Thirty-six Communities

Luke 10 begins with the account of Jesus appointing 72 followers and sending them out 2 by 2 to every town and place that He was planning to visit. This implies that Jesus sent out 36 pairs of followers to at least 36 communities, maybe more. Jesus goes on to ask His followers to ask the “Lord of the harvest” (His Father) to send out workers into the “harvest field” because the workers are few. This implies that Jesus wanted to reach more communities than was possible with the 36 pairs of workers He had.

This passage raises some questions for me. Were the 72 trained? I think the answer is yes. Verses 2 through 16 capture some of what Jesus taught them in preparation for their assignment. Also, it is interesting that the number sent out is divisible by 12. Could it be that each of the 12 disciples were to train 6 others (12×6=72), half the number of the 12 disciples that Jesus Himself was training? What could happen in churches today if each pastor set a goal to disciple and train 12 who were then challenged to disciple and train 6 who were expected to do the same and so on?

Another question came to mind: Could we find ways to reach 36 “towns” or communities? In our country we tend to cluster people in cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and subdivisions. What if our church attempted to reach at least 36 subdivisions or communities in our local area or county? Jesus’ 36 teams were not given a budget or supplies (v. 4). They were to avoid distractions (v. 4b) that would delay the fulfillment of their mission. They were to bless the people of that community, offering peace to them, and letting them know that God had taken notice of them and had invited them to join His Kingdom. They were to pray for people to be healed. They were to get to know the people, to sit and eat with them; whatever the people ate, they were to eat. They were commissioned as agents of Christ and His Father. If they were rejected, they were not to take it personally. Their commissioning gave them authority even over Satan, since his destiny is downfall. They were not to look at their accomplishments with pride, but were to rejoice instead that their names were written in heaven.

What if we could do this kind of ministry? What could happen if we set out, 2 by 2, to look for at least one family in each of 36 subdivisions who would welcome a message of peace? What would happen if we sat down with them to eat with them, pray for God’s peace to rest on them, for God to bring healing to their lives, for God to break the chains that Satan has on them? It is interesting that immediately after the account of the 72 and their ministry we find the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who, while going along the road, meets someone in need and stops to help. What if we ask God to show us communities, subdivisions and families in need that we should “adopt?” What if we drove through the subdivision, or better yet, walked, and asked God to show us the family He wants us to meet and serve?

I guess it starts with each of us. Am I willing to “adopt” my community, my subdivision, to look for those who need the Lord’s peace (after all, we all need God’s peace, don’t we?)?

Then, as a church, perhaps we need to pray that God will send out workers: 12 people who will agree to be trained to start with 6 subdivisions. Ultimately these 12 will pray and look for 6 people they can train to send as pairs to 3 more subdivisions. Are you willing to be one of the Lord’s workers? Let me know if you want to impact your community!

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 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 24

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 19, 2006 which is the 24th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 24 of Frank Moore’s very helpful 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 24 – Declare Yourself DOA

You must declare your self-centered nature DOA when you come to God for His help.

“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:11 NIV)

Yesterday we studied David’s prayer for a clean heart. It’s easy for us to see why David needed God’s forgiveness; he broke up a home and murdered a man! You may be thinking, Well, I’ve never done anything that bad. That’s probably true. But you’re not off the hook!

We find ways to make excuses for ourselves. We want to “rate” sin. Premeditated murder ranks higher on the scale than cheating on income taxes. But God does not use our scale. Sin breaks God’s law, and it breaks God’s heart. Everyone, including believers, must guard against rationalizing sin or explaining it away.

David asked God to do two things: forgive him of his sins and cleanse him from the thing that pushed him to sin in the first place. He prayed in Psalm 51:12, “Grant me a willing spirit.” He needed something changed in his nature. He needed God to change his “want to.”

What is the nature that David needed changed? Paul, in Romans 6:11-14, said that our sinful nature becomes the source of evil desires and tries to entice us to use our bodies as “instruments of wickedness” (v. 13). This nature wants to put self first and to center the universe around personal motivations. It manifests itself in self-will, self-love, self-trust, and self-exaltation. It is self-centered, self-assertive, self-conceited, self-indulgent, self-seeking, self-conscious, self-righteous, self-glorifying, and self-proclaiming, to name just a few.

The result of this pattern is damaged and destroyed relationships, dissension and tension, loneliness and lack of fulfillment. It leaves a wake of evil and corruption.

No quest for purity is complete without dealing with the sin buried deep within us. You must declare your self-centered sinful nature DOA (dead on arrival) when you bring this problem to God and ask for His help. If you’ve encountered this problem but have not dealt decisively with it, you are a perfect candidate for Discovery 3. You can experience purity for the life you’ve longed for.

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

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

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.

Build your faith today by asking God to crucify your sin nature and then trusting Him to do it!

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 4

This is the devotional for Friday, September 29, 2006 which is the 4th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 4 of Frank Moore’s awesome book, The Power To Be Free.

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

Day 4 – Trouble in River City

We need more than resolve and determination to live the Christian life.

But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.” (Mark 14:31 NIV)

The usual pattern of growth for new believers follows a similar path. New life in Christ begins with excitement and enthusiasm as God welcomes a new child into His family. Regular church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian fellowship mark the trail of the new believer. Along the way, new believers typically come to a realization that is similar to that of newlyweds: a painful awareness that there is a problem in their relationship. They can’t always put a finger on it. They’re not even willing to call it a problem at first. But over a period of weeks or months, they come to terms with the emerging realization that there’s trouble in River City with their faith walk. They fear that if they do not get to the source of the problem and solve it, their very relationship with Christ could be threatened.

There are several possible sources for this problem:

1. Sometimes you may sense things changing in your spiritual walk as it settles from the new and novel to a life pattern. That’s natural.

2. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you go through the normal highs and lows of human life. Remember, everything on earth goes through cycles. The cycles in your spiritual walk do not necessarily signal a problem in your relationship with God.

3. Sometimes you will sense things changing in your spiritual walk as you grow in Christ. Such change signals a good thing as you move from Christian babe to seasoned saint.

4. Sometimes, however, you may sense a change in your spiritual walk that indicated a spiritual problem at a deeper level. Let’s try to diagnosis this problem with a series of questions:

* Do you hunger to return to your old sinful lifestyle and circle of friends?
* Is your love for God, His family, or spiritual things waning?
* Are you slipping in your spiritual disciplines?

If these are not the problem, then you may have the same problem that Peter and Jesus’ other disciples had. They had promised to follow the Master right into the jaws of death. But although Peter may have insisted emphatically, his insistence wasn’t enough. He needed something more in order to maintain his commitment to Christ. But what? Tune in tomorrow for “The Rest of the Story.”

But first, let’s review our memory verse for this week, Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

The Quest – Day 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)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 20

This is the devotional for Friday, May 19, 2006 which is Day 20 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 20 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 20 – Restoring Broken Fellowship

Relationships are always worth restoring!

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

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

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

1. Talk to God before talking to the person.

2. Always take the initiative.

3. Sympathize with their feelings.

4. Confess your part of the conflict.

5. Attack the problem, not the person.

6. Cooperate as much as possible.

7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.

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

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

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

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

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

40 Days of Purpose – Day 17

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

This is the devotional for Tuesday, May 16, 2006 which is Day 17 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 17 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 17 – A Place to Belong

You are called to belong, not just believe!

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by joining God’s church.

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

40 Days of Purpose – Day 11

This is the devotional for Wednesday, May 10, 2006 which is Day 11 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 chapter 11 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous day’s devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 11 – Becoming Best Friends with God

God wants to be your best friend!

Jesus says, “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you … and here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me.” John 15:12-14 NLT

Your relationship to God has many different aspects: God is your Creator and Maker, Lord and Master, Judge, Redeemer, Father, Savior, and much more. But the most shocking truth is this: Almighty God yearns to be your Friend!

Friendship with God is possible only because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. The old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” but actually, God invites us to enjoy friendship and fellowship with all three persons of the Trinity: our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says to his disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 (NIV)

The word for friend in this verse does not mean a just casual acquaintance but a close, trusted relationship. The same word is used to refer to the best man at a wedding and a king’s inner circle of intimate, trusted friends. In royal courts, servants must keep their distance from the king, but the inner circle of trusted friends enjoys close contact, direct access, and confidential information. Knowing and loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known and loved is God’s greatest pleasure.

Thank you for visiting FaithBuilders Blog at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by becoming best friends with God

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)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 5

This is the devotional for Thursday, May 4, 2006 which is Day 5 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 5 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 5 – SEEING LIFE FROM GOD’S VIEW

The way you see your life shapes your life!

The way you view life is your life metaphor. It’s your description of how life works and what you expect from it; it influences your life more than you realize and determines your expectations, values, relationships, goals, and priorities. But to fulfill the purposes God has for you, you will have to base your view, your life metaphor, on the biblical metaphors of life. These are: Life is a test, and life is a trust.

Life is a test – God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Character is both developed and revealed, and all of life is a test. When you understand that life is a test, you realize that every day is important. God wants you to pass the tests of life, so he never allows the tests to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them.

Life is a trust – We are to be stewards of whatever God gives us. All we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises three rewards in eternity: affirmation, promotion, and celebration. So we must handle the trust as accountable servants of God.

“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” Luke 16:10a (NLT)

Let’s review our memory verse for this week, 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