Before I start this post, I have to tell you it only took me about forty years to reach the point of actually ‘going on with God’. I knew about God, I even ‘knew’ God, when I was about ten years old; but I didn’t really start to ‘go on with God’, to really follow Him with all my heart, till I was about fifty. Oh, I had several ‘close encounters of a spiritual kind’ with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit during that forty years, but I was living a divided life, trying to ‘make it in the world’, while maintaining a relationship with God. Let me tell you, I’m living proof that you can’t serve two masters.
I thought about calling this post ‘Practicing Christian 4’, or maybe ‘Making Disciples 4’. In any event, the question for the day is, “What do you do now? After 1 you’ve made a genuine commitment to Jesus; 2 you have a daily quiet time where you read a little Bible, read a little devotional, you talk to God, and you listen to Him; 3 you have a relationship with a Christian mentor; 4 and you’re involved in a small group. It’s a good start. So where do you go from here? Continue reading
At my house we have a 66-year-old husband, a 55-year-old wife, and a 17-year-old son. Everyone is involved in more than we can say grace over. And though we have each other; for which we are all very grateful; we daily shake our heads and strain our brains to maintain stability. Our church got a whole new pastoral staff this summer, and there have been multiple collateral changes. For one thing our son and I have been involved for several years in a close working relationship with our youth director who’s been here for 11 years and is now, just this month, moving on. Most of the kids we have worked with for 5-6 years have graduated from high school and gone off to college. The few that are left are struggling to keep the program together. As we look to the future, things are shifting. Seems like almost every week there is an announcement of another change in the leadership. Sometimes we almost lose heart.
But not for long. Do you know that if you trust God, you can have peace in your heart, in spite of all the crazy stuff that’s going on? Philippians 4:6-7. Continue reading
OK, In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “I have all authority, so go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. . . . and [know this] I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [age].” What does in mean, “all things”? Some folks would say those things are particular things, like ‘love God with all your heart’, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, ‘seek first the kingdom of God . . .’, ‘don’t resist evil’; ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart’; ‘rejoice evermore’.
If we really want to ‘make disciples’ maybe we should teach an attitude of surrender; of surrendering ourselves to Jesus; like it says in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [meaning “die to yourself”](see Galatians 2:20), daily, and follow Me.” To have the attitude in your heart that comes from Jesus, that says, “I’m not touched by things in this world, because Jesus has put His Spirit in my heart.” So you get to the point where you really don’t care what happens to you and your stuff, because you’re thinking about Jesus and helping others come to a personal relationship with Him. That’s something really worth teaching and worth learning.
Like Paul said in Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also [rejoice] in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [endurance]; 4 and [endurance], character; and character, hope. 5 Now [this] hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When you get that attitude in your heart, then observing all the things Jesus commanded becomes possible.
I’m pretty sure most people in America are not ready to let anyone, even Jesus, be the Lord of their lives. At least no one besides themselves. We’re all too focused on me. But God is constantly moving a person in that direction; to give up himself, to “deny himself; to take up his cross daily and follow Jesus.” (Luke 9:23) To “take up your cross” means this: “I am crucified (I died) with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Jesus said that verse in Luke to anyone who wanted to be His disciple (his student, his follower). If you give up yourself, surrender yourself, deny yourself, die to yourself, then you DO make Jesus the Lord of your life, because He comes in to your own heart and body and fills you with His Own Spirit, and He BECOMES the Lord of your Life. That’s how you make Jesus the Lord of your life. Actually Jesus is the One who chooses you and then you let Him come in. (John 15:16) Continue reading
Practicing being a Christian is sorta like practicing to be a baseball player. If you want to be a good baseball player, you do it every day; you focus your attention on it, you replay the game in you mind, you dream about making it to “The Bigs”. But most of all, you stay focused on the fundamentals. The fundamentals in baseball are throw, catch and bat. Being a Christian is a lot like that. Practicing Christians do it every day too, they practice THE FUNDAMENTALS every day; they 1] FOCUS ON GOD EVERY DAY; give Him some time and attention 2] SURRENDER to JESUS and MAKE HIM THE LORD OF THEIR LIFE (every day) 3] READ THE BIBLE and some Devotional 4] PRAY and MEDITATE on what they’ve read; 5] LISTEN FOR GOD to tell them what to do about it. Continue reading