Monday, January 31, 2011

February 1, 2011

"Ask God to bless everyone who mistreats you. Ask him to bless them and not to curse them."  Romans 12:14 

During the Korean war a certain military unit had hired a local boy to cook and clean for them. Being a bunch of jokesters, these guys soon took advantage of the boy’s seeming naiveté’.

· put little water buckets over the door so he’d get soaked when he opened the door

· ThThey’d smear Vaseline on the stove handles so that when he’d turn the stove on in the morning he’d get grease all over his fingers.

· They’d ey’d even nail his shoes to the floor during the night.

Day after day the young Korean took the brunt of their practical jokes without saying anything. There was no blame, no self-pity, no temper tantrums.

Finally the men felt guilty about what they were doing, so they sat down with the boy and said, “Look, we know these pranks aren’t funny for you, and we’re sorry. We’re never going to take advantage of you again.” It seemed too good to be true to the houseboy.

“No more sticky on stove?” he asked.


“No more water on door.”


“No more nail shoes to floor?”

“Nope, never again.”

“Okay” the boy said with a smile, “no more spit in soup.”

We chuckle at this story but let me ask you a serious question, "When you get even with someone, do you actually get even? And does it make you feel better?"

I think you know the answer to that question.

In the Bible, who do you think felt better, Peter who cut off a young man's ear in a valiant but vain effort to protect Jesus. But which one of them felt better in the end, Peter or Jesus, Who touched the young Roman and reattached his severed ear?

If your purpose is to overcome evil with good, how can you justify hurting someone just because they have hurt you? When you respond to evil with more evil, you are overcome with the evil. That disobeys God's command.

What if the next time you are hurt by someone you overcome that pain by showing grace rather than getting even? What if you do what Jesus did - you take the pain and give them the gain? How would that change your relationships? How would that shape your world? What would that do for your heart? More importantly, you would show the love of God in a powerful way! You would be acting on faith not feelings.

Is it time for you to stop spitting in the soup?

January 31, 2011

 "Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them. Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad. Agree with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't think that you are better than others."    Romans 12:14-16

The news this morning concerns the turmoil and unrest in Egypt. As I flip the channels I see a sea of protesters crowding the streets of Cairo demanding the resignation of President Mubarak. It is on every network and major cable channels.

His response?

He is clamping down on the few freedoms the Egyptian people still had. That doesn't seem to be working for him.

Why would it? When people yearn for more freedom and you give them less, how does that have a chance?

There are two peace paradigms at work here. Understanding these are key to knowing why peace is so hard to achieve.

The totalitarian definition of peace is having no opposing ideas. Peace for them is total domination. When I am stronger than anyone else and when I have total control over everyone else, there is no conflict. That idea dates back to ancient times. It has been the predominant experience of human history. That is the crux of the struggle in Egypt.

There is another concept of peace that Romans 12 espouses and that has made the United States so exceptional for over two centuries. It is the idea of shared power. I will respect your freedom and you respect mine. Why would we do this?

Because we believe that rights and freedoms are God-given. In other words, we believe that God shared His freedom with us. If anyone could have had absolute power and authority it was Him! Our Founders understood this and through Diviine inspiration crafted a nation built upon the belief that people can govern themselves within a context of law, justice and freedom.

This amazing "experiment" of freedom has produced the greatest, strongest, most just, and most prosperous people who have ever lived. Because people have governed themselves relatively well for over two centuries, all the world has benefited from American wealth, generosity and strength.

But, this fundamental idea of self-government is under assault in our world today. Frankly, it is what drives the widening divide in our national politics today. There are those who do not believe the average American can govern himself and therefore must be cared for and controled by an expanded government. Opposing that view are those who strongly believe that limited government means more individual freedom and therefore, there must be a return to government being restricted by Constitutional laws. It is what spurs the conflict in Cairo, as well.

What does this have to do with Romans 12?


This powerful portion of divine truth shows how people can live together in love, peace and freedom. Peace is possible in the world to the extent peace is possible in the church. Freedom originates with God and His Church is to be the demonstration of what it looks like and how it works.

Let there be peace in church. Declare peace with God. Govern yourself with His Spirit. Guide yourself by His Word.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 30, 2011

A young American engineer was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, she began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to comely Irish lasses.The young engineer wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. "I admit," he wrote, "that sometimes I’m tempted. But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you."

In the next mail, the engineer received a package. It contained a note from his girl and a harmonica. "I’m sending this to you," she wrote, "so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls."The engineer replied, "Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you."

At the end of his two-year stint, the engineer was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, she held up a restraining hand and said sternly, "Just hold on there a minute, Billy Bob. Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!"

Your true passion will reveal who you are and what you really believe. Passion speaks louder than words!

People want to see a fire, zeal, enthusiasm among Christians that makes going to church meaningful. This is what made Jesus ministry so affective! He lived passionately for others, and He died passionately for us!

For the most part, much of America is really struggling to be passionate about life.

4 out of 5 Americans feel that they lack passion in their lives. - Harris Poll, 2007

That means only 20% of Americans woke up today saying, “Come on, let’s go for it!”

THE PICTURE OF PASSION – V. 11 – “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

What good is a fuse without the match? What good is the engine without the fuel? What good is life without the passion that motivates it?

Passion makes all the difference if we are going to show compassion to the hurting, stand unashamed of biblical truth, develop relationships and enhance worship to God! Passion will put our legs into action, help us think like Christ and see with eyes wide open.

Three Truths About Passion:

• Nothing significant is ever done in life without passion.

• Most winners in life are just ex-losers who finally got passionate.

• The worst poverty in the world is the person who has lost passion.

What is passion? “A strong feeling, a great devotion and intense conviction which fuels or motivates us toward compelling action.”

Passion is living like you really believe what you believe! Passion is behaving like your faith really matters to you! Passion is living on purpose! Passion is matching your attitudes and your actions with what you say you believe.

As Christians, I’m convinced that passion is commanded of each of us…
Ecclesiastes 9:10 - “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”

John 10:10 - “…My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”

Ro. 12:11 - “Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

Eph. 6:6 - “…Do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm.”

May I ask, who was the person or what was the event in life that stopped you from being passionate about life?

Live with urgency – “don’t be lazy” – “don’t lag” – “live like it matters”


fervent” = “boiling”

Boiling water produces energy. This energy when under control can be very powerful and productive!

BUT – When it is out of control - when it boils over or when it explodes it can cause great damage!

Jesus is the water

Holy Spirit is the heat

You are the boiler

Spiritual disciplines are the pressure valves

THE POINT OF PASSION - V. 11 – “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

I think we sometimes believe that passion flows to God. In other words it is up to me to muster up some positive emotional feelings often enough so I can make this following Christ thing worth it.

So, I come to you this morning talking about passion and how to find it and you are thinking, “Right! With all I have going I am lucky to just LIKE my life! I would love to feel passionate about my spouse again, it’s a little easier to feel passionate about the kids cause they are so darn cute, I would like to just tolerate the people I work with, not to mention that I never have time for the things I REALLY could get passionate about. And now you come to church and I am pushing passion on you. Wow! Thanks, Brad!”

But, the truth is that passion flows FROM God! And it is much more that just emotional feelings. We don’t have to conjure up feeling FOR Him, we just have to come TO Him and, and connect with Him, and receive FROM Him. When we get passion from Him we become a connecting point for His passion to all we love.

Passion is the point where you find meaning and purpose. Meaning is found in Christ

The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and costly tombs ever built, but there is something fascinating about its beginnings. In 1629, when the favorite wife of Indian ruler Shah Jahan died, he ordered that a magnificent tomb be built as a memorial to her. The shah placed his wife’s casket in the middle of a parcel of land, and construction of the temple literally began around it. But several years into the venture, the Shah’s grief for his wife gave way to a passion for the project. One day while he was surveying the sight, he reportedly stumbled over a wooden box, and he had some workers throw it out. It was months before he realized that his wife’s casket had been destroyed. The original purpose for the memorial became lost in the details of construction.
We lose our passion when we lose touch with the Person of Jesus and His purpose for our lives. Doesn’t it make sense that a person who lives in Christ should have a level of passion that others don’t have?

THE POWER OF PASSION, V. 12-13 – “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

I recognize passion in others, but I am not sure if I have it. How can I know?

Look at your kids……
They will tend to be passionate about the things your are TRULY passionate over.
Look at your checkbook – where you spend your money betrays your passion

Look at your date book – where you spend your time shows your passion

Joy, patience, and faithfulness in serving and sharing are the true evidences of godly passion!

How do I know I have passion? I have joy as I serve! Do I recognize joy in my life?

How do I know I have passion? I can serve patiently! Do I recognize patience in my life?

How do I know I have passion? I can pray faithfully! Do I recognize patience in my life? Do I demonstrate faithfulness?

George Gallop did a survey of 13,000 people in 130 countries. It was a survey of people who used to go to church but no longer go. There were a number of questions in the survey, but one of the questions asked, “What would need to happen for you to return to church?” The number one answer was “See passion in the lives of the members and leaders.”

A church that has passion is a church where "Discouraged folks cheer up, dishonest folks fees up, sour folks sweeten up, closed folk, open up, gossipers shut up, conflicted folks make up, sleeping folks wake up, lukewarm folk, fire up, dry bones shake up, and pew potatoes stand up! But most of all, Christ the Savior of the entire world is lifted up."

If I don’t recognize passion in my life, how do I reclaim it?


SERVE - Heat
My passion for FredWes is just that! I am passionate to see true unity resulting from surrender to the Spirit of God. A church united around the Spirit will be a passionate church!
My passion is for us to discover our places of service and use the gifts He has given us to serve one another in the church. That builds community in the midst of unity! That church will be a passionate powerful church!
My passion of FWC is for us to live in sincere love for God and one another! That will cause us to be passionate for Him and toward those He is passionate about - lost people!
God give us passion!

January 29, 2011

"Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord." Romans 12:11

Passion is a powerful force. And, it is an empowering force.

One evidence of true passion is that it perserveres. It never gives up because it is motivated by sincere desire and strong belief.
You can drive to a nearby airport and fly anywhere in the world because two brothers from Ohio had a passion to create a flying machine.
You can flip a light switch and illuninate a room because Edison had a passion to create the light bulb. He failed with thousands of materials for the filament until he finally found one that worked! But his passion to succeed drove him to fame and fortune - and lighted entire cities world-wide.
The image or the word picture here is that of a steady boil. Passion is a fire in your soul that boils continuously providing spiritual strength and energy. Do you have it?
Do have a boil you need a source of water and you need heat. Right?
Where do you get those?
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life." John 4:13-14
Jesus stood up and shouted, "If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say." John 7:37-38
When you have Jesus you have a continual source of living water springing up in your soul!
Where does the heat come from?
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Luke 3:16
The fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit! When you have faith in Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have what you need to boil with passion for God! That passion will give you power and perseverence so you can be strong in the Lord!
You will never lack in zeal and you will faithfully serve the Lord!
Are you living in Jesus?
Is His Spirit living in you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 28, 2011

"Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

For the most part, much of America is really struggling to be passionate about life!

4 out of 5 Americans feel that they lack passion in their lives. - Harris Poll, 2007

That means only 20% of Americans woke up today saying, “Come on, let’s go for it!”

Why is passion so hard to come by? What is it?

Passion is - “A strong feeling, a great devotion and intense conviction which fuels or motivates us toward compelling action.”

How do I know if I have a godly passion?

Look at your kids. Generally, your kids will catch your passion. At least, up to a certain age your kids will reflect your passion. They will tend to embrace what matters to you and reject what you dislike.

Look at your checkbook. Where you spend your money betrays your passion. Are you spending it on yourself and your wants and wishes? The register at the back of your checkbook does not lie. It may be revealing to look at it once and awhile.

Look at your date book. Where you spend your time shows your passion. How much of your leisure time is devoted to faith, family or friends? How much is dedicated to your favorite stuff? Your Day-Timer doesn't lie. Your record will reveal your passions.

Joy, according to this verse, is an indication of the source of your passion. Do you find joy in serving God and His people?

Faithfulness in serving, praying and sharing is a third evidence that your passion is genuine and godly.

A church that has passion is a church where "Discouraged folks cheer up, dishonest folks fees up, sour folks sweeten up, closed folk, open up, gossipers shut up, conflicted folks make up, sleeping folks wake up, lukewarm folk, fire up, dry bones shake up, and pew potatoes stand up! But most of all, Christ the Savior of the entire world is lifted up."

Passion has positive power!

How do I know I have passion? I have joy as I serve! Do I recognize joy in my life?

How do I know I have passion? I can serve patiently! Do I recognize patience in my life?

How do I know I have passion? I can pray faithfully! Do I recognize patience in my life? Do I demonstrate faithfulness?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 27, 2011

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Passion begins with a connection. Passion can be catching, you can get it from someone else who has it. No one is more passionate about life and love than Jesus!

Secondly, passion grows with conviction. Passion takes root in a belief and strengthens as you become more convinced about what you believe. Belief typically grows through experience. Experience is when your belief moves from your head to your heart. When something that you believe in your mind actually gets put to the test in life and you discover it works! From then on you believe it more!

When reality challenges your beliefs and you cling to that belief and act on it and find it passes the test, you have a stronger belief and a new view of reality. When what you hoped in proved to be worthy of your hope - your hope grows! You move from hoping to real hope! Not only does your belief get stronger but so does your passion!

It is sort like when you first walked out on the ice covering a pond or a like. You have watched it freeze and seen the ice cover more of the surface until it covers all the water. You wait while it thickens and then when you think it be thick enough you take that first tentative step. To your joy and relief your find it does support your weight. With each step your confidence grows. Soon you are skating and having a wonderful time! You have moved from hoping you were right to knowing it and enjoying it!

Conviction is discovering that you can hope in what you hoped you could believe! Then you hope more and believe stronger. Each time your belief stands the tests of life and validates your hopes you grow more passionate about what you believe. That allows you to be more patient in the face of difficulties.

Stronger hope and greater patience helps you pray with more faith! Prayer strengthen both your connection WITH Jesus and your conviction of what be believe ABOUT Him. Prayer becomes less of a job and more of a joy. It changes prayer from a last resort to a first response.

Passion originates with a connection and deepens with a conviction. When you believe what you believe you will find you more hope, patience and prayerfulness.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 26, 2011

"Be never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11

My father would have been 80 years old today, if he was still living. He may be still living had he been able to get his passions directed in the right ways. Your passions can make you or break you. Dad's broke him.

So, how do you get your passion focused in positive ways that please God and produces fruit in your life?

As I study verses 11-13 I see three factors concerning passion. It begins with a connection, it grows through a conviction and it is sustained by a commitment. Over the next few posts I want to explore those ideas.

Spiritual passion begins with a connection - connecting to Jesus Christ by faith. Verse 11 tells you to "keep your fervor". You will have no fervor or zeal (passion) unless you have the Spirit of God present and active in your life. And you will not have the Spirit active in your life if you not have a personal spiritual faith connection with the God of the universe.

When you connect with Jesus you connect to His eternal supernatural love. There is no love like the love of God. It is unconditional. It is unlimited. It is unstoppable. And it is yours for the receiving it. You will never know godly passion until you know godly love.

When you connect with Jesus you connect you connect to His grace. Grace is the "underserved favor of God". His grace assures you that He wants to know you and wants you to know His love. Grace means that we don't always have to be at our spiritual best. It means He will strengthen us when we are weak. It means he will forgive us when we repent of sin. It means we can live in unbroken fellowship with God and know the joy of His presence. Passion arises out of getting to know God in a personal and intimate way.

When you connect with Jesus you get His hope - and His peace. You know that all is well with your soul and God is pleased with you. Knowing that you have found favor with God gives you joy. You can live each day in His peace and have hope for the future.

And, connecting with Christ connects you to His passion. He is passionate about people. He wants to work through you to be a connecting point for people who don't know Him.

God wired us to be passionate people. Everyone is passioniate about something. But the "something" you should be passionate about is "someone" - Jesus! Powerful and productive passion begins with a connection to God. Are you connected?

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 25, 2011

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11
Perhaps you buy into the notion that passion is a spontatneous and intense emotional response to some great spiritual experience or a move of God.
Maybe you understand passion to be something that springs up within randomly or capriciously and then disappears just a unpredictably.
Verse 11 presents a different idea of passion.
Passion happens intentionally, "Never be lacking in zeal", v. 11 a
Like most other things in life, passion happens because someone wants it to happen and does what it takes to make it happen. What needs to happen is zeal. Zeal is a form of passion or even a
synonym for it. An intentional decision must be made to be zealous toward the Lord, His Church and the people that make up your local church. You decide that you will maintain the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual commitment necessary to stay zealous for the Lord. You devote body, mind and, spirit to knowing and serving the Lord. You aggressively pursue it or preserve it.
Second, passion happens internally.
Passion is something that stirs within you once you decide to pursue it and possess it. Zeal comes to your mind and spirit as a result of committing them to God's Spirit. It comes from His Word as you hide it in your heart and meditate on it in your mind. Once you intentionally commit to pleasing God, His pleasure fills you from the inside out.
Passion happens in service to God.
Zeal increases as it is expressed by self-sacrificing service. Passion is something you can put your hands around. Zeal cannot be contained. What obedience and surrender allow the Spirit to stir within in you will have to express itself by serving others. Passion that seeks God must also service God.
Passion is a decision. Zeal is a determination to know God, to experience God, and to show God in your piety, your personal relationship to him and your personal investment ministering to the needs of others.
Are you zealous for the Lord? Are you passionate in the Lord?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 24, 2011

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11 (TNIV)

“Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame." Romans 12:11 (The Message)

What are you passionate about?

How do you fuel that passion?

What robs you of your passion?

Those are some of the issues addressed in this middle section of Romans 12.
How do you define passion? Is it an emotional state? Is it an attitude? Is it a spiritual condition?
Here, Paul defines it as a level of commitment. He equates it with "zeal".
Commitment implies a narrowed focus. When you are committed to numerous things you are, in fact, not committed. You may have multiple interests but minimal commitment. Most people nowadays can relate to the concept of being "over committed".
What happens to over committed people? Don't they usually become over stressed? Once you are over stressed what happens to your passion? What happens to your energy level? What happens to your level of performance?
I established at the beginning of this series that God calls you to the purpose of overcoming evil with His goodness. But what are the chances of overcoming evil if you are overwhelmed by too many commitments?

"But, Brad" you argue, "The things I am committed to are all good things! Isn't that how you overcome evil?"
While I will give you that if you are going to be overwhelmed it is better to be overwhelmed with good things than by bad things, but the net result is pretty much the same. In my experience, the
most common hindrance to believers overcoming evil WITH good is being overcome BY good. Doing the good things is usually what prevents you from doing the best things.
"So," you ask, "How do I narrow my focus? How do I prioritize my commitments?"
Discover that and you will take a giant step toward living with passion. I will give you a hint, Jesus said, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 23, 2011


Week Three – “Finding Your Purity”
Romans 12:9-10


Our Purpose – “overcoming evil with good”

We are a team – every member has a position to play and the team wins as each member plays his position and gets wins at that position. Each of us matters and it matters to the team what we do.

We are a body – every member has an equally important place in that body and must find it for the body to become healthy and growing.

Our Unity – comes from surrendering to God:
Our Ego
Our Evil
Our Efforts

Our Community – comes from serving in the church in the Spirit

How do we preserve and maintain this healthy climate in the church?


“Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10

PURITY = MATURITY, as in, mature love. That is what we have seen displayed in David and Trish Tait over the years they have served FWC. It is the love that Gerald and Brenda have modeled as they lead the church and even now as they serve.

Once a team, once a body finds the unity and community that are essential to a godly, growing, healthy church – then they must maintain it. How?


1) HONEST – “Love must be honest and true……”

This deals with your motives. Honest love isn’t manipulative. Honest love faces the hard truth of selfish love and repents of it. Get real with God!

2) HOLY – “…..hate what is evil….”

This deals with your Master. Who is the source of your love? How do you get it? You have to hate your selfish love to get sincere love. This will take some true repentance. It will require some discipline. You can’t love and hate at the same time.

3) HELPFUL – “….hold onto what is good….”

This deals with your mission. The purpose of believers is to be confront the evil in the world with the goodness of God!

4) HEARTY – “… each other deeply…..”

This deals with your meaning. Are you going to devote your life to self-seeking or are you going to invest in others? Are you willing to be vulnerable? Will you risk getting hurt by others in order to be able to help them?

5) HUMBLE – “…..honor others more than yourselves.”

This deals with your maturity. Are you willing to stand in the shadows and shine the spotlight on others? Are you willing to be a “nobody” to help make “somebodys”. Will you decrease so others can increase?










Friday, January 21, 2011

January 22, 2011

"Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
Telling someone to love like this is equivalent to telling your dog to act like a cat. It is unnatural. The love that God demands of you in this portion of Scripture is unnatural. Think about it!
To love this way you must be sincere, i.e. - authentic, the real deal! That is not your nature! It is natural to fake it. You show only your best side and mask or hide your faults, flaws and weaknesses. You don't like those parts of your nature and you are sure that if others knew how you really are they wouldn't like you either!
Loving others with a real, true, genuine and sincere love is not natural!
Likewise, expecting someone to hate evil and cling to good is very idealistic isn't it? That won't really happen. It is not the way we are! How can you hate evil when your very nature is controlled by evil? Your natural way of loving is selfish love. It is a love that manipulates others to get what it wants. Therefore selfish love uses other people, sometimes abuses them to gratify its desires.
Loving others with a holy and unselfish love is unnatural.
So it is with brotherly love or a love that prefers others above your own wants and needs. It is not in your nature to honor others. You want the spotlight! You want the credit! Center-stage belongs to you! You deserve the honor! You have earned it!
Honor others? Why?
Pure love requires a maturity that is not natural. True love, Christian love, requires a fundamental change in your nature. As the Scripture declares, you must "be transformed by the renewing of your mind"! That is not just unnatural it is supernatural! Only God can do that because only God loves like that! It begins the moment you recieve the love that God has for you in Christ Jesus! When you recieve His love you also recieve the desire to love others. Along with that desire comes the ability to love others because - HE LOVES THROUGH YOU!
Are you ready for some radical love? Are you tired of shallow self-centered love? Are you wanting to help others rather than hurting them?
Repent of your selfish love and surrender to the supernatural endless love of God!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 21, 2011

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Romans 12:9-10

You have heard about "love/hate" relationships. Maybe you have had some. So you know there really is a fine line between love and hate. They are equally strong passions. Love has tremendous power for good while hatred can cause great harm.

Both love and hatred have a place in the heart of a Christian. In some situations you must hate one thing in order to love another. For instance, if you love the Chicago Bears (as I do) you MUST hate the Green Bay Packers. That's just the way it is! Always has been that way and always will be.

Okay, maybe I can find a better example.

In verses nine and ten, you are told that in order to love others with a godly love, you must hate evil. That would be the evil that tries to intrude into your heart as well and the evil that would attack or invade others. The word used here is a strong word. It indicates that you must be disgusted by evil and find it loathsome.

Do you?

If you saw an imminent physical threat to your loved one you would immediate cry out ro warm them or run to protect them. That is because true love protects. So, how then can you truly love someone and ignore a greater threat - the threat of evil to their immortal soul?

What would you think of a lifeguard at the beach who sees someone struggling in the waves and while fully aware of the threat, chooses to ignore it, preferring to work on his tan. That would anger you! And it should! You would conclude that lifeguard does not care about people nor takes his job seriously.

But in the same way, when you see evil or destructive habits or behavior in a loved one and you tolerate it you are not doing your duty as a Christian.

One measure of how much you love a brother or a sister is how much evil you are willing to tolerate in their lives. Or, another indication would be how much evil you are willing to condone or even participate in with them. The degree to which you ignore or tolerate evil is an indication of how little you love. Perhaps you have remained silent not wanting to offend or force a confrontation. Maybe you have convinced yourself that is the loving thing to do. Romans 12:9-10 challenges that notion.

Loving God and loving others demands a hatred of evil.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 20, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
"Love each other deeply" says the Scripture. The word that is used is the word for "brotherly love". Within the fellowship of the church you are to love others like family. The "phileo" type of love is the highest measure of love which human beings are capable of sharing. It refers to a genuine warm emotional feeling of fondness and familiarity. In other words, when you love a fellow Christian give it all you've got. Don't hold back.
Why should you not love your fellow believers like you love family? Afterall, you have the same Father. If you love God you certainly should love those in your church fellowship who also love God. You love them because God, your Father loves them. You love them deeply because they are spiritual family.
And why should you not love your fellow believers who not only share you Father, but also share your faith. Faith is a powerful force in the life of a believer. Faith is a set of beliefs about Who God is, how He operates, how He loves you and what He wants you to do and to become. A common system of beliefs and values can form a strong bond for friendship and fellowship among believers in a local church. Sharing strong beliefs at the core of your being with other believers is a strong uniting factor.
Also, when you worship and work together within the fellowship of a church you share the same focus. You want that fellowship to prosper and grow. The people and the pastors and the ministries of that church has inspired you and instructed you and invested in you over the years and it has become an important part of your life. Because you value that you value others who share your passion for the the health of that church. You are a team, you are members of the body who are working together to achieve shared goals. That is a strong common bond.
Love one another deeply as you would a brother or a sister. Live in unity and harmony with them. Share spiritual community as you worship together , serve each other and reach out to the needs in your city.
Having the same Father, the same faith and an indentical focus are important factors in loving each other deeply (like brothers or sisters) within a local church fellowship. It is a powerful bond! It will bless you in your spirit and build you in your spiritual development!
Do you have a brotherly love for those who worship with you? If not, why not?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 19, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10

Who doesn't want true love? Who wouldn't benefit from it? What church couldn't use more of it?

True love is hard to find. Maybe that is because it is hard to do.

In these two verses Paul gives us perhaps the most concise description of true love found anywhere - even more concise than I Corinthians 13.

Life is all about relationships and therefore, love is essential. God wired you to thrive within loving relationships but sin infected your nature with selfishness and selfishness is the great "anti-love".

So, the reason why it's hard for you to love others is because you love yourself more. Until you want to love more than be loved you will struggle with true love. Wow, that's honest!

Perhaps that's why this verse describing true love begins by demanding honesty. Until you are honest about your lack of love how can you ever hope to honestly love?

Selfish love is manipulative. It always look for an edge or an angle to get what it wants. When you are angling for what YOU want you will not be interested in what others want. Self-love is the "anti-love". Insincere love uses people rather than serves them. When others feel used by you not only do they not feel loved by you, it is demeaning to them. No one wants to feel like an object.

How do you get over the self-love so you can love others with a sincere love?

Back to the honesty! True love begins with repenting to God for your self-love. Call it what it is - SIN. The root of all sin is selfishness and that must be dug out by the root! Only the God of perfect love can do that.

The antidote for self-love is God's love. Maybe that is why Jesus commanded us to "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself". Until you love God more that you love yourself it will be impossible to love others and not try to manipulate them. Actually, you will try to manipulate God, too!

Get over it! Root out SIN and get sincere!

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 18, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
Mature love is pure love. It is the love God has for you as revealed in His Son, Jesus. It is pure love because it comes from pure motives.
Mature love is honest. It has nothing to hide and no hidden motive or agenda. Honest love seeks the best for others and gives its best to others. It acts on the truth and speaks the truth and deals truthfully with those it loves.
Mature love is humble. It puts the needs and interests of others ahead of its own. There is no pretense or need to impress. It is not concerned about maintaining an image or protecting an ego. It is not afraid to risk in order to make others feel loved.
Mature love hates hurtful things and therefore doesn't hurt others. It opposes evil things and stays clear of evil itself. Evil is the anti-love because it promotes selfishness.
Mature love is helpful. It embraces the things that are good and helpful for others. It looks for the things that are good and helpful in others. It encourages and serves to bring out the best in others.
Mature love honors others by honoring God and obeying His Word.
Mature love is pure love because it comes out of pure motives and expresses itself in ways worthy of God's love. This is the love you receive from God and the love He expects you to share with others. And this is the love that fosters unity and community within the Body of Christ.

January 17, 2011

"Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
Everyone wants love. Everyone needs love. Very few know how to give it. Many have trouble receiving it.
Tucked into the center of this incredible chapter about finding our purpose is this admonition to learn how to love. Could it be that love is at the heart of our purpose?
Once the ego, and the evil and the emotions have been surrendered, and once the mind has had a supernatural transformation (by the way, the word for "transformation" is the root word for "metamorphosis" - which is what happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly). What happens in your heart and mind is no less miraculous than that!
When you have removed the obstacles to loving God and of recieving His love, you have positioned yourself to think and act in loving ways. One expression of that is serving in the Body using your spiritual gift.
So, the result of heeding these admonitions will be unity and community in the Body. As hard as it is to get there, how in the world do you maintain it?
Unity and community are preserved by maturity. Mature love will keep the Body healthy and growing.
What is mature love? What does it look like? What are the characteristics that mark this love? That will be the theme of our posts this week.
Mature love is sincere. Sincere means "real", not "phony", not "faked". The origins of the word "sincere" comes from two words meaning "without wax". Interesting, eh? It comes from a practice common to unscrupulous potters when they sold their wares in the market. Occasionally as the pots were being fired in the kiln, a few of them would crack. You have known enough crackpots in your lifetime to know that doesn't work. But rather than take the loss on the pots that had cracked the dishonest potter would melt wax and seal over the cracks and paint the pottery to hide their deception. Then they would sell the defective pots at full price. Only when that pot sat in the sun and the wax melted did the buyer realize he had been swindled. So, to protect their own business and reputation, honest potters would put up a sign at their booth that said "Sine Cere" - "without wax".
Mature love does not try to cover the cracks in its life nor does it reject others for the imperfections they have. As Peter admonishes, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8 Mature love lets the love of God seep through the cracks of their life and into the cracks of others!
Do you love with a mature love? Do you know someone who loves you like that?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 16, 2011

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." Romans 12:3-8
A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan, "While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. It was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and begin my two-day journey back to the hospital. Upon arriving at the city, two men were fighting, and one was seriously injured. I treated his injuries and told him about Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camped overnight, and arrived back home without incident.
Two weeks later I repeated my journey. When I arrived back at the city I was approached by the young man whom I had treated. He told me he knew I carried money and medicines. He said "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to jump your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards!"At this I laughed and said that I certainly was all alone out in that jungle campsite. But the young man pressed the point, saying, "No Sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 armed guards that we were afraid and left you alone."
At this point in his message, a man in the audience jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked the exact day that incident happened. The missionary told him - and the man excitedly told THIS story - "On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here, and I was preparing to play golf. I was about to tee off when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Holy Spirit was SO STRONG, I called men to meet me here to pray for you. "If you were here with me that day to pray please stand up?" The men who met together to pray stood up. The missionary wasn’t really concerned with who they were - but he wept as he counted their number -You guessed it - there were 26!
In these verses of Romans 12, Paul urges the believers with the importance of knowing the part they are to play in the local church AND to make sure they play that part. The part you should play is determined by the spiritual gift you have been given. Discover it and then faithfully use it by serving in the church.
Those 26 men in Michigan who had the gift of intercession were faithful to play their parts and they saved the life of their missionary friend!
How do you discover your spiritual gift?
One way is to volunteer for a variety of areas in your church where you can serve discover what you enjoy doing and what you don't. You can also find out where you are effective and where you aren't.
Look back over your weeks and months or years of serving God in the church and see where you have made a difference. Talk with your pastor and see what he thinks your gifts might be. Where you have seen spiritual fruit develop from your ministry is a good indication of your giftedness.
Ask your pastor if he has a spiritual gift inventory that you can take to help you identify your gift(s). At FredWes, that is part of our membership training class. Everyone who joins our church as a member know what his gifts are and can enlist in ministry according to their giftedness.
God has given you a "measure of faith" - a special gift enabling you to serve Him by serving your brothers and sisters in the church. If He has given you a gift, shouldn't you unwrap it? Shouldn't you do your part?

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 15, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1
I don't understand it but the rage these days among young people is the "Twilight" series that deals with vampires. Maybe it is my age or my lack of "hipness" but I don't get the attraction to evil, blood-sucking, undead people. If you are "hip" help me out with that one.
In my day the "undead" people of choice were zombies. They weren't nearly as scary or lethal as the vampires. Zombies just walk stiff-legged with their arms extended in front of them while making grunting noises. Vampires, on the other hand can turn into bats and go airborne on you! I hate when that happens!
Apparently part of the fear of these "walking dead" is that you can't kill them. There is always one idiot in each movie who empties a gun into the zombie and then after he has run out of ammo and just before the monster gets him, he throws the gun at the monster. It is the last stupid thing he ever does.
Why am I talking about this?
Because it conjurs up the concept of a "living sacrifice" as an undead person or a dead person walking. In a sense, that is what God calls us to do - declare ourselves dead to our sinful self and alive to Christ. By faith, you lay yourself on God's altar and die to your ambitions and your agenda.
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was an essential part of the worship. The worshipper brought a lamb or an oxen or a dove to the priest and the altar and the priest killed it, laid it upon the altar and burned it. That sacrifice was dead! It was not getting off the altar. So, the image of a living sacrifice is like an oxymoron to the Jewish mind.
That IS the challenge of being a living sacrifice, once you offer yourself on the altar of surrender, you must stay there! You are not to take back your gift and use it as you wish. That means you must continually die! Unlike the OT sacrifice this in NOT a once and for all offering. Each day or more likely, multiple times during the day, you continually lay down your will on the altar of obedience.
As long as you leave your sacrifice on the altar, God promises to do some incredibly important things. He promises to "transform you by the renewing of you mind". While you place yourself on the altar as a selfish sinful person, once you do, God does a supernatural work in you! Dying to self allows you to come alive to Him! That is "good, and perfect and pleasing" to God!
Vampire? No thanks!
Zombie? Nope!
Living sacrifice? That's what I'm talking about!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 14, 2011

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3

Have you discovered the delicate balance between having to high of an opinion of yourself and thinking that God cannot use you at all? That "sober" evaluation of who you are in Christ AND of Who He can be in you is what leads to fruitfulness and fulfillment as a Christian! Therefore, one of the hardest accomplishments in life is to arrive at an objective view of yourself and your abilities. Perhaps the harder thing is maintaining it once you get it. To do so requires a delicate balance between pride and humility - OR - between arrogance and false humility.

But Paul gives some insights on how to find that balance. He says the key is to measure yourself against your potential in Christ rather than compare yourself to other Christians. That will largely be determined by the extent that you know Christ and understand yourself. He has already challenged you to have your heart changed and your mind transformed by His Spirit. Only when you have the mind of Christ can you "soberly judge" yourself. Only when you know what your spiritual gift(s) is (are) can you be honest in your view of yourself.

I completely surrendered to the will of God when I was 14 years old. But at that time I had a very poor self-image and very little self-confidence. So, when God called me into the ministry I struggled gathering enough confidence to see myself in a pastoral role. It took me four years to grow and mature into the understanding of self-confidence based on God confidence. A trusted spiritual mentor constantly reminded me that with God's calling comes His enablement. And I came to understand the truth about spiritual gifts, special abilities given by God and activated by His Holy Spirit that enable me to minister in His Name. I could partner with God to accomplish the calling He had placed on my life. I began to understand that "without God I could nothing" BUT I could "do all things through Christ Who gives me strength". I could identify with Paul when he said, "To whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" Col. 1:27.

I learned during those formative years that self-confidence for the Christian is "Christ confidence". Having confidence was not about me, it was about Who He was and Who He could be in me if I would surrender to Him and live a consecrated life walking with Him. God would not be able to use me if I thought too highly of my abilities. Neither could He use me if I lacked confidence. The answer was to find my confidence in Him and His ability to use me in ministry.

Later, I learned about "spiritual gifts" or "the measure of faith" that God has given to every believer. Once I took my ego out of the equation, once I stopped measuring myself compared to other people and, instead, measured myself based on who I was in Christ - AND, who He was in me that's the day I was able to believe that God could use me in ministry! I believe that is what the phrase "sober judgment" means.

How about you? Have you discovered your spiritual gift? And if you have, are you using it in your local church.

If you answer "no" to either of these questions it is time to "sober up"!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 13, 2011

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2
Romans 12 is such a gold mine of spiritual truths! The more you dig the more you find.
As I was looking over verses one and two I noticed it gives a great picture of what powerful worship looks like.
Powerful worship begins with sacrifice. Worship involves offering something of worth. How else can you express the worth you find in God but to give something you value the most. Paul says to offer your body, yourself as a living sacrifice.
In ancient days no one could come into the presence of royalty without an offering. How can you enter into the presence of the King of Kings without offering your best - yourself. Worship is not a casual event. Here Paul reminds you that when you enter in you must be all in!
Coming into God's presence fully surrendered allows God to respond to your worship. When you consecrate yourself to Him He moves upon your heart and mind with His Spirit. The result is a transformed mind and a renewed heart. God cleanses the sin that had separated you and allows you to experience intimate spiritual fellowship with Him. THAT IS WORSHIP!
Authentic worship is transformational. When you sincerely worship and when you actually meet God, you will never be the same. The result of a renewed heart and transformed mind is the ability to hear from God! God can now trust you with new truths and deeper revelations. You leave worship a different person than when you came.
Is that how you worship or are you a "casual" worshipper?
Do you consecrate yourself to God when you come to worship? Do you come with an attitude of "getting something from God" or do come to give something to God?
Are you the same person you where before you worshipped or do you allow God to change you? Will you offer yourself completely to God today?

January 12, 2011

Good news this morning! God calls you to "not be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with (His) good" and He has given you EVERYTHING you need to win! And I also believe He has given your family, your marriage and you church all that is necessary to win! All it takes is for you to execute the game plan.

Now, sometimes you have to keep executing for a quarter, sometimes it takes a half, and there are times when you have to go into overtime, but believe in God and trust His plan and you WILL be an overcomer!

What is the game plan?


"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

You can't overcome evil in the world until you overcome the evil in you! That takes surrender. Humble yourself by confessing your evil nature and repent of your sinfulness. When you do, He will transform your mind and renew your spirit. He will place His nature within you through the infilling of His Holy Spirit. And then, walk in holiness each day by living a surrendered, Spirit-filled life.

Have you done that? Are you doing that?

SEEK, V. 2

"Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, perfect, and pleasing will."

Once you have had a spiritual transformation in your heart and mind you get on God's wave-length and can know what His plan is for you. Are you seeking His will?

I want you to notice what this verse says about God's will. It is good! That is good as in "righteous". So, if you are called to overcome evil with good wouldn't you want a "good" will at work in you and through you? Seek it! Seek it daily!

Also, notice that His will "perfect". How many things do you know that are perfect? God's will is perfect for you and for the purpose He has called you to accomplish. The word means "perfectly fitted for a task". For example, if you have a slotted screw and a phillips screwdriver that tool is not perfect for the job. A slot screwdriver is. So, this will that you seek is perfectly designed to fit you and to fit you for the task of overcoming evil with good! How good is that!

SERVE, Vv. 3-8

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully."

A huge part of the "perfect" will of God for you is discovering the "measure of faith" or the "spiritual gift" that He has hard-wired within you and activated by His Spirit. Once that happens you will find your place - the position you are to play to contribute to a winning team!

Once you discover your place then ministry will become a joy instead of a job! You will find greater satisfaction in serving! You will have boundless energy for serving rather than burn out!

Have you sound your position? If not, keep seeking! If so, keep serving!

Once you surrender to God and seek His will and then serve in that will, you will find that you grow stronger and you will bring strength to the church where you serve AND you will shape the people you serve! Week by week and day by day as you serve you will bring God's goodness to bear against the evil around you! You will accomplish the purpose God called you to!

Sound good? Sounds Scriptural!

Will you surrender today? Will you seek? How will you serve?