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Posts Tagged ‘disciplship’

In a day and age where many are sick and tired of “church” as they have known it… it gives new hope when we see Jesus was gets as upset about the same heart and attitudes in the temple in His physical life time.

As we continue the “All In” study series through the gospel of John on the teaching and life of Jesus, we come across a moment where He responds to the temples hyprocirsy, lack of love, and “buisness as usual” attitude in a zealous manner. Join us as we explore why by seeing what the Church is suppose to be verses some of the sickness we have seen around us and in our own lives.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s a lot of beauty in Church as God has designed it but in our humaness, we falter and Jesus is not silent on what we are to be and the beauty and passion when we do go for the “best stuff” as a community.

If “church” has let you down before, come see what possiblities still await you and the choices you can make to have community, purpose, and more!

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Obedience is not a popular topic for most. This is especially true for some who have seen the concept used in corrupt ways within church environments to control and to hurt others.

However, James seems to view this topic in a different light. He holds that if we view obedience the way God does, it’s life giving! It’s freedom! It’s foundational!

The world has had enough of “religion” and hypocrites, James agrees. However, he does more than sit back and complain about it. He offers us a handful of three tier plans to fix the problem in the world, in the church, and in ourselves.

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As we continue our look at being mobilized in the mission God has called you, we all agree that everything we have addressed quickly gets undercut when we act differently than the way we say we believe. People have seen enough hypocrites and it takes time to earn that trust back.

However, is it just acting “right” when people are looking or does it go much deeper? What does is look like to be a good steward so someday we hear “Well done, good and faithful one”?

In this study, we dive into the Word for encouragement and a warning in the area of being “Principled”. There is a difference between calling yourself a Christian and being a Christ follower. It impacts every area of your life.

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As we continue our study on being mobilized by Christ in our lives, we dig into Colossians 1 and Acts 4 to explore where our courage comes from.

Many can be quite intimidated at the calling we have in Christ to reach out to others and invest in one another. The Bible is not silent on this as we explore some testimonies of two men who struggled in this area but then became heroes of the faith through finding courage.

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Jesus once said ” I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist…” Matthew 11: 11

That would be pretty cool to hear Jesus say that about you, wouldn’t it? I know I would be rather pumped….. So today I was looking at some of the things that made John so great and wondered if we could do the same…. Here’s where I started…..

“And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you withwater, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1: 4-8

Some things I noticed….

John was not afraid to live in the desert: We often feel the most comfortable living in structure. We enjoy a roof over our head, food in the fridge, a set job to go to, and a hospital close by if we get hurt. However, God will call us at times into the exile where things are scary, new, and fluid. While structure is great, we naturally pull closer to the Lord when  we are in the desert. Are we willing to follow Jesus there?

John had his needs met by God: Jesus spoke at another time telling us not to worry about what we would wear or what we would eat. He reminded us that His Father who loves us would provide for us. John is an example of this. His clothes were not the norm. His food was not the norm. But He was provided for! Are we willing to get what God wants to give us for our needs instead of trying to provide for our wants.

John was confident and humble : John said Jesus would be greater than himself. He didn’t say that he (John) was trash or worthless. He said Jesus would be greater!

Then he humbled himself…. “I am not worthy of untying the thongs of His sandals.”

John knew the calling he had and was confident within it. But even though he had the whole Judean countryside and everyone from Jerusalem coming to him, he knew his place. He didn’t need to brag about being used by God, he waited and let Jesus be the one to lift John up. Are we willing to do the same?

John knew he had to do his part, and then Jesus would do His: John knew his baptism was of water (repentance) as well as knowing that Jesus had a more powerful baptism (baptism of the Holy Spirit). That didn’t lead John to sit around and say “Hey, when the Messiah comes, his deal is so much more powerful, let’s just wait on it.” He did his part, led people to repentance and prepared them for what Jesus would do next. God won’t do our part but He will do immeasurably greater things with it.

Those are random thoughts There is so much more about John the Baptist we can learn from. I suggest doing your own study, see what qualities he had that made Jesus say this about him and then share your findings below…. More importantly, will you adopt John’s qualities to follow the Lord?

The Shepherd’s Fellowship

 

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Being in the position I am in, I tend to talk with people about a lot about different churches and why they go there. If I am going to be bluntly honest, I get concerned about some of the answers I receive. I have people talking to me about being spiritually dry but they don’t want to address it because….

– their family goes there and they will get a guilt trip if they move

– they are so involved in commitments to roles in the church, they don’t want to let anyone down

– they are groupies of the worship band or the personality of the pastor

– it’s close to home

– the church has great and entertaining things for our kids

– the church is big enough that they don’t bother me to get involved

The cold hard truth is that while some of these things might have merit within the balance of a healthy church (some not all), if you are spiritually dry or worse yet, comfortable and you are not making a change because of the above or similar excuses, there is a concern.

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The last Rise message before the big wrap up! This one covers one fo the most important topics….. Christian Community. Do you need to go to church? What if I’m not happy at my church? Can’t two Christians being together be “church”? What should church be like and what’s the point?

 

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