Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Paul's Love Transcends 2000 Years

Colossians 1:9-14   For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

In Paul's letter to the church at Colossae, he was speaking to mostly converted gentiles who were being blown about in the spiritual winds, as the true teachings of Christ that was their foundation, was under attack by the heretical teachings of others (allegedly the precursors to the Gnostic beliefs) that sought to undermine the truth.

In reading the beginning of Paul's letter to them, I love how he starts by leaving no doubt whatsoever that he's not only praying for all within that church, but praying that they would climb the spiritual ladder and become more Christ-like and less worldly.

The closer we are to God, the harder it is for the enemy to distance us from him.

In his prayers, Paul asks God to fill them with knowledge of His will. He asks that they are able to bear fruit. He asks that they're strengthened so they have patience and endurance. And, he asks all these things because he knows they've been called to share in the inheritance Jesus died for.

While Paul penned this letter from a Roman prison nearly 2,000 years ago, it seems more than obvious these prayers apply to you and me, today, right now. Most of us attend or are members in churches that are made up primarily of gentiles, with a large contingent of new believers and those who are "born again." Most of us are under daily attack from worldly beliefs that seek to undermine our faith in Christ, just like those who lived in Colossae 1950 year ago. All of us need to remain focused that we are to bear fruit while remaining part of the vine. (John 15:4

So, today, I'd like to pray alongside Paul.

Father God,
You are the almighty God and your love for us exceeds any human ability to contain or restrain it. Today, we ask that you fill us all with the knowledge of your will, through the wisdom and understanding the spirit gives, so that we may live a life that is worthy and pleasing to you. Please nurture our hearts so that we may bear fruit in our homes, work places, communities and the world and do so with the strength that comes from patience and endurance as we know, without a doubt, that your Son has made a place for us in your Kingdom.

I ask all these things in Jesus' holy name,

Monday, October 3, 2011


Verizon just rolled out 4G cellular service. Now, Pastor James McDonald is calling for 5G service, from all of us, not a phone company or international media corporation. You and I are a far greater network than anything employing iPhones, Androids or Blackberries to spread the message.

Click here to read just what 5G service looks like.

No matter if you were baptized yesterday or 75 years ago, you need to be 5G. Just like cell phones that came in briefcases and pagers the size of a 'Droid, anything other than 5G is yesterday's news and just won't cut it today... or tomorrow.

To Fear or Fear Not?

Jeremiah 1:6-8
“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Thousands of years ago, when finding ways to speak to vast groups of people wasn't easy, God sent people out on his behalf. As we see in the verse above, the initial response to this leading was fear. "I don't know how…"

These days, with social media, blogs, etc., we have the ability to quickly and easily reach a multitude of folks, but all too often when God calls us to do just that, we respond with "I can't… I don't know how…"

But just like then, the answer remains the same. "Do not be afraid… for I am with you," declares the Lord.

Fear, like anything else, is best used in moderation. Fear can stop us from getting injured, prevent us from accidentally putting others in harm's way and save our lives. But, like anything else, too much fear is extremely harmful.

It stops us from reaching out to the lost, helping those in need, serving others and doing what God put us here to do.

The key there is to be able to discern when the fear is healthy or unhealthy, just enough or too much.

What I'm striving to do, is consider the outcome of the circumstance. If the possible outcome honors God and does his work, the fear is an obstacle I need to overcome. If the only outcomes are either selfish or hurtful, then obviously the fear is there to protect me.

Father God,
You gave us fear for self preservation, but all too often we misuse it and allow it to become a hindrance to what you put us here to do. Please grant us the wisdom to overcome fear, to not be afraid when you call us to something and to rest assured that you are always with us.

In Jesus' name I pray,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One C or Two?

We had a great gathering at Gateway Church yesterday for Advance Weekend, the annual gathering of Church leaders and others committed to Christ.

While praying during the services, the concept struck me that most Church-goers I've encountered over the years fall into one of two camps, with few exceptions. People are either Committed Christians, who are striving to be the body, or they're consumers, simply asking "What can the Church do for me?"

While many fall into the shades of grey between these two extremes, I would posit that there is a line that divides the two mindsets and just about everyone is on one side of that line or the other.

With that in mind, it's easy to draw the conclusion that Two C folks are true followers of Christ, imbued with the Holy Spirit and striving to do His work.

The one C's are not.

Sure, they may call themselves Christians and declare that they have great faith, but if they're taking the consumer approach by simply drawing on the Church's resources, without contributing to them, they're really missing the mark… bigtime. And don't have the Holy Spirit within them or are simply very adept at ignoring it.

Proverbs 24:15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place

If we are the children of God and the church is God's house, it's logical to say our church is our house. Who among you waits for someone else to pay the electric bill in your own house? Who waits for someone else to put groceries in your 'fridge? Who expects someone else to play host to your house guests? Who ignores your children, assuming someone else will feed them, clothe them and otherwise meet their needs?

If you came to my house and I told you I wasn't paying the heating bill in the winter because I expected someone else to take care of it, you'd think I was out of my mind.

So, why then is it perfectly acceptable for people to go to church and not serve? Not give an offering? Not take ownership in what is essentially their house?

The answer is simple: It's not.

Ever. (With the caveat that those "checking out Christ" are more than welcome to simply consume until such a time as they cross the line and accept Christ into their hearts as their own personal savior)

So, while I assume all of you who are reading this are Committed Christians, full-on two C types who take ownership of your church with your time, talents and treasures, I know we all know one C people who don't. To that end, I would ask that you all join me in praying for them. Pray that they take the step from simply consuming what the Church offers to helping to provide what the Church offers. Pray that God will give them an epiphany and help them realize the Church is THEIR house as much as His. And they need to help keep the house in order, not simply sit on the couch waiting for someone else to pass the nachos…

God blesses us so we can bless others, not so we can soak up the blessings of others.

Philippians 3:7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

Father God,
Thank you so much for the hearts of those who read these words, the Committed Christians who know that the only hope this world has is in You. Please shine a light on those who are over the line with only one C in the game, those who simply want to consume what the Church offers and not contribute to it. Help the Church feed those consumers till they've had their fill, thus turning their appetite from that of a starving consumer to the heart of one who hungers to share Your love with everyone in the Church, in the community and in the world.

We ask all these things in Your Son's blessed and holy name.