Posts Tagged ‘Following Jesus

04
Oct
17

It’s Not So Complicated

What if being a Christian isn’t as hard as we make it? What if it is less complicated than we think it is? Listen to what John says:

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. – 1 John 3:21-23 (NIV)

John boils it all down to faith and love. That’s it! Believe in Jesus and love one another. If we do these things, then we can approach God in confidence knowing that He has forgiven us and welcomes us into His presence. Not only that, but He will answer the prayers we pray according to His perfect will. Faith and love, my friends, are all you really need. Don’t let anyone complicate being a follower of Jesus more than is necessary. Believe in Jesus and love people and you’ll be on the right track.
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12
Mar
17

Following

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

05
Feb
16

Distracted By Details

I’m convinced that Twitter and facebook are the enemies of productivity.  The internet, while helpful in many ways, can be a HUGE distraction.  This virtual reality of ‘villes and instantaneous news keep us from living in our actual reality.  We miss so much because we are trying to keep from missing anything.  We need to check our news feed every five minutes to make sure we haven’t missed anything that our 492 friends may have done.  We need to refresh our Twitter feed every 30 seconds because someone famous might have eaten a hot dog and felt compelled to tell the world about it.  We miss what is truly important.

Kind of like Martha in Luke 10.  She was, as Luke put it, distracted by the details of a dinner party that she missed what Mary caught.  She missed being in Jesus’ presence because she was focused on the wrong things.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)

How much are you missing today by being distracted by the details of life?

You’re so busy trying to please others that you are distracted from pleasing God.

You’re following everyone on Twitter and facebook and distracted from following Jesus.

You’re way too focused on work and distracted from focusing on your family.

May you take some time today to differentiate between that which is most important and those things that are merely distractions.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to be so focused on following Jesus that I cannot be distracted by anything else.  I confess that I sometimes miss Your voice because I am listening to the wrong voices.  I thank You for loving me and calling me Your friend.  Amen.

06
Nov
15

What Seems Right

I want to call attention to verses 2 and 3 of Proverbs 21:

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2, NIV)

 This verse reminds me of Proverbs 14:12 (NIV):

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

We can think that we’re doing OK.  We can think that we’re doing alright.  We may believe that we’re on the right track.  Unless we’re seeking the Lord and His wisdom, His righteousness, His plan, we’re way off track.  We have to seek the Lord’s will and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  We have to learn to surrender and submit to the will of God as He reveals it through His Word and by His Holy Spirit.  God knows what is in our hearts.  We may think that we’ve got it all together, but unless we are following Jesus, we are on the road to death and eternal separation from God.
Look at verse 3, as well:

To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3, NIV)

God is more concerned with our hearts than He is with our offerings.  He is more concerned with righteousness and justice than the tithes we can offer.  We tend to get very legalistic with our giving tithes and offerings.  Yet we won’t give righteousness a second thought.  We’ll be-bop through life living for ourselves and put that check in the offering plate on Sundays and think that everything is OK because we gave 10% back to God.  We’ll treat people poorly.  We’ll hold grudges or we’ll gossip.  We’ll lie and we’ll lust.  We’ll steal and we’ll covet.  We’ll make excuses and we’ll rationalize.  Then we’ll drop that check in the offering plate as though we’re somehow able to compensate for our unrighteousness with an offering.  It’s like a holy bribe.  “God, I’ll give you 10% to overlook my bad habits, sins and failures.”  Rather than being legalistic in our giving, let us seek to please the Lord through righteousness, justice, holiness and obedience.  Then He will find our gifts acceptable and pleasing because they come from a heart that is dedicated to pleasing Him in all areas.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to get my heart right before I give my offering this weekend.  I can’t buy righteousness.  I can’t buy forgiveness.  You cannot be bribed.  Help me to be more like Jesus in whose name I pray, amen.
17
Jun
15

Leaving and Following

Good Wednesday morning to you!  Luke tells us that when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John, “they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11, NIV).  They left their families, their jobs and their old lives behind to follow Jesus.  What do you need to leave behind today?  What is keeping you from following Jesus as a fully-devoted Christian?  Is there a habit or addiction that is keeping you from full surrender?  Is there a sin that you haven’t repented of that is keeping you from full devotion?  Is it money that keeps you from following Him in total sold-out devotion?  Is it a relationship that is pulling you away from Christ?  Is there something in your life that is preventing you from having a deep relationship with Christ?  If so, then it is time to do what those first disciples did.  Leave it behind.  The adventure of a lifetime awaits you if you will just leave it behind.  It is an adventure that leads to eternal life.  Don’t trade this eternal adventure for temporary pleasures.  Instead, leave the sins, struggles, habits, addictions, bad relationships and greed behind to fully follow Jesus.
Let the adventure begin!
08
Apr
15

The Reward of the Lord

…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. — Hebrews 12:6 (NIV)
There are three words or phrases that strike me this morning about this verse.  I preached on this subject yesterday and I used this verse as a springboard for my talk.
The first word that hits me is “impossible”.  Faith is absolutely essential to a relationship with God.  One cannot hope to possibly please God and have a relationship with Him unless one believes that God exists.  It’s more than just a mere belief in His existence.  There is an element of trust that goes along with faith.  We have to trust God for our daily bread.  We have to trust Him for our salvation.  We have to trust Him to work everything out for the best and for the good.
Secondly, “He rewards”.  We don’t think too much about the rewards of being a Christian.  What are the benefits.  I once asked one of my wife’s uncles who was in marketing about how to market the church where I was the pastor.  He said that you have to show people the benefits of going to your church.  What are the benefits?  One could say that a benefit of being a Christian is that you get to go to heaven when you die.  That’s an AWESOME benefit!  That’s true hope in Jesus!  Your sins are forgiven and you don’t have to walk around with this shameful feeling of guilt all the time.  That’s a benefit that I don’t think that we think about enough.  Jesus died to take away our sins.  Not just the sins of the past, either.  He died for ALL of our sins.  They are gone and forgotten.  As far as the east is from the west so far has God taken our sins away and removed them from us (Psalm 103:12).  Another benefit is a purposeful and meaningful life.  So many feel hopeless and they feel like their life is devoid of any real meaning or purpose.  God has sent His people on a mission!  Life for a Christian should never be the “same old, same old.”  It’s about having a real purpose and a real mission to share God’s love with everyone we meet.  Imagine looking at your life as having a mission to share God’s love everywhere you go in some tangible way every day.  You’re kind of like a secret agent of God’s love looking for ways to demonstrate His unconditional love for the world to everyone you meet.  That’s purpose!
Finally, the last phrase that strikes me is “earnestly seek”.  Jesus said that if we seek, we shall find.  If we seek after God, I believe that the greatest reward we will discover is that He reveals Himself to us.  He will gladly enter into a loving relationship with us.  If we are truly seeking  a relationship with God, He will reward us with that relationship.  What greater benefit is there than that?  The God of the universe will give you what you earnestly seek!  If you are serious about having a relationship with Him, He will answer your prayers and give you the desire of your heart: Himself.
06
Apr
15

Considering The Cost

How are you doing following through on your commitment to the Lord?  When you said, “Yes.” to Jesus, did you mean it?  What is your level of commitment to Christ?  Solomon said not to make a hasty vow to God.  Don’t make a commitment that you cannot keep.  Jesus put it this way in Luke 14:

 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ – Luke 14:28-30 (NIV)

Making a commitment to Christ is more than saying, “I believe.”  It is more than getting baptized.  That is the starting line of a marathon of following Jesus.  It is the beginning of a relationship of total surrender of everything in your life to the lordship of Christ.  We must consider the cost every single day.  Is following Jesus worth it?  Following Jesus is more than an hour in church once a week.  It is more than attending a few pot-lucks.  True commitment to Jesus Christ means that we must die to ourselves daily and take up our cross and follow Him.  Daily.  Have you counted the cost?  What will following Jesus cost you today?  What will following Jesus cost you tomorrow and beyond?  Are you willing to pay the price of following Him?

Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 (NIV)

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth,
    do not be hasty in your heart
    to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
    and you are on earth,
    so let your words be few.
A dream comes when there are many cares,
    and many words mark the speech of a fool.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.




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