Fishing for Christ?

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15 

In application, our faith and ministry efforts are like a working fishing net. Our lives are interwoven with that of others by God as we crisscross with them in life. We are held up by and in Christ who acts as a buoy of support maintaining our assurance, purpose, and direction. We then meet people who help us grow, people who confront and oppose us, and even people who hurt us. These are the people Christ has called us to catch for Him and who, in return, will unknowingly challenge us to move forward in our faith. We build our net from our growth in Christ, our Bible reading, our learning, our fellowship, and the challenges from other Christians.  

This all connects and combines with the experiences of life. When our faith net is formed, we will be able to follow Him out of our obedience, and mentor in a multigenerational lifestyle, caring for the total person. Our faith net will flow through the rough waters of doubt, conflict, strife, fear, and stress, and not be impeded by them. This will move us from complacent Christian lives to purposeful Christian lives. This will move us from just playing church to really being a church. This will be a net of faith that moves and catches people for Him versus a net that is rotten by neglect or woven so tightly by bad experiences and fear that it cannot move.  

In our American churches, our nets are usually woven too tightly because we are so busy; we have no time for personal growth. We only see personal needs and expectations and not the opportunities and call Jesus gives.

The fish, people so to speak, just swim around us, and we are too preoccupied in our boats of desires and busyness to see the ocean of opportunities around us. Hence, the average Christian just goes to church to pew-sit, never venturing into the life God has for him or her, never being forthright to others about his or her faith. As a result, our faith becomes stingy, callous, and sterile. The faith net just lies there—tangled—and we are unable to pick up the junk to clean it, repair it, and put it back to use. Fortunately for us, we have His Spirit to direct and empower us, but it is still up to us to allow His work to move us and not let our nets rot because of fear.  

Let us not do our faith net by what is wrong, rather, set apart Christ as Lord, so to point to others of Who is Right and Fulfilling!

 

Advertisements

What We Need to Learn for Today’s Church

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? Psalm 56:4  

Now we need to learn why we should strive to be our best for His glory, He is the answer so we can start to build an effectual church of faith. Why? Because, people can be elusive and intolerant of Christians being stupid, we must strive to always be our best. Not judgmental, not prideful, not condescending; rather, listening with real faith, respect and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing Fruit of the Spirit in and through and out of us for His Glory. Then we can do church right!  

We cannot just jump in and grab; we need a way, and that way is His Way. We need a pan from God’s Word in which to be contagious with and for the faith, pointing others to Christ. We are not catch by force or manipulation, but show others why the Christ is better, why He is the answer. That is why we accepted Him, because He first came to us. When we have real capable faith a exhibited in Galatians 5:22-23 and know how to use His Word, we are better able to be used by the Spirit to explain Jesus to others.  

Most people are afraid to share their faith because they do not know what to say or how to say it. What to say is determined from the building of our faith and just live it out, be the product demonstrator of Christianity; the character gained will help make us ready to say it with love and care.  

Do you realize it is purely by Christ’s acceptance of us that we are saved in the first place?  

The Disciples were directly called and empowered by Jesus, just as we are today. We are given such incredible gifts and opportunities, which are not of our doing or earning. There is nothing that we can add to our salvation, such as good works or clean living, but we can and should respond to it. Justification means that God’s righteousness is covering us, protecting us from His wrath and punishment much like a blanket. It is like getting a speeding ticket, going to court, and having the judge declare you innocent, even though you were speeding. To God, you are clean, covered by what Christ has done for you. This creates our reconciliation to God. We were in perfect relationship to Him before the Fall, and now we are again in harmony. Because of justification, we can take great comfort and assurance in Christ. But, our response to what He has given does not happen overnight.  

Our faith has grace attached to it, but we also have responsibility with it. We will make mistakes and have setbacks, but He is there for us, carrying us through. Allow Him to do so. Do not have presumption; rather, pursue your decision.

 

Resembling Christ

As you go, preach this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 10:7 

A lot of Christians have the false presumption that discipling means we should make people like us or have them conform to our specific church, denomination, or system of belief. Some think the me in “follow me” refers to I and not Him, Christ as Lord. But, that is not what discipleship or “follow me” is about. Rather, it is about helping facilitate the spiritual growth of others. It is about being empowered by the Spirit to hook people up to Christ. It is like being plugged into His current of electricity.  

We are never to make disciples in our image, alike as who we are, or how we think, feel, or act, but like Christ. Christian means to be Christ-like, not self-like or Bob-like or Joan-like, nor is it meant to be a particular denomination or theological position.  

It is all about doing our best in resembling Christ. We are to become His disciples by our faith, by His work in us! We are then to be discipled by someone. This is not just learning about the faith as a new Christian; it is a life-long commitment to grow in Him through His Word, through our personal devotions, through fellowship, through worship, and by learning all we can, then applying what we have learned. This helps form us as the people of God. We are to disciple others so they can, in turn, disciple others. Thus, Christianity is by faith, it is communal, it is continual, and it is shared. It is a community endeavor. A lot of Christians just will not do this. Perhaps they are too individualistic—too self-absorbed in their own lives to give a thought to God or others. Perhaps, they think, once I made that prayer and I am set free, so I do not need to do anything else. And, yes, they are, if it is real and in Christ. But, what good it is to be a pew-sitter yet do nothing with what Christ gave and called us to?  

The twelve disciples spent three years of their lives following, learning, listening, observing, practicing, and experiencing life directly alongside Jesus. Then, they carried that learning and experience to the world, first as a rehearsal, then as a lifestyle. It all boils down to a decision. Will we make our faith real and impacting, relinquishing our pride, allowing ourselves to learn and grow, and, in turn, teaching others? Let us make sure our impact comes from a life transformed and carried out to the people around us. Let us follow Christ!

Got Servant Leadership?

Servant Leadership is exercising real, godly leadership, as Christ did when He used a towel, and influencing, equipping, and empowering people to accomplish God’s purpose and plan.

(1 Kings 3:9; Luke 22:25-28; Matthew 25:21; Mark 9:33-37; John 5:19; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:24; Hebrews 13:17)

This is about serving others unselfishly while influencing and empowering them to grow in a Christ-directed, purposeful direction. This was an uncommon trait in Jesus’ time, just as it is in ours; do not let it be uncommon for you! Being a leader in the church, or in the home for a husband, is never a force of personality; it is earning that respect because you love and care.

We are not in leadership for power, control, or for personal gain. Rather, we are to point others in His direction by our example. Consider that Jesus clearly tells us that a leader should behave like a servant (Luke 22:26)!

Jesus took a towel and washed His disciple’s feet. This is an act we can easily glance over, missing its significance. But this was God, Creator of the universe, performing the lowest job in that culture—washing someone’s feet. If the President of the United States came over to clean your toilet, it would be a pale comparison! This is an example for us—we are never too high in our position to perform the lowest tasks, because, it is not the task—it is our servant attitude that is important.

Samson was a Judge for Israel (Judges 13-16). His primary responsibility was to lead his people, and defeat the Philistines. He chose, instead, to party and pursue women that were not right for him. The end result was that his strength was taken away; he was blinded and powerless. Only at the literal end of His life did he call upon God. He wasted his leadership and abilities on foolish, meaningless gains and manipulation. How sad that so many of our church leaders do the same. We are given precious opportunities and we squander them, pursuing trends, personal needs, and desires—and not God’s Will!

Real Biblical leadership for the church is never a force of Will or personality. Leadership embodies the fruit and character of our Lord. It requires being a servant before you attempt to direct others. If a leader just directs and never serves, there is a good chance he is not a real leader; rather, he is a pretender, exercising his agenda—not God’s call and Will.

Is real godly Servant Leadership working in you?