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Are American Christians Soft?

Recently I preached on the topic "Loving God With All Your Strength".That the message coincided with the Winter Olympics gave me ample metaphors from the world of sport. For the week prior to the message we had seen via TV athletes who "played hurt" because participating in the Olympics meant so much to them. One athlete fell into a ravine, clamored out and finished the ski race. A post race exam showed that she had four broken ribs and a punctured lung. Oh that American Christians had such "grit".
In our day, a headache, sniffles, allergies, being "worn out" from being a week end athlete on Saturday and any number of other minor maladies will often take a believer out of action on Sunday.Amazingly, healing takes place in time for work or school on Monday. We can play through pain and tiredness for the sake of a grade or a paycheck, but not in service for our King.
I recently read a quote by C. S. Lewis which said, "God whispers to us th…

Loving God With All Your Strength

In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, we find quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 reminding us of the need to love God with our total being. One aspect of our being is "strength". A good definition of strength is "power", "might", or "exertion". Consequently, if we are to love God with all our strength, it will require us to work up a sweat for His sake. Mark Batterson in his book PRIMAL reminds readers that the words of Jesus at the judgment are "Well DONE good and faithful servant" not "well SAID". I thought of this as I watched cross-country skiers collapse across the finish line at the Olympics the other night. The athletes were totally spent. They were gasping for breath, they fell face first into the snow. All of this for a medal? Those of us who know and love Christ are vying for a much greater reward and yet, few of us are expending that kind of energy in expressing our love for God. I'm convinced that the heart o…
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Seeking First the Kingdom: What Does it Mean?

Most Christians are familiar with Matthew 6:33 "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." However, there is a wide discrepancy as to what this means. The question that needs to be addressed is "what is the kingdom of God"? In scripture we find references to the "kingdom of heaven", as well as the "kingdom of God. In the New Testament there are at least 27 references to the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. In several parables Jesus told us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like; a man who sowed good seed, but his enemy sowed weeds; a mustard seed which, though very small, produces a tree or bush capable of providing a perch for the birds of the air; and yeast that is folded into a measure of flour. With this background, we can assume that the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom in which the will of God is done immediately and gladly by all it's inhabitants. It is a kingdom where love prev…

Thinking Outside the Church Building

Many years ago Ralph Neighbor drew attention to the fact that most of our church programming is based on getting people inside our building. The truth of the matter is, if we are to ever be successful getting them into our building, we're going to have to go outside the building to find them. In Matt. 28:19-20, Jesus commanded us to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." We are not commanded to "invite them", or even "bring them". He said "Go". The literal translation of that is "as you are going". Therefore, our disciple making is to take place as we are going about our normal traffic pattern of life. When we connect to people where they are, and build meaningful relationships, it is then easier to get them to accompany us to church. This being true, the purpose of our time "in" church should be preparation for going outside the church and doing the work of ministry there. Everything that happens in the buildin…