I want to take the moment to address something that has been on my heart and I feel is important to each of us as part of The Church today! This is the title of Christian.

The struggle that I have seen is that there are too many today who are “Christians”. I know this may sound like I’m saying that there is only a select few who are called, but that is not the case. What I am saying however is that we need to stop being “Christians” and start being Christians.

There are many non-believers who refuse to come to church or to get involved because they see many in the church who are calling themselves Christians, but are not living the life that is worthy of the call that is placed on their lives. There are many today who live like they wish during the week, but when it comes to the Change in the life that is to take place, it is absent. They are going through the motions on a Sunday morning or a Wednesday evening, but they are not living the life that they claim.

I’m not pointing fingers, and in no way am I saying I have it all figured out, but friends, we need to address this problem in our churches today. If we want to see the church grow we must show that there is a difference in our lives. If we are claiming to be Christians, then we need to be the change we want to see in others. We cannot look like the world and win souls for Christ.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Brennan Manning who passed away earlier this month on April 12 and it states, “The GREATEST single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

I think we can all take a look at our own lives and see if we are living what we say we live. Paul mentioned it to the Church at Ephesus when he said in Ephesians 4:

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:17-24, ESV

To give the non-believer a reason to believe we must look like the One in which we claim to have belief…We must look like Christ if we want the world to see the change that He can make in a life. Today, I encourage each of you to not just be a Christian in word, but also in deed. Do not be afraid to allow God to do a great work in you; don’t just say you are a Christian, but show them in how you live your life.

When We Sing, When God Sings

Something that has been on my mind lately is what happens when we sing and when God sings. I started studying for a sermon this past Sunday, and as I studied, I started meditating on two sections of scripture that I feel can bring us joy and blessing in our lives.

The first is in Acts 16:25-40 where we see the story of Paul and Silas in prison and the opening words of the section tell us that around midnight Paul and Silas began singing praises to God with the other prisoners listening. These men began praising God in their time of weakness and trouble. They were seeking God and trusting Him through one of the most difficult times they had ever faced.

What do you do when you are facing tough times? Do you trust God and seek Him and praise Him? Do you sing to Him in your times of trouble?

In the next verse we see that there was a great earthquake and the prison gates were opened and their chains loosened. These men trusted God and sang to Him in a time of trouble and the earth shook! But how?

I am offering a theory on what may have taken place during this time, but I want register a disclaimer that this is only one of many possibilities that may have taken place during this time. But in studying the scripture we see that when the Lord returns there will be a loud shout of praise and the earth will shake and graves will open. With this in mind I look back to Zephaniah 3:14-17 for this theory:

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.’”

I feel it is highly possible that these words are encouragement to each of us, and feel that Paul and Silas experienced in this moment what happens when God sings. They were singing praises to God, encouraging the other prisoners, and those prayers and petitions made their way to the throne room of heaven. It is possible that God chose to sing along, scripture tells us that God’s voice is like thunder. Again, I am not saying that it is what happened, but isn’t it a wonderful picture, men rejoicing and praising with all their heart and God joining in, singing with them, rejoicing with gladness?

This is what happens when we are obedient to the scripture, when we praise Him, he is faithful to His word. God promises that he will rejoice over us with gladness and will exult over us with loud singing. What an amazing God we serve!

Today, sing in your times of trouble, you never know what will shake the earth and loosen the chains that are holding you back, so sing to your heart’s content. Praise God today for He is good!

For God So Loved

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:16-21, ESV

These words speak volumes to each of us who follow Christ. One of the things that I find many doing is stopping at 3:16 but never going any farther. Many stop at simple belief, but Jesus continued on to tell us that there is more than just believing. Scripture tells us that even the demons believe.

Jesus, in these words to Nicodemus, tells us all that He did not come to the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He elaborates on this by continuing the conversation and explaining that those who believe are not condemned. He then says some of the key words to our Christian faith in verse 19, saying, “And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” What does this mean?

It means, when someone is living in sin, they love the darkness, they love to be around others who live like they do, those who are also in the darkness, those who will not condemn them. Light has a way of exposing that which is hidden in the dark, and when the light is revealed all sins are made known.

Today, we must examine what we are doing. We have to realize that we are not being what God has called us to be when we live outside of the light. Christ is the light, and he has called us to be in the light.

James 1:19 tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James continues on by telling us that we must be hearers and doers of the word, not hearers only. There are many who hear and believe the word, but there are few who do and truly believe the word. So many stop at believing that Jesus is the Christ, but they forget that being a believer of the Word means that they are putting faith into action each day.

Are you putting your faith into action today? Can others see Christ in you? Are you living in the light or the dark today?

Examine your heart today. I encourage you to be more than just a simple hearer of the word, but to embrace what Christ is offering today through our ‘doing’ the word. Be more than a hearer today. Let God expose you today so that you can be all he needs you to be.