Spiritual Growth is the Process of Replacing Lies with Truth

True truth can only be found in the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

  1. I must accept its authority. The Bible must have the first and last word in my life. It is more sure than culture, tradition, reason, or emotion. All four of those are flawed by the Fall. We need a perfect standard.
  2. I must assimilate its truth. That takes time, research, and meditation.
  3. I must apply its principles. We must become “doers of the Word.”  [See James 1:22] We avoid this part because it is difficult and painful.

I Don’t Marvel Enough at God’s Creation of Humanity

I’m a suburban kid by upbringing but I’m so soothed when I’m hiking or sitting in nature just marvelling at God’s beauty. I don’t marvel enough at God’s creation of humanity.

After each of the first five days of creation, God looked at what had been created and saw that it was “good.” On the sixth day of Creation, however, after making humans, God declared that creation was “very good.” Too often we look around and see the beauty in sunsets, mountains, or cascading waterfalls but forget the beauty present in God’s greatest, most complex creation–human beings. After all, God loves us enough to have sent Jesus Christ to live and die so that we could have abundant life and eternal life.

Baptism as Decomposition

I love baptism! I know that’s an odd thing to say perhaps. But it is beautiful.

“Baptizo” from the Greek means to “dip,” or “immerse,” or “submerge.” Why did Jesus pick immersion as the initiation rite for becoming his follower?

Romans 6 makes it clear that one of the primary pictures Jesus had in mind was decomposition–baptism is actually a mock tomb.

When we are lowered into the water, it’s like being lowered into the grave. Being raised out of the water like our raising to a new life.

Through baptism, God is saying, “The whole journey is about death. Death to yourself.  Death to the culture in which you live. Death to your ambitions, dreams, and wishes. But it’s also about life! My life within you.”

“I know God just wants me to be happy”

There it is: the card that people play to justify actions they know deep down are wrong.

Is our happiness really the main point of the good life as a disciple of Jesus? is that God’s main priority for us?

The world’s idea of happiness is directly tied to circumstances. If our circumstances are favorable, then we’re happy. If not, then we’re not.

But circumstances change all the time. Then we allow those vacillating circumstances to dictate our happiness. Outward forces control our inward feelings.

I think God has something better for us than happiness. God desires that we experience joy, that settled state of contentment, confidence, and hope that only comes from trusting Him.

Three reasons joy is better than chasing happiness

  1. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). In the Bible, fruit is a symbol of character. The list of fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5 should naturally flow out of Christians’ lives when have they God inside them. If you have the Spirit, you will have joy! This is a fundamental difference between joy and happiness. We attempt to find happiness from favorable ciircumstances, but we receive joy only as a gift from the favorable God.
  2. Joy is built on a person named Jesus; happiness on circumstance. Joy will always be wherever Jesus and His Spirit are. No matter what I go through, I can have joy because my God is with me. Now just so we’re clear, joy is not always laughing, smiling or being silly. Don’t confuse joy with upbeat feelings.
  3. Joy is a command from Scripture. Nothing is more confusing to the world than for God’s people to say they have joy in their hearts while they have misery on their faces. Philippians 4:4. When should we rejoice? ALWAYS. Not…when everything is going your way or when everything makes sense of if you feel like it. It’s not a suggestion. This is a command to rejoice at all times, no matter what is going on.

Remember, God is with you.

Why Are American Churches Struggling?

There are many reasons for sure but here are a few we can do something about.

First, God’s people have become self-centered rather than God-centered. For generations, American churches have taught their people that the measure of a great worship service is whether they enjoyed it. They rarely consider whether their worship actually honors God. They sing songs they like, dress according to their tradition or comfort, and measure their experience by what they got out of it. For years, the church has taught its people to be self-centered and now it’s reaping what it sowed.

Second, the Church is seeking to attract people rather than transform them. Our question should not be, “What message will draw people into the door.” But rather it should be “what message properly presents God’s heart?”

The church blames secular society, spiritual warfare, Hollywood, Washington, or the media. But it does nto believe it has departed from God.

What’s the remedy?

First, reject a Christian cultural upbringing and embrace true discipleship in every day life which is anything but self-centered.

Second, focus less on pleasing people and more on pleasing God.