Get Out of the Way! (Placing Jesus First)

I remember laughing out loud after reading Craig Groeschel’s admission: “I can’t stand a lot of Christians” (“Confessions of a Pastor” p. 17). It was such an honest revelation and it reflected how I sometimes feel about ministry. It’s not that I don’t love people. It’s just that it’s so frustrating watching people  get in the way of what Jesus wants to do in their lives and in their churches. We need to learn to get out of the way!

Survey the New Testament and you’ll find one purpose and perspective: Jesus Christ. Everything revolves around our savior. Issues of belief, salvation, the coming Kingdom, love, life, victory, and church all center upon the person of Jesus! Thus, anything that is worthwhile to accomplish needs to keep Jesus as its center (John 15:1-8).

So often I’ve counseled couples who are struggling in their marriages, yet refuse to pray together and read their Bibles together simply because neither of them has the impetus to place Jesus before their own pride. Or have dealt with persons who care more about their own agenda than submitting to the will of God. Or have dealt with those who think that gossip/slander/politics are the means to achieving God’s glory.

This was Jesus’ point in Mark 8:32-38:

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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Quick hits: My 5 favorite things from Nehemiah 1-6

#1- Nehemiah didn’t need the heavens to open up to find his purpose. He heard the problem, prayed and fasted, then set out to be the solution to the problem (Nehemiah 1:3-4). We should also be a solution in our churches and in the lives of others!

#2- Nehemiah wasn’t afraid to ask for help from a non-Jew. There are many people who do not assist the church who would offer help if asked. We need to be able to put our religion aside and welcome all people with the end result to be the glory of God. (Nehemiah 2:7-8)

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Sermon Recap: Face your Giants Week 4

Text: 1 Samuel 17:28

“When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

There is nothing better than having God’s favor on your side. It’s a promise that we were not meant to lose. Even death cannot hold back a true believer in Christ!

However, there will always be obstacles in our way to fulfilling God’s destiny. Sometimes these obstacles will take form in opposition from those who are closest to us, both within our homes and in our spiritual families. In the case of David, his brother Eliab tried to judge him and his motives for being around the place of battle.

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Church politics represent everything that is wrong with Christianity!

One of the things that I like least about church is when politics become more influential than Jesus. If you’ve been around the church world long enough, you understand that many times churches resemble the partisan governance similar to that of democratic governance. And we all know how efficient government can be.

One of the key things that I’m trying to instruct about is that we need to be different from the world, especially in this aspect. No one person is in charge of the church (yes, including me as pastor). We are all under the direction of Christ and under the auspices of the Holy Spirit.

Anytime a church is more political than spiritual, these things are commonplace:

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