Do You Know WWJD?

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Every generation has some sort of fad (or even multiple fads) that are expressed in the social culture. The 70s had bell bottoms. The 50s saw the beginning of the mobile culture and now drive ins and juke boxes were prevalent. When I was in high school in the 90s, there was another fad that was popular—WWJD. If you’re not familiar, WWJD is an acronym for “what would Jesus do.” People would have bracelets, pencils, T-shirts, and anything else that could be stamped with this incredible message. The whole premise would be to look at those letters and stop and think whether the behavior that you’re about to do would be something that Jesus would do.

This really is a good fad, and to be honest, one that the church of today needs as a guiding force in our walk with Jesus. But there was an issue back then as well as today. While people longed to act and think like Jesus, they didn’t understand how Jesus would act or think! They were simply taking best guesses instead of acting in a full knowledge of how Scripture shows us we are to act if we’re going to be like Jesus. 

Because of this, we are going to begin a new message series entitled “Knowing Jesus”. We’re going to look at the 4 books of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and see different stories of Jesus’ interactions with people, lessons taught, and situations encountered so that we can see how Jesus really did life and how we can model our lives after His. While I know we’ll never be perfect, may the beginning of 2018 be a time where we simply know Jesus better, so we can better follow Him. 

Have a very happy and blessed New Year! 

 

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. 

Connect with Christ

“Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?”  This question has been asked of me before and I’ve also posed it to others.  I’ve heard many interesting answers, such as “God’s instructions to us so that we can live,” or “God’s plan for the redemption of mankind from their sins.”  These are some of the better answers that I’ve been given—some weren’t thought out very well, so I won’t share those.  I want to give you an opportunity to answer this question before you continue to read this article.  Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?

So what was your answer?  When I answer this question, I see the Bible revealing the heart of God to connect with His people.  When we start in Genesis, we notice that God created Adam and Eve in order to have a relationship with them.  Even after the fall, God continues to give people opportunities to connect with Him, and even paying the price Himself for this connection to take place.  God longs to connect with you!

We spent time in the month of June dealing with the steps that are necessary to take in order to accomplish our vision of “Living for God: Loving His People.”  We need to understand that our greatest purpose as a church is to make sure that people connect with Jesus.  While this is a simple phrase, we need to understand what this looks like, and how we plan to connect people with Jesus.

First of all, we connect people with Jesus through the message of the gospel.  A.B. Simpson, the founder of The Alliance, spent incredible amounts of time reaching for the disenfranchised and outcasts of society on the boat docks of New York City.  We need to be a people who are doing the same things. 

We are working with our ministries to develop strategies to equip people to talk about Jesus.  We also realize that connecting people with the message involves getting the message to the masses.  We do this through personal relationships (talking about Jesus with your friend or coworker).  We also use the benefits of technology to share the truth of Christ with our community, and even the world!

We also connect with Jesus through our worship services.  We are working hard to make sure that the music, Scripture passages, preaching, technology, and other creative outlets are leading people into the presence of our Lord Jesus and helping them connect with the Savior!

Jesus longs for a deep relationship with the people He created.  Some know Him, some do not.  My friends, we need to be in the business of seeing people connect with Jesus in deep, meaningful ways.    

Silence

From the March 2015 Newsletter 

 It is a rare occurrence when I get to have some quiet time alone in the morning, especially as a father of two young children. It seems that everywhere we go in life, there is always noise—an IPhone ding informing of a text or an email message, phones ringing, people looking for something, a coworker sharing about their day or how their family is doing, music blasting, televisions imploring us to buy the newest gadget or car that has just arrived off of the market. We are bombarded by this noise on a daily basis. But as I woke up today, there was this eerie sound that I never hear—the sound of silence. My family was still sleeping. No phone dings or television on. Simple silence. 

We must pause this narrative here and examine what was now going on in my mind. I had a choice of what to do. First of all (and what is really an all too common solution to the condition of silence), I could have turned on the television and radio and totally rocked the house out as I made my breakfast. I can imagine that this is what happens in most houses in the morning, it is usually at mine! Or I could choose the other route; one that is followed much less frequently, but still worth the journey. I could embrace the silence. Today, silence was my choice. 

While silence can be a scary time for most people in today’s world, I want to point us to the great benefit of silence. The Old Testament book of 1 Kings talks to us about a man named Elijah. He was someone who did some great things in the power of God, but one day he was feeling incredibly depressed and wanted to talk with God. So God decided that He would show Himself to Elijah. But when God finally revealed Himself, it was in a gentle whisper, or in our vernacular, silence. It is in the silence when we best hear God and are able to spend this intimate time with Him. 

We are approaching the Easter season, and during the month of March, we will be taking a look at Jesus’ journey to the cross—who He met and the lessons that He wants us to learn. But in the midst of these lessons, it is important for us to remember—Jesus took time to be with His Father in the silence of the day. It is my encouragement to each of you that you will follow Jesus and be determined to spend time in the silence of the day. I can guarantee that you will find it rewarding and exhilarating as we come to know God more and more each and every day.