So apparently this song came out in 2018 and I’m just now hearing it! I was listening to Amazon Music when this song popped up and literally stopped me in my tracks.
Take a look at some of the lyrics!
We want our coffee in the lobby We watch our worship on a screen We got a Rockstar preacher Who won’t wake us from our dreams We want our blessings in our pockets We keep our missions overseas But for the hurting in our cities Would we even cross the street?
But we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel The walls fall down and our land be healed But church if we want to see a change in the world out there
It’s got to start right here It’s got to start right now Lord, I’m starting right here Lord, I’m starting right now
What are we doing to bring others to Christ? What are we sacrificing? ARE we sacrificing? Or are we too caught up in our comfort zone to even think about lost souls?
As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 may it be our mission to start right here! To reach those who are lost, to proclaim the Gospel!
Why do we find it difficult to break the silence about the best news and most important Person the world has ever known?
Herb Vander Lugt
Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
***I’ve never had so much trouble writing a post. But Satan knows this message is meant to be shared and he tried everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, he could to prevent me from writing this. But God wins. Every time, God wins.***
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16, NLT
What does it meant to be a light in the world?
As believers, we are called to be the light in the darkness of the world. But what does it mean?
Jesus is the light of the world. It says so in John 8:12! “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Don’t hide your testimony or be ashamed to take your Bible to work. Don’t be afraid to pray over your lunch at school. Let others know that you love the Lord Jesus.
There is a movie called I’m Not Ashamed that I’ve mentioned before but it’s such a powerful movie that I want to talk about it again.
The movie is based on Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shootings back in 1999. Her story is so uplifting and moving.
I don’t understand this but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to her story. Her legacy has brought so many people to Christ. I have a couple of books that were written based on her journals she kept. She kept many journals. And guess what? She struggled just like anyone else.
She wasn’t perfect, not even close. She had her share of struggles with all things that most teens struggle with. She just chose to stay close to Christ in order to fight her demons.
Rachel genuinely had a love for others and was so compassionate towards them despite the way they treated her. She showed her love in many aspects of her life and worked hard to be the person God created her to be.
Rachel made the decision to “love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.
Colossians 3:12-13 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” (ESV)
I want to live a life like that. A life devoted to Christ and serving His people. I want to be able to show compassion towards those that don’t necessarily show compassion towards me.
I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be that light that shines so bright that makes people ask what is so different about me.
Living Like Jesus
There is a song called Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns that I absolutely love. I feel the lyrics say it all.
“The world is on their way to You But they’re tripping over me Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded A plank eyed saint with dirty hands”
How can we live like Jesus if we’re stumbling blocks to unbelievers? How will they see Jesus if we’re not living a life pleasing to Christ?
We must live like Jesus. Truly live for Him, living in such a way that oozes the love of Jesus and His light. So what does living like Jesus look like?
Romans 12:2 tells us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
By copying the behavior and customs of this world we aren’t living as a light in this world. We aren’t living like Christ. We are to let God transform us into a new person so that we can shine God’s light wherever we are.
Being a light in this hate filled world won’t always be easy but we owe it to unbelievers everywhere to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Further in Romans 12 Paul tells us “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When Gods’ people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)
People notice our actions, our words. And by living as a light we have a chance to speak God’s Word without even saying a single word. People will take notice of the way we are living our life and it’s going to make them question what exactly it is that makes us different.
We must love like Jesus.
The light of the world we share is Jesus. As they see glimpses of Him and His truth, they are drawn to Him.
I started reading David Platt’s “Something Needs to Change” the other day and while I haven’t gotten very far into it, I can tell it’s going to be something worth reading.
While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
I was doing my devotions this evening and came across a few questions that really made me think.
WHO are you determined to bring to Jesus?
WHERE are you willing to go to follow Jesus?
WHAT sacrifices will you make to follow Jesus?
On April 6 my brother had a stroke. He’s 54 and had 3 heart attacks when he was in his 40s. I really feel lucky to still have him on this planet. I feel God is really trying to get his attention. He still continues to smoke and I don’t see him quitting any time soon, despite our efforts to talk to him about it. He just doesn’t want to hear it. So if you think about it, please pray for him. The next time he has a heart attack or another stroke could definitely kill him. And for him to die without Jesus is definitely a possibility. Pray that we can get through to him.
We don’t have the best relationship so it’s going to be a struggle to talk to him but I know God will be with me. I need to jump out of my comfort zone, which I have been living in for quite some time now.
So to answer the first question….my brother. I’m determined to bring him to Jesus.
I’m reading a book by Kyle Idleman called “Follower: Becoming More than Just a Fan of Jesus.” It’s sort of a spin off from his book “Not a Fan.”
He explains in this book that being a “fan” of Jesus just isn’t going to cut it. We are called to be followers of Christ, dedicated and determined to follow Him in all we do.
He asks several questions throughout the book:
Have you made a decision FOR Jesus or have you committed TO Jesus?
Do you know ABOUT Jesus or do you REALLY KNOW Him?
Is Jesus one of MANY or is He your ONE AND ONLY?
Are you more focused on the OUTSIDE than the INSIDE?
Are you a self empowered fan or a Spirit filled follower?
Fans of Jesus worry about what people will think of them. Followers are not concerned with this and are determined to follow Jesus in all they do and say.
I definitely recommend reading this. Kyle really makes things clear on the difference between being a fan or a follower of Jesus.
The difference between reading (the Bible) and meditating on it is the difference between raking and digging.
I like this quote because of the truth behind it. When we read our Bibles…are we just raking through the Bible trying to find something that will fit our needs? Or when we read the Bible are we truly digging into the Word, consuming each word?
I know I’m guilty of just raking through Scripture. I’m sure a lot of you can agree with me on this. If not, what’s your secret? 🙂
In all seriousness though, we should be digging into God’s Word and soaking up everything it says.
But it’s hard! Trust me, I know it’s hard. I’ve been there!
There are some days when you just might not feel like reading! So what do you do?
You read. And you ask God to share with you His desire.
You can’t hunger for God’s Word if you don’t first take a taste!
Meditate on the Word.
Joshua 1:8 tells us, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
To cultivate a desire for more of God’s Word, you have to spend some time actually reading God’s Word
One of my favorite songs at the moment is “I Know” by Big Daddy Weave. The message is great. It talks about how even though we don’t understand everything, we know that God is good. That God is kind. That He is so much more!
I think my favorite part of the song is the opening few lines, “You don’t answer all my questions…but You hear me when I speak. You don’t keep my heart from breaking…but when it does, You weep with me.”
I posted a blog post about a day or so ago regarding my beliefs and whether or not these beliefs were truly MY beliefs or just what was taught to me growing up. You can read it here: Are My Beliefs MY Beliefs?
I realize that in this world we are going to have doubts. That’s Satan’s area of expertise…getting us to doubt what in the past we have known to be true. He plants those seeds of doubt ever so subtly. God doesn’t love you. You’re not a Christian. Look at all your sin.
But we need to fight back against Satan when he pops those ideas into our heads. In Romans 8:1-2 it says,
There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me FREE from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
In Ephesians 6:10-11 we are told to take up the armor of God.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
As long as we live in this sin filled world, troubles are going to come. Doubts are going to rise. But if we cling to the One who created us, if we cling to His goodness, to His kindness…we will remain in Him.
And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
It’s been a rough several weeks for me. I had to make a tough decision about whether to remain at Prevail Church or not. It definitely wasn’t a decision that I made lightly.
It hurts. I love those people with all my heart and have no ill will towards any of the members.
But I was uncomfortable with the direction the church was being led. And so I decided it was time to leave.
Yesterday I attended a church called Mission Church (formerly Virginia Beach Free Will Baptist) It was an amazing service. I felt so welcome. I actually graduated from the same college the pastor attended. I was about 3 years ahead of him.
He had so many great points. I wrote down quite a few notes including this one:
Your trials and hardships serve a greater purpose than you may realize.
Throughout everything going on the past several weeks, this quote made me realize that God is definitely at work in all of this.
I’m doing a soul search and realizing just how good God is! Not that I didn’t already know that….I just realize that yes, I’m going to have trials, yes I’m going to have hardships as a Christian but I am continuing to seek after God. I’m not letting these trials lead me in the wrong direction.
Seek after God, y’all. It’s worth it! I promise you won’t regret it!
…Being a Disciple Costs Everything…AND HE IS WORTH IT!
Then He said to the crowd, “if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
What does “take up your cross daily” even mean?
To me, I think it means taking all the burdens you bear and giving it to Jesus. It means walking with Him through the good times AND the bad. When temptations come our way, we hold them up to Jesus and keep our focus on Him alone.
We are called to give up our selfish ways and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God wants us to deny our own life and desires and pursue HIS life and desires.
To be a disciple of Jesus, we must learn that this world has nothing to offer us. No matter how pretty or shiny the thing the world tries to offer us we must refuse it and keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowed of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
A Call To Listen to God
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refuse to listen to Moses the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from Heaven!
Hebrews 12:25 (NLT)
Being a disciple of Christ means listening to Christ when He speaks to us. By rejecting Him, we’re rejecting his love, his grace. We’re rejecting eternity with Him.
But by listening to Him, by accepting His love and grace we have a kingdom waiting for us that cannot be taken away.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe.
Hebrews 12:28 (NLT)
Our Eternal Home
You guys! This world is NOT our home. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you have so much to look forward to when Christ comes back. This worldly home is temporal. Our eternal home is with the One who created us, the one who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sins! Because of His great love for us, because of the gift of salvation…we are free!
For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
I just came across a blog post from Jon Wood at DailyPS entitled “How to Make Counterfeit and Quivering Christians” and it really got me to thinking about my life and my salvation experience.
I grew up in church. I did the whole church thing. I participated in Bible competitions, memorized tons of Scripture and was convinced I was a Christian. I mean, c’mon, I KNEW a lot about God. Or so I thought.
When I was a senior in high school I fell into a deep and severe depression. I went from being an honor student with a 3.7 GPA to barely hanging on enough to graduate. I hated life. I lost a ton of weight. I wanted to die. And on December 27, 2000 I was checked into a psychiatric hospital because I started cutting. I just wanted to end it all.
I got the help I needed and was put on medication. I went back to school and made an attempt to raise my GPA and by the end of the year I had raised it back to 2.9. I was a tenth of a point from a 3.0. I graduated June 13, 2001.
I started attending a local community college and then transferred to a Bible College in Tennessee after a year.
All this time I was still convinced I was a Christian.
Then I came home for spring break. My church had an evangelist come and speak and it was during this sermon that I realized my life had been nothing but a lie. The evangelist’s words spoke to me like none other. He made a statement that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “You can be 99% sure (of your salvation) but you’re still 100% lost.
It was right then and there that I knew I was a counterfeit. I grew up following the rules, I memorized Scripture. I had all the head knowledge but my heart wasn’t right. I gave my life to Christ on March 16, 2003. I became a new creation!
2 Corinthians 5:17: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is GONE; a NEW life has begun!”
Now, of course, life hasn’t been perfect since then. I’ve messed up and I’ve slipped up and I’ve tried to give up. But I found my way back each time. I’m a sinner! I’m going to slip up. I’m going to make mistakes. But God pulls me back in with his love for me. He loves me too much to let me go.
Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and wihthers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
John 15:8 (NLT)
Bearing much fruit is not optional for a Christian. It is the calling of every Christian. It is the result of being obedient to the Word of God.
We are called to live in a way that pleases the Lord, in a way that keeps us walking with the Lord and keeps us living by His Word. By His commandments.
So how do we do this? How do we “abide” in Him?
When the words of Jesus abide and have power in my heart and mind such that I obey them by the power of the Spirit, then the fruit of the Spirit, the virtues of Jesus, will also come forth in my life.
Vance K Jackson tells us to: “Stay on your post. Stay on your guard….stay focused. Keep producing. God prunes those who continue to produce.”
We are to be obedient. We are to stay grounded. Stay in God’s Word. Walk with the Lord.
So how can I bear fruit? The fruit of the Spirit can only come forth in me by the power of the Spirit. No amount of self-effort will bear spiritual fruit. It requires a total surrender of my self-will to God so that I can obey Jesus’ words in the daily situations of life, in order for the fruit of the Spirit to come forth instead of my own nature. Such a total surrender occurs when Jesus is my first love, and reigns in my heart and mind. Then it is His will—His Word—that is done in my life, and not my own will. Then the bearing of fruit—the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of obeying Jesus’ words—will come forth quite naturally.
John 15:10, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Fathers commandments and remain in His love.” (NLT)
John 15:12: “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (NLT)
I’m currently reading “Everybody, Always” by Bob Goff and it’s really good. In this book, Goff is telling us that we need to love everybody and we need to love them always. Yes, even the difficult people in our lives. By loving everybody, we are obeying God’s commandment! I haven’t gotten far in the book but already I have come to realize that loving others, while hard at times, is something I need to focus on.