… the thoughts from a life in the Son-shine State

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

Quit Grovelling

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:19-25 NLT)

I hear too many Christians who live in this constant state of fear, sorrow, pity, powerlessness, and timidity. They act as though they are this abused puppy that flinches at the mention of the power of God; and dread the thought of standing boldly and proclaiming the freedom, promises and victory we have in Christ.

Should we be humble? Yes.
But don’t confuse confidence with pride.

Should we be meek and fear The Lord? Yes.
But don’t confuse meekness with weakness.

Many people confuse the victorious battle cry for the prosperity gospel. They are too afraid to boldly proclaim the authority we have in Christ Jesus and the promises given to His children in the Scriptures. Instead they want to beat themselves with a whip and cry out, “Woe is me!”

That response is usually the product of either false teaching or false humility.

We can BOLDLY enter the presence of God!

Quit groveling! If you are born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have become an heir to the throne of the King of kings! You are a prince or princess! Act like it!

Let us STAND and proclaim VICTORY!

Pressing on

Steve

The Best Advice Ever (Along With the Rest)

This morning I was doing some reminiscing, and it lead me to thinking about some of the best advice I have ever received.

I was blessed to have an amazing man of God as a youth pastor growing up.
He is a man full of wisdom, humility, and faithfulness; and also lots of useless information. ;)

His name is Mike Montag, and he would be humbled by the previous accolades; and would whisper to me that they aren’t true; which only proves my point (except, or course, when it comes to the useless information, which he would jokingly agree with).

As I graduated high school, I was certain of where I should go, but took a year to finally make the jump and go to college in Pennsylvania.

Upon making the journey to a new land, I received these words of advice from Mike:

Always remain teachable.

Other than “Don’t drink the water in a third-world country,” it’s safe to say that up to this point in my life, of all the advice that I have been given, this has had the greatest impact.

No matter where I’ve been, what I know or think I know, and what I’ve experienced, I have also learned that I don’t know it all. [This was also pointed out to me by another great man of God, the late Rev. Frank Linton.]

Making the choice to remain teachable means that you’re humble and open to learning from whoever, whatever, whenever; and that you haven’t figured it all out. There’s always another angle, or perspective, or piece of information that you haven’t factored in, and as long as I allow myself to be teachable, I will continue to learn, grow, and become more effective in what the Lord has called me to do… oh, and I will also gain that coveted thing called wisdom.

  • Have you ever been given a piece of advice that has greatly impacted your life?
  • Was it a positive or negative impact?
  • Was the individual that gave you the advice doing so with your best interest in mind? (In other words, were they trying to help you or hinder you?)
  • Can you see any long-term affects in your life from the advice?

Thank you, Mike, for giving your all to discipling me. Your efforts have reaped a great harvest in my life, and those fruits have always stayed with me. My life as a follower of Christ, husband, father, and minister are directly connected to what the Lord has done in and through your life. Thank you for remaining teachable, and in return passing the wisdom on to a young, loud, prideful boy that is now beginning to understand (only slightly) the depth of the wisdom passed on.

Still learning…

Steve

McChurch: I Want to Be Served.


Say what you want, but we are lazy by nature.

If I had it my way, I wouldn’t do any work.

I want my marriage to be great = Love and serve.
I want money = Work.
I want to be healthy = Exercise and eat right.

With church, it’s the same.

Too many of us see church as a weekend car wash.
Drive thru to clean up and be on your way.
Quick and easy, and cheap.

Or, maybe we don’t go to Church A because the music isn’t our flavor.
Church B has bad preaching.
Church C is full of old people.
Church D serves bad coffee.
Church E…

Here’s a challenge:

It’s not about you.

The reason we become so discontented with churches is because we make it all about us.
Maybe God is directing you to that church because He wants you to serve there.
Maybe the person serving coffee doesn’t know any better, and you can help!

Philippians 2 reminds us, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Another way of saying is this:

TODAY IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

Let’s ditch the selfish my-way-or-the-highway mentality, and realize that the church is the bride of Christ.
It’s designed to be His way.

Let’s seek to serve the Lord and serve others.
When we do so, I think the church will begin to look more like it should — as a blessing to the world!

McChurch: I Want It My Way.


Customize.
Pick and choose.
Mix and match.
Have it your way.
DIY.

These are all great options for your clothes, or your computer’s desktop, or your Subway sandwich.

The danger is we like this option so much that it starts to be expected in areas of our lives where it’s not necessarily a relevant option.

Marriage.
Friendship.
Health.
Money.
Faith.

These all have serious limitations when it comes to having things our way.

A major characteristic shared by those on the second list is this:
They don’t come easy.
In order to have these as a positive and effective part of our lives, we must work on, or for them.

And, part of the work involved is this:
All these elements require sacrifice, time, energy…
We have to learn how to change and grow.

When it comes to Church, we tend to treat it the same way we treat the drive-thru menu board — just give me what I want so I can be on my way.

To be continued…

McChurch: I Need It Now.


Microwaves.
Drive-thrus.
Smartphone Apps.
Google.

Get it now, fast, the way you want it.

When ever you need a fix, or a snack, or an explanation, or an update…
It’s right there, at your fingertips, or your car window, or on your plate in seconds.

Our culture of consumerism has driven us to be so quickly pleased, or displeased.

I’m hungry, so let’s go through the McDonald’s drive through.
I know it’s crap, but it will be a quick fill.

I need to know what’s going on, so let’s check the Twitter feed.
Most of it is just noise, but I may get something of value; or at the least I’ll feel connected.

I need to feel good after that regrettable night, so let’s go to church.
I know it’s only surface-level change, but I’ll feel better; and it will hold me over ’till next weekend.

To be continued…

Victory was only one day away!

Imagine how the disciples felt today?
Confused, hurt, scared…
What was going through their minds?

Their Messiah is dead.
He was supposed to conquer!

It wasn’t supposed to end like this…

Have you ever felt that way?

Maybe you’re jaded because God didn’t do what you thought he was going to do.

Jesus told them what was going to happen.

“For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
Matthew 12:40

Over and over he said that he would be dying, but they weren’t really listening.

Sometimes we do that, don’t we?
We ask God a question, or present a specific need to Him, and we have a preconceived idea on how He is to answer it.
We have expectations about who He is and what He will do, and they are not based on anything He said; but more on what we think He said, or on selfish expectations.

Jesus was not the Savior they expected.
He came as a spiritual Savior… to bridge the gap between God and man created by sin!

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:10

What the disciples didn’t see at this moment was what was going to happen tomorrow.
Everything was going to change!

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Luke 24:1-7

If you find yourself in a difficult, confusing, painful place, I would encourage you to not get jaded.
Victory may only be one day away!

His Word gives us promises of victory, healing, provision, and life.
Fight through the selfish feelings and false ideas about God, and hold fast to what He did say.

He came to give us life!

Steve

*[I know it is an insignificant number but... I think it's awesome that my 100th blog is written on the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Day. I would not want to be blogging about anything else on this day except Christ and His work on the cross!]

Our notebooks are full

A reporter, after interviewing Annie Mainwaring, who was one of the lady singers that traveled with Evan Roberts, looked down at his notebook only to realize that it was still blank. He was so captivated by the words she spoke regarding the revival and of Roberts, that he failed to write anything down. He then stated, “Well, my notebook is empty, but my heart is full.

Today, we find the opposite to be true of most Christians—our notebooks are full, but our hearts are empty.

Peter Yeoman
(Retelling the story passed on to him by the man that was in the room when this happened.)

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