Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Source

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 ESV)

Disciples of Christ are God's fruit bearing branches to the world, and we are called to bear fruit that brings refreshment and healing to the Nations. God molds our lives through trials, into the likeness of his Son, by pruning us so that we might bear good fruit. Without God's keeping and sustaining power we wouldn't be able to walk in love, and would have nothing of eternal value to give to the world. Our lives should continually bring attention to the Source of our vitality...the Vine. 

We must make Christ our"magnificent obsession" and take hold of what some have called the 'beatific vision" This vision of the beauty and the majesty of Christ sustains us and empowers us for ministry to others. 

We can sometimes forget the Source of our life by trying to live  morally upright lives in our own strength. When we find ourselves in this place we must repent and return to Jesus the giver of life. Seeking to live a moral life in our own natural strength apart from the Holy Spirit is idolatry. To avoid this pitfall we must live in humble submission to the Father like Jesus did. - Bobby

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Meditation on The Gospel

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:3-8 ESV)

The Gospel is life giving and life transforming truth. If spiritual transformation has not taken place in your life, you haven't experienced the truth of the Gospel. The hope of believing the Gospel is a slow but fruitful journey that conforms us into the image of Jesus. The word Gospel means "Good News." It is the proclamation of the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we could become part of God's family. When this Gospel message is believed, it sets into motion a life that will be changed forever. Our initial response to this message is faith and repentance. This faith and repentance and trust in Jesus, changes our perspective on life and our worldview. 

When we receive this Gospel message we receive Jesus as Lord (God incarnate). We are now reconciled to God through his son, Jesus and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. At this point we desire to do good works for God such as, helping to alleviate suffering in all of its forms, and to seek justice in the earth. But it's important to know that these good works are not the Gospel, but are the fruit of the Gospel. In fact good works that are done apart from Jesus are only temporal and will ultimately have no eternal value. The world desperately needs to be reconciled to God through his son, Jesus. Society will never be effectively changed apart from receiving and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. - Bobby

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dying Daily By Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"In life with Jesus Christ, death as a general fate approaching us from without is confronted by death from within, one’s own death, the free death of daily dying with Jesus Christ. Those who live with Christ die daily to their own will. Christ in us gives us over to death so that he can live within us. Thus our inner dying grows to meet that death from without. Christians receive their own death in this way and in this way our physical death very truly becomes not the end but rather the fulfillment of our life with Jesus Christ. Here we enter into community with the One who at his own death was able to say, ‘It is finished.’”  - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Resist The Devil — James 4:7 and Other Verses by Craig Keener

James contrasts the peaceful wisdom which is from God (3:13, 17-18; “from above” was a typical Jewish way of saying, “from God”) with the contentious wisdom which is from the devil (3:14-15). Then he warns his audience not to try to hold both perspectives as if they were compatible. Those who try to follow both God’s and the world’s wisdom at the same time are spiritual adulteresses (4:4).

Submitting to God and resisting the devil (4:7), then, is rejecting the world’s evil way of treating one another and preferring the gentle approach that comes from God. To adopt this new way of treating others requires repentance (4:8-10).

1 Peter refers to a situation in which Christians are being persecuted (1 Pet 4:12-16); in 1 Peter 5:8-9, the devil apparently seeks to crush believers by seeking to turn them from the faith. Resisting him therefore means withstanding the persecution.

In the context of Ephesians 4:27, one resists the devil by refusing to deceive or stay angry with one’s fellow-believers (4:25-26); in the whole context of Ephesians, this is part of “spiritual warfare” (6:11-14, 18).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30 ESV)
The mind is the sanctuary where our thoughts are formed and where both holy and unholy actions originate. The world around us with all it's messages that are contrary to God, dominate the media, arts, and entertainment industry. Both conservative and liberal media often send out messages that are in opposition to the Kingdom of God. To be Kingdom minded is to be heavenly minded. Someone who is heavenly minded, contrary to popular belief is of more earthly good, than those with a materialistic anti-supernatural mindset.

The gospel changes our minds when we believe it. Our worldview and our way of thinking about relationships, culture, life, and death, are radically affected. We were created by God for his good pleasure, and to worship and know him. Unlike the atheistic worldview we have a purpose and a reason to live. As created beings in the image of God our lives are significant no matter what our station in life is.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV)

We were commissioned to subdue the earth, to be fruitful, and to multiply. God gave us dominion over his creation, but we must also take dominion over our minds to be used for his glory. But a mind that is not renewed by his Word and Spirit becomes darkened. And God is light and he has called us to walk in the light. If we choose to walk in darkness we will not be able to use our minds to love God, and "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." - Bobby