Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Genuine Sharing

“Genuine Sharing”
By Zach Wood
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NIV)
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

We try to hard these days to persuade people to buy into things.  Maybe some of us are in sales positions.  Perhaps some of us are in other positions that require being persuasive.  Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with doing these types of jobs as long as we’re not trying to persuade others for selfish gain.  That’s the key point.  If we are in a position where we try to persuade, then why are we doing it?

This is a good question we also must ask ourselves when we are trying to persuade others to follow God.  How do we share with others?  What is our plan of reaching out?  How do we mingle with people and find opportunities to share God’s Word with them? 

The Apostle Paul made it very clear that he was not interested in trying to persuade people to just “buy into” something.  He was not trying to preach and teach a message with fancy and eloquent words so that others would be impressed and follow God.  Paul had a sincere desire to see others impacted by God’s Word.  He was not trying to rely on his own abilities or his own wisdom, but only by what God empowered him to do. 

Why do we try so hard sometimes when what we really need to do is just let God use us?  Often times we try to reach others and use different tactics to get people to follow Christ.  What we need is sincerity and a genuine love that will far outweigh any effort we try to make on our own.  What people want these days is to see genuine people loving and caring for them, not people who are just trying to get them to “buy into” something.

When we share with others, we need to allow God to use us however He wants to.  We shouldn’t try to impress other people or try to persuade them by showing how much we know.  We simply need to be genuine, loving and caring, relying on God’s Spirit to direct us and lead.  We try so hard so often and what we really need is to let God lead completely, in His wisdom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A BIG Deal

“A BIG Deal”
By Zach Wood
John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

We often make a big deal out of things that happen in our lives.  We make a big deal out of getting married.  It’s an exciting time when we pledge our lives to love, honor and cherish another person as our partner for life.  We make a big deal when our children are born.  It’s a fantastic time of celebration as we welcome a new birth into the world.  We make a big deal when someone graduates from high school or college.  One chapter of life closes while another new one opens.

We could name countless other occasions where we make a big deal out of something that is truly worth celebrating.  We like to do this and congratulate people whatever the accomplishment.

As followers of Christ, we have something to make a very big deal about.  This passage is packed with so much meaning as John describes how wonderful and amazing it is that God came down to us in human form and dwelled with us.  It’s so much to wrap our minds around and I don’t think we truly ever will be able to fully. 

If there’s one thing that we should make the biggest deal about in our lives, it is Jesus Christ coming and giving all He had to be our Savior, our lifeline.  Out of all the occasions we make a big deal about through our lives, I hope that Jesus Christ being our Savior is what we make the biggest deal of.  So often, though, this becomes common knowledge and our excitement wanes regarding what He has done for us. 

Let us never let this big deal fade.  We often do and we need reminded daily of the amazing redemption God gave to us by sending Christ.  I hope we will all make this a very BIG DEAL!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Prove It

“Prove It”
By Zach Wood
John 14:21 (NLT)
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them”.

There are many things in life that we must prove.  If we say we’re committed to doing something, we must show that proof by following through.  If we say we love someone, we must prove that by the way we treat the person.  It doesn’t make any sense to talk all about how we are committed or how much we love someone if we aren’t willing to follow through and show that proof by the way we live.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  We couldn’t expect someone to believe us, just from what we say, if we aren’t committed to proving that we mean it.  If we are committed, we will follow through.  If we love others, we will show that by the ways we treat them.

Let’s take this concept and apply it to our relationship with God.  This passage really hits the nail on the head in this regard.  We are really good these days talking a good game when we discuss our love for God.  However, the true test comes when we actually live that out.  Do we really commit to following His commandments?  Do we strive to obey God in all that we do?  If we say we love Him, why wouldn’t we strive to obey and follow?  That makes sense.

In writing this, I am in no way suggesting that we do not love God as we say we do.  But what I am suggesting is that we examine our lives and our hearts to check whether or not we are truly genuine in proving that love to Him by the ways we live.  Our work places wouldn’t believe that we are committed if we are habitually late or don’t show up much at all.  Our kids wouldn’t believe that we love them if we are constantly coming down on them all the time.  We must prove our love by actually showing it to them.

If we truly love God, the proof or our claim will surely come from the way we live.  We will obey His commands and strive to not only our love for Him, but also to others.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Crave

“The Crave”
By Zach Wood
1 Peter 2:2-3 (NLT)
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”

We crave a lot of things in life, don’t we?  Most of the time it’s some kind of food that pops in our mind and we think about it and desire it.  Sometimes all it takes is a picture that reminds us how good the food was and we desire to go eat it again.  We can laugh a lot at ourselves and others when the desires come up and we talk dramatically about we can’t wait to have the food again. 

As much as we crave things in this world, it saddens me how much we have fallen away today in craving God’s Word.  It isn’t that we don’t want to read it or that we purposely try to avoid it, but in our super-busy routines that we have each day, it is so easy for us to neglect reading and filling ourselves with the spiritual nourishment we desperately need.

As we were discussing this in our small group bible study yesterday, I shared how I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to reading and filling up on God’s Word.  I can get so caught up in preparing for different things each week that I fail to really take time to get deep into God’s Word.  There so are many distractions that easily come, whether it’s thoughts of things I need to do or other distractions around me. 

We all need to be spending much more time with God’s Word, craving that spiritual milk.  We need that nourishment.  God’s Word is the ultimate authority in our lives.  While it can be great to consult with other Godly people for advice, wisdom and guidance, God’s Word should ultimately be our main source for growth and learning.  We must crave His Word more than we crave anything else. 

Just as a newborn baby craves to receive milk, we should also desperately crave to know Him more and be filled with His spiritual nourishment.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

We Are His Masterpiece

“We Are His Masterpiece”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Isn’t it an amazing thought to know that God created each of us individually and not all the same?  How crazy would it be if we were all alike and knew the same things and behaved all the same?  Can you imagine that?  That would definitely change the world up a bit, don’t you think?  Fortunately, God did not make us all the same, but very different and unique and we should be thankful He has done so.

One thing that I’m always amazed by is how God describes creating us.  We are His workmanship, His masterpiece.  The NIV describes us as His workmanship, while the NLT says masterpiece.  While both descriptions are wonderful, I tend to lean more toward masterpiece as being my favored description.  How wonderful and beautiful that we are God’s created masterpiece.  I immediately think of sculptures and different artists taking time to make something very detailed and elaborate.

The enemy sure has his ways of getting each of us to feel like we are worthless and no good to God at all.  While we know what God says to us in His Word about being unique, the enemy is very sly at getting us to believe many times that we are not worth anything to God.  He gets us to believe the lie that we have messed up too many times and that God will not love us anymore.  That is so far from the truth it is crazy!

You and I are an absolutely beautiful masterpiece created by the very hands of Almighty God.  What is even more beautiful is when we come to Christ and we are made new through Him in a new birth.  We are His masterpiece, each of us.  Now, how does that make you feel??  If you are reading this and you’ve been taunted so many years by the lie that God does not love you anymore and that you are worthless, you are completely wrong.  He loves you and nothing will ever change that. 

You and I are His beautiful masterpiece!