Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Absolute Commitment

This last weekend of football tested my “fanhood” and that of many others in Ohio. The Bengals lost by a touchdown and the Browns lost by a field goal. The Buckeyes lost by a blocked extra-point after what was to be the game winning touchdown in the 4th quarter. Tough times have driven away many “fans” over the years. But… tough times have also galvanized many other followers of their teams over the years.

Jesus states that many people will fall away from following Him when times get tough (Matthew 13:20-21; 24:9-11; 26:30-35). In fact, many who welcomed Him into Jerusalem shouting “Hosanna, in the Highest!” shouted “Crucify Him!” just a few days later (Matthew 21:1-11; 27:15-23).

Although we may stumble and fall at times we are challenged by Jesus to not be “fans” but to be disciples. “Disciple” literally means “follower”. Not in a casual sense but in a radical leave all, forsake all, transform all kind of way. In Luke chapter 14 you can find an almost unbelievable challenge towards being much more than a fan of Jesus. In this passage Jesus states that to be a true follower of His we must hate our family, consciously choose death row, and meticulously account for our personal assets and level of strength as indicators on whether to follow Him or not. In the economy of Jesus there is absolutely no room for partial commitment or fair-weather behavior. It is all or nothing.

This level of devotion is way beyond any other aspect of your life that may demand attention. Rather, every aspect of your life must be impacted by the demand for complete devotion to Jesus Christ.

Choose absolute commitment over fair-weather fanhood!

-Pastor David

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lame Excuses

“I am too busy”, “I have school work to do”, “The devil made me do it”, “It’s not my fault, my parents raised me that way”

Excuses are a fun way to let yourself off the hook for a certain behavior, action, or lack of action. I have my own laundry list of excuses I tell myself in order to make myself feel better about certain things. Not exercising that day (“I am just too tired and today is my day off”), sneaking in some chocolate in the middle of the day (“my friend didn’t give me these buckeyes for them to go to waste”) , rushing through my quiet time with the Lord…… the list goes on. I am not proud of these things, so I tell myself little excuses so I don’t feel the guilt of the transgression.

I was reminded in my quiet time today that I am not alone in this.

Read Genesis 3:12- Adam blames Eve for the sin of eating the fruit.
Exodus 32:24- Aaron uses an excuse for making an idol.
Exodus 4:10- Moses tells the Lord that He didn’t create him to be a good speaker.

The list goes on. It is so human for us to excuse ourselves from the temporary guilt of being honest with ourselves. We blame it on our heritage, our tiredness, or even on God.

The truth is that with God we can do all things. If He is in us, He is continuously renewing us and taking more of our fleshly excuses and making them into His strength. Though Him we have the strength to resist temptation, we have the strength to do things we never thought we could. So let’s start being honest with ourselves and honest with God.

Pray with me.

Father, I sometime like to lie to myself and to you by making excuses. No matter how big or how small they are God, I am sorry. Please help me to rely on your strength today. Help me to rely on your renewing of my mind. Continue making me more like your Son Jesus.

We pray in that Holy Name