We all have to admit that it is easier to shrug off responsibility to someone else. It's easier to sit and point than get up, engage, and find your place of involvement. Many times in the church we expect someone....the pastor, a teacher, or a person placed in charge.... to do whatever it is which needs to be done. The problem with that is this: If we are part of a church then each person, each need, each concern, and each challenge presents an opportunity for me to be involved in what God is doing in my church. Instead of condemning the person we think should do something, we must help build up the church by taking initiative to be part of the solution. Each person in the church can help make the church better than it ever could be when only one person was expected to do it all.
How do you prepare for an exam? 1. You look over the material just before the exam is given? 2. You study the material in advance? 3. You look through your text book after the exam to get an idea of how well you did? Sure, this a no-brainer, but it is no different if we were to talk about your spiritual readiness as a believer. It is difficult for God to use us in a moment's notice if we have not taken the time to prepare prior. Some may say, "Well, how do I prepare when I have no idea what could happen from day to day?" Let's not overcomplicate this. You can be spiritually prepared for whatever may come into your life from day to day, and God not only desires this, but enables it!
If you're like anyone else, you probably have a list of what you'd like to change about other people. What you found out is how difficult that can be. What seems like a more impossible task is changing ourselves. We may need to change our thoughts, behavior, and even attitudes which work against us. Our problem is we see what needs to be different about us, but we have a hard time finding the way to make it happen. Fortunately, Jesus can bring the change to our lives we really need because of the power of His resurrection.
People are underrated and devalued all the time, and Jesus was no different. He was celebrated when He entered Jerusalem the week He would face the cross, and people cheered for Him but their enthusiasm was limited to what He could do to meet their earthly expectations. Jesus came for more eternal purposes, but they continued to be short-sighted. Jesus would not allow people's limiting expectations to limit His purpose. Jesus knew who He was, why He came, and what He was to do. Do you? We each need to know our purpose and be effective in who we are and what we do.
How does a believer experience power or better yet, have the power to live for the Lord? We begin our new series this month understanding the power which comes from prayer. Every person bears a lot of pressure and responsibility on their shoulders. How can we bear that without being crushed? Your own strength is not enough to get you through the multi-faceted challenges you will face throughout your life. This does not mean you have to avoid greater demands, expectations, and responsibilities, but it does mean you need to find the power to bear up under them and do it in a way which glorifies God. You can and the power found through prayer will keep you standing where others have failed.
We've all heard how a saved person no longer lives like they used to, but what does that mean? What are the signs in our living that tells us we've moved on from that other life? Should there be something different about me? The truth is, yes, there should be a change in us, but we are not able to manufacture that change. Only God is capable of changing who we were to who we are now. In the second message of our series, we'll discover the qualities we should possess since God has changed us.
Our lives are on an expedition of discovery. There is so much to learn and understand about who we are and who the LORD is, and it is a lifelong pursuit. One fact made clear to us is how we once were lost but now we are found. Being lost is not usually a good experience. The fact we may be lost is not always clear or obvious. We may stray from a path, or drive down a wrong road for some time before we are struck with the feeling we may be lost. It is also this way for those spiritually lost and are unaware of their predicament until some kind of sign alerts them to their condition. God's love seeks to make aware each person who is lost, and when they wake up to the understanding of their state God is ready to receive them as they take the proper steps through Jesus. Because of His love, we are now able to be His extension of love to those unknowingly lost around us.
More is better, right? More money, more food in the fridge, more relationships....., well, not so fast. We may think having many friends will ensure us at least one friend we can trust, depend on, and confide in, but that may not be true. Relationships are all about investment, and each of us has only so much of us to invest in the friendships we have. If we have many, we probably are not investing much into those because we're spread so thin, but if we have a few solid friendships they will probably possess the depth we desire. Listen in to our last message in our Healthy Friendship series as we see what a true friend gives and never withholds.
The sum of a person is not all you see. In fact, the exterior is generally not the best indicator of what is deep down within us. Unfortunately, many are underestimated, judged, and even forsaken because of what is seen. It's not really about how you look, it just how your actions and your living is interpreted by those watching. People who you have not become one in spirit with, like David and Jonathan, generally only see your exterior. It's unfortunate, but they cannot perceive what God has placed within you. For David, his own family could not see who God had made him to be, but Jonathan saw it immediately. How is this possible for someone to hardly know him and yet, completely get God's plan for him? Thankfully, David would have a friend in Jonathan who did not limit him with personal expectations, but anticipated God's will in David's life.
Have you ever gone to the beach with so much stuff that you wondered if it was even worth it. You had towels, a cooler, an innertube, a pump for the tube, an umbrella, and just the thought of having to carry all of that from your car to the beach made your trip a little less desirable. If you were to have something designed to help you bring all those items to the sandy beach next to the cool waters of the ocean, then it wouldn't be such an ordeal. Most of us don't want to deal with people's issues, but when it is a friend, it somehow is worth our time and effort. Why is this? That's the key to friendship, and we deal with it in this week's message.