Tag Archives: community

Pure Heart Companions

What a great command from Paul to Timothy in his second letter. He says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” We are to run from our youthful passions. Instead we are to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. But we aren’t supposed to do it alone. We are to pursue it “along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

This verse tells us that our journey includes other believers. It also tells us that we need to have companions who have a pure heart. We need to surround ourselves with other believers who have a pure heart. In doing so, it helps us to be supported and built up in Christ. It allows for us to walk faithfully with Jesus, and when we fall, our companions will help pick us up.

If you don’t have many Christian friends, you have a problem. You need a good, rock solid community. This is typically a community you find at your local church. Get engaged at church. Join a small group. Build strong relationships. Find some pure heart companions, people who always point you to Jesus Christ.

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:22 [NLT]

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Sitting Alone

Sitting Alone

Sitting alone sucks. I remember when I was going through a tough period in life I pushed people away and tried to sit alone. The problem is we are communal—God created us as beings who need community to thrive. We need God and we need people. No wonder God tells us the greatest commands: Love God and love others.

Life cannot be lived alone. We need others for fellowship, for guidance, for encouragement, and for support. We need others to do life with and there is no way to deny this truth. When you are at home, at work, at church, at school—wherever you are in life, you need others and God brings people into your life for His great purposes.

Moses was trying to do everything alone. He was sitting around all day judging the people. It was too much. Not only was he going to wear himself out, but he was going to wear the other people out as well. Today let us look at the different areas of our own lives. Are we taking on too much and wearing out ourselves and those around us? Are we sitting alone trying to take on the whole world by ourselves? Do we allow others to help? Do we struggle to keep ourselves afloat? If you are sitting alone struggling, reach out. If you see others struggling as well, reach out. No one should be sitting alone.

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening? …You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.’”

Exodus 18:14, 18 [ESV]

Being Faithful to God Outline

Here’s a sermon outline on Being Faithful to God. You may download the outline below.

Being Faithful to God

Definition of faithful: Loyal, constant, steadfast, devoted, committed, dedicated, unswerving.

Revelation 19:7-9 ESV Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”      His Bride has made herself ready

Matthew 25:1-13 – Parable of the Ten Virigins

  • BELIEVE – you must be saved. What is holding you back? Disbelief / fear / doubt
    1. Double-minded – James 1:6 NIV But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Double-minded – “dipsuchos” / dis meaning “twice” and psuche meaning “mind.” – divided in interests, uncertain, two-faced, half-hearted. You can’t half believe God.
  • ACT – you weren’t saved to stand still – This is how you get to know God better.
    1. Bible – Read it / Study it – Individually and in Group – only offensive weapon
    2. Prayer – Prayer is a two way conversation. (ex: Bro Lawrence)
    3. Church – Worship / Community
  • DRESS – you must be dressed to stand firm  
    1. Ephesians 6:13 NLT Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. – God’s own nature / Dressed for battle – battle for souls
    2. Clothed in Righteousness – “I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.” (Isaiah 61:10 MSG)

 

Lamentations 3:25 MSG “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the    

                                                                                                                woman who diligently seeks.”

Act Justly / Love Mercy / Walk Humbly – Micah 6:8 NLT

Love God. Love Others ( Deuteronomy / Gospels)

 

“‘I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master.”

(Ezekiel 16:8-14 MSG)

Download Being Faithful to God Outline

 

Interested in People

People are important. Every single person matters. Zechariah 7:9-10 tells us, “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil” (MSG). These are simple commands to remember and act upon; however, our society screams, “Me, me, me.”

If you are not so interested in people, then you have forgotten the two commandments of Jesus: Love God, love others. It’s plain and clear. There’s no way to misinterpret. It is not complex or mysterious. Zechariah states, “You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.” Sometimes we get that mixed up.

Religion is very different than relationship. God wants a relationship with us and He wants us to be in relationships with others too. God is a communal. It is all about community. It is all about people. If people—all people—are not your interests, I pray today you may start changing your interests. There are a whole lot of people out there—and each one needs Love.

 

 

“God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: ‘When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.’” Zechariah 7:4-6 [MSG]

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Good Company

It is very difficult to deeply immerse yourself in the world and expect to live a godly life. It is important to spend time in good company because these people will help you to “keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.” Hang around those with integrity, those who are honest, those who will help build you up and equip you, those who know and love God and who are devoted to studying God’s Word and who regularly worship the Lord.

When you spend a lot of time in bad company, it wears off on you to the point no one can tell the difference between you and the worldly. Imagine a cup of water. The cup of water represents the godly life. The water is clear. However, if you take a tea bag (bad company) and dip it in the water, slowly the water changes color and taste. Little by little, you can add more tea bags or simply allow the tea to soak through the bag in time. The water changes. It’s no longer water. It’s tea. It is the same way with bad company.

We are to interact with sinners, to spend time with sinners. Each of us is in fact a sinner. Plus, if we were to isolate ourselves after being saved, then how would the Gospel be shared? Still, we all need a great community of godly friends to walk with us through life. I thank God for my mentors, my friends, my good company. They have helped to strengthen me, to pray for me, to point me in the right direction, to share Scripture, to comfort, to encourage. Join the company of good men and women.

“So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.”

-Proverbs 2:20-22 [MSG]

 

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My Complaint

There’s a phrase that I often hear from people when I ask them how they are doing. I guess I will say I am okay. It does no good complaining. No one cares anyway. Now for my complaint…

It really upsets me to hear people say things like this because I know that no matter what, someone cares. Always. And yes, complaining too much is a bad thing. The Israelites spent a lot of time grumbling in the Wilderness. But there are moments when we are upset and it is okay to verbalize our feelings.

I am currently reading the Book of Psalms. As I page through, again and again I read of the Psalmist crying out to God, pouring out his emotions. There is no holding back. There is nothing but pure, honest truth. And yes, there is some complaining. Today I want to remind you that God cares about you and EVERYTHING you are going through. And there are people in this world who care as well. Don’t go through your days not opening up and connecting. If you keep everything to yourself, then you are not really having a relationship at all.

“The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.”

-Psalm 38:5-8 [MSG]

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When God Steps In

I have seen a lot of images lately that say, “When God steps in, miracles happen.” The images and phrase are actually borrowed from bestselling author Neale Donald Walsch, who wrote a book with that title. I agree that miracles happen. Miracles happen every single day. Much of the time they go unnoticed because people are unaware of the presence of God. As we become more aware of His presence in the world and in our own lives, when we become more certain that our days are written beforehand and He is in control, when we believe in Him and become aware that He has a great plan for our lives and He is always with us, we tend to notice the miracles more often. On numerous occasions I wondered what it would be like to sit on the outside and look at all of the miracles as they occurred like in a flashback video sequence and see all of the things I missed. I am sure I have missed 99% of what God has poured out for me.

Our God is always with us. He promised us that He would not leave us—He would not forsake us. Jesus promised us the Comforter —the Holy Spirit—so that we were able to have God with us always. No matter where we are and no matter what we are doing, we are with God. Some people might understand the saying “God steps in” to mean that there are moments when He steps out. He never steps out on us.

Miracles happen every day. Each one of us is a miracle. I don’t challenge you to sit back and imagine your own flashback video sequence depicting the miracles of God in your own life, but I do encourage you to be more aware of how God is moving in your life. To become more aware, you need to be intentional with your relationship with God. Prayer. Daily Bible Reading. Journaling. Worship. Being part of a church community. These things will help you to be more aware of God’s presence in your life and they will help you to grow in Christ. When you become more aware of God moving in your life, suddenly life as you know it changes. You finally realize that you, yes you, are not alone. God is with you every step of the way, and He is fixing to do some mighty work in your life in you and through you. Embrace Him. He’s already embraced you.

“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!”  – John 14:15-17 [MSG]

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Forgotten Towels

A few days ago, I made a horrible mistake with my laundry. It was laundry day and my last load of laundry was the bath towels. When I put the towels into the dryer, I continued onward. We had dinner. We took the dog for a walk. I did the dishes. There was a moment when I considered checking on the towels, but I figured that it wasn’t a high priority. I’ve left the towels sit before and everything was fine.

Two days went by and I remembered that I had bath towels in the dryer. I opened the dryer and it hit me—I never turned the dryer on after I shut the door. The smell was horrible. The nice, clean towels that simply needed dried now needed to be rewashed. Everything that was done before now needed done again.

We are like those bath towels. After we accept Jesus, we are washed clean; however, we cannot just sit there after we are washed. We still have an issue with sin and a need for repentance. We still need to continue on our walk with Christ. If we don’t read and actively study the Bible—if we don’t participate in prayer daily—if we don’t continue to repent for our sins—if we don’t follow God’s will for our lives—if we don’t belong to a church community and serve—we are then wet towels sitting in the dryer. Today, continue on your walk with Christ—read, study, pray, repent, follow, belong, serve. Life isn’t lived standing still.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7 [NIV]

 

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