You’re Getting Better

You’re Getting Better

You're Getting Better
In Ephesians 4, Paul talks not just about growing, but growing up into Christ. If you have a free minute, take a moment to read it. We aren’t just growing, we’re growing up. When you are a child, you have these milestones like learning to ride a bike or becoming a teenager, getting your drivers license and graduating from high school. These all correspond with your physical and mental maturity. We are growing up.

As Christian adults, we have the same type of thing happening to us spiritually, but I think we often fail to recognize the successes we achieve. God is not just growing us, He’s growing us up into Christ and we are accomplishing so much. Because it’s an inward work, it may not be as clear to others or even to us as it is to God. He has a plan and along the way, there are certain breakthroughs that signal our growing maturity.

For instance, you will find that the more time you invest in your relationship with God, the less rattled you become with the opinions and criticisms of others. When you are confident in God’s approval of you, you aren’t so concerned with what others think. When I was young, I used to get so upset when others criticized me but I remember the time in my life when I began to not only tolerate but invite the constructive criticism of others. That’s a milestone. If you look for them you’ll see them. You will get better at forgiveness, better at compassion, better at serving those who need you. If you follow Christ, you will get better. You’re getting better all the time.

Are You Hiding?

Are You Hiding?

are you hiding
When the first sin was committed, Adam and Eve hid themselves. We do the same thing don’t we? Sin brings shame especially to the believer in Christ. So we hide. The problem for us is the word “hide” is a verb, and all verbs require some sort of effort. This type of hiding can come in the form of the literal keeping of secrets, or in the more subtle altering of your persona depending on your circumstances or the people you find yourself with. It takes more effort than you realize and it creates tension.

Our culture loves to use the words “authentic” and “transparent”. Even in the Christian world, we say them with conviction, as if these are our true values. Yet, there is still this tension as we present to those around us the person we want them to believe we are. As long as our private world differs from our public presentation, we can’t truly have the freedom Jesus promised us.

How do we become free? Change! Jesus said we must change and become like innocent children. I said something to my wife in confidence this week and I stopped myself in mid sentence and changed what I said, because what I was about to say was arrogant and self-serving. Later in the week, when I didn’t catch myself, she reminded me and I corrected my words once again. It’s simple. Stop doing some things and start doing other things. If you have difficult sin patterns, confide in someone trustworthy. Ask those you are close to, to hold you accountable. And one by one, moment by moment, one day at a time, you will find yourself becoming free. The person on the inside will become presentable and you will become free!

Where Are You Headed?

Where Are You Headed?

We are all moving in a direction. Which direction are you moving in? Now, at the beginning of the year, is a good time to take a good long look at your spiritual coordinates. Even small corrections in your course can have a huge impact on your destination. A passenger plane taking off from Los Angeles headed for New York City would only need the nose of the aircraft to turn about 8 feet to the South in order to land in Washington D.C. Small changes add up to huge gains or losses over time. Are you thinking about how today’s actions will most certainly impact you and the people around you a year, or two, or ten, down the road?

God’s plan is to move us in a unique way toward a specific target. We all have this same target. It’s Christ. Our goal is to represent Him. In other words, God is molding us into His image so that eventually, the person we are on the inside, thinks, acts, and speaks like Christ. If you think of Jesus as the bullseye, and you imagine that each of us is located outside of that center mark somewhere, and God is moving us all toward Him, you get a picture of what’s really happening. Because each of us is located in a different position, our instructions are different. But, the closer we follow God’s unique plan for us individually, the closer we get to Christ and also to each other.

Are you following God’s coordinates? Are you taking the shortest path to become like Christ or are you going the long way around? This time next year, will you be on track? What changes or corrections does God want to make to your journey? Find out and you find Him.

Present Tense Christmas

Present Tense Christmas

God does not exist in a timeline as we do. He is not confined to time and space. We can’t fully comprehend that concept but we can comprehend this. When God does step into our world, He is a present tense God and for the most part, I think He wants us to be present tense people. He would prefer that we not spend too much energy on the past or the future because when we overindulge in either, we miss what’s right in front of us. The fact is that we cannot live in the past or the future only the present and we need to make living in the moment our field of expertise.

This season, let’s commit to appreciating each moment while it’s happening. If you’re breathing, you have something to be thankful for. I’ve been thinking about and appreciating the people God has placed in my life at this moment. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about God’s strong presence with us. It’s one thing to know that God is there, but it’s something much greater to be in constant contact with Him. To experience His companionship is like nothing else. So make an effort that God will most certainly bless. Make yourself aware of the one who is closer than a brother or sister. His presence will bless you!

Speaking of “God With Us”, that’s our Christmas service theme this year, and Ginny Owens, who is a three-time, Dove Award-winning artist, will be here to lead worship and perform many of her billboard hits as well as songs from her Christmas albums. She currently tours with her music and writes for popular television shows and movies. Don’t miss our Christmas Service on Friday, December 23rd, at 5:00 p.m. Ginny will provide the music, and I will deliver a short message. We expect many first-time guests, and it will be free to all and first come, first serve. So get there early! Make Friday night your family worship experience, and then enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends.

You Are Supernatural

You Are Supernatural

“You are a new creation,” God says. Paul said that the first Adam was of the earth and the second Adam (Jesus) is The Lord from heaven. He also said that as we have born the image of the earthly man, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. If you follow Christ, you are being transformed into His image. You are being re-created. You were meant for more than just earthly things. There is something very supernatural about you, about the things you say and do.

Have you given it much thought? It’s easy to get caught up in everything but the things of God. This world is constantly drawing us away from God, but Jesus is here among us, with us, and in us. He is changing our souls. You may look the same on the outside, but His Spirit is remaking the real you on the inside. Jesus talked about the new you. He said we would believe and pray to the father in Jesus’ name, and God would give us what we ask for. Faith is the key.

Do you know how to believe something into existence? If you think about something, pray about something, and talk about something long enough and with enough intensity, you will begin to experience the kind of faith Jesus was talking about. When Lynnae and I started talking about planting The Net, we had nothing. No people, no place, no money, no help, no idea where any of it would come from. But, we kept talking about it with each other and with God and a hand full of very close friends and family members. By the time we announced it, we believed in the vision. We could see it, feel it, and we were already experiencing it. God brought everything else. He’ll do the same for you. What supernatural things await this new person that God is transforming you into? God only knows, but He longs for you to know too.

Why Should You Be Baptized?

Why Should You Be Baptized?

When John protested that Jesus should baptize him, not the other way around, Jesus said it was the proper thing to do, so that all righteousness could be fulfilled. It was necessary for the man who was our prototype of the new creation, to be baptized. If it was necessary for Jesus, you better believe it’s necessary for us. If Jesus’s very last command before His ascension into Heaven was to baptize every nation, it’s important. I’m not saying that you can’t be saved without it, I’m just saying that it’s one of the things Jesus said for us to do. So what is the purpose?

There is more going on than what meets the eye. On the outside we see a person professing their faith in Christ, going under the water, and coming up in celebration! But there is something deeper happening. There is a door opening to Christ on our side and a door opening in Heaven on God’s side. Each Gospel gives its own perspective of Jesus’ baptism. In those eyewitness accounts, the curtain is pulled back, so to speak, and we see what really happens when a person gives themselves fully, to the process of being born again, in the new and powerful image of Christ.

I challenge you to take five minutes and read all four reports of Jesus’ baptism and see what God will show you. You may be amazed, to see what wheels God set in motion in your own baptism and if you haven’t been baptized, you may begin to see the importance of it. It’s a blessing! God shows up when we worship Him, when we gather in His name and when we are baptized in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Don’t miss out!