Posts Tagged ‘christian’

Stair-Master “Faith”

10/12/2011
Church of Christ at Wedderburn, Victoria

Image via Wikipedia

Today is part one of a two-part message, I put together to describe two different kinds of “faith” people like to follow, or tend to, and it is unfortunate that they chose either.

Have you ever been on a stairmaster? Ever gotten off of one, realized how much work you had just done, and acknowledged the fact that you are standing in the exact same place you were, pre-workout?

That is the crummy faith life that many in our modern society have. They show up for church on Sunday, maybe even two or three more times during the week, but as soon as the key is in the ignition and they drive out of the parking lot, followed by unlocking the door and walking into their homes, it’s over until next time.

They built up a spiritual sweat during service and worshipped with all of their hearts while learning with all their minds. But when the lights of the church go off for the day, so do those people’s faith.

The workout in the gym might be great, but living your faith life that way is absolutely counterproductive to what Christ instructed us to do. We are instructed to serve the purpose of Christ in all aspects of our lives, not only at church.

My advice for you today, if any of the above applies to you, as your personal spiritual trainer for the day, get off of the stairmaster, and hit the spiritual cross-country track of the world to share the love and redemption of Christ.

 

Chris

Faking It

10/11/2011

Today closes the books on our series “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. And lastly, but certainly not the least of those steps is faking it.

How many people have left churches over what they called “hypocrisy” in the church or church leadership. My church is currently working on a fall campaign titled “Christian Atheist”. It is someone who behaves and claims to be a christian, but behaves and thinks as if God is not really there, or doesn’t do what he says he will.

My wife once had issues with a family member, and was told by another family member to “fake it, until you make it”. I can see how being in a situation where you are forced to work with a family member or be around one can make you grow more fond of them over time. Fungus does grow on you right?

All jokes aside, I love seeing her interact positively with that family member these days. They get along GREAT. So why is this a bad thing in church? Why is bad to be a fake christian until you become comfortable enough to be a REAL DISCIPLE?

That is simple. If Jesus himself doesn’t know when he will be sent back to Earth by the Father in Heaven to collect his children, they how can you possibly KNOW THAT, but act like you have all the time in the world to make the REAL and GENUINE transaction that will insure your eternal security?

Food for thought.

 

Chris

Step 2: Bad Influences

09/26/2011

Thanks for stopping in for Episode 22 of Inspired Audio. You can hear today’s audio by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Step 1: Blaming God

09/21/2011

Thanks for stopping in for Episode 21 of Inspired Audio, you can listen to today’s audio by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Lose your faith in five easy steps!

09/20/2011

Today is the first in a five-part series I am titling “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. That probably sounds a little counterproductive to what we normal shoot for at I.M., but I think it is far past time we talk about the five main things that immediately kill our faith, and these things aren’t even the BIG things people normally think about, these are the small things, that eat away at our faith like a cancer slowly but surely over a long period of time. I was inspired for this series by reading the book Weird, which I recommend, Craig Groeschell is an awesome Christian author.

Have you ever found a piece of glass on the beach? Probably not, but trust me, they are there. The thing about glass shards dropped on beaches is that over time, the elements smooth the rough edges, grind the piece down, and eventually, it just looks like another smooth-sided pebble on the beach. We have a choice to avoid becoming like very other pebble on that beach by resisting these five things.

First on the list is our title for today, BLAMING GOD. We will be getting in to that tomorrow in our audio section, stay tuned!!

Doing > Talking

09/11/2011
Bulletin/Handout notes
 
Original Message/Sermon: Kevin Cox
 
From One50Five service on 9/4/11.
 
(listen to sermon at one50five.com)
 
From the series: ”  > ”  (Greater Than)
 
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13  
 
Problem: There are Christians today who are “spiritually asleep“.
 
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53
 
Q: Why is this important?
A: Because Christians can’t lead other to life when they are dead inside.
 
 Anyone who claims to live to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived. 1 John 2:6
 
 Solution: Christians need to become greater than they are now.
 
 How to become greater than:
 
 1. Make our actions > our words.
 
 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.  James 2:14, 26
 
 2. Understand that God > you.
 
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies–the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 1 Samuel 17:45
 
God wants you to stop watching and start living!
 
You have 3 choices of what kind of Christian you want to be:
1.) Spectator
2.)Participator
3.)Servant (hint: Jesus is our example to learn from, Jesus was a servant.)

Make every day PAY-DAY (2)

06/02/2011
Dispute of Jesus and the Pharisees over tribut...

Image via Wikipedia

(Jumping right back in where we left off yesterday)

If you or I were Jeph, we would have responded to Israel’s elders as well as his brothers by saying “You kicked me out when I was a helpless little kid, now you come knocking all these years later after I have made a life of my own, only because you need my help? No! You laughed at my tears of sadness when I was just a child, now I laugh at you as adults!” Thank God Jeph was not any of us. He didn’t seek revenge at all. Instead he accepted, with only the stipulation that he be given some alone time to worship God and pray privately.

Haven’t all of us been in those shoes? I wish we could all be like Jeph. I’m sure some of you were hurt by somebody, maybe that someone was a church member, and you haven’t had any use for the church ever since. But Jeph was greater in heart than we are. He began his great test. The test that would bring him to the spiritual pay-day in the very near future. Keep in mind that this type of pay-day is not the same as ours. This type of pay-day is when we keep our word to God regardless of the cost. Your test, won’t come when you are at the office with a Christian co-worker on either side of you. That would be too easy. Your test, is what your faith can do for you in the middle of a godless crowd. Daniel was tested in the lion’s den, remember? Remember what the king said to Daniel? “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20b In my mind I can see Daniel cracking a smile in response while petting a lion.

Jeph, went to battle on the altar of prayer and made one of the BOLDEST promises to God that has ever been made. Jeph promised that when he returned from battle, the first thing or person to come through the tent door to greet him and welcome him home, he would sacrifice to God. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Jeph was a single father, who lived with his only daughter, you cannot possibly convince me that you would make that promise knowing what could come of it. Jeph was exhibiting RECKLESS FAITH. Today we are all so proud of our self-control. We take pride in the fact that we are not that person a few seats over in church that falls on their knees in worship because they know it is only about them and God and not maintaining appearances. We are so proud that we can keep our hands in our pockets while half the congregation is raising theirs in honor and praise of God almighty.

Some of the Bible’s key characters though, exercise RECKLESS FAITH. A faith where the consequences are not weighed and total confidence is placed in God’s hands. Remember Mary? She wasted a whole case of perfumes and oils when she washed Jesus’ feet. What about the widow at the temple who gave very little, but to her it was a great amount because she was a very poor woman, remember Jesus telling the Pharisees that she had given way more than they had regardless of the amounts they gave? The recklessness of these two ladies made them immortal in our hearts, and the hearts of every Christian in the world throughout all of history. Jeph made a vow, and when the time came, he knew he owed it to God to keep his word.

Now we come to Pay-Day. Jeph returns home after winning all of his military battles, and what happens? Yes. His beautiful daughter steps out of the tent singing a song of greeting and welcome to her father. What does Jeph say to her? “Alas, my daughter you have brought me very low”. After telling her of his promise to God, she agreed and was sacrificed. What?!?! Does that make you shake your head? Does it make you think Jeph is a bad guy? It shouldn’t. You cannot hold Jeph to our modern 21st century standards, we have to judge his actions based on the times in which he lived. He kept his promise, his word to God. “I given my word to God, and I can’t take it back”.

My friends, I wish there were a lot more “can’t take it back” men out there. When Joseph faced the greatest temptation of his life, he said “I can’t do it”. When the apostles were ordered to keep silent and not preach about Jesus they said “We can’t do it”. And Jeph here, with a breaking heart said “I can’t take it back”. Many of us would think to ourselves “nobody knows I made that promise but God”. We can justify it however we want. We think “it won’t matter much to anyone other than God”. Think about that! The one person we are supposed to live to please! Jeph didn’t tell anyone about his promise to God. It wasn’t peer pressure like Herod had to deal with when he ordered the killing of John the Baptist. Jeph was urged to do it based on the strength and conviction of his faith.

The lessons from this are so plentiful that I feel the need to extend its conclusion until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

God Bless

Chris

Suffering for Christ

05/16/2011
Paul the Apostle, Russian icon from first quar...

Image via Wikipedia

The title may have caught some of you off guard. A current trend in the modern church is that we are all supposed to “feel good and be happy and have money in the bank”. The cold hard truth is that this is a rarity in most homes and churches. The pursuit of those things is wonderful, I support Dave Ramsey fans out there, before the emails begin. I can’t seem to read a blog, hear a sermon online, or read a Christian book without the message of “feeling good” tossed in there somewhere.

The apostle Paul, had never heard of this FG (feel good) teaching. As a matter of fact, Paul is quoted saying, “I want to suffer as Christ suffered”. Nowhere in there did Paul mention his brand new sports car, his wonderful business endeavour, or his brilliant children who received the best educations that money could buy outside of the public school system. If you are one of the parents who have been able to provide those things, then count yourselves blessed, and I praise God that you were blessed to that extent.

However, the televangelists would have you believe that as a Christian you are supposed to have life on a silver platter, and that’s just not accurate. Paul in his travels suffered. He suffered because he wanted to be as much like Jesus as possible, who we all know suffered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should flog ourselves and hop on a cross and be poked with a spear. My point is that things are not always peachy, and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen leave their faith because life didn’t fulfill all of their dreams just because they were Christians. That’s simply not how it works. While not all televangelists share those talking points, many do.

We are to suffer. If we want to be like Christ, and remember you can’t spell Christian without Christ, we have to suffer. Not necessarily like Jesus did, but suffering will happen none the less. You will have Satan attack you when you are at a low point in your faith already, maybe after a tragedy in the family, or a financial crisis. You will find it easier just to walk away from God and do things by the world’s standards. But like the scripture says “Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world”. God’s way may be harder, it may take longer, it may cause some lost friendships, but look at what it offers. Take a look sometime at the “Fruits of the Spirit” and then compare them to the “Acts of the Flesh”. My friends, I pray you can understand today that suffering generates progress. Suffering is an early indicator of spiritual growth and getting closer to God.

My faith wavered more in the first half of last year than it ever has. Here I am though, doing my best to rise above the worldly lifestyle and move forward in my work in Jesus’ name instead of doing it for myself. So often I’ve heard Christians brag about the gifts God has given them, gifts of singing, of teaching, of whatever-ing, and so often I’ve caught myself wishing God would take that gift from them because it was becoming more important to them than their faith was! They ceased to acknowledge that the only reason they have the talent to begin with is because GOD allows them to.

Suffering.

What happened when Paul suffered for Christ? He led more men and women to God than anyone in history. Not for him to be able to brag about it, but for God to receive the glorious result of his actions. What happened when Jesus suffered? The world found salvation. The world once again had a choice between Heaven and Hell. You and I are examples of what happens when people suffer. Don’t think that whoever led you to Jesus did not suffer in trying to explain to you the importance of finding Jesus. I imagine most of the aunts, uncles, parents, school teachers, and people from all walks of life sitting around, neglecting their own responsibilities just to work with, on, and for you. Just to pray for you. Just to figure out how to talk to you about God. And here you are, saved by grace in Christ Jesus. You see the point today? The point is not about the suffering at all, it’s that the suffering is only the foreword of the novel that God is writing in your life, the fruits of your life-tree will be the reward for all of it.

Finding yourself in Heaven one day, will be the reward to end all rewards! The suffering is not the lifestyle, it is only the beginning of the lifestyle that a real Christian leads, it comes and goes your whole life through, but one thing that does not come and go is the outcome of the choice you made to live in Christ Jesus.

God bless you,

Chris

Righteous Rain

02/10/2011
Hosea the prophet, Russian icon from first qua...

Image via Wikipedia

‘Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.’ (Hosea 10:12)

We all need a little righteous rain today, don’t we? Last night we received the snow and I stood outside when I got home from work and marveled at the work of the Lord. Every now and then it is good to do that, just breathe and absorb things that you cannot even imagine creating on your own. I do this a lot also when I feed Christian in the middle of the night. I lay him in my lap backwards and just let him stare at me for a minute. He seems as fascinated with me as I am with him. I sang him to sleep the other night and the only appropriate song I could think of that would soothe him was Mark Lowry‘s “Mary did you know?”. While I sang it to him I started to feel a little overwhelmed. Think about it, the same loving Father of all, that molded and breathed life into his very own son in the womb of the virgin Mary, made time somewhere in is unimaginably packed schedule to make this little bundle of joy that is staring back at me. To go even farther, I have heard in my life that no two snowflakes are alike. That also means that while molding his son and my own much later down the time-line that he handcrafted every single snowflake that has fallen to the ground, the curves, the grooves, the specific temperature of each one. My conclusion, my God is a BIGGER God that the wildest imaginations could conjure up. He is very real, and he loves us very much. Take a little time today to think about the handiwork that you could never achieve…..but he can.
God Bless

Chris

Trusting God when life hurts pt2.

01/20/2011

Question? Is God in control???
Answer: Yes.
Proof: “God…is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of all masters”

Our world would generally have us feel that God is one of two things. He is either “good and not all-powerful” or “powerful and not all good” and they would have you believe that you cannot have it both ways. However, the Bible teaches us that we DO have it both ways. We Christians are generally quick to praise God for the good things that happen yet reluctant to attribute the bad things that happen to Him. But, when you think this way, you reduce God’s control over your life to a casual “stop and go” or “in and out” type of control. We so often mistakenly believe that we are the masters of our own fates. That is the modern vision, and sadly so. Like it or not folks, the fact is simple. God never pursues HIS glory at the expense of the good of HIS people, nor does HE ever seek our good at the expense of HIS glory. If you are going to learn to trust Him during the hard times, we must first believe that He won’t do anything to tarnish His glory therefore he won’t allow anything to spoil the good HE is working out in us and for us. Not only did God create the universe but Scripture tells us that He also sustains it day by day and minute by minute. Nothing in all of creation acts independently from Him. The laws of nature operate and function because HE allows them to. We may never understand His power but we need to recognize that it is very real. “As God’s rule is invincible, so it is incomprehensible.” When Jesus spoke about the sparrows staying in the air because God willed them to, he proved this (Matt 10:29-31). God did not create us, to turn and walk away to leave us to the mercy of uncontrolled random events. Take this story for instance:

*A Christian man flew out-of-state to give his testimony at an evangelistic meeting, taking his son with him. On the way home an electrical storm caused the plane to crash. Both were killed. A Christian friend, trying to comfort the grieving wife/mother of the two said to her “One thing you can be sure of is that God had no part in that accident”. Now…..according to that friend, God was apparently looking the other way when the storm hit the plane. This would contradict the words of Jesus HIMSELF and indicate that a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our Father in Heaven’s will, but a plane with Christian people in His service can…..this is absurd to think about.*

In closing,

God is always in control. He is never even frustrated. “No one can hold back God’s hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:35)

God Bless
Chris