Sunday, November 30, 2008

Push and Pull

It seems like life is endless game of push and pull. I feel like my alarm is pushing me out of bed each morning into a day with a “To Do” list that is impossible to accomplish in 24 hours. And everyone said, “Amen.” Our stories are probably similar: constant demands, overwhelming schedules, too much to do, too little time.

By the end of each day I look at my Palm and see all the things I didn’t get done. I begin moving the mountain of tasks to tomorrow’s “To Do” list. So before one day is over I already feel pulled into tomorrow by my subtly increasing time debt.

There is nothing wrong with a lot to do. It’s part of the world in which we live. Everyone is pushed and pulled through life. The important question to ask is, “Who is doing the pushing and pulling?” While I believe we are responsible for the choices we make in life, it seems at some point we lose control and something or someone else takes over.

Who is doing your pushing and pulling? As Christians, the answer should be God, His Word, the example of Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When asked about what He was doing Jesus responded, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Jesus was in tune with the Father’s will. It wasn’t about what He wanted to do. It wasn’t about what people expected Him to do. It was all about what God wanted Him to do.

Our lives are not our own. We are stewards of our lives, our time, and all that we have been given. At some point we will stand before the Judge and give an account and the question will be, “What is your relationship to the Judge?” Take time this week to reflect on the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about your work with and relationship to Him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Top 7 Christian Movies

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons upon us I thought I would blog about something fun that could also be beneficial for gift giving or family times around the TV during the holidays.

Why only 7 you ask? Well, I don’t have a lot of room on the back of a bulletin and it seemed to be the right number when discussing “Christian” movies. Now I know there are some that would ask, “What makes a movie ‘Christian’?” Well, I’m running out of room, so we don’t have time for a philosophical discussion right now.

Here are my Top 7 Christian Movies in no particular order:
  1. Fireproof – Moving movie from the makers of “Facing the Giants” (another great movie). Still in theaters!
  2. The Nativity Story – Authentic look at the first Christmas.
  3. Left Behind – Got to love Kirk Cameron missing the Rapture.
  4. The End of the Spear – Powerful!
  5. Peter & Paul – Nothing better than Anthony Hopkins as Paul.
  6. The Cross & the Switchblade – 70’s cheesy cool movie with Eric Estrada.
  7. The Passion of the Christ – One of my all-time favorite movies ever.

Honorable Mention:
  • A Thief in the Night (Part 1) & A Distant Thunder (Part 2) – End Times movies from the 70’s that scared me to death as a kid. I pretty much love all End Times movies from every era.

So many more great Christian movies so little time. Let me know what your favorites are and let’s build a list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Following & Obedience

Following Jesus requires obedience. You can’t call yourself a disciple if you’re not willing to follow the guidance of the teacher. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

One of the ways that we follow Jesus is by being baptized in water. It is a step of obedience to the Lord following conversion. It is part of becoming a disciple (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38). It is also the answer of a good conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21).

This public event tells God and everybody else (the church, your family, and friends) that you are a true follower of Christ. Jesus identified with sinful man when He was baptized by John. We are identified with Christ when we are baptized in Christian baptism. It is a symbol of your new life in Christ. Baptism is an act that demonstrates you have buried your former sinful life and have been to the cross, just like Jesus. It shows you want to put an end to the old life, and then to be resurrected “to walk in the newness of life.” (Romans 6:34)

I want to personally invite you to follow the Lord and be baptized in water. Take this crucial step in becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ! A Water Baptism Information Sheet is in your bulletin as well as available in the lobby. Everyone is invited to our Worship, Prayer, & Baptism evening at Christian Life Church on Sunday, November 23 at 6PM. It is one of the most inspiring evenings of the year as we watch young and old follow the Lord in water baptism.

If you have been baptized in water are you walking in the abundant new life God has given you? Take time this week to evaluate your discipleship. Are you following God and His Word? Are you close to the Teacher heeding His guidance for your life? Let’s be Christians who hear God say "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Simple Discipleship

…love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.
Mark 12:30 (The Message)

Jesus makes things simple for us. By the time Jesus shows up in history the religious leaders had accumulated over 600 laws that you needed to follow in order to be in right relationship with God. It was impossible for anyone to remember all of the laws, so they were constantly trying to distinguish between the major and the minor laws. When asked which is the most important, Jesus answers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Jesus goes on to teach that the second most important law was to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

Jesus lets us know that the ultimate Christian creed is to love God and love others. That’s it. Period. Simple isn’t it? And yet, so difficult to accomplish.

I believe more than ever, in our moment in history, we need to be reminded to follow the Great Commandment. Sometimes we have the tendency like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day to make discipleship tedious. The reality is Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Ultimate discipleship is simply loving God and loving others. Take time this week to check your heart. How is your passion level for God? How’s your heart toward your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, schoolmates, etc.? Let’s be doers of Jesus’ words this week.

One final thing I would like to ask you to do this week… please sign up to pray for our nation and President-Elect Barak Obama at You can also join others at Christian Life praying in the prayer room on Tuesday Evenings at 7PM.