If God is for us, who can be against us?
GOD is or you. People will always let you down including those closest to you who really love you. But within reach of each prayer is the Maker of heaven and earth.
God IS for you. Not “maybe” or “used to be” or “will be” some time in the future but right now! He’s on your side. He couldn’t be closer to you than right now. Will you seek Him?
God is FOR you. Tired? He’ll carry you. God is cheering you on and applauding your steps.
God is for YOU! If God had a calendar, your birthday would be circled. He’s already written your name on His hand (Isaiah 49:16).
That’s how the church operates but how’s it working?
Getting people to a place where they can nourish themselves with the Bible, through prayer, community, and other spiritual disciplines doesn’t happen just because we tell people that’s how they can nourish themselves spiritually.
Christians, for the most part, are not acting like real disciples because they aren’t making other disciples. Before we’re too harsh, the burden of that problem is the leadership. We’ve allowed that to happen. Christians need to be taught what a disciple is and what a discipleship culture looks like. It can’t happen in one hour on a Sunday morning.
Jesus taught the crowds but he apprenticed the disciples!
In Luke 9 he sends out the 12.
In Luke 10 he sends out the 72.
Then Jesus coaches them in Mark 9:17-29.
Jesus practiced living in immersion with the Twelve. There is very little that Jesus does without all or at least one disciple present.
Commitment makes life better, but not convenient. Many people are afraid of commitments because they know they will let others and even God down.
Commitment is not about perfection. Those who are afraid of stumbling never get in the race. A life of commitment leads to a fulfillment of God’s promise that we could never imagine.
Hebrews 12:29 asserts that God is a “consuming fire.” Again and again in the Scriptures, God is revealed as expressing His holiness in the form of fire. Sometimes this expression of holiness is in CONDEMNATION of sin. Other times it is a COMMENDATION of righteousness. God manifests displeasure with sin through fire. And also manifests His pleasure with righteousness in fire.
Compare Sodom and Gomorrah and Nadab/Abihu (Leviticus 10) with Elijah at Mount Carmel and Pentecost.
Fire is a symbol of God’s holiness either condemning or commending, either perishing or purging. Why one or the other?The presence or absence of sacrificial blood. True in each of the above examples.
Our God is a consuming fire, either consuming the sin or the sinner. The presence or absence of sacrificial blood determines which.
Step one: We need to know Jesus and begin a lifetime of discipleship (learning/following) to Jesus. Part of being a disciple is making disciples. There is no plan B.
If you make disciples, you always get the church. But if you make a church, you rarely get disciples.
The most important number to Jesus, as far as the church is concerned, is disciples, not attendance, buildings, or cash. He wants to know if we are “making disciples.”
Do their lives look like the lives of the people we see in Scripture? Are we just good at getting people together once a week and maybe into a small group, or are we actually good at producing the types of people we read about in the New Testament? Have we shifted our criteria for a good disciple as someone who shows up to our events, gives some money, and serves when it’s convenient?
Effective discipleship builds the church, not the other way around. We need to understand the church as the effect of discipleship, not the cause.
“Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth.” Psalm 100:1
Most of the shouting today is out of anger or frustration. Politics and social media are two particular contexts where that is too common.
Rather we are called to shout for joy to the LORD. Who is to shout? WE, and the rest of the world.
“Worship the Lord with GLADNESS. Come before Him singing with joy.” Psalm 100:2
How much of our worship is done with gladness and joy?
“Know that the Lord is GOOD. It is He who made us and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of his pasture. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:3, 5