Friday, January 28, 2011

Instant Discipleship

SOCIAL MEDIA! It’s all the rage! All you have to do is click on the Like button, the Follow button or the Friend button and you become a Follower. Instant Discipleship! You don’t even have to add water and stir!
But is it Really Discipleship?
The Pharisees considered themselves Disciples of Moses, but I’m not sure old Mo would claim them. And I am quite sure there are folks who call themselves Disciples of Jesus about whom there will come a day when he says to those who claim to have acted in His name, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
     What does a Genuine Disciple do? What makes a real disciple different from the fake kind? What is at the heart of True Discipleship?
First, it’s a matter of “Being” before “Doing.” Jesus said, “You must BE born again.” Paul wrote, “Let this mind BE in you which was in Christ Jesus.” You may be able to act differently than your nature for a while but eventually your actions will speak volumes about who you are!
So, secondly, being a true disciple because your faith is in Christ, should lead to Doing the works of the Disciple. Didn’t Zaccheus give back what he stole? Didn’t Peter change his ways after denying Christ three times?The True disciple begins to act like one and that’s where the Disciplines of Discipleship come in.

 Remember Breath, Eat, Run?
Just as physical growth requires Breathing, Eating, and Exercise, so does spiritual growth. But for our spirits, breathing is living in and practicing God’s presence. Eating is taking in God’s word both to understand what He has said and to let it affect our hearts and lives. Exercise is how we keep from getting spiritually fat. We share, give, act, do, and run the race set before us.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eat Pray Love Or Breathe Eat Run

Breathe, Eat, Run

Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Love, Pray, (if you can call a story by a 30 something a memoir) retells her journey from a marriage and existence in which she was very sad, to learning to eat in Italy, pray in the east, and love again.
Its interesting, but it's also the journey of a person of means and out of reach to most people. Not that the feelings she wrote about are out of reach but gee, half the fun is the travel right?

The word of God leads us in a different direction to fulfillment. Not to criticize Italian food by any means but there IS a better food out there to be had.

But before we eat we must breathe.
The essential element, not only of life but also of growth, is breathing.
God uses breath, wind and breathing often to demonstrate His presence and existence.
And breathing is not only essential for physical life but also for our spiritual lives.

Consider these scriptures:
Gen 2:7  then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man
became a living creature.
Psa 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Joh 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit...

We need to breathe in the breath of God; His Spirit, through His word, His grace, and His presence. When we pray, meditate on the Lord or His word, when we attune our ears to His voice; when we worship and exalt, or poor out bitter tears to Him, we are breathing.

After Breathing, We must eat to live and to grow. Our feeding, our nourishment is His Word. It sustains us and builds us up.
Consider these verses:

1Pe 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
Jer 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.
1Co 3:2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,
Jesus also said, Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. 
That's another clear reference to God's word being our spiritual food. We have to eat. It's a necessity for Growth and life. We cannot starve ourselves from God's word and expect to thrive!

But after all that eating we need to exercise, so I say Run! Run with the Wind (breath, Spirit). 

1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old-womanish tales, and exercise yourself to godliness.
Act 24:16 And in this I exercise myself, always to have a blameless conscience toward God and men.
1Co 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

There are many ways to use that food and breath you have been receiving. Exercise your Faith in God. Exercise your lips and speak for God. Exercise your talents, time, temple, and treasure for God.
But don't, whatever you do, eat and eat without exercising. Then you become a Phat Pharisee!

But Before you can Breathe in His Presence, and Eat up His Word, and Run in the strength of God, you must be born. There is no ongoing life without birth and there is no Growth without birth. Birth only comes by the wooing love of God, that draws us to Himself and by repentance from sin and self, and through faith in the Lord Christ, we are saved by His grace!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Prayer for the First Continental Congress

A Prayer from the First Continental Congress

A "Guest" blog today from Randy Alcorn's EPM ministries.

In light of the 112th Congress opening today, here is the prayer that opened the First Continental Congress on September 7, 1774.  May we be encouraged to pray that our leaders will have the same dependence upon God as these men did during very difficult times.
PrayerO Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
Reverend Jacob Duché
Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 7, 1774, 9 a.m.