Archives For Isaiah

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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In his book, “The Last Arrow”, Erwin McManus expounds on Luke 9:57-62 with the observation, “Jesus clearly imparted to all of His disciples: You cannot follow me into the future if you are holding on to your past.” I wonder how many of us are hamstrung in seeking to do new things within God’s Kingdom because we are refusing to let go of the past?

let go of the past,Erwin McManus,last arrow,faith,dreams,passion,mission,future,Isaiah 43:19,I am doing something new,Luke 9:57-62,No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back,don't look back

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We’ve been holding onto some things so long we don’t even realize we’re doing it. They have simply become an extension of who we are. If we want to move into a future containing all God has for us, we’ve got to stop dragging the past along with us. The past simply has no place in the future. It’s too bulky and gets in the way.

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In Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10, Paul tells us we have each been created to do the specific work God designed us to do. Have you ever paused to think how amazing this is? Each person in history, in every country, and in every time, has been born with a God-ordained purpose for their lives. When each of us fulfills our purpose, it becomes part of the greater whole. It’s another brick in the massive Kingdom of God.

doing the work,do the work,steven pressfield,myth of the blueprint,gregory boyd,greg boyd,open theism,freewill,commitment,kingdom of God,God's kingdom,works,mission,Ephesians 2:10,created for work,Isaiah 5:3–7,Jeremiah 3:19–20,Jeremiah 3:6-7,God was surprised,is god ever surprised

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When we fail to do the work He designed us to do, there is something missing. There’s a gap which must be filled. It’s an awesome responsibility. I can’t believe the privilege of doing work God designed me to do. How amazing is that? We must never forget the magnitude of the honor, or the obligation to fulfill it.

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I was talking with a friend recently who was wrestling with figuring out “which Jesus” she should be in given situations. She was asking, should she be the gentle Jesus, the humble Jesus, or the Jesus who overturns tables? It’s a great question and one we all encounter regularly. Put more plainly, we must constantly ask ourselves, “How can I most look like Jesus in this situation?” The good news is there is only one Jesus.

which Jesus,personality facets,character of God,true fasting,loose the chains of oppression,Isaiah 58:6,humility,love,humble,turn the other cheek,kindness,kingdom of Heaven

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So regardless of our actions, as long as we are making our decision based on the character of Christ, we will look like Jesus in that moment. While this is good to know in theory, the challenge comes in determining how this plays out in practical ways in our day to day lives.

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This entire blog is predicated around becoming a disciple of Jesus. But what does discipleship look like? How do we know if we are getting closer to the mark? I would say first, discipleship is a standard to be pursued, not a target to be hit. There will never be a day when you can sit back and exclaim, “Ah! At last I’ve reached discipleship!”

what does discipleship look like,mission,humility,discipleship,disciples of Christ,disciple of Christ,Jesus disciples,Jesus followers,commitment,Matthew 22:36-40,great commandment,Matthew 7:13-14,wide and narrow gate,Matthew 22:1-14,many are called but few are chosen,Matthew 25:31-46,sheep and the goats,James 1:27,orphans and widows,Isaiaih 58:5-6,true fast,chains of oppression

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Being a disciple of Jesus is a process that will consume your entire lifetime. To be a disciple signifies nothing ever will mean more to you than desiring to live a life mirroring the life of Jesus. Discipleship is the total dedication of your life to His calling and purpose. To be a disciple is to be daily engaged in the mission of Christ.

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I once read our excess money is given to us to share with others. This is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my own life because I feel there is good Biblical precedence for it. Early Christ followers shared all they had with each other (Acts 4:32-35). This seems to go even beyond simply giving away our excess. In the Old Testament, God gave laws commanding people to not harvest the edges of their fields so the poor could come and get some food for their families (Leviticus 23:22).

giving away our excess,wealth,hoarding,generosity,tithe,tithing,John 10:10,Luke 12:16-21,Proverbs 30:7-9

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Jesus told us not to hoard our wealth (Luke 12:16-21). The next question I generally get when discussing this is, “How do I determine how much is excess?” To me, this question is always the result of a scarcity mindset.

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In “Counter Culture”, David Platt writes, “When we observe our churches today, do they look like groups of people who gather with one another as they give their lives to spreading the gospel among unreached people, impoverished communities, abandoned orphans, lonely widows, dying babies, sex slaves, and suffering brothers and sisters around the world?” His conclusion is the same as my own: we do not.

purpose of the church,david platt,counter culture,James 1:27,true religion,orphans and widows,Isaiah 58:6,true fast break the chains of injustice,slavery,sex slavery,poor,hungry,homeless,sick,imprisoned,sheep and the goats,Matthew 25:31-41

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His question comes straight from the Bible (Matthew 25:31-41; James 1:27; Isaiah 58:6), and reflects God’s will for each of our lives. It’s sad enough most of us are not dedicating our own lives to this, but absolutely tragic we as a body of believers are not marshalling our forces to combat these evils in the world.

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Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Many will never reach the Kingdom of Heaven for they have fixed their eyes on wealth. They are sick for the things of the world. They live proudly through luxury. But those who are serious about salvation must settle this beforehand in their mind. All we possess is given to us to use for sufficiency, which one may acquire by merely a few things.” For those of us in the West, this should be especially convicting. We live proudly in our luxury.

a few things,Clement of Alexandria,Matthew 16:24-26,take up your cross,persecution,comfort,luxury,indulgence,John 16:33,in this world you will have trials,Acts 4:32-35,generosity,all things in common,Luke 12:16-21,build barns,Isaiah 58:6-7,take care of your family,1 Timothy 5:8

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We take more for granted than half the world can even imagine possessing. All this extravagance will count for nothing when we stand before God and give an account of our lives. He will ask what we did with what He entrusted to us, and we will only be able to hang our heads and admit we hoarded it for ourselves (Luke 12:16-21).

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We are called to demonstrate the love and character of Jesus in every moment of our lives. We know this because it is what Jesus did. The problem is, if we aren’t intentional about this mission, it won’t happen. How many days have slipped through our fingers without showing more than a cursory amount of love to anyone but ourselves? As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me it would be a good idea to answer four questions each day.

how will you love today,daily planning,prayer,commitment,love,discipline,1 Timothy 5:8,Isaiah 58:6-7,Ephesians 5:22-28,love your family,love your friends,love your spouse,love strangers,marriage

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You can incorporate these into your daily planning. The questions are: How will I show love to my spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend today? How will I show love for a family member today? How will I show love for a friend today? How will I show love for a stranger today?
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Jesus began His ministry by standing up in the Synagogue and saying God had sent Him “to proclaim freedom to the captives” (Luke 4:18). There were all kinds of captives in His day and in ours.  There are those held captive by spiritual darkness, prisoners of war, hostages held by terrorists, and those imprisoned by their own fear. Of course there are many others, but one type of captive that gets very little play in most circles are those trapped in the world of human trafficking.

human trafficking,slavery,exploitation,counter culture,david platt,set captives free,slaves,modern slave,Isaiah 43:5-7,Genesis 1:27,justice,trafficking,sex slavery,1 Pet. 4:11,glorify God,Isaiah 58:6,injustice,loose the chains,A21 campaign,mountainchild,IJM,international justice mission,pornography,Luke 4:1

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Sure, there are many who give lip service to this horror, but we simply don’t do justice to an industry that enslaves over 27 million people. These are people just like your sons, daughters, friends, and family. Twenty-seven million people who have unsurpassable worth in the eyes of God. And yet Christians remain far too silent.

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