Category Archives: PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS

WHY GO TO CHURCH? 010816

group of people watching a screenHad an interesting conversation with a couple of brothers today.  One of them, call him Bill, along with his wife, has been searching for a new church home.  The church where they had been going for several years was changing.  Many of the couples they had relationships with had moved away, changed churches, or otherwise lost contact with them.  Several of their friends had gone to one particular church nearby, and they tried that church, but they didn’t like the preachers. The assistant preachers were younger than Bill and his wife, and in their sermons they told stories that were not relevant to Bill’s life.

So for several months (maybe even a year or more) they have been casting about for a ‘new’ church.  They have partially settled on a large church in the area (with an auditorium that seats about 3,000 people, which is filled every Sunday morning.  They like the preaching.  The preachers preach from the Bible and they expect the congregation to participate in application of what is preached to their lives.  And one of the primary reasons for their attendance there is that their 17-year-old son  knows several kids who attend church there and they’re all actively involved in the church activities.  In Bill’s words, “If my son is willing to get up and go to church regularly, then that’s the place for me.”  His wife is not yet so enamored of that church, so they have not yet made a commitment to join.  But they are going to worship services regularly.

I asked Bill if they were involved in any church activities besides attending worship services, and he said no.  He said they don’t say much about personal involvement with small groups in the church.  He said if you want to become involved in small groups you can locate them on their website.  He said at their old church the pastors spent a good deal of time during the worship services on Sunday morning talking about small groups, where they meet, what they’re into, and what they’re studying.  (He even mentioned the “motorcyclists for Jesus” group that meets on Sunday morning before or after church.)  He again mentioned that he and his wife had many friends at the church, but they’d all moved away.  He said that was a substantial difference between the ‘big’ church and their ‘old’ church.  Continue reading

DON’T BE AFRAID, JUST BELIEVE.111715

Toned Photo of Tired Young Man sleep with Tablet Computer on the BedIn Mark 5:22-43,  is the story of Jesus, walking through town, “And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.   . . . [While they were going there] some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

How are you doing about this?  There is this lady in our community, a serious truster in Jesus, and her teenage son is in the depths of treatment for cancer.  Most faith-full lady I’ve seen in many a day.  She’s steadily sending progress reports on his treatment and condition; asking for continued prayer, praising God on the good days and on the bad.  Literally makes me cry when I think about what she’s going through.  We’re all still praying.  He’s struggling, but still hanging in there. In no small part because his Momma is following Jesus’ instruction to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”  She’s just not gonna stop trusting Jesus.

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 3.111115

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeThis is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being.  I just have a few more comments to make.

1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people.  You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support.  (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy)  Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list.  Wonder why that is?  (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)

2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust.  Continue reading

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 2.111015

aerial view of family eating pizza at homeThere are a lot of “small” groups in the world, where people get together on a regular basis.  I’ve been a member of a number of them, such as a foursome for playing golf every week.  You get  to know the guys.  You enjoy their company.  You tell jokes.  You catch up on what’s happening in their world, how they’re getting along with their wives and their kids, their bosses and their employees.  In a lot of cases you are closer to them than some members of their own families. And you have the benefit of a little fresh air and a little exercise. (very little) Maybe you have a beer in the 19th hole.

My mother had a long-standing relationship with a bunch of girls she formerly taught school with.  They’d get together and play bridge every week.  None of them were championship bridge players, but that wasn’t the point.  The reason they got together was to share their lives with each other. When they were down they could call each other on the phone and get a little encouragement.  When they were up they could have a special meeting to celebrate.  You know it’s a great thing to have a husband and some kids to share your life with, but the girls in the bridge club are an indispensible part of a full life too.  There’s just some things you can’t, or don’t want to, share with your husband.  LOL Continue reading

EVERYTHING’S CHANGING.110715

past lifeAt 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

TEACHING THEM WHAT? 110515

Teacher talking with students in the clasroomOK, 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.

MAKING DISCIPLES, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 110415

 

Walk on water with a businessman walking on the surface of an ocean as a business concept of confidence and courage to take on an impossible challenge and achieve success with the power of belief.

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 .  .  . and [know this] I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [age].”  What does in mean, “Make disciples”?  Some say it means to get people to make a commitment to Jesus.  To “get ‘em saved”, so they go to heaven when they die, which many people call “having eternal life”, being “converted”, “born again”.

So I had this revelation just today.   In John 17:3, Jesus is praying, talking to God, and He says, among other things, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  So how do you get eternal life?  Well John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes [trusts] in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting [eternal] life.”  So to get eternal life, you trust Jesus.  So what does the first verse mean when it says, “this IS eternal life, to KNOW GOD and JESUS.”  Sounds like eternal life means to know God and Jesus, to have a personal relationship with the ONE TRUE GOD, the eternal I AM. 

So when a preacher gets up in front of a congregation and says, “If the Spirit is moving in your heart, and you think you should make a commitment to Jesus, come on down, so you can go to heaven;” it means a whole lot more than that.  It means you can know the LIVING GOD for yourself.  You can know the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE, (real life) right here on the earth today.  You can experience the LOVE that only God can give, while you’re still here.  You can have rest and peace, the kind that passes all understanding!  It means you can be God’s instrument to touch the lives of others so they can be changed, be transformed, FOREVER.  Now that’s real ETERNAL LIFE!

MAKING DISCIPLES, HOW DO YOU DO IT? 110315

Teenager having daily devotional at home. Christian lifestyle. Peace and love while prayingIf you’re going to make a disciple, presumably you’re going to teach ’em something.  So what are you thinking about teaching them?  I’m of the opinion that if you want to have a lasting effect on someone, the best thing you can do is change their behavior; more to the point, you create some new habit that will stay with them for a long time, like having a quiet time: reading the Bible and some devotional and then talking and listening to God for a few minutes early in the morning each day.  If you don’t do anything but that, and it sticks, it’ll have a profound effect on their lives forever after.

But let me tell you.  It’s not easy to get people started on a new habit, even if it’s short; even if it gives them a whole new outlook on life; even if it changes their hearts and eventually changes their lives.  I’ve talked to my kids (I have four) about this subject on repeated occasions, and so far two have really gotten it.  I’m still waiting, and hoping, and praying that they will get it and keep it forever.  But it just doesn’t work to brow-beat them about it.  Some days I think repetition is the key.  On a good day, maybe they’ll say “Yes, I’ll do it.”  But it’s easy to fall off the wagon, even when you’ve been doing it for a long time.  I know that from experience, so I’m pretty unjudgmental about how, where, and when they have a quiet time.  The really great thing is, God is working! He’s moving in their lives, even when I’m not looking.

 

ARE YOU A DISCIPLE-OR? 110215

Father playing chess with sonSo we’ve been talking about “making disciples” for Jesus, as in Matt. 28: 18-20, when Jesus said, “All power is given to Me, in heaven and in earth, so Go and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and [know this], I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  I am satisfied that ‘making disciples’ is the duty of every practicing Christian. You know, “practicing Christian” means a person who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and they have the Spirit of the Living God residing in their own personal hearts and bodies.  (As in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Don’t you know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit?”)  Earlier, we have defined “practicing Christian” as one who talks to and listens to God during her daily quiet time; and as one who meets with other brothers or sisters weekly to tell each other what God is doing in their lives.

So if practicing Christians make disciples, how do they do it?  Well, that’s a pretty big subject; we probably can’t cover it in 300-400 words; but at least we could talk about how to begin.  Continue reading

KBMT FOR JESUS #2. 103115

IMG_7045 (1)A lot of Christians think the process of making disciples is reserved for clergymen (aka pastors and priests), missionaries and others who are particularly called to this area of ministry; and the rest of us are supposed to sit in the pews, listen to them talk about God, pray a little, send a little money, and be satisfied that we have done God’s will.

But if you’re a “practicing” Christian, and you’ve been developing a personal relationship with Jesus thru a daily quiet time and weekly sharing with others in a small group, you already know that making disciples is part of God’s plan for your own personal life. (and I bet you are already developing those relationships  to make disciples, even though you may not yet realize that’s what’s happening or that’s what you call it.) You know, this discipleship process is ALL about developing relationships.

Since long before you and I even thought of it, God (by His Spirit) has been preparing the hearts of the people He wants you and me to touch for Jesus.  The main point of ‘making disciples’ is that you have to trust Jesus and obey Him in order to do His will in this.  Because He has all power, like it says in Matt. 28:18, and He is going to do His will in us, it will only happen as we surrender ourselves to Him, and let Him work through us to touch the lives of others.