Each week I receive a devotional thought written by Max Lucado and I thought I would like to share some of his thoughts with you.
Have you ever wondered why we have so many stories in the Bible of people who feel their life has reached a hopeless situation and they are seeking help from outside themselves?
This coming weekend sees us hit the mid-year mark! Can you believe half of 2013 will be behind us? I’m hoping you are all keeping well physically and spiritually as we balance the many responsibilities we face in this hurry-up world we’re living in. I’ve been thinking about our Sunday Worship Services and the sermons our preaching team preach: Are they helping us in our busy lives to stay focused on what’s important and close to our Lord and Leader Jesus Christ? In other words: Are our services and sermons helpful?
Our current sermon series in AM Church is focusing on the life and ministry of the Old Testament character Elijah – the no-nonsense, uncultured, unsophisticated prophet of God who has the bedside manner of John Wayne! I like the man! So far we’ve been reminded through studying his life: (1) to stand up for right; (2) to stay the course – choose to ‘turn right’ when life’s challenges take you into a ‘T-intersection.’ Coming Sunday we see how absolutely true this fact is: God is boss! He is in charge and He is in control. My prayer is that from knowing more about Elijah, you and I will make the latter half of 2013 go better!
It feels too soon, but planning for Carols 2013 has begun! I find it a joy to be involved in organising the Carols services. As we plan for and prepare for this year’s Carols event, I am increasingly aware that I need people to come along side me (and Caroline) to get the ball rolling.
Last year I remember asking Madeleine Schoeman if she would be interested in helping with the decorations. I knew she was busy with Roux (her then four year old son who was in the middle of cancer treatment). Her immediate answer was “Yes I’d love to help again. I was hoping you would ask me”! I was so encouraged by her enthusiastic response; still I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be too much with her busy schedule. I still remember her reply, it was something along the lines of “I love decorating and I love having the opportunity to help in my church by doing it…”
As I was studying for our current PM sermon series through the book of Colossians recently (“Jesus + Nothing = Everything”), I re-discovered an earth-shattering, paradigm-shifting and life-changing truth. This little but powerful truth is so simple, yet it is also so easily forgotten. And because it is so easily forgotten I believe it is the reason that so many of us struggle to make sense of our walk with Jesus and the accompanying joys and responsibilities.
The truth I am talking about is simply this: as a redeemed Christ-follower you and I are no longer citizens of earth but we are right now citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20; Eph.2:9; Col. 3:3). Simple huh? But so profound and practical! Let me explain.
When you and I are born into this world we are naturally citizens of earth. We are born in sin as part of a race that has rebelled against its Creator (Psalm 51). Our sinful physical birth means that we are spiritually dead. This is why Jesus says to Nicodemus “you must be born again!” (John 3:3). Now I am quite certain that Jesus did not intend for Nicodemus to climb back into his mother but rather he meant ‘spiritual’ re-birth.