Posts Tagged With: believe

Light in and of the World

Genesis 1:3-4

New International Version (NIV)

3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.


 What is light? According the Miriam-Webster dictionary light is simply a source of energy that makes it possible to see things.

Throughout scripture light is used to refer to God and Christ in various ways, but when we think of light as being the aforementioned source of energy we can begin to see why the biblical authors would use such a word.

It is a word to represent power, strength, illumination, guidance, protection, and glory.  It is a word that is cross-cultural and describes an element that every living human being would know: the sun.

Everyone is familiar with light whether in America, or a third world country, whether they were born before or after Thomas Edison.  Light is something we hold onto.  It is safety in the dark.  It reveals what is lurking in the shadows and causes them to run.

To ascribe the properties of light to the one true God demonstrates that He is Almighty,  all consuming, caring, compassionate, and above all things.  He is the one who commands the darkness to flee.

As we enjoy the sun and its light let us reflect and remember that this was God’s first creation and gift to all of the world.  He created light to guide the way and separate the darkness.  The sun may be powerful, but the Trinity is infinite.

How have you seen God’s power at work in your life?

What does His light in your life look like?

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The Same Power

Romans 8:11

New Living Translation (NLT)

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.


Often there are songs that have lyrics that resonate with me.  This past week I was driving home after a meeting with our Worship Design team and such a song came on the radio.  This Sunday is VBS Sunday at our church and we had just finalized the outline for the service.

The theme for VBS this year is “Everest: Conquering Life’s Problems with God’s Mighty Power”.  The kids have been repeating the words “Hold On” as the leaders proclaim certain truths about God’s character and saving power.  As I was driving the chorus of Jeremy Camp’s new song “Same Power” broke through the silence and made me pause.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us

I love it when poets and lyricists can give the scriptures a melody that sticks with you.  One that makes it easy for us to remember and recall God’s Truth.  All week the children have been learning this very truth.  They have been learning that God, who has done marvelous and amazing things, gives us the very Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead.

Do our lives reflect that Truth?  Do our actions suggest that we believe that God has given us that power?  Our children are learning about this and proclaiming “Hold On”.  May we reflect their cry. May we Hold On the Truth, Hold One to the promise, Hold On to Christ, and Hold On to the love of God.

 

How will you Hold On to the love of God this week? 

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A Discipleship Kind of Love

1 John 4:21

New International Version (NIV)

21 And He has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother.


I know that I would not be here writing this blog post had it not been for faithful and devoted followers of Christ who poured themselves into my life.  I owe a lot to the time that those key individuals spent teaching, mentoring, and taking a chance on me because they saw my potential.

How many opportunities for great people to rise up do we miss because we don’t take the time to invest in their walk with God.  Christianity is a community of believers, and it is impossible to be lived out in solidarity because God is communal by nature.  He has called us to gather, teach, encourage, empower, and love.  It is our responsibility, as believers, to respond.

My encouragement for you is to think about specific ways that you can invest in the lives of others.  How can you begin building up the youth in your congregation?  How can you begin encouraging your high school students?  How can you engage your college students and young adults?  How can you partner with all generations?

The seasoned have great wisdom to share with the novices and the novices have great energy and enthusiasm to share with the seasoned.  When the church disciples(teaches, loves, gives, sacrifices, encourages, empowers, and challenges) one another it builds strong foundations of faith.

How will you impact someone this week? 

What specific ways can you build into a member of your congregation today?

 

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Spirit Led

Luke 24:49

New International Version (NIV)

49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”


Can you imagine attempting to lead someone into a forest, up a mountain, across the ocean, or even through a city you have never been to?  To make matters worse, what if you had to do it without a map, GPS, or cell phone?

Our faith can sometimes feel this way.  We feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that is contained in the Bible.  We feel the weight of temptation and sin everyday.  We struggle to keep denominations straight.  We aren’t quite sure what we should or shouldn’t wear on a Sunday morning, and we shrink back from the thought of sharing our faith or reaching out in love because we don’t have all the answers.

But thankfully God did not leave us blind and Jesus was not content to leave us wandering around without a guide.  In the book of Acts Jesus sends the Helper, The Holy Spirit, to assist HIs people.  The Spirit is always speaking to believers: guiding, instructing, interpreting scripture, and speaking on our behalf.

Our responsibility is to learn to listen, learn to quiet our own desires and thoughts, and learn to follow His promptings.  Have you ever talked yourself out of doing something good like give money or time to someone in need?  How about volunteering?  How about showing love to someone who is a jerk?

Do we rationalize the prompts and move on, or are we open?  The choice to be love, say love, and do love is ours!  We don’t have to have all the answers, we just have to respond.

Are you willing to let the Spirit lead?

How will you show love this week?

 

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Love Does

Acts 8:27-29

New International Version (NIV)

27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”


Philip was not forced to stop and speak with someone from a completely different nationality than him, but he chose to listen to the Spirit’s prompt.  He chose to speak to someone completely different from him and he chose to do it out of love.  A love for Christ and a love for this stranger that he never met.  I think the words from Paul in his letter the church in Rome sum up our calling.

Romans 15:7-8

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

We, the gentiles, were on the outside of the promise until Christ came.  He welcomed us who were different and calls us to do the same.  We are the light of world, we are the sheep in shepherds clothing, and we are the vessels of love that God can use.  We only need to be willing to hear and answer the call to love.

That call could come in the form of offering the mow your neighbors lawn, pay for someones groceries, take out their trash, or stopping and getting to know the homeless person on the street.  Whatever the call, are you ready to respond?  Have you made room in your schedule to do love?

How will you choose to love this week?

** For practical examples, uplifting and wild stories, and God-honoring ways to do love I highly recommend the book Love Does by Bob Goff.**

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Flock of Shepherds

John 10:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Matthew 28:

New International Version (NIV)

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit


Everyday we are tempted from the moment we wake up to follow something.  Follow the advertisement on the TV to purchase something new, follow the Facebook ad down the endless rabbit-hole of YouTube links, or follow someone influential on Twitter.  Perhaps you are even tempted to follow the example of someone at work or school.

Everyday we have the choice of who or what we want to follow whether it be good or bad, helpful or harmful.  Are we making the right choices?  Are we seeking the best yes for our lives?  Are we seeking too hard fit in?

Are we truly following something great or are we wandering around aimlessly like sheep?

Fortunately God sent us Jesus.  Otherwise we would all still be lost.  We would still be wandering in the dark trying to find our way and following any and everything that caught our attention.  However, Jesus didn’t just come to have us follow Him.  He called us to learn from Him, embrace His love, and then go and share that love to the lost.  Jesus calls us to shed our wool, leave the wandering flock, and learn to lead.

How will you accept His invitation this week?

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Love Ran Red

Luke 24:37-39

New International Version (NIV)

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”


Did Christ really rise from the dead as the women had reported?  Did He appear to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus?  Did He really just appear out of no where in the locked room they were meeting in?

I imagine all of that was very hard to take in.  I bet they had to take a seat and breathe due to shock, excitement, fear, and pure joy!  The most amazing thing of all is that Christ did not appear as a “spirit” or a vision.  He came to them fully God and fully man.  He ate real food, walked on hard floors, and at the end of the chapter He literally ascended into heaven before their very eyes.

Christ is not a ghost.  He is not a fictional character from a storybook.  He is flesh and bone.  He is God and man.  The scars from His torture were not healed or taken away.  They remain as a testimony to what He did.  They will remain because He stands in our place and takes on our sin so that we are no longer covered in red.  He takes on our sin so that we can be clothed in white.  He takes on our sin so that we have the ability to be in His presence. It is because He takes on our sin that we gather, remember, pray, sing, rejoice, and recall what is taught in scripture.

It is because He takes on our sin that we are free to worship.

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Doubt

John 20:26-27

New International Version (NIV)

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”


How often have we acted like Thomas?  How often have we wanted proof that something was truly as someone had told us.  We ask for signs and we look for the facts when we hear stories, do research papers, and conduct interviews.  We even prefer to see pictures of our food before ordering it.

Faith does not come with a laminated menu that has highlighted pictures.  It is not presented to us on a silver platter by the nail-stricken hands of Christ.  Faith is believing in something that is unseen.  Our faith is our sight.  It allows us the opportunity to come before the cross and realize what Christ has done for us.

It is our hope.  It is our calling to go out and serve.  It is the reason that we gather.  We have faith because we have witnessed the power of Christ in the lives of those around us, as well as our own.  It is by faith that we look at the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20 and know that we can accomplish anything because Christ is with us.

What is it that you are doubting? 

What is it that is keeping you from believing in the impossible?

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Ethan & Emilie

Embracing an Inspirational Life

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Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul