Monday Motivational - Teaching our Campers to be Rooted!
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! Our first camp officially started today and we are in the full swing of things. All of our counselors and staff are full of energy, and ready to show each camper the love of Christ! Our theme for this summer is “Rooted” and we are taking every opportunity we get to teach them about the importance of being rooted, and whom it is they should be rooted in. We have a great week ahead of us and I wanted to offer some ways for you to partner along side us even if you are not here at Camp with us.
With our goal being to teach every camper how to be rooted and who to be rooted in we need lots of prayer! It is no easy task to make sure that each camper hears and understands what we are trying to teach them. Please partner with us this week in praying for these things specifically:
This week is full of girls that come from the inner city of Knoxville. That means that most, if not all, are very far out of their comfort zones. We want to make sure that we make camp as pleasant and productive as possible before they go back and it wouldn’t be possible without your help. Thank you in advance for your willingness to serve along side us. Your prayers are a driving force of encouragement to all of our staff and counselors while they are here sharing Christ with the campers!
Monday Motivational – Children are on the Horizon
Welcome to our last Monday Motivational before our summer program starts! My hope is that I will be able to continue these throughout the summer, but other obligations may cause us to miss a week every now and then. Best case scenario things will go on as usual with our Monday Motivationals, worse case scenario I will be limited to just the occasional update of how the summer is going. Either way, keep us in your prayers and keep your eyes open for what comes your way during our summer season because I can’t wait to share with you how God is working through Camp Ba Yo Ca this summer! For this weeks post I want to share with you guys the same thing I shared with our CIT’s, Counselors, and Staff at our pre-summer meeting.
If you are one of the above mentioned summer workers hopefully you haven’t stopped reading because refreshers, even if only a week later, are still helpful! At our pre-summer meeting we went over the traditional preparation topics such as getting ready spiritually, physically, and mentally. These are great tips for all of us though. How many times do we find ourselves completely unprepared for whatever the next season of our life will be? If the answer to that question is not frequently then you are a far better human being then I am. I typically find myself with a mindset of “I will wait to prepare myself until I know what I am preparing for”. That just leads to me wasting perfectly good preparation time in the present. Our time here on this earth is far to valuable for us to wait until we are in a season to train for that season.
James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”. As children we all thought we would live forever, but as we age and gain a little insight it becomes very clear that our life has an expiration date. In the bigger picture our 75+ years we have here on this earth are a mere blip on the timeline. This means that we must take full advantage of what little time we do have. Here comes the challenging part though…How do you convince children to skip over all the bad decisions they are going to inevitably make and start using their time purposefully now?
Trust me when I tell you the answer to this question is that you can’t. We are incapable of showing them that life needs to have more purpose than just earthly accomplishments. However, we can offer them a relationship with someone who can! Our goal at Camp is to create an atmosphere where these relationships are started, nourished, and deepened. It takes Christ to give purpose to a life. That is why everything we do here at Camp is intentional and points our campers, counselors, and staff in a direction that they can experience Christ.
The children are on the horizon, and the time has come for us to welcome them into the fold just as Christ did. Please remain in prayer for us during the summer. Days will get long, nights will get short, bodies will get tired, but our purpose will never waver. This is going to be an amazing summer and we can’t to experience it with you!
Monday Motivational – In the Process
Welcome to another Monday Motivational guys! I hope that those of you wrapping up your school year are doing so with conviction and integrity to finish strong, and preparing for a great summer. I hope that those of you not being held captive by the school calendar are also preparing for a great summer. In my personal opinion there is no better time than summer time—unless you’re an adult with an adult job and adult responsibilities. As a kid summers were the absolute greatest. Sleeping in until you felt like getting up, eating junk food in place of real meals until dinner when your mom forced you to eat real food, causing chaos with all the other neighborhood kids, going to the pool or lake or beach, and best of all…going to summer camp! Kids really don’t know how great they have it. And that ends my tangent on how great summer was as a kid because that actually has nothing to do with this week’s topic!
For this weeks Monday Motivational I want to talk with you guys about something my Sunday School class went over yesterday. Before I get too far into it I want to give a quick shout out to David Powell (my Sunday School teacher) because although I had previous knowledge of what I am about to share with you, I would not have been able to explain it so clearly without him doing so for me yesterday. We did a study of Colossians chapter 1 and a large portion of yesterday’s study was focused on Salvation and Sanctification. These two things are very closely related, but also very different in their own meanings and application. David broke down salvation in the following way: Step One – I was saved on (date of your salvation here) , Step Two – Today I am still in the process of being saved , Step Three – Someday I will be completely or fully saved. I love this breakdown because it shows our journey.
Step one is a clear picture of our starting point. The moment you placed faith in the action of Christ on the cross to redeem you from all your sins, you were saved. Step two tells us that the life we live after step one is a process in which we are striving to be more and more like Christ and remove ourselves from a life that has sin in it. Step three tells us that someday we will be fully saved and completely free of sin. The good news of step three is that we will someday be free of sin completely, while the bad news is that the someday being referenced here is not one on this earth but rather one post death. So where does Sanctification come into play? Glad you asked!
Sanctification is taking place in step two. As a born again believer we are in the process of it. Sanctify means to make holy, set apart, or free (remove) from sin. If we are in the process of sanctification, what does it look like? Galatians 5:16-17 says “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”. Galatians 5:25 says “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”. It is impossible for us to sanctify ourselves, but sanctification does require us to surrender to the influence and guidance of the Spirit.
As believers we are in the process of sanctification and are working towards step three of someday being fully and completely saved (completely free of sin). This process only works if we surrender to the Spirit and “keep in step with the Spirit”. Make sure that your desires are being created out of the leadership and desires of the Spirit in your life and not out of your fleshly desires.
Monday Motivational – He Came To His Own
Hey guys and welcome to another Monday Motivational! It is crazy how quickly summer is approaching. Daily I think about how much still needs to be done before we start our summer program but rather than getting discouraged about there not being enough time or people to get it all ready, I am always encouraged by what God has in store for us this summer! I am grateful that we have staff and counselors that were receptive to His call and will be partnering with us this summer. With everything going on lately I have been reflective of how obedience seems to be a little easier when you don’t have time to second guess what’s going on. Does that ever seem true in your life? When things are moving at a slower pace you have more time to over-analyze and second-guess the instructions you are given. This is what we will be talking about in this weeks Monday Motivational.
A few weeks back in my Thursday night bible study we were looking at John 1:1-18 and there is a specific verse that has stuck out to me ever since. Verse 11 says, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”. A little bit of context for this verse; John wrote it about the early stages of Christ ministry and the people who were “his own” were the Jews who had all of the Old Testament Prophets and literature to prepare them for Christ’s ministry, yet when He actually started “his own people did not receive him”. How could this be right? Is it even possible to be told your whole life that something very specific is going to happen and then when it does you don’t believe it? Sadly, it is very much so possible. The same thing essentially happens to us every time that we question His guidance and direction that He is giving to us in our lives.
When we start to place our faith in the saving gospel of Christ we are welcomed into the fold and become His people. We are taught at an early age that a critical part of the journey to sanctification is obedience and receiving the call and guidance He puts in our life. When we decide to do things our way, for whatever reason that may be, we are taking a stand against the instruction of Christ. How is this any different than those who Christ came to and chose not to receive Him? There is no difference, and whether we do it intentionally or not the fact still remains that we do it. I am not sure about you guys, but it breaks my heart to know that Christ comes to me with instructions of how to handle situations or how to prepare for what is next in my life, and even though I know He only has my best interest in mind I still do not receive His instructions. So how do we better prepare ourselves to receive Him when He comes to us with instructions?
It is a simple answer, but difficult in application. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”. Our flesh and our human understandings (limitations) but be removed from the equation. Through placing our faith in the name of Christ and believing in His sacrifice we become “children of God” that are “born…of God”. This is what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 5 when he says we become a new creation in Christ, and in Romans 12 when he says we must be transformed by the renewal of our minds.
Christ doesn’t just come to us once so that we may place our faith in Him and then never bother with us again. He continually comes to us through the Spirit with instructions on how to live our life. Are you going to be like His people who He came to and they did not receive Him, or will you be receptive to the instructions He gives you and live them out faithfully?
Monday Motivational – Fear > Fool
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! I hope that these weekly posts have been able to encourage you and set your week up for success! It doesn’t take a lot to shift your week’s focus to Christ, and once you have, the opportunities to tell others about Him will start to add up. I like to think that focusing on Christ is very similar to how as children we would focus on our parents. Our parents, if they are doing the whole parenting thing right, should be pretty accurate examples of who Christ is for us—they sacrifice just about everything to make sure we get to be where we want to be, have the toys we want, go on vacation to our favorite places, get to do all the things we want to do; they love unconditionally even when we give them plenty of reasons not to; they teach us impacting life-long lessons in riddles or parables, I mean seriously how cryptic was it when you would ask “why” and you’re just told “because” as if that was going to one day click and make everything in the world make sense! To be fair, it does eventually make sense but by eventually I mean like 15 to 20 years down the road.
Those are just a few of the ways that us focusing on our parents parallel to focusing on Christ. For today’s Monday Motivational I want to look at one specific parallel—fear. Now of course I don’t mean fear in the sense of being afraid, or feeling unsafe. This type of fear is more in line with respect and la desire to understand something better. I don’t know what your family structure was growing up, but in the Sturgill household we had Tina (hands down the greatest mother to ever live) and it was her responsibility to balance love and discipline all on her own. To this day I have no clue how she managed to do it, but if I had to take a guess I would say that it came it down to her creating an atmosphere of this healthy and productive fear. For believers we are challenged to have this same fear towards Christ.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” How does fear lead to knowledge? Because like I mentioned earlier this isn’t the kind of fear that makes you want to hide or flee the presence of something, but rather the kind that is rooted in respect and a desire to understand. The more we learn about Christ the more we respect His sovereignty and authority. We begin to understand that He is in control and as we continue to surrender parts of our life to Him we gain the knowledge of what He wants us to do with our life. The second half of that verse is equally important for us to understand. It says, “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Growing up I frequently tried to do what I thought would be best and that often led to me ignoring the instruction and wisdom that Tina was trying to give me. This approach always ended in me making a fool of myself, and I could have easily avoided doing that if I would have listened to Tina from the start. In the same way, Christ lived a wisdom and instruction filled life but yet we still try to do things on our own—like fools!
There is such a thing as healthy and productive fear. It takes respect and desire to understand the person it is for. If we start to live our lives toward Christ this way it will be “the beginning of knowledge” and lead to a fruitful relationship with Him! Take time this week to look at yourself and see if you have this type of fear for Christ. If you don’t, what needs to change so that you will? If you do, what sort of knowledge has He been giving you and how can you use it to help others?
Monday Motivational – Abraham
Hey guys, welcome to this weeks Monday Motivational! In our Camp bible study we have been walking through Galatians and within it Paul has been referencing Abraham quite a bit. Quick shameless plug about our bible study, we only have two left before summer (May 4th and 18th at 8 PM at the KCAB office) so if you can come, we would love to have you there! Back to Abraham. There are many reasons Paul speaks about Abraham in his letter to the churches in Galatia and it would take way to long to dive into each of them. So rather than doing that for this weeks Monday Motivational, I think we should instead look at just one facet of Abraham’s life. I want to take it back to when he was just called Abram. This week we are going to look at God’s covenant with Abram. It is important to note that a covenant is the same as what we would call a promise today. This covenant came from God, which meant it was concrete and guaranteed unlike most of our promises we make today though.
In Genesis chapter 15 we find the account of God’s covenant with Abram. We are going to look at two specific details of this covenant conversation that regularly get overlooked. The first detail that I feel gets frequently overlooked is Abram’s initial response to God telling him “look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them…So shall your offspring be.” (15:5). After hearing this Abram’s response definitely involved lots of questions and what seems to be a little bit of doubt (verses 7-16), but verse 6 tells us that Abram “believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”. This happened before the birth, life, and sacrifice of Jesus, so righteousness was obtained through deeds (obedience to the law). Yet, we see here that before Abram was obedient in deed he was counted righteous because of his faith. I don’t know if Abram knew that faith was all it took to be counted as righteousness, but we, having the Word of God in it’s entirety know that truth. Should our faith lead to works that are glorifying to God and His kingdom? Of course! But without faith being in place first, our works are done mutely. Start your days off with putting your faith in God to provide, protect, and produce works opportunities—it will be counted to you as righteousness if you do!
The second thing that I feel gets overlooked is the actual constructs of the covenant. We find these constructs in verse 18 which says, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.””. This covenant was made with Abram, but it was for his “offspring”. In our study of Galatians Paul points out this covenant was “made to Abraham and to his offspring” (3:16) singular not offsprings plural. Paul makes this point because it was in Christ that the covenant would be fulfilled. In the same way that the new covenant is fulfilled only in Christ’s sacrifice. Both of these covenants were made for Christ and are fulfilled through Christ. It is only through our journey of sanctification (becoming more Christlike) that we get to be a participant in them.
We serve a God that is deserving of our faith being put in Him regardless of our circumstances. We have a Savior that cares enough about us to share what was promised to Him with us. That is amazing to think about! So amazing that we should want to share with anyone and everyone that is in our life! This week I challenge you to take time everyday and express to God that your faith is in Him and the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, but don’t stop there…tell others about it too!
Monday Motivational – “But if not…”
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! I hope that you are enjoying these weekly post focused around making Mondays a little more bearable. Being able to write a new post every week has been a huge blessing and helped me to grow in areas that I did not know I needed growth in. With that being said, I want to take a brief moment to say thank you to the reader! I am not sure if anyone reads these posts hoping to learn anything, but through the process of writing them I have and I am very grateful for the opportunity to do so every week. Without further ado lets get into this weeks topic. I would like to look at a story from Daniel that we have all hopefully heard, read, or possibly seen the 100% historically accurate depiction from Veggie Tales. That’s right, we are going to look at the story of the fiery furnace and why chocolate is of the devil—especially when it is in giant bunny form!
Okay, so maybe the Veggie Tales depiction of what happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is not exactly how it went down. I mean while reading through Daniel chapter 3 I could not find one single mention of chocolate, a giant bunny, or talking vegetables. Although I reflect on my Veggie Tales watching days fondly, we will stick to what is actually found in scripture for this weeks post. To give you a little bit of back-story on the topic before we look at the fiery furnace event lets look at Daniel chapter 1 to figure out who these three brave believers are. Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon at the time, and he decides to go into Jerusalem and besiege it (Daniel 1:1). King Nebuchadnezzar took some of the people from Jerusalem back to Babylon with him that showed promise in regards to education, appearance, and skills so that they could serve in the king’s palace (1:3-4). Four of the people brought to Babylon at this time were Daniel called Belteshazzar, Hananiah called Shadrach, Mishael called Meshach, and Azariah called Abednego (1:7). These four boys stuck together and God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams (1:17). Because of these gifts from God they were seen favorably by the king and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, but Daniel remained in the king’s court (2:49). This brings us up to chapter 3 of Daniel.
King Nebuchadnezzar makes a golden image and orders all the people of Babylon to worship this image (3:4-5). The punishment for anyone who does not worship this image is that they will be cast into the fiery furnace (3:6). It came time for everyone to worship the image, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that they were to only worship God so they refused (3:12). The story continues on with an amazing demonstration of how God looks after and protects His people (3:23-26), but I want to focus in on what is said by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego just before they are put into the furnace. Daniel 3:15-18 says, “…And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”. Here is a great example of what our obedience to God is supposed to look like.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego know that they are to serve God and only God. They are obedient to this even though the outcome of their obedience is that they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Look at the first three words in verse 18—“But if not…”. We get caught up in the rewards of our obedience and start to think that we deserve something from God when we are obedient to Him. This is not true. We are supposed to be obedient to God because of His sovereign authority, not because obedience makes us deserving of anything. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that it was their job to be obedient in serving only God, regardless of what the outcome was to be. “But if not…” meant that even if God did not deliver them from the furnace or from the hand of the king, it was still an opportunity for them to show their obedience to the will of God.
Just because we are obedient to what God is calling us to do, we are not more deserving of the blessings He gives us. We are fully undeserving of any and every blessing we receive. As believers we need to be obedient to God because it is the right thing to do, not because our obedience makes us more deserving to be blessed by God. Obedience to God should be a lifestyle that we live out everyday, and when/if blessings come we should thank God for them. But if not, God is still sovereign and worthy of our continued obedience.
Monday Motivational – Count Everything as Loss
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! I hope that you had a great time last week and that you are preparing to have an even better time this week! Over the past few weeks my day to day happenings have been progressively more enjoyable, which is slightly ironic because my days have been stretched out with different activities each night and my nights have become almost nonexistent with minimum sleep being had. The past month or so I have been alternating my Mondays with Job Fairs for Camp and “boys night” (an excuse for a group of friends to get together every week), my Tuesdays have been filled with soccer practice (I get to coach an amazing group of kids at Sevier Heights), every Wednesdays I get to lead the youth at The Church in The Valley in a bible study, on Thursdays I get to be a part of a men’s bible study that has been insanely encouraging to me and continues to grow, twice a month on Fridays I get the chance to lead our Camp bible study and through preparing, teaching, and engaging with our staff that come to that I have been tremendously blessed! If you asked me to describe my ideal week I probably would not have put any two of these things together in one week, but luckily for me God has placed all of these activities into my life! And that brings to our topic for this weeks Monday Motivational.
You could probably tell by reading the past few Monday Motivationals that I have been very influenced by the writings of Paul. This week we are going to look into what he says to the saints in Philippi in Philippians chapter 3. Paul gives us a list of reasons why his life was perfect from the outside looking in. He says “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.”(3:4-6). Here Paul is showing how he relates to the people who place their confidence in the flesh. He states that he is of God’s chosen people(the Israelites), of a well known and respected tribe(tribe of Benjamin), a part of a well educated group(the Pharisees), a man with purpose and mission(persecutor of the church), and by the standards of the law he was blameless. In Paul’s time these credentials were more than enough for him to be a well respected and revered man, but don’t stop reading the scripture there. He continues to explain how none of that compares to the worth of knowing Christ.
Picking up in verse 7 we read “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”(3:7-9). Paul was a man who had it all seemingly, but once he gained a true understanding of who Christ was he realized that all of it was “rubbish” in comparison to knowing Christ as his Lord. How often do we caught up on things of this world that show those around us how special or important we are like status, heritage, occupation, deeds, etc.?
I shared with you earlier what my life has been like the past few months to let you know that even if what we are doing has good intentions behind it we can still be missing the point of why we do it. Does God want me to be involved in all of these different ministries and activities? Maybe. Are they good ministries and activities to be involved in? Yes. However, they are all just gains that I have confined to this world. If I am not using my involvement in these things to bring God glory than I might as well not be involved in them. If I am not taking time to intentionally share the surpassing worth of knowing Christ as my Lord with the people around me in these activities I am wasting my time and the time others involved. All of these great things that I get to be a part of are worthless in comparison to knowing Christ as my Lord. It is my job to make sure I live that truth out by telling others about how Christ can be and wants to be their Lord also.
Are there things going on in your life that need to be placed in perspective of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ as Lord? What worldly status, role, or activity are you a part of that has become more important to you than the redemptive power of knowing Christ as your personal Lord? Throughout this week take time to put things in perspective by lining them up with who Christ is. If doing this does not make everything else seem worthless in comparison, maybe you need to do some self reflecting and figure out why. The gift we have been given by Christ on the cross is so much better than any activity, gathering, or feeling we can find in this world! Let’s start living that way!
Monday Motivational – Did you miss it?
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! If you are a first time reader it is great to have you here, and if you are a frequent visitor of the blog it is great to have you here too! I hope that everyone enjoyed their day yesterday celebrating Easter. I had a wonderful Easter packed to the brim with all the essentials—went to a 7 AM sunrise service (still trying to recover from waking up that early) , went to a breakfast potluck where I ate more food than any human should ever need/want to consume , went to the 11 o’clock service at SHBC for some more Sunday morning fellowship , swung by Tina’s house to see the family , went back to Camp to do some Easter fishing (unsuccessfully, but that was to be expected when you are as bad at fishing as I am) , watched a movie , and then called it a day. All around it was a great day of fellowship with family and friends, paired with some great messages about the Gospel of Christ and doing my part to advance it. However, I did not write this post just so I could brag about how awesome my Easter was. I want to talk with you guys about something that I clearly overlooked growing up in the church with hopes that you finish reading this post and think “yup, I knew that”, or “hmm, I’ve not looked at it that way before”.
I hate to admit this, but I am sure if we are all honest with ourselves you have experienced something similar. Growing up in church you find yourself hearing lessons, sermons, studies, etc. about things you already know or still have the notes for. I am not proud of this, but when those moments came up for me in my younger years I would just sort of check in and out of what the speaker was saying. My favorite way to do this was by occasionally tuning into what was being said and then trying to draw pictures to animate the lesson. First thing to note about this is that I am in no way, shape, or form an artist, but that did not stop me from thinking “oh, the speaker is talking about Daniel in the lions den. I bet he wants me to draw him a picture of a guy hanging out with lions rather than listen to what he is trying share with us!”. Second thing to note about this is that it is insanely rude. Picture a tiny kid walking up to the pastor at the end of the service and instead of being able to tell the pastor that they learned something or enjoyed the sermon, the kid hands him a picture of a stick figure man standing beside what are supposed to be lions but the kid didn’t know how to draw the back legs so they all just look like overweight deformed chickens. It would have been more polite for me to just walk out, but instead I would give them horrible pictures that inadvertently said “I know you put a lot of effort and prayer into sharing with the congregation what God has put on your heart, but I already heard that story so here is a picture for you to decipher later”.
Easter was a time for me when this would regularly happen. I knew who Christ was and what He did for me, so did I really need to listen while someone explained it to other people? Short answer, yes! I am sure if I had it would not have taken so long for me put together the thought I had last week while reflecting on Easter and what it means to me personally. In my mind I have always combine all the events of what happened leading up the crucifixion and resurrection so that they were one joined story with only one purpose—show that Christ died on the cross for my sins. It is all one story, but there are many purposes to what happened, and how they happened. Because of this limited thinking I missed something that is very important.
While thinking about the events leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection I thought about Judas betraying Christ and Christ still loving him through that and even eating the Passover meal with him. I thought about how Peter was told that he was going to fail Christ and when he did Christ still loved him. I thought about Christ praying to God in the garden of Gethsemane for a way out, but knowing His prayer was going to be met with a no because it was the will of God for Him to be our sacrificial lamb. I thought about Christ’s interaction with the man on the cross beside him and how Christ did not loose sight of his purpose for being here (Luke 19:10). I thought about God turning His back to Christ in the final moments and how that is a crystal clear picture of what our life is when sin is in control. Then I started to think about His resurrection and I found myself at an internal roadblock. Christ’s resurrection has a lot to do with the story of Christ at this time, but does it have the same purpose of pointing out where my salvation comes from?
To be honest with you, I don’t know for sure. I know that I have sin in my life and because of that I fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) so I on my own cannot be in His presence, but I was justified through the redemption in Christ who was put forward as propitiation (Romans 3:24-25). I know that we are cursed by the law when we try to live through works of the law (Galatians 3:10) and that Christ redeemed us from that curse by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). But where does the resurrection of Christ come into play when discussing my salvation? I am not sure that it does. I think that Christ had to be the perfect sacrifice and die on the cross to redeem me from my sins, but outside of my salvation purposes He conquered death to make an example of it. For us to be free from the stronghold of sins in our life and the wrath of God for those sins Christ sacrifice was essential. His resurrection was a picture of His sovereignty and authority over all things. An opportunity that could only come after His death so to not distract us from the purpose and power of His death, but an opportunity that had no other association with His death beside it being a step in the direction of showing us His Deity and Sovereignty over all facets and constructs of this world.
I was so focused on keeping the story together with a common application that I allowed myself to miss the purpose of the ending. How often do we fall victim of doing this? How often do I fall victim of doing this? Sometimes we are so close to something that we don’t allow the intentions behind it to grow in meaning or application. What are other things that I have missed because my own limitations being put on the Word of God? What are things that you have missed? Make an effort to remove your limitations from the Word of God when you read it during your daily devotions or when you are listening to it being read on Sunday mornings. Allow your eyes, ears, heart, and mind to be open and accepting of what the Spirit tries to reveal to you in God’s Word. Who knows…you may find out that you missed something before.
Happy Monday guys!
Monday Motivational – Looking to Easter
Welcome to another Monday Motivational! I am glad that you are taking time to read this and I hope that it helps propel your week into something great! With Easter just around the corner it seems only fitting that I do a post about it, right? Well, you’re in luck! This week we will go over some things that give us a better grasp of what Easter is and means, as well as figure out what we are supposed to do with this information. Lets get underway.
What is Easter? It is a wonder time of year when we get to break out all of our wonderful pastel colored shirts and dresses, have a delicious potluck meal after church, hunt eggs that are filled with candy, and wake up way to early so that we can go to a sunrise service! I don’t know if these were required Easter festivities for you growing up, but they certainly were for my family. All of these are great and somewhat force your hand into having times of fellowship with your church family, but they don’t really express the true meaning behind Easter. A quick google search of the definition of Easter tells you that it is the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church. This is a bold statement considering how much importance the church puts on Christmas because of the birth of Christ, but in my personal opinion it is an accurate one. We needed the birth of Christ to fulfill Old Testament prophecy about a Savior that was to come, but at the end of the day, it is not through His birth that we have been redeemed. It took His sacrifice on the cross for that. Merriam-Webster gives us a more specific definition by saying Easter is “a feast that commemorates Christ’s resurrection”. So again the question must be asked, what is Easter? For believers it is a time to reflect on the power of the sacrifice of Christ that has given us our relationship with God the father. For the lost it is opportunity to experience the power of Christ’s sacrifice for the first time. Easter is all about Christ, the things He has done for us as believers and the things He can do for those who have not yet surrendered their life to Him.
Easter seems to be a season of time that believers place emphasis on witnessing and inviting people to church. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and if you have not yet taken time to invite someone to your church so that they can hear the redemptive story of the cross please do so! There is less than a week until Easter, and witnessing is not something we should procrastinate with. I am reminded of the hymn based on Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”. We have been redeemed and because of that we should have a lifestyle revolving around saying so! Take time to understand and put to words what Easter means to you. Figure out how you can witness to others this week and invite them to church so that they too can experience Christ and have an understanding of what His sacrifice means for them the same way you understand it. People are more open and willing to accept an invite to church during the Easter season, don’t miss out on an opportunity this week when the Spirit lays it on your heart to invite someone.
I pray that this week will be full of intentional reflection on what Christ’s sacrifice means for you and when the Spirit puts you in a position to “say so” you will witness boldly and without fear! We serve a Christ that was willing to lay down His life for us, it is our turn to put our faith into action and fill up the seats of our churches so that others can hear and hopefully walk away having a relationship of redemption in order that they too can “say so”!