Songs have a way of speaking into my life in a very powerful way. And the latest song to do that is just amazing. Here are the lyrics: Yours will be the only Name that matters to me
The only One Whose favor I seek
The only Name that matters to me
Yours will be
The friendship and affection I need
To feel my Father smiling on me
The only Name that matters to me
Yours is the Name the Name that has saved me
Mercy and grace the power that forgave me
And Your love is all I’ve ever needed
When I wake up in the Land of Glory
And with the saints I will tell my story
There will be one Name that I proclaim
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, just that Name
We are entering a time when College Football is starting up. Many including myself get excited about this. Names will be chanted across stadiums this weekend. And many of us will join in with those chants. But let's be honest. There really is Only One Name that matters.
Without Jesus we are lost and far from God. Without Jesus there is no forgiveness. His name should be the only one that matters to me.
So today would you lift up the name of Jesus as the Only name that matters to you. Let's lift high the name that matters.
For many the term "All In" is associated with poker. Perhaps you have played a few hands of Texas hold em on the computer and went "all in" with the fake chips you had. But it is easy to go "all in" when you are dealing with fake chips and pretend money. Had it been real you would have never gone in with such a lousy hand.
Jesus calls to a life of going "All In". There is no half way in following Jesus. In fact, some in the gospels stop following Jesus because it seems too hard or he is asking too much of them. Remember the rich young ruler? Giving his possession to the poor was too much of a risk for him. He walked away instead of going "all in". Or how about the man who was worried about his family and who would be around to help settle the estate. Jesus again called him to leave it all behind and go "All In"
Recently we were watching a new movie called "Ring the Bell". The story of a baseball player who gives up his dreams of the majors to run an orphanage after his parents are killed in a plane crash. In that movie when asked about the dream of playing in Yankee Stadium he replies "This is my Yankee Stadium". He was "All In". So much so that God could give him a new dream which would surpass the old one.
So are you "All In"? Willing to do whatever God asks you to do? Follow Jesus to the ends of the earth or across the street? Time we stop playing games with our faith and go "All In" for our Savior who went "All In" for us.
Time to push all we have into the middle and go "All In".
It is important we understand as a church what we can do, what we must do, and what we shouldn't do. That is a very hard thing. We would like to believe we can do everything and anything, but that is just not the truth.
And this topic will come up every now and then. Someone will see a new program a church is doing and be all excited about it and they come to me and want our church to do that. But quite often they are just not things a church our size can do or even should do.
And this is hard for the person who wants that program to be added.
However, we have to be even more focused as a smaller church to know what we must do and what we can't do anymore. I am afraid some of things we do we do them because we have always done them and we don't think about whether they are effective and reaching people.
Think about it this way. You are the leader in a very, very small church. 25 people normally come on a Sunday. But you never do anything to get better. You don't learn how to reach the community. You do everything you have always done because tradition is more important than effectiveness. That church WILL die. It is only a matter of time. The leader is not leading and they are dying.
And that will be our story if we think we can do it all. We can't!!! Please read that statement over again. We can't offer every program a large church does. We are not them and we have not been called to be them. They have enough headaches we wouldn't know how to deal with.
So would you join me and start asking questions about everything we do. Is it effective? Is it reaching people or helping people grow in their relationship with Christ?
May we only do what we will be effective at instead of doi
The title today comes from a preacher who read Romans 8 and came up with that catchy idea. Paul tells us to be putting sin to death, but isn't it true we tend to flirt instead of flee.
Our attitude towards sin is one which is far to casual. We view sin as some harmless thing. But sin is not a thing it is the destruction and marring of everything God says is good. And in our culture everything God has made for good is polluted or perverted into something bad.
No with sin we must get extreme. We must take great measures to protect our lives and our family and most importantly our walk with Christ. So where do you need to get extreme? Perhaps get rid of your internet connection or put a filter on your computer because porn has been a problem. Maybe it means getting rid of cable or satellite Tv because of that garbage entering your home. But we have to take extreme measures. I am not telling your what to do, rather I am hoping to provoke some thoughts in your of where your weaknesses are so you can protect yourself.
Christians who are willing to get extreme and put sin to death will have a better chance of not having their life, testimony, and family ripped apart by sin.
So where is your we
If you have kids or Grand-kids in sports you understand most what I am about to say. One of the big gods we have in America is the god of winning. We sacrifice everything we have and are to him and hopes he rewards us. Last night was one more example of that lived out.
Let me first explain that I have been a Yankee fan since birth. I still have my toddler sized 1978 World Championship shirt. My dad and I watched games whenever we could. The organization which has such a rich history of great players did the unthinkable last night. They put their stamp of approval on a man who most likely will be suspended for the next year. Why? They want to win. Putting a drug addict on the field was about winning and nothing else. Alex Rodriguez himself has taken drugs in order to win. His body is breaking down because of it. All because he is serving the god of win. And this god will not be satisfied until it has taken everything A-Rod has.
But that is how false gods work. They promise pleasure but give pain. They promise riches and only leave you poor. They promise good but bring bad. The god of winning is just the latest example. But your kids and mine are told they are nothing if they don't win. They are nothing without a trophy. They are nothing if you don't win. This is a lie. Our identity is in our Creator and not a scorecard.
Our kids are being told to do unthinkable things in order to win and then we act surprised when they do. Last night while shocking should not have been a surprised. The god of the win was served and it left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth.
Let's thrown down our idols and worship God once again. Let us sacrifice to him and for him. We should give Him all
Jesus lived by Convictions and over and over again we see accounts in the Gospels on how they directed his conduct. These convictions based on Scripture helped him determine what he would and would not do. The Pharisees on the other hand did not operate by convictions rather they had their rule book. They took Scripture and then added rules to it. So when the Pharisees and Jesus come face to face on an issue they end up on opposite sides.
In one case it has to do with the Sabbath. Scripture is clear "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy". The Israelite's would not work on the Sabbath and used it as a day of worship. Jesus (remember he is God) created the Sabbath Day by resting after Creation. Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and all of a sudden the fight breaks out. We read the account in Luke 6. First they are mad at Jesus for picking some grain and eating it and then he heals someone. This really makes them upset. Why? Jesus lived according to convictions. It was right to heal and bring life on the Sabbath. The Pharisees only had rules which put them on the opposite side of Jesus.
I am afraid too often all we have are rules. We don't know why we do things but we have our rule books. We should be living by Convictions. Because our Convictions direct our conduct. Why do you wear what you wear? Why do you say certain words and not say other words? Why do you listen to certain music but not others? I would hope you would be able to talk about Convictions.
And by the way Convictions change sometimes culturally. In a recent conversation with Jill's Uncle - He has changed somethings he normally does because of the way those things are viewed in China. They might actually hurt his ability to share Christ with them. So he chooses to be more strict and take away some freedom for the cause of Christ. This is how you live by convictions.
I believe in our culture it is more important than ever to help the next generation honor God by developing convictions. I know God is wise because he did not give me a daughter. Honestly I don't think I could handle it and she would probably hate me. The clothes issue for girls is a major area which Convictions must be developed. New trends are coming all the time and how will you handle those. How do you help your daughters honor God with their bodies in modesty in a culture which tells them to wear less and less and show yourself off. It is a big issue. And your young ladies do not need a bunch of rules they need your help in developing convictions.
So let's move pass rules to convictions.
Jesus Follower, Husband, Father, and Pastor and trying to keep those in the right order....