The Quest – Day 39

This is the devotional for Friday, November 3, 2006 which is the 39th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 39 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 39 – Life in the Spirit of Christ

We live life in the Spirit of Christ every day through a thousand daily choices.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

To develop Christlike character we must look to Christ as our example. Then we consecrate ourselves completely to God. Next, we receive His gift of sanctification. Then we move from one growth cycle to another for the rest of our lives.

If you have heard that God quantum-leaps you to Christlike maturity in one moment with one prayer, you have been misled. Yes, our consecration can be accepted and our hearts purified in a moment. But the work of maturity is done in the many choices we make daily.

In our Scripture text for today Paul speaks of God’s incredible freedom that enables you to choose daily the way you think, value, and live. You have the freedom to choose one of two ways of life:

    Two preferences
Life in Christ Jesus, or
Life in the flesh, by which paul means living according to the carnal nature of humanity that prefers self over God

    Two walks
A spiritual walk in step with God’s value system, or
A fleshly walk in step with one’s own value system

    Two laws
The law of the Spirit of life – not a list of dos and don’ts, but the guidance of our deep love for God
The second law is the law of death – the outcome of doing what you please ends in spiritual death.

    Two powers
The power of Christ to forgive and free us from sin, or
The power of the old, condemning law which is powerless to deliver us.

    Two loyalties
Loyalty to the Spirit in which our pleasure is to do His pleasure, or
Loyalty to the flesh in which we become enslaved to our desires, passions and addictions

    Two destinies
Eternal life, or
Eternal death

Each day we have a choice between these two ways of life. You validate your consecration and affirm your sanctification in daily choices as you continue to live out your resolve to make Christ Lord of all!

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 choosing life in the Spirit of Christ.

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The Quest – Day 34

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 29, 2006 which is the 34th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 of Frank Moore’s thought-provoking 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 34 – Christ in You, Part 1

 

The Father wants to make you like His Son!

“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.”  (Colossians 1:27 NIV) 

For the past month we’ve been on a quest to discover how we can live the life we’ve longed for.  We’ve learned we have a Guide to show us the way.  Our relationship with this Guide allows us to accept God’s love, experience His purity, and receive His power for this life.

Our quest for the remainder of our 40 days will point us in the direction of a Christlike character.  Christianity’s most unique feature is a close personal relationship with God.  He actually responds to our prayers!  Over time God molds us to think and act as He does.  We become like our God. Paul says in Romans 8:29 that God wants us “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”  So what does that look like?  Let’s look at the qualities Christ displayed in His earthly ministry. 

  1. Jesus loved the Father first and foremost, and then He loved us as an outgrowth of the Father’s and Son’s love for each other.
  2. Jesus had a winsome personality.
  3. Jesus lived a life of humility.
  4. Jesus lived a balanced life.
  5. Jesus had a sense of humor.
  6. Jesus had a heart of compassion and gave His hands to compassionate ministry.
  7. Jesus lived a life of fairness.
  8. Jesus was courteous.
  9. Jesus was thoughtful.
  10. Jesus paid compliments and showed appreciation.
  11. Jesus did not attempt to create conflict with His enemies, but when it arose He did not run from it.
  12. Jesus did not contemplate His plight in life and feel sorry for himself.

Think about each of these qualities of Christ throughout the day and imagine ways the Father might make you more like His Son. 

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.”

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 5 of the Quest, which reveals that “You can develop Christlike character,” 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 asking God to make you more like His Son!

The Quest – Day 33

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 28, 2006 which is the 33rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 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 33 – Receiving the Power

 

You can receive power from God for the life you’ve longed for. 

“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.”  (Acts 1:8 NIV)

You have been exploring God’s power for the life we’ve longed for that comes through relationship with the Spirit of Christ.  This is power to conquer habitual sinning and the self-serving attitude that leads you to selfish choices.  This is power to help you through the trials of life and power to resist temptation.  This is power to assist you in sharing your witness for Christ and to make new disciples for Him.

So how do we obtain this power?  We obtain it not through strenuous spiritual exercise or through earning it or purchasing it.  We receive it as a gift!  Jesus left us a promise, the promise of His Spirit.  

The disciples hoped Jesus would offer them political power.  Jesus instead offers spiritual power which would be absolutely essential for their success with the mission He had given them. 

The three symbols of Pentecost hold spiritual meaning.  The wind reminds us of its ability to separate chaff from wheat (Matt. 3:12), pointing out the Spirit’s desire to blow away all that is unholy in our lives.  The flames remind us of fire’s ability to burn chaff and purge gold and silver from impurities (Mal. 3:2-4).  The Spirit comes to purge our hearts of all that is less than what God intends for us.  The miracle of languages reminds us of the call to communicate the good news of Jesus to every person in his or her own tongue (Matt. 28:19-20).  What were the results of this spiritual power for the disciples?  Their lives were changed.  The Good News went out.  The world was changed! 

There is no doubt.  God has the power for the life you long for.  Ask for His gift and wait for His response.  Remember not to desire the gift over the Giver.  The gift is a by-product of a close, personal relationship with God.

 

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 asking God for the gift of His Spirit.

The Quest – Day 32

This is the devotional for Friday, October 27, 2006 which is the 32nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 32 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 32 – Power For Witness

 

God has the power to help us make disciples for Him. 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Today’s Bible study passage reminds us God invites us to join Him in His ministry of adding new converts to the Christian community.  However, we can quickly develop a power shortage when we attempt to disciple new converts into God’s kingdom by our own strength and ability.  

Jesus, who has been given all authority from His Father, gave a commission to all of us.  He does not reserve disciple-making only for preachers or evangelists.  We are to:

  • Go
  • Make disciples in all nations
  • Baptize them into faith and
  • Teach them the doctrines and lifestyle for Christ’s followers.

God has a place for each one of us in His work.  Paul speaks of various roles we serve in the Christian community, which differ according to the different gifts, talents, abilities and personalities God has given us (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7-11 and Rom. 12:6-8).  God uses each person in a unique way to contribute to the growth and development of God’s plan.  

Jesus promises to be with us as we do this.  He fulfilled that promise by sending His Spirit.  With the aid of His Spirit, we face the challenge to make disciples by receiving the direction and strength from Christ Himself!  Partnering together with the Creator of the universe to make disciples for His kingdom—now that’s power!

 

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 visiting the FaithBuilders podcast site.  Don’t forget to visit our Faith Church podcast site also..  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 making disciples for Jesus Christ.

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 29

This is the devotional for Tuesday, October 24, 2006 which is the 29th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 29 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 29 – Power Over Sin

 
God offers power to give us victory over sinful habits and self-preference.

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” (1 John 1:7, 2:1 NIV)

For the past two days we have talked about spiritual power.  But we must ask a very important question, “Power for what?”  We have seen that God does not offer us power just so we can amaze others or so we can be like Superman.  God is not offering power to feed our personal egos.  But God does offer us power to live above habitual, intentional sinning.  John makes the point clearly in our text today when he says that he writes “so that you will not sin.”

Sin creates a twofold problem.  Our list of past sins is Problem 1.  Sin’s nature buried deep within us that pushes us toward sin and self-preference is Problem 2.  This self-preference remains deeply rooted even after God forgives my sins.

Some Christians believe that sin’s habitual power and our self-preference is a curse we will live with our whole lives.  So are we doomed to sin throughout our lives?  Is our battle against sin hopeless?  Will we always use our freewill to choose our own way?  Absolutely not—to all these questions!

Not only can God solve Problem 1 by forgiving us of our past sins, but He also has the power to change us from within and reorient our nature so we can return to His will and plan for our lives.  God’s power can change us at a heart level in order to break the cycle of sinning.  God offers us power to cleanse us from self-preference.  So, the solution to Problem 2 is to surrender command of the control center of your life to our loving God.  Let the Christ who created you and died for you have complete control of your past, present and future—everything you are and everything you may ever become. 

Yes, God can give you power over intentional, habitual sin, so you can live the life you’ve longed for!

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 yielding control of your life to Christ who died to free you from the power of sin.

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 27

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 22, 2006 which is the 27th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 27 of Frank Moore’s insightful book, The Power To Be Free.

Today begins our emphasis on Discovery 4: You can receive power.

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 – Where Do I Look

Power for living comes from our relationship with the Spirit of Christ

“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:18-19 NIV)

Jerry wanted to surprise Angela, his teenager, with a brand-new, bright red sports car. He asked author Frank Moore to drive it from the dealership to his home. As Frank reached the freeway, he punched the accelerator. Guess what? Nothing happened! He couldn’t wait to tell Jerry that some factory worker had placed a lawn mower motor under the hood! Jerry said, “Yes, I know. I didn’t want my daughter to be tempted with too much power, so I ordered the smallest engine the factory makes!” Something’s wrong with that picture!

Many believers suffer from the same power-shortage disappointment. We know we need power to live the Christian life. Yet, our daily performance does not always match our expectations for this power. So, the quest continues.

The Bible indicates that God demonstrates His power through believers. God worked through Philip so powerfully in Samaria that Simon, a local magician, made the mistake of thinking that he could purchase a local franchise for God’s power.

When believers experience a power-shortage they are tempted to think that God only offers His power to special people or at special times. Or they may decide, like Simon, that God has a secret formula for unlocking His power which they must discover or purchase. Please don’t be lured by false advertising that offers you spiritual power through gimmicks, purchases, or mail-in offers.

God’s power displayed in believers is not a commodity to be purchased. Peter said that a relationship with God is necessary to display God’s power. So, just as children should care about traveling parents more than the gifts they bring when they return, seek the Giver of the gift, not just the gift.

Maybe it’s really not a “where” question at all. Maybe the question is “To whom do I look for spiritual power?”

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.

We invite you to attend today’s service focusing on Discovery 4 of The Quest. If you are unable to attend today’s service due to illness or travel or if you’d like to review the message, or 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 seeking the Giver, not just the gift.

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 5

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

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

Day 5 – The Rest of the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Quest is Coming

“The Quest” Kickoff Week

My Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Why on earth would you settle for anything less?

The Quest consists of four commitments for spiritual growth:

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


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

40 Days of Purpose – Day 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 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 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.

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 – 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!