Being Christ like is indeed the greatest honor yet also is not easy. Even though salvation and being Christ like is a free gift, it isn’t cheap. The One Who took on your sin, Who was beaten beyond recognition, Who was totally innocent when we were the ones guilty, went all the way for you and paid it all in your place on the cross (the greatest injustice in the history of man). I know many claim to be Christ like, and would agree it is an honorable thing to want to be like Jesus, but do we take time to count the cost about what it really means to be Christ like? The One Who taught to turn the other cheek and then did just that time and time again; the One Who taught to forgive 70 x’s 7 times (infinite times), and did just that when He cried out on the cross dying for your sins and mine, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The One Who taught to deny self, and did just that when He cried out “not my will, but thine be done” the night before His arrest; the One who taught to take up your cross and did just that, even death on the cross. Paul shared what it included to be like Christ in Philippians 2:3-8.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
To be honest, that is tough and not something man naturally desires on his or her own, but if we’ve been made alive spiritually by God’s power when we placed our faith in Jesus it’s possible, and should be our desire since God Himself lives within us through the Holy Spirit.
Like many who stopped following Jesus when they found out what it really meant to follow Him (Luke 6:60-70), many today claim to be interested in following Jesus until they find out what is involved. As person after person walked away from Jesus, Jesus looked to his 12 closest followers and asked them if they too wanted to leave, Peter responded, “to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” What an answer! We truly have no one else to turn to. So yes, being Christlike is not easy, but really there is no one else to turn to for eternal life. So let’s be like Christ and let Christ be our reason to do what our Lord and Savior taught and even lived out Himself. Let’s make sure Christ is our example. Turn your eyes on the One Who gave His all so we could even have the honor of being like Him. He’s enough. He satisfies. If someone or something else is your focus then you’ll be disappointed. Let’s make sure that we are “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). It really is true that when our focus is on Jesus it changes everything. Lord help us. Time is running out and the only thing that matters is You are coming again and we all need to be ready. There is a chaotic world filled with people looking for real hope who desperately needs to see in Christ followers that Jesus truly is “the way, the truth, and the life.” I’m sure if you have read this thus far you probably feel like I do, I want to take as many with me to heaven as possible. Nothing else really matters.
Sometimes the text, post, tweet, message, or email is better off unsent, and then deleted. Sometimes the best word is unspoken. A word sent or spoken can’t be unsent or unspoken, and often times we are left with stressful damage control. Boy have I experienced this more times than I should have.
We can’t always trust ourselves, especially when it involves someone or something that we care so much about, because our feelings and emotions will blur our vision. Also “things are not always as they seem,” so what we need is a change of perspective and a clear vision. Prayer is always the way to get that different perspective and clear vision, but that requires faith in God over faith in ourselves. Really, when we pray we are essentially saying, “Lord I can’t, but I know you can.” That is not weakness, but strength which will lead to the power of prayer.
We can’t always trust our feelings and emotions but we can always trust the Lord. It’s always best to first tell it to Jesus, and then when our perspective changes we’ll then realize that it’s OK, and we don’t need to hit “send” or say a word. However, If we decide to hit “send” or speak we’ll be better for it because we prayed about it, and hopefully we’ll be following the Lord’s lead. That is so much better than the stresses of damage control. Prayer will lead to “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (and) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Having the God of the universe guard our minds and hearts is a better way to live. I’m learning. We’re all are learning.
There are a lot of people hurting and battling depression in this world. I want you to know that you have so much worth and value to God that Jesus died for you so that you can have a personal, real relationship with God. Yes He loves you more than you can imagine. God will never hurt you, never leave you, and will always be with you no matter what.
The evil one wants to steal, kill, and destroy and “is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44), but through Jesus you can not only have life but an abundant life (John 10:10). Chose life. Chose Jesus. I encourage you to watch this video and be encouraged.
“I Need Thee Every Hour” for National Day of Prayer. We all want control as individuals and as a nation. Sometimes we feel as though we are self sufficient and we don’t need the Lord. Whether we realize it or not, we not only need the Lord every hour, we can’t even walk without Him.
I know many who are reading this are tired and hurting. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you right now and more importantly, I’m praying for you. God is faithful and He is able. Let’s all pray for each other and our nation that we each would realize our need to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
It’s interesting to me that many in the church today are so quick to choose a quick and easy route instead of rolling up sleeves and being willing to work. We must remember that this is God’s work and the only reason we are part of His work is because Jesus willingly paid it all. Last night in prayer meeting I shared about the Prophet Isaiah’s vision of the Lord seated on the throne high and exalted because He is holy and worthy (Isaiah 6:1-8). After the Lord touched Isaiah and purged his sin, Isaiah responded to the Lord’s call of “whom shall I send” with “here am I, send me.” Isaiah was willing not because He saw himself worthy, but because He saw the Lord was worthy. Do we see the Lord worthy? If so it will lead us also to say “here am I, send me.”
Christian, why do you do what you do? Is your service to the Lord just out of obligation or with an attitude that lacks heart which seeks the quick and easy way most of the time? I pray that, like Isaiah, we’ll see ourselves as unworthy and the Lord as worthy so that we’ll understand the tremendous privilege of getting to serve the Lord and being used by Him for His work. I believe the key to serving with our hearts instead of obligation is to keep in mind that the Lord is so worthy of our service. After all that He is, after all that He has done, and after all that He will do, serving the Lord is the least we can do. We must also keep in mind that we represent the true and living God here in this world, so let’s be willing to do it from our hearts in such a way that doesn’t mind a little work.
While King David desired to build an altar to the Lord on Araunah’s threshing floor, Araunah told David that he would give him what he needed. This led David to say, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). I can’t help but think of the church today, we would likely say, “Oh you’ll give it to me? Great!” I want have to pay anything; But not David, He was willing to pay the price because this was the Lord’s work that involved worship to the Lord. David couldn’t imagine taking a cheap route because the Lord is worthy of whatever the cost.
Let me challenge not only LFBC but all Christians to check up and make sure we don’t have an obligated motivation that likely always chooses the quick and easy route, but rather a motivation solely based on the fact that the Lord is worthy. What a great testimony to any community when Christians offer their best to the Lord out of love for the Lord because He is worthy. How are we representing the true and living God in our communities as we serve the Lord?
The kids are out of school and summer time is here! If I were to give these next few months a theme for Liberty First it would be “Reach Out!” We have already begun reaching out last month at our Block Party on Eagle Drive and we’ll continue to do that these next several weeks. Let me encourage every member to unite together as the family of God to share God’s love with others this summer! Who is it that God can use you to “Reach Out” to?
Our students will be going to “Reach Out” to various people in the Nashville, TN area June 13-18, and I believe the Lord will do a great work in us and through us; please pray with us for our student summer mission camp. We will be starting “M” night on June 8th and will continue “M” night the 2nd Wednesday of each month. “M” stands for missions and our ladies WMU will meet as well as our men’s brotherhood to discuss missions here in Liberty, missions across our state, nation, and world. We will be having our 2nd “Reach Out” block party on Saturday, June 25 at the Whispering Pines neighborhood park from 11am to 1pm. We will be sharing God’s love and inviting the unchurched to visit us at LFBC. Also our kids and students will “Reach Out” to various people here locally during Mission Week 2016 June 27-July 1. I’m looking forward to kicking off our Mission Week 2016 by having the Finnocchiaro family, missionaries to Vietnam, to share with us on Sunday, June 26 during our morning worship.
Some may ask why the emphasis to “Reach Out?” Well the answer is simple, we have a story to tell! The gospel message is the greatest, most powerful story anyone could ever share (Romans 1:16)! We can’t simply sit back and wait for people to come to us, we must take the initiative to “Reach Out” and show God’s love to others. I believe we must “Reach Out” because the world around us needs to see and hear about what we receive each time we meet together, we must take it with us. Every time you depart LFBC, “You are now entering the mission field.” Let’s all do our part this summer to “Reach Out!”
It’s hard to believe that we are already in the month of May! May is a busy time with some great opportunities to serve Jesus at LFBC! I look forward to honoring out moms this Sunday because mothers are so vital to our homes, churches, local communities, and our nation. The home as God has ordained it is under attack today like never before, but no attack can stand against a Godly, praying mom! It’s my prayer that our moms would be strong and courageous by trusting in the Lord’s power and presence! Godly moms may not be appreciated or even popular in our society but our society is indebted to Godly moms. Keep pressing on moms for the glory of God in Jesus name (Phil. 3:14) and one day your reward will be worth it all when you stand before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One thing that the Lord has laid on our hearts is to “Reach Out” to some communities with the love of Christ. On May 21 we will be going to Eagle Drive (off N Old Pendleton Rd) here in Liberty to let this community know about our church and bus ministry. We plan to grill hotdogs, serve sno-cones, have inflatables for the kids, and share about VBS and Mission Week. Pray with us for this community that kids may come on to church through our bus ministry, and that we may “Reach Out” to their families so that souls may come to know the Lord. LFBC members, if you haven’t already please sign up at the Welcome Center to help. Remember that we must reach outside the walls of the church because our community is our mission field.