April 2010


Everyone is committed to something. Even if your goal was to commit to nothing, you have a commitment to that end. Society today likes to point out the lack of commitment by the newer generations. They may point to people waiting longer to marry or the rise of divorce. I don’t know that we have a commitment problem.  We have a problem in that we too easily commit to that which can never sustain or uphold us.

Our sins of selfishness and pride lead to an unbridled commitment to self and preservation of our happiness. If the weight of our commitment is to self then we will center our lives on self and make decisions accordingly. A commitment to self will cause us to pursue anything that feeds our glorification of self and to destroy anything that dares compete with that pursuit. Friendship will be pursued with a commitment to building self and once that friendship stops serving the purpose of building our own ego we will unfriend them.

Just as there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, we can have no true commitment apart from Him either. Nothing in this world can make us clean. Nothing can reconcile us to God, but Christ. Therefore a commitment to anything not held by a commitment to Christ is in jeopardy. When we are saved Christ calls us to a commitment to Him alone. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are bought with a price and to glorify God with our body. In the same way once we are saved we are called to filter all commitment through the lens of our commitment to Christ or rather His commitment to us.

In Genesis 15 God cuts a covenant with Abram. Animals are slaughtered and God promises Abram blessings. God himself comes down and walks between the slaughtered animals symbolizing that God be slaughtered if He fails to uphold His covenant to him. Fast forward to the new testament and we see the new covenant of Christ whose body is broken and blood is spilt for our sins. Christ became the perfect sacrifice, becoming sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God.

Our commitment is built and molded in the commitment of our God to provide a way of reconciliation. The way of reconciliation was the sacrifice of the Son. He committed His life to us and we are in turn to commit ours to Him.

We do not fear commitment because we have a faithful God who began a good work in us and will bring it to completion.  Evaluate your life today and ask yourself where your commitment is. Find out where you are committed to self and ask God to destroy those commitments to self and give you an undying commitment to Him alone. Ask God today to reengineer your life in such a way that you are committed to Him and what He calls you to commit to. Our God is a covenant God and He has called us to be a covenant people.

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I found this video on Michael Hyatt’s blog. It’s a story about a man born with disabilities who does not see them as disabilities and his father’s care. My words fail to adequately describe the story.  Trust me and watch it. 

Failure is probably one of the great fears of people.  We fear not measuring up.  We fear trying with all of our strength and it not be enough.  The fear of failure can cause us to do many things like running from responsibility, overcompensating with our strengths, or a sheer reliance on self. 

In Romans 3:23 Paul shatters our understanding of human achievement.  He writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  All human beings are failures. I don’t say this to depress you but so that we can think rightly about failure. All of us are born sinful and cannot live up to God’s standard. We will all try and fail. We will all seek to glorify self over God. 

I think it’s helpful for us to think of failure in the overall context of our lives and what the gospel says about us.  In Romans 3:24 Paul further explains the good news of our failures that we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” We have all fallen short. Our sin leads to death. But we are justified not by the works of our hands or the efforts of our hearts.  We are justified by grace, the unmerited favor of God. We are justified by grace through the redemption that is in Christ, that He died for our sins.  Or as 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains that Jesus who knew no sin, became sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. The good news about our failure is that we have an Almighty God that accomplished the impossible through the Son who was the perfect sacrifice.

So how should the gospel demolish our fear of failure? First recognizing we are all failures should cause us to stop comparing ourselves to one another. In the gospel none of us are better than another. The question is not how we measure up to other people. The question is whether we measure up to God’s standard. None of us measure up to God’s standard. The gospel levels that playing field so that we no longer strive to impress one another or prove ourselves base on our own merit.

The gospel also demolishes our fear of failure because it redirects our hope from the accolades and recognition of man to redemption in Christ. We will never be perfect in the eyes of man. Our perfection is in the hands of God and will not happen this side of heaven. We must then ask if our acknowledgement of our propensity to fail should lead to apathy or indifference?

No we should not be indifferent to failures. If we hope in God we recognize our inability and His infinite ability. Our hearts should turn from performing to fear of God and obedience. Grace should lead us to worship and glorify the Lord.  Paul further encourages us in Philippians 1:6 by proclaiming that, “He who began a good work will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Christ does not fail and what He started in our salvation will be completed.  The gospel says that apart from Him we are all failures, but in Him we are not failures.

Single guys, have you ever wondered when you will know if she is the right one? Are you hoping God will send you a sign? Afraid the moment you commit you might find somebody you like more?

Read the article “Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend” from the website www.boundless.org. Boundless is a website that is for Christian singles. Guys, I hope it helps you have a better grasp on biblical principles in dating.  Ladies, I challenge you to read it as well and look for a guy that walks like this. Here is a quick sample:

One of the myths out there is that if you just spend enough time searching, if you can just gather enough information, you’ll find a woman with whom marriage will be “easy.” The fact is, such a woman doesn’t exist, and if she did, she likely wouldn’t marry you. And that means that you don’t need as much information as you think you do.

Last Monday night the men’s bible study started a new series on Fear. We used the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm as a launching point for our discussion. In Mark 4 we read the story of the disciples and Christ traveling by boat when a great storm overtook them. It says Jesus was sleeping on a cushion, the disciples were afraid, and they woke Jesus up.  Jesus promptly orders it to stop and the sea becomes like glass. At this point the disciples became fearful again asking who was Jesus that the wind and waves obeyed Him.

There is healthy fear and unhealthy fear in our lives. It is healthy to fear God. It is unhealthy to fear created things over God. Many things cause us to fear. Every human being is different. We all have the capacity to treat created things as God and to fear them. It could be that our lack of trust in the Lord leads us to fear things like failure, rejection, or the future. 

Here are some questions to think about as we go through this series: What different things cause fear?, How willing are we to admit our fears?, Are there things that are socially acceptable to be afraid of?, How do humans react when they are fearful?, How do our fears affect our daily lives?, Does your fear have spiritual ties and does it rob you from experiencing the fullness of God?

We will be talking about fear for the next month or month and a half on Monday nights. If you are a guy stop by and see us. You can also follow the teaching here on the blog.

Scripture calls us to remember. In the Old Testament we are commanded to remember the sabbath day.  In celebration of the Lord’s Supper we are called to remember the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:8 to “remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.” Easter is explicity about remembering the death, burial and resurrection of God. 

I think it is easy for us to become desensitized around Easter because it comes every year.  Our sin hardens our hearts and causes us to forget even more frequently.  Sin is rebellion against God, the very essence of not trusting Him. 

That’s why we are called to remember the gospel. Daily. We need the gospel everyday. Not just the day He saved us. Everyday.  Why? Because I sin everyday. Everyday I rebel against God forgetting His goodness.

In the morning when I wake I should remember that the gospel causes me to see the world differently and places me on mission everywhere I go. At night before I sleep the gospel should remind me that I failed, I was not perfect, but Christ died once for all as a perfect sacrifice for my sins. Before I eat a meal, I must remember that food is not mine by the works of my hands, but it is a gracious gift of God. 

Daily I need to remember that I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live now in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. My hope is we remember and celebrate well the resurrection on Sunday. My prayer is that on Monday morning we remember Christ crucified and risen. My prayer is that on Monday at the slightest sign that we are in rebellion that we would preach the gospel to ourselves. Let us remember what He has done for us.