Fully Devoted Follower

Being a fully devoted follower of Christ doesn’t mean you’re perfect. But a fully devoted follower is easy to identify. You can think of it like this, “A fully devoted follower of Christ studies God’s Word and prays daily, is involved with other Believers as they work together to share the love of Christ in their community; and actively seeks to make God-honoring choices in their life.”

Here’s another way to say it.

A Healthy Appetite + Healthy Activity + Healthy Choices = Fully Devoted Follower of Christ

Healthy Appetite

For a fully devoted follower of Christ a healthy appetite means you have a hunger for God’s Word and prayer. There is within you a constant desire for spiritual things and the classic spiritual disciplines of the faith. Someone with a healthy appetite will learn to feed themselves through personal Bible Study and devotionals. Prayer won’t be the emergency phone call in times of crisis, but will be a pattern for every day life. A healthy appetite for spiritual things doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect. But it does mean you will, on your own, be growing closer to God each day.

Healthy Activity

For a fully devoted follower of Christ healthy activity is church involvement, service in your community, and an intentional effort to share the gospel. When Believers come together for worship, to study Scripture, for accountability and to minister in their community we are called the Church. As the Church we discover, develop and deploy our abilities, experiences, resources and spiritual gifts in order to meet the needs of others. Every Believer should connect with the church in at least three unique ways:

  • Small group Bible study – this is a place to build lasting friendships as we study the Word of God together.
  • Worship Services – this is the place Believers come together to express praise and thanksgiving to God as we are challenged by God’s Word to fulfill our unique mission within our community.
  • Individual Connection – Whatever your age or stage of spiritual development you can find a place within the church for an individual connection that is uniquely ‘you’! For new Believers this connection may be a discipleship class designed to strengthen your faith in specific and practical ways. For more mature Believers it may be leading a ministry team, while every Believer can add value to others by serving as a volunteer in the ministry that fits you!

Healthy Choices

For a fully devoted follower of Christ healthy choices are choices that reflect obedience to God’s Word. The things you do to feed your healthy appetite, the opportunities you take for healthy activity, these will help you make healthy choices as you grow in Christ. None of us are perfect, but as we grow in Christ we should eventually learn to avoid those things that trip us up and pursue those things that bring glory to God — that’s what making healthy choices is all about.

Are you a fully devoted follower of Christ? What’s holding you back? Ask God to give you a healthy appetite. Begin taking part in healthy activity and discipline yourself to make right choices. Through the power of God you can become the person God designed you to be!

OneChurch

OneChurchI often wonder if the church we see today is the church Jesus had in mind. Scripture tells us a lot about Christ’s heart for the Church. Jesus died for the Church. When He returns He’s coming for the Church. In John 17 His prayer was for the unity of the Church.

The Church we’re talking about isn’t the building you come to on a Sunday morning or your denominational affiliation. This, big ‘C’, Church is the one described in Scripture as the body and bride of Christ.

In John 17:21 Jesus prays that His people would be one so that the world would believe. When I look at the church today we’re far from one. At best we’re a fractured picture of the beauty of Christ.

So here’s what I wonder…Is it possible for all these individual churches, with their different denominations and doctrinal stands, to come together in order to fulfill Scripture and impact this generation with the gospel, grace and love of Jesus Christ?

I believe it is. What if every church, regardless of denomination or creed would agree to move beyond the walls that separate us in order to work together to accomplish those things that unite us? What if we recognized that we are not, like so many businesses, competing organizations but each individually members of the big ‘C’ Church. We are designed to serve with one another. God built us to be better together.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful to see churches of various denominations and sizes, from different parts of town, socioeconomic status, race and creed come together in order to demonstrate to the world the loving kindness and grace of God through Jesus Christ? I could see it starting right here in Green Country. It begins with common belief…

“We are The Church in Green Country – a network of self-governing, local communities of Believers individually expressing our worship to God, ministry to people, and faith in Jesus Christ as we collaborate, cooperate and communicate with one another in order to fulfill God’s passion for this region.”

Eventually this relationship could become more clearly defined by the core beliefs and core values on which we all agree. For example…regardless of denomination or church affiliation every church can affirm core values such as:

  • Prayer
  • Volunteer & Leadership Development
  • Social Justice

Imagine the influence leveraged by each church collaborating, cooperating and communicating with one another in order to meet the needs of our community as we each share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s as simple as this: Jesus prayed for unity. We should live it.

We are better together.

God Bless,
Chad

Going Dark

1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.”

I’ve heard about spies and under cover operatives – police officers – who ‘Go Dark’ – it means they cut off all contact & communication with their handlers, head quarters and home base. It’s while they’ve gone dark that they face their greatest risk. During this time they are:

  1. Vulnerable to attack.
  2. Susceptible to temptation
  3. Alone – completely alone.

What happens when a spy ‘goes dark’ is rarely good.

Going Dark seems to be a consistent choice of some who call themselves Believers today. For reasons I’m certain they consider necessary many will separate themselves from their church, their family and their God – during this time they will face their greatest risk. They are:

  1. Vulnerable to attack.
  2. Susceptible to temptation.
  3. Completely alone.

It’s an odd choice to make, but I see church members make this choice all the time. 1 John 1:5 says that with God you will NEVER go dark. 1 John 1:6 is even more convicting. It says if you say you follow God then choose to go dark that you are a liar who doesn’t practice the truth.

Today, may you walk in the light. No matter your circumstance may you see that choosing to ‘go dark’ is really no choice at all. May you resist temptation, be invulnerable to attack and recognize that with God, and His people – you are never alone.

Have you been through a dark time? How did you get out? Use the comments area to share your story.

Going Dark

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A Word to the Wise

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him.

Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I remember hearing the story of Solomon when I was a kid in Sunday School. I always thought it was cool that God would grant this young king one wish. I also thought Solomon’s wish was pretty cool. He asked for wisdom. God liked Solomon’s choice too. He gave him wisdom and with that wisdom Solomon became the wisest King of Israel. During his reign his nation knew peace and prosperity. He was famous all over the world (and in some cities!). His fame and fortune seemed to know no end. All this was the result of wisdom.

As I read the book of Proverbs, a book written mostly by Solomon, some common patterns and themes surface. One of the things I notice is the many elements of wisdom Solomon discusses. Let’s break it down.

  • Knowledge – That’s facts and figures. It’s knowing stuff about stuff. It’s the kind of information you acquire by reading, studying, going to school or practicing a skill.
  • Understanding – This is comprehension. Once you’ve got the facts and figures do you comprehend their significance? It’s one thing to know E=MC2. Understanding the significance of that little formula is something completely different.
  • Insight – These are those wonderful leaps of logic. It’s what happens when you hear about ‘A’ and ‘B’ and based on that alone you somehow, intuitively know that ‘Z’ will be true. It’s what happens when knowledge and understanding meet creativity. Think of it like this, Knowledge + Understanding + Creativity = Insight.
  • Discernment – This is knowing right from wrong, good from bad, benevolent from malevolent. It’s knowing what’s useful and what’s harmful. Discernment allows you to determine the value of what you know.
  • Discretion – There’s an old song, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run…” That’s discretion. How public or private should what you just learned remain? Is your new found knowledge for public consumption or is it for you alone? That’s discretion.
  • Wisdom – If all these other definitions are true then wisdom is very simply knowing what to do with what you know. These other 5 skills are useful but they find their greatest strength and their greatest value when they come together. It’s this gestalt that makes wisdom – someone who is well informed, with a clear understanding of the matters at hand; able to presume right answers in the absence of every fact; and determine the value of what they know; with the discretion to know when and how to reveal it: That’s wisdom – knowing what to do with what you know.

So today – may you be wise. May God grant you one wish and may your wish be wise. May you receive the knowledge, understanding, insight, discernment and discretion you need to choose rightly, live wisely and walk humbly with your God.

Leave a comment and tell me what you would wish for if God gave you one wish.

God Bless,
Chad

Laminin

This is Laminin. It’s a glycoprotein that organizes and holds together every cell in your body. Notice anything about its shape? Watch this video to discover more.

Worship God…

Love y’all, God Bless,
Chad

Lead Where You Are

A lot of us are familiar with the stories of David. How, as a young man he was anointed the future King of Israel. How he defeated Goliath. How he served in Saul’s Court and how the life of a simple shepherd boy grew to be the story of a legendary king. Even before he had the crown, David was an incredible leader if not an unusual one. Here’s the Word on David.

I Samuel 16:7 & 12 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature…for the LORD does not see as man sees; for many look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart…So he sent and brought in [David]. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”

Several things about this story I find interesting.

First, the obvious: God’s not looking for those who seem to be the best and the brightest. He’s looking for someone whose heart is fully His. I Corinthians chapter one reminds us that if God can do anything with absolutely nothing then surely He can do something with me! What’s in your heart?

Next, the subtle: Samuel must be thick-headed. God says, “Don’t look at his appearance, look at His heart.” Yet what does Samuel describe when he meets David? “He’s ruddy, bright-eyed and good looking!” I think we do the same thing. We say, “Yes God, I’ll look at the heart.” Then we look around and see the well spoken, well educated, well equipped, highly resourced world around us and think – If I want to be successful in God’s eyes I’ve got to be like them! Nothing could be further from the truth. If you want to be successful in God’s eyes stop trying to look like them and start trying to look like HIM!

Now, the sublime: “I’m anointed, now what!?” It must have been David’s first thought. “I’m anointed to be King. I’m anointed to lead. I’m anointed to be God’s man for such a time as this. So, what do I do now?” And Samuel tells us. David went right back to tending sheep. As a Believer in Jesus Christ you have been anointed with the Holy Spirit of God. Now what? As the anointed King of Israel, David served as a Shepherd. It was years and many seemingly insurmountable challenges later that David actually took the crown as King.

That’s what we mean when we say ‘Lead Where You Are’. As a Believer in Jesus Christ you’ve been anointed with His Holy Spirit. Lead where you are. You’ve been given immeasurable grace, unrelenting mercy, overwhelming resources, inconceivable authority and unending power. You may not be King yet…God’s purpose may not be for you to be King ever. Be He has a purpose for you nonetheless and He has anointed you, and you alone to fulfill it. Lead where you are.

The book of Acts tells us that David served God in his generation. That service didn’t begin with a crown. It began with a shepherd’s crook. It began when He was anointed by the power of God for the purpose of God. You too are one of God’s anointed – whether you’re shepherd or king, lead where you are.

Love y’all, God Bless,
Chad

Enough

I’ve never been especially brilliant. Nor am I particularly daft. It is not false modesty for me to admit the universe of things I’m either ignorant of or too slow to fully understand. Neither is it boastful to recognize that in some topics I’m nearly an expert. I may not be the smartest guy in the room; nevertheless I’ve always been smart enough.

The same is true for me physically. I’ll never be the solid mass of manhood that is Rick Cuccio or Arnold Schwarzenegger, but somehow, to accomplish that which is important to me, I’ve always been strong enough.

What about goodness? I’m a pastor. People, perhaps rightly so, expect more from me morally than they do others. I know my own heart and the ugliness it contains. While I would never claim to be as good as I ought to be or maybe even as good as I appear to be, I’ve always been good enough.

How about my relationship with God? There’s a fairly long list of evil I’ve never done. Sins to make Hollywood proud and my mother blush are sins I’ve mostly managed to avoid. Even so, while I may not be purely evil, I’ve been evil enough.

I’ve been sinful enough; sinful enough to grieve the heart of God, sinful enough to break my relationship with Him, sinful enough to need His grace and mercy…sinful enough.

So I see then a pattern of mediocrity. In the name of effectiveness I go to school to get smarter. I work out to get stronger. I choose wisely to reap the rewards of goodness and I pray and repent to be right with God. However, in the name of efficiency I catch myself stopping short. Rather than pressing on toward greatness I become satisfied with enough; enough to get by, enough to get the job done, enough to appear good, enough to feel right. I settle for enough.

Does this make me an average Saint or an average sinner?

As a church we are going through a season of repentance and revival. I’m not talking about a pre-planned moving of the Holy Spirit or some contrived series of emotional meetings placed on a calendar. It’s also not about pastor kickin’ it up a notch or the music being especially moving. These things may happen, but this season of repentance and revival is so much more that that. It is a calling, a challenge really, from the very heart of God; to pursue holiness, to live rightly, to do justly, and to walk humbly with our God.

In this season enough is not enough. Go deeper. You may be an average sinner, but don’t settle for being an average Saint. Don’t shrink back from the heavy introspection that often attends repentance. Open yourself completely to Him; discover the glory that comes from being filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. Like the song says, “Surrender your all today.” I can assure you, once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never get enough.

Love y’all, God Bless,
Chad