Monday, November 15, 2010

November 16, 2010

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

The New Testament word for "fellowship" is "koinonia". It appears 20 times in the New Testament. The first appearance is in Acts 2:42 - "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer. "

"koinonia" is defined as spiritual oneness, like-mindedness, unity based in common devotion to God. Because of the central focus on God, the result is a commitment to love and serve other believers.

Recently I preached about worship - that it is seeking God and surrendering to God and speaking for God. What could be better than that?

How about seeking God together with other passionate, like-minded believers? Or, how about sharing life with others who are surrendered to God? One worshipper is good. But gather a number of worshippers who come seeking God and you have a powerful experience! Worshippers who come together to worship multiply the power of praise! God shows up when people come together seeking Him!
And, what could be more effective than a surrendered believer whole-heartedly following Christ? A church filled with surrendered believers whole-heartedly following Him! It doesn't take a lot of people like that to become a powerful force. God empowers a body that is sold-out and surrendered to serving Jesus.
The third aspect of worship that Jesus shared with His disciples is speaking out or standing up for Him. One person taking a stand for God can change a culture or shape history. Does the name Martin Luther mean anything to you? He stood against the corruption of the institutional Church when it was at its most powerful and declared, "The just shall live by faith!"
Jesus changed the history of the world with just twelve guys - and only eleven of them were sold out.
When a church seeks God together, and surrenders to the will of God, and stands boldly for Him there isn't much that can prevail against it!
I dream of building a church like that! Will you help?

September 15, 2010

"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:23-26
Once you have seen Jesus and understand Who He is, you can never be the same! Peter's confession of Christ shaped his life forever! It was his defining moment.
How did it define his life?
First, it defined His meaning.
Peter was a fisherman become follower. Jesus had promised him He would become a "fisher of men". But had that happened yet? No really. So, what value is there in being a non-fishing fisherman? Not much.
Fully knowing Who Jesus was meant that Peter now would fish differently with different bait, a new hook and a bigger net!
His new bait? JESUS!
His new hook? LOVE!
Second, it defined his mission.
When Peter first decided to follow Jesus he left his nets and his boat to learn about this amazing new Rabbi. He became a follower because of what it could do for him and if it did not work he could always go back to fishing. Peter had a fall back position - a "plan B".
His confession of Jesus would change that forever!
Once you truly understand Who Jesus is and confess Him as Savior and Lord, there is no more "plan B". Either you are all in or you are out! Peter understood that. His mission was to be fully committed to making Christ known to others. The news was too good to keep! Evangelizing became His purpose and His top priority.
Committing to Christ marks the end of casual, aimless living!
How did he do? Read the first several chapters of Acts!
Third, it defined his message.
When you know Who Jesus is, how can you stay silent about it? When you have witnessed miracles and seen people delivered and the dead raised, how can you not tell others about that? You can't! You must!
Others needed to hear it and Peter needed to tell.
How did he do? Read the first few chapters of Acts!
Once you understand Who Christ is and once you confess Him it should dramatically and fundamentally change you! It should change your meaning - has it? It should change your mission - has it? And it should change your message - what are you talking about?