Archives For commitment

What would a life completely surrendered and devoted to God look like? We have so few modern examples I’m not sure we know anymore. I think we recognize it when we see it, but what would it mean for you and me to be totally consumed with Jesus Christ? Isn’t that what we want? When we surrendered our lives and will to Him, didn’t we expect to live the rest of our lives serving Him and Him alone?

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The commitment didn’t last. I know this because as I look around the world and at the country in which I live, I see scores of nominal Christians who confess their Creator with their lips but deny Him with their lives. I do it every day.

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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Christine Caine made a great analogy between our physical heart and our spiritual heart. She said, “Your physical heart muscle pumps and regulates your blood flow. That blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. If you exercise that muscle with cardio workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it junk food, and you know what happens: the arteries get clogged, and the muscle grows weak.

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The same is true of your spiritual heart… What happens if you let your spiritual heart languish and you feed it junk food, the ‘earthly things’ that do not satisfy? It also gets clogged, grows weak, and sends toxicity pumping throughout your life.” How are you nourishing your spiritual heart?

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Every now and then, I hear or read something which flips the way I’ve always looked at things upside down. The latest instance of this came courtesy of Francis Chan. He wrote, “We believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God.” How many times have you heard (or said yourself), “Why did God allow this to happen?” Questions like these assume we have certain rights ascribed to us as humans.

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They also ignore the fact that, before we can ever begin to discuss what we as humans deserve, we must first consider what rights and expectations are ascribed to God simply because He is God. When was the last time you gave this any thought? We are quick to proclaim our own offense without ever considering our very declaration might offend the object of our affection. We first and always must consider what God deserves from us.

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In “Jesus and the Disinherited”, Howard Thurman wrote, “…the most important question, since the thing which makes Him [Jesus] most significant is not the way in which He resembled his fellows but the way in which He differed from all the rest of them. Jesus inherited the same traits as countless other Jews of his time; he grew up in the same society; and yet he was Jesus, and the others were not.”

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Sure, Jesus was the Son of God, but He also came to earth as a fully human man. He was free to choose however He wanted. His desire and love for God necessitated He make choices we do not have to contemplate, and He chose the right way every time. What if we possessed such love and devotion for the Father? What if we could do nothing but please Him?

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Are you going through the motions as you walk with Christ? I look back on a couple generations of church-going Christians who have done a wonderful job of keeping their traditions alive. How many things have come and gone since the local church began meeting? For hundreds of years, Sunday after Sunday, people have flocked to churches. Even those who can’t seem to make it every Sunday still show up on Easter and Christmas.

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While the implementation of the details has changed over the centuries, the format has remained virtually untouched: Sing a couple songs, listen to a sermon, sing another song, and go out en masse to live our lives as if nothing has changed. Such is the legacy of the modern church. There is no doubt we are going through the motions and will probably continue to do so for another couple hundred years.

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Christine Caine makes a great analogy, comparing the way many Christians live their lives to hitting the snooze button on their alarm. Mrs. Caine wrote, “Do you know what it’s like when you have to get up, but you just keep hitting snooze until, all of a sudden, your morning is gone! When it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s time for us to rise and shine. The world is too dark for the church to keep hitting snooze.

snooze button,mission,commitment,discipleship,love,priorities,Isaiah 65:17,new heaven,2 Peter 3:13,new earth,Isaiah 22:13,we eat and drink while tomorrow they die,Matthew 28:18-20,great commission

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Each time we become sidetracked or indifferent about sharing the gospel, it’s like we are choosing snooze and allowing the world to linger in darkness longer.” We all know hitting the snooze button is a bad idea, but it becomes catastrophic when the Church hits the button. We are indeed a slumbering giant, and our wake-up call is long past due.

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It is said what has your attention has you. My experience has proven this to be true. If God has your attention, then God has you. You are a servant of the King. What if God doesn’t have your attention? What if your attention is split between many things or worse yet, anywhere but God? Is anything other than God worth your attention? Regardless of the circumstances, I can’t think of anything more important than God… ever!

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Begin with God and everything else tends to fall into place one way or another. If we want to be disciples of Jesus though, I think we must go beyond attention. We need to be consumed with God to the point we struggle to think of anything or anyone else. So, let me ask the question, what consumes you?

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The local church has changed a lot in my lifetime. As the son of a pastor, I’ve had a front-row seat to many of these changes. I’ve seen pews replaced by theater-style seats, platforms transformed into performance stages, pulpits disappear, and suits replaced with jeans and leather jackets. Worship styles have gone from centuries of tradition to modern and contemporary. Sunday School is fast becoming a relic of the past. Vacation Bible School has transitioned from flannelgraphs to all-out adventure camps.

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There’s no doubt the local church is far cooler than it’s ever been. I’ve been a fan of many of the changes. Certainly, some have led to some coming into a church who wouldn’t have dared before. Still, I can’t help to ask, at what cost have we become cooler? I’m convinced what we have lost and what we need today is one and the same: it’s more Jesus.

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It’s a fact of life. Everyone and everything gets old, wears out, breaks down, and dies. When we lose those close to us, it can be a devastating loss. It seems to always come as such a surprise as if we expected the one we loved to be the exception to the rule. They would be the one to cheat death and live forever! Certainly, some deaths come more unexpectedly than others, but considering none of us have the guarantee of another breath, shouldn’t we be doing a better job of cherishing the moments we have right now?

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Let’s face it, everything dies. We will die. The key is to prepare our souls first and then help others prepare for that day as well. Death is certain. There is no getting around it, so why do we work so hard to avoid thinking about it?

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