Every Monday, from 06/05/2017 to 07/31/2017, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Books with Buddies - story, songs, popsicles and playground time. Where: Trinity Bible Church - Preschool Building in Room 13When: Summer Mondays, ...
The first time I watched Naked & Afraid on TV, I could not stop laughing. I didn't quite understand WHY two complete strangers would WANT to try to survive out in the wilderness with no clothes on. Still to this day, it does not make sense to me. They do not know each other, their location is desolate, and the only thing they have is the one "survival" item they brought with them. WHO WOULD SIGN UP FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!
Me. I did. (without really knowing)
I just got back from Training Camp for 10 days in Georgia. It was my own Jesus version of Naked & Afraid. I walked into camp not knowing a single person on my squad. Everyone met in the deep hills of Georgia. And all we had were the packs on our back with things we desperately squeezed in, hoping and praying it was not too heavy to carry. A lot like the contestants on Naked & Afraid, I was uncomfortable.
Living in a tent, is uncomfortable. Using a cold bucket shower, is uncomfortable. Being vulnerable with your team, is uncomfortable. Hiking with 35lbs on your back, is uncomfortable. Using a portapotty, is uncomfortable. Wearing no make-up, is uncomfortable. Sweating 24/7, is uncomfortable. Letting God tear down the walls of your heart, is uncomfortable.
But I believe with all my heart that God lives on the other side of our comfort zones. He wants us to step out and choose to be uncomfortable. It is not always fun, but I promise it is worth it. What I found was once I embraced the uncomfortableness… God was already there moving.
A tent became home. Bucket showers became refreshing. Being vulnerable became rewarding. Hiking in the Georgia heat became normal (sort of). There became no shame in using the portapotty. Wearing no make-up became beautiful. Sweating became standard. And God tearing down my walls became freeing.
I think of the men and women in the Bible who were willing to get comfortable being uncomfortable. They all had to die to themselves and take up their cross. I don’t know about you, but dying to myself does not sound like a walk in the park. But I choose to fight and say ‘yes’ to my Savior. I am willing to place myself in new situations, even the awkward stomach-churning ones, for the sake of seeing the Kingdom advance. Will it be a daily battle?! Absolutely. But I know my God’s grace is sufficient.
So friends, let’s start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have a feeling I’ll have many, many stories of God rocking my world when it comes to my comfort zone... so stay tuned… it is just the beginning.
God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NASB
Pride. It gets in my way of being obedient. Recently, God has shown me that I have not fully stepped into some areas where He has told me to go. I shrink back into safer places. The reason: I fear being misunderstood. When I boil it down, my pride in how I am perceived by others makes me timid to obey.
Recently, I spoke to a room full of women from Genesis 3, where God walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the Garden. When Eve listens to the sneaky serpent Satan, everything changes. Shame enters her world. She hides. In verse 11, God asks her, “Who told you that you are naked?” So with 70 friends, I talked about being naked - before God and before others.
Now talking to a room of women about being naked is not my idea of safe conversation. I am pretty sure that I was misunderstood by someone in that room. But this time, instead of choosing safer words and watering down the message that God had given me, I said it... boldly. Afterwards, my enemy whispered many words of criticism and mockery in my thoughts that made me wish I had played it safe. But timidity is not found in obedience.
Just 3 things to walk in bold obedience:
1. Know the voice.
Fear. Shame. Guilt. Condemnation. Worry. This is the voice of the enemy.
The voice of God calms, comforts, stills and convicts His daughters and leads to restoration.
My self-talk can go either way – to affirm the enemy’s lie or uphold God’s truth.
It is an on-going journey of recognizing whether my thoughts are from the world, the flesh or the devil. Or are they reflections from the One who created me and breathes words of life to my soul.
2. Know your weapons.
The armor of God is not just a great illustration; it is the way to defeat the enemy. Ephesians 6:10-18 spells out how a child of God stands against anything thrown at her. It is how we gain freedom in Christ. Know how to employ your spiritual weapons: belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet and prayer to resist the devil and stand firm.
3. Walk in it.
Sitting on the sidelines is a long way from walking in obedience. Ask God about His desire for your day: your time, your energy; your filling, your giving. And then choose to walk in it... boldy. Not timidly shrinking back.
Satan still talks to the daughters of Eve and tells us we are shamefully naked. But God tells us a very different truth: Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
My friends, I pray that you are willing to stand before God naked, hiding nothing. And let Him clothe you as the chosen, holy and dearly loved child of God that you are (Colossians 3:12.)
My week probably started just like yours, hearing about the terrorist attack on innocent people in Manchester Area where 22 people died. Today, “Breaking News” story on my Twitter feed is reporting 23 Coptic Christians were killed in Egypt. We are often reminded we live in a broken world. So, when good news comes around, I want to shout Hallelujah, Amen and share it.
I have a pastor friend (in another state) that has a beautiful wife and 3 young boys. Two of the boys are adopted and one of those boys is a special needs child. This friend of mine is a great husband, an involved dad and not a bad preacher (LOL – I’m sure he will never read this!). His adopted middle son, (let’s call him M), has been wanting a pet turtle for a long time. He has been getting the typical parental pushback for a while. Even so, that pushback never prevents him from asking his parents for a turtle. And when they say no, M will actually go into the neighborhood looking for a turtle (while the parents are anxiously hoping he never finds a turtle and brings it home). This week, on the first day of summer break, M comes into his parent’s room and starts to talk to them about Jesus and how he can become a Christian. Before he left the room, M confessed Jesus as his personal Lord & Savior. Amen! The parents continued the conversation, especially the “excited preacher dad” just making sure everything was covered correctly and what it truly means to be a Christian.
True Story: Ten minutes later M goes outside to play and guess what he finds? A Turtle! How are the parents going to say no, now? So, Jeff the turtle is the newest part of the family.
Now you can say the turtle is a coincidence but I assure you, no one in M’s family sees Jeff the turtle as a coincidence. The dad wrote this today, “I see it as God’s simple way of showing His grace to us.”
This story reminds me, we live in a broken and depraved world, I get it! While sin is leaving its mark on families in Manchester that lost loved ones this week and on multiple families in Egypt with the loss of the 23 Coptic Christians today, God is comforting those who mourn. Yet, stories like my pastor friend’s family remind us God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is leaving His mark of grace on M and multiple others just like him this week that confess Jesus as Lord. This is why Trinity Bible Church supports ministries, church plants and missionaries in Parker County and all around the world, so the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be shared with the broken world we live.
Now, let’s go find a turtle!
I am continually astonished at the capabilities of the human mind. It is incredible how much information can be remembered when we set our minds to it. We have phones that can hold hundreds of gigabytes of memory and computers that can hold terabytes, but this pales in comparison to the human mind. My earliest memory is of a time when I could not even walk. I do not remember my thoughts or emotions but I can remember what I saw as I crawled through the living room of a family friend’s house.We are especially able to remember special and important moments in our lives, whether it be the birth of a child, a first kiss, or a time when someone really encouraged us. Similarly, students all over the nation are currently pushing the limits of their memory as they prep for final exams.
The act of remembering is important for relationships as well. Whether it’s a husband remembering an anniversary or a family remembering to pick up the kids from practice, there are often high stakes when it comes to remembering.
A few years ago I began to notice from Scripture that God too thinks memory is important. Throughout the pages of Scripture, the people of God are told to remember and not forget. What I would like to do is to show you a few of these examples and draw out some principles from them for you.
1. We are called to remember what God has done in our lives.
One of the first places where the people of God are told to remember is in Exodus 13:3-10 which says,
3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. 5 And when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. 8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year. (Emphasis mine)
Moses here, sets up the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the purpose of remembering how God brought the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt. This act of God would be so important for them to remember that there would be a seven day feast every year to commemorate it. Notice too that this was meant to be family oriented as well. One of the purposes Moses mentions is that when a Hebrew child would ask about why his family had this feast every year, it would give the parents an opportunity to tell of God’s faithfulness in bringing them out of Egypt.
Remembering what God has done for us in the past gives us strength in the present because our God is unchanging. If he was good in the past, he will be good now. If he provided in the past, he will provide now. If he was faithful in the past, he will continue to be faithful. One of my favorite quotes is from Charles Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers”, who said, “The God who has been faithful until now can be trusted to the end.” I think often God allows things into our lives to teach us lessons that we will need in the future. We should make it our aim to remember these things to give us strength in the present and so that we can share with others the greatness of our God. When life is hard, as it often is, we can hold on to what God has taught us in the past to remind ourselves that God is faithful to complete his work in us.
2. We are called to remember God when life is easy.
Being in a time of trial and difficulty has it’s challenges, but so does being in a time of prosperity and ease. There is arguably more danger for a Christian in times of ease than in times of challenge. When all is well and life is easy and comfortable one can quickly forget the depth of our need for God. Too easily we forget John 15:5 which says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” An easy season in life has a way of blinding us to our need for God and so we quickly forget him. Moses was well aware of this when he told the people in Deuteronomy 6:10-12,
10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
God said he would provide in a huge way for his people. By his grace, they would inherit a land that was already set up for them. It would already have cities, houses, food, and water that they did not have to work for. Their lives would become much easier compared to the forced labor that they had experienced in Egypt. But Moses knew that this would come with danger. The people were well aware of their need for God when life was hard in Egypt but Moses knew that when their lives became easier that they would need to be encouraged to remember the Lord.
Our need for God does not change based on the ease or difficulty of our season in life, but our sense of that need can be changed, for better or for worse, based on our situation. Let us heed the encouragement of Moses, to remember God when life is easy. Doing so will give us great humility and will honor God because we will be acknowledging our need for God’s help and admitting our inability and weakness.
3. Gospel Amnesia
On this side of the cross, under the new covenant, Christians are not exempt from the call to remember. Paul exhorts the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5,
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (Emphasis mine)
I think all Christians are susceptible to what I call gospel amnesia. We understand that the gospel is necessary for salvation but we often act as if that is where our need for the gospel ends. We forget what Paul said here to the Corinthians, that we not only are saved by the gospel but we “stand” and “hold fast”, post salvation, to the gospel. None of us ever graduate from our need to remember the gospel. A people who daily remind themselves of the gospel will be a people who worship well, connect well, serve well, make disciples well, and glorify God well. Remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus is not an add-on to the Christian life; it is essential. Fixing our eyes on Jesus and his work is the only thing that will cure our gospel amnesia. This act of remembering is a daily spiritual discipline.
My prayer is that Trinity Bible Church is full of people who remember what God has done in the past, who remember God whether life is easy or hard, and who fight daily against gospel amnesia. So, let me ask you…
Hows your memory?
If I'm honest, this phrase typically comes up when I've hurt my back doing something around the house and I'm considering going to the chiropractor. There have been several times when a good adjustment -- and prayer -- has helped me walk straight again.
However, recently I see this phrase better related to my spiritual walk. Our recent guest speaker, Dr. Goodie Goodloe, challenged me with this question: What adjustments need to be made in your life to get you closer to God? I know when I get closer to God, I change, my family will change, my circle of influence will change -- you get the picture.
So, what adjustments do I need to make? Here's the real deal: I don't have a problem with the things God wants me to adjust. What frustrates me is my heart's response when God asks me to make an adjustment. Wow! I wish I was like, "Here I am, Lord. You're the potter and I'm the clay." In reality, it was more like a heels-dug-in and "hold on just a minute" response (most of you are surprised, right? LOL).
Here's God's word for me in this season. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
I have a season of adjustments ahead of me, but I have a God who cares enough about my heart to lay out personal adjustments just for me and then provides the strength to carry them out in me, all for HIS GLORY.
So, as the doctor might say in his office waiting room, "Who's next?"