Our greatest challenge as believers may come as a surprise!
Paul states in Romans 12: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Paul goes on to say, “that way you’ll be able to test and prove what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You cannot know God’s “will” unless you have a mind that’s been renewed, made new again.
In 1st Corinthians 2:6, Paul asks: “But who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” He answers his own question with: “But we have the mind of Christ.”
Renew your mind! Renew your mind so you can have the mind of Christ.
Renew your mind so you can think like Christ and process information like Christ does!
What a thought!
Practice what you preach!
Easier said than done, right?
My perspective is that a lot of preaching takes place in both the public and private sectors of our country, but what I’m concerned about is—practicing what’s preached.
It’s easy to pontificate—much harder to live it out.
I’ve been teaching and preaching for over 40 years.
And it IS harder to live it out. You look into the mirror and say, “Oh, oh—not liking what I see.”
I want my life to be consistent with what I teach and preach.
So . . . what if we did a whole lot less talking and a whole lot more living out of the biblical values we speak of so often?
What if we enforced on ourselves the values we want everybody else to live by?
Now that would be a good investment!
Are you blaming God for what ought to be blamed on Satan?
I was listening to a TV interview about a child who was severely deformed. The parents said, “We don’t know why God did this, but we’re so lucky to find a plastic surgeon who could correct it.”
I was saddened to hear that response.
How much better to have believed and said, “We don’t understand why in our broken world, that the enemy has been able to inflict suffering upon people, including our child. But we praise God that in His wisdom, He’s given knowledge and skill to physicians, and He’s given us resources to provide for our child’s care, so that he can be made well.”
See the difference?
Heartache and pain and suffering come from the enemy.
Scripture says: all good and perfect things come from the Father.
What’s foundational in your life—and why should you care?
Jesus said in Matthew 7: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house.
Yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash.”
Everything in these houses was identical.
Except one thing. The foundation.
The person who hears the words of Jesus and puts them into practice! It makes all the difference.
As Christians, how are we perceived by our culture? For or against?
Most often Christians are perceived as being against something.
But let’s not let the secularists label us.
Critics of Christians say we’re anti-abortion. No—we’re pro-life.
They say we’re anti-gay marriage. No—we’re for traditional, biblical marriage.
In the Prop 8 battle in California against same-sex marriage, they said we were against them.
No. Proposition 8 was fourteen words simply affirming the reality of biblical marriage between a man and a woman.
There are some legitimate things we have to be against.
In fact, some of the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shall not!” Eight of the Commandments to be exact.
So don’t be intimidated by critics who say, “Oh, you’re always so against stuff . . .”
Yes, we are against some things, but let’s also be known by what we are FOR!
How many copies of the Bible do you have in your home?
I’m guessing more than one!
In fact, many of us not only have more than one Bible—we have several different translations.
But are we reading it? Is God’s Word changing us?
The Bible is still the number one best-selling book—ever. But it might very well be the least read.
It’s not that we’re illiterate—we can read, we just don’t read.
And family times around the Bible? Praying together?
Essentially gone—lost to soccer and other activities that we’ve allowed to replace our times together.
It’s our privilege—and our responsibility—as parents to instill in our children the love of God, the love of reading His Word.
Make time with God an essential time as a family!
I think it’s fair to say, we live in a culture of tolerance.
But what disturbs me is how we define tolerance. Tolerance, historically, has been a good word. But the meaning of tolerance in our culture has changed—and not for the better.
It’s become a way to say, “I accept everything, except Christianity.”
So-called tolerance is remarkably IN-tolerant.
It’s being used as a tool to intimidate believers. A tool to silence us.
I know that no one’s fully tolerant. And certainly there are things we should never tolerate. Obviously, things like murder, and rape are intolerable.
But let me be very candid here.
Do not be intimidated by this so-called culture of tolerance. By those who berate and twist words, who put down Christianity as intolerant.
Don’t be silenced! Don’t be intimidated! Live out your faith!
Some surveys show only about 40% of us attend church regularly. What’s everybody else doing?
So . . . why haven’t we won them over?
And actually the news is much worse. The survey I quoted is based on surveys of people who say they go to church.
But if you add up the actual attendance across America, it’s considerably less than 40%.
What’s going on?
There’s a spiritual dullness in our culture that concerns me.
And it should concern you.
The fact is—that spiritual dullness is an inability to connect the dots between faithful, worship attendance, and building strong families and communities.
You can’t separate the impact of one on the other!
The demise of our families and communities, and our moral fiber, is directly related to our failure to understand the importance of worshipping and studying God’s Word in a local congregation!
I love my country. I consider myself a patriot.
But at my core, I’m an unabashed enthusiast for the Gospel of Christ.
Patriotism or the Cross of Christ? Mutually exclusive?
I don’t think so.
I will not extol a nation at the expense of not exalting the Cross of Christ. It’s as simple as that.
The key issue for me is Jesus. The key to meaning and purpose in this life is knowing God through Jesus Christ.
And the hope for a nation, in my opinion, is conformity to God’s ways.
It’s the greatest patriotic act you could ever do for your country.
The only thing that ultimately can save this nation is to share the Gospel in such a way, that the Gospel is so pervasive it impacts every bit of this country.
That’s true patriotism.
We say we want to win the world for Christ.
So what are you willing to do to see that happen?
I heard one preacher say with a degree of regret in his voice, 90% of God’s people are UN-employed in meaningful Kingdom service.
Throughout history, people who understood how to mobilize and equip God’s people, impacted the culture.
In the 1200’s, it was Peter Waldo, who raised up a group of people called, “The Poor Men of Lyon.” They carried the Gospel all across Southern France. In the 1300’s, it was John Wycliffe, who helped bring the Gospel to England by a group called The Lollards.
Later, it was John Wesley and the lay preachers.
The Gospel isn’t spread primarily by pastors. It’s spread by people who realize their calling and the contagious nature of the Gospel.
So how “contagious” are you?