Everyday Christianity

So here’s the thing about being a Christian in everyday life: if we are really born-again and saved by the blood of Jesus, we are different the rest of the world and we need to live different from the rest of the world.

To be a Christian in everyday life doesn’t mean just going to church, reading the Bible and praying “in Jesus’ name”. It means living with love, peace, and joy. It means living with an eye to eternal things.

Being a Christian means always living to please God and show God’s unconditional love to other people.

When Christians have often gotten a bad name is when we espouse a certain set of methods, rituals, and language but have not been people of love and grace. The bride of Christ has been hated sometimes not because we looked like Jesus but because we looked like the world. If we are hated because of love and holiness, we can praise God that we have been counted among those persecuted because we imitated Jesus. But if we are known for judgmentalism, a critical spirit, gossip, slander, negativity or anger, how tragic, certainly this is not what Christianity is about!

So, please, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ:

  1. First, ask the Lord if you are indeed a child of God and not merely a person following certain religious ideas. Scripture says that the Holy Spirit of God will confirm in our spirit if we are children of God and this only comes by being born again. If you don’t know, please talk to a pastor or go to www.godlife.com for more information.
  2. Second, ask the Lord to show you if in any way you are compromising with the world. To claim to follow Christ, but then to actually act and react like the world and the devil is a travesty and will bring devastation upon our own heads.
  3. Third, ask the Lord to help love and holiness to be the motive of your heart and the goal to which you aspire. Since God Himself is holy, perfect love, if God is in us and we obey what He shows us, then we can actually live out love and holiness in our everyday life.

So this week, make sure to love every person in front of you: friend, enemy, family, and stranger.

This week, be sure to react in a way that is holy and righteous. Let all of your dealings be full of integrity and honesty.

Always ask the Lord to help you have a motive of glorifying Him and of holy love.

Everyday Christianity has power and tremendous influence when it is full of Jesus’ love and holiness. Your life can help other people get a new life even as God is praised if we simply let Christ shine through in everything we do!

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Safe in my Father’s arms

There is a song by Christian singing group “Sanctus Real” that is entitled “Safe in my Father’s Arms”. It contains a great message about knowing we are loved by the King, that we are offered hope in God and that we are invited to become God’s children. It is a great song that reminds us of a powerful truth.

I would like to briefly talk about that truth.

Safety and security are important things to us. We want to know that nothing bad is going to happen to our kids, spouse or even ourselves.

We try to ensure ourselves against negative things and further we try and buffer ourselves to possibly prevent those negative things from happening at all.

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Does my heart break for the lost?

Without a deep and driving inner fire and passion to help the people who are lost in their sins and stresses and the trappings of this world, how will we ever make any inroads or take seriously the missionary call God has placed on each of us?

What if we acted as if the only reason our church was here was for the lost and hurting people around us? What if we acted like the only two choices we have as a church is to either reach the lost with the gospel or close the church? What if we prayed for the lost like we pray for ourselves when we are severely sick and in pain or when our loved one is diagnosed with cancer? What if we cared so little about our own lives that we didn’t care if we were mocked, ridiculed, persecuted or  “not liked” or even considered a “weirdo” or “religious nut”. Only when we don’t care about our own temporary and earthly life will we ever be able to be an effective tool in the hand of our Savior.

Do I care too much about my life? Yes!

How can I not care about my life? How can I not care what happens to me in this life? How can I not care what others say to me or about me? How can I not care if pain or suffering comes my way so long as the people around me have the opportunity to be saved and set free? May it be that God helps me to follow Jesus’ example and empty myself and take the very nature of a servant.

Lord help me to not care about myself. Help me to care so much about them that I don’t care at all about myself and what I want and what I like and what makes me happy in this life. Lord help me to weep for the lost. Break my heart for the lost. Let me pour out my life as you did for the sake of all those who are lost and headed for hell.

The importance of recieving

People have made some amazing things. The automobile, the computer, donuts, chocolate bars: all of these are amazing and are a testament to the creativity of those who made them. More important though, than any of the fun, cool and amazing things that people have made, are the things that God has given us:

  • God has given us life.
  • He has created for us an amazing place to live (earth).
  • God has shaped and formed our bodies.
  • He has given us family and friends to share our lives with.

The lists go on and on of what God has given to us. Even the things that people have made were only possible because of the wisdom, time and resources that God availed to them.

This week I would encourage you to remember that what God gives is more important by far than anything you and I can make. We can sit down and think about things, dream about what we can do with our own strength and wisdom and yet if we receive from the Lord, what He offers will be far greater than our best efforts.

Who wouldn’t want to receive from the storehouses of God’s kingdom the gifts of mercy, grace, love, wisdom, provision? Who wouldn’t want to receive the fruits of the Spirit? If you and I would spend less time trying to make something of ourselves and create a name or image for ourselves and instead simply trust God and avail ourselves to Him, I believe we would be surprised at all the amazing things God would give us. God gives good gifts to His children and to those who ask Him and the reason He does this is because He is love and He wants us to participate in His happy-ness.

So, again, this week, work not for what you can create in your own mini “tower of Babel” and instead consecrate afresh and anew, everything in your life and being to God and then let God fill your life and being with all of the wonderful gifts that He prepared beforehand for you to walk in!

To be a missionary

Being a missionary

It’s not enough to pass people and think

  • “They may be going through difficulties”
  • “They need Jesus”
  • “Jesus can save them”
  • “Jesus can give them purpose and meaning”
  • “If they would call on the name of the Lord they will be saved”
  • “Jesus can set them free”

Thinking these thoughts can

  • Encourage us in our own faith
  • Deepen our compassion
  • Compel us to pray more
  • Convict us of our own need to accept/receive the same
  • Motivate us to proactively connect, engage and serve

But the thoughts in and of themselves do not make me a missionary

Neither do platitudes, niceties, politeness or neighborliness in and of themselves make me a missionary. Indeed being kind and compassionate, gentle and loving are non-negotiables for the Christian and inseparably intertwined with being a witness, evangelist, and missionary. However, thinking true thoughts and living a lifestyle of kindness and love does not make me a missionary.

To be a missionary, first I must hear and accept the call of God to be not only a disciple but also an apostle (which all believers are called to). I must recognize that from the beginning Jesus called disciples whom He instructed that He would make “Fishers of Men”. His training and sending took place all through His earthly ministry and culminated in a commissioning with authority and the power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses even to “the uttermost parts of the earth”.

Second, to be a missionary, I must begin to go to the people I am sent to. Politicians seem to understand that to know their constituents they have to actually be with them, not only talking but listening also. Doctors recognize that to help their patients they have to dialogue about the symptoms. Retailers “get it” that in order to sell their products they have to engage the people so that the transaction and exchange of money for goods can take place. It seems that only in the church do people forget that the fulfillment of our purpose entails being with God and people.

It’s not enough to talk about God, we have to talk to Him. It’s not enough to talk about people’s needs, we have to talk to them. It’s not enough to be near God, we have to be with Him. It’s not enough to observe lost people from our insulated and isolated lives we have to rub shoulders with them and furthermore engage.

So, to be a missionary, we must hear and receive God’s call and we must go to the people we have been sent to.

Thirdly, to be a missionary, we must not only understand their language and hear their stories, but we also must give them the message Jesus gave us to pass along. We are His messengers and we simply must give the message. To be missionaries it is not enough to be near people, talk about the need, know about the culture, have pity/compassion towards lost and hurting people or even pray for the community around us. We must fearlessly declare to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. If not for this we may be theologians, we may cultural anthropologists or community organizers, but we will not be missionaries. To be a missionary we must work that God’s kingdom will come on earth, amongst these lost people, as in heaven. To be a missionary we have to immerse ourselves in their culture (whilst not partaking of the sinful things) we must interact and build relationships, we must listen as much as we talk and finally, we must tell the full message of this new life.

Dear Christian, may we remember that you and I are in a country that is not our own. Our country is in heaven, we are citizens of that place, but we are here as missionaries and we must act accordingly. The glory of God (in and through us) and the salvation of the lost and broken, hurting and enslaved depend on it!