Remember that the God of the Universe doesn’t see out of the same lens that you see out of. When you think your world is crashing, God may see it as your world being positioned for greater influence. I know it’s so difficult to live in this understanding and I promise you that there are many times I allow what I see to shrink the size of God’s capabilities. Today, let’s be reminded that your God is not below your pain, but within your pain. Let’s be reminded that your God isn’t intimidated by your circumstance.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is one of my favorite Bible verses. It clearly communicates that salvation doesn’t come from the good stuff that we do. Good works is religion or bondage that causes us to live within a spiritual levy system of our good and bad works. Meaning, if we do a lot bad, we need to offset it with some good or, if we have been good, we can afford to do some bad. This may seem harsh, but it’s the truth. There will be many people that culture sees as the “best” citizens or “good” people that are enemies of God (Romans 5:10) and on the contrary there will be people who culture sees as the least lovable and worst sinners of all that are in heaven made righteous in Christ.
Jesus + nothing = salvation!
But, remember, just because you aren’t saved by good works, doesn’t mean you weren’t saved for good works. People will know you are by disciples by the way you love others, Jesus said. So, make sure you don’t become a closet Christian living in God’s grace, but not offering it to others.
Living a life of joy has a lot to do with perspective. I’ve been doing a lot of running lately and each time I break a personal ”longest run record” that length of run no longer has control over my mind. In life, we are often controlled and intimidated by the mountains (circumstances) we face and as a result feel defeated and frustrated. But…what if our circumstances didn’t define our perspective of our current life positioning? What if God did? What if, instead of submitting to the size of our trial, we committed to believing in the size of our God! What mountain has been getting your attention? It has nothing on the ability of your God!
Without a need, there’s no room for faith, and without faith, there’s no substance for a miracle. God will use our greatest needs to show His glory and, remember, God had the solution before you knew there was a need. Keep your eyes focused on God, and not your mountain, and he will direct your path.
When I started NLC, I was taken back over the rebellion of those who claim the name of Jesus, but act as if church is negotiable. It saddens me that we have become so lukewarm in our discipline as followers of Christ in America that we somehow justify not going to church with the arrogant and rebellious attitude that we don’t need to. That’s the same rebellious heart that justifies sin and uses the Word of God as a book of suggestions, rather than a book of absolute truths. The Bible is clear that Jesus died for His church and we are supposed to be connected to a body of believers. People will always say…”so, can I get to heaven without going to church?” – yes… But living a life that leads to eternity in heaven is easier when you attend church.
We have seen a divine movement of God the first five years of NLC and I’m so humbled by God’s favor! We have grown from just a handful of people to hundreds and recently even thousands. BUT…my greatest frustration as a pastor is how many people have had their lives changed by God – I’m talking radically changed by God – how these people lack so much commitment to the vehicle God is using to show himself to them, is beyond me. If I had a dollar for every person who walked up to a NLC staff member and said in tears, “my life has been changed today at church” or “my kids love the kids area and God is doing things in their heart”, yet, these same people don’t come back to God’s church for weeks or months…I’d be able to make a small dent in world hunger.
Go to church! Jesus said to. You need to! This isn’t about attending NLC…just a Bible-believing church. There are MANY GREAT ones in the area! Don’t complain about what God isn’t doing for you until you do what he’s asked from you! Had to share my heart, hope you still love me.