Thursday, March 21, 2013

Are You An Idiot?

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13, ESV

"COMMON"  |  idiotes  |  layman, someone not an expert, untrained

The religious leaders were amazed by the following in Peter and John:

1). Their boldness.
2). The were uneducated.
3). They were common.

That word "common" there is the Greek word idiotes which is where we get our word for "idiot." As Peter and John stood before the 71 members of the Sanhedrin, Peter preached not as a victim in fear before these powerful men, but rather as one with power and boldness. These same members of the Sanhedrin had orchestrated the crucifixion just months before. In this passage they were confronted with one of Jesus' disciples. And their response to him: they were astonished. And why was this?  ...they recognized that [he] had been with Jesus.

Peter and John were considered to be "idiots", and yet the wealthy, educated and powerful stood amazed at them because of their boldness and intelligence. But the key to it was not Peter and John. Rather, it was that they had been with Jesus.

Tonight we look at this topic at FLOOD. It is vital to understand that the more that we hang out with Jesus, the more people will recognize by our lives that we have been with him. It will be obvious because of how different we are. We are adequately inadequate, and yet Jesus prefers this. We are not qualified to do his work, and yet he has declared us qualified and equipped us to do just that. Being used by Jesus has nothing to do with how well educated or how wealthy we are. Rather, it has everything to do with whether or not we have been with Jesus. It comes down to our relationship with Christ.

So, are you an idiot?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So How Are You Doing?

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." — 1 Corinthians 12:26, ESV

What would happen if I actually responded to life WITH everyone else? I can become so focused on my stuff and the things that I need to take care of and get done that I can easily take myself out of community with other believers. Yet, this is a result of self-centeredness, not of following Christ.

This verse, this morning, was a reminder to me that I am on a journey with Christ and WITH OTHERS. And these "others" are not just people that I will bump into here and there, never to see again. Rather, these people are my family because of the bond that comes with being in a relationship with Christ, and who I will be with forever. When one family member suffers, I suffer with them. When one of my family members is honored, I rejoice with them. I don't respond to their suffering with thankfulness to Jesus that I am not suffering. I don't respond to someone being honored with jealousy, wondering when my honor is coming. Rather, I respond to live WITH others and enter into their joys and sorrows, and vice versa. To enter into life with others.

So how are you doing?

Monday, March 18, 2013

In What Is Your Significance?

A while back I was reading Tim Keller's book, "King's Cross." I came across this and found myself guilty as charged:

"I want to be a good minister and a good teacher. But if my achieving those goals becomes my real source of hope, my significance, my security, more important to me than God's love for me in Jesus, I experience a loss of identity. A pastor is always subject to criticism that can be discouraging when it inevitably happens. But if my preaching and ministry are my ultimate center and I get criticism, then I'm overcome with insecurity. Or when I fail to perform up to my expectations, I'm devastated. Inordinate guilt chins inside me. In the end I begin to disintegrate" (Keller, Tim, "King's Cross", pg. 204).

I read that quote some time back in January of this year and am just now getting around to sharing it. When I read it, it was like an arrow straight to the heart of my being. Today, I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has been working in me, helping me see and find my "significance" in Christ rather than in myself or in my role/calling as a pastor/preacher-teacher. And honestly, a lot of my wanting to be significant comes from me wanting to feel important rather than me wanting to see Christ exalted.

This cannot be.

So that was about three months ago when I read that. Today, here was what the Holy Spirit showed me out of my time with him in Colossians (especially Colossians 2:17):

When Jesus isn't the substance, you can be sure that nothing substantial is going to happen.

I'm feeling free. To be significant is pointless if it's about how I feel at the end of the day rather than how much Jesus has been noticed through me every moment of each day. But I can tell you that as I strive to make Jesus my substance, that the benefit of that is that freedom covers me and peace is a reality.

Prayer for this Week...

Here's how you can be praying this week:

1). Tonight I share with the graduate students at the LA Regional Center of Azusa Pacific University.

2). At FLOOD this Thursday night we are continuing through our verse-by-verse study through the book of Acts. Please pray for me as I prep, pray through, and preach this message.

3). I've got a cough that is holding on pretty well. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be teaching about 12 times. I really need my voice to hold up and to not be coughing during messages.

Thank you so much.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

May We Never Arrive

If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. (1 Corinthians 8:2 ESV)

I am one of those people who can get so caught up in arriving somewhere that I often forget to pay attention to the journey. I have been invited to walk with God, not just make it to heaven, and yet so often I find myself pressing forward focused on the destination that I often forget that I get to walk with Jesus.

The key thing that I need to keep in mind is this: I know when I have arrived in this relationship with Christ when I am standing before him one day. To feel like I have already arrived in my walk with Christ is to stop walking with him. Arrogance, pride, and a lack of teachability is what awaits me when I believe that I have already arrived. And of this I have been guilty. Often.

I can say that the more that I spend time with Jesus the less that I truly understand. I learn more and then learn that I have so much more to learn. And I don't ever want to lose this.

I pray that this attitude is seen and noticeable in me without me even having to say a word. I still have a long way to go with this, but that's the whole point.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Prayer for this Week...

Thank you so much for praying for me this past week. This past weekend I was up in central California speaking at a men's retreat. We saw 3 men stand up to surrender to Jesus. It was incredible. Thank you so much for praying.

Here's how you can be praying this week. Thank you so much.

This Thursday night I am continuing through the book of Acts at FLOOD. Please pray for me as I pray through, prep, and preach this message.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Prayer for this Week...

Hi all,
Here's how you can be praying this week:

1). Tomorrow night I get to share with the graduate business students at Azusa Pacific.

2). On Thursday night I am teaching on Acts 3 at FLOOD as I share our goals as a ministry.

3). This weekend I have the opportunity to speak at a Men's Retreat.

Thank you so much for praying.