Valentine wasn’t a sweetie

Valentine wasn’t a sweetie! He was a courageous man who was murdered for refusing to deny his faith in the living Jesus. 

Religious syrup is sticky and puts out God’s inner fire. However, daily reading the Bible with an open heart will stir up your love for God and make you courageous like St. Valentine.

True love cares enough to get to know people who are different than you and to show compassion for their struggles. When love is just a feeling, it waffles and needs syrup to sweeten it. When it’s an irrefutable commitment, love never fails. Love enough to give more than stuff.

A relationship that doesn’t result in open, honest, heart-to-heart intimacy, is falling far short of its potential. Sharing other people’s loving words on a card is nice, but expressing love with your own heart-felt words is the very best. Express your love today.

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Jesus back then or Jesus now?

It’s not enough to hear talks about Jesus back then or Jesus someday. We need to experience the risen Jesus in the now! Perhaps church could roll away the cold stone of formal religion and let Jesus raise us up like He did Lazarus. (See John 11.) 

A religious service is a poor substitute for the risen Savior. Church frustrates me because it’s like hearing a weekly talk about swimming but never being allowed in the pool. If we don’t know and interact with the now Jesus, can we really be a Christ-follower? Let the now Jesus wow you!

Perhaps the most effective way to present Christ is to create an environment where He’s free to manifest His power and presence. 
The preaching of dry dogma leaves people parched, but interacting with the presence of the risen Jesus sets them free. 

If Christians meet to experience Christ (not just to hear about Him) He shows up with power. It’s good to learn the history of Jesus, but it’s better to let His story permeate you with His very presence! It’s good to know what Jesus did in the past and is going to do in the future, but it’s bad to ignore what He’s doing right now.

The gifts of the Spirit are powerful demonstrations of what the living Jesus is doing right now. Church shouldn’t shut them down. 

Using the weekly lecture format in church is like using it in dance class — ineffective. (2 Corinthians 14:26 offers an alternative.) According to Jesus’ words in the “Great Commission,” disciples aren’t preached into existence. They’re made! 

To preach to people without actively walking them through the steps of applying the message, creates hearers not doers. Sermons heard, ignored, & forgotten (without any active application to real life) create hearts that are a little more hardened.

After the sermon’s been heard people are sent away without any hands-on training to help them daily do the Word. Is that absurd?
Teasing people with the Good News about the risen Jesus, but not training them how to daily experience Him, hardens their hearts.

Preach to those who haven’t heard the Word. Make disciples of those who’ve received it. All preaching and no action, interaction, or reaction can make church a disservice by making us stifle our Spirit-prompted thoughts and feelings.

Church is looking for programs. God is looking for people to freely obey His inner promptings.

The worst theology isn’t in the head. It’s living and acting like Jesus is dead. Accept no substitute for the presence of the risen Jesus living in and controlling your heart. (“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)
Christianity was never intended to be “group think” but spiritual awakening & radical obedience to the living Jesus!

Too many Christians make going to church a substitute for daily following and obeying the living Jesus. Biblically no man can be the head of a church. Headship is Jesus’ job.

It’s called discipleship, not disciple-sit. All hands on deck. Every believer is called to follow and obey the living Jesus.

No amount of lectures about electricity will ever turn on the light. No amount of sermons will ever . . .

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Finding hope in America’s racial problems

If you’re discouraged about the future, here’s hope for racial healing for America!\

Through Christ, all walls of division have been torn down. Believers from every tribe and tongue are united by the blood of Jesus. A former Engaging Missions guest, Steve Simms, comes to talk about racial reconciliation. As ministers of reconciliation, we are called to bring healing where there has been injustice and brokenness.

Steve shares about his new book called Off the RACE Track, which helps believers know how to be color kind. He also tells stories about how he came to care about this issue. He provides lessons from his time pastoring a multiracial church.

Here’s the podcast timeline: Listen at this link.

  • 00:24 – Episode summary
  • 01:31 – Longing to see reconciliation
  • 03:10 – What does it mean to be color kind?
  • 05:19 – Taking the first step
  • 06:43 – Finding ways to understand others
  • 08:10 – Approaching a different culture
  • 11:07 – Beginning to interact on a personal level
  • 13:45 – How did you pursue knowledge on the issues?
  • 16:04 – Grasping the history of racial division
  • 18:01 – What can we do to repair the problems?
  • 19:16 – For the pastors seeking a Revelation congregation
  • 21:50 – The many meanings of diversity
  • 23:35 – Representing every tribe and tongue
  • 26:10 – Pastoring a diverse church
  • 28:50 – Where to start
  • 31:46 – One person can change the world
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Mistakes are for overcoming, not for shutting a lid on your life.

Perhaps rather than “making it to the top,” success is walking side by side in love and compassion. In a game someone has to lose, but no one loses in life unless they give up and stop trying.

How the plays are called in your life is much more important than the play-calling in the Super Bowl. Make God your play-caller!

Conforming to our desires is not transformation, but slavery — but real transformation comes through Christ. By continually conforming to guilt-producing desires, we become enslaved to outward habit and inner torment. 

Some things are just too coincidental to be a coincidence. When that happens look for the hand of God. God never changes, but through Christ, He offers us grace to change and the supernatural power to live according to His will.

A Gospel that has the power to set people free & transform lives, feels no need to excuse or justify sin. Christ offers radical change — freedom from the torment and control of self-destructive desires! Christianity’s about lifestyle change — no longer living by desires, but living by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mistakes are for overcoming. They’re not intended to shut a lid on your life.

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When it comes to the Holy Spirit, always choose ALLOW

Jesus is here now (live and in person) but often church acts like He’s long gone. If you’re a Christian, don’t act like Jesus is dead. Instead let His presence continually transform and inspire you. Sometimes it feels like church takes the risen Jesus and entombs Him in protocol, formalism, and lecture. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need to be controlled or monitored in a church service by a pastor. 

Sermonize me and I forget. Involve me in actively hearing and obeying the risen Jesus and I’m transformed. However, church services seem to see ordinary Christians as incapable, spiritual infants who only sit and listen to a professional preacher.

If protocol, programs, and pastors require Christians to quench the Spirit, a monotone monotony sets in. However, when the risen Jesus comes in, boredom goes out. Many people hear a weekly sermon talk, however, few let the risen Jesus direct their daily walk.

A sermon informs the mind. The living Jesus transforms the heart. Interactive participation turns information into application. Christians need to meet to listen to one another and actually do the Word together.

Church tends to lecture people about Jesus like He is dead, instead of celebrating, demonstrating, and obeying His living presence. A Christian who just attends church once a week, but doesn’t stay close to the risen Jesus, will be spiritually weak.

TED allows lots of people to give a talk. A church usually only lets one.
A meeting of the body of Christ is full of spiritual gifts and much wisdom. It seems such a waste to only let one person speak. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, always choose ALLOW.

People joke about boring sermons. I take them seriously. I believe that God wants more sharing in church than one-man sermons.

Christianity isn’t an enterprise — its an inner prize — the pearl of great price! Many people minister in their own name by putting it on “their ministry,” but shouldn’t ministry be done “in the name of Jesus”?

Christians can gather as an audience. (Church may be the only educational institution in the world that requires a lifetime of hearing weekly lectures.) They can also meet as a body of believers to minister to one another as led by the Spirit. In a “doer” church service, people are free to actually do the New Testament “one anothers,” not just be hearers only.

To make sermon-hearing the focus of Christian worship is to miss the point of the resurrection of Jesus! Church services make people “hearers only’ but the Bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” I want to find a doer church service where everyday people are allowed to listen to the resurrected Jesus and then do what He tells them to!

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What do you get if you cross political debate with procrastination? An argument that is just waiting to happen.

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Life is improvable — humorize

Life’s improvable! Make your day better by noticing the humor around you and playfully enjoying it. Improv today. Stress, sadness, discouragement — what we have here is a failure to appreciate the humor in everyday life. Humorize!

When I’m struggling in life, I try to see funny in my circumstances. By finding something to laugh about, I feel so much better! Since there is no need to make sense of humor, you can just relax and enjoy it. 

Whenever you find a little humor in difficult circumstances you will win some joy and relief. Find some and see for yourself. Humor is the least expensive medicine. It only costs you a moment to laugh. 

It just makes common sense that life is easier with a good sense of humor. We all have craziness in our life, but if we learn to regularly have a healthy laugh at it, it won’t stress us out so much. If you won’t laugh at yourself, you may need to find someone who will.

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