To Be A Christian

4 05 2011

“To me to live is Christ”
(Apostle Paul, Philippians 1:21)

To be a Christian is nothing less than to have the glorified Christ living in us in actual presence, possession and power. It is to have Him as the Life of our life in such a way and to such a degree that we can even say as Paul did, “To me to live is Christ.” To be a Christian is to grow up into Christ in all things: it is to have that divine seed which was planted in our innermost spirit blossom out into a growing conformity to His perfect Life. To be a Christian is to have Christ the Life of our minds, our hearts, our will, so that it is Christ thinking through us, living through us, willing through us. It is increasingly to have no life but the Life of Christ within us filling us with ever-increasing measure.

–Ruth Paxson, Life On The Highest Plane


The Nature of Worship

26 06 2007

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:21-24)

Worship is not what you feel when you look at the ocean or when you are enjoying a wonderful mountain lakworship-at-the-beach.jpge. It’s not the way you feel smelling the cut grass of a perfectly manicured golf course or hearing the squeak of perfect snow under your skis. Many of us confuse worship with inspiration. Inspiration occurs when God illumines our lives with His gracious presence. Worship is our response to those moments. If we truly want to honor the God who gave us perfect swells, clear trout streams, ski slopes, golf greens, beautiful children, and loving spouses, we should enjoy those things six days a week and then give God the worship He commands on the seventh. Worship always includes gathering with God’s people and participating in “spirit and in truth.”

–Tod E. Bolsinger, It Takes A Church To Raise A Christian: How The Community of God Transforms Lives, pp93-4

Why Don’t We Get It?

16 06 2007

“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”
(Acts 6:3)

As clear as Scripture is about the priority and preeminence of following, it is somewhat amazing that we still don’t seem to get it. Churches hold leadership training courses, but rarely get around to talking about following. We fill our preaching agendas with calls for men to be leaders in their homes and leaders in the church, when what we really need are people who are first and foremost fully devoted followers.

Think of the dramatic power of a husband who tenderly cares for his wife, because he is singularly defined and directed by Christ, regardless of what he gets in return or how she is responding. As a follower, he has no option but to live Christ’s love in his home. Or consider a leader whose singular goal is to magnify Christ and serve the needs of His people rather than gaining a reputation and influence.

–Joseph Stowell, Following Christ: Experiencing Life The Way It Was Meant To Be, p39

Not A Cakewalk

15 06 2007

Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
(Matthew 8:21)

There are moments that significantly test our resolve to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Following Christ is a cakewalk when He leads us through familiar terrain or comfortable passages. But when followership means that we have to give up something important to us, or it challenges the familiar or comfortable, or it flies in the face of reason or natural instincts, then we find ourselves at a strategic crossroads on our pilgrimage. When responding as a fully devoted follower, we advance to new levels of effectiveness. But when we cling to what is safe, secure and familiar, we put our followership on hold and face ineffectiveness and disappointment.

–Joseph Stowell, Following Christ: Experiencing Life The Way It Was Meant To Be, p135

Uncommon Prayer

23 05 2007

Will you help me to be less quick to judge
……and less righteous in my indignation?
Will you help me to be more open to life
……and to other people?
Will you give me confidence enough to be less defensive
…..and less ready to react to rebuffs?
Give me steadiness and firmness
…..and true commitment to the life of faith. Amen.

A Book of Uncommon Prayer
Kenneth G. Phifer

My Portion

12 02 2007

“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
(Psalm 73:26)

There is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he will not touch the glory. I was converted in November, 1825, but I only came into the full surrender of the heart four years later, in July, 1829. The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing else. And by the grace of God this has remained, and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God.

I ask affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up irrespective of God? I read a little of the Scriptures before, but preferred other books; but since that time the revelation He has made of Himself has become unspeakably blessed to me, and I can say from my heart, God is an infinitely lovely Being. Oh, be not satisfied until in your own inmost soul you can say, God is ancupoverflows.jpg infinitely lovely Being!

–George Mueller, in address given to ministers and workers after his 90th birthday

Keeping Secrets

11 02 2007

“To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that

‘they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'”

(Mark 4:11,12)

We simply can’t imagine Jesus wanting to do anything less than invite, as clearly and plainly as possible, everyone to participate in kingdom life. But here He seems to be saying that the secrets of that life are only given to some people.

Who? Those who take the trouble to go deeper, to ask more questions of Jesus. Those who ask, Jesus says elsewhere, will be given answers. Those who seek, will find. To those who knock, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7,8)

But woe to those who don’t seek—they will be inundated and then sucked away in the rhythm of judgment: We reject; God makes it harder for us to hear. We reject more; God make it harder still…Given our bad spiritual hearing, Jesus has to raise His voice, sometimes has to repeat Himself, sometimes has to intimidate to get His point across.

–Mark Galli
Jesus, Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God, pp97-98