Sunday, May 4, 2014



 2 Corinthians 3:2 No, you yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts. It is known and read by all people.

I am talking to the young adults who are growing as Christians. The message I want them to receive is “Young adult Christians need to check their standards; they’re called to a higher calling.  Also, as believers, they need to represent, and they need to bring themselves up to a new standard—specifically Jesus’ standard.

You are called as believers of Jesus to live differently especially because you are God’s message to the world of what Jesus can and will do in people’s lives.  What kind of message are you sending?
My name is Mark Alexander Spencer. I am from Long Branch, NJ currently a student at Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine. Yup you read it right Maine right next to Canada where it gets as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Or lower I grew up in a Christian home and committed to following Jesus when I was 5 years old. When I reached high school I had a lot I dealt with that helped me lower my standards and eventually backslide. I played 3 sports (football, wrestling, and track and field) and I was around many people who did not follow Jesus. I wanted to connect with them since they were my teammates. But the more I wanted to hang out and connect with them, the more I conformed and did things that were not pleasing to God. I Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Don’t be fooled: Bad friends will ruin good habits.” I told people that I was a Christian, even quoted Bible verses from time to time, but they saw hypocrisy. The scripture sure is true because I started cursing, going to drinking parties to increase my popularity. I tried marijuana, my temper was out of control, to the point where I constantly yelled at my parents, slamming the door behind me. And with my friend’s influence, I started using pornography, which soon became a stronghold in my life.

(What I look like when I’m angry)
I went to youth group and services only because I had to and there were people to hang out with. I was not there to grow in my relationship with Jesus but just to hang out. When I first recommitted my life back to Jesus, I said in my heart: “Since I am going to follow you, Jesus, I want to know the truth because only the truth sets me free and I can’t just do anything I want since Jesus literally gave up His life so I could experience true life. I want to know how Jesus wants me to live since I owe my life to Him and I can’t even breathe or wake up without Him allowing me to.” So I started actually reading the Bible again and asking Jesus to help me to understand what to do and to help me do it. I started to put God’s teaching (scripture) into practice because the God says in James 1:22: “Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves.” We deceive ourselves when we only listen to the Word of God but don’t even do what it says. Every time I read it with that attitude God showed me different things that were not benefiting me in my life. Because I was willing to listen to God. One of the first things was the way I talked at times. Ephesians 5:4 says: “Also, there must be no evil talk among you. Don’t say things that are foolish or filthy. These are not for you. But you should be giving thanks to God.”  From being around guys in sports they spoke filthy about women and their own body parts, and that influenced me to do that as well. God convicted me of that because on my own I could not change until I asked Jesus to free me from it. I’m not saying the thoughts never come into my head but that I choose not to say it. 

The Bible is very clear in Ephesians 5:6-17: "Don’t let anyone fool you with words that are not true. God gets very angry when people who don’t obey him talk like that. 7 So don’t have anything to do with them. 8 In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. 9 This light produces every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. 10 Try to learn what pleases the Lord. 11 Have no part in the things that people in darkness do, which produce nothing good. Instead, tell everyone how wrong those things are. 12 Actually, it is shameful to even talk about the things those people do in secret. 13 But the light makes clear how wrong those things are. 14 Yes, everything is made clear by the light. This is why we say, “Wake up, you who are sleeping! Rise from death, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. 16 I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. 17 So don’t be foolish with your lives, but learn what the Lord wants you to do.”

It has helped me a lot by letting God change me because it keeps me from unnecessary trials. I am not saying I never go through things, but I am able to avoid drama with people.  Since I started to live differently, my unsaved friends saw me differently and listened to what I said more. As Jesus was first making changes in my life I talked to a certain friend about Jesus by sharing scriptures and telling him what God had done in my life. But before I did this I asked God to open up his heart to receive His Word. I was honest with my friend, telling him things I was ashamed that I did like pornography, cursing, going to drinking parties,  trying marijuana, lying, deceiving people, and so on, but I also about the judgment and mercy of God, His character, and how He set me free from all those things.

 My friend was touched and told me how he saw the difference from who I used to be and who I am now and how he looks up to me because of my integrity.  I had talked with him in the summer 2012 but he did not accept Christ right away because the person has to want to change. But he did make Jesus Lord of his life during the winter 2014! Your life and the trials you go through are a testimony of what Jesus can do for others!  Jesus uses you to reach people.  Jesus says to you today, “You will make them able to understand the truth. They will turn away from darkness to the light. They will turn away from the power of Satan, and they will turn to God. Then their sins can be forgiven, and they can be given a place among God’s people—those who have been made holy by believing in me (Acts 26:18).

No matter what if someone follows Jesus or doesn’t wherever you go people judge each other.  People Judge each other based on what they look like, what they say, the sound of their voice, what they do, etc.  Through all those things people see what others people’s lives are about.  I remember two summers ago in 2012 I had a summer job at K-mart where I was working with this one married fellow. While we were putting food cases and boxes on the shelves, I noticed that he was staring at a lady to the point where it seemed like he was undressing the lady in his mind.  I asked him, “Aren’t you married?” and what he said surprised me.  “I am only married when I am around my wife.” When I heard that it told me a lot about him what he believed. It showed me that people judge other people.

So how much more will unbelievers judge the followers of Jesus and hold you to another standard since you are called to a higher standard? You may be the only representative of Jesus that someone will see and based on how you live will help determine whether people want to learn about Jesus or not. I plead with you as Paul said in Ephesians 4:1 “… I beg you to live the way God’s people should live, because he chose you to be his." You were bought at the highest price anyone could pay with their own life!

"Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. 14 I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven" (Philippians 3:13-14).

We are called to live above the influence and be the influence to the World! You are called as believers of Jesus to live differently especially because you are God’s message to the world of what Jesus can and will do in people’s lives.  What message are you sending???



1 comment:

  1. Mark, this is awesome!!! Love it!!! People are watching!!