It’s All About You…Jesus

During the music portion of our “worship service” we sing a song with the following lyrics: “It’s all about me, Jesus/And all this is for me/For my glory and my fame/It’s not about You/As if I should do things Your way/I alone am God/and You surrender to my ways.
Wait a second that’s not what that song says, right? Yes, you’re correct. The song is Jesus, Lover Of My Soul (It’s All About You) and the words are just the opposite. Yet, don’t we live as if the way I wrote the song is true? We make life about us, rather than Jesus. But if we are honest with ourselves, doesn’t our “I” problem cause almost all our challenges? We get all bent out of shape if people don’t do the things we want or how we think they should be done. Paul calls this in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “pretensions”, what the KJV states as “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ” or what I call our “I” problem.
We are to let the Word of God expose our “I” problem so we can see Jesus – the author and perfecter of our faith. He started and will finish the process of bringing us into God’s presence, not us. Thus, the more we use our biblically-based truth filter to screen out “I”, the better our lives will be today and tomorrow.
So to get our thinking started off on the right foot this week, I’m passing along something a good friend of mine sent to me.
“Jesus Christ is no despotic claimant of divine right, but He is really and truly the Lord’s anointed! “It hath pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” God hath given to Jesus all power and all authority. As the Son of man, He is now head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, and earth, and hell, with the keys of life and death at His girdle. Certain people have delighted to call themselves kings by the popular will, and certainly our Lord Jesus Christ is such in his church. If it could be put to the vote whether He should be King in the church, every believing heart would crown Him. O that we could crown Him more gloriously than we do! We would count no expense to be wasted that could glorify Christ. Suffering would be pleasure, and loss would be gain, if thereby we could surround His brow
with brighter crowns, and make Him more glorious in the eyes of men and angels. Yes, He shall reign. Long live the King! All hail to thee, King Jesus! Go forth, ye souls who love your Lord, bow at His feet, strew His way with the lilies of your love, and the roses of your
gratitude: “Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.”
Moreover, our Lord Jesus is King in Zion by right of conquest: He has taken and carried by storm the hearts of His people, and has slain their enemies who held them in cruel bondage. In the Red Sea of His own blood, our Redeemer has drowned the Pharaoh of our sins: shall He not be King in Jeshurun? He has delivered us from the iron yoke and heavy curse of the law: shall not the Liberator be crowned? We are His portion, whom He has taken out of the hand of the Amorite with His sword and with His bow: who shall snatch His conquest from His hand?
All hail, King Jesus! We gladly own thy gentle sway! Rule in our hearts for ever, thou lovely Prince of Peace.”
To this I give a hearty, “Amen!” Make life all about Him and you will have a great week.

Keep Your Helmet On

In the movie X-Men, the character Magneto wears a helmet to protect him from Xavier who could read people’s thoughts. Magneto wanted to keep Xavier out of his head.
This is an illustration of what living with a Biblical worldview does. It keeps your enemy out of your head! The main method Satan uses to attack believers is by trying to influence their thinking. He is a liar and all can he speak are lies (John 8:42-44).
If the believer in Jesus wants to defeat their enemy, they must put on the same kind of helmet Magneto wore. In this case, it’s the helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:13,17). This is the Secure because I’m God’s child principle. God loved before you believed, what will make Him love you less when you mess up after becoming His child (Rom. 5:8)? The moment you put your faith in Jesus, God radically changed you. You can now think and choose correctly (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:11-13). At the point of belief, God came to live inside you (Eph. 1:13-14). You are loved. You can live right. You have the Power inside to have victory over your drugs of choice.
Satan would love for you to beat yourself up over slipping. “You’re unloveable. You will always make stupid choices. You can’t win, so quit playing.” All of these are lies. Don’t let him inside your head. Keep your helmet on!
This takes truth-based mental toughness. Are you going to filter out those lies or will we let them in and roll around in your head? Will we focus on hearing Jesus’ voice or the lies of our enemy? Victory requires mental toughness. Remember keep your helmet on! You are loved. You can make right choices. You can win!

Stop Going to Church!

I know this sounds odd coming from a pastor, but it’s true. What most people call church really is a “worship service.” They go to a building with other people to watch other people trying to get them to come into the presence of and hear Jesus. This isn’t bad, but it’s not church.
If you go to church and never interact with other believers – give and take – why not stay home and watch church on TV? You would have the same experience – good music (maybe even better!), hear good teaching (better as well?) and come away feeling just the same all from the comforts of your living room couch while still in your PJs.
Church is not a service, it’s believers interacting with one another. It must be a two-way street. The Bible has a phrase that describes this. It’s called the “one-another” phrases. There are over 40 of them in the New Testament. We’re not called to go to church, but to be the church.
One of the illustrations the Bible uses to describe the church is a human body (1 Cor. 12:12-27). Each part is connected to another part, as the foot is attached to the leg. Have you ever seen a foot walking around by itself? (Ok, aside from Hollywood!) Nope, it doesn’t happen. The foot helps the leg and the leg helps the foot. It’s the same way in the Church, the Body of Christ. Church takes place as we interact and help each other get closer to and stay in the presence of Jesus as we accomplish His purpose for our lives (Eph. 2:10).
In a service, a few people use their talents to help you “get something out of it.” In reality, however, it should all be about what Jesus gets out of it. We are the participants while He is the spectator of our worship, which should be actions based upon trust (1 Cor. 10:31) of which praise is one.
At New Hope, where I pastor, our service has what is called “Family Time.” It’s right after announcements and before the message where people get a small taste of practicing the one-anothers, like greeting one another (Rom. 16:16). Among other things, it can also be used to encourage (1 Thess. 5:11), serve (Gal. 5:13) and comfort (1 Thess. 4:18) each other as well. It’s an opportunity to be the church while at a worship service. Bible Impact Groups and MiniChurch (i.e. home fellowships) are also a great place to practice being church.
We need one another in each other’s business so the Spirit can change our lives (James 5:16 – “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”) So don’t go to church this week. Practice being the church.

Don’t Waste Time Beating Yourself Up

Michael Jordan was quoted as saying:
“I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Jordan failed many times throughout his basketball career; and yet, he is considered one of the most successful basketball players ever to play the game. Why? He grew through his failures. Yeah, he lost twenty-six games by missing the last shot. But how many countless games did he win because he took the shot?
Though our goal is perfection (1 Peter 1:15-16), failure is not the end of the world either. We have someone ready to give us a hand up if we fall – Jesus (1 John 2:1-2). So why waste time beating yourself up when you take your drug of choice?
Okay, you fell. You can either learn from your failure by avoiding that same situation next time (Matthew 26:41) or by processing why you fell through your biblically-based truth filter so you’re prepared for victory in the future (James 4:7-8). Or you can wallow in your failure and waste time berating yourself for falling.
It’s your choice. But do remember this simple truth. Jesus already took the beating for your sin, the taking of your drug of choice. Why let Satan get additional pleasure by doing it to you?

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

When my children were babies we’d play the game of hide and seek in plain sight. The game is played by putting your hands over your face and telling your child, “I can’t see you. Where are you?” Then you pull your hands away and say, “There you are!” Of course, they were giggling and smiling the entire time. We’d both get a kick out of it.
This children’s game isn’t so funny when we become children of God. We put our hands over our face and think He can’t see us. Yet Hebrews 4:13 states, “All things (which includes you) are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” He knows the drugs of choice (i.e. sin) we’re taking and what they’re doing to us, so why avoid Him? He hurts for us.
I believe one of the reasons Christians make excuses for not reading and listening to the Word of God is that they’re afraid of what they might hear God say. Dear brothers and sisters, you can’t pull the covers over God’s eyes. He sees everything! If you want to taste victory, rather than defeat, you’ll have to slow down and let Him expose whatever is causing you to take your drug choice, so you can be at rest in His presence.
You don’t have to run from God. Even though He sees all the nooks and crannies of your soul and mind, He tells you, “I love and accept you. I’m glad you’re my child.” Get into Jesus, the Word of God, and let Him bring peace in your soul and a smile on your face.
Commit to following what the Word of God says in James 5:16. Get into a Bible Impact Group with at least one other believer. Open up about your challenge and deal with it using the FREEdom process. And let your fellow BIG partners pray for you. As you do this, the Bible says you will be healed. It’s time to start running towards, rather than trying to hide from, God.