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A Good Conversation

Last Sunday morning, my men’s group arrived at Ephesians 5. We’ve been working our way through Paul’s letters and I would say that this week was some of the best conversation we had. Why? I am not really sure, beyond that I believe it gets close to what we as followers of Christ have been called to. It was a great conversation thought and I wanted to bring you in on it.

The title of Ephesians 5 is “Be Imitators of God”. I think its important to start with this because this will be our challenge. It’s not an easy task, nor one to take lightly, but its one to aspire to daily.

Paul opens his letter with this:

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

It’s a challenging passage. However, its one that as a follower of Christ I am called to live this out. There are a lot of negative influences around us and by succumbing to any of those, we put ourselves in danger of withdrawing into the darkness as opposed to living in the light.

I do want to draw the attention to a very small verse in this passage. It’s one that caught my eye after reading through this a second time on Sunday morning. It’s verse 10, “and find out what pleases the Lord.”

What does please the Lord? If he were to look at my life, all parts of it, would it be pleasing to the Lord? If not, how do I find out what is pleasing to Him? Where do I look for such things? Well, the first place I know not to look would be in the darkness. I feel Paul is clear about staying away from there. I need to be looking at the illuminated things. One comment that was made was, “If you need to ask if something pleases God, then it probably doesn’t”. I think this is wise. Too often we try to stretch out what God means for our own benefit and guilty pleasure. But I believe this verse is a bit more cut and dry than that. I believe it should be clear what pleases God. We need to continue to look at His word and we need to be in tune with what He says through it.

When we shape and bend the rules, we are opening ourselves to be deceived. I have seen it many times. Too many people fall because the sin in their life leads them to believe its more about them then it is about God. It’s a lie. When I read verse 10 it leaves me with a good feeling. I don’t feel as if this is something I will be searching for forever, but its something that is clear, something that I can find.

Have you been searching for what pleases the Lord? What have you found? Have you left the darkness or are you still sitting on the edge dangling your feet in it? If you haven’t left it, now is the time.

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Monday Response

I’m back after a two week hiatus.

Yesterday I was drawn to a couple of conclusions in Scott’s message. First Christ is coming back and I need to be sure I am ready. Second, there will be a feast, and I want to make sure I am celebrating it and not fearing it.

Revelation has a number of grim reminders of the reality of life without Christ, yet so many turn their backs on him every day. The promise that He has given is one that we can rely fully on. His return will be the most significant thing this world has ever seen. It’s the the culmination of a plan that was written many years ago.

I loved the illustration of the wedding feast. Like any marriage, man or woman, we are asked to submit. So it is time to ensure that we submit our lives into the hands of Christ and give him the reigns.

If you aren’t sure if you’ve made the right steps to give Christ the reigns in your life, its not too late. Send me a comment if you are ready to make this decision in your life.

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Monday Response

August 9, 2010 1 comment

A popular view of what heaven is can often often be described with Angels on clouds playing harps. On the other side, when we think about hell, we think of a man with a pitchfork sitting on our shoulder encouraging us to make bad decisions. Is there any reality to these? Is this what heaven and hell are like?

Scott made a very unpopular case for what the reality is yesterday. It wasn’t his own beliefs, it was what the Bible says of the subject matter. Heaven is a place where followers of Chris fall on their faces in worship. Hell is a place of eternal torment and punishment.

We are given a short time on earth to make a lot of big decisions. We decide on who we’ll marry, what house or car to buy, what schools to attend, we make decisions that affect our children and others around us. The sad truth is that many people fail to make the biggest decision of all. Do I choose to follow Christ?

In my men’s Bible study yesterday morning we talked about the Holy Spirit. When we recieve the Spirit, the truth of the Scripture is made clear. We become a temple to the spirit. I read a passage from Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian who was reading scripure, but since he did not posess the Spirit, he could not understand it.

This mystery that is only revealed to those who follow after Christ is the mystery that will also set us free from the binds that Satan has put in place. He’s mad, he comes after you and me and those we love becuase He’s not going down alone. He’s wanting to take us with him into eternity in hell.

I remembered a saying I heard many years ago, for those who saved by the blood of Christ, Earth is the only hell they’ll see, for those who aren’t saved, Earth is the only heaven they’ll see.

So what is your response today? Are you ready to follow Christ and allow his blood to cover you? Do you desire to be in a place where there are no more hurts or tears? Or is what you have now good enough?

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Monday Response

It was great to hear from those who attended CIY (Christ in Youth) last week. I love hearing about life change at events like this. Sometimes we all need a week away in order to determine a path for our life. One guy in particular really inspired me. He spoke from stage saying that for two long he had been avoiding God. This week he had his first conversation with God in years.

As I was thinking about this, I realized how easy it can be to get so busy that we begin to lose that on going conversation with God that is so vital to our walk with Christ. In any relationship, with a friend, with your mom, with your wife, or with Christ, communicating is an essential part to helping it grow. If we are not actively talking with Christ and allowing Him to speak to us, its easy to get off the path and begin to make our own trails. Sooner or later we get lost!

So, this Monday as you are responding to the message this Sunday, ask this question: When was the last time you talked to God? Are you making that a regular part of your day? Maybe take a couple of minutes right now, and just talk. If you are really up for a challenge, then just listen. God’s speaking. Are you hearing him?

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