Archive for January, 2014
“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30).
Gathering is central to the life and ministry of Jesus. He was sent by God as the Missionary Savior. Thus, gathering is the missional task of the church. This focal point is the key to overcoming a consumer mentality and is the one exercise that prevents spiritual atrophy and inward preoccupation in the life of a congregation.
“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17).
Reflect upon the significance of your baptism. It is a celebration of one’s faith, a confirmation of one’s identity, and a commissioning of one’s life. From this event forward, each day is a continued unveiling of who you are in Christ Jesus; dying daily to self that he might be better revealed in us.
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Ephesians 1:5).
That we are a predestined people was never intended to create confusion but to bring clarity. Only a cruel god would offer a deterministic salvation that is limited in scope. Ours is a kind and gracious God who seeks to encourage a persecuted and suffering people that they are children of destiny; that the purposes of God for your life will be accomplished. Ultimately, it is a word of motivation to hang in there.
“For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace (John 1:16).
I believe “grace” is the best one word commentary on God’s new covenant, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Grace offers a more comprehensive understanding of God’s saving action than 2000 years of church history, theology, or language studies. It is received from God and not earned. It is given by us and not withheld. Grace pretty well covers it all. Be gracious about it.
“Opening his mouth, Peter said, ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality’” (Acts 10:34).
It’s important be a church with an open door; that upon arrival any and all are made welcome. Of greater importance, however, is to be the church of the open mouth. The mission of the church is fulfilled by an active army that goes and tells, not passive pew dwellers that leave the door open should you want to come and hear. We are the church of the open mouth when we express the mercy we have been granted, exercise the the privilege gained, and when we execute the orders given.
“He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom” (Proverbs 18:1).
Faith was never intended to be lived in isolation, but always in the context of community. Withdrawn and disengaged, the natural tendency is to become self-absorbed and preoccupied with one’s own wants and desires. It’s only by active participation and engagement that this is kept in check and the body of Christ maintains its focus on the greater missional task of the church. We are the sales team of the company of the committed, not consumers in the marketplace.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
As difficult as exile had been for God’s people, the return to Jerusalem and the effort to rebuild proved to be no less despairing. Their posture is one of defeat and hopelessness. The voice of God’s prophet is a call to stand up; get on your feet; assume a position that reflects trust in God’s provision and confidence in the future he has in store. Our mother’s were on to something…standing up straight really does make a difference. It communicates confidence and preparedness for whatever comes our way.