Are you a mature Christian or a baby?

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.* You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Hebrews 5.11-14 from the NLT

So what is Christian Maturity?  When do we come to a point where we are no longer “like babies”?  What is the solid food.  I can say, in context, it is Christ. Knowing the high priest, Jesus Christ. Living for him, acting like him, being moved like Him, and living and becoming the man or women that God intended us to be.  This comes from making the choices with full understanding and knowledge of “right and wrong”.  This is discernment.  This is living right or righteousness (v. 13).  This doesn’t mean the immature are ignorant about righteousness or discernment, but just have not had the wisdom to decide to put in effect into their life. Therefore they are unqualified to teach or be an example to anyone.

How are you doing with all of this?  I know it is challenging, but Christ is calling us forward.  To get out of the rut of just church attending and thinking you know everything about God.  He wants us to know Him. To know and live His righteousness. To have the discernment to spot right and wrong, without compromising for any reason, and to make choices that show our lives to reflect the righteousness of Christ.  So let’s move forward, make the choices, stop idling and put maturity in full gear and pound the throttle and tear out in Christ.   No looking back. No more excuses. No whining about your church. No blaming your disobedience on your schedule, or spouse, or kids, or past pain.  Choose righteousness. It’s time to be a teacher, example, and leader, not a baby student anymore, learning the ABC’s of Christianity. Maturity in Jesus is your destiny. Maturity in Jesus is God’s will for you! You have the power of the Spirit! You have the love of the Father.  The only thing holding you back now is……..

(NOTE:  For more on this read on in Hebrews from chapter 5.)

10 Lessons I have learned about choices and decisions.

I have made some great choices in my life.  I have also made some horrible choices that have caused many pain, and regret in my own soul.  Everyday they say (I don’t know who “they” are!  LOL) we make 30,000 decisions.  Wow!  A lot of opportunities to make some awful mistakes, but also, some opportunities to make some great ones.  So here are some things I have and am learning about decisions and choices.

  1. When I am not closest to the Lord, my choices have the potential to be the worst and the most selfish.
  2. I need to make decisions slowly with patience.
  3. I must pray about decisions and choicest that have the potential to affect others. I must pray about them more.
  4. I must never make impulsive decisions.
  5. The enemy will try to influence my decisions, and he would like to choose sin.
  6. I must have the wisdom of God, and the mind of Christ.
  7. Some decisions need counsel, and to glean the wisdom of others.
  8. I need to look into the future, of the potential effects of my decisions, not just the immediate.
  9. I cannot allow others to try to put me in the position to make their decisions for them.
  10. I am vulnerable to make bad decisions should I not pay attention to these.

James 1.5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Jas 1:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Personal Post for Saturday.

Some personal news from us. Life has been busy. Like everyone else. I am looking forward to this weekend. Our amazing friends and great church planters, Angelo and Kim Fleece will be our guest speakers. He can preach for sure and has one of the fastest growing churches in Michigan.

Our boys wrestling meets will start next week. That is a fun and busy time. Gabe was chosen as one of the five Captains. He is a jr.   Levi continues to get ripped. He is getting so huge.  More than that , they are busy in their student ministry and are young men of God.

Christmas will be a great time. Looking forward to Abby and Justin being with us, some great family time, some time off, and maybe some extra woodcarving. My hobby of choice.  Preaching a series about faith and not fear.

I’m thinking a lot about 2015 and the next step God has for me, and Compelled Church. Praying and just thinking.

I don’t personal post much, but just thought I would before the day get rolling.  I read 1 and 2 Timothy this morning.  Encouraged by Paul’s dedication to Timothy and his example.  His apostolic role in history did not negate his relational training of the next generation.  Selah

A big lesson from Welch. Are we blessed because we have more? I say “no”.

As we have participated in another outreach in Welch, W. VA. I have learned a few things.  I walked around yesterday as about 1000 people packed the Welch Armory. People in great need in many ways. In McDowell County, W. VA  the unemployment and poverty is very high.  The suicide rate is higher, and like with any place, drugs are prevalent.

So some of you might hate this post. But please read it closely.

When we see poverty and need, we always say something similar. I have said it and hear others say it.  We say “we are so blessed.”  This is referencing that we are not as poor as those we are seeing. We are doing better. We have money and stuff. We are blessed.  God loves us more? God is really caring for us?  I don’t think so.  A year ago this saying was starting to grate in my spirit.  Are you we really blessed because we have stuff?  So when we say that we are implying, those that don’t have what we have are not blessed?  Maybe they are cursed? Is God’s blessing only manifested in financial and material gain? Maybe the blessing of God has nothing to do with money and stuff. Maybe our definition of blessed is very wrong.

Maybe we are not blessed because of our stuff.  Maybe we are blessed (which means happy) because we know Jesus.  We are forgiven, saved, and delivered.  Are we not all blessed because we are never going to die in Christ. We live eternal?  Regardless of our bank account, if you know Jesus, no matter if you live in Haiti, Temperance, Welch, War, or Toledo, you are blessed.

Jesus cautions us about what we call a blessing. He says you can’t serve God and money (Matthew 6.24).  Paul tells  us that the Love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6.10).  He also says in the last days when people start forsaking God, they will become lovers of money (2 Timothy 3.2). Our Lord says it is  easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19.3,4).  So it seems, God is saying opposite of what we may believe and what the deceived prosperity gospel proclaims.  True blessing from God is God himself. We are happy because we know Him.  So think about and think about this…

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Mt 6:19–21). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

The Challenge of Love

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! ”  John 6.23 New Living Translation

I love being loved!  I feel a pit in my stomach when I know that people are upset with me. I feel defensive when people are unkind.  I fight resentment when people don’t love me at all, and their lack of love is manifested in what they have said to me or slandered me to others.  What do you do when you are confronted with the unhappy fact that someone does not care for you?  Most people return the “favor” and don’t love back.  We withhold love from those who don’t love us, are unkind and uncaring to us and have made it clear we no longer are on their list of favorite people.

When we come to Christ, Jesus makes his home in us by His Spirit.  we know the Bible says God is love. Not the kind of love that exists without God. Loving those who love us. That is conditional love. God’s love is unconditional.  Simply meaning, He loves without certain favorable conditions.  He loves no matter what.

For us to love people like that, we need God. We need Jesus in us and we need to let His love flow through us.  We have to allow the love of Christ to manifest through us. This might mean not giving up on someone. this could be that we need to grant forgiveness.  This would require us to abolish bitterness in our heart toward someone.  I can see that this implies we would have to stop with holding love from someone whom we have determined no longer qualifies for our love.  You see Jesus told us, we need to love those who may not love or even like us.  We can only do that through Christ.  Let’s stop withholding love, no matter what way we are doing that. Life is too short. Relationships are too important and God forgive us for being so stubborn!  May we love like Jesus, unconditionally.

Go Ahead and Be Weak

If you have ever had a bump in life, and you struggled, broke down, or folded up under pressure, you most likely kept that secret, to yourself or your family.  We all have weak times, but our society does not embrace people struggling.  It seems no one appreciates weakness.  We are all to “be strong” all the time.  We must “be strong” for others, for ourselves.  Show no emotion. Admit no deficiency. Confess no weakness.  Keep up the strong front. Don’t mourn. Don’t weep. Don’t cry out. Never confess to weakness or people will think less of you.  These are all unwritten standards. But can we be weak?  Can we  confess to not be super dad and super mom all the time.  Can we admit that we hurt? That we are struggling?  That life has hard seasons?  Where can we mourn?  Is there a place in the world where we can be honest that we are sick of our job, and the pressure of life has taken all the strength from us and we feel totally depleted?

The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh. What that “thorn” was, we can only speculate. That is not the point God is trying to make.  He is teaching here and the Apostle Paul, shares his long and painful lesson in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 12.8-10   “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NLT) “

Here is the deal. Paul’s weakness, gave him an opportunity to stretch his faith and rely on the strength of Christ. He made peace and accept the thorn and the weakness is brought, for from that he learned that his admission to being weak, made him needy. Christ filled his need for strength. Strength to move forward, to get out of bed, to face another day, to gain in weakness.

So admit to weakness and reject the pressure of our society to “be strong” and to have it all together all the time.  God is there for our weakness if we will draw from Him, he will persevere in divine power not from us.  For Christ is attracted t weakness.

So go ahead………be weak.