The Quest – Day 21

This is the devotional for Monday, October 16, 2006 which is the 21st day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 21 of Frank Moore’s great 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 21 – To Will One Thing

Purity sometimes means simply willing one thing—God’s will.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.’” (Genesis 17:1 NIV)

Purity is not so much perfect performance as it is pure intention and undivided loyalty. But for many of us, our loyalties are too divided to allow us to focus on purity of direction for life. Our recent study of God’s purposes for our lives helps us in this regard. Once we understand God’s purposes for our lives, we can filter the ambitions, activities and goals of our everyday lives through His purpose and see how they measure up. When your list matches His list, you’re ready to go. Everything else can go in the trash.

Abram (also known as Abraham) is an example of single-mindedness. God called him to be “blameless.” That’s a powerful concept. Blameless does not imply perfect performance, as in free from mistakes. It pictures a person wholeheartedly seeking to do God’s will. There’s no mix of wanting God’s will along with my will. It’s an undiluted desire to do what God wants me to do. God finds such unmixed desire acceptable and characterizes such a life as blameless. This offers us another insight into the biblical understanding of purity.

Abraham wasn’t perfect. But, through his occasional errors in judgment, Abraham kept fellowship with God and he sought wholeheartedly to find and do God’s will. When he stumbled, he sought God’s guidance, got back up, and started again.

Single-mindedness cannot stand alone as the sole meaning of the word purity. However, it shows us an important insight into God’s truth about purity.

A computer which devotes 100% of its processing time to fulfilling the requests necessary to run the programs you choose to run is a powerful tool. A computer infected with spyware which steals processing time and computer memory from the programs you want to run becomes a useless paperweight very quickly. A computer yielded to the purpose of its owner is a beautiful thing.

Abraham yielded the life God had given him back to God to be used for God’s purposes. What a beautiful life!

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 podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by making the “One Thing” of your life God’s will, not yours.


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.”

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 27

This is the devotional for Friday, May 26, 2006 which is Day 27 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 27 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 27 – Defeating Temptation

There is always a way out!

“Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” 1 Cor. 10:12 (Msg)

You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than he puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys to defeating temptation.

REFOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON SOMETHING ELSE. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!

REVEAL YOUR STRUGGLE TO A GODLY FRIEND OR SUPPORT GROUP. Authentic, honest fellowship is the antidote to your lonely struggle against those sins that won’t budge. God says it is the only way you’re going to break free.

RESIST THE DEVIL. Without Christ we are defenseless against the Devil, but with “the helmet of salvation” our minds are protected by God. Remember this: If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. He can only suggest.

REALIZE YOUR VULNERABILITY. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation.

Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.

Visit FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net to listen to this devotional or to read or hear previous episodes. 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 finding the path of victory over each temptation!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 21

This is the devotional for Saturday, May 20, 2006 which is Day 21 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 21 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 21 – Protecting Your Church

It is your job to protect the unity of your church!

Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body. It is the essence, the core, of how God intends for us to experience life together in his church.

In his final moments before being arrested, Jesus prayed passionately for our unity. It was our unity that was uppermost in his mind during those agonizing hours. That shows how significant this subject is. Nothing on earth is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it, and he wants it protected, especially from the devastating damage that is caused by division, conflict, and disharmony.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

How are we to do this? The Bible gives us practical advice:

– Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.

– Be realistic in your expectations. Choose to encourage rather than criticize.

– Refuse to listen to gossip.

– Practice God’s method for conflict resolution.

– And most importantly, support your pastor and leaders.

What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving? There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other, you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC sponsors this broadcast. We encourage you to unite with a body of believers in your area. To find a Church of the Nazarene near you look for the “Find a Church” link at http://www.nazarene.org. Build your faith today in unity with other believers.

Memory Verse for the week: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 (NIV)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 20

This is the devotional for Friday, May 19, 2006 which is Day 20 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 20 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 20 – Restoring Broken Fellowship

Relationships are always worth restoring!

“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you … Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” Philippians 2:1-2 (Msg)

Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict.

Paul taught that our ability to get along with others is a mark of spiritual maturity. If you want God’s blessing on your life and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peacemaker. Here are seven Biblical steps to restoring fellowship:

1. Talk to God before talking to the person.

2. Always take the initiative.

3. Sympathize with their feelings.

4. Confess your part of the conflict.

5. Attack the problem, not the person.

6. Cooperate as much as possible.

7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.

Who do you need to contact as a result of reading this today? With whom do you need to restore fellowship? Don’t delay another second. Pause right now and talk to God about that person. Then pick up the phone and begin the process.

It takes a lot of effort to restore a relationship. That’s why Peter urged, “Work hard at living in peace with others.” 1 Peter 3:11 (NLT)

But when you work for peace, you are doing what God would do. That’s why God calls peacemakers his children.

Thank you for reading “FaithBuilders” at buildyourfaith.net. The FaithBuilders blog is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Build your faith by taking steps to restore any broken relationships in your life today.

Take time to review the Memory Verse for the week: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 (NIV)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 19

This is the devotional for Thursday, May 18, 2006 which is Day 19 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 19 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 19 – Cultivating Community

Community requires commitment!

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:18 (Msg)

Cultivating community takes honesty. Real fellowship depends on frankness. In fact, the tunnel of conflict is the passageway to intimacy in any relationship. Until you care enough to confront and resolve the underlying barriers, you will never grow close to each other.

Cultivating community takes humility. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others. Humble people are so focused on serving others, they don’t think of themselves.

Cultivating community takes courtesy. The truth is, we all have quirks and annoying traits. But community has nothing to do with compatibility. The basis for our fellowship is our relationship to God: We’re family.

Cultivating community takes confidentiality. Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs, and mistakes. Confidentiality does not mean keeping silent while your brother or sister sins. It means that what is shared in your group needs to stay in your group, and the group needs to deal with it, not gossip to others about it.

Cultivating community takes frequency. You must have frequent, regular contact with your group in order to build genuine fellowship. Relationships take time.

When you look at the list of characteristics, it is obvious why genuine fellowship is so rare. But the benefits of sharing life together far outweigh the costs, and it prepares us for heaven.

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. Will you choose to cultivate community with other Christians? If you don’t have a church home, let me encourage you to find a Church of the Nazarene near you. Then build your faith today by building community with other believers.

Memory Verse for the week: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5

40 Days of Purpose – Day 18

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Wednesday, May 17, 2006 which is Day 18 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 18 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 18 – Experiencing Life Together

Life is meant to be shared!

“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. Colossians 3:15 (CEV)

God intends for us to experience life together. The Bible calls this shared experience fellowship. “Fellowship” now usually refers to casual conversation, socializing, food, and fun. The question, “Where do you fellowship?” means “Where do you attend church?” “Stay after for fellowship” usually means “Wait for refreshments.”

Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together. It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other “one another” commands found in the New Testament.

The Body of Christ, like your own body, is really a collection of many small cells. The life of the Body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells. For this reason, every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within their church, whether is it a home fellowship group, a Sunday school class, or a Bible study.

The Bible says, “If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other.” 1 John 1:7 (NCV)

The world thinks intimacy occurs in the dark, but God says it happens in the light. Darkness is used to hide our hurts, faults, fears, failures, and flaws. But in the light, we bring them all out into the open and admit who we really are. You were created for community.

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 jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by sharing life with other believers. If you don’t have a church home, we welcome you to join us!

Memory Verse for the week: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5

40 Days of Purpose – Day 17

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Tuesday, May 16, 2006 which is Day 17 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 17 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 17 – A Place to Belong

You are called to belong, not just believe!

“You are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Ephesians 2:19b (LB)

We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible says we are put together, joined together, built together, members together; heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up together. You’re not on your own anymore.

While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity. The Bible says, “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 (NIV)

The Christian life is more than just commitment to Christ; it includes a commitment to other Christians. The Christians in Macedonia understood this. Paul said, “First, they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will, they gave themselves to us as well.” 2 Corinthians 8:5 (TEV)

You become a Christian by committing yourself to Christ, but you become a church member by committing yourself to a specific group of believers. The first decision brings salvation; the second brings fellowship.

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 jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by joining God’s church.

Memory Verse for the week: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5