Following Jesus

I had no idea, you could say I was clueless! What did it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

In 1977, I clearly heard and understood the message that God loved me and sent his son, Jesus, to pay the penalty of sin that I owed. I repented of my sins and placed my faith, my future, my total being in God’s care. Without realizing it at the time, I stepped into a process of walking with God everyday. God was slowly transforming my value system from being solely concentrated on me and my desires to him and his desires for me.

There is indeed a process that God places us in to become all that he wants us to become. All who have made that decision to receive Jesus as Lord are learning to understand what God desires. We no longer live for self but for the Lord.

Every person who is a Christian is a follower, a disciple of Jesus. Everyone should have a plan of growing to become more and more like him. How? Here are a few ideas:

Personal Plan for Spiritual Growth

1. Identify with the Community of Faith through baptism and church membership.

2. Find areas to serve God using the spiritual gifts, abilities and interests he has given us.

3. Grow in intimacy in our walk with God through daily, disciplined reading of the Bible and prayer.

4. Seek to encourage others in their walk with God through being a part of a small group. You cannot grow on your own, you need the encouragement and you can encourage others as well.

5. Share your faith. God has/is working in your life not just for you but that others can know him through you. God wants to use your story to change the lives of those who do not know him.

6. Give of your financial resources to support the work of the local church. God calls us to be generous with what he has entrusted us with financially.

These six principles are “basic training”. The entire span of our walk with Jesus is based on these. Following Jesus is not rocket science but is the discipline to faithfully practice them continually growing to become all he wants us to be.

My friend, go for it! Grow in faithfulness, love God passionately, serve Him loyally, and impact others radically. This is what a disciple of Jesus looks like.

Dedicated Passionately to the Church

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Sports “fans” are half-crazy. There are some who buy “jerseys” and “hats”, there are others that makes no difference whether your team wins or not. They, obviously, really do not have passion. Personally, I’ve been a fan of a team for a long time, since 1967, they have not won anything, but I keep watching their games and buying things that show I’m a fan.  I guess you could say I am passionate about that team!

There is a big difference between the person who only attends the church out of a sense of duty and the person who is really committed to it. The person who attends without getting involved has other reasons to be there, the person committed passionately to the church would really give his life for her. How, then, can we become passionately committed to the body of Christ?
There are 4 commitments that have those who are passionately committed to the Church possess. Continue reading

My Reason for Being

 

I remember it like yesterday.  All that I knew about life was from a very distorted perspective of the true biblical Christianity. There was nothing about God who loved me so much that He sent Jesus on a rescue mission for me! I have never recovered from that undeniable truth! Have you?

Before I began this journey of faith began in August, 1977, I was oblivious to the truth that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid the penalty for my sins so that I could be restored to a right relationship with God. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”

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The “In-Between” Time

The In BetweenOne of the hardest places to live is “in between.”  The term suggests uncertainty and I have yet to meet anyone who likes to live at that address!  We like to know when the next pay cheque is coming and who is writing it!  Most of us build our lives around routines that includes when we get up in the morning, it seems that we could drive to work with our eyes closed (not recommending that at all!) because we know the route so well and our jobs have pretty well-defined expectations and demands.

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The Great Deception

 

design-1One of the great questions that people often struggle with is that of identity.  It is one of the three that people frequently ask: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

How important is the question of identity? The lack of finding significance, is one of the huge causes for the suicide rate that is growing by the day.  People are dissatisfied with the answers that are coming from the great halls of learning, answers from society itself and those that come from the religion of humanism.

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Planning to Win

“No one will ever know…”

“Who says you can’t…”

“You work hard, you deserve this…”

If you are like me, these thoughts go around in my head many, many times during the day.  These are the moments when a giant named “Temptation” comes and secretly whispers in my ear. 

How do we handle that giant when he comes to lure us away? One thing we can guarantee, he is coming.  He is out to deceive you into thinking that it is okay. After all, you are human and everyone does it. 

I am reading in these first days of the year through the book of Genesis.  We are introduced to Abraham and God’s promise to him and his sons to give them land and descendants to live in that land. As we witness the faithfulness of God in bringing that to pass, we are introduced to the character of these people. We learn who God blesses and how His presence goes with those who walk in humble obedience to His revelation. Through the grammatical device of repetition, we are taught that God’s presence goes with those who walk in integrity. 

We come to Genesis 39, and we read the phrase, “The Lord was with him…” I don’t know about you but I need His presence every single day! I need Him in my marriage, in my work, in my relationships with others, and especially I need Him in my intimate self talk/walk where nobody else is looking. Joseph knew he was such a man, too! In the face of daily temptation to do what seemed to be the natural thing to do, Joseph responded, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

Full stop! Think about what we just read! Here is a red blooded young man in the prime of his life miles and miles away from home, what would preventing him from sowing his wild oats with the boss’s wife? Only one thing…His relationship with God! When push came to shove, his relationship with God was way more important to him than a few fleeting seconds of pleasure.

When temptation comes knocking at your door what will prevent you from following it? By the way, it is not a matter of “if” it comes but “when!”  What do you value more than the fulfillment of sin’s desire?  Sin will come knocking so we must be ready to give the proper response.  If you and prepare our hearts with verses like Proverbs 2:7, “…he (the Lord) is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Or, Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his way crooked will be found out.” 

May the Lord help us to live in His victory and in His presence today.  He is our victory over sin’s deceptive voice.