The Quest – Day 38

This is the devotional for Thursday, November 2, 2006 which is the 38th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 38 of Frank Moore’s life-changing book, The Power To Be Free. 

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 38 – Growing in the Spirit of Christ

 

The Spirit of Christ wants to grow a Christlike character in you.

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”   (Colossians 1:9 NIV) 

Character growth doesn’t happen while you sleep or watch television.  God expects you to roll up your sleeves and do your part to exercise, grow and mature.  You and I cannot build a foundation on feeling and emotion.  Growth in wisdom, understanding and good works lead to growth in our knowledge of God as well as growth in Christlike character.

On Days 34 and 35 we reviewed the characteristics of Jesus’ life that offer goals for us to develop Christlike character.  We can’t develop these qualities on our own.  God works in our hearts to create these qualities in us.  God accomplishes decisive, character-building work in us only after we consecrate ourselves totally to Him.  After we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, He fills us with the Spirit of Christ.  We then enter a clear path to a lifetime of growth and development in Christlike character.  So take a moment to review the strategies for growth we mentioned on Day 3

In Ephesians 4 Paul shows us that God’s plan is to enrich our lives personally as well as to enrich the community of faith.  We grow as we minister to one another and the community of faith grows as well.  Christ works like glue holding believers together to form His Body on earth.  The purpose of this plan is to bring us to a common belief, a common Savior, and a common model for our spiritual maturity.  God doesn’t want you to be a spiritual baby, an infant who will never grow out of the “baby stage.”

Right standing with God does not exempt us from the need for further spiritual growth.  We must balance our thinking between satisfaction in what Christ accomplished for us on the Cross and a hunger to press on to a deeper walk with God. 

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

For more information on both the FaithBuilders podcast and the Faith Church podcast visit www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

Build your faith today by pressing on toward maturity.

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The Quest – Day 28

This is the devotional for Monday, October 23, 2006 which is the 28th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 28 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 28 – It’s In The Bank

God has provided all you need for victorious Christian living.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV)

One of Professor Frank Moore’s students requested prayer for her brother who had moved out of the family’s expensive home and was sleeping on city streets and eating from garbage cans. The young man’s father had placed a large sum of money in a bank on the street where his son slept. He gave his son a checkbook with the words, “If you ever need money, all you have to do is walk into the bank and write a check.”

From what Paul says in our Bible text for today, God has done for us something like what this father did for his son. God prompts a longing in our hearts to find power for our lives and then provides a way for us to access that power. This power comes through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ.

When Paul speaks of our inner being, he is thinking of the place of our personality, our spirituality, of the seat of our praise, worship and gratitude, the source of our willpower, emotions, attitudes and conscience. The Spirit of Christ must flavor everything that springs from our inner being.

How do we get this power for the life we long for? Paul says it comes by our faith in God and His indwelling love. Only God’s love working within us gives us the solid foundation we need to complete our spiritual journey with victory. This power is not just for a select few; it is for all of God’s saints—including you! God and His love can dwell completely in you, a love that you can understand in your heart, but cannot adequately put into words. This power fills us with God Himself!

God’s power comes your way though relationship with the Spirit of Christ. Seek Him rather than power as the focus of your quest. God’s power comes as a by-product of your relationship with Him.

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net.

Build your faith today by receiving the Spirit of Christ and His indwelling love by faith.

The Quest – Day 16

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 11, 2006 which is the 16th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 16 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 2 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 16 – Imitators of God

Imitate God.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that one of his favorite memories of his son’s childhood occurred during the summer of his third year. There Brent was about three paces behind him pushing his toy mower, imitating every move he made. Like it or not, our kids imitate what they see us do.

That’s the concept Paul had in mind when he admonished us in the Scripture verse above to imitate God. In the verse just prior to it, he explains what he wants us to do, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” (4:32). Both verses tell us to love as Christ did. We follow His example and show others the same kindness and compassion we have received from Him.

What force drives this love? God’s love flows through us. This love originates in God (see. Romans 5:5). We simply receive it and pass it on to our hurting world. This means that whenever we see something else taking center stage in our lives, we quickly set it aside and restore God to first place. This enables us to reach out to others with the same love with which God reached out to you.

So often when Christians read in the Bible that they must love God and others, they assume they must generate large quantities of this love by themselves. So like the car rental employee, they try harder. Then they become frustrated, because they cannot love God’s way by themselves. The love you’re called to display requires nothing more than receiving God’s love and letting it flow through you to others. You simply imitate God.

The memory verse for this week is Mark 12:30-31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Thank you for reading the FaithBuilders devotional. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by imitating God.

The Quest – Day 5

This is the devotional for Saturday, September 30, 2006 which is the 5th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 5 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 5 – The Rest of the Story

The answer to our question is found in the Spirit of Christ.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NIV)

Yesterday you got a glimpse into the way Jesus’ disciples felt as they tried to come to terms with the sharp disconnect between their promise and resolve to follow Jesus in Mark 14:31 and their actions later in that same chapter. Mark 14:50 says, “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” Sounds like all-out, full-blown desertion to me. How on earth could the pendulum of the disciples’ lives swing so quickly from total commitment to total desertion?

Did the disciples’ failure surprise Jesus? No, He predicted it right down to the smallest detail (vv. 27-30). Jesus talked to His disciples about the need for something more in their spiritual walks long before they even knew they needed it. Jesus answered a question the disciples hadn’t yet asked. It’s the same question we’re seeking to answer in this Quest: How can I live the life I’ve longed for?

In Acts 1, Luke tells us the rest of the story. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (v. 8 ). Again, He answered a question they had not yet asked, “How do I live the Christian life after Jesus returns to His Father?”

Thankfully they obeyed Jesus. They gathered back in the Upper Room where they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus 40 days earlier. They joined together in prayer. It was a unifying experience. They prayed through each day and into the evening for more than a week.

And something dramatic happened. On the 10th day of their prayer meeting, the heavens broke open and the promised Spirit filled them (Acts 2:1-4). The sights and sounds of Pentecost signaled the presence and power of God. A sound like a great wind was heard, symbolizing power. Flames of fire descended upon each participant, symbolizing purity of heart. They all began proclaiming the gospel message in languages they had never learned. They hit the streets and told thousands of Jerusalem visitors about Jesus Christ. This symbolized the need to take the new gospel message to the ends of the earth, to every language group.

Everything Jesus told us during His ministry about the Spirit and everything we see happening in the Early Church following Acts 2 shows us the secret of spiritual growth, how to overcome spiritual hindrances, and how to live a victorious Christian life. You will learn more about this exciting message as you continue your quest through these days of discovery.

Our memory verse for the week reminds us that every discovery we make on this quest comes by way of God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

The Quest – Day 4

This is the devotional for Friday, September 29, 2006 which is the 4th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 4 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 4 – Trouble in River City

We need more than resolve and determination to live the Christian life.

But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.” (Mark 14:31 NIV)

The usual pattern of growth for new believers follows a similar path. New life in Christ begins with excitement and enthusiasm as God welcomes a new child into His family. Regular church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian fellowship mark the trail of the new believer. Along the way, new believers typically come to a realization that is similar to that of newlyweds: a painful awareness that there is a problem in their relationship. They can’t always put a finger on it. They’re not even willing to call it a problem at first. But over a period of weeks or months, they come to terms with the emerging realization that there’s trouble in River City with their faith walk. They fear that if they do not get to the source of the problem and solve it, their very relationship with Christ could be threatened.

There are several possible sources for this problem:

1. Sometimes you may sense things changing in your spiritual walk as it settles from the new and novel to a life pattern. That’s natural.

2. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you go through the normal highs and lows of human life. Remember, everything on earth goes through cycles. The cycles in your spiritual walk do not necessarily signal a problem in your relationship with God.

3. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you grow in Christ. Such change signals a good thing as you move from Christian babe to seasoned saint.

4. Sometimes, however, you may sense a change in your spiritual walk that indicated a spiritual problem at a deeper level. Let’s try to diagnosis this problem with a series of questions:

* Do you hunger to return to your old sinful lifestyle and circle of friends?
* Is your love for God, His family, or spiritual things waning?
* Are you slipping in your spiritual disciplines?

If these are not the problem, then you may have the same problem that Peter and Jesus’ other disciples had. They had promised to follow the Master right into the jaws of death. But although Peter may have insisted emphatically, his insistence wasn’t enough. He needed something more in order to maintain his commitment to Christ. But what? Tune in tomorrow for “The Rest of the Story.”

But first, let’s review our memory verse for this week, Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The Quest – Day 2

The Quest – 40 Days of Discovery – Day 2

This is the devotional for Wednesday, September 27, 2006, which is the 2nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 2 of Frank Moore’s book, The Power to Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 2 – X – You are Here

You must be a follower of Jesus Christ to make the quest.

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31, NIV)

Last week I went to a mall I had never been to before. Assignment one: get my bearings. Consequently, I immediately began to look for a lighted, color-coded map of the entire property. As soon as I found the map, I looked for a red X with the words, “You are here.” Once oriented by the red X, I knew exactly how to proceed.

That illustrates the purpose of this devotional—to orient you to an entry point for your quest. You see, in order to make the discoveries this adventure points you toward, you must, as the printed verse at the beginning of this devotional says, “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Only then can you have eternal life in His name. Only then can you proceed with your quest.

  1. Becoming a Christian begins with repentance. Matthew 4:17 tells us, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”
    1. Admit to yourself and God that you have done wrong in God’s sight
    2. Be truly sorry that you disobeyed God and broke His heart (not just sorry you got caught).
    3. Confess your sins to God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)
    4. Do an about-face like a Marine or soldier in military exercises. Turn your back on your sinful ways and quit them
  2. Becoming a Christian requires simply trusting God for saving faith. “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom 1:17)
    1. Throw away your confidence in trying to please God by any means other than simply trusting Christ
    2. Commit yourself voluntarily to the Christ portrayed in the New Testament
    3. Embrace Christ as God’s plan for your life and the only hope of your salvation.
  3. Becoming a Christian requires that God declares you “Pardoned.”
    1. You are justified in God’s sight when you trust in Christ as your personal Savior.
    2. Justification is both an act of God and a state in which you live as you continue to trust Christ on a daily basis
    3. God destroys your sinful record.
    4. God justifies you in a moment.
    5. God both forgives and forgets your sins.
  4. Becoming a Christian gives you new birth or regeneration.
    1. New birth happens the moment you repent and have faith in Christ
    2. New birth makes you a new creature. Paul describes believers as “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)
    3. New birth restores your relationship with God
    4. New birth is a miraculous gift from God
    5. New birth makes you a child of God as He adopts you into His family.
  5. Becoming a Christian brings God’s affirming voice that you are now His. Paul writes, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Rom 8:16)
    1. God’s voice assures you that your sins are forgiven.
    2. God prompts other believers to tell you that they see a difference in your life.
    3. God’s voice is a guarantee that He is serious about taking you to heaven when you die.

If you are not a believer, bow your head, confess your sins to God, and ask Christ Jesus into your heart as your Savior. Once you join the family of God, you will be ready to move on with this quest of discovery.

Join us during these 40 days and memorize one Scripture verse each week. This week’s memory verse is: Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)

The Quest – Day 1

The Quest – 40 Days of Discovery – Day 1

This is the devotional for Tuesday, September 26, 2006, which is the 1st day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 1 of Frank Moore’s book, The Power to Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Kickoff service for the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

Day 1 – The Quest

God hardwired you for a discovery quest.

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27, NIV)

The movie character Indiana Jones thrilled millions with his adventures across the Middle East in search of the lost ark of the covenant. Through long journeys and great dangers, he searched tirelessly for this ancient treasure. Indiana Jones personifies a man on a quest.

Millions of Christian believers have embarked on personal quests in recent years, each searching for the purpose of his or her life. They’ve gotten together in churches and homes across the land to read about and discover this purpose. Perhaps we’ve been a bit more organized in this quest for purpose in recent days, but the quest itself is not new. People have been looking for and discovering God’s purpose for their lives for as long as humanity has inhabited planet earth.

God promises that those who seek Him and reach out for Him will find Him! Paul says that it’s a very small step, then, from seeking God to finding Him. That’s the goal of this quest – a close personal relationship with God.

God has hardwired humans with searching spirits that resist rest until they find the way back to God. It’s like the homing instinct of migrating birds. God created us with a longing to seek Him. But once we seek and find Him, does the quest end? No way! It’s only the beginning!

God built us for discovery and adventure. Consequently, here we are – ready to begin a new chapter in our quest of discovery for a deeper walk with God. To know Him better, to understand Him more fully, to find the source of power that energizes us to live out God’s purpose in our lives – that consumes us. The discoveries you will make on this quest will change your life forever. They will connect you to a reality that reaches beyond this world and defies description.

I really don’t know how to describe what you’ll discover. But, I guarantee—God will amaze you!

Join us during these 40 days and memorize one Scripture verse each week. This week’s memory verse is: Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)

The Quest is Coming

“The Quest” Kickoff Week

My Dear Friends,

I believe that God has a purpose for our lives. In Philippians 2:13 the Bible tells us that God is at work in our lives “to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

It is clear that God has a plan and purpose for us. The question with which many of us wrestle is this: How on earth can I live a life of purpose? Good question!

Beginning next Tuesday, September 26th, we will be on our Quest to find the answer to that question. So let’s roll up our sleeves and set our minds to the task. If you begin to get discouraged along the way, just remember what’s at stake here. We are going to discover the power to be free to do the thing God wants us to do! We welcome this 40 Days of Discovery.

Why on earth would you settle for anything less?

The Quest consists of four commitments for spiritual growth:

Attending our weekend services (or if you can’t attend, listening to the podcast)
Daily readings in the book, The Power to Be Free  (our daily e-mail devotional summarizes the daily reading)
Attending weekly small group meetings (contact us for days, times & locations)
Memorizing one quotation from the Bible each week
This Sunday, September 24th is our Kickoff Sunday! Please plan to join us and receive as our free gift the book which will provide our daily devotional material for our 40 Days of Discovery, The Power to Be Free. Our Sunday School classes will be focusing on the Quest for the next 6 weeks, so make Sunday School a priority, or plan to attend one of the Small Groups meeting during the week.


(Our FaithBuilders Blog and Podcast will accompany us on this journey, so if you want to read or review any of the devotionals during the Quest, or download them as podcasts, visit this site. Check out our church website at www.jaxnaz.org. The Faith Church Podcast site will provide audio recordings of the messages from the Quest series.)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 39

This is the devotional for Wednesday, June 7, 2006 which is the 39th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 39 – Balancing Your life

Blessed are the balanced; they shall outlast everyone!

“Don’t let the errors of evil people lead you down the wrong path and make you lose your balance.” 2 Peter 3:17 (CEV)

One of the events in the summer Olympics is the pentathlon. It is composed of five events. The pentathlete’s goal is to succeed in all five areas, not just one or two. Your life is a pentathlon of five purposes, which you must keep in balance. These purposes were practiced by the first Christians in Acts 2, explained by Paul in Ephesians 4, and modeled by Jesus in John 17, but they are summarized in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus.

These two statements sum up God’s five purposes for your life:

1. “Love God with all your heart”: You were planned for God’s pleasure, so your purpose is to love God through worship.

2. “Love your neighbor as yourself”: You were shaped for serving, so your purpose is to show love for others through ministry.

3. “Go and make disciples”: You were made for a mission, so your purpose is to share God’s message through evangelism.

4. “baptize them into …”: You were formed for God’s family, so your purpose is to identify with his church through fellowship.

5. “teach them to do all things …”: You were created to become like Christ, so your purpose is to grow to maturity through discipleship.

A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will make you a great Christian.

The memory verse for this week is Colossians 4:5 (NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by choosing to become a world-class Christian!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 30

This is the devotional for Monday, May 29, 2006 which is Day 30 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 30 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 30 – Shaped for Serving God

You were shaped to serve God!

“Your hands shaped me and made me.” Job 10:8 (NIV)

Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry. Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

God’s custom combination of capabilities is called your SHAPE:

Spiritual Gifts
Heart
Abilities
Personality
Experience

Spiritual gifts are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers. Have you taken time to discover your gifts? An unopened gift is worthless.

Another word for heart is passion. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others. Figure out what you love to do – what God gave you a heart to do – and then do it for his glory.

The memory verse for this week is “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” 1 Peter 4:10

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church. Build your faith today by serving God from your heart!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 29

This is the devotional for Sunday, May 28, 2006 which is Day 29 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 29 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 29 – Accepting Your Assignment

You were put on earth to make a contribution!

“It is God himself who made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Ephesians 2:10 (LB)

You were created to serve God. “God has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10b (TEV) These “good deeds” are your service to the world. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God and fulfilling one of your purposes.

You were saved to serve God. Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just immediately take us to heaven the moment we accept his grace? Once you are saved, God intends to use you for his goals. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.

You are called to serve God. The Bible says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT) Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important.

You are commanded to serve God. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?” Do you ever ask that question? One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.

The memory verse for this week is “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” 1 Peter 4:10

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church. Build your faith today by serving God!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 23

This is the devotional for Monday, May 22, 2006 which is Day 23 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 23 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 23 – How We Grow

God wants you to grow up! “God wants us to grow up … like Christ in everything.” Ephesians 4:15a (Msg)

Your heavenly Father’s goal for you is to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Sadly, millions of Christians grow older but never grow up. They are stuck in perpetual spiritual infancy, remaining in diapers and booties. The reason is that they never intended to grow.

When the first disciples chose to follow Jesus, they didn’t understand all the implications of their decision. They simply responded to Jesus’ invitation. That’s all you need to get started: decide to become a disciple. Christ-likeness is the result of the sanctifying work of the Spirit and of making Christ-like choices and cooperating with his Spirit to help you fulfill those choices. Once you decide to get serious about becoming like Christ, you must begin to act in new ways. You will need to let go of some old routines, develop some new habits, and intentionally change the way you think. You can be certain that the Holy Spirit will help you with these changes.

The Bible says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)

The Christian life is far more than creeds and convictions; it includes conduct and character. Our deeds must be consistent with our creeds, and our beliefs must be backed up with Christlike behavior.

Review this week’s memory verse from Philippians 2:5 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church. Build your faith today by cooperating with God’s plan to make you like His Son, Jesus Christ!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 15

This is the devotional for Sunday, May 14, 2006 which is Day 15 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 15 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 15 – Formed for God’s Family

You were formed for God’s family!

“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” Eph. 1:5 (NLT)

God wants a family, and he created you to be a part of it. The entire Bible is the story of God building a family who will love him, honor him, and reign with him forever. When we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become his children, other believers become our brothers and sisters, and the church becomes our spiritual family. The family of God includes all believers in the past, the present, and the future.

Our families on earth are wonderful gifts from God, but they are temporary and fragile, often broken by divorce, distance, growing old, and inevitably, death. On the other hand, our spiritual family—our relationship to other believers—will continue throughout eternity.

The Bible says, “Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” Hebrews 2:11 (CEV)

Let that amazing truth sink in – you are a part of God’s family, and because Jesus makes you holy, God is proud of you! Being included in God’s family is the highest honor and the greatest privilege you will ever receive. Nothing else comes close. Whenever you feel unimportant, unloved, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at www.jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by becoming part of the family of God.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 7

This is the devotional for Saturday, May 6, 2006 which is Day 7 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to read chapter 7 with us today.

DAY 7 – THE REASON FOR EVERYTHING

It is all for him!

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV

The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason for everything that exists, including you. God made it all for his glory. Without God’s glory, there would be nothing.

The glory of God is who God is. It is the essence of his nature, the weight of his importance, the radiance of his splendor, the demonstration of his power, and the atmosphere of his presence. God’s glory is best seen in Jesus Christ. He, the Light of the world, illuminates God’s nature. Because of Jesus, we are no longer in the dark about what God is really like.

There are many ways to bring glory to God, but they can be summarized in God’s five purposes for your life. We bring God glory by worshiping him, loving other believers, becoming like Christ, serving others with our gifts, and by telling others about him.

It’s time to settle this issue. Who are you going to live for—yourself or God? Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for. Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ.

If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)

Will you accept God’s offer?

Let’s review our memory verse for this week which answers the Question, “What on earth am I here for?” The verse is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

40 Days of Purpose – Day 3

Welcome to FaithBuilders. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Tuesday, May 2, 2006 which is Day 3 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read daily one of the 40 chapter of the book along with us. We are scheduled to read Chapter 3 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 3 – WHAT DRIVES YOUR LIFE?

Everyone’s life is driven by something!

“I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 (LB)

What is the driving force in your life?

Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. There are five great benefits of living a purpose-driven life:

– Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life…

– Simplifies your life …

– Focuses your life …

– Motivates your life.

– And knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity.

Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says. Living to create an earthly legacy is a shortsighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.

Let’s review our memory verse for this week which answers the Question, “What on earth am I here for?” The verse is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

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