Saturday, September 24, 2011

What kind of Disciple are you.........

Been thinking a lot lately about being a Disciple and just what Jesus had in mind  when He spoke these last words to the Disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 (The Message)
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

I guess a couple of things really stand out to me.
  •  Train everyone you meet in this way of Life
  •  Instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you
Jesus of course,  had in mind something intentional but,  I could not get away form the thought that I am indeed training everyone I meet. I am instructing them in a practice of life. BUT, whose Life? Did you ever hear the comment “what you are doing speaks so loud I can’t hear what you are saying”? What a sobering thought! People are watching us as we live our lives and yes, some are following us. We may not even be aware but none the less, they are following.

So, the question we must ask is pretty simple. Does the Life I am living before them match the message that comes from my mouth. Or another way to say it is “does my Life look like what Jesus had in mind?”

I look in the mirror often and ask myself...”Does my walk match my message? and if people follow me where will I lead them?”

Have you looked in the mirror lately?  They are following......

Essential Reading for every Man
Healing The Masculine Soul
By Gordon Dalbey

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are you Paying Attention to The Signs Part Two?

Why?  You may ask would someone look at a sign that clearly says “make a Left” but points to the right and and do it anyway?

Out text in the last post was Galatians 5:16: ”So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Years ago, I heard a teacher say this “if the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.” If there ever was a verse that makes common sense, this is one of them. Yet, so many get it wrong and focus on the sin, failure or the negative rather than the positive of “who we are in Christ”. This brings us to part two of our post last week. There is of course, a place for the sin to be mentioned but it is secondary to the positive of our “Identity.” And is better understood and received by those who are “settled in their Identity.”

When the teaching from parents, in a book, small group or the pulpit is continually “sin focused” by that I mean the emphasis is continually on the sin, the action, the behavior it is bad theology. Strong? yes! But, you can read the New Testament for your self. There was a guy named Paul who penned most of it under the inspiration of Holy Spirit. Just compare how much he spoke about our “identity”, us in Christ and He in us with how much he talked about the sin and failure of us as individuals. For instance, Romans, Galatians and Ephesians. They are all packed with the Transforming Power of our identity.

Lets face it we are what we continually and habitually think. This is why scripture tells to renew our mind, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24 and to pull down strongholds II Corinthians 10:3-5. The whole idea of Renewing the Mind is replacing a “Lie” with “Truth.” Or we could say fixing our mind or focus on the Truth rather than the lie. Dominant Thought then is what we continually or habitually think or focus on. Just a s a side note, this is one reason pornography is so damaging. The images remain on the screen of our mind....”dominant thought.” Because it is constantly before you, you continue to go back......Dominant Thought is Powerful.

So we have a choice! We can use Dominant Thought for us or against us. We make Dominant Thought work for us by following the admonition of Ephesians 4:22-24. Put on the new man, Romans 12:2 Renew our minds, II Corinthians 10:3-5 bring every thought captive to Christ or Joshua 1:8 meditate in the word day and night. All of this is simply Practicing the Presence of Jesus in your Life. It does take some effort but it is well worth it and it will get easier as you continue to make Him your Dominant Thought.

So, ask yourself...What am I continually or Habitually Thinking or Focused on?

Essential Reading:
Practicing His Presence
By Brother Lawrence and Frank Laubach

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are you Paying Attention to The Signs?

Why?  You may ask would someone look at a sign that clearly says “make a Left” but points to the right and and do it anyway? Well, I have looked in the mirror and ask the same question of myself. Perhaps you have as well. The fact is we often just do not Pay Attention the the Signs. That is a responsibility we can not pass off to anyone else o matter how hard we try. We must Pay Attention!

The good thing is God never intended for the signs to be confusing or complicated. We and sometimes the people we listen to seem to be able to “complicate dirt.” Lets look at just one of the signs God gives us today and “think” about it. Galatians 5:16 is an easy one but we often get it wrong. In fact, most of the preaching and teaching I have ever heard got it wrong. Here is what the text says....”So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

So, seems simple enough but still so many people get it wrong. Look at the text what comes first? “Walk in the spirit” or “stop sinning?” I will help you, first comes “walk in the spirit.” Please tell me why then, do we hear so much about “we must stop sinning?” When the message is Backwards it doesn’t matter if it is what we hear at church or if it is deep in our own belief system it is still “Backwards.” And therefore, puts us on the wrong road and going in the wrong direction even when our intentions are right. When we continually focus on “the sin or failure” whatever mine or yours may be, it activates a law in our mind called “The Law of Dominant Thought.” This becomes all we think about and consequently we find ourselves “doing it” almost automatically. We wind up in the cycle of fail, repent, try harder, fail try even harder and trudge on in a frustrated Christian Life or even worse just surrender to the failure and settle there.

Good News! That is not necessary! In the next post we will see how to correct our course by Paying Attention to The Signs.......And the power of Dominant Thought.

Struggling here? need a confidential listening ear? email me  

Life Changing Read:
The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness
Major Ian Thomas