Saturday, May 25, 2013

Only Change Comes from Jesus

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Ezekiel 36:26-27

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Behavior modification is not the will of God. Only Christ changes you and I. The weighty thought of Jesus saying , "Follow me," wasn't a comfortable walk in the park - it is a call to die. 

When we die to our flesh, we begin to look more and more like Christ - change. Do the changes happen immediately? Yes and No.

Yes, because when you repent and surrender your life to Christ, the Helper comes and dwells inside of us - change.

Oneness in Christ is critical here. Abiding in Him makes the change. Not you and I, but Him. 

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

No, because we slip away from what it looks like to be completely surrendered to Him minute by minute. Apart from Him, "we can do nothing." Are we still a new creation? Yes. We just decided we would let the flesh take a go at life instead of Jesus.

"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Romans 7:15

You and I, as believers and followers of Jesus Christ struggle between our flesh and in dwelling of the Holy Spirit (oneness in Christ) everyday. The question is, will you decide to let Him change you now. Not self-help books or behavior modifications, but true change in Jesus alone. He can!

 I am living proof. That's my story. A changed man in Jesus Christ. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

Rise: Galveston Student Camp 2013

This summer FBC Bremond, where I serve as the Minister to Families, will host its second Galveston Student Camp June 10-14.

This year we will be taking 21 students from the surrounding area. I did some thinking, most of these students come from broken homes: divorce, abuse, drugs, alcoholism, many never see  the other parent and some parents are in jail. 

Our students desperately need stability in Christ and His body (the church). It hurts my heart, but to know and point these students to our heavenly Father is what we get a chance to do, is comforting! What a compliment. God has entrusted us with a big job, but with Him nothing is impossible. 

As God heals these students, guides these students and they find freedom in Him, please continue to pray for these 21 students.

Our focus is to Rise (in and through Christ). Rise based on Isaiah 58:12, "And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in," that each student would rise to Christ, above the fog we know as life/the world and to become those who begin to spread the name of Jesus. The wall is not beyond repair and as we equip this young people to go and make disciples, you and I are also restoring/drawing others to Christ (repairing the breach). What an amazing task that He has called you and I to and we are all up in the middle of it! Are you ready to rise?

May we continue to not lose sight of what God has given us a chance to do in our community, county, state, nation and world. Love God. Love others. Those two commands, Jesus sums up all the law. Are you doing both today?

Be encouraged and know that He is taking care of it all! He goes before us and we put our trust in Christ alone.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Value of Conflict in the Body of Christ

Jesus said, "I am the way, truth and life..." And, "love your neighbor as yourself..." (John 14:6 and part of Luke 10:27).

Somewhere along the bumpy road, I think believers have gotten mixed up concerning delivering the truth to one another and withholding truth.

I have heard it said being nice to one another, letting everyone win, telling a white lie to make someone feel better; these are all good Christian things.

I have come to disagree. In many ways groups or churches fall apart because no one communicates the truth; either because of fear of conflict or they don't think it's their place.

A basic team building models says conflict is vital in building a team. Consider our church bodies as a team and think of your most recent conflict. Conflict grows a team because a problem is faced and typically some understanding or compromise is reached. Both parties grow from the conflict, therefore helping the kingdom of God.

Running away and avoiding is the most common way to deal with conflict. Others become personally offended, some could care less, some may never return to the church or some may go somewhere else. This is how many of us deal with conflict. Conflict is not comfortable, but I have grown to learn it is necessary in growing toward the Lord alongside other believers.

When you and I as believers live this lie and ultimately avoid conflict, we are doing the body of Christ a disservice.

I am reminded of Paul and John Mark's conflict (of sorts). For whatever reason, Paul did not want to take John Mark. Paul went to John Mark and told him and than went on his mission to carry out his calling. Later in Paul's ministry, we learn that John Mark joins him later.

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For the body does not consist of one member but of many." 1 Corinthians 12:12 & 14

God created the church of humans, all created in His image. If that's the case, we each reflect many characteristics of God in our body. Hence the significance of the passage describing you and I as different parts of the body. God intended many different people of: race, ethnicity, shape, size, personality, etc. because each of these are unique to Him and to those whom He allows you and I to reflect Christ to within our sphere of influence.

The one common denominator each of us need to remember is our shared oneness in Christ (John 17:23). As believers, our opinions, arguments or conflicts should not cloud our shared belief and love for Jesus.

Pray. Examine if it's the Lord or just you. Approach in love. Deliver the message. Don't avoid the truth. Continue to love unconditionally. Don't expect anything, but pray for mutual understand and resolve. Focus on Christ goals and nothing else.