We can only Stand our Ground when God sweeps us off our feet

We can only stand our ground in life after being swept off our feet by God.  And something like that should happen in worship.

I’m not talking the “Wizard of Oz.”  God didn’t summon Isaiah to His throne to scare the…Stamina out of him.  Rather, God calls us to worship, and there wants to display His might because He knows we’ll face things in which we need to act mightily.

Faith Isn’t About Just Jesus and Me

Ephesians 4:16b, “The whole body is held and joined together by every supporting ligament…as each part does its work.”

We have a deep obligation to one another. Everyone in the Church must do their part.  Each has a calling and gifts to use for the body to work.

This runs against the grain of our culture’s individualism and the Church’s over-emphasis on a “personal” relationship with Christ. A relationship with Christ is important but the Bible doesn’t teach that faith is just about Jesus and me. We are a part of the body of Christ!  We are His presence now on earth as His Spirit lives within us and among us (Ephesians 2:22).

Seven Privileges that Christ Followers Possess as Adopted Children of God

Romans 8:15-17,

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

  1. Security: We are not to fear but enjoy our status as a child of the King (15a). A child-parent relationship is not characterized by fear of losing the relationship.
  2. Authority: Status of “sonship” not “slave” (15a). Slaves have no authority. They only do what they are told. Children are not mere servants and have authority. The children of God are given authority over sin and the devil. They are move about the world knowing that it belongs to the Father. There should be a confidence about them. They have the honor of the family name.
  3. Intimacy: “By him we cry, ‘Abba'” (15b). “Abba” is an Aramaic term best translated “daddy.” A child doesn’t often address their father as “father.” More often they use a term that shows loving, trusting familiarity. This is how we Christians can approach the all-powerful Creator of the universe.
  4. Assurance: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (16). When we cry out to God as “Abba,” the Spirit of God somehow comes alongside us (“with our spirit”) and gives us assurance that we truly are in God’s family.
  5. Inheritance:”Now if we are children then we are heirs” (17). This means we have an incredible future. Normally the first born would get a much larger share but he calls all Christian “heirs of God.” Paul is saying that what is in store for us so is grand and glorious that it will be as though we each had along gotten most of the glory of God.
  6. Discipline: “…If indeed we share in his sufferings.” When parents discipline a child they allow or introduce a milder form of pain in order to teach or mature the child away from behavior that will lead to far greater pain later. Hebrews 12:9-10 explains.
  7. Family likeness: Christians will suffer precisely because they are brothers and sisters of Christ. We get to be like Him! Though we are adopted, God actually implants Christ’s nature in us. As children of God, we actually come to resemble the Son of God. As we bear the family likeness of suffering, we become more and more like the Son and our Father in our character and attitudes.

10 Practical Ways Anyone Can Communicate Christ (part 3)

6. Pray for the person.  The starting point for talking to any person about Christ  is not talking to a person about God but talking to God about that person.  First, Pray specifically that God would give you natural opportunities to talk about your relationship with God.  This might happn in the form of a current news event or something happening in their family.  Second, pray that God would prepare and open their heart for that conversation.  Third, pray that God would help you open your mouth and actually have that conversation.  We need spiritual courage.  When you pray for God’s boldness, you are praying, in part, that God will help you think more about others than yourself.

7. Write a thank you letter to them.  Tell that person specific things you appreciate about them.

8. Prepare your “testimony” to fit where they are in life.  When you share your story, try to emphasize the areas that you have in common, particularly tough circumstances that God has helped you deal with.  If your friend is going through a tough illness, and you just talk about how God helped you with your divorce, that’s “OK” but not the greatest.  Try to connect them with a Christian that is going through or has gone through similar circumstances.  Look for areas that you can share that meet them where they are.

9. Lend the person a Christian book or CD.  Why lend it instead of giving it?  Because you want that person to give it back so you can ask what they thought about what they read or heard.

10. Invite the person to an appropriate Christian event.  It might be a music concert, small group, or worship service.  Whatever you think they can handle.  Some people have been burned by the church so maybe they’re not ready for a worship service but could come hang out at a Super Bowl Party sponsored by the church.  Pray about it, and ask.

10 Practical Ways Anyone Can Communicate Christ (part 2)

3. Be there for their good times.  Acknowledge and celebrate the good times like weddings, birthdays, accomplishments.

4. Show real interest in them.  Showing real interest in someone begins by listening.  Ask interesting questions.  As they come to trust you enough to share some of their life journey, you may find a natural opportunity to share some of yours, including the difference Jesus has made in that part of your life.

5. Pray with them.  We say to people going through tough times, “I’ll pray for you.”  Do more than say it.  Do it.  Ask permission first.  And if there are other people around you may want to wait for privacy.  But no one has ever said no to me when I’m sensitive to the situation and surroundings.

Rescue always requires involvement in the person’s life.  That’s why “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).  Tragically, those who are already saved tend to spend most of their relationship time with others who are already in the lifeboat.  We will be in heaven with those folks forever.  But we have only a few years here on earth to help some people outside the lifeboat get to heaven (54).

10 Practical Ways Anyone Can Communicate Christ (part 1)

One of the things that gets my heart racing is when God gives me a unique opportunity to share my faith.  The churchy word is evangelism.  I’m not an “in your face” kind of person with my faith.  I expect God to show me the best opportunities and then I have to be faithful to take the steps that I am able to take to communicate why I think God loves all of us and why Jesus saved us from our sins.  I get frustrated when I hear that other Christians never share their faith or look for opportunities.

In Ron Hutchcraft’s book “A Life That Matters,”  he says:

It takes 2 compelling forces to get us to turn our lifeboat [Hutchcraft uses that metaphor as we seek to be faithful in helping people see how God can save them from their sin] around and begin to bring in as many as we can: the “want to” and the “how-to.”

If you care about spiritually dying people, it is because God has given you “a new heart and put a new spirit in you”; He has removed from you a “heart of stone” and given you a “heart of flesh” (Exekiel 36:26). (46)

He goes on to share 10 practical ways anyone can communicate Christ:

1. Love them in their language.  They may resist your words but it will be hard to resist our serving them.  Random acts of love and kindness are usually a bridge into even the hardest of hearts.  Serving them is their language.  Ask yourself, “What need does this person face in his/her life right now that I could help with?”

2. Be there for them during hard times.  People remember who was at the funeral, who comes to the hospital, who pitches in during an emergency.