Archives For John

It’s easy to get discouraged in a world determined to tear us down. Every day we are bombarded with obstacles and difficult circumstances that get in the way of living the life we want to live. The death of a loved one, job loss, physical ailments, health concerns, rocky relationships, and flat-out fatigue push us to the brink. Sometimes we wonder if we’ll survive and are tempted to give up hope. It happens to all of us. No one is alone in feeling despair.

change your perspective,mission,love,purpose,truth,focus,John 14:6,i am the way truth and life

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This world is a fallen place, inhabited by dark forces seeking to destroy our dreams and aspirations. Above all, Satan is intent on foiling any attempt we make at drawing closer to God. He will stop at nothing to distract you from Christ. When discouragement comes, you need to change your perspective. You need to see this world for what it is and refocus on what matters.

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Laurie Cole makes a great distinction between Christians and disciples. The first is a believer, the latter a follower. I want to be a follower. I choose to be a follower. Indeed, there is no other way to become a disciple of Jesus. If you too want to be a disciple, you must choose to be one. This goes beyond mere belief. Anyone can believe in Christ. It takes but a moment, no effort, and need not have any demonstrable proof of our decision.

believer or follower,Christian,Christianity,disciple,belief in Christ,believe in Jesus,commitment,discipleship,church,local church,body of christ,sinners prayer,easy salvation,cheap grace,John 14:15,if you love me keep my commands,Luke 9:57-60,foxes have holes,Matthew 10:32-33,if you acknowledge me on eart,John 14:2-3in my fathers house are many mansions,i go to prepare a place for you

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Discipleship, on the other hand, takes a lifetime. It takes an extraordinary amount of effort and commitment on our part. There will be evidence of a dramatically changed life whose sole purpose becomes dramatically changing the lives of others. So, you must choose; will you be a believer or follower of Jesus?

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The curse of mediocrity has infested the Western Church. Instead of blazing a trail of fire for the sake of the Kingdom, or even disappearing from the scene with cold hearts, we do just enough to let people know we’re still around, but never enough to make a difference. It’s disgusting to me in my own life and it’s intolerable for Jesus (Revelation 3:15-16). I learned the word mediocre has its origin in two Latin words which, translated literally, mean “halfway to the peak.” Half-way. Unfinished. Lazy. Uncommitted. This is the curse of mediocrity.

curse of mediocrity,mediocre,mediocrity,passion,purpose,priorities,commitment,John 14:12,you will do greater things,Joshua 24:15choose this day whom you will serve,Luke 10:19,I have given you authority,Revelation 3:15-16,spit you out,vomit you out

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A.W. Tozer noted of the origin of the word mediocre: “This makes it an apt description of the progress of many Christians. They are halfway up to the peak…. They are morally above the hardened sinner but they are spiritually beneath the shining saint…. Do we really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that Christ offers—the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little?”

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Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

settling for less,mediocre,mediocrity,commitment,gifts,mission,purpose,Luke 9:57-62,foxes have holes,John 16:33,in this world you will have trouble,Ephesians 3:20,more than we could ask or imagine,Revelation 3:15-16,spit you out,vomit you out

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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If you’re like me, you probably struggle to not take for granted the significance of having the Spirit of God dwelling within You. This is an awesome and all but unfathomable truth. It’s too big to grasp all at once, so it’s been helpful for me to look at a single piece of this truth at a time. One of those pieces is to realize our hearts burn with the same passion in which Jesus’s heart burns. As much as He loves us, such is the capacity we have to love others.

power of love,love,kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,John 3:16,God so loved the world,John 15:12,if you love me, obey my commands,priorities,purpose

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It becomes sobering when we contemplate how little of this great love we are sharing with and showing to others. As followers and disciples of Jesus, I believe it is our duty to maximize the gifts He has given us for the purpose of building His Kingdom here on earth. As we begin to understand the immense power available to us, we, in turn, begin to realize how little of it we are employing.

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Outside Union Station in Los Angeles is a plaque reading: Vision to See / Faith to Believe / Courage to Do. I love that. It’s a great encouragement to me as I seek to follow Jesus. When we set out to do something in His name and to further His mission, it is His vision guiding us. He can see so much bigger than we could ever dream. No matter how grand our vision, God’s is always so much more.

vision,faith,courage,prayer,John 14:12-14,whatever you ask in my name,Ephesians 3:20-21,immeasurably more

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When you think your dream is too big, remember God is saying it’s not big enough. How ridiculous is it to think we might be dreaming too large for God? What exactly is it we think He can’t accomplish? He is able and willing to do whatever we ask and immeasurably more when we are doing it for His glory and His purposes (John 14:12-14; Ephesians 3:20-21).

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St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.” Commenting on this statement, author Richard Foster summarized, “The Christian life is one of strength and endurance in the face of suffering.”

Christian life,comfort,commitment,discipleship,peace,priorities,purpose,security,works,Exodus 20:8-11,Sabbath rest,Luke 2:49,must be about my Father's business,must be in my Father's house,Matthew 8:19-20,son of man has no place to lay his head,Luke 5:16,Jesus went away to pray,John 10:27,my sheep know my voice,hear my voice,Matthew 7:21-23,depart from me,Matthew 25:41-46,sheep and goats

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How different this is from the experience of most who call themselves Christians in the Western world! Regardless of our modern culture and misunderstanding of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, it cannot be denied our lives bear little resemblance to that of our Savior. If it is our true desire to love and honor Christ, we must examine our motives and activities.

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We’ve made Jesus too nice in our attempt to get more people to put their trust in Him. Our measure of success is now based on numbers rather than commitment. Once again, I defer to the wisdom of A.W. Tozer to say it best: “The meek and lowly Jesus has displaced the high and holy Jesus in the minds of millions. The vibrant note of triumph is missing in our witness…

we've made Jesus too nice,humility,passion,truth,John 16:33,in this life you will have trouble,darkness and light,1 Peter 2:9,called out,peculiar people,Matthew 23:33,brood of vipers,John 2:14-16,overturned tables,cleared the temple

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[The early Church] never presented Him as Savior merely. It never occurred to them to invite people to receive ‘peace of mind’ or ‘peace of soul’. Nor did they stop at forgiveness or joy or happiness.” The Jesus of modern Christianity is the least offensive person in history. This is a far cry from the way Jesus lived and taught.

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This may be the most surprising author I’ve ever quoted on this blog, but save the raised eyebrow and appreciate the quote I read from Anais Nin: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” I submit in our walk with Jesus, our life shrinks and expands in proportion to one’s faith.  What might we do for Christ if we actually believed what He said about faith? What might we do if we only believed we could do what He said we could? If we want to live a big life for God’s glory, we’re going to need a big faith. I believe Jesus intends for us to trust Him in what He says.

expand your faith,Matthew 17:20,faith to move mountains,mustard seed,mission,prayer,discipline,faith,John 7:18,nothing false in Him,1 Samuel 17:47,battle belongs to the Lord

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He has created us with a unique mix of skills, talents, and passions to accomplish His mission on earth. It should go without saying if He designed us for certain work, He has given us the abilities to accomplish that work. It should excite you to be a part of His mission. If you want to expand the role you are playing in the mission of Christ, it follows you’re going to need to expand your 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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