Archives For April 2018

What’s next? As I write this, Easter has just passed. All the lead-up to our celebration of the resurrection of Christ is behind us. Lent, Good Friday, fasting, focused prayer, all the activities usually structured around Easter are now in the rear-view mirror. I had the privilege of seeing three different services and witnessed many proclaiming their need for Jesus after the message at each location.

what's next,Easter,commitment,salvation,discipleship,mission

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This is certainly to be celebrated and applauded as many more seek to give their lives to Jesus and help build His Kingdom here on earth. But now what? What happens after Easter? What becomes of those seeking to place their faith in Jesus? What becomes of we who experienced great renewal during this season? What’s next?

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I love this line from author Alicia Britt Chole: “God was not absent. The challenge was self was so very present.” I cannot count the times I’ve heard people say (and okay, I’m in this group as well), “I feel like God is so far away”. God is never far away. He is always here. Wherever ‘here’ is, God is there. You cannot outrun God, so don’t bother trying to run away. Despite all our ingenuity and technological innovations, we cannot hide from God. God is never far.

God is not absent,God is near,Hebrews 13:5-6 ,never leave you or forsake you,Luke9:23-27,take up your cross,commitment,focus,humility,selfishness,pride

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We couldn’t push Him away if we tried. His Spirit guarantees His presence with us always. The problem is not His presence, the issue is we have allowed our selfishness and pride to subtly erode our awareness of Him. To put it bluntly, we can’t get out of our own way to see God is not absent.

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Christians these days seem to bend over backward to make certain they never offend anyone. We want to appear as being tolerant of all things and all people. This isn’t the way Jesus lived. He loved all people, but He never minced words when it came to calling out whoever or whatever stood in opposition to the character and holiness of God. I like how A.W. Tozer put it: “This generation of Christians must hear again the doctrine of the perturbing quality of faith.”

perturbing faith,tolerance,love,discipleship,commitment,mission,passion

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The gospel of Jesus should perturb people.  It’s a call to a radically different life and lifestyle. It’ not okay when people flaunt their sin in the presence of God. It’s not okay when we kill in the name of Jesus. And it’s never acceptable to condone the sinful deeds of ourselves or anyone else. Leading with love, we need to not follow with tolerance but rather with perturbance. We need to live out our perturbing faith.

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The wisdom of A.W. Tozer continues to confound me. I wish I would have had the opportunity to learn directly from the man, but his books and sermons have left a rich legacy. Hear this from the wise preacher: “The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him.

to whom shall we go,John 6:68,A.W. Tozer,aw tozer,tozer,commitment,humility,mission,Philippians 1:21,to live is Christ,to die is gain,John 14:6,I am the way,I am the truth,I am the life,way truth life, noone comes to Father except by me

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The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. His faith has resulted in an everlasting and irrevocable committal, and however strongly he may be tempted he always replies, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68).” How often do we respond to the call of temptation (idolatry) with the words, “To whom shall we go?”

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I am hesitant to write this because I am paranoid and convinced (is that possible?) people will take this in a manner I do not intend. Still, the message is heavy on my heart, so I’ll ask you to please read this in the spirit it is intended, which is to further the Kingdom of Christ. It is not my intention to demean the laudable actions of others or to criticize any particular ministry. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

between now and then,beneath behind between,rush,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and goats,Matthew 7:22-23,depart from me I never knew you,crime,homelessness,love,poverty,mission,passion,priorities,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom

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This past weekend I had the thrill and sorrow of attending a concert with about 10,000 other Christians. The love and ministry of the band were evident throughout the couple hours they played. It was an uplifting experience that encouraged and challenged me, and from which I took several action items. One of them was to write this article.

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What is Your Purpose? Christine Caine answered this question when she wrote, “The purpose of our time on earth is to learn to walk with Him, abide with Him, and live through Him – and then share that light with others.” How comforting and refreshing. It takes all the pressure off us. We can let go of everything we were striving to be. We can stop working so hard for all those things we were trying to accomplish. The competition suddenly got a whole lot lighter.

What is your purpose,purpose,what's my purpose,purpose in life,Christine Caine,meaning of life,commitment,God's will,love,obedience,Matthew 12:30,either for me or aginst me

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Our five and ten-year plans just went out the window. But that’s a good thing because odds are we weren’t going to hit them anyway. As humans, we have a terrible tendency of overestimating what we can do in the long term and underestimating what we can accomplish in the next couple of hours.

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Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

midnight is coming,Bible study,commitment,discipleship,commitment,prayer,faith,Matthew 24:36,no man knows the hour,Matthew 25:1-13,parable of the ten virgins,Exodus 34:29-30,moses face shone,shining face,2 Corinthians 4:6,Jesus shines in our life

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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If you’ve been around church for awhile, you are probably familiar with the terms “sins of commission” and “sins of omission”. In case you aren’t, sins of commission are those we knowingly commit, things we do on purpose. Sins of omission, on the other hand, are those things we know we should do but don’t. I recently was introduced to a third type, “sins of addition”. The term was coined by Alicia Britt Chole, a new author to me, but one who I am immensely enjoying. Alicia wrote, “We all guard against sins of commission and we are vigilant toward sins of omission.

sins of addition,luxury,hoarding,commitment,generosity,provision,faith,money,finances,personal finance,comfort,greed,priorities,selfishness,Alicia Britt Chole

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But achievements—even in small doses—can make us vulnerable to sins of addition: adding niceties and luxuries to our list of basic needs, adding imaginations onto the strong back of vision, adding self-satisfaction to the purity of peace.”

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Long-time readers know Easter is one of the few times of the year I write something time-specific. My hope has always been the articles on this web site will live for years outside of any context, but be helpful to someone whenever they might come across it. Easter is special. It’s my favorite day of the year. It’s the most important day in history. Christmas may have brought God to earth in the form of a man, but it’s Easter which proved He was indeed God and provided the only way to an eternity of peace and joy in the presence of God.

Jesus is risen,Easter,raised from dead,Jesus lives,resurrection,A.W. Tozer,aw tozer,tozer,matthew kelly,alicia britt chole,death,hope,love,fear

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As I write this, Easter is almost a month away; when this post first publishes, Easter will have been yesterday. But the feelings I have about Easter are already about to burst from within. Truly it is good to remember at any time Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

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