More Than Enough

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What do you do with leftovers?  You know, after you’ve eaten a meal, you’re full, but there is still food left over?  What do you do with it?

Well, I can remember a time when my metabolism was still in “teenager mode” and there weren’t any leftovers because I would eat all the food we prepared.  However, something has changed in those years since those days…for some reason, these days if I act like a human garbage disposal, the consequences seem to weigh heavily upon me!  So, instead, we now plan more carefully.

First, we try to estimate portions better when cooking or ordering out.  But sometimes we plan to cook more than we need and then put the extra portions in containers to freeze until needed.  Then we plan to use those extra servings at a meal later in the week.  It is great to have those extra meals ready to re-heat and serve!

Did you know that Jesus’ disciples had to deal with leftovers too?  For them it was a blessing and a lesson in faith.  You see, Jesus had headed across the Sea of Galilee after a particularly tough day.  But when He got to the other side He found a crowd waiting for Him to help them.  His heart was moved with compassion by their needs, so He healed those who were sick.

As evening approached, the disciples told Jesus that He should send the people away so they could go buy food, so they wouldn’t starve.  Jesus tells them that they should feed the crowd.  But they replied that they only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  They realized that the 5 loaves wouldn’t go very far in feeding 5000 men, plus women & children.  But Jesus asked for the fish & bread, thanked God for them, broke the bread and began giving the disciples pieces of the food to hand out to the people.  The people all ate, Matthew says, and WERE SATISFIED (Matt. 14:20).  Then, just in case we wouldn’t believe that all had eaten until full, Matthew records that they gathered up the leftovers:  12 full baskets of leftovers!

What are the needs in your life today?  If you have given your life fully to God, He has promised to care for you!  Surrender your needs and resources to His will and you will find that He is the God of “more than enough!”  You too can be blessed by God’s “leftovers!”

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The Quest – Day 40!!! – FB Podcast Episode 100!!!

This is the devotional for Saturday, November 4, 2006 which is the 40th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery! Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Frank Moore’s excellent book, The Power To Be Free. Thank you for sharing these 40 Days of Discovery with us! If you have found this journey to be helpful, please let us know!

 

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.

Today’s podcast marks the 100th episode of the FaithBuilders’ podcast! Thanks for helping our podcast site at buildyourfaith.net close in on 10,000 hits!

 

Day 40 – A Lifestyle of Service

 

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a life of service.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

Your attention on this 40-day quest has focused primarily on a personal spiritual journey and your involvement in the community of faith. We’ve talked about the need to consecrate everything to God and receive the gift of His sanctification. However, the quest cannot be complete until we focus attention away from ourselves and onto others and their needs. Serving others is as vital to spiritual growth as praying or reading your Bible.

In the chapter of our Scripture focus for today, Paul teaches a key principle of service and ministry. Even in the midst of very difficult circumstances, we can experience the blessing and grace of God to the point that we wouldn’t want life to be any other way. Now to be sure, God is not the primary giver of the difficulties; Satan gets that credit. However, God finds ways to bless Paul and us in spite of Satan’s best efforts to defeat us.

Paul also teaches us one of the key mysteries of service and ministry here: God’s power sometimes works best in our lives at the point of our greatest weakness. We may prefer not to have the weakness, but somehow God’s light may shine brightest through it. So why does Paul endure the weaknesses and hardships in serving others? For the sake of Christ!

I’ve waited 40 days to say this. Are you ready? The life you long for is not about you! It’s about Christ and His example. The aim and focus is on others and the ways you can serve them in His name. It’s not about finding yourself; it’s about losing yourself. It’s not about becoming strong; it’s about coming to terms with your own weakness and finding your strength in Him. It’s not about what you become; it’s about what He becomes through you.

Life in the Spirit of Christ is a reflected life. You are like the moon. The moon is not a source of light. It only reflects the sun’s light. In like manner, as you spend quality time with the Spirit of Christ, you reflect His life through yours. Over time, Christ is formed in you (Colossians 1:27).

So does your quest for discovering life in the Spirit of Christ end today? No, quite the contrary! It’s only the beginning!

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 living a life of service.

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.

The Quest – Day 37

This is the devotional for Wednesday, November 1, 2006 which is the 37th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 37 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 37 – Accepting God’s Gift

 

Our quest will succeed only after we receive God’s gift of sanctification. 

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV)

In Charles Dickens’ classic book Great Expectations, the character Abel Magwitch worked quietly behind the scenes as a secret benefactor to Philip Pirrip, nicknamed Pip, to provide him with resources and opportunities throughout his life that elevated him into high society.  Much later, Pip looked back and saw the unmistakable hand of his secret benefactor in his life.  More often than not, we also succeed because of a team effort or a friend or relative working quietly behind the scenes to assist in our accomplishments. 

The same is true of spiritual success.  God gives us many benefits.  Just as we do not earn or deserve the new birth, we do not earn or deserve sanctification.  In our Scripture focus today Paul shows us that sanctification is not something we do for ourselves; God does it.  We receive God’s gift by faith. 

“To sanctify” means to set apart for God.  In the New Testament, it is believers who are sanctified rather than places or things as was true in the Old Testament.  God sets us apart for himself, but with an added dimension.  He cleanses and purifies our hearts and places His Spirit within us to enable us to live the lives to which He calls us. 

Paul’s description of the work of the Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 and 5:23 shows us that  God accepts our consecration (which was yesterday’s topic) by giving us the gift of sanctification in a moment in time, but that He also places His Spirit in us on an ongoing basis.  So, we experience both a moment-in-time experience and a daily process of growth toward maturity.  This experience affects every part of our being:  spirit, soul, and body. 

So, what is the source of this sanctification?  Paul says God calls us; God is faithful; God will do it.  Yes, my commitment to Him and my self-discipline are important.  However, God’s gift of His Spirit and His sanctification are the real reasons we can live holy lives. 

God’s plan for us to live holy lives calls us to sanctification which is also God’s gift to us.  He sanctifies in a moment and gives us His Spirit each moment for a lifetime of growth in sanctification.

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 receiving God’s gift of sanctification by faith.

The Quest – Day 31

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 26, 2006 which is the 31th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 31 of Frank Moore’s challenging 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 31 – Power For Witness

God has power to help us witness for Him.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

If you tell new or seasoned Christian they need to give a witness for Christ, they quickly conjure up frightening images of embarrassing or stressful situations!  But witnessing for Christ should not scare us.  Think about your response to such questions as:

  • How did you come to know the Lord as your personal Savior?
  • In your own words, who is Jesus Christ?
  • Why are you a Christian?
  • What does faith in Jesus mean to you?
  • How do you cope when the troubles of life close in on you?
  • Why do you have such a positive outlook on life?
  • Where is your hope?

Our presentation can be simple and must be personal.  Note that Peter tells us in the last part of verse 15, “But do this with gentleness and respect.”  Nothing could be worse than for a Christian to speak for Christ with a spirit of arrogance or superiority.  Peter reminds us of the importance of keeping a clear conscience and of our lives matching up with what we say. 

In John 9:25 a man who was healed by Jesus told his personal experience in his own words.  His witness cut through the opposition of critics with his simple statement, “I was blind but now I see!”

The story of Christ’s work in your life can flow from your lips as naturally as telling your neighbor abut a great bargain at the shopping center.  You don’t have to be eloquent.  People care more about your being genuine than they do about hearing a grandiose tale.

Your quest for power includes a search for the strength and ability to witness for Christ.  He has promised to give you power to witness!  He’s never been ashamed of you; you must never be ashamed of 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 depending on God’s power to share the story of what Jesus has done for you.

The Quest – Day 30

This is the devotional for Wednesday, October 25, 2006 which is the 30th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 30 of Frank Moore’s great 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 30 – Power Over Trials and Temptations

God gives us power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3 NIV)

Author Frank Moore’s family plays a board game called The Magnificent Race.  Players must overcome a series of obstacles while progressing in the worldwide race.  The arch villain of this board game is Dastardly Dan, who does everything in his power to discourage and bankrupt players.  Victory comes only after numerous battles with this villain. 

Christian living mirrors this board game in many ways.  Most days seem like a mad dash against a nearly impossible schedule.  We must each deal with our own Dastardly Dan arch villain in the form of Satan.  He’s pinned a bull’s-eye on our backs and targeted us for spiritual defeat.  Our quest today takes us on a search for power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.  Temptations attempt to derail our faith; trials test and strengthen it.

In today’s Scripture, James urges us to look on the positive side of our trials.  James lists four positive results that come from trials:

  1. We grow in patience (v. 4)
  2. We become mature and complete in our faith (vv. 4-5)
  3. We increase in faith (v 6)
  4. We receive a reward from God (v. 7)

The Bible warns us against surrendering to temptation.  Remember temptation targets us for defeat.  Paul talks about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:12-14:  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 

These passages reveal that:

  1. Temptation is a fact.
  2. Temptation usually catches us off guard.
  3. Temptation originates outside of us.
  4. Temptation is universal.
  5. Temptation has its limits.
  6. You can resist temptation.
  7. Once temptation passes, you’ll be left standing.

In the wilderness temptation (Matt. 4:1-11) and throughout His life, Jesus met Satan’s temptations and remained victorious at every encounter.  So can you!

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 stopping by to read (or listen 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 depending on God’s power to live victoriously over trials and temptations.

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 22

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 17, 2006 which is the 22nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 22 of Frank Moore’s wonderful book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 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 22 – Burn It Up!

God’s fire brings purity.

“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” (Isaiah 6:6-7 NIV)

Author Frank Moore recounts that during his first year in seminary he worked at a medical center sterilizing surgical instruments used in the operating rooms. He followed strict quality-control procedures; one mistake could endanger a patient’s life. He learned that high temperatures for an extended period of time kill all that contaminates. That’s why the Bible uses fire as a symbol for purity.

One passage that uses fire to symbolize purity is found in Isaiah 6:1-7. When Isaiah saw how holy and spotless God appeared, he immediately looked at himself. He did not like what he saw; he didn’t measure up. Notice in this passage God’s use of fire and its purifying properties. And notice how Isaiah’s close encounter with the presence of Holy God transformed him.

We discussed on Day 5 the fulfillment of Jesus’ Mount of Olives promise to His disciples. The Spirit came upon them in ways they could not doubt. Twenty years later in Jerusalem, Peter recounted again what the Spirit did in their hearts on the Day of Pentecost. Peter said the Spirit “purified their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). Remember the second symbol on the Day of Pentecost? Fire. So, we see again, God used His fire to bring purity.

Our hearts draw us toward purity. We ask ourselves, “Where can I experience the purity for the life I’ve longed for?” Today’s Bible lesson reminds us: God is the source of purity. Only His fire can truly purify our hearts. What might He want to purge from your heart? Let Isaiah and the disciples motivate you to open yourself to His purging fire today.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

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

Build your faith today by asking God to purify your heart. Then receive His purity by faith.

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)

Helping Hands

Welcome to Faith Builders. This is Pastor Bill Crane. (Here is the link to the podcast file.)

Before moving to Jacksonville, I lived in a community near Charleston, South Carolina. It seems that many of the Pastors in the area had been overwhelmed by a large number of folks coming to them to ask for food. The area ministerial association began to pray about how to help. As a result a food pantry was started to assist people in crisis situations. The churches all collected donations of food which were given to the food pantry. Volunteers from the churches manned the food pantry. A schedule was established for food distribution. Contact was made with food banks in the greater Charleston area. They began to receive donations of food from grocery chains, restaurants, and area charities. The community rallied behind the organization and offered their help also. Then when anyone approached a church with a need for food, they were referred to the food pantry, which was named, “Helping Hands.”

This reminds me of something Jesus did. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus is confronted with what appears to be an overwhelming need. There was a crowd of people who had followed Him, who were hungry, but had no food. Just the men in the crowd numbered 5000, so if their wives and children were present, the total number could have easily been over 15,000!

Well, Jesus simply asked Philip, one of his disciples, to feed the crowd. Philip was overwhelmed! He remarked that it would take more than eight months’ wages just to buy an appetizer for everyone! Andrew checked to see if he could find any food, but all he found was the lunch bag of a small boy. There was no way, humanly speaking, to feed the crowd with that pitifully small meal.

But Jesus wasn’t intimidated. He gave thanks for the meal and began passing out the pieces He broke off. God performed a miracle and provided enough food for the whole crowd, so much in fact that there were leftovers…twelve baskets full of leftovers!

Do you see overwhelming needs around you? I certainly do! Aren’t you glad that Jesus isn’t intimidated by them? I certainly am! Let’s decide today to offer Christ the little we have so that He can bless it, give it away, and minister to thousands!

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast! For more information about our church, visit us online at jaxnaz.org. Thank you for visiting BuildYourFaith.net! Have a great day and let God use what you have to bless others!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 22

This is the devotional for Sunday, May 21, 2006 which is Day 22 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 22 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

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Day 22 – Created to Become Like Christ

You were created to become like Christ!

“God knew what he was doing from the beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son … We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.” Romans 8:29 (Msg)

From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. God announced this intention at Creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.” Genesis 1:26 (NCV)

God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it.

We allow Christ to live through us. “For this is the secret: Christ lives in you.” Colossians 1:27 (NLT)

How does this happen in real life? First through God’s forgiving & cleansing work in our lives. Then, through the choices we make. We choose to do the right thing in situations and then trust God’s Spirit to give us his power, love, faith, and wisdom to do it. Since God’s Spirit lives inside of us, these things are always available for the asking.

Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.

Our new memory verse for this week is from Philippians 2:5 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

Thank you for reading this edition of the FaithBuilders Devotional. This devotional 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!

Is it really you?

In this podcast, Pastor Bill recalls a youth camp prank that sheds light on finding out the truth about Jesus.

The Show-Me State

Are you from the Show-Me State? No, not Missouri! The Other Show-Me state! Pastor Bill explains in this podcast.