Tag Archives: Lord

Burn Out

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.” Romans 12:11 MSG

Easier said than done, right? A gentleman in my Wednesday morning bible study made an interesting comment today. He said that a group of college kids had came in on a mission trip and were “on fire for Jesus”. He also stated that he wished we could keep that fire going as we grew older, but the world would eventually beat them down as well. Maybe one would keep the fire but most would “burn out”. I have to admit, when he said this I was taken back, even a little angered that he could say this so nonchalantly. Like it was inevitable and that we could do nothing about it. When I sat down to write this post I was frustrated at his comment, upset with the ease of it. But as I started typing I realized something…he was right. But why? Jesus said in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” If it’s easy and light, why do so many Christians burn out? As I prayed about it, a thought came to mind. Maybe the reason so many of us burn out is because we are not yoked with Christ, but ourselves. We try to take on the yoke of Christianity without Christ. Instead of leaning on Jesus and trusting in Him and His work on the cross for salvation, we are desperately trying to save ourselves. We trust in our own works, our bible studies, our prayer time, our volunteering to ensure our salvation. We end up trying to be our own savior. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are of great value, but they won’t save us. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save us, and through faith come the works. The bible studies and prayer time, the volunteering and serving should come as a result of faith in Jesus, not the other way around.  So looking back on the comment made of “burning out,” he was right, to an extent. Apart from Jesus we can only sustain the fire for so long. Eventually we will burn out. The world will beat us down and do its very best to douse our flames. If we hope to stand any chance of avoiding exhaustion and spiritual burn out we must rely on Jesus. Only He can sustain us. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV. My prayer is that you would find your strength in Jesus Christ, that He would fan your flames until they roar uncontrollably with His spirit. That you would lean on Him in times of weakness. That those of you who don’t know Him would stumble into the wildfires of my Christian brothers and sisters and upon seeing the flames of their passion for Christ, have no other option than to themselves ignite. I pray for those whose coals have all but burned out, that the Holy Spirit would blow in like a hurricane and set your soul ablaze. We are called to be the light of the world. I pray that the Holy Spirit would keep us fueled and aflame. Amen.

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Stargazing

“As they were straining their eyes to see Him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw Him go, He will return!” Acts 1:10-11

Just as the apostles who were caught standing around staring at the sky, I often find myself in the same situation, standing around looking to the sky. I’ve got to a point where I am just at a stalemate, not really doing anything to spread the Good News, not doing anything to find lost people, not doing anything to further my relationship with Jesus, not doing anything really, just standing around looking to the sky. I think this is the case for a lot of Christians (whether they want to admit it or not). We reach a point were we are showing up for church but not much else. We have to keep fighting the Good Fight. We have to keep spreading the Word. We have to keep running the race. I worry that we as Christians are not doing all we can to reach others. I fear that we have reached a point where we no longer see the urgency to spread God’s message of grace and salvation. We as Christians have lost our drive. As I read through some of my older posts, I feel like I don’t even know the man that wrote them. The words have passion. The words have intensity. What happened to that man? It has been almost six months since my last post. Granted I started working a full time job and no longer have all day to study the bible like I used to, but still, why have I put off the most important part of being a Christian, reaching lost souls. The whole reason I started writing was to reach others (and I get super uncomfortable doing it on stage or in person). But even reading the last sentence, “I get super uncomfortable,” tears at me. I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for Jesus on the cross, I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for the apostles to leave everything they held dear in order to follow Him, and I know it wasn’t comfortable when they were all persecuted because of it. We live in a world of “comforts”. Most of us have been blessed to live in a world where we can freely and openly worship without fear of death or physical hardship. Why then is it so hard for us to get out there and spread His word? One of the last things Jesus told us to do before He ascended into Heaven was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus even says that He is “with you always, even to the end of the age,” why then is it so hard? We as Christians have to stop staring at the sky and focus more on those around us. I’ve had the opportunity to visit different churches around my area and the message is almost the same at everyone, we have to start reaching out. The preachers are all pleading with the congregation to act. We have gotten complacent, me included. I can’t begin to count all the times I have had an opportunity to reach out to someone and simply did nothing. Why? I read the stories of men and women in the bible that gave their very lives in order to spread God’s message, and wonder when we lost that drive. In most cases here in America, and other areas of the world for that matter, we don’t have to worry for our lives if we spread the message. We may be mocked, made fun of, or laughed at but not martyred for it. I for one am tired of being a “cowardly Christian” as I heard one preacher put it. It’s time to stop standing on the sidelines, staring at the sky, and start getting involved. Hell is real, and while we have no fear of death because of the grace of God, there are millions out there that are still lost. Millions that may never know the love of God unless we stop stargazing and start reaching out, no matter how “uncomfortable” it may be, because just as the white-robed men told the apostles as they stood idly by, “He will return!”

Rocking The Boat

Everyone faces storms in there life at some point or another. Some are emotional, some physical, and with the holiday season among us I’m sure a lot of us are facing financial storms. Whenever these storms roll up we need to remember who is really running the show. The disciples faced an actual windstorm while traveling in a boat one day. Luke 7:23-25 NKJV, “But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” They were faced with a terrible storm and started to question their safety. They forgot who was sitting in the boat with them. We do the same thing today. As long as everything is going smoothly, we are fine worshiping and praising the Lord, but the second a storm rolls in we start questioning God. We have to remember that no matter what storms we face in this life, God is with us. He can calm even the most violent of storms, we just have to have the faith.

Nobody Is Perfect

I keep seeing these posts saying that Christians are homophobic, racist, ignorant, an all sorts of other derogatory terms. I think that the problem with most people today is that they think they have an idea of Christianity, Christians, and Jesus Christ but they really have no clue. They don’t know of His saving grace or His unending mercy. What they know is people. People are homophobic, racist, ignorant and everything else. Just because you follow Jesus doesn’t mean you are going to start walking on water. Christians are still human, we’re not perfect. We still have our own opinions and ideas of others. I have faith in God and Jesus Christ because I have felt His power. I have felt the Lord’s presence in my life. I spend a fair amount of time in my youth looking into other religions but never felt anything close to the power and grace that is Jesus Christ. Classifying Christians as hate mongers, homophobic, racists because of one persons actions that says they are a Christian, is like someone saying you are a Nazi because you are German, it just doesn’t make any sense. Everyone is so quick to judge. We as Christians have to set the example, we have to take the high road. What I have learned over the years is that if you stand for something, no matter what it is, someone is going to disagree with you. We Christians have to keep the faith, and not get angry at these people that would love nothing more than to stir up strife and make us question our beliefs. I know in my heart that Jesus Christ is as real as you and me, and He loves you. He doesn’t care if you are black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight, healthy, sick, a sinner, or a saint, Jesus Christ loves you. Luke 7:50 NKJV, “Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” You see that? It doesn’t say, “God Hates Fags!” it says, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Jesus Christ said those words, go in peace. Is Homosexuality a sin? Yes. Do I believe you will burn in Hell for it? No. It’s a sin just like getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, gossiping, and gluttony. Will you burn in hell for one sin and not the other? I don’t think so. Instead of focusing on the sins of others, we need to take a look at our own lives. Nobody is perfect.

In God We Trust

I have tons of friends and family that love to fish. They will wake up at crazy hours to fish all day, hoping to catch “the big one”. They have family secrets, techniques and locations that they don’t share with anyone. They don’t support their families from fishing, they do it for fun. But if they have a bad day on the lake, you would think they just lost a months salary. In Luke 5, Jesus came to a lake where some fishermen had been at it all night and caught nothing. Luke 5:4-6 NKJV, “When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” Simon, James, and John had been fishing on their own all night and caught nothing. It wasn’t until Jesus came into their lives that they started having any success. I think the problem a lot of us have is that we don’t want to follow the advice of Jesus. We think that we can do it all on our own. We have to trust in the Lord, we have to have faith that He will lead us in the right direction. I haven’t once read or heard about anyone being mislead by God. Never have I heard anyone say, “Everything was going great until I let God into my life.” Usually it’s the complete opposite, people talk about how bad their lives were until the met Jesus. Verse 9 in Luke 5 says, “For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;” They were astonished at the work that Jesus had done for them. They put their faith in Jesus Christ and it paid off. They caught so many fish that it actually started to break their nets and sink their boats. Jesus gave them more in a matter a minutes of blind faith than they could do in a whole night by themselves. We have to stop second guessing God and just let Him have control. We have to stop being afraid of the change that God will do in our lives. For anyone reading this message that is unsure about God or may be on the fence about giving it all to Jesus. I challenge you to let God have control of your life for a solid month and tell me things aren’t better. Really let Him into your life, in all aspects, and tell me your life hasn’t improved over that short amount of time. It’s ok to not be ok. Jesus Christ didn’t come back for people that have it all together, He came back for the hopeless sinners of the world. The drunks, the drug addicts, the liars, the cheats, the sick, the poor, He came back for you and for me. Luke 5:31-32 NKJV, “Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Those words are straight out of the mouth of Jesus Christ Himself. He loves you no matter what. I encourage you to open your heart to Him. Let Him into your life. Just like Simon, James, and John on the fishing boat, you too will be astonished at what God can do for you.

Wake up, John

Yes, that is a Halo reference. After finishing up 2 Corinthians today, I wasn’t really sure where to go next. As I looked through my bible, I realized that I had read all but one of the gospels in the new testament. For some reason I have yet to read the book of Luke. The first chapter talks about the birth of John the Baptist, or I should say, the events leading up to him being born. If you haven’t read it yet yourself, I highly recommend it. It has the angel, Gabriel, playing God’s messenger to John’s soon to be parents. Gabriel also visits Mary to tell her about Jesus. Here’s a little fact that I didn’t know until reading this, Jesus and John the Baptist are only a few months apart in age (I always pictured John as an old, crazy looking man for some reason). As I was reading through this chapter, I came to a conversation between the angel Gabriel and Mary where he is telling her about Elizabeth (John’s mom) being pregnant. Luke 1:36-37 NKJV, “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” This is a big deal not only because of her age but also because she was “barren”, she couldn’t have kids. That last verse is what stuck out to me, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” That is a powerful verse. That verse wasn’t said by just anybody either, it was the angel, Gabriel, that said it. I think all too often we tend to forget just how powerful God really is. He can part seas, and move mountains. He can walk on water, and make blind men see. This is the God I serve. A God where nothing will be impossible. I look at the conversation between Zacharias (John’s father) and Gabriel in the beginning of the chapter and can’t help but to feel like he is talking not only about what John the Baptist will grow up to do, but to each of us also. Telling us what we, as true Christians, should be doing now. Luke 1:17 NKJV, “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Just like John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, we must now prepare the way for the return of Jesus. It says John will “make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” and now that responsibility falls to us. We must prepare people for the return of the Lord. Whether you believe it or not, Jesus is coming back one day. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe in another 2000 years. But the question is not when is Jesus coming back, the question is will you be ready? The last few verses in this chapter are Zacharias’ Holy Spirit filled words to his new born son, John. Luke 1:76-79 NKJV, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” My hope and prayer for this blog is that I may bring someone far from God, closer to Him. That I can give the knowledge of salvation to someone that may not know about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. To give light to those lost in the darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide them to the way of peace.

Temptation Island

No, not the awful T.V. show. I’m talking about temptation that we all face in our daily lives. Temptation is everywhere, on T.V., on the internet, and on the radio. Some of us may be facing temptation in our own homes. For some of us temptation has such a grasp that we feel like we have no other choice but to give in. Like we can’t function without submitting to that temptation so we can just get on with our daily routine. Reading through 1 Corinthians, Paul brings up temptation in chapter 10 verse 13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” For some of us the temptation feels like being trapped on an island, no way out. But if we put our faith in the Lord, He will provide a way. God will never put us in a “no win” situation, there is always hope. I heard my pastor say something this past Sunday that made a lot of sense. He said, “What you constantly think about, you will eventually do.” If we are doing nothing but sitting around thinking about how much we want to give in to that temptation, more than likely we eventually will. Whenever the urge to do something that I know I shouldn’t be doing pops in my head, I immediately try to find something that will take my mind away from that temptation. It can be hard sometimes, especially when we tell ourselves that it’s not hurting anyone. Maybe you’re being tempted to do something that you’re not really sure would be a sin or not. In those “grey area” temptations I look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, just ask yourself if you’re not sure, “Would doing this glorify God?” If not, chances are, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Now I know a lot of people are reading this and saying, “How can everything I do glorify God?” Giving thanks is one way. Before you dive in to that mocha frappe, give thanks to God that He allowed that wonderful treat to be part of your life. Before you fire up the Xbox, give thanks that you live in a part of the world that has electricity. I’ve even started using my temptation as a way of glorifying God. Whenever I’m tempted, I thank God for giving me the strength to endure. If it wasn’t for God, I never would have been set free from the temptations that were ruling my life. The temptation to drink, to smoke, to look at pornography. These temptations had complete control of my life, and I’m not going to lie, I still struggle with them. But God has broken my chains of bondage. He set me free from a life of temptation and addiction. When I felt trapped on that island, He provided a life raft to salvation. He can do the same thing for you. To anyone out there reading this that feels lost to a world of temptation and addiction, God can save you, God WILL save you. All you have to do is ask. Romans 10:13 NKJV, “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”