RSS

Category Archives: Devotional Thoughts

New Life

New LifeIt wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this. -Titus 3:3-7

You just have love new life.  New life is really right at the heart of God’s purpose for sending Jesus.  As we read the first part of this verse, I believe we can all identify with being the type of people that Paul refers to.  As I reflect on who I was before Christ came into my life and who I am now I cannot help becoming overjoyed…

But, personally, my greatest source of joy is this:  Watching God do this very thing in the lives of those I love.  I come from a very large family and when I first got saved, I was a sparse minority in this large family.  I spent many nights on my knees praying for them to come to know Jesus.   As I watched the Lord answer these prayers, bringing members of my family into right relationships with Him, the joy was overwhelming.

Yet many remain.  Friends and family that still have yet to truly know Jesus as Lord.  So I pray and wait and act when He leads me to.  And I am believing that one day I will see each of them experience this new life in Jesus!

be blessed…
pastorj

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 14, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Don’t Be that Guy (or Girl)

But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around. -Titus 2:7

I am so blessed to finally be involved in a ministry team that really gets this scripture.

The world and the prince of this world is dead set against the church and all it stands for. According to Paul, our best defense against this is to be solid people of faith, not being weird or misguided. There is a way for the people of God to walk in all the anointing and giftedness He pours out on us without acting weird or misguided. I have been in some churches before where the weirder you were the more “spiritual” you were considered, then the weirdness was highlighted as some great thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that we are to conform to the world around us, but I also don’t believe that being called apart has to equal acting and speaking in some foreign Christian-ese that no one can identify with.

That is one of the many things I have grown to love about Valley Family Church. When people come to VFC they can see real people that love God. They can picture themselves in the shoes of those around them and the path towards God, which once may have seemed convoluted, becomes obvious and apparent.

And that is what this whole scripture is all about. It is not about how one church acts and talks versus others. It is a reminder to ALL of us in the body of Christ that if we walk in solid, sane faith (sans all the weirdness) then those dead set against us might eventually come around! PTL!

OKAY – FOR SOME FUN NOW – Basically, I am saying – DON’T BE THIS WOMAN:

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 13, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

A Little Help from Rich….

Don’t have much to write today, but the video above captures how I am feeling right now.  I love the imagery that Rich Mullins uses in this song to remind us of how much we truly have to praise God for.

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 7, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Words are not just words…

Tape on MouthRepeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. -2 Timothy 2:14-17

Wow.  It is storming something fierce outside.  I had this thought this morning that has totally no connection to the devotional scripture today…  Like I said, there is a terrific storm going on outside.  Thunder Lightning and a ton of rain are just outside my window, but all this commotion has almost no effect on me.  Why?  Because I am in the safety of my home.  I am 100% unaffected because of the protection I reside in.  Being a part of the Kingdom of God is kind of like this as well.  There may be storms all around you, but the Lord provides an umbrella of protection that totally shields you from the commotion.

Back to our scripture…  It sure can be easy to slip into pious talk that is mere talk.  Let this scripture remind us to have the simple truths of God’s word always on our lips and always accessible to those around us.  We should be in the business of making God “reachable” to those that encounter us.  Amen!

be blessed.

-pastorj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 1, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

A Life of Wonder…

Dangerous WonderBut you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses. -1 Timothy 6:11-12

When I think of a life of wonder and faith I can’t help but be reminded of a book I read several years ago. In his book Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith, the late Mike Yaconelli suggests four obstacles that block adults from living the childlike faith that Jesus calls us to:

  • The obstacle of dullness: we have made faith safe and comfortable, but the faith Jesus taught was radical and transforming.
  • The obstacle of the dream stealers: we make a relationship with the living God into ritual and rules, quenching the work of the Spirit.
  • The obstacle of predictability: we put God in a box, never allowing him to surprise us, challenge us, or show us something new, thus stifling the creativity of God.
  • The obstacle of the banal: we become so immersed in our culture and in the material needs and wants of life, that we fail to live in abject dependence on God for every breath of air and every bite of bread.

If you are challenged by Paul’s words to Timothy and you want to live a life filled with wonder faith and love, I suggest you pickup the book, Dangerous Wonder. If you click on the picture of the book, it will take you to Amazon. I know you’ll love it!

be blessed..

-pastorj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Okay then… Let’s not go there!

BFThe Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.  1 Timothy 4:1-5

It’s kind of sad, but as you read this scripture you can undoubtedly think of 1 or 2 or more churches that you have attended that operate in the very thing that Paul is speaking against above.  In fact, in many churches, delineating what is holy and what is not holy for people to consume or participate in is the very foundation of that body’s faith.  It is almost like there is a following of people out there that want to be told what to do and what not to do.  Just give me the rules, and I will attempt to abide.  It is any ugly thing, but what it really reveals is a lack of understanding of who God really is and a lack in understanding of what grace truly is.

We serve a big God that is full of Grace.  In the rest of this chapter, Paul encourages Timothy to live by the faith that brought him safe thus far.  We too would be wise to do the same.  As soon as we start trusting and living by the rules of man then we slowly move out focus away from God.  And that is the foundation of all sin.  Keep your eyes on HIM today and as always…

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

The Joy of The Lord

I know, I know. I have been gone lately. Well, I’m back. Things are going well and the Lord sure is moving in amazing ways. This definitely is a whole new season of mine and Amy’s lives and we are only beginning to see what the Lord has planned. Stay tuned for big things!

Today, as I read in 1 & 2 Thessalonians, I was overwhelmed at the joy that pours out as Paul shares about his life in Christ. Even as he shares about the struggles of bringing the message of Jesus to often resistant and sometimes brutal groups of people, the joy he experiences in Jesus just pours through the pages. It really is an overflow.

Sometimes I wonder, “Where is that kind of joy in the church today?” Don’t get me wrong, I am starting to see it more and more, but it seems that much of the church is still held in an incredible amount of dull, boring, slumbering bondage. If you want to see true joy today, often you have to look to the world of sports. I did a Google image search for the words joy and jubilant. I wasn’t surprised to find mostly sports imagery Jubilantreturned to me. As I looked at these pictures of people overjoyed by crossing the finish line or making the big score, I began to ponder what it is that causes this intense joy in the sports arena.  I don’t proclaim to have some new insight, but I asked the Lord, “Why is this?” and this is what I received:

People want to be overcomers.  They want to be victorious.  At the heart of the human experience, there is this drive in all of is (no matter how suppressed) that causes us to want to come out on top.  Sports are a pathway to achieve this innately human goal.  When this type of joy and jubilation don’t translate into the life of the church it is a symptom of the lack of understanding and experiencing the life of a true overcomer found in Christ.  People don’t see the church as a “winning team” and therefore don’t ever really experience the joy of being in Christ.

Brothers and sisters, I have great news for you.  We have much to be jubilant for!  Jesus is the ultimate winner, the ultimate overcomer and the church is and will be the most winning team in history.  If we are on HIS team, this will be said of us:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.  1 Timothy 4:7-8

be blessed…
pastorj

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 2, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts