Archive from October, 2014
Oct 28, 2014 - Faith, Worship    4 Comments

WHAT CAUSES YOU TO CELEBRATE?

While I was studying the book of Matthew, for my last two posts, I was struck by something I hadn’t noticed before. As I read the account given by Matthew, of Jesus’ baptism, I was somewhat puzzled by the people’s reaction or should I say lack there of?

Matthew 3:16-17
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like imagea dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.

This portion of scripture ends chapter three of Matthew and then we go right into chapter four where Jesus is lead into the wilderness to be tempted. I don’t know about you but it seems like this was a great occasion to worship almighty God. And yet, there is no mention of anything resembling worship in this account from Matthew, or for that matter, any of the other gospels.

Let me see if I got this right, I said to myself as I was studying this out. You mean to tell me that … Jesus rises up out of the water and the people witness the Holy Spirit descending upon Him as a Dove … the heavens open up to acknowledge it … and the very voice of Almighty God speaks … yet there is no mentioning of anybody falling to their knees in awe of God? There is no mention of John or anyone else’s reaction to this miraculous event? Did the crowd of witnesses just go on about their merry way as if this was no big deal?

Now, perhaps the people there were confused by all they had just seen. They thought that John the Baptist might be the Messiah. Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.

But even so, to see something so powerful, so supernatural, and not be taken over by the sheer awe of it … how can that be? How do we miss what’s right in front of us? Oh! How we would all do well to read the scriptures with the fullness of heart so that we may truly know what to celebrate and when to celebrate. Maybe if one or two people had fallen on their knees others might have followed suit. I say this because isn’t that just what happens for most us? We wait to see what others will do. Or, we miss what’s right in front of us. Let’s take a look at an Old Testament scripture from the book of Jeremiah.

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Oct 22, 2014 - Hearing From God    2 Comments

MOVING FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS

When I first told my wife, Amy, the title of last week’s post, Christ-centered or Crisis-centered, she loved it. Interestingly enough, we had different takes on what it meant. My take was what you read last week … Crisis-centered imagepeople are those who focus more on the crisis than on Christ. In other words, the crisis becomes “your center” instead of Christ being your center. Amy’s take on it is what I’ll share this week … Crisis-centered people are those whose lives seem to be one crisis after another. They are caught in a crisis cycle.

First off, let me acknowledge that there can be times when we face a crisis, or series of crises, through no fault of our own. Job is a good example of this. Many of you are probably familiar with the Biblical account of God’s servant, Job. Job was a man that was upright, shunned evil, and feared God. In other words, Job was not living a life style that would bring upon him a crisis. Nevertheless, Job faced one and a big one at that. God allowed Satan to test Job in any and every way except taking his life. Job lost his children, his wealth and his health … now that’s a crisis. Through it all, God was with Job and Job ultimately remained faithful to God. If you want to be encouraged, read through the book of Job yourself.

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Oct 18, 2014 - Faith, Hearing From God    2 Comments

ARE YOU CHRIST -CENTERED OR CRISIS- CENTERED?

As a Biblical counselor and pastor, I am seeing crisis-centered people’s relationships, marriages and families fall apart during a crisis. I remember as a young man growing up seeing people unite during a crisis. They would seek the Lord and pool what little resources they had together to overcome hopeless situations and press forward. So I asked Jesus, “Lord, what has changed so much that people have become so fainthearted.” By fainthearted I mean showing a lack of conviction or boldness or courage when it comes to trusting Jesus during a crisis. Christians are being paralyzed by what they consider to be a crisis. They have forgotten what centered them in the first place, God almighty. Don’t get me wrong I’m not referring to those times when we need a bother or sister in The Lord to come along side us and pray with us and encourage us. I’m talking about those whose faith has been shaken at the very core and who allow their circumstances to paralyze them.

I’ve noticed a common thread when it comes to dealing with personal struggles … easily loosing your center. People who are crisis-centered tend to focus more on the imagecrisis than on finding solutions. Or should I say, The Solution – Christ! In fact crisis-centered people anticipate bad things will happen as if these bad things are just around the corner. Operating under Murphy’s Law: if anything bad can happen, it will! Now, when you live crisis to crisis and you have no center to ground you, you are like trees that are easily uprooted. When the wind and the rain beat up against them they are washed away. They lack the deep root system needed to weather the storms that come.

TO BE CHRIST- CENTERED

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

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