Archives For February 2018

I’ve been listening to a series of messages from David Platt addressing the scourge of consumer Christianity. It reminded me of something I read from A.W. Tozer a couple years ago. It’s a longer quote than usual, but it is too good to edit. Tozer wrote, “Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster.

consumer christianity,what does it mean to be a Christian,commitment,Holy God,purpose,mission,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats

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He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness…”

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Reading the incredibly inspirational story of Kyle Maynard, I was blown away. Kyle was born without arms or legs, yet he has lived an incredible life. He has climbed mountains unassisted, won wrestling championships, and competed as a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter. How does one do such amazing things? Where do they find the discipline and resolve to hone the abilities to do so?

doesn't matter anyway,kyle maynard,savatage,priorities,purpose,salvation,surrender

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Someone like Kyle silences all our complaining and whining. He makes our biggest frustration look minuscule by comparison. I don’t know if Kyle is a follower of Jesus or not. But if he isn’t, sadly, none of his accomplishments count for anything. Without Jesus, no matter what we do, it doesn’t matter anyway.

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In a recent sermon, Pastor Craig Groeschel made the comment, “Easy never changed the world.” The life of a disciple has not ever been, nor will it ever be, easy. Following Jesus is difficult. It’s unpopular and brings little glory. But eleven men, disciples of Jesus, changed the entire world. Their impact is still being felt 2,000 years later. Their life wasn’t easy.

easy never changed the world,Craig Groeschel,,lifechurch,life church,discipleship,commitment,purpose,mission

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They were mocked and seen as insurgents and fools. They were constantly pursued, jailed, beaten, and in almost every case, they were killed. It wasn’t easy to follow Jesus in the first century, and it isn’t easy to follow Him now. But easy never changed the world.

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Lent is a season of (roughly) 40 days leading up to Easter and celebrated by various denominations within the Christian faith. I am never interested in having a debate over whether a particular style of worship, liturgy, ritual, or tradition is pleasing to God. I’m happy to talk about Jesus all day long, but outside of Him, I’d say if it brings you closer to God, then do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. The differences in our traditions don’t offend me.

embrace lent,lent,lenten,Lenten season,discipline,commitment,priorities

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I heard Bob Hartman, the guitarist and main songwriter for the legendary Christian band Petra, once say, “Don’t criticize the way someone else worships God because God might like it!” I grew up in a Protestant household where Lent was not celebrated. As I’ve grown older and developed my own relationship with Christ, I have slowly come to embrace Lent and the beauty of the season.

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I recently heard David Platt share a quote that requires a lot of contemplation. He asked the question, “Is Jesus living in me or through me?” The difference between the two is huge. We live in a culture of casual Christianity, led to believe all we have to do is say a magical prayer and Jesus will come to live within us.

live through us,david platt,discipleship,commitment,priorities,mission,great commission,Matthew 28:16-20,go ye therefore into,salvation,peace,love

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Even if such teaching were true (and I believe there are compelling arguments to be made it is not), inviting Jesus into your heart is not the point. Unless and until we allow Jesus to live through us, we will be missing out on all the power and peace He intends for us.

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We as a people spend an inordinate time thinking about the past. Some even spend their days living in the past, desperate to recapture elements from their youth. For disciples of Jesus, I have a word of admonition: forget the past. Forget everything you’ve done. Instead, I want you to focus on what you will do both at this moment, and from this moment. It’s a lesson I am still learning but desperately want to master.

forget the past,forget past,identity,lordship of Jesus,mission,discipleship,abandon yourself to God,focus,commitment

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What we’ve done up until this moment matters little to our life going forward. Sure, we may have laid the groundwork for future work. There’s definite value in this. But with the knowledge every second may be our last, I submit focusing on what we will do from this moment forward is far more valuable than what we’ve done before.

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I awoke in the middle of the night, crushed by the reality of the fact time is running out. I am fifty years old now. My life is, in all probability, more than half over and time is running out. Time to tell others about Jesus. Time to do all Christ has given me to do. Time for me to further the mission of God. For all of it, time is running out and I am squandering it moment by moment, breath by breath.

time is running out,finiteness,finite,death,dying,running out of time,commitment,priorities,purpose,time,mission

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How did I get here? I remember the zeal of a man whose sole focus was to reflect and glorify His Creator. Where is He now? Time is running out, and I desperately need to find him.

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