Monday, July 4, 2011

What We Need for the Journey

What we will need for the JOURNEY?
As with any journey - you have to determine what will be needed to complete the journey and deal with the unexpected along the way.
I will share with you the convictions that I have held fast to in my journey. 

God is good and can be trusted with me and my life, but:
James 1:2-4, 12
 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
What is the joy when you encounter various trials?

The joy isn’t the trial - it is the opportunity the trial provides us to grow our faith.
Faith - Choosing to believe that what God has said to us in His word is true - even when everything around us tells us differently. TRUST!
Testing - not a pass or fail - but an opportunity to exercise our faith.  Faith is like a muscle and the more we use it - the more we can do, and the more we can endure as we follow Him on this journey. 
Result - endurance - the ability to stay faithful to what we know is true no matter what circumstances we 
That you may be perfect and complete - lacking in nothing. This isn’t so much about me - but the object of my faith - JESUS. As I trust Him, I am perfect and complete in HIM!
If this is not a firm conviction, then every trial that I encounter in life becomes a test of God’s goodness, rather than what it is - an opportunity to live by faith in Christ. This firm conviction
keeps me dependent on Him rather than myself. Otherwise I will start trying to run my own life and I do not have the ability to do that. I will quit and give up on the journey, and then I will miss the joy of having persevered and endured and stand at the end of all things knowing I finished well and held steadfast in my faith.
My trust of God will allow me to face life’s trials and walk in the faith that He allows all things for my ultimate benefit and good, and is growing me into completeness in Christ. 

What I do, I do for love of Christ, not the applause or the adoration of men.

There are many things that I have done both inside and outside of my family called Open Door Fellowship Church to serve and protect this body and to spread the good news of Jesus. Most people would never know. That is true of every one of the elders and the Pastors of ODF an many other churches. I could allow myself to be hurt by the lack of recognition, and at times I have found myself indulging the thoughts that no one knows and no one cares, so why do I keep doing this when no one even sees?
THE TRUTH - I am continually aware that someone does see. The only one that matters sees it all and He knows everything. I have to keep in front of me that it is for love of Christ that I do the things I do and out of that love I also choose to love the people I am a shepherd of. His love of me and my love of Him is what drives me, and empowers me and allows me to do it again, and again.
I know that one day I will, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, appear before Jesus and in that moment everything will become clear. In that moment Jesus will look into my eyes and after a pause for me to catch my breath He will say “I know. I know everything. I saw everything. I know what you did for me and what it cost you that no one else will ever know. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
This conviction is what allows me to stay in the battle and remain faithful to the things that are set before me. Without that, I just get burnt out and cynical and live out of hurt and disappointment, rather than knowing that I stand shoulder to shoulder with Jesus as He sustains me. I also know that my fellow elders and close friends stand with me in all of this and I am not alone. It is critical that you develop this conviction and that you have those around you who hold the same conviction to the same degree. You will need to draw from it often on this journey.

I am a servant first and everything else comes after that.
I serve the risen Christ.
Mark 10:42-45
 42 And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.
 43 “But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;
 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.
 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
I have always seen myself as a servant first and a leader second. 
I have always believed that a leader must be a servant first because that is what Jesus modeled for us and He commanded that we love one another as He has loved us. It is the model Jesus gave us and we can do no less if we follow Him. A servant sees others as more important than himself and in living that way they gain the trust and loyalty of those they lead.
When I see others as more important than myself, I am demonstrating the most authentic evidence that Christ is changing me and that I am becoming more like Him, which is the ultimate goal - Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,....
MOST IMPORTANTLY- the currency of this new Kingdom is LOVE. It is all there is that has any value in God’s kingdom. Because of LOVE Jesus laid aside His place in glory to come and display His Father’s LOVE to men who would deny him and kill Him. But He did it because LOVE could do no less and it was the only way that those who God had in mind from eternity could ever be saved and set free.
In His kingdom, of which I am now a citizen by birth, nothing is valued more than LOVE and nothing else can bring about the change from brokenness to completeness in Christ Jesus.
What ever we do in serving Jesus, if it is not done from LOVE it is of no value to Christ and His kingdom. His desire is to draw all men to Himself. It begins with His LOVE for us, which was why He came and suffered and died and then rose on the third day, Ro 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
It is carried on when, because Christ lives in me,  I choose to LOVE out of the knowledge that I am loved by the only one that matters.
John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
He didn’t say “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love me”. They will know by how we love each other, and those around us who don’t know the God of LOVE, who sent His own Son as a demonstration of His infinite LOVE.
It isn’t just fellow believers, it includes the broken, the lost, the disenfranchised and the outcasts of this fallen world. That is what Jesus did, and what He has called us to do.
So, Jesus still extends the invitation - “Come follow Me”, to everyone of us. 
What will you do now that He has called you and me?
It will be the greatest and most demanding journey you will ever go on. It will cost you everything and in return you get eternity and all the riches of God’s Heaven and the chance to gaze upon His face forever, surrounded by all those who went before and now wait for our arrival home, and I long to hear the words - “well done my good and faithful servant”.
We have not arrived simply because we know and understand God’s grace and His love personally. We have not arrived at the finish line and we won’t on this planet. To act as though we have is to miss the journey and the great adventure and is to settle for less than what Jesus called us to do. The final goal, the finish line is Heaven and that is where my heart is drawn and why I run and endure all of the brokenness of this world. That is the adventure I wanted and nothing less, and it continues once I am in His kingdom. My eyes are fixed on Jesus! All I have come to understand and experience in an environment of grace and my identity in Christ is so that I can know Jesus authentically and intimately, and trust and follow Him and depend on Him on my journey, here and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. My eyes are fixed on Jesus! All I have come to understand and experience in an environment of grace and my identity in Christ is so that I can know Jesus authentically and intimately, and trust and follow Him and depend on Him on my journey, here and beyond - AMEN!!!