Category Archives: Seeking God

the imitation game//part 1

imitation

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV)

For many years now, I’ve been challenged by the imitation factor in Paul’s discipleship example.  He charged the Corinthians twice in his first letter to them to imitate him.  How bold do you have to be to encourage people to imitate you?  What kind of life you need to live to make that sort of challenge?  In his second challenge he added to it, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1 (ESV).  So, there you have it.  The heart of discipleship.  It’s not so much having a good curriculum to teach or the best scripture memorization strategy.  All of those things are good.  But discipleship has to be much more.  It’s sharing life together.  It’s living a life seeking Christ and being able to say, “Imitate me as I follow the ways of Jesus.”

Many people shy away from discipling others because they don’t feel qualified.  I know the feeling well.  I’ve pondered the question many times wondering what I have to teach, what I have to share.  But, if you are a seeker of Christ, the best thing to do is to be willing to open up your life to others.  Be willing to let them see your successes and failures, your dirty laundry, you discipline your kids, and maybe even a marital spat.  Be honest and real.  Admit failure and demonstrate grace.

Seek Christ and share your life.  Paul, Silas, and Timothy did this with the Thessalonians.  In 1 Thessalonians 2:8-12 Paul says that they shared not only the Gospel Christ with them, but also their very lives; living an example before them while sharing the gospel and encouraging them to live a life worthy of God.  They lived the example and shared the truth of Christ at the same time.

Sure, there is heavy accountability with this.  That’s part of the process as well.  Sharing our lives with others challenges us to grow and be diligent as well but it’s not about being perfect.  You think Paul was perfect?  Far from it.  In fact, Paul was open about his ongoing struggle with sin in Romans 7.  Be real.  Be open.  It’s called community.

Live to be imitated as you imitate Christ.


Abram, I know what you mean man

Lynwood is reading through the Bible chronologically this year. I’m following a little different plan than our church but it’s pretty close.  Today, I began to read about Abram (the guy that eventually becomes Abraham). And, man, I think we’re kin cause I do the same things he did.

I mean, at a general glance, how can you complain about him?  He follows God when God calls.  Even when he doesn’t know where he’ll end up. And he’s blessed.  Things, people, money.  He’s got ’em all.

But, at the first sign of trouble, watch out! A famine hits so Abram packs up heads to Egypt for help.  Mistake one. Then, he gets nervous about his beautiful wife (apparently old pharaoh was rounding up the beauties for himself) and tells them that she is his sister.  A half truth since she was his half sister, but also his wife. Mistake two. Spoiler alert: this won’t be the only time Abram tells that lie.

So, where does he mess up?  He doesn’t stop to ask God what to do.  He doesn’t stop to think that the God of the universe might know better what to do or can provide for and protect him. So, when trouble hits, he “knows what to do.”  And Abram does what he thinks is best.

Me too.

How many times have I done that? Trouble hits and before I stop and take time to seek God’s face I’m off trying to fix it. Or should I say messing it up more.

So Abram and me, we’re com padre’s.  Members of a club that I’m pretty sure has many members. They just don’t stand up and announce it, not with words anyway. So, I’m trying to learn this lesson now, while there’s no emergency or trouble.  Seek God.  When all is well.  Seek God.  When trouble hits.  Seek God.  When I don’t know what to do.  Seek God.

Anyone else trying to learn this or is it just me?

Brian


are we there yet?

No.  Not there yet.  In the crazy adventure of seeking God’s will we are not there yet.  We really won’t be there until we stand before His throne and between here and there is a great adventure.  God is now taking us to the next step in that journey.  It’s too much for me to type so here it is on video.

We love you all so much!

Brian and Sonya


new friends

I met these guys on a morning walk.  Seemed like an odd pair to me.  After the initial growling, they walked with my for about 15 minutes.  I tried to get them to pose for a better picture to no avail.

Yes, I said morning walk.  Remember last week when I was contemplating a break because of a lack of motivation to blog or work out.  Just kind of feeling down in some areas.  Well, God has challenged me to devote this week to Him.  Fasting, praying, and taking morning walks with Him – and perhaps these guys.  I really enjoyed it.  I love the clouds that are only lit on one side as the sun comes up.  The way the shadows are broken by beams of sun light coming in low over houses and hills and trees.  There’s really nothing else like the morning.  God is good and His mercies are in deed new every morning.  Can’t wait until tomorrow.

If you remember, I would appreciate it if you would pray for me this week.  My goal: to know Him more.  Thanks.

Brian


remember this…

Seeking God is always a good thing.

And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalm 9:10

Remember as well, that when you seek Him with all of your heart, He promised that you will find Him – Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13.

So seek.

Brian


Luke 21: Watch Out!

So I’m reading through Luke and came to chapter 21.  It’s the Matthew 24 and 25 of Luke; a description of the time preceding the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times with the warning to look out.  Take a moment to read Luke 21.  When you see the part about earthquakes and famines you may start to take notice with the recent out break of earthquakes we’ve seen, especially when you get to verse 28 and Jesus says:

Now when you see these thing begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

He’s saying get ready.  When you see these things begin to take place (and there are many more signs than just earthquakes and famines – make sure you read the passage) look for the Lord’s return.  I know I’m skipping a lot about the Tribulation, persecution, etc.  I’m doing that on purpose to avoid the pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pre-millennial, post-millennial debate stuff.  Here’s my point today.  Here’s what God pointed out to me today, verse 34:

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Do you see the warning?  We can get so distracted by the cares of this life that we miss the most obvious things going on right before us – even the most important things.  He’s letting us know that it is possible to get so wrapped up in the things that we “need” or “love” (i.e. money, fleshly desires, sports events, power, etc.-  this list could go on for days – just insert what He’s speaking to you) that we can even miss His second coming.  If we can by the “cares of this life” that we miss something as big as that, how much easier is it to miss His presence everyday, His speaking to us with that still small voice, or His Spirit guiding us each day?  How much easier is it for us to be so distracted that we don’t even know that we are missing Him?

Take a moment today, or tomorrow morning, and let the Holy Spirit search your heart.  Are you distracted?  What do you need to give up?  What priorities need to change so that you can seek the Lord?  Make sure you take time to listen to Him.  It is all too easy to get distracted.  Take it from ADD boy.

Brian


testing the will of God?

This morning, my reading through Romans put at that great apex of the book.  That place that where every pastor has to explain the word, “Therefore.”  You know what I’m talking about, chapter 12.  12 :1 says (in the NIV), “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of god’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”  Oh, there is so much to unwrap there.  But I can’t do it in one post.

But, the “therefore” sermons are so true.  The understanding of the word “therefore” in the English language is that when you read it, you have to pay attention to what comes before it because what comes after it is directly related or a caused by what comes before.  Does that make sense?  The deal with Romans is that chapters 1 – 11 have discussed man’s sin, the punishment deserved, God’s wrath, God’s love, God’s mercy, and Jesus sacrifice for our sin, then we get the “therefore.”  What comes next is our response.  Total surrender.  Total sacrifice.  This is our spiritual act of worship.  Some translations say our “reasonable service.”  In His infinite wisdom, God gave that word a double meaning in the Greek.  It is our worship.  And it is our only reasonable response to God’s incredible love and mercy.

But verse two is what grabbed me today: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)  Again, so much is said here.  But this got me, “…that by testing you may discern what is the will of God…”  Testing?  What does it mean by “testing?”  Some translations say “test and approve”, “discern”, and “prove.”   The Greek seems to go along with trying, proving, discerning, and approving.  So, while we are surrendering our minds to the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word, for daily renewal, we are to test to see what God’s will is.  I wonder if this goes along with the Experiencing God principle that as long as we are seeking God’s will, He will not let us go the wrong way, or make the wrong decision.  It’s a little freeing to me.

If you want to know God’s will, seek Him.  Dive into His Word.  Let him transform you by renewing your mind.  Then go for His will.  Test things out.  Investigate and learn to see where He is working.  Then, join Him there.  I promise you, following His will is never dull.  It is a great adventure.

Note: in Romans 12:2, the Greek word for “test” also has the idea that the testing is to bring out the good or best in us.  Seeking God and seeking His will will always result in good for us.  At very least, knowing Him more!

Seek.

Brian