I've come under some criticism as of late. I shouldn't be surprised. God just used our church to pull off the largest gathering of people in the history of our county this summer, we have baptized 21 people this year, we just began the first stages of a capital stewardship campaign and I just wrapped up a sermon series that dealt with satan (he never likes to be exposed!).
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Today I picked up my second bottle of “Naked!” I know, I know – a pastor buying something called Naked? Joe, what are you thinking?
No, actually I would say what are you thinking! This bottle of “Naked” is strawberry/Banana –C. It’s an all-natural drink made by Naked Juice Company in Glendora, California. I love this stuff – not the price but the fact that it’s “all natural” – no sugars added – just fruit and other natural ingredients. It contains no fluff – no fake stuff – no garbage – just the real thing.
You see, Jesus calls us to be real in our commitment to Him – He is not satisfied with us giving Him 50% or even 90% of ourselves. To ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives means to give Him everything – even to the point of denying ourselves – so that we can follow Him.
Matthew 16:24 (New International Version) 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
When it comes to following Christ – there are no imitations allowed. It’s either all of you – your whole life for Him – or nothing. Let’s be real! The world is full of people who claim to be “Christians” but aren’t living like Jesus. How do you know if someone is real? Just watch them live – do they live out the Great Commandment and strive to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do they live out the Great Commission and truly love others?
The writer of Hebrews tells us that we need to throw off the things that slow us down and the sin that entangles us (Hebrews 12:1) – and we do that by fixing our eyes on Jesus. So, today I’m coming before my Savior and asking Him to reveal those things that don’t need to be in my life – those things that are keeping me from being “real” or keeping me from truly following Him. I want to be His – naked – all natural- 100% His!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was reading today in Mark chapter 1 when Jesus encountered Simon and Andrew by Lake Galilee. Jesus basically challenges them to follow Him so that He can show them how to catch people. I love their response! They didn't ask how long - how far - how much - or anything else. They simply dropped their nets and followed. They dropped what was most important to them at the time and they turned their focus to Jesus and put their feet into motion.