Friday, November 20, 2009

Same Blog, New Look

As we near 2010, and as I gear up to launch this blog to the whole church as part of our Bible reading plan, I have decided to redo the layout. So for right now I wanted it to be simple and plain until I can figure out what I would like it to look like. Plus I haven't been feeling the other background for about a month now. Thanks for checking out all of my random thoughts posted on here over the past couple of months. I am excited to see what form it takes over the next couple of months.

Love your Brother

Last night I attended my weekly Bible study. The topic right now is grace, and we are going through the chapter on brotherly love. Last night we discussed what it means to love others, how to love others as ourselves, and how to love as Christ loved us. For some that can be a difficult thing.

Then this morning as I am doing my daily Bible reading, 1 John 3, and reading Vince’s thoughts on it, I came across something much related to last night. In 1 John 3:16-20 we find out what true love is … Jesus laid down his life for usthat we ought to lay down our lives for our brotherslet us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. When we love in these ways John says that is how we know we belong to truth.

John is connecting our confidence in Salvation, our belonging to God, in how we love others. How are you doing at loving others? Are you laying down your life for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you laying down your wants and desires to see others brought to Christ? How are you doing at loving others?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pruned to be Persecuted?

So each day I follow a Bible reading plan used by Vince Antonucci. Today’s reading is found in John 15. As I was reading the passage three things stuck out to me. Jesus is talking to his disciples, who are twelve men living life with Jesus. In John 14 Jesus drops a bomb on them … eventually he is going to leave them and after he is gone the counselor is going to come.

Then in chapter 15 he compares himself to a vine, and God as the gardener. Any good gardener knows that to get healthy plants that bear much fruit there must be pruning taking place. Jesus says in Vs. 2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” As the passage reads on Jesus talks about loving his disciples, and that true love is found when one lays his life down for the other. That is just what Jesus is going to do. Then Jesus says in Vs. 16 “You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.” Then the discussion takes a hard turn.

In the next part of this discussion Jesus then tells his disciples that they are going to get persecuted because they belong to Jesus. As they go out to teach and preach the good news in the coming days and years, they are going to face trials because of Jesus. At this point if I was one of the disciples I might want to raise my hand and be like the dead branch that gets cut off.

In essence what Jesus is saying to his disciples is this, I have picked you, loved you, taught you, and now once I leave God is going to prune you into something amazing, so that you can go out and be persecuted, maybe even killed in my name. What a tough calling. What a challenging calling. What a noble calling. Are we praying each day that God will prune us so that we will bear fruit that will last? Are we praying each day that God will prune us so that as we share Jesus name we might just be persecuted? What an honor that would be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Solid Foundation

One of the things I believe strongly in is a firm foundation. No organization can be effective without a firm foundation. One look at my beloved Cleveland Browns will reaffirm my beliefs. There is no firm foundation with the Browns, and because of that, they may be one of the biggest laughing stocks of the entire NFL.

There is no more important organization out there than Christ’s Church. Without a firm foundation, the church cannot be as successful as it desires to be. What is the Churches’ foundation? It is Jesus Christ. It is living the Great Commission. It is knowing how you are going to love Jesus and tell people about Him. It is having a vision of how you will be successful as a church.

Jesus teaches in Matthew 7 about the wise and foolish builders. One man built his house on the sand, when the rains came, the winds blew, and the streams rose, the house eventually fell down. Another man built his house on the rock. Jesus describes it this way. “The rains 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.”

Does your church have its foundation on the rock? Do you know the vision of your church? Do you know where your church is going? Do you know how your church is trying to reach people far from God? Does your church share that vision repeatedly? If not, you need to start asking for one.