I’ve Met Jesus’ Sister, and so have You!

Did you know that Jesus had a sister?  You know, I really hadn’t thought about it much.  However, in the last year with the controversy that Dan Brown’s book The DaVinci Code sparked, folks have actually taken a look at such things.  Well, what do we know about Jesus’ family?

The story of Jesus’ birth told in the New Testament reveals that Jesus’ birth was a miracle.  Mary was chosen by God and called by an angel to carry a child conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, realizing that he was not the father, was going to cancel his engagement to Mary quietly.  An angel appeared to him and convinced him to marry Mary anyway.

From here the details of the story are more sketchy.  So, what do we know?  We know that Mary had more children, sons at least, and that we don’t see any other evidence of Joseph beyond that.  The assumption is that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary & Joseph had several other sons and then at some point, probably prior to Jesus’ public ministry, Joseph died.

Mary shows up in the Gospels on several occasions, most notably at Cana of Galilee when Jesus performed a miracle at her request and at Jesus’ crucifixion.  But, there is another reference to Jesus’ family that includes a reference to Jesus’ sister, however. 

In the opening chapters of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is shown beginning His ministry of teaching, healing and delivering those possessed by demons.  Crowds of people flocked to him from all over the area.  Then Jesus’ mother and brothers also show up.  Jesus is in a building, probably a home, teaching a group of people crowded around him.  His family, unable to enter the building, are left standing outside.  Someone conveys to Jesus the message, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you” (Mark 3:32 NIV). 

Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”  Then He looked at those seated around Him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35 NIV)

Now this doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t respect his family.  We see that Jesus, later, while He was being crucified, specifically made sure that His mother, Mary, would be cared for after His death and resurrection.  The point that Jesus is making is that you and I can be part of His family!  Anyone who chooses to follow God’s purposes, which includes accepting Jesus as God’s Son and our Savior, is Jesus’ brother, sister or mother.

So, do you know someone who is pursuing God’s purposes in her or his life?  That person is Jesus’ sister or brother!  Chances are, you know Jesus’ brother and probably His sister too!

But a more important question is:  Are you doing God’s will?  If you are, guys, you are Jesus’ brother!  Ladies, if you are, you are Jesus’ sister! 

(Maybe the next topic I write about should be “The need for humility!”)

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A New Beginning (with a History)!

We are beginning a new year, 2008! Millions of folk have celebrated the new year in Times Square and around the world. Everyone likes to think that each year we get a new lease on life. A chance to start over, to start fresh! They are right! A new year is a gracious gift, a hopeful promise! Of course, there is no guarantee that we will get to live to see the end of the year, or that we will make good use of the time we will be given. But “here’s hoping!”

What many people forget is that this new year has a foundation: all the years before. What this year will become is not limited to, but is dependent upon what came before. I saw an example of this in Mark chapter 1, verses 1-2. Marks begins his Gospel by saying, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the son of God.” Wow! That’s a loaded title! It marks a new beginning! He says this is “gospel,” which means, “good news!” This good news is about Jesus who is the Christ, or the Messiah, the Savior promised by the Jewish prophets. Some ancient manuscripts record Mark as testifying that this Jesus is the “Son of God!” A divine savior who fulfills the promises of the ancient Jewish prophets…now that’s a new beginning with a history! But this new beginning, built upon a foundation of history, was not limited to that history. Jesus himself said that he came not to abolish the law or the prophets (what had been built before), but to fulfill them (cf. Matt. 5:17).

Mark follows verse 1 with quotations from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, who are Old Testament prophets. Mark shows that this new “beginning” has a history.

So, what does that mean for us?

Often we try to get away from our past, but find ourselves tied to it. Many folk find themselves repeating the past, despite their feverish attempts to distance themselves from it! How do we move beyond the past?

First, Mark’s words show me that I can never move beyond my history until I face it. As we start this new year, it may be helpful for us, hard as it may be, to review our life to this point. Ask yourself, what lessons have I learned thus far in my life? What lessons should I have learned from my mistakes? Honestly assess where you are, where you have failed and where you have succeeded.

Second, Mark’s words show me that even if I have a past, I can, with God’s help, have a new beginning! In fact, another apostle, John, quotes Jesus as saying, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). We are not defined by our past. We need not suffer an eternal curse because of our history. In fact, Peter is quoted in Acts 10:43 as saying about Jesus that “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” What an amazing gift that Christmas has given us! A Savior who is willing to forgive us of our sins! The writer of the book of Hebrews (10:17) reminds us of the promise of Jeremiah 31:34 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” In God’s eyes, our history is wiped clean!

Third, Mark’s words show me that my future has its meaning in Jesus Christ. If I want to make a new beginning in my life, it needs to be about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the center of history. The numbering of our year, 2008, is tied to His birth. His birth was the watershed event of history. If I want my life to be meaningful, it must be connected to the One who gives meaning to life! Ask Jesus to come into your life, bringing forgiveness for your past sins, helping you to learn from the past, becoming a companion to bring you joy in each day, and providing guidance and purpose for your future.

Now that’s a New Beginning with a divine history!

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Don’t Lose Your Marbles!

(Click here for the podcast recording.)

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcasts at buildyourfaith.net.   

How is your new year going so far?  Can you believe it is 2007 already!  I can’t!

Not long ago I received an e-mail which gave the account of a man who found a way to remind himself to take advantage of the time he had.  He calculated that if he lived an average lifespan, at about 58 years of age, he had about 1000 weeks left to live.  So he went out and bought 1000 marbles and put them in a glass jar.  Every Saturday morning he took out one marble and threw it away.  Then he set out to use his week in a productive, meaningful way, spending time with family, serving others in love, accomplishing “missions” of ministry for God.

Did you know that the average lifespan for Americans is about 78 years?  Most of us think that is a long time away still, especially if you are in your teens or 20’s.  However, an average 15 year old only has 3276 weeks left to live.  An average 20 year old only has 3016 weeks left in an average life span.  If you are about 30, you have about 2500 weeks.  I am 43, so I figure I have only about 1800 weeks left, if I live to be 78.  If you are about 50, you have about 1500 weeks left.  If you are about 60, you may have a little over 900 remaining.  So what are we going to do with those weeks?

I don’t know about you, but I want my life to count for something greater than myself.  I want my life to contribute to something that lasts longer than my earthly life.  I don’t want to “lose my marbles!”

Join me in considering, as we begin 2007, “How will I spend my life this year, this week, this day?”

Just don’t lose your marbles!

“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
  (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

The Quest – Day 35

This is the devotional for Monday, October 30, 2006 which is the 35th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 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 35 – Christ in You, Part 2

You can become like Christ!

“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)

Today we continue the study of Christlike character development we began yesterday. Now, remember that this character development does not occur overnight.

13. Jesus was not vindictive and did not retaliate when others treated Him wrongly.
14. Jesus did not need to make a name for himself.
15. Jesus expressed strong emotion and indignation when the occasion called for it.
16. Jesus showed great courage throughout His life.
17. Jesus had a clear mission and purpose for His life.
18. Jesus lived with eternity’s values in view.
19. Jesus realized and accepted His human limitations.
20. Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father.
21.Jesus lived in constant communion with His Father.
22.Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit for constant spiritual strength and encouragement.
23. Jesus lived a life of service.
24. Jesus submitted himself to suffering on our behalf.
25. Jesus submitted himself to death on the Cross to accomplish our salvation.

Look back over the list of qualities and virtues from yesterday and today. God wants to form these in you as you grow in Him. Resist the tendency to make a list of these character qualities and grade your daily performance, or you’ll fall into the trap of bondage to performance. Just live for God and seek His ways. Growth in Christlikeness will follow as naturally as “April showers bring May flowers.”

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 the Father to make you like His Son.

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 1

The Quest – 40 Days of Discovery – Day 1

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

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

Day 1 – The Quest

God hardwired you for a discovery quest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Quest is Coming

“The Quest” Kickoff Week

My Dear Friends,

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

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

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

Why on earth would you settle for anything less?

The Quest consists of four commitments for spiritual growth:

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


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

40 Days of Purpose – Day 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 38

This is the devotional for Tuesday, June 6, 2006 which is the 38th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 38 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 38 – Becoming a World-Class Christian

The Great Commission is your commission!

“Jesus said to his followers, ‘Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.’” Mark 16:15 (NCV)

You have a choice to make. You will be either a world-class Christian or a worldly Christian.

Worldly Christians look to God primarily for personal fulfillment. They are saved, but self-centered. They love to attend concerts and enrichment seminars, but you would never find them at a missions conference because they aren’t interested. Their prayers focus on their own needs, blessings, and happiness. They want to use God for their purposes instead of being used for his purposes.

In contrast, world-class Christians know they were saved to serve and made for a mission. They are eager to receive a personal assignment and excited about the privilege of being used by God. World-class Christians are the only fully alive people on the planet. Their joy, confidence, and enthusiasm are contagious because they know they’re making a difference. They wake up each morning expecting God to work through them in fresh ways.

Which type of Christian do you want to be? If you want to be like Jesus, you must have a heart for the whole world. You can’t be satisfied with just your family and friends coming to Christ. There are over 6 billion people on earth, and Jesus wants all his lost children found.

The Great Commission is your commission, and doing your part is the secret to living a life of significance.

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 37

This is the devotional for Monday, June 5, 2006 which is the 37th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 37 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 37 – Sharing Your Life Message

God has given you a Life Message to share!

“Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word … The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore – you’re the message!” 1 Thessalonians 1:8 (Msg)

When you became a believer, you also became God’s messenger. God wants to speak to the world through you. Paul said, “We speak the truth before God, as messengers of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:17b(NCV)

You may feel you don’t have anything to share, but that’s the Devil trying to keep you silent. You have a storehouse of experiences that God wants to use to bring others into his family. The Bible says, “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony of God in them.” 1 John 5:10a (GWT)

Your Life Message has four parts to it:

– Your testimony: the story of how you began a relationship with Jesus

– Your life lessons: the most important lessons God has taught you

– Your godly passions: the issues God shaped you to care about most

– The Good News: the message of salvation

Is anyone going to be in heaven because of you? Will anyone in heaven be able to say to you, “I want to thank you. I’m here because you cared enough to share the Good News with me?” Imagine the joy of greeting people in heaven whom you helped get there. The eternal salvation of a single soul is more important than anything else you will ever achieve in life.

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 sharing your life message!

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 35

This is the devotional for Saturday, June 3, 2006 which is the 35th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 35 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 35 – God’s Power in Your Weakness

God loves to use weak people!

“I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a (LB)

A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. This prevents God from using them the way he desires.

When you think of the limitation in your life, you may be tempted to conclude, “God could never use me.” But God is never limited by our limitations. Sometimes, however, God turns strength into a weakness in order to use us even more.

Jacob was a manipulator who spent his life scheming and then running from the consequences. One night he wrestled with God and said, “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” God said, “All right,” but then he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and dislocated his hip.

What is the significance of that? God touched Jacob’s strength and turned it into a weakness. From that day forward, Jacob walked with a limp so he could never run away again. It forced him to lean on God whether he liked it or not.

If you want God to bless you and use you greatly, you must be willing to walk with a limp the rest of your life, because God uses weak people.

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

Thank you for visiting FaithBuilders Blog at http://www.buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by giving your weaknesses to God!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 34

This is the devotional for Friday, June 2, 2006 which is the 34th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 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 34 – Thinking Like a Servant

Service starts in your mind!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)

Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes:

1 – Servants think more about others than about themselves.

2 – Servants think like stewards, not owners.

3 – Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.

4 – Servants base their identity in Christ.

5 – And servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Henri Nouwen said, “In order to be of service to others, we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others … thus we become free to be compassionate.”

When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

Imagine what could happen if just 10 percent of all Christians in the world got serious about their role as real servants. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people?

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

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 thinking like a servant!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 33

This is the devotional for Thursday, June 1, 2006 which is the 33rd day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 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 33 – How Real Servants Act


We serve God by serving others!

You can tell what they are by what they do.” Matthew 7:16 (CEV)

In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. Yet, it is possible to serve in church for a lifetime without ever being a servant. You must have a servant’s heart.

Notoriety means nothing to real servants because they know the difference between prominence and significance. In heaven God is going to openly reward some of his most obscure and unknown servants—people we never heard of on earth, who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after incontinent elderly, nursed AIDS patients, and served in thousands of other unnoticed ways.

Knowing this, don’t be discouraged when your service is unnoticed or taken for granted. Keep on serving God! “Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” I Corinthians 15:58 (Msg)

Even the smallest service is noticed by God and will be rewarded. Remember the words of Jesus: “If, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.” Matthew 10:42 (LB)

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

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

Build your faith today by serving God with a servant’s heart!

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