Archive for the Priorities Category

So What’s It Take?

Posted in Discipleship, Jesus, Priorities, Scripture on December 20, 2011 by nmpreach

What would it take for you to change your life – how you view things, how you react to challenges, what your priorities are, how you live? Don’t answer too quickly. What has to happen today, so that tomorrow and the rest of your life is lived much differently?

Last time, we spoke about the phrase “to all who received him.” (Jn 1:12). But what does it mean to receive Jesus?  What does it mean to believe?  In John 3, Jesus uses the phrase “born again.”  No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.  I’ll say more about the John 3 text in future posts.  But for now, let’s focus on the two words “born again.”  What does that mean?  Nicodemus surely didn’t understand it.  Jesus spoke about being born of the Spirit or being born from above.  Wouldn’t this change your life?  Wouldn’t that make you different?

Notice Jesus didn’t say, “You must say the sinner’s prayer.”  He didn’t say, “You must walk down the aisle at a church.”  Not, “You must be dunked in a large tub of water.”  “You have to be religious.”  Nope!  Jesus said, “You must be born again.”  And when you are born again, you will no longer be the same.  That’s what it would take for you to change.

The Pharisees were religious.  But they were also called “white-washed tombs.”  The apostles interacted with Jesus yet were amazed when Jesus calmed the wind (Mk 4:41).  Thomas knew what Jesus had said.  But Thomas declared, “Unless I see and touch…”  Peter followed all the way to the Garden and then denied Jesus three times.  You must be born again.

Something has to happen in our life that we’re no longer who we once were.  Read Acts 9 and Paul’s conversion experience.  He was no longer the same.  So what’s it take for you?  Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you’re saved.  Why?  Because you walked down the aisle, said a prayer, or got dunked.  You must be born again.

Maybe you’ve made a deal with God.  If you’ll just get me out of this Lord, I’ll serve you, love you, tell others about you, etc.  And after the “passion” waned, you found yourself back in a rut.  You must be born again.

Will you hear me for a sec?  In Matthew 25, there’s a section about the final judgment.  The grades have been turned in and no extra work will be accepted.  A parable of ten virgins opens the chapter and the premise is to be ready for Christ’s return at any time.  Next, Jesus speaks about being good stewards of what you’ve been given.  If you know the truth, don’t continue to live by old ways.  And then a text on sheep and goats.  The goats represent people who didn’t put others before themselves.  Summary:  You must be born again.

Look long and hard in the mirror.  Have you changed?  I didn’t say, “Are you good.”  HAVE YOU CHANGED?  Have you allowed God to be the Lord of your life?  Or are you still holding on to control?  You must be born again.  There’s no better time than when we celebrate the birth of God in the flesh.

 

Summer Priorities

Posted in Priorities on June 3, 2011 by nmpreach

Summertime is somewhat of a nuisance around here.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the warmer weather, more time outside, etc.  But the summer always presents new challenges.  Most everything in town revolves around the school calendar.  After all, regardless of what the gurus say, Summer starts the day school lets out.  And it concludes after the county fair and rodeo when school resumes.  It’s during those 2+ months that families take vacations.  Businesses work with “skeleton crews” in order to cover for those employees gone.  In fact, for those taking care of their jobs with the addition of others, there is even more stress.  Or what about those who don’t have others cover for them?  They return to much more work and spend weeks or months just catching up from their vacation.

Church attendance takes a slight drop during these months as well.  Sundays are used to pack, travel, or recover from the recent outing.  Our church actually plans for the Summer months by doing things different.  We’ll spend more time outside.  We’ll study various topics on a much more laid back level.  After all, it’s Summer.

Ecclesiastes points out there is a season for everything (3:1-8).  Time ebbs and flows.  Exercising at the gym 7 days a week isn’t only foolish.  It’s also not good for the body.  Our spiritual lives are somewhat similar.  One can read the Bible non-stop from cover to cover.  However, doing so without stopping to “chew on the meat” is not only foolish.  It’s also not good for the soul.

We all need vacations.  We need rest and relaxation from time to time – even within our spiritual lives.  But rest doesn’t mean ceasing to function.  Rest doesn’t mean to avoid progress altogether.  A vacation is to get away from it all and reassess priorities.  I hope you’ll join me this Summer by resting, relaxing, and asking God “What’s next?”  Allow Him to give you direction.  Set some goals.  And find the resources to help you accomplish those goals.

In the mean time, don’t forget about your discipleship.  Don’t get so busy with stuff that you put the importance of fellowship down on the priority list.  Hope to see you soon.  Lets see what God has in mind!

Goals 101

Posted in Priorities on March 18, 2011 by nmpreach

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.  – Psalm 25:4-5 (ESV)

What’s your greatest desire in life?  Some would say to live a successful life and retire.  I’ve heard others say, “To see my kids grow to maturity and become successful.”  Sadly, some set goals of just getting through the day or the week.  How often do we hear, “Thank God it’s Friday” ? 

Is that what life is all about?  In this particular passage, David seems to set his goals much higher than getting to 5 o’clock on Friday.  I don’t hear the concept of retirement in his words.  Read it again slowly.

Make me know your ways.  Teach me your paths.   Lead me in your truth.  For you I wait.

David’s goals are all about what God has in store for him.  Maybe ours should be somewhat similar.  Could you honestly pray what David prays?

What’s It All About?

Posted in Discipleship, Priorities on March 3, 2011 by nmpreach

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always , to the end of the age. 

Matt 28:19-20

What makes you “tick”?  In other words, why do you do what you do?  Too often, I hear people say they are stuck in their present circumstances.  When asked about their calling, passion, or God’s will for their lives, many don’t know.  And a few honestly say, “I’ve never really thought about it.”  After all, the goal of life is to just “keep your head above water”.  Right?

So here’s my thought:  Is God honored if we’re simply “keeping our head above water”?  The world tells us that busyness = success.  But is that really true?  I know many people who are busy (or would quickly convince you they are).  I understand life happens.  The kids have social events, ball games, or practice.  School or employment commitments are always real.  The point is there are more opportunities for busyness than ever before.  On the other hand, choices have always been choices.

Where I spend my time, money, and energy is about choices that I make.  And as a parent of children that don’t understand priorities just yet, it’s also my responsibility to determine their priorities and teach them to do the same.

God chose to make people His priority.  Jesus Christ not only made people His priority, He told us to do the same.  Words like Go, make disciples, baptizing, and teaching in the text above carry the meaning of action – putting people first.  You want to worship God?  Love people!  And anything more important than God or other people is selfish.

Let’s not fall for the adage of busyness = success.  After all, there are many things that aren’t good for us which keep us busy.  Real life (ZOE) happens when we’re about what God is about.  Let’s agree to do an honest evaluation and make appropriate changes.  Let’s determine now to make our priorities God’s priorities.  And then live!