Friday, July 22, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
The space shuttle Atlantis just lifted off the earth for the last time. It takes thousands of brave NASA workers to make this happen, and millions just watched it all over the world.
Everything has to work just right. In fact, at only 31 seconds left before take off, the clock stopped to check on a “failure.” As soon as a camera revealed all is OK, the countdown resumed, and the shuttle lifted with precision.
Such a beautiful picture, this is, of how Christ orchestrates His Body on earth. His Spirit gives gifts to each newborn believer for the purpose of edifying His Body. And these gifts are given with supernatural precision. With His guidance, we can follow Him and amazing things happen.
Your local church possesses the gifts of the Spirit, and when they all work together, amazing things happen. However, just as tragedy has struck NASA when something went wrong with two shuttles and people lost their lives, tragedy strikes a church when the precision of our gifting is neglected.
Lives are hurt. Hearts are broken. But when we follow His commands as given in His Holy Word, something incredible happens. It works.
NASA must be patient, pure (precise), thoughtful, optimistic, brave, educated…
Sounds a lot like His Church. Patience, purity, thoughtfulness, educated in His Word…
When we just follow His guidance, we live above the common!
(1 Cor. 12-14)
Friday, July 1, 2011
Yes, you do.
Oh, come on. You know you do! You know you lay in bed at night fantasizing that you can stop bullets with special powers, or you can fly, or you can...whatever. You know you do. Don't lie to me.
All superheroes have three things in common: they are secure in their purpose, they are determined to follow through, and they are not cowards. Well, OK, at least by the end of the movie they become these things.
There are three things I've learned from the life of the Apostle Paul: he was secure, determined, and he was no coward.
Check it out in Philippians 1:12-14.
12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
I think it's safe to say Paul faced setbacks in his life as a believer and follower of Jesus. And it's pretty safe to say he came across many various kinds of difficulty when it came to spreading the gospel, planting churches, and motivating Christians to shape up. Furthermore, he certainly was no coward. Experienced fear? Of course, but he was no coward.
Look at it more closely:
1. Setbacks Reveal Security - (v. 12) But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.
Paul was in jail. His peeps thought this meant the end of the gospel. Paul told them otherwise.
We should be secure in the fact that God will spread His gospel no matter what setbacks the enemy brings. We all face setbacks: financial issues, health issues, problems with your co-workers, problems with your boss, death of a loved one. Will we really allow setbacks to be a dictator that prevents us from sharing His truth to a dying world? Or will we believe God may have a purpose for these setbacks? And will we believe God is powerful enough to use these to spread the gospel through us?
2. Difficulty Reveals Determination - (v. 13) so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ.
The Roman palace guard consisted of about 9,000 soldiers. Wow! They all heard the gospel because of the determination of Paul while under great difficulty.
We should determine to obey no matter what difficulty arises. Are we really going to allow difficulty to rob our determination to fulfill God’s #1 desire: that all men might be saved? Will we allow ourselves to be so caught up in the affairs of this world that we lose sight of His passion? Or will we choose to believe that God is powerful enough to use difficulty to spread His gospel? Don’t you think we should just do what He says and share it?
3. Conflict Reveals Cowards - (v. 14) and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Most of the brethren. That means not all. That means some were cowards. Harsh words, you say? I call 'em as I see 'em. Some were overcome by fear and chose to be defeated by the conflict rather than be a part of God's victory in spreading the gospel. Do I know how this feels? Yes, I most certainly do.
We should realize how invincible His gospel is and how powerful He is in us. Are we going to allow conflict to turn us into cowards? Are we really that weak—that spineless—to choose fear over His power within us? Fear is common, but have we forgotten who God is? Or will we see God on His throne and worship Him by overcoming our fear of sharing the gospel? We are strong, because He is in us. His gospel is invincible because He will spread it. And He wants to use us.
At the end, there will be victory. Question is: will we be a part of it? Those who choose to live above the common will be. You can choose today!