I Want to Know Christ

  1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 12; Philippians 3   “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14 “…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…I want to know Christ…” Philippians 3:12, 10 Rehoboam’s mother was an Ammonite and his extended family included worshipers of many gods other than Yahweh. He didn’t see his father Solomon, seeking the Lord beyond the required annual feasts and sacrifices. Rehoboam’s heart was divided until he experienced the discipline of the Lord through the invasion of Pharaoh. Sometimes it takes a crisis in our lives to remind us that it is only the living God who can satisfy our soul’s longings. The apostle Paul met Christ on the Damascus Road while on a mission to arrest and kill Christians. Paul spent the rest of his life pursuing and seeking Jesus in order to know him better. His visions from Jesus and his incredible encounters with Christ were not the high points of his life. There were s

Serving Attitude

1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10-11; Philippians 2   “…’If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.’” 1 Kings 12:7 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…” Philippians 2:5, 7 Leadership that wins the hearts of people must serve them. Rehoboam’s rejection of the counsel of the elders to serve Israel divided the nation and almost ended his leadership journey. New leaders are most vulnerable in the first chapter of their tenure. Who will they listen to? When our attitude is like Jesus, we, too, will realize life is not about us, but about God and his kingdom. Christ took the nature of a servant, won our salvation, and was given all authority. His path of servant- leadership is our path as well if we are citizens of his kingdom. What attitude shifts are we being invited into in our spheres of leadership? “Lord Jesus, I humble my

Suffering as a Gift

Song 5-8; Philippians 1 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29, 30 The suffering for the gospel that the Philippian church was experiencing was granted, or gifted, to them by God. This suffering was not an indication of failure on their part, but a sign that the impact of the gospel was threatening the principalities and powers. Suffering on behalf of Christ points others to Christ and causes them to wonder at the value of Christ’s presence in our lives. We only suffer for those things we highly value. Paul’s imprisonment in Rome gave him a platform to speak to Caesar’s court and the leading officials of the empire. The glory of Rome was being opposed by a little Jewish follower of Jesus who was ready to die with love, humility, and boldness for the gospel.   Are we engaged in the struggle for the gospel, or h

Gospel Shoes

  Song 1-4; Ephesians 6 “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 As we walk into situations, conversations, and opportunities, are we always ready to live the “gospel of peace” in the way of Jesus? We don’t put on the same footwear for all activities. However, for those transformed by Christ’s gospel, our feet have been custom fitted with “gospel shoes” that suit our style and size. These shoes first protect us from stumbling stones and sharp penetrating words because they remind us, we have been adopted into God’s family and we belong. We have experienced peace with God through Jesus. These “gospel shoes” also empower us to walk toward others, knowing we have been reconciled by Jesus, who is our peace. Finally, these “gospel shoes” propel us onto the mountains of business, education, government, and culture with a transformative message of peace. Are we aware that our feet have been fitted with the readiness that comes from th

The Lord Does See

  Ecclesiastes 10-12; Psalms 94; Ephesians 5   “O Lord, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth…They say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed.’…Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?...Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord; the man you teach from your law;” Psalm 94:1, 7, 10, 12 God’s judgments are based on justice and loving kindness and can be fully trusted. When it seems evil goes unpunished, we can despair, or try to take justice into our own hands. However, those who know God fear the Lord. We willingly receive his discipline in our lives because we know we will grow in wisdom and knowledge through it. We work for justice and righteousness in our land because we recognize God disciplines nations, and we would rather live under his hand of blessing. As we pray for our lives, our families, our community, and our nation, we pray for God’s ways to be known and followed, so many others would experience the b

A Body that is Serving and Growing

  Ecclesiastes 7-9; Ephesians 4   “There is one body and one Spirit…But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:4, 7, 11, 12, 15 The picture of the Body of Christ, the Church, is one of unity and diversity - one Body, one Spirit, one Head, and many different grace-filled gifts and functions. The purpose of the five-fold leadership gifts is equipping for service so that the Body becomes strong and mature in Christ. This is not a consumer church, always feeding and never contributing. This is a Body-in-training for service and assignments which contribute to building up the Body. It’s as we serve, that we grow. Christ our Head, came to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit

Deep Waters, Spacious Places

Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalms 18; Ephesians 3   “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me…He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16, 17, 19 Many of God’s servants can testify that in their moments or seasons of greatest need, they cried out to the Lord, and he drew them out of “deep waters” and brought them into a “spacious place”. When we place our lives into the hands of God, he becomes our shield, our fortress, and our deliverer. It is the sovereign hand of God on our lives which is our greatest source of confidence and strength. God allows tests, deep waters, and strong opponents to test and refine our faith. He wants to know where our confidence is placed. Often a very confining test is followed by a spacious place and our confidence in the Lord is rewarded. Where do we find ourselves on the journey of faith? “Lord