So you’re saved… now what?

Posted: January 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

Peter lays out the life of a christian pretty clearly in just three verses, 2 Peter 1:5-7.  So you believe, thats called faith.  Now stop stealing cheating, lying, and do what’s right… that’s called being good. After that, while being good, read and get to know God’s word, also known as gaining knowledge.  Once you start gaining knowledge, put it into practice (self-control).  But just knowing and doing doesn’t mean temptation is going to go away, so you must persevere through temptations and hardships.  Once you can put together faith, knowledge, self-control, and perseverance, you will begin to understand what godliness truly is. He overcame ALL while we struggle to persevere and we start to have higher respect and understanding of God and begin to align our hearts with His… Godliness. As we struggle through our own attempt at godliness it forces us to appreciate other’s stories and struggles and extend kindness to them.  This teaches us to love the way we should, the way Jesus tells us people will know us by (John 13:35).

Then repeat.

If we continue to repeat, we continue to grow and we will not be ineffective and unproductive as Christians (sounds harsh but thats verse 8).

Believe. Do what’s right. Study the Word. Do what it says. persevere. Align your heart with God. Put others first. Love. Repeat…

Find Your Boldness

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Galatians 1:1 ” Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…”

To often I have found myself shying away from difficult situations because of my insecurity.  I feel that I haven’t done enough to gain authority to actually have someone listen when I try to speak into their life.  If you are anything like me (or have a “friend” who may be like me who must remain nameless), let me guide you to the opening line in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia.  It’s a game changer when you realize that your authority isn’t in your own talent, ability, or past accomplishments, but in the one whom you have submitted your life too.  Even Paul, who had every right to flaunt his resume, instead rested in the fact that his authority came from “Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.”

Find your authority in Him and you will find your boldness on this earth!

This morning I dove into the book of 1 Samuel.  I believe God gave me an idea into his character, but also a stern warning against the way many of us live today.  That warning was this; God is not our Lucky Rabbits foot.  We don’t just get out of jail free whenever we “pull the God-card” and expect him to show up.  The fact is that He does have great plans for our life, but that doesn’t mean we get to do whatever we want and it’s His responsibility to make it great.

Case in point, chapter 4.  But first, let me set the stage.  Eli is 98 years old and has ruled Israel as the High Priest for 40 years.  During that time his 2 sons were placed in a leadership role and took advantage of the people at the expense of God.  They proved over and over again that they did not care about correction or about what God’s plan was for the nation of Israel.  So when we find ourselves getting to chapter 4 (yes, there is also passages that are actually about Samuel too) we see the Israelites heading out to battle against their archenemy, the Philistines.  Usually God would help the Israelites win battles, but they didn’t realize that because they had turned their back on God, He wasn’t with them and they lost the battle and 4,000 men.

I wish I could say that they learned their lesson and sought God’s direction, but I can’t because, well, I’ve actually read the Old Testament and know the Israelites.  Instead they did what is way to often still today, they played the God-card in a situation that God didn’t ordain!  They went back and brought the Ark of the Covenant, the very presence of God, to the battlefield that they weren’t supposed to be on in the first place.  The result? The Israelites once again lost the battle, this time loosing 30,000 soldiers, the Ark, both of Eli’s sons, and when Eli heard about it all he fell backwards off his chair and the weight of his hefty body snapped his neck and he died too.

Moral of the story? Just because you wear a cross around your neck does not give you the right to walk wherever you want.  Instead, if that is a simple of the cross you have picked up daily, then your steps will be guided into the right places for the right reasons so you can give God glory when you see the right victories.  If you live a life that is seeking God’s direction, you can rest in peace that his hand is on you even when you face struggles.  But let’s not get our thought process twisted.  We are on this earth to be a light, to point people to Christ, to do the work as a laborer for Him (Lk 10:2)!  We are not here so that God bless us as we do whatever, wherever.  God is our Lord, that means guidance, direction, rule, not our lucky rabbits foot.

Battle-Ready

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Devotional, Prayer

This weekend I had the wonderful privilege to be able to preach here at Pathways Church.  Not to be redundant, but the final point on prayer is worth taking some time to think about today so that it doesn’t just become words but translates into each of our lives.  It comes from Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

So often we find verses in scripture that we can quote, but until they change they way we live they are not serving their intended purpose.

If we know our battles are going to be coming, and we know they are going to be happening in the spiritual realms, why is it that we don’t take time to put our preparation in where it counts the most… Prayer and devotions?

If prayer seems boring to you it’s probably because you are looking at it wrong!  It is not just a discipline that God requires to see how much you can “endure” for his sake.  No, it’s intense training to prepare you for battle!

And we better be prepared because it’s time to engage in that battle!

Lifestyle, not Event

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Devotional, Prayer

One of the biggest reasons people say that they don’t pray is because they “don’t have the time.” This then leads to guilt because they don’t pray, which leads to separation from God because they feel that they haven’t prayed in so long that when they pray this time God will wonder where they have been. Truth is, prayer is so much simpler than that! Actually, if you don’t already have a set devotional or prayer time my recommendation may surprise you. Its this: Don’t set a time… Yet.

Instead, try this out:
• Pray before meals
• Pray before bed
• Pray when you wake up
• Pray in the shower
• Pray in the car
• Pray while you brush your teeth
These are all things we do anyway, so use the time to connect with God. Let them be your reminders. The point is to not get stressed about not having an amount of time set aside to pray, but focus on small prayers while “praying continually.”
When you want to gain muscle you don’t walk into the gym on day 1 and expect to lift 200 lbs. You ease into it, you work on repetition, and before you know it, you get stronger. Prayer, like any discipline, is the same. That way you build a lifestyle of prayer, not just an event!

The Prayer Basics

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Prayer

Last week in our church we launched a men’s ministry and I loved that so many men wanted to dive into deeper discussion on the topic of prayer.  The truth is prayer has been written off by many for a number of reasons.  Either people don’t understand how to pray or feel like they get distracted and have nothing to say.  Some, I believe, even question if prayer even works.  The truth is that prayer isn’t as mystical as we sometimes try to make it.  What worries me is that we now have a generation that believes in God but have no real relationship with him.

And prayer, at its basics, is communication with God.  A relationship.

 

David starts Psalm 5 with these 3 verses:

“1) Give ear to my words, O Lord.  Consider my sighing.

2) Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to you.

3) In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Time with Jesus

Posted: December 5, 2012 in Devotional

Over the last few weeks God has really been working on me with something, and as He usually does, He has lead me to his word and more specifically to Luke 10:38-42.  It’s the story of Jesus at the house of Martha and Mary.  As many of you may know, Martha was running around the house making sure all the preparations were perfect because Jesus was in her home.  Everything had to be perfect for the King of Kings, right?!?  Meanwhile, Mary, who was called to help with the preparations, sat in the living room with Jesus instead of helping out while Martha’s frustrations mounted.

 

This is a story that I continually have to come back to in my life.  If you know the end of the story you know that after Martha cries out for help Jesus informs her that what is actually the best option is for her to join Mary in spending time with Him.  The point of the story (which I will admit is SUPER convicting for me, and I think for many of us during this time of year) is that we can get so busy working FOR Jesus that we forget he wants us to work WITH Him.

 

The number one thing you can do in your life is to be a disciple of Christ.  This doesn’t go away when your schedule gets busy; as a matter of fact it increases!  As a pastor, a large portion of my week is spent in God’s word, but that doesn’t mean its devotional time.  As a part of the Production Team here at Pathways Church I’m working to find supporting scriptures to where Pastor Brad is going with messages.  As a part of the marketing team I’m working to put out the next quarter’s Elevate Prayer Journal to keep everyone reading through the Bible and finding passages that can be highlighted as devotional points.  Even as one on the rotation of writing blogs for the Pulse, I’m constantly working on different writings and teachings.  But notice the common word? Working… not studying the word, not applying.

 

During this season where there can be so much added to your “to-do” list, please remember that the most important thing you have to do each day is to spend time with Jesus Christ.  Even this blog, although hopefully a good reminder, doesn’t count as your God-time.  Your preparations are great.  You should put your best foot forward in everything.  But don’t allow it to distract you (the word “distract” taken directly from verse 40) from what is better (vs. 42).  What is better is to make sure you are spending time with Jesus.