Friday, February 25, 2011

Romancing God

"Oh, how I love your law!  I think about it all day long."  Psalm 119:1 (NLT)
So how does a person get this point of loving God's Word and thinking about it all day long?  Is this only for people in the Bible or for super Christians?  How can we fall in love with God's Word?  There are certainly plenty of ways to accomplish this but they must have at least this one common denominator.  That commonality is to engage the Word, spend time in the Word and let it soak into your soul.  When that happens, you'll find yourself oozing God's love and truth naturally.
For too many Christians, reading God's Word is boring...which is too bad because it is anything but boring.  Yeah, there are some dry spots in it (think genealogies) but much of the Bible is full of stories that movies are made of and out of amazing principles about which books are written.  In the Bible we find good versus evil, right versus wrong, betrayal meets loyalty, wild chases, injustice corrected and on and on.  The world and our common enemy (Satan and his followers) want us to believe the Bible is boring and/or hard to understand but do not believe it.  The Word of God is full of LIFE!
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the "Word of God is living and active...", that sounds like it is actually alive and dynamic, which it is.  Remember that the Holy Spirit lives in believers and He wrote the book through men.  He will reveal the deep layers of truth through the Word and open our minds to understand the Word.  We simply have to engage the Word by opening it up, asking God for fresh eyes and to open our minds, then you will begin to see amazing things.  God will speak to you!
I have been married for 33 years and yet my love for Debbie is stronger and more passionate than ever.  How is that possible you might ask?  It is possible because I work at it.  I allow my thoughts to be surrounded by Debbie's influence, the memory of her perfume and feel of her eyes staring into mine.  I'll often have a mushy card  or note  she has written to me near my desk to peak at now and again.  Because I keep my eyes on her, my heart craves more time to be with her.  This same commitment or focus should be applied to ‘romancing God’ and being in HIs Word.
If we are going to be ‘romancing God’, we have to believe that “...He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him.”  Reading what He has written to us certainly is one of the ways that we can diligently seek Him.  
Imagine your church full of people who are reading God’s Word in large volumes every week (like 20 - 30 chapters a week)?  Imagine the wealth of insights, knowledge, wisdom and maturity that would emerge from such a church.  Is it too hard to read 20 - 30 chapters of Scripture a week?  It takes about 20 - 30 minutes each day to accomplish it.  The benefits of that investment, Jesus guarantees, will pay off wildly!  So go ahead and romance God, you will both enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reminders

I need to be reminded over and over again about the most important things in life.  It is often easy to be distracted or detoured from vital things to peripheral things.  It has always been this way.  Here are a just small samplings of reminders given in the New Testament;

"For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God..."  2 Timothy 1:6
"Remind them of these things..." 2 Timothy 2:14
"I will always be ready to remind you of these things..." 2 Peter 1:12
"Now I desire to remind you..."  Jude 1:4
"But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again..." Romans 15:15
"Timothy...will remind you of my ways which are in Christ..." 1 Cor. 4:17
"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed." Titus 3:1

Ok so reminders are good.  The other day I was having breakfast with a friend who happens to be a professor at a Christian college.  As we were talking, I mentioned that we should be about making disciples first, not inviting people to our house churches (or any kind of church).  My friend and I have had many conversations about this point in the past and each time it was refreshing to him to be reminded of this.  As I mentioned the importance of making disciples my friend said something like this, "Wow, I really need to be reminded of that often.  I so easily fall into the trap of trying to get people into a house church that I often miss the opportunity to help them be disciples of Jesus first."  Then, he said something even more profound to me, he said, "If we focus on making disciples, people will want to meet together as a church but if we begin with church, they may not like becoming disciples."  

So this blog entry is to serve anyone who reads it as a reminder to be making disciples.  Making disciples is actually one of the first things Jesus said to do, "I will make you become fishers of men" and it is the last thing He told us to do, "Go and make disciples of all the nations...".  Can it get anymore straight forward than that?  You and I are to be about helping others become like Jesus.  We should be like Jesus in loving others, in worshipping God, in being honest, forgiving, kind and even risk taking for the Kingdom of God.  This is how Jesus lived and this is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  We need to be like Jesus.  Didn't Jesus say that it is enough for a student to be like his teacher (Matt. 10:25)?  That is our goal.  

Being a disciple of Jesus must include time spent with Jesus in His Word and in His Presence.  Spending time will require you to redistribute time from something else to be with Jesus.  In other words, it will cost you a switch in priorities.  Maybe you'll have to get up earlier.  Maybe you'll have to give up a hobby or overtime in order to spend time with Jesus.  

Being a disciple of Jesus must also include you putting people as a high priority.  You will certainly need to be available to hear people's hearts, address their issues and treat them as more important than yourself.  Jesus did this all throughout His life and loving others, He said, is a hallmark of being a Christ follower.

Being a disciple of Jesus will certainly entail you willingly sharing His life with anyone who will listen.  Jesus gave His life away so that we could have eternal life with Him.  We should be about giving our own lives away as we give away the free gift of Jesus to others as well.  If we don't believe our faith is worth giving to others, why would we want it for ourselves?

Being like Jesus  (a disciple) is not about classroom settings of learning facts and principles.  Being a disciple is about living out the life of Jesus today.  It is about living in such a way that your life is making an positive impact on those around you.  Being a disciple is not so much about attending a worship service twice a month and giving a few dollars as it is about holding all of your possessions and time in an open hand and asking Jesus what He wants you to do with them.  That is a radical life that looks more like what we read in the book of Acts than what we see on Sunday mornings.

My simple reminder is to be making disciples.  If you would like a tool that is proven all over the world, you can click HERE to find out more.

What do you think?