Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who Do You Say That I Am?

"Who Do You Say That I Am?"
By Zach Wood
Matthew 16:13-17

Jesus asks a direct question to the disciples.  He doesn’t ask them who their friends think Jesus is or about who their mom and dad thinks he is.  Then Peter comes out with a bold statement saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”    

Who do you say that Jesus is?  Don’t think about what your mom and dad taught you.  Don’t think about what your grandparents taught you.  You see, there comes a point in our lives when we must make the decision for ourselves of who Jesus is to us.  Is He just someone we’ve followed all our lives because we have been told that’s the life we should live?

When we meet someone who is really cool and maybe even famous, that encounter stays with us for the rest of our lives.  We can tell and retell the scenario over and over again because it’s important to us and we are proud of that moment.  We don’t just stand there and say, “Well, I’ll let so and so tell you about this person”.  No!  If we’ve met this neat or famous person, we live to tell about it.  We don’t let someone else tell it for us. 

When we are asked by others who Jesus is or what He’s done for us, we should be excited to share the good news of what He’s done in our lives.  If we have a personal story, we want to tell it ourselves.

This is exactly what Christ longs for us to do with others.  He loves for us to share with others.  He doesn’t want us to be ashamed in any way that He is our Savior and Lord.  He wants us to tell our story of His redemption in our lives.  We should be proud and unashamed to share His work in us.    

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Godly Obsession: The Chase After The Creator

"Godly Obsession: The Chase After The Creator"
By Zach Wood
Psalm 63:1

What do we chase after in life?  Are we willing to change our obsession from what the world offers to what God offers?  If you truly seek and desire to serve the Lord and develop a hunger for Him like you’ve never experienced before, I guarantee you will feel the unending obsession build up in your heart for the chase. 

If you’re obsessed with the Creator, you won’t be able to go through the day without thinking about Him.  You won’t be able to eat without Him in your mind and heart.  You’ll want to use your hands to serve Him every chance you get.  You’ll bubble over when you notice someone in need who doesn’t know Jesus and you’ll burn with a passion and desire to share Him.  You won’t be able to get Him out of your mind.  You won’t be able to stop talking about Him. You’ll do anything you can to get to a Bible Study or church service to learn more about Him.  You will become consumed with wanting to know more and more and more about Him.  You’ll never have enough.  You’ll find yourself stopping at nothing to gain more knowledge of Him and growing closer to Him.  If you get arrested for proclamation, you’ll continue to worship Him.  If you find yourself having to give your life for your beliefs, you’ll know you’ll go home to Him.

As long as we are obsessed with material things here on earth, God will not fully have the attention of our hearts.  If you truly seek after Him, you will find His peace and comfort.  It’s an overwhelming feeling that cannot be described.  God wants us to chase after Him.  We shouldn’t be satisfied after church service.  Why?  Because we should desire even more of Him.  We need to be at a point where we can’t get enough.  The more we chase after Him, the more our hunger builds and our obsession becomes to be more like Him. 
Do you want to come to the point where all you can think about each day is how much you truly desire to grow in Christ?  If you haven’t developed that desire, you still can.  How?  Just put away the obsessions with material things in your daily life and focus on the Creator.  Once you really focus on Him and ask Him to give you that desire to grow, He will place the desire in your heart.  You can become obsessed with knowing Him. 

We should have a Godly obsession that drives us to chase after our Creator.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Calls Us To Complete Obedience And Faithfulness

"God Calls Us To Complete Obedience And Faithfulness"
By Zach Wood
Genesis 22:1-18

What an incredible story of complete obedience to God!  I’m sure in Abraham’s heart, he was just crushed over the request God made for him to bring Isaac to the altar and sacrifice him.  Being given instructions to take your child’s life would seem horrific!  But, God was testing Abraham and he was faithful.  He was faithful even though the instructions seemed crazy. 

We all have these obstacles we come up to in life and we cry out to God, “How in the world can I get around this?  What are you going to do?  I am scared and these instructions you are giving me seem crazy.  They don’t make any sense.  Why can’t you be more clear?”  It’s not always an obstacle, but sometimes it’s a huge task in front of us that scares us.  Or perhaps it’s an opportunity that lies before us that is so huge and we’ve never done anything like this before.  We’re excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. 

One of the hardest parts of trusting God in confusing situations is surrendering to Him.  Laying our confusion and frustration before Him at the Cross and letting Him be in complete control. 
We are to trust completely in the Lord and lean not on our own strength and understanding.  Our own understanding will hinder us because it is so limited and God is so far beyond what our little minds can fathom.

When I come up against an obstacle that looks scary and impossible to conquer, I plead with God to do something to take it away.  It often seems impossible to get around.  That’s when God reminds me that there are some things that I cannot and will not be able to do with my strength, but must just believe and have the faith that He will provide.

No matter what the obstacle, God always calls us to trust Him and be obedient and faithful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We Need To Be Consistent With Our Encouragement

"We Need To Be Consistent With Our Encouragement"
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 4:29, 5:1-2

Consistency is a trait we lack in this world.  As Christians, we need to be consistent in our commitment to the Lord and to others.  I find that it’s quite easy to start a good habit with intentions of keeping the habit.  However, habits often die off quickly.

We all struggle with consistency because it requires so much commitment.  People who practice consistency well are very good at keeping commitments they have made.  No one enjoys being around someone who is not consistent with their commitments.  Keeping our commitments make us dedicated people. 

Our commitment of time in helping others is a great source of encouragement.  It’s a great witnessing tool as well.  When others see us being consistent with our time commitments, it invites more trust from them.

The greatest source of encouragement is our words toward others.  This is an area some of us struggle with more than others.  Some people have a hard time keeping their tongue under control and unwholesome words can go out in an instant.  Not just foul language, but also negative talk about others. 
When we show we care and keep our commitments, we are being imitators of God and witnesses for the Kingdom.  God loves us and keeps His commitments and promises to us, so we should do likewise and be imitators of what He does.

When we are encouraging with our words instead of gossiping or using foul language, we glorify God and strengthen our witnessing opportunities.