Thursday, April 18, 2013

Being Passionate about Christ

Noah was so passionate in his faith and belief in the Lord that when the Lord commanded him to build and ark and prepare for a flood (mind you at this point it had never rained) he was obedient. Genesis 6.

Abraham was so passionately devoted in his love for God, he trusted God when He told him to sacrifice his son.  Trusting God to fulfill his promise that he would have descendants as many as the stars in the sky. Genesis 15 and 22

Moses was so passionate in his devotion to God that time and time again he went before Pharaoh (even after he begged God to send someone else) as the Lord instructed him and demanded "Let my people go"! Exodus 4.

Ruth was so passionate in her love and conviction for her mother in law that she followed her out of her own lands, away from her own people.  She married Boaz and bore Obed, the father, of Jesse, who was the father of King David, whom our wonderful Savior is a direct descendant! Ruth 4

David was so passionate for the Lord when they moved the Ark of the Covenant he danced in just a linen ephod (I'm guessing like under clothes)!  And his own wife showed him contempt! 2 Samuel 6  David had so much passion for the Lord. We could talk about just him all day!

Isaiah was so passionate for the Lord, that when the Lord asked "Whom should I send as a messenger to the people?"  Isaiah "Here I am, SEND ME", Isaiah 6.

Jeremiah was so passionate for the Lord that he said His word was like a fire shut up in his bones! Jeremiah 20

Daniel was so passionate about the Lord that he would go to the lions den rather than give up his prayer to his God three times a day! Daniel 6

John the Baptist was so passionate that he cried out in the wilderness that the Messiah was coming. John 1


The disciples were so passionate that they dropped everything they were doing just to follow Him! Read the Gospels.

 Peter was so passionate about the Lord that he followed him out of the boat and walked on the water. Matthew 14

Paul was such a passionate man. Before his transformation on Damascus road, he was passionate about killing Christians.  However, after his experience and just a few days he IMMEDIATELY started preaching the gospel fueled by his passionate faith! Acts 9 Again, we could talk about Paul's passion for the Lord all day!

I could go on and on showing examples from the word and from modern times.  I know of several preachers of the Gospel that are so passionate about the cause of Christ that they eat, breathe, sleep, live to spread the Good News to ANYONE who will listen.  The list goes on, but what about you?  What about me?  Just how passionate are WE about the cause of Christ?

We had to start our journeys in Christ through faith.  Is your faith so strong and passionate that God's words burn in you?  That if you don't tell it, you feel like you are burning from the inside out??  Are you passionate enough to put Him at the forefront of you life, making the Lord the center of your life, your home?

As you move through your day, what are you passionate about?  Are you just as passionate about Christ?  I want my passion for Christ and His word to consume me from the inside out!  I want to be driven by my faith, by my passion to win the lost to Christ!

It's only about Him!  What are you passionate about?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Confidence: Do you have it?

I was asked to teach a CRAM (Christ's Redeemed And Mentored) class this next Sunday.  It's our college leadership training class that our youth pastor has started.  It's awesome.  I started praying about what the Lord wanted me to teach on and almost immediately in prayer I felt like He wanted me to teach on having confidence through the Lord.  Not just confidence in what the Lord can do, but what the Lord can do in us and with us.

I hear all the time things like "Man, I can't get up in front of people. I freeze" or "I freak out and shut down in front of lots of people" or "I don't know where to begin or even how to do that".  Most of us probably feel the same way to some degree.  However, I feel with strong conviction that when the Lord asks you to do something, it's not up to us to question it, just do it! Nike had it right with that one didn't they?

con·fi·dence  

/ˈkänfidəns/

Noun
  1. The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust:
  2. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
  3. Synonyms
    trust - faith - reliance - belief - credit - credence
As I started researching this topic I realized the bible has a lot to say about having confidence.  So I'm going to list several scriptures before I log off, but bring out a few that really struck home with me.

Of course if you have been in and around church at all we all know Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13

New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yes I can!  I can do it!  Not because I have the strength, but because God gives me the strength! Because when I put my complete dependence on and in Him, that is a game changer.  If you knew me pre-Jesus you would know just how fragile I was.  God has brought me through so many tests, trials, and sorrows, but through HIS strength I was able to endure.  You can too!  This wasn't just a promise for me, but for all of us. Doesn't matter what the situation (speaking in front of others, being bold, or just living a Christian life) is  HE gives us strength.

Confidence in and through Christ and the Holy Spirit leads us the boldness to complete the tasks He has given us.  The ultimate task, to win others to Him. 



John 15:1-8
New International Version (NIV)
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


So here it is "apart from me you can do nothing"!! WoW!  Do you understand that statement??? It doesn't matter how good or bad you are at ANYTHING,  because if you don't have Him, you can't do anything.  You won't make an impact and you won't reach souls.  We have to go into all things relying on Him and Him alone.  His words, His will, not our own.  We have to have REMAIN IN HIM, and He will REMAIN IN US!  This shouldn't be earth-shattering, but somehow we don't always get this concept.  Put the ego away, be it high or low self-esteem and let's get some GOD-ESTEEM in us!


Ephesians 3:7-13
The Message (MSG)
7-8 This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
8-10 And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along. Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!
11-13 All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don’t let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!

Paul understood that without God He could do nothing!  Yet he was preaching the gospel and winning souls for the Kingdom. I love how The Message bible interprets it, "And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ".  Understand this, God qualifies the unqualified.

When people say "I can't", well me either, but I know who can! We are ALL called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When God calls you to do something that is over your head, remember His goodness, His mercy, and inexhaustible riches and generosity.

Here are a few more scriptures that will shed light on this subject:

Hebrews 10:35-36
Romans 8:37
Proverbs 3:26
1 John 5:14-15
Hebrews 13:6
Isaiah 41:10
Philippians 1:6
Habakkuk 3:19
Zechariah 4:6
Isaiah 43:2
2 Corinthians 7:16
John 1:12
John 16:33

Lord, just let me have confidence through you.  To carry out the work you would have me to do.  Not my will, not my words, but let it all be you Lord.  Help me to stand firm, to be bold and courageous and shine your love to all I meet. AMEN!