Friday, May 24, 2013

The Only True Guide

“The Only True Guide”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 119:105

This past Sunday morning, we used the song “Thy Word” in our worship time.  This song holds a very special place in my heart and in my life, from childhood to now.  This was a song we sang at my church camp for many years and in various youth groups I have attended. 

God’s Word should be, without a doubt, the only guide for us in our lives.  It is easy to say that is the way it should be.  However, many times, we end up trying to guide ourselves and break away from the path God wants us on.  It is so easy to become distracted and become lost.  Being lost is no fun at all.  When I am lost, it drives me crazy and I want to find the path I need to be on again. 

When we do not allow God’s Word to guide us and we decide to do our own thing and go our own way, life seems to become derailed.  Somehow, things just don’t work out well.  The great news here is that no matter how far we drift away, God is waiting for us and longing for us to return to Him while His arms are open wide.  He wants us to stay on this true path where He leads. 

We need to ask ourselves if His Word is truly a lamp for our feet and a light for our path?  Do we truly desire to walk with Him?  Are we completely focused each day on staying on the narrow path?  Again, it is easy to say we do, but living that out is a difficult thing to do.

It is my prayer that we strive each day to follow God’s Word and the path He is leading us on.  If we are not in tune to His way and His Word, then we will go our own way and drift.  Let His Word be our only way of life. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Extreme Church: The Way It Was Meant To Be

Extreme Church: The Way It Was Meant To Be”
By Zach Wood
Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:42-47

It is very clear that Jesus gave a command for his group of men to go out and make a difference in the lives of all people.  He gave the Great Commission for them to go out and make disciples and to grow the Kingdom.  He also calls us to do the same.

I once heard someone say, Jesus gave The Great Commission, NOT the great suggestion.  Jesus was clear of the mission that needed to be accomplished.  There is nothing more important than going out, meeting people, helping them and showing them the love of God and bringing them to the Kingdom to know Him.  We should be all about building the Kingdom.

There are so many opportunities we have to go out and be the church.  I really started understanding this more the past 8 years that I was working in the secular work environment.  I worked in a warehouse for that time and my whole perspective on people and lives completely changed.  I saw people who were very real and not trying to be what they are not.  I met many hurting and confused people.  Did I take advantage of every opportunity?  No.  I missed many.  Many times, I found myself not really knowing how to relate to those people. 

What I did discover along the way was that people did notice something different in me.  I learned I needed to be that example and God was calling me to be the church to them.  I needed to be real and genuine and not shove religion down their throat, but to be a model of God’s Love to them.

There are so many broken people in this world today.  People who are in need of  Christ’s Love.  I honestly don’t know of any greater command or mission to be part of than to get to know people and to try my best to show them God’s Love.

My philosophy about ministry is simply this in only one word, “Relationships”.  Jesus built relationships with other people.  He was real and genuine and that’s the only way I want to be.  I am not about getting to know people to get them into a church building.  I want to help build the Kingdom by getting to know people and showing them I care about them.  I don’t want to be fake and trick them into anything. 

The church and the world are full of broken people who need Jesus Christ.  We have people come here and need His Love.  God wants to use you and I to bring people to Him.  Will we choose to let Him use us and send us out to show His Love to others?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Challenging Exercise

“A Challenging Exercise”
By Zach Wood
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

For the past few months in our small group bible studies here at church, we’ve been going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  It has been amazing to talk about God’s crazy love by sending Jesus Christ to die for us and how, in response to that, our love by to Him should be just as crazy back. 

I remember one week talking about this passage and how we see a wonderful picture of what love should be.  This chapter is a powerful chapter written by Paul to the church in Corinth.  None of us completely understand what love really is, especially the love Jesus Christ had for us when He went to the Cross.

Talking about this passage, it reminds me of one chapel session back at bible college one Friday morning in our small group gathering.  The professor in our group mentioned this passage to us.  He then proceeded to tell us that we should try putting our own name where “love” shows up.  He then asked us to read the passage and see how far we get. 

This was a challenge I have never forgotten about.  Every time I see that passage, I am reminded of his challenge to us.  Needless to say, I didn’t get past the first part of the passage.  When I read, “Zach is patient” to myself, I just stopped.  I was already done!  I have never been a patient person.  It’s one quality about myself that I would do anything to change, even with a magic wand!!!  However, I do not have a magic wand, so I must ask God each day to give me strength and guidance to think through situations and do my best to practice patience.  Patience really shows love. 

As I read through this passage, I truly see qualities I want to have.  I want to be patient and kind.  I don’t want to be envious, boastful, or proud.  I don’t want to be rude, self-seeking, or easily angered.  I don’t want to be known for keeping a record of wrongs.  I don’t want to delight in evil, but in truth. 

So, how do I do these things?  How do we accomplish these qualities?  It’s a simple answer, but requires a lot of work.  These things come from a daily, close relationship with God.  Reading His Word and being devoted and committed to being a disciple.  It is a daily journey for all of us. 

I ask you to try going through that passage and putting your name in and see how far you get and then ask God for strength, guidance and wisdom to attain these qualities.  It is a challenging exercise and only possible with God’s work daily through you and I.