Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Church’

The Church…God’s Dwelling Place


Presermon Notes
ed Barnes … June 21, 2012
Revelation 21:1-7

FYI…I’m writing these notes while sitting among 20,000 Christian brothers and sisters enjoying great and uplifting music at the Alive music festival…on a cell phone keypad to boot so there may be spelling errors galore.  Seeing this many people together, youth groups and families and church families alike, worshiping the same God through the Creator’s given art of music, reminds me of images in the book of Revelation.  Many times John gives us word pictures of the Kingdom worshipping their King.  

Revelation is challenging.  The mind images spoken to the New Testament church we’re privileged to see through the writings of John sometimes leave us dumbfounded.  However, this small section is repeating promises spoken in other sections of the Bible.  John 3:29 and Ephesians 5:25-27, and Ezekiel 37:23,27 strip away all things that we have created to try to explain or market the church.  We are something very special to Jesus, and sometimes I believe we try to do and create things to make ourselves noticeable to those around us…while forgetting who we really are. 

In the verse for the week we read the combination and repeat of the verses mentioned above.  We are one with Christ…which means we live with God and He with us.  We, the church, are his bride.  There is no physical city or temple that is Holy anymore.  We are chosen to be His dwelling place.  Through the Holy Spirit He is with us nearly as close as the Garden of Eden.  His spirit lives side by side with us.  We are the Kingdom.  It’s not.a place or a building.  The king lives in His people…the Kingdom.  This is what has been made new.  Before it wasn’t like this.  The temple had an address.  God had a room in that temple.  But now, through Jesus’ sacrifice for the sins that kept us from God, the Creator lives with His people.  And at some point in time this new way will be made perfect and we will see God and be with Him as it was in the beginning.

This is the church.  But so often we miss who we really are.  We talk.as though we go to church.  We attend church.  Our church has an address and phone number and maybe a website and email and a schedule of office hours when the church is either open or closed.  Many times a church has a name that is trendy and a stage with a light set and large screen video projection.

Our ministries might use these tools…but our church doesn’t ‘have them.’. Jesus’ body, His bride, is a people group connected spiritually to their God.  We already have a name.  We already have a purpose and marching orders and an end goal that defines our success.  And to those that join and overcome, the reward of living eternally with the One who made all things is given.  We are being made into that perfect city, the dwelling place of the Most High, the New Jerusalem.  It’s us.

If we truly understood that, how would that change how we daily live?  How would we make choices?  How would we raise our kids?  How would we spend our money?  What arguments would become ‘not worth it?’

The question is, do u simply attend this church?  Or are you His church?…the new and perfect city created as His dwelling place so all others will know about Him through us.

How will this description of the church in Revelation 21 change how you live this next week and on foward?  Because this verse is really God’s description of you if you choose it as your own.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,
ed

Advertisements

How would he take you out?

May 25, 2012 5 comments

I was faced with a serious question the other day.  It was from an article I stumbled across while on a Christian leadership website.  I’m going to ask you this question…and you need to answer personally and honestly.  I’m then going to ask you the same question in a couple of different contexts.

* How would our common enemy, Satan, take you out, rendering you unable to serve your family and your community?

That’s a very personal question.  But how would he take you out?  What gimmicks would he use?  What are your weaknesses?  This question isn’t just a “how are you tempted most?” question.  How would he take you out?  How would he destroy your service to God?

*How would our common enemy, Satan, take out our church family, rendering us unable to serve each other and the people around us?

This changes things just a bit because now we’re pushed to take a peek inside our local church family.  How would our enemy try to destroy our church families?  How would he get us off track?  What lies would he tell us?  What goals would he give us that are not what Christ wants at the top of our families’ agendas?

*If he could stop or hinder our discipleship process, our raising up of active believers in Jesus and his purpose, how would he do it?

This question makes one assumption…that we’re active in making disciples as Jesus instructs in Matthew 28:19-20.  Our purpose isn’t just to receive our ticket to Heaven and then decide to sit back and ride life away as though there are no expectations.  Maybe you haven’t looked at Christianity like this.  Satan loves to let Christians sit by without a feeling of daily purpose.  In this strategy, we lose the possibility of influencing others to choose Christ as well.

Bible focus: 1 Peter 5:8   Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.

This stuff is tough!  I’m convicted.  When we forget we have an enemy that wants us to forget about God’s purpose for our lives, we tend to also forget about God.  Peter tells us to be aware that Satan loves for us to forget about him.  He encourages us to be on guard.  Being on guard means we’re also on purpose.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Article referenced, written by Mike Breen, can be found here:

http://www.vergenetwork.org/2012/02/02/obituary-for-the-american-church-mike-breen/

Whatville and Whoville and 1000 Years

April 26, 2012 3 comments

Partial Reprint of a Previous Article I’ve Uploaded…

What is your church preference?

  • While filling out an application for employment, the applicant came to a query which asked, “What is your Church Preference?”  The man, not being a person of extraordinary intelligence thought through the question for some time because he really needed the job. He wanted to impress the employer and answered very confidently, “I prefer a red brick church.”

******

We’re in the middle of a fairly lengthy discussion of the book of Revelation.  All through the book we see references to the church.  The verses we are focusing on today, though one subject often causes controversy, talks about the church (the 1000 years).  But if we don’t have a correct definition of the church, we are likely to miss the importance of why this letter was written and how it speaks to our daily purpose/battles as well.

As silly as the joke above might be, it very well might be nearer a truth in our American church society today.  If you listen close to the way we talk about our churches, we mention things associated with places, street addresses, programs, target groups, worship music and, of course, buildings.

Let’s speak frankly for a moment.  The Bible talks specifically that we, who claim Christ as Lord, are members of His body (Ephesians 5:30).  The Bible only separates church families by place names, or more specifically the city where they meet (Writings of Paul and Revelation).  The Church has two focuses…Love God and Love people (Matthew 22:37-39).  The church has one purpose.  It is to help people cross over from their life of sin into a life in relationship with the Forgiver of Sins (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Bible does not separate church families by philosophy, style of music, size of building, number in attendance, or length of Sunday morning services.  We are to be one body acting together in focus and purpose throughout the world.

Author and speaker Reggie McNeal said it this way, “Its moving from ‘Whatville’ to ‘Whoville.”  It’s moving from a place called the church to being the church wherever we are.  Moving from building to person.  Wherever you are, the church is.

Ok, I’m sure I got some of your buttons pushed from the comments above.  But we really can’t argue with Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 5.   Jesus has us praying for God’s will to be done through us, His church, here on this planet, as it is in Heaven.  This reminds me of His prayer in John 17:19-23 right before He goes to the cross…

  • I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the Disciples’] message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We are here, on earth, to be a real and tangible presence of Heaven…though not completely perfect.  So how are we doing in this area?  How are we doing in our local communities?  How are we doing through the week in our workplaces and schools?  Are we a fresh vision of Heaven to all who see us?  Are we a constant 24/7 representative of Heaven?

Some questions for evaluation for yourself or your church family:

  • When people see me do they see God?
  • When people hear me do they hear God?
  • When I make decisions, do people see the decisions that God would make?
  • Do people see God’s forgiveness when I forgive?  Do I forgive?
  • Do people see God’s care when I care for them?
  • Do people see God’s unconditional love when I am around?

….or

  • Do they see me instead of God?
  • Do they hear my attitudes and selfishness instead of God?
  • Do they see decisions that are for ‘my good’ rather than ‘my neighbor’s?’
  • Do they see me holding a list of their sins?
  • Do they see me caring more for my personal stuff than theirs?
  • Do they see love when they deserve it, and love withheld when they don’t?

As Steve Kimbrel has aptly said, we are ‘outposts of Heaven’ in the place we live…in the place we work…in the places we spend our time…for the people we are around.

  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It is my understanding that we are within that 1000 years that John wrote of.  We are the Army chapter 19 talks about as we march forward taking people from the grip of Satan and presenting them with the truth of Jesus.

love-serve-spread the Word,

ed

Getting Together

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

  • A penny saved is a government oversight.
  • Did you ever notice:  When you put the 2 words “The” and “IRS” together it spells “THEIRS”?
  • Taxgiving Day = April 15th
  • I’m a little worried about this year’s income tax.  I think I made it out wrong.  I’ve got thirty-five cents left.
  • I don’t know if we’ll ever get a cure for poverty, but the way taxes and prices are going up, we’ve got a sure cure for wealth!

 

Most here in America hear the date April 15 and immediately run to the bathroom cabinet for antacids.  It’s our annual meeting with the IRS agency.  There are some wonderful people who work for the IRS, so my jokes are tongue in cheek, but it’s simply because we just don’t like giving up perfectly good money.  However, the yearly meeting is required of us.  The IRS would say, as the author of Hebrews wrote, do not forsake our meeting together.

 

Haha, I’m pretty sure the author of Hebrews, most likely Paul, wrote chapter 10 verse 25 in a much different light.  This verse, however, does create interesting discussions and arguments all through the Christian community.

 

Paul’s is writing what is, to me, one of the coolest pep talks in the whole Bible.  Paul has been writing about how Jesus has become our high priest and how we now have a direct connection with God.  He wants us to see that we have absolutely no reason to lose hope because of Christ.  Here are some phrases Paul uses in this chapter:

  • …since we have confidence
  • …since we have a great high priest
  • …let us draw near to God
  • …full assurance
  • …let us hold unswervingly
  • …let us consider how we can spur one another on
  • …let us not give up meeting together
  • …let us encourage each other

After this chapter Paul writes of what some call the Hall of Faith.  Wow!  These people he writes about were the ones whose life stories have been talked about around camp fires and kitchen tables and the communion table for generations.  These were people who are remembered for their commitment to God’s plan.  They were the ones who didn’t forget God or God’s family.

I’ve been watching a very cool TV series from the BBC titled Merlin.  The show is a rendering of what it was like as King Arthur and Merlin grew up as young men….as a prince and as a servant.  It’s cool to watch as Prince Arthur and the other knights of Camelot flesh out their devotion to the king and the people they are committed to protecting.  They constantly train for battle yet are humble and devoted to justice and compassion.  They are known for their complete devotion to each other.  They are truly a band of brothers.  They are known throughout lands close and far as servants who would willingly lay down their interests, their own needs, and dreams for the sake of the King and those who live in his kingdom.  Now, yes, it’s a story.  It’s a TV show.  But it’s a great “picture” of what Paul is talking about.  And we have THE King as our leader.

I wonder what people who listened to Paul speak these words thought.  I wonder what they thought when he said, “Let’s not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”  Do you think that some of them yelled back at Paul with something like …I don’t have to go to church services to be a Christian!…?  Haha.  I’m sure someone at least thought it.  But remember, like the Knights of Camelot, when we signed up with Jesus, we signed up for Him…not for ourselves.

If someone buys a ticket for the ballgame, they don’t sit at home and watch the game on TV.  Meeting together makes sense.  If someone just wants a ‘free pass’ to Heaven, then getting together with like minded people doesn’t matter at all.  If someone wants to grow in their faith and take as many people to Heaven with them as possible…  If someone wants to truly give up their life for the sake of friends and family…  If someone truly considers that this world is not their home…  If someone truly is storing up treasure in Heaven rather than here on earth…  kicker time…  If someone truly love the church as Jesus does, then they will meet with their sisters and brothers on a regular basis for the sake of God’s glory.  Remember, it’s not about us anymore.  When we took the free gift of the Holy Spirit we signed up for God’s plan and left ours behind.

When we look at great teams and great organizations and great businesses and companies, we see groups and families of people who like being together despite their personal problems or differences.  They long for togetherness.  They know that it helps them grow and allows them to “spur” their mates on.  If you think about it, our meeting together is a small and imperfect picture of what Heaven will be like forever.  Please know that I’m guessing some of you might not like what is being said here about getting together regularly with your church family.  But remember, what Paul is talking about is not church attendance.  This is not about marking your check boxes 4 times per month and going to the occasional extra weekly Bible study.  This is so much more than responding “present” when your name’s called.  This is about family and commitment.

So what will you do this week to reconnect with a church family or Christian group that will help you keep going…who will pick you up when you fall…who will not judge you but call you out so you can get better?  Will you do what Paul might consider “best practices” to become ALL that God created you to be?  Will you recommit to being one like a Knight of Camelot who is known for doing the hard and selfless things for the sake of the Kingdom…for the sake of your friends and family?

 

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

 

PS –  A side note.  Did you read the verses that come before vs. 25?  They talk about team work.  Paul used words such as ‘we’ and ‘us.’  Meeting together is about ‘our’ needs…plural.  It’s not about having what we want in the form of music and Bible study and pews and lighting and sound systems.  It’s all about God.  And remember, a stern warning in the form of risk assessment follows for those who don’t want to meet together or help each other (26-39).

A Reminder of your Trade.


The disciples of Christ witnessed what was probably a mind blowing and heart wrenching event.  Together with Jesus, they ate the Passover meal together, worshiping the Lord and His salvation.  It was to their amazement that as they worshiped and ate, the Son of God was moving His Father’s plan to a new phase…a New Covenant with mankind.

The events that followed that meal stretched them beyond what they were used to.  Jesus, on a normal day, would challenge them with unseen truth consistently.  But the next few days would be the biggest test of whether they truly believed and were truly committed.  In the end, after witnessing the near death beating of Jesus, His public humiliation as He drug His own cross on His bloodied back through the streets, His public execution on a hill outside the city, and His return to them in full body and spirit, they had to make a decision.  Were they committed to this cause or not?  The final piece of evidence was in.

The disciples were called by Jesus personally.  And they did leave many things behind for the period of about three years to follow and learn from Him.  Now the scenario was shifting.  They were going to be the leaders.  This movement of God rested on their decision to step up to the plate again.  They did.

Can you imagine what each communion time meant to them?  The book of Acts tells us that the early church met regularly to  ‘break bread’ together…to remember Jesus’ sacrifice.  Paul later writes in 1 Corinthians that when we get together to share the bread and juice, that we do it in a way where we truly remember the reason for it.  Sometimes we’re so far removed from the events of those few days that it doesn’t resonate with us.  Is it holy for us?  Have we come to a point, personally, where we’ve decided fully what the evidence shows?  There is no body in the grave.  We can trade everything about us for everything about Him.  Does your communion time help you remember what you’ve traded for, what you’ve willfully given up and the mission you’re on?  Or is it just a snack that you eat out of tradition?

For the disciples and the early church, I think it was a remembrance of what they had given up and more so what they had gained.  They knew without a doubt who and what they had committed to.  They were committed to their Creator. This world was no longer their home and destiny, and they had a mission to help others know these truths as fast as they could.  When they broke bread together, they remembered the Jesus who traded everything for their sake.  The bread and the juice now remind them that they are on a mission to trade their live’s for the sake of those around them…just as their best friend did for them.

So what are you reminded of at ‘communion’ time?  Do you simply say a short prayer asking God to forgive you for everything evil you did last week?  Do you look at a cross for focus?  Do you wonder if the juice is past it’s ‘freshness’ date?  Do you bow your head because the people around you are doing the same thing?  Or…do you take it fully known what you’ve left behind and what you’ve committed yourself to?  Do you take it thinking about the battles that will happen through coming days…and that you’re ready for it?  Do you take it asking God to show you things that you yet need to trade or sacrifice?  Do you take it truly saying, “I want to be like Jesus and look like Jesus and sound like Jesus no matter what happens?

You see, I don’t believe that Jesus wants us to just ‘remember.’  There needs to be a purpose in remembering.  And I don’t believe it’s just to remember how blessed we are or how forgiven we are.  Those things are great!  Don’t get me wrong!  But shouldn’t knowing those things drive us to ‘do’ something different outside of ourselves…unselfishly.  I think that when we break bread together, we remember that life not about us…about me, me, me.  It’s about the team we’re on, the church, and who we’re on mission for.  It’s completely about the mission to help people see the chance for forgiveness and eternal life.  The Lord’s Supper may very well be a sacred and reverent rally cry for us, Jesus’ army, the church.  It is to remember how lowly we are and how desperately in need of the sacrifice of Jesus we are.  It is to remind us that without Him we were nothing…and now that He as made us new, to move forward with grace and power and with His Spirit.  It’s to remember what He traded for us and what we choose daily to trade for His glory.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word!

ed

WANT TO SEE A GREAT VIDEO ABOUT TRADING?  CLICK HERE!

Questions for Growth:

  • Do you consider the Lord’s Supper holy and sacred?
  • If yes, how does cause you to approach it?
  • Does remembering Jesus death, resurrection and example through the cross cause you to reflect on how you’re living and how you will live through the next days or weeks?  Short version…Is it a point of change for you?
  • What will you do this week to help you prepare more for your next time of “breaking of bread” with your church family so you can make it more holy and still more productive for you…as Christ intended it.

So How Do You Picture Jesus?

February 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus. ~ Mother Teresa

When Jesus comes, the shadows depart.  ~Author unknown

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” ~ Kevin Max

“For me the most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ.” ~ Brennan Manning

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:35

He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8

 

***

Standard Publishing released a drawn image of Jesus that most everyone who grew up in the church would probably recognize.  I can’t remember the exact year, but it was in one of their VBS programs of the late 70’s or early 80’s.  Many people would, without a doubt, recognize the picture of the Last Supper painted by Da Vinci.  Even more recently was the picture that Mel Gibson created for us in the movie The Passion of the Christ.  We all have images of Jesus that we’ve seen throughout our lives.  Some are familiar to the masses and some simply familiar to us.

Paul pens a picture of Christ for us.  In the passage of Scripture contained in 1 Corinthians 13, he writes of what love is and what love isn’t.  He has just written of what the body of Christ really is…the church…and then writes of what it is suppose to look like.  Love.  We are to love as Christ; and if we do that successfully people whom we love will see Jesus rather than ourselves.  Our love for others will be a picture of Jesus for them.  The church’s love for others will be a picture of Jesus to the world.

Think for a second the pictures friends and neighbors and co-workers get as they witness you throughout a day.  Do your choices, thoughts, words or facial expressions point to Jesus?  Now I know that we can’t all be perfect, but on that point do people see a repentant person as well.

If we are to show people Jesus, not just by “preachin to ‘em,” we need to daily be aware of how people see us.  Here’s Paul’s checklist of Jesus’ attributes to be shown in our lives:

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Not Envious
  • Not Boastful
  • Not Proud
  • Not Rude
  • Not Self Seeking
  • Not Easily Angered
  • Not Keeping Records of Wrongs
  • Not Smiling at Evil
  • Rejoicing In Truth
  • Protecting
  • Trusting
  • Hoping
  • Persevering Knowing Love Will Never Fail

So how do you live each day?  I’ve been trying harder to evaluate myself regularly.  Sometimes the days have been crappy.  Yes, I could have used a stronger word there.  Some days are better than others…to my surprise.  I’ve been on a Bible reading plan through www.youversion.com and it has shown to be very helpful.  I’ve also jumped into some challenging debates and discussions through an open religious forum on the world wide net.  I’ve found myself persecuted and made fun of but also challenged.  When I can remember that the people I’m in discussions with aren’t making choices about me or making fun of me, it’s helpful.  Jesus said that if we are persecuted, made fun or written off, its really Him that they are rejecting.  That helps me to form my words and phrases in a way that maybe Jesus would (see checklist above).

I guess the point is this.  Our job, our mission, is to take people to Heaven with us.  In order to do that, we need to watch our P’s and Q’s.  When Jesus asks us to believe in Him, it’s not just a rational decision.  It’s submission.  When we are able to submit our whole life to Him, people will be able to see Him even through our sin and imperfection.  This is the work of the church.  When we follow Paul’s checklist, we give an image of Jesus to other people.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

Ed

Authority

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

***

A Department of Water Resources representative stops at a Texas ranch and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation.”

The old rancher says, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there.”

The Water representative says, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.. See this card? This card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?”

The old rancher nods politely and goes about his chores.

Later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the Water Rep running for his life. And close behind is the rancher’s bull. The bull is gaining with every step.

The Rep is clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs…..

“Your card! Show him your card!”

***

When we think of authority, what do we often picture?  Our world, I believe, has kind of fogged our trust in anyone with authority.  Many times, if you watch or listen to the news, stories about people who have abused their authority seem to fill the airtime.  You know why this is true?  It’s because we’re all human.  When we find someone who seems to speak or lead or teach with authority…and we can trust them…it might seem abnormal.  We are human and we have sin as our nature.

The closing statement to the section of Scripture known as The Sermon on the Mount says that the people saw Jesus as someone who spoke with authority.  This statement is also written for comparison.  The people who have been listening to Jesus speak had ‘authorities.’  They were their teachers of The Law.  The law mentioned is the Law of Moses.  These people probably had good intentions…giving them the benefit of the doubt…but were seen as people with just human authority.  The verse states the crowds were amazed at Jesus authority.  What they just heard might have been similar to what they had heard before…but they were hearing it from the ultimate source.  They were hearing it from the author.

Do you, when you read or study God’s word, think you are receiving it as though it is coming straight from the mouth of the Lord?  When you hold your Bible, do you feel as though you are really holding the holiest stories and commands on the planet?

Here’s what we see in the Old Testament.  Nehemiah, in chapter 8 of his book, records that as Ezra opened God’s Word at the appointed worship time, the people stood.  As he began to read the people bowed with their faces to the ground.  They knew that God’s word…God’s authority…was present.  Not through Ezra…but through the Word.  In 2 Kings we read of when the high priest of the time found The Book of the Law while cleaning a room in the Temple.  This was their Bible!  They had gone on with “worship” and “sacrifice” in ritual…doing things that temple people do (that church people do) forgetting about God’s holy word.  When Hilkiah, the high priest, brought the book of the law to his king and read it to him, the king responded by tearing his robes in repentance.  He realized that they had walked away from their authority.  King Josiah, remembering who actually reigns in authority over all the earth, began to clean house.  That’s about the best two word phrase I can come up with.  The king cleaned house fully knowing that the consequences of forgetting God’s authority were already in play.  He knew that God was not happy and things were going to happen because of that…but he cleaned house anyway.   He pressed his people, God’s chosen nation/family, to return to their Lord and His ways only.  Josiah recognized divine authority and responded.  Ezra recognized God’s divine authority…and so did the Israelites…and they responded.

The people who listened to Jesus’ sermon here in Matthew recognized something different about this man.  It might have been similar words He was speaking, but as Matthew writes, a sense of amazement was in the air.  I remember watching The Passion of the Christ movie in the theater with friends from church.  After the last scene was over, there was compete silence in the theater.  It was eerie.  It was like we had just revisited the crucifixion…personally.  I can imagine Jesus wrapping up the story about the wise man and the foolish man, walking off the stone he was preaching from, as people stood and stared with jaws hanging open.  There probably were a couple people who wanted to cheer and clap.  Maybe a few others shouted an Amen or something similar.  But the Bible says that a sense of amazement hung over the crowd.  This was not normal.  This was different.  Their teachers spoke great things … these words were great things spoken by someone completely different.

How do you respond when you read or hear God’s word?  Know what the crowds did?  The next chapter begins with “…large crowds followed him.”  They wanted more.  They wanted to be close.  They wanted to be with this authority figure.  One man, figuring out who Jesus was, and asked to be healed…and he was at Christ’s word.  When you realize you haven’t been following God’s authority, do you respond with a sense of awe and repentance and amazement?  Does it help you clean house?  Does is cause you to want to follow closer and more often?  Does it cause you to reach out to Jesus and ask for help and healing and forgiveness?  I struggle here too.  But let’s be real for just one short sentence.  It should.

Each and every day in our own lives we respond to and respect authority.  Our job.  Traffic signs.  Tax law.  Federal and State government.  We all obey rules and follow through on things that ‘authorities’ above us hand down.  These people and entities are authorities in our lives…and the Bible says for us to follow the authorities placed over us as much as we can within the boundaries of obeying God.  But these authorities are human.  God has placed or allowed them to be in power over us for a season…for a time.  But God’s authority is over the universe.  It is over our very lives.  How do we respect and respond to Him?  It’s a question we need to think about each day.  How we think about God and His authority directly relates to how we live our lives, how we speak our words, what we do to and for other people.  If we see God as our ultimate authority, the author of our Bible, it would be noticeable.  Do your friends and family, without a doubt, know who you believe in and how much you believe?  Has God’s authority changed who you are?

Here’s some questions for growth:

  • Do you know where your Bible is right now?
  • When is the last time you read it with amazement…as though you were reading it and God was speaking to you directly?  What did He say?
  • Does realizing this help you want to approach the God of the Universe in a new way?  How?
  • What changes will you make this week to approach and stand before the ultimate Judge recognizing the authority He has?

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

%d bloggers like this: