The Pursuit

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Happy New Year! It’s hard for me to believe that 2019 is here! It seems like yesterday when everyone was warning me that the computers would “explode” because of Y2K (do you remember this??). The coming of a new year brings us the opportunity to do a couple of things. First, we get to take a look back at the previous year and reflect on the blessings, struggles, and changes we went through. But with the coming of the new year there is a freshness and newness of the hope for a better year. One of the ways we look to get the new year off to a great start is to set a New Year’s Resolution—a decision we make to implement a new behavior or to pursue a new goal. I believe that setting New Year’s Resolutions is a good thing because we need something to shoot for and a goal to accomplish. The hope of the New Year is invigorating. 

There seem to be some “standard” resolutions that people tend to pursue—lose weight, get out of debt, read a book a month, get in better shape, etc. We pursue these resolutions by buying a gym membership or attending a financial seminar. When we start, we are so resolved to make these changes that we are consumed with them. 

While these resolutions are good, I do notice that they all have one thing in common—they are temporary goals. We can get into the best shape of our lives, but that will end. We can get into amazing financial shape, but as the Scriptures tell us, we can’t take it with us. Is there a resolution that will pay off with eternal benefits? Yes, there is! 

As we begin the New Year as a church family, we’re going to talk about what it looks like to pursue God. For many of us, this subject is one that raises some questions because we might not have considered this before. Are we supposed to pursue God? The answer to this is a resounding YES! In fact, Paul expresses this heart passionately in Philippians 3:10-11 where he says, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” When Paul says he wants to know Jesus, this isn’t merely an understanding of facts, rather an all-encompassing experience of communion with our Savior. Paul desired Jesus so much that this was his daily pursuit. I long for each and every one of you to have the same passion and desire to be with Jesus that nothing else can ever begin to rival our pursuit of Him. 

We are going to have 2 opportunities to learn what it means to pursue God. First, we are going to spend the message times in our morning services in January discussing “The Pursuit”. We’re going to speak on what pursuing God looks like and give some steps on how to do it so that you can take those and put them into practice. Second, I’m going to be leading a Sunday evening study on “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer. This will be a 10-week study that will take us even deeper into what pursuing God looks like. 

Friends, God pursues us and desires us to pursue Him. Like any other resolution, do you want this? What are you willing to do to see this happen? If you set your heart out to grow in your pursuit of God, I guarantee it will transform your life in such a positive way. I pray that you will choose to immerse yourself in life’s grandest pursuit—seeking the True Lover of your soul.  

Resolved

Happy New Year! The coming of a new year always brings hope. For some, it brings the continued hope of things going incredibly well. For others, the ringing in of a new year is a chance to start fresh. There are still others who have had particularly difficult years filled with suffering and grief and are reaching for the hope of better times. Regardless of your reasons, I’d imagine that a spirit of hopefulness is upon you. 

But let me now ask you to examine yourselves a little more specifically. What are you hopeful for? Some would address this question by asking themselves what are they resolved to do? Many set new year resolutions to either get in shape or lose weight or spend more time with family. What’s yours? 

As I’ve been praying over what to say and even how to approach the new year, there’s been a common phrase scrolling through my mind that I believe is worthwhile to share. The answer that God is giving to me is to be resolved to know Him better. What an interesting concept. I thought that I knew God well and that our times were rich and deep, and yet I’m sensing His desire for me to know Him even more. After the initial shock wore off, I’ve come to realize that even though things are going pretty well in our relationship, there’s so much more that God longs to reveal and do in me. 

Let me challenge you to make this your resolution as well. Do you want to know Him better? It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been walking with Him, He simply desires for us to know Him more. Let this trump any other resolution that you have. May God bless your new year as you walk with Him. 

Where We Go Wrong

Some of the most powerful teaching tools, especially when it comes to teaching who God is and what He is like, are children’s songs.  I am blessed to have been raised by parents who introduced me to Jesus and gave instruction and opportunities to know Him more and more.  Because of this, I had the chance to participate in Children’s Church in the church that I grew up in. 

We sang songs, played some games, did a lesson, memorized a verse of Scripture each week, and had a chance to be with our friends each week as we learned more about Jesus.  It was here that I learned just how great and big God is—He could hear everyone around the world at the same time, see what people were doing and thinking and feeling all at the same time.  We sang songs like “My God is So Big” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  As a child, I had no doubt in my mind of the power, size, and strength of our great God.

Let’s fast forward 30 years for me (for some of you it might be longer).  I must admit that when I’m confronted with life’s problems—financial issues, relationship stresses, the global climate of increased terror and hatred, and total uncertainty for the future—there are sometimes when worry and fear creep in and I wonder if God is capable of handling these issues.

Let’s stop for a moment.  How did we get here?  How do we go from children who have such a huge and accurate view of God where everything will be and is okay because God is big and in control to a place where we wonder if God can deal with my financial worries? 

I believe the problem that brings us to this point is that we forget who God really is and what He’s like.  A.W. Tozer reminds us of the ultimate solution in his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy” as he writes this paragraph:

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worth of Him—and of her.  In all her prayers and labors this should have first place.  We do the greatest service to the next generation of Christians by passing on to them undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God which we received from our Hebrew and Christian fathers of generations past.  This will prove of greater value to them than anything that art or science can devise.  (p. 4)

Friends, let us return to the childlike view of God—He is awesome, big, perfect, stronger than anything that has ever been or will be, has everything in control.  Remind yourself of who He is when you face fear, uncertainty, or simply when the world falls apart because our checkbooks read “zero” at the end of the month. 

Our God is so much greater than all of that.  Remember this simple, yet foundational point as you live for Christ in 2016!

A Quick Thought

Originally Posted December 29, 2014 By Pastor Adam

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over.  We’ve been discussing the Advent season and Christmas ministries among our office staff since September!  I know that I was so blessed by the ministries and services this year, and I’ve heard from many others that the same could be said of them as well.  God really showed up in a big way in the lives of our church, and I pray that He will continue to do so in the lives of the everyone who’s checking out this blog today and for those who are really, honestly, and passionately seeking the Lord Jesus on a daily basis.

Since we put so much time and effort into the Christmas ministries, as a pastor I need a break.  I packed up my car on Christmas day and headed out for some much-needed R&R.  My family and I have been having a wonderful time of just having some fun with each other.  I always bring a book for the down time that I have and pray that the Lord would renew my spirit and allow me to rest.  I would not normally post to my blog while on vacation, but there was such a great lesson that came to me yesterday that I had to take some time to remind us all about it, especially as we look with anticipation for the coming of 2015.

I chose the book “The Fourfold Gospel” by A.B. Simpson to read this week.  If you’re not familiar with this book, A.B. Simpson was the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the denomination that I pastor in (check outwww.cmalliance.org for more information on who we are and what we do and how to get involved).  This book outlines something that he called the Fourfold Gospel–that we see Jesus as our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.  Because of my background with The Alliance, these terms are not new to me.  But, in the middle of the section on Christ as Savior, a very simple yet profound thought came to me.  I realized how often we as human beings attempt to forge past the basics and feast on the deep truths, and yet forget that the basics are the deepest of truths.  As I was reading through the pages, there weren’t any new great truths revealed, no greater and deeper instruction into theological principles, just an unwavering commitment to fully understand the basics of my own salvation, which led me to a very wonderful time of praise.

Everyone, we live in a world that it constantly tempted to press on for that which is new, when we might in fact find the new in what we would consider the very basics.  As we go through 2015, my prayer for you and for me is that we would settle down and listen to God as He continues to minister to us these very basics that, to be quite frank, many of us still struggle to understand.  Oh what a blessing awaits when we fully grasp who Christ is in our lives.  May God richly bless you in this upcoming year!