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

Posts tagged ‘salvation’

God doesn’t need you.

It’s true.

If He did, He wouldn’t be God.

The minute we think we are indispensable to the kingdom of God is the minute we think too highly of ourselves, and too lowly of the God we serve.

That’s why this whole thing is so amazing!

The fact that He wants to use us… it’s mind-blowing!

I have done nothing to deserve being a part of the story God is writing, yet, He says, “Come, follow me… I will grant you salvation, set you free, restore your heart back to mine, transform your mind, and equip you with my power to reach the world with this same message… the message of hope.” (That’s the one-sentence Steve paraphrase of the New Testament… sort of.)

The only ones indispensable are the Triune Godhead: Father, Son , and Holy Spirit. Everyone else must sign on and walk in obedience.

Today, I know many people doing great works for the kingdom of God that feel strongly they were the second choice. Yes, the ones before them gave up, or were disqualified due to disobedience, moral failure, selfish gain, etc.

Let’s walk humbly before the Lord (Micah 6:8), not think too highly of ourselves (Philippians 2:4), and remember that if it were not for the grace of God, I would still be on the outside looking in.

Less of me, more of Him

Steve

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!]

John 3:16

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For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 NLT)

THANKFUL.

Seeker Friendly

I ended yesterday’s blog with the statement that we have made gathering at church the focus of our American Christianity, rather than the mission of the gospel being the focus.

In a continuation of that thought, let’s consider the label, or term, “Seeker Friendly.”
(By the way, #Labels suck!)

I’m almost finished with the book Radical Together by David Platt. In the last chapter before the Conclusion, he talks about being “Seeker Friendly.”

This is a trend that has become so popular over the last decade or so, but Platt puts an interesting spin on it. Let’s look at a summary of what he says (sorry there is so much… it was all really good):

“… were my sights really supposed to be set on bringing a large crowd together in a cool environment where they could hear terrific music, see killer graphics, and then listen to me talk live or via video…? If this was to be the vision of my life and ministry, I decided, then I should perish.

“Vision affects everything. That’s what visions do. If the focus of the church is on having a large crowd in a big place where people can feel warm and welcomed, then you and I will plan accordingly. We will prioritize a nice church campus for people to drive to and where they can find a convenient parking space. We’ll give them a latte when they walk in the door, and then we’ll provide state-of-the-art entertainment for their children while treating them to a great show that leaves them feeling good when they drive away in a timely fashion…

“What happens [to our vision of large, comfortable crowds] when our primary aim is not to make the crowds feel comfortable but to exalt God in all his glory? … More than you and I want people to be impressed by the stuff that we can manufacture, we want them to be amazed by the God they cannot fathom… we want to raise up people who are so awed, so captivated, so memorized by the glory of God that they will gladly lose their lattes—and their lives—to make his greatness known to the world…

“… someone might ask… ‘Isn’t it good to cater creatively to people who don’t know God?’ Don’t we want to be sensitive to those who are seeking God?’ … let me remind you of a startling reality that the Bible makes clear: ‘There is… no one that seeks God.’ (Rom 3:11) So if the church is sensitive to seekers, and no one is seeking God, then that means the church is sensitive to no one…

“Instead, Jesus tells us that the Father is pursing worshipers for his praise. He is the one doing the seeking! …

“So let’s be radically seeker sensitive in our churches. But let’s make sure we are being sensitive to the right Seeker.

  • What do we need to do differently to make sure we cater to The Seeker, God?

Still learning…

Steve

15 years ago… Pt 7: 15 years later

Oh, what my eyes have seen!

7… The number of completion.
The retelling of my story ends today with, well… today.
15 years later.

I have spent the last week recounting the events surrounding the day I was saved, and revealing thoughts, reactions, and the experience of being redeemed by my Savior, Jesus, at the age of 15.

Since that “fateful” week, I my life has been quite the journey (far more than I could have ever imagined)!

    The journey has included (not in any particular order):

  • Bible college
  • marriage
  • living in Pennsylvania and Detroit
  • now living in Pensacola
  • a daughter
  • being on staff at three churches
  • now planting a new church
  • traveling to several foreign countries for ministry
  • witnessing great miracles of healing
  • experiencing great miracles of provision
  • praying with many to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord
  • baptizing a bunch of teenagers

I have been so blessed by God.
I definitely can NOT imagine what my life would be like had He not saved me!

My spiritual journey began in Pensacola, FL while I was living in Attleboro, MA. Now, I live in Pensacola and am currently planting a church here.
It’s wild.

God is so good.
I pray that this story as encouraged you.
It has been so great reminiscing…
… but now, onward and upward!

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
2 Timothy 1:6

Fanning the flame…

Steve

If you have not followed the story from the beginning, you can click here and start from day 1 :)

15 years ago… Pt 6: The end of the beginning

We ride.
Now begins the 1,400-mile trek back the frozen homeland.

Less than a week has gone by, and yet everything has changed.

What will school be like?
What will my (then) girlfriend say?
What will my friends think?
What will my brothers do?

All these thoughts ran through my mind…
… and it didn’t really seem to matter.

I will never be the same!
Look what the Lord has done!

Whatever the responses will be, it won’t deter me from pursuing my Savior.

I have been born again… born in the fires of revival… and something unquenchable now resides in me.

What is store for me now?
What will my life be like?
What will God ask me to do?

To be continued

To continue the story, click here. To start at the beginning, click here.

15 years ago… Pt 5: A new desire

This day, 15 years ago, I was a new person.
I was only two days into this new life.

I had grown up in church.
I knew the songs.
I had heard sermons and illustrations and testimonies my whole life.
There seemed to be something, though, at these meetings, that had gripped my heart.

There was this buzz-word…
Not only was it the name used for these services that we were attending, but is seemed to be something greater.
I had heard it used before, but being only 15 years old, there wasn’t any significant association to it.

Revival.

What was this revival that was being discussed, preached about, sung about, and even experienced?

Christian revival is a term that generally refers to a specific period of increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or many churches, either regionally or globally. This should be distinguished from the use of the term “revival” to refer to a evangelistic meeting or series of meetings. (Read the rest of this definition by clicking here.)

What I was quickly learning is that there is something that is very distinct in these revivals: The active power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Not that the Holy Spirit isn’t present at any other time or place. But there seems to be a greater, ummm, “level” of Him in these occasions.

Why is that?
I didn’t know.

There seems to be some key elements that I was hearing preached, taught, and was observing at these meetings:

  • A strong desire to simply give glory to God
  • Repentance
  • Much fervent prayer
  • A hunger for more of God’s power and presence than what is considered “normal”
  • Surrender of strict, religious control of meetings

This was all new to me.
I knew my life was now radically different.
I wasn’t really sure what to make of this revival thing.
All I knew at this point was that whatever this was, I wanted it…
… and I didn’t want that desire to go away.

To be continued

To continue the story, click here. To start at the beginning, click here.

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