The Word of Christmas

Have you ever looked at how the story of Jesus is told in the Bible?  The writers of the Gospels all start their accounts differently.  Matthew starts with Jesus’ genealogy beginning with Abraham.  Mark just jumps into the story of Jesus’ ministry, starting with John the Baptist’s introducing Jesus.  Luke gives us the most details of the story of Jesus’ birth starting with the announcement of the coming birth of John the Baptist.

The Apostle John, however, begins his account in what might be an unexpected way to many.  He starts with Creation.  John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the Divine Son of God who pre-existed his coming on that first Christmas.  He is the Divine “Word” of God who spoke the world into existence.  John appears to be speaking to the Greek audience in his time.  The Greek philosophers had postulated that life itself must have some underlying, foundational core of logic upon which the whole world rested.  They called this the “Logos” (that’s Greek for “word”).  John says that Jesus is that “Word.”  He is life itself.  He is the light of humanity.

John tells us of Jesus’ birth, but does so in one sentence:  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a).  That one statement says a lot!  John says that the pre-existent Son of God took on humanity.  He came to us in a human body and took up residence among us.  John identifies this God/man as Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

This Christmas when you look at the manger scene, remember what you are seeing:  the Divine Word who spoke the world into existence has humbled Himself (cf. Phil. 2:5-11), taking on the form of a helpless baby, so that He can take away your sins!  Now that is truly a gift beyond compare!

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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 12

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 7, 2006 which is the 12th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 12 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

 If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate at our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  

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 12 – A Guide for You

 
The Spirit of Christ wants to indwell and guide you.

 
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 NIV)

 
What does the Spirit do in the hearts and lives of those who choose to accept and follow Christ?  This is not an exhaustive or all-inclusive list, but here are a few areas of the Spirit’s involvement:

  1. The Spirit gives us new birth and faith in God (John 3:3-6).
  2. Once you become a Christian, the Spirit gives you spiritual eyes to begin to see things as God sees them and value as God values.
  3. He inspires your mind when you read the Bible and guides you to truth (John 16:13)
  4. He brings you the presence of the living Christ (John 16:15-16).
  5. He intercedes on your behalf to the Father (Romans 8:26-27).
  6. He sanctifies your heart by faith (Romans 8:1-17).
  7. He produces spiritual fruit in your life (Galatians 5:22-23).
  8. He gives you gifts and abilities for ministry in His church and to His world (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4).
  9. He works through the church to win new converts and make disciples
  10. The Spirit’s most significant work internalizes God’s presence in you.  “I will…put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26)

 
We’ve looked at the notion of a Spirit guide.  Not just any spirit guide—but the very presence of God Himself. 

 So the first discovery on your quest to find the life you’ve longed for teaches you that the Spirit of Christ offers to be your Spirit Guide.  What an extreme thought!

 The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

 
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 asking the Spirit of Christ to live in you.

The Quest – Day 11

This is the devotional for Friday, October 6, 2006 which is the 11th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 11 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate at 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 11 – A Guide for the World

The Spirit of Christ is at work in our world.

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8 NIV)

The Holy Spirit brings God’s presence to our world today. Here are some ways the Holy Spirit is at work:

  1. The Spirit hovered over the work of creation at the very beginning. He is perhaps still involved in hovering over His handiwork as He sustains all creation day by day.
  2. Every living thing except God requires a source of energy to sustain it. God is the source of all energy and the master preserver of all things.
  3. The Holy Spirit is at work in the world to testify about the life, ministry and salvation plan of Christ. (John 15:26)
  4. The Spirit brings conviction to sinners
  5. The Spirit urges people to live righteous lives
  6. The Spirit warns of the coming judgment (John 16:8 ) These last three are examples of “prevenient grace,” which means the grace that goes before our salvation.
  7. The Spirit takes the initiative in seeking us out, like a hound tirelessly sniffing for a ‘possum or a raccoon. He won’t leave us alone until we understand the terms and at least consider His offer of salvation. He reasons and pleads with us. If we refuse, He keeps coming back with fresh appeals to try to convince us to accept Him.

How does the Spirit make His offer of salvation to those who do not know or acknowledge God? He may use:

  • Our conscience
  • A pastor or Christian friend or parent offering sound advice
  • The circumstances of life, when our best efforts at having our own way collapse, or when we are left dry and unsatisfied by the choices we make in life

Any of these and countless others may be used by the Spirit as means of making us stop and pay attention to Him.

If you already have a relationship with God, first let this truth remind you of all God does to bring us to Himself. Second, let it encourage you to continue to pray for your lost friends and loved ones. God hasn’t given up on your lost friends, and neither should you.

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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

Build your faith today by praying for your friends and loved ones who are lost.

The Quest – Day 8

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 3, 2006 which is the 8th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 8 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, Week 1 of the Quest, we’d love you have you participate via our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.

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 8 – Who is our Guide?

The Spirit is God.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17 NIV)

Who is God? Deuteronomy 6:4 clearly teaches, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The New Testament presents us with discussions of the Father, Son and Spirit. What’s going on here? One God or three?

We must be careful to avoid error in our analysis. Some people incorrectly say the one God goes by the different names of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as He works in our world. This view resembles a one-actor play where a single individual changes clothes to play the part of several characters. This theory, however, does not fit with Scripture.

All three persons of the Trinity are God. The three names, however, do not speak of three deities, but of a single God. He is one being. It is sometimes helpful in grasping this truth to think of three persons with one essence, nature, or being. But with too much emphasis on the word “three,” we tend to think of three distinct gods. With too much emphasis on the word, “one,” we tend to think of Father becoming Son becoming Spirit. Both extremes are not Biblical and thus equal error.

The Spirit of Christ, then, is a divine Person with whom we interact. He is not an impersonal spiritual force like “The Force” of Hollywood movies. Neither is He a scary ghost or even a friendly one like Casper.

The Spirit is a divine Person with intelligence, will and emotions. He can be affected through such things as grieving, quenching, resisting and blasphemy. He ministers to us as a person: teaching, regenerating, searching, speaking, interceding, commanding, testifying, guiding, illuminating and revealing. We must always be careful to remember that He is fully divine with the Father and the Son. What’s more, He is One with the Father and the Son.

The Spirit’s presence in our lives reminds us that God is near us and in us at all times.

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Thank you for visiting FaithBuilders at http://www.buildyourfaith.net. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by remembering that the Spirit is God.

The Quest – Day 7

This is the devotional for Monday, October 2, 2006 which is the 7th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 7 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 7 – What’s in a Name?

The Spirit is really the Spirit of Christ.

I will come to you.” (John 14:18 NIV)

A name communicates volumes. Sometimes you think you’re dealing with a total stranger on the phone. You hear her name, then suddenly realize you live down the street from her or go to church with her.

Our Day 5 devotional ended with Jesus’ fulfillment of a promise He made to His disciples on the Mount of Olives before returning to His Father. When we hear Jesus tell us about the Spirit who filled the disciples at Pentecost, we assume Jesus is talking about someone completely different from himself. But is He?

Who is the Spirit? Think again of the verse we read at the beginning of this devotional. Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Romans 8: 10 tells us, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you…your body is alive because of righteousness.” Paul references the Spirit and then calls Him the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Then, Paul said those who have the Spirit living in their lives have Christ living within them.

In Acts 16:6-7, Paul received instruction from the “Spirit of Jesus” about the direction to take his travels. Verse 6 refers to the Spirit directing Paul; verse 7 names Him the Spirit of Jesus. In Philippians 1:19 Paul acknowledges the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

So when we hear about the Spirit’s work at Pentecost in Acts 2, we’re not meeting someone new. We’re reconnecting in a new way with our Savior Jesus Christ.

So, what’s in a name? Everything you know about Christ, everything you feel deep in your heart for Christ can be transferred to your understanding of the Spirit. Jesus did not go back to the Father and pass you off to one of His angels for spiritual direction, strength, purity, power and everything else you need to live the Christian life. He Himself is in your heart in a profoundly new way. What could be better than having Jesus Christ as a permanent heart guest?

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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 remembering, the Holy Spirit is really the Spirit of Jesus.

The Quest – Day 6

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 1, 2006 which is the 6th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 6 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 6 – A Spirit Guide

Christ promised us a Spirit Guide.

But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NIV)

Police officer John Sullivan was haunted by the death of his father, Frank, for more than 30 years. Then through a strange turn of events, John made contact on his shortwave radio with the world beyond and opened a communication line with his dad. This is the story line from the popular movie Frequency staring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel.

Is communicating with the “great beyond” science fiction? Of course. Is it popular? Very. Today, movie stars testify on television and in popular magazine articles about their own personal spirit guides. These examples highlight a return in our society to acknowledging the spiritual dimension of life.

Science and technology have promised to whisk us into the care-free world of the Jetsons. But something went terribly wrong with that scientific vision. Things didn’t quite materialize as anticipated. As people lose faith in science and technology to solve the problems of their lives, they consider other answers to their spiritual needs. So, we find society returning to the spiritual dimensions of life.

Christians do not attempt to communicate with deceased loved ones. Neither do they fall prey to the misguided popular notions of spirit guides. However, Christians do resonate with the idea that the Spirit of Christ can live in us and guide us.

When Jesus left His disciples on the Mount of Olives for His homeward journey, He promised to return to them in a spiritual way. You, too, may claim this promise of Christ. You’ll be excited to learn in our quest this week that Christ wants to live in you and guide you.

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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!

Impressed?

Welcome to Faithbuilders. (Here is the link to the podcast file.)

Have you ever noticed that a lot of TV commercials tell you that if you really want to impress others, you need to buy their product? Well, I, for one, am staging a walk-out on that kind of thinking! I’ve seen too many people allow themselves to be manipulated into buying things they don’t really need in order to impress people they don’t even like in the first place! Then they have to make payments on things they don’t even use with money they don’t even have! How crazy is that?

In the Bible, in John 5:41-44, Jesus tells the religious people of His day that they are more interested in being honored by the people around them than they are in being honored by God.

Let’s ask ourselves the questions, “Whom am I trying to impress? Do I change the way I behave around certain people? Why?”

There is a problem if the person we’re most trying to please is not God. If we are focusing our life on impressing certain people, we end up putting on an act only around them. But if the focus of our life is on pleasing God, our whole life has to change, because we can’t fool God…ever! We must then live a life of integrity, living with the same purpose and principles all the time, everywhere! Of course, that means we need God’s salvation, redemption and assistance all the time, everywhere! Then the One whose opinion really counts will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

40 Days of Purpose – Day 40

This is the devotional for Thursday, June 8, 2006 which is the 40th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 40 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

If you have found this 40 Days of Purpose podcast helpful, we’d love to hear from you, so take a moment and leave your comments. It would be a great encouragement to us.

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 40 – Living With Purpose

Living on purpose is the only way to really live!

“For David … served the purpose of God in his own generation.” Acts 13:36 (NASB)

In the Upper Room, as Jesus was concluding his last day of ministry with his disciples before his crucifixion, he washed their feet as an example and said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 (NIV) Once you know what God wants you to do, the blessing comes in actually doing it.

You may wonder, “What about God’s will for my job or marriage or where I’m supposed to live or go to school?” Honestly, these are secondary issues in your life, and there may be multiple possibilities that would all be in God’s will for you. What matters most is that you fulfill God’s eternal purposes regardless of where you live or work or whom you marry. Those decisions should support your purposes. Focus on God’s purposes for your life, not your plans, since that’s what will last forever.

It’s easy to drift away from what matters most and slowly get off course. To prevent this, you should develop a purpose statement for your life and then review it regularly.

Imagine what it is going to be like one day, with all of us standing before the throne of God presenting our lives in deep gratitude and praise to Christ. Together we will say, “Worthy, Oh Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all; It was created because you wanted it!” Revelation 4:11 (Msg)

We will praise him for his plan and live for his purposes forever!

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 visiting the FaithBuilders Blog at buildyourfaith.net. This blog is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Subscribe to the FaithBuilders Podcast by clicking on the “Subscribe with iTunes” link in the right-hand column, or copy and paste the Podcast Feed link into your podcast reception program. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today and every day by living for God’s purposes!

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 36

This is the devotional for Sunday, June 4, 2006 which is the 36th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 36 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 36 – Made for a Mission

You were made for a mission!

“In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (Msg)

God is at work in the world, and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission. God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your life mission is both shared and specific.

Jesus clearly understood his life mission on earth. At age twelve he said, “I must be about my Father’s business,” and twenty-one years later, dying on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” Like bookends, these two statements frame a well-lived, purpose-driven life.

If you will commit to fulfilling your mission in life no matter what it costs, you will experience the blessing of God in ways that few people ever experience. There is almost nothing God won’t do for the man or woman who is committed to serving the kingdom of God.

If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about. What he cares about most is the redemption of the people he made. He wants his lost children found! Nothing matters more to God; the Cross proves that.

Always be on the lookout to reach “one more for Jesus” so that when you stand before God one day, you can say, “Mission accomplished!”

The memory verse for this new 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 accepting God’s mission for your life!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 6

This is the devotional for Friday, May 5, 2006 which is Day 6 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 6 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 6 – LIFE IS A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT

Life on earth is a temporary assignment!

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.” Psalm 39:4 (NLT)

To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths:

– First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief.

– Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.

In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life—longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their promised reward in eternity.

When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home—you’ll go home.

Our memory verse for this week 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)

Is it really you?

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

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