A Challenge for Today

A Challenge for Today
Are you worshiping Jesus with your life today? Is He at the forefront of all that you think, say, and do? 
 
I ask these questions not to illicit guilt. For Christ was never about guilt. I ask because His Spirit breathes fullness of life in us when our lives revolve around Him. The whole of the Christian calling can be summed up in two words, “Follow me.” (Mark 2:14). If we will obey this simple call of our King, worship will be our life. 
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Christ, Our Treasure

Christ, Our Treasure
At the center of growing intimate with God is becoming increasingly convinced that Christ is worth more than anything else. 
 
In Matthew 13:44 Jesus proclaims, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
 
In America, we have so much and it’s so easy to fall in love with all that comfort can give. For some of us, our families are most important. For others, it’s our job that is regarded above all else. But whatever false-alters we are prone to worship at, the Bible is clear that God and His priorities must become our everything.
 
So the question is, what about Jesus makes Him greater, more attractive, and worth more than all else to you? 
 
I challenge you to make a list of those things that would remind you of Christ being the treasure worth selling everything for. After you make the list, put it somewhere that is visual so you can be reminded often of who you are living for and why He’s worth more. 
 
This may also have the side affect of reminding you why spending time seeking Him in His Word is one of the most valuable things you get to do today.

Said An Evangelist to His Son

Said An Evangelist to His Son
I recently heard an evangelist talk about one of the ways he teaches the gospel to his son. He said that almost every evening he has a wrestling match with his son. It always ends the same way. He gets his son in a wrestling hold that he can’t get out of, and then he says, “Son, I could crush you right now.” (when I heard this I was kind of shocked and thought it was harsh… but hang in there it gets better.)
Then he tells his son, “But I won’t. You know why?”
His son says, “Because you love me.”
Evangelist responds, “Jesus could crush us all, but He doesn’t. You know why?”
His son replies, “Because He loves us.”
Though I still think the evangelist is a little harsh… I mean geesh, let the kid win every once in a while… I love what he teaches his son through this. The point is that God loves His children so much that He will not crush us. This may seem ridiculous and obvious to some. But if we knew how much sin He has forgiven us from, and how much wrath He has saved us from (that would crush us), we would see Him as infinitely merciful and great in His love for us. And we would fall down in worship!

Copy or Original

Copy or Original
If I made a copy of an original document with a copy machine, the copy would look a lot like the original. But if I made a copy of a copy, and then a copy of the second copy, and then a copy of the third… the farther I got from the original document the less like the original the copies would be. 
Many generations removed from Christ, it is our tendency to copy the discipleship model of the generation before us (copying a copy) instead of copying Christ (the Original).
But what if we rebooted?
If we went back and simply copied the Original, all copies would look like the Original again.  
The point I’m trying to make is, as a disciple, we are to be a copy of the Original, not a copy of a copy. Meaning, let us follow Christ above all else, even when our leaders or everyone else would do otherwise – let’s follow Christ. It is the difference between life and death that we look to Christ to define Christianity for us above any leader or philosophy of Christianity that is taught to us. 
He is the Original; there is no one else worth copying.

God’s Love is Revolutionary

God’s Love is Revolutionary
One of my favorite lines from the movie Braveheart is when William Wallace says, “All men die, but not all men truly live.” And he was right. 
 
What if we applied this to our life in Christ? Because all of us will die someday, but when we get to the end, will we have truly lived in the freedom of Christ? Or will we have wasted our lives away in slavery to ourselves and sin?
 
By believing in God, we are not simply living for the right purpose. No! God’s love is much more revolutionary than that. 
 
God’s love takes what is broken and makes it beautiful, turns weakness into strength, hatred into love, makes the impossible possible. God’s love is every bit as amazing as we can imagine it would be, and then infinitely more. God’s love moves the Christian beyond logic to a faith that moves mountains for His glory. 
 
Let’s remember that being a disciple of Jesus is about much more than meeting with others in a building once a week and thinking that puts us in the religious classification of being a “Christian.” 
 
No!!! Following Christ is about something far different. Far better.
 
Following Christ is about letting Christ take over every aspect of our lives.

Resting in Christ

Resting in Christ
It could be that some of us look at what intimacy with Christ costs (complete surrender), and we just feel exhausted. 
 
But the reality is Jesus wants us to find rest in Him. To do this we simply turn to Him and ask Him to help us rest. He will prescribe to us what will bring rest. But His prescription may not be easy to follow.
 
         The main reason many Christians need more rest is because we jam so many things into our lives. When we become Christians, sometimes the whole “God thing” can just be one more thing we have to do. Sometimes we are spread so thin in our lives that we don’t even have time for God. But what does that say about the “god” we are really serving?
 
         A phenomenon happens when we reprioritize our lives around Christ. Life get’s simple. Because if we really let Christ lead us, He will call us to make Him the main thing and to remove many obstacles. Sometimes that means cutting out things that make us too busy.
 
         When life is busy and noisy, Jesus can easily become an afterthought. 
 
         Then, when someone tries to ask us how our relationship with Christ is, we just feel guilty because if we’re honest, it’s not so good. 
 
         And we feel stressed, overworked, and we wonder how we are going to fit Jesus into our lives. 
 
         But what if we didn’t “fit” Him in. What if He was everything to our lives, and what He deemed important became our top priorities… all of life fitting around Him? 
 
         Would our lives look different? Would we feel more rested if we simply lived for Christ?
 
Answer – Yes.
 
Less equals less complication. Less noise. Less fog. More focus and energy to put into following Christ.
 
So let’s be encouraged to rest in Christ and live for Him alone.

The Law is Valuable to the Gospel

The Law is Valuable to the Gospel
“The law kills, but grace saves.” This is said often in churches. But we need the law… else grace become worthless. 
 
The purpose of the law is to reveal our sin. For when the law reveals to our hearts that it is impossible to be perfect as God is perfect, and that we would justly suffer the wrath of hell if it weren’t for the wondrous grace of God – only then does grace become utterly beautiful. 
 
Without grace we would be ruined for eternity. His grace is how we know love. That Christ would give His life for us who don’t deserve it… yet He called us His friends and sacrificed his body to pay our debt.
 
The law is needed in each of our hearts. Some days we are overcome with pride. On those days, we must look at the law and see ourselves in light of God’s perfection, that we may be turned back toward the beauty of His grace again.
 
But when we are at the other end of the spectrum and all we can see is shame and imperfection, AKA, we know we are dirty. Rotten. Scoundrels… on those days we need to look to Grace. For God has paid the penalty for our sins, and has washed our sin and shame away (Psalm 103:10-12). There is no more condemnation for us (Romans 8:1). God has replaced death for life within us (Ephesians 2:4-6). God loves you so much and He has claimed you as His own child (Romans 5:6-8, John 15:9; Romans 8:23)! Let His love wash over you in freedom. For you are a child of God and He wants to free you from shame and give you freedom of life in Him (John 15:11).
 
This is how we experience the beauty of grace renewed in our hearts time and again. For we must know our true deplorability before the mercy of Christ can wrap us in the experience of Divine love. If we miss the first step (the law), we will never see Christ as beautiful, but instead we will only try to use Him for our means. And when we try to use Christ, we are not truly believing in who He said He is.
 
Let us gauge whether we need to look to God’s law or His grace based on the condition of our hearts. But always, let us end with grace. For it is our sin that we are saved from… but it is His grace, and His grace alone that saves!