RSS Feed

Tag Archives: life

(IM)Perfect – Already, But Not Yet

Posted on
(IM)Perfect – Already, But Not Yet

The theme of this blog series is really a play on words. You could read the title as IMPERFECT or you could read it as (I’M)PERFECT.

Because the truth is in Christ, I am perfect but the reality is I am also imperfect. That can be confusing.

  • If I’m perfect in Christ then why do I still struggle?
  • Why don’t I see victory in every area of my life?
  • Why is my mind not always clear?
  • Why is my body weak at time?
  • Why does my marriage struggle?

Is something wrong with me?

You have to understand that in Christ, I am positionally perfect but in this life, I am functionally imperfect.

Through the death, burial, and resurrection, of Christ He provided all that I will ever need to live a holy, victorious, overcoming life.

You and I live in the land of already … but not yet.

Hebrews 2:8 says, “You put everything under his control.”[1] When God put everything under his Son’s control, nothing was left out. However, at the present time we still don’t see everything under his Son’s control. Christ has already won the battle. He has already defeated Satan. Jesus has already dealt with sin, sickness, shame, sorrow, death and despair.

But in this present time we DO NOT YET see the fullness of it all.

Our theme text for this series is Hebrews 10:14: “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”[2]

So which is it? Are we already MADE perfect or are we being made perfect? It’s both.

It is already….but not yet.

There’s a tension between the age that is and the age to come.

In this age we fight sin. We resist the devil. We contend against sickness. And in the already … but not yet age, Satan

[1] GW

[2] NIV

Make the Word the Foundation of Your Life

Posted on
Make the Word the Foundation of Your Life

We must understand how incredibly powerful the influence of the world around us is, how it shapes and molds our thinking. Every movie we watch, every newscast we listen to, every Facebook or Twitter post we read, all shape our thoughts and eventually mold our beliefs.

The world Noah lived in was so bad, the Bible says, his soul and mind were greatly disturbed by the things he saw and heard. Noah didn’t have the written Word like we do.

Our first thought on every issue of society ought to be, What does the Word say?

Five weak foundations you want to avoid building your life on:

  • Popular culture – There’s a tremendous amount of pressure today to conform to how everyone around us thinks (what is right or wrong).

Isaiah 5:20 says, “There are those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”

You have to teach yourself to recognize the dysfunctional thinking of our society. The Bible, God’s Word, will help you know the difference!

  • Tradition – This is primarily found in religion devoid of true faith. Amish teach we are saved by our works (good outweighs bad).

Ephesians 2:8 says, “By grace we are saved, through faith. It is not by our works.”

  • Reason

Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

  • Feelings

Judges 21:25 says, “People did whatever they felt like doing.”

  • Intellect

1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “In the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom, did not know God.”

We have to make the Word of God the foundation of our life, and not base our beliefs on the influence of the world around us.

You can listen to the complete audio message here. 

 

Use Your Energy to Serve the Lord

Posted on
Use Your Energy to Serve the Lord

In 1981, Ken Imhoff went to see the movie Cannonball. He fell in love with one of the cars in the movie, a Lamborghini. He decided, right then, he was going to build one. So piece by piece, over the next 17 years, he put in a Corvette suspension, a Boss Mustang 351. And as resourceful as Ken was, he had a major blind spot. He built the car in his basement and had to hire a contractor to dig out the basement wall.

What good is a Lamborghini when it’s parked in the basement? (Click here to listen to this message on our podcast.)

Until you fire up the engine, engage the transmission, and actually drive the car, it will never fulfill the purpose for which it was made!

It is exactly the same way with us! Until we step out of the anonymity of the basement and engage our gifts, we will never experience the impact for which God created us.

ENGAGE = 1) to become involved in; 2) to participate; 3) to join in, and 4) to release the power.

It’s the job of the pastors to release the power of your gifts and engage them in meaningful ministry. Ephesians 4 could not be any clearer. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”[1]

But pastors can’t do it alone. We need your help to do a better job. Help us to identify your gifts and engage them for their maximum potential.

“In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.”[2] We are not just connected by relationships; we are connected by serving, by using our God-given gifts to build each other up.

Our gifts vary in style, in interests, in ability and capability. But each one is important and valuable.

“God in his kindness gave each of us different gifts. If your gift is speaking what God has revealed, make sure what you say agrees with the Christian faith. If your gift is serving, then devote yourself to serving. If it is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. If it is encouraging others, devote yourself to giving encouragement. If it is sharing, be generous. If it is leadership, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping people in need, help them cheerfully. Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. 10 Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord.”[3]

Use your energy to serve the Lord. Engage your gifts. Put them into gear and do something; go somewhere with it.

 

[1] Ephesians 4: 4:11-12 NLT

[2] Romans 12:5 GWT

[3] Romans 12:6-11 GWT

Spiritual Growth—the Conception Stage

Posted on
Spiritual Growth—the Conception Stage

A human life is never more vulnerable than during the conception stage of life. There are so many reasons a life is loss during this stage—miscarriage, sickness, infection, abortion….

Some of you might be in the conception stage spiritually speaking right now. You may have not yet experienced a true spiritual birth, but the seeds of God’s Word have been implanted into your heart.

You might be in the process of spiritual fetal development that is leading up to your spiritual birth.

Don’t let anything abort the process!

The devil loves abortion, both in the natural and in the supernatural realm. He loves to kill life before it ever has the chance to blossom and grow to full maturity and fruitfulness.

God’s Word is the main ingredient that leads to full term and a healthy spiritual birth.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.”[1] Another powerful component of the conception stage is to associate with people of faith, so you can learn and grow in your faith.[2]

The devil wants to keep those close to spiritual birth away from those in faith. As a believer, you should discern when you should walk more closely to those in this stage. Nurture that life brewing inside them.

 

[1] Romans 10:17 GW

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:33

Tie Your Heart to God

Posted on
Tie Your Heart to God

Prayer is not a religious duty, but a privilege with transformational power; something I’m invited to do. It’s not about form, but simply expressing your thoughts, feelings, fears and concerns to God. You name it—you can bring it to God.

Our world has never had peace. Throughout our history we’ve experienced war, conflict and turmoil. James 4:1-3 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you? You want what you don’t have, so you commit murder. You’re determined to have things, but you can’t get what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them. When you pray for things, you don’t get them because you want them for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.”[1]

Last year we saw 424 registered known conflicts throughout the world. Some were within countries—countrymen against countrymen. If you’ve been on a few missions trips outside the U.S., there is always someone that country is worried about causing unrest or conflict.

Life is hard; why struggle with each other?

War broke out in heaven. Satan rose up and said, “I could do it better if I were God. One-third of the angels joined his revolt. (That was the first church split.) We’ve had relationship conflicts ever since. Absalom said the same thing about His father, King David. “If I were king….”

There is a constant battle through relationship. And it’s important to realize that behind every conflict is the spirit of war. The enemy wants to divide us. He wants to break up nations through civil war; He desires to split people groups with the thought that one is better than the other.

Sometimes it’s simply—they have stuff and I want it. The conquistadors heard of gold in South America. At the end of last year, they found the San Jose. It is believed to have more than 1 billion dollars in coins on board, not the mention the jewels. Spain said, “We want our stuff back!”

As Kingdom people, we need to remember that this world is passing away. Losing our peace is not worth getting worked up over.

Tie your heart to God, not to things.

Mark 11:23 says, “I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen.” When you find yourself in conflict, ask yourself, “What is driving this conflict. What is it that I’m not getting?”

Our wants are satisfied when we pray and desire His will above all else.

[1] GW

It Takes Christ in You

Posted on
It Takes Christ in You

Every one of us can give our best effort to change our lives, but if it emanates from our own ability, apart from Christ, it will fail. The Apostle Paul frequently wrote about the problem of human effort apart from Christ. He called it living under the law.

The law is simply any attempt at true life change apart from the power of Jesus Christ working in us.

The Apostle Paul addressed the problem in almost all of his writings to the churches. In Romans 7, he wrote a classic about our feeble attempts. Paul concluded the depressing picture of human effort with this cry, “What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.”[1]

Everything you and I need is found in Christ.

If you are struggling with an addiction, more willpower is not going to give you the victory. It’s not about behavioral management. It’s about leaning into the power of Christ to overcome addiction. Christ teaches us to examine the whole man—to look at our hearts, our motives, our innermost desires—and to bring each longing under the control of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us.

So Paul declares our only hope is in Christ:

“God has hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. I say this so that no one will mislead you with arguments that merely sound good. Although I’m absent from you physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. You received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live as Christ’s people. Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving. Be careful not to let anyone rob you of this faith through a shallow and misleading philosophy. Such a person follows human traditions and the world’s way of doing things rather than following Christ. All of God lives in Christ’s body, and God has made you complete in Christ. Christ is in charge of every ruler and authority.[2]

More rules and goals are not going to fundamentally change our hearts. Rules and goals sound good, but only Christ can give us the power we need to change from the inside out.

If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live? It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you, “Don’t handle this! Don’t taste or touch that!” All of these things deal with objects that are only used up anyway. These things look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body. But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt nature.[3]

Everything you need to make a good and lasting change in your life is found in Christ. It takes Christ in you.

Listen to the podcast this blog is taken from, Here’s the Problem – More or Less.

[1] Romans 7:24-25 GW

[2] Colossians 2:3-10 GWT

[3] Colossians 2:20-23 GW

A Track to Run On—A Direction to Grow

Posted on
A Track to Run On—A Direction to Grow

When people drift through a church, no one benefits. We are so excited today because we are not just launching a new sermon series this morning, we are launching a brand new ministry called The Growth Track. Offered every Sunday night at Lakeview, its purpose is to give every member and new attender a spiritual growth track to run on.

We don’t see the Growth Track as a destination but as a starting point. You won’t walk out after the fourth fully equipped and all grown up spiritually, but you will have a clear path set before you to follow.

Sometimes people go to a church and really don’t know how to connect.

They’re not sure where the entry point is, so they don’t take root. So they end up meandering through their church experience. At first they go to Sunday morning worship services fairly regular, but they don’t know anyone, and no one knows them. So they decide they’ll attend a special event hoping to feel closer, but they never bond with anyone and go home as disconnected as ever. Eventually they lose interest and drift away. The worst part is they don’t grow and the church doesn’t grow. Both miss out on God’s best.

We don’t want that to be your experience. We encourage you, to find a friend and find a job. If you do that you’ll find God, authentic relationships in the Body of Christ and a purpose to serve, which causes your relationship with God to go to a new level. That’s what the Growth Track is all about.

Each step of the Growth Track is a one-hour class and together they make up our membership process: FOLLOW, CONNECT,  DISCOVER and IMPACT. So if you’re interested in becoming a member, hop in the Growth Track and finish all four steps. For us, membership is so much more than just adding your name to the roster. It’s about aligning your gifts with ministry, connecting in meaningful relationships and to the vision of the church.

Each step is focused on making sure you know the steps you need to take to live the life God wants for you.

The Four Steps of the Growth Track

  1. FOLLOW, offered the first Sunday night of each month at Lakeview, will answer the question, “What does it mean to be a true follower of Jesus Christ?” You’ll find out what that actually looks like.
  1. CONNECT shows you how you can connect with Lakeview Church. It identifies the entry point for you. CONNECT is offered the second Sunday night of every month.
  1. DISCOVER helps you realize what your spiritual gifts are and what God created you to do in the church and in the world. DISCOVER is every third Sunday night of the month.
  1. IMPACT answers the question, “Where can I plug in and make an impact?” and it’s offered the fourth Sunday night of every month. On IMPACT night leaders of various ministries will be present to talk with you about finding a specific place of ministry so you can utilize your spiritual gifts.

We believe the launch of the Growth Track is so important that we decided to teach a series about it called “Living The Life God Wants For You”

All of us want that kind of life, one that has meaningful relationships, experiences purpose and spiritual power. It all starts by knowing God.

 

%d bloggers like this: