Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ephesians 1

Apparently my body doesn't realize that I am 18 years old and not 5 because I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve. So I'm up this morning at 6am reading the word. Ah again I'm amazed at how GOOD our Lord is. I was flipping through my Bible wondering if I should read the Christmas story from the gospels, but I decided to pick up where my bookmark was.. the beginning of Ephesians. And how perfect this passage is. Read it with fresh eyes this Christmas. Have a merry merry day celebrating the birth of our Savior!!

Ephesians 1:3-23

       3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
       11 In him we are also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory.
       15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believed. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated at his right hand in the heavenly realm, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Because our church is so large, we have nine different Christmas Eve services. So, I've been working in the nursery at each one, plus all the services on Sundays, taking care of all the kids! I absolutely love it! Anyways, because I've been working the nursery so much I had to watch one of the services online.. Last Sunday our pastor said this:

I call it cultural christianity and I think the problem with cultural christianity is we think there's two different kinds of life. A spiritual life and a normal life and the day you make both of those life is the day you're going to experience peace.

And how true is that? We think there is church and we think there is the rest of our lives. He says all the time that he wants us to be a church that lives the same way Monday thru Saturday that we do on Sunday. We don't need to put on a show at church. Church is the place where we should be the most real. The most transparent. Because it's where we can get help. It's silly to me that we act one way at church and another everywhere else. I've started asking myself.. If I was in front of people I know at church right now would I be doing this/acting this way? It'll convict you FAST about how you live your life. I saw this quote once:

If you ask most people what Christians believe, they can tell you, "Christians believe that Jesus is God's Son and that Jesus rose from the dead." But if you ask the average person how Christians live, they are struck silent. We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way." -Shane Claiborne

So question.. Are we living a life that people can tell you are in love with our Savior Jesus Christ. Or do we look just like everyone else? Can someone tell by your actions and your words that you are a follower of Him.. notice I didn't say believe in Him, even Satan believes. That you are a FOLLOWER of Him. My Savior became flesh and died for ME. And with everything in me I want to serve and honor Him with my life, granted I'm going to mess up. So it's Christmas Eve.. and let's remind ourselves of the meaning of why we celebrate. Let's praise and honor Him. Let's remember why we are thankful for Him and our salvation. He deserves all the glory. And after Christmas... Let's keep it going. I mean who doesn't like to be praised and adored constantly? Well God does too. Merry Christmas Eve!!

"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'" Luke 1:30-33

Sunday, December 12, 2010

where is your heart

It's Christmas break. And what better to spend a 35 day break from school resting, spending time with friends and family, and seeking the Lord. I brought about five books home with me from school and will hopefully get through them all. I'm starting with Radical by David Platt, the pastor at Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham. It has been incredible so far (I'm only on page 72). I can't even begin to recap the first couple chapters but it has challenged me to think about my faith and the glory and power of the Lord. As I was reading I was reminded of a passage from the book Crazy Love I read this past summer. Francis Chan is actually quoting John Piper's book God Is the Gospel when he shares this:

"The critical question for our generation--and for every generation--is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasure you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"

Challenging huh? Is our love for Christ alone.. or for what He can give us. Are our motives selfish? Or selfless for His kingdom? I remember the first time I read this I was thinking.. Wow, that'd be great. No disease, no trouble, just perfection. But what if God wasn't there. As I'm typing this now I see the faithfulness of the Lord. I see how he has deepened my love for Him. I long for the day I can sit at His feet. The day I can just be with Him and worship Him. I love the song by Kari Jobe "The More I Seek You". One of the lines says this: "I want to sit at Your feet. Drink from the cup in Your hand. Lay back against You and breathe. Feel Your heart beat". Those verses have become so real to me. I long for that day. So, reading more of Radical I came across this passage..

"If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of "The message of Christianity is that God loves me." Or someone might say, "The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.

As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn't it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? "God loves me" is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if "God loves me" is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?

God loves me.
Christianity's object is me.

Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family. When I make plans for my life and career, it is about what works best for me and my family. When I consider the house I will live in, the car I will drive, the clothes I will wear, the way I live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.

But it is not biblical Christianity. 

The message of biblical Christianity is not "God loves me, period," as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is "God loves me so that I might make him--his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness--known among all nations." Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is."

Once again, is our devotion to the Lord all selfish? I know so many areas of my life that I am selfish. That I'm definitely not thinking about others, just myself. So what about my relationship with the Lord? Do I love Him for who He is or for what He can do for me? My prayer is that now and forever my faith will be fully developed on my deep love for the Lord. Because He is good and more than enough for me.