calling, bury it in the ground, and cause nothing to happen.” Should God be feared? Absolutely, but He should be feared in a respectful manner. We should not be afraid to connect with God, represent Him, and carry out the tasks He gives us because of the possibility of messing up. Although we should avoid pridefulness, God calls us to work diligently and confidently. Call it confident humility, if you will. Do you think the High Priests were fearful to enter into the Holy of Holies with bells around their ankles tied to a rope in case they died because of sin and had to be dragged out? Absolutely! So they could either not perform their duty and avoid the burden of living blameless before Adonai, or they could go in with confidence and reverence knowing that God provided a way for them to walk out unharmed. It was their responsibility, and they knew it would be worse for them if they did not act.

Why have we lost this perseverance? Not everyone is called to go over seas to be a missionary, but all of us are called to be missionaries. That is what the commission entails. Yeshua summed up Torah (The Law) into two commandments. Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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.” In other words, do these two things, and you will be in alignment with God. Before He departed, Yeshua gave one final instruction, the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, Yeshua says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” Now you can take that and say, “God has not called me to go to <<fill in the blank>> to be a missionary. That’s for others, not me.” While God will call some to go to specific places, this commission does not apply to a specific type of person or place. Consider it a different way. Now that you accept your deliverance from sin through Yeshua’s sacrifice, identify yourself as a child of God, and desire to spend eternity with God, go and CAUSE SOMETHING TO HAPPEN in all humanity for the Kingdom of God. If you are going to Walmart, cause something to happen for the Kingdom. If you are going to school, cause something to happen for the Kingdom. If you are going to work, cause something to happen for the Kingdom. If you go the coffee shop, cause something to happen for the Kingdom. We are social creatures and almost everywhere we go there are people. Our mission is to cause something to happen for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Even on the internet you have the ability to cause something to happen for the Kingdom of God. If you bury such responsibility, the negative outcome you fear will become reality.

I find it interesting that God’s very first command is a precursor to Yeshua’s final command. In Genesis 1:28, we learn that after creating the heavens and the earth and all of the creatures that dwell on said heavens and earth, God speaks to His creation and says, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” In other words, cause something to happen. Humanity depends on you going through with this. Then, Yeshua gives his last command. “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.” In other words, be fruitful and multiply. How? Cause something to happen. This is your responsibility.

What that looks like in our lives can be different from person to person. The Apostle Saul said to the church in Ephesus, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV) That means each of us, very much like the three servants in the parable, has different skills and resources, but the mission is the same–cause something to happen.

Where Is Your Trust?

I learned something interesting about sand from my college geology professor. Sand is not an element, it is a rock. Not only is it a rock, but it’s a specific size of rock and that size is–small. In Matthew 7:24-27, Yeshua explains the difference between the man who builds his house on the rock and the one who builds his house on sand. Here is the text. (CJB)

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it”

I think this passage has to do with trust more than anything else. Yeshua says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” So who’s words are you trusting. More importantly, what are you putting your trust in? The reason you shouldn’t build your house on sand is because it is constantly shifting. There are too many individual grains competing to hold up the house. It shifts, thus the house falls.

So again I ask, who/what are you putting your trust in?
Saul put his trust in time when he thought Samuel was late to his crowning. This set the tone for his whole reign. Later we find out he put his trust in a sorcerer. David, who was hunted by King Saul, put his trust in the Lord. In Psalm 18:2-3, he writes, The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” At that time, David new who his rock was. Later, in 2 Samuel 24, we find out that David put his trust in the size of his army. That sand cost him 70,000 warriors. He quickly repented and bought a threshing floor to present an offering to the rock.

Consider Peter. As far as we know, Peter is the only human who was not God to ever walk on water. If we look at this story, was he really walking on water, or was this a special effect? I believe Peter physically walked on top of the water, but I think spiritually he was walking on rock. In fact, I believe the water beneath his feet felt as solid as a large boulder. Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to walk on water? The properties of water make it so that when you put your weight on top of it, your foot goes down and doesn’t stop until you’re under. It couldn’t have felt like that because he didn’t go down. He was able to lift his feet and take steps which means he was able to put weight on them. For him to be able to lift his foot above the water meant he had to feel like he was walking on something solid, and I believe it felt like a rock. The rock here is Yeshua. A few steps later, he sank. Why? It’s because he no longer put his trust in the rock. He put his trust in his own ability to walk on water which he knew was null and void. At that point, Yeshua had to rescue Peter because he had met his limits.

There are a lot of songs out right now talking about this type of trust. A couple of examples are Paul Baloche’s “God My Rock” and Hillsong United’s “Oceans“. They each talk about putting our trust in God to lead us into His will. But what are the alternatives? What do we depend on when we don’t depend on God? I think it’s different for everyone, but some examples I have seen are as follows: money, job, the lottery, colleagues, people in general, relationships, social media, schools, educators, people in authority, government(s), military, fortune tellers, even church. While most of these things are not bad and some are good (stay away from lotteries and fortune telling), we are not to put our trust in these things. They are like sand under our house. Although the house might stay up for a while, when the storm comes and the winds blow, the sand will shift, the house will fall and “great will be its fall.”

“When my heart is overwhelmed I will look to you alone
When I struggled to believe you did not let go of me
God my rock” –Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour” –Joel Houston, Matt Crocker & Salomon Ligthelm