Faith • Leadership • Life

It’s All About Jesus

ItsAllAboutJesusIt’s all about Jesus.   This is a very powerful statement that can usually be heard in pulpits and worship gatherings all over the world.   I wonder, however, if we truly understand the depth and implications of this very true statement.   I believe if we can wrap our minds more fully around this truth, it will be very helpful to every area of our spiritual lives.

First, the Bible and the Gospel are completely wrapped around the person of Jesus.   Genesis to Revelation points to the Son of God. The Old Testament points forward to Him.   The Gospels tell the accounts of His time on Earth.   The rest of the New Testament points back at Him, while Revelation unveils a glorious future with Him.   So, the Bible is all about Jesus.

The Gospel is the message of Jesus which is good news.   The Bible describes this mighty Gospel in many ways, but I love how 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 sums it up as the “message of reconciliation.”   In Jesus, God reconciled us to Himself.   Jesus made things right. He evened the scales.   The truth and reality of this message means that through faith in Jesus, we are made right with God.   So, the Gospel is all about Jesus.
All of creation…..the Earth and the universe….it’s all about Jesus.

The Bible tells us that all things were created by Him and for Him, and that He holds all things together!   During His earthly ministry Jesus said that if people didn’t worship Him the rocks would cry out their praises!! So, all of creation is about Jesus.

I could go on and on, but I want to make clear that even our mission is all about Jesus.   In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave his followers a massive mission.   They would take His Gospel all over the globe beginning in their local area, but expanding to the region and ultimately the world.   This mission was overwhelming to say the least.   That’s why Jesus didn’t tell them to go on the mission first.   He actually began by reminding them of WHO He was.   “All authority” had been given to Him.

Jesus made it clear that even our mission is completely wrapped around Him.   We can do what He has called us to do because He is who He says He is!!   So, take heart today my friends.   If you feel inadequate or unworthy and you don’t think you measure up, don’t worry.   It was never about you anyway.   It’s all about Jesus.

Posted in: Bible, Blog, Community, Jesus, Life, perspective

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Love God With All Your Strength

Strength

Romans 12:1

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you   to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,   holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.

 

 

The last portion of Mark 12:30 commands us to love God with all our strength.  This means we are to love God practically with our physicality, our energy, and our efforts.  A reading of the verse makes it clear that Jesus had a specific order in mind when it came to loving Him.  It begins with our inner man (heart/soul/mind), but always should make it’s way to our outer man (strength).  What we symbolize with baptism we should live out in loving God with our strength.  What’s going on inside of us should impact what’s going on externally.

Often, we mistakenly compartmentalize our lives and love for God.  We separate what we deem as spiritual from physical.  This typically will be prayer, Bible study, and worship in the spiritual column while good works, service, and effort fall into a different column.  Romans 12:1 should do away with this notion.  The Apostle Paul makes it clear that offering our bodies to God (loving Him with our strength) is a spiritual act of worship.  Yes, what happens on the outside of you is as spiritual as you inner man.  For many, this could be a game changer.

This has some important implications.  It means how you use and take care of your body is actually very spiritual.  Do you trash your temple constantly with bad food, lack of rest, and no physical activity?  Do you overemphasize your inner man and completely ignore your body, actions, and behaviors?  This is why compartmentalization is so problematic.  Everything you do, both inward and outward, matters!

My hope is this truth will inspire you to become more holistic in your approach to your life with God.  Don’t fall into the trap of emphasizing one area of your life with God over another.  God wants you to love Him completely with all that you are.  He created your inner and outer person.  Honor Him with both!  Pray and read God’s Word, but also exercise and eat healthy food.  Both will glorify God greatly.  Let the transformation that is happening inside of you begin to tangibly impact what is happening in your outer person.  It really is very spiritual.

Posted in: Bible, Blog, Yellow Brick Road

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Time – James 4:14

time

Time sure does fly by!!  How many times have you said that lately?  It really does go fast doesn’t it?  I was spending the day with my granddad recently and he laughingly told me there’s no way he can be 75 years old.  He said that I would blink a few times and be there myself.

I tend to agree with him, because I can hardly believe I’m 35.  It truly feels like yesterday that I was a college student singing and preaching with a group and leading students at a church.  It doesn’t feel possible that Nan & I have been married for almost 13 years.  Then there’s the kids.  It is almost sad to me how quickly it seems their childhoods are blowing by us.  Kids have made me more aware of the passing of time than anything because for the most part, I don’t look drastically different today than I did 10 years ago, but my kids seem to change daily.  It’s all a big reminder that our time is limited.

In the book of James he tells us that our lives are like a “mist”, here today and gone tomorrow.  Many use this verse to say our lives are not only short but also insignificant.  A mist can’t mean much, right?  Well, I think the point in James is the exact opposite of this erroneous premise.  James is saying that our lives are short, but they are very significant!!

God wants you to be AWARE of the limited nature of your life and time, so that you will make the most of it.  Your life counts!  Your life matters!  Everyday we choose to let our lives count and make a difference around us or not.  The problem is many of us live our lives very carelessly.  We live like we have all the time in the world, like our time is limitless.  That’s why awareness is the key.  The Bible is full of references to our short amount of time and God’s ability to redeem our time and use our short lives for His glory.

So, today I hope that you and I will live differently.  Live fully aware.  Live wide awake to the reality that you don’t have long.  Live wide awake to the possibilities and amazing potential that God intended for you when He created you.  Live fully aware that your spouse and kids need you now and their lives are ticking by quickly too.  Our lives are intended to be beautiful, rich, and powerful stories of God’s redemptive power and love.  But they are not intended to be novels.  They are short stories.  Make the most of yours, fully aware, wide awake.

Posted in: Bible, Blog, James

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Embrace Change – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Change

We’ve all heard it said a million times. No one likes change. While that may not be entirely true, change does most certainly cause a large portion of the human population to tense up, freak out, or check out. The problem with taking a strong anti-change stance is that you are literally going against one of the big realities of life: change is a part of the deal, whether you like it or not. It’s not a matter of if things will change in your life, it is a matter of when they will change.

My grandmother has always said that life changes significantly about every 5 years. As a kid and teenager, I didn’t notice the wisdom and truth in her premise, but as a 35 year old adult I now see it very clearly. She’s pretty spot on!! My life significantly changes every 4-5 years.

Here’s a snapshot of the last couple of decades of my life. I spent around 4 years in middle school, then started High School. Big change for sure. I then spent 4 years in high school and my church youth group, and upon graduation, things changed again. I started college at University of Mobile, went on staff with a new church, and joined a touring group. New friends, new town, new church led to huge change.

5 years later I graduated from UM, married my bride, and moved to Atlanta, which was an enormous change. Around 4 years later, we moved to Pensacola to plant a church, and we had our first child. Change!! 5 years later we merged our church plant with Potential Church out of Miami and became multisite opening the door to a ton of change. This past summer, which was 4 years after that merger, I became the lead pastor of COTES and moved to the Eastern Shore. Yep, grandma nailed it!!

The truth is your life is going to change. You can fight and try to keep things the same, but you’ll fight a losing battle. Churches, organizations, and people who fight against change often do so to the detriment of their own futures. This doesn’t have to be our story. We can choose to handle change differently. We can actually embrace it.

I think change can be viewed like wind in the sails of a boat. The wind will effect the boat one way or the other. The captain can fight against it to no avail, or he can make a better choice. He can harness it. He can put the boat in a position to actually use the wind as energy to move it forward to a preferred destination.

You and I have the same choice available to us concerning change. Inevitable change can be harnessed to actually move your life forward. I believe God brings change into our lives for this very purpose. Ecclesiastes 3:1 makes clear that God designed our lives for seasons, and those seasons will change. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by change. Welcome it, harness it, and embrace it. It can become wind in your sails.

Posted in: Bible, Blog, change, Church, Ecclesiastes

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