Jan2WedJanuary 2, 2019
What are the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions??
10. Be more spiritual
9. Get out of debt
8. Be more organized
7. Spend less time on the internet
6. spend more time with the family
5. be a better person
4. Quit drinking
3. Quit smoking
1. Lose weight
Here’s the problem with resolutions…. I will. It really is about willing things into existence. Some of us good at will power for a day, a week, a month, 6 weeks – they say it takes that long to form a habit and some make it through the whole year. However, for the Jesus follower, this new life has more to do with being than with doing! It is more about living in Christ and the mystery of Christ in me than trying to will myself to be more spiritual. It’s not about rule following, it’s not about trying to be a “good Christian”.
It is however, the constant tension to discover the ‘unforced rhythms of grace’ as Eugene Peterson paraphrases in Matthew 11:28 all the while not getting wrapped up in a performance mindset.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
The problem is that living that kind of life is hard to measure externally. We can easily tick off the boxes if we were to check whether we read our Bible for the day, prayed prayers for others, , did a kind act of service. However God wants to stretch us beyond a performance based relationship where the way that we live and respond is a natural outflow of His life in us.
Get READY! Colossian 1:3-8
who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
As Paul addresses the believers as Colossae, his initial prayer here is focused on anticipation and expectation of what God can do!
The love in the Spirit that prepared them was modelled by Epaphras who spoke of their love in the Spirit. It is a Holy Spirit supernatural love that their faith, love and hope all bubbled up from.
Please understand that the ability for the gospel to bear fruit was completely wrapped up in the love that was created in them by the Spirit of God.
We can’t manufacture that kind of love. We have to become completely undone by the love of God in our lives. It is the Spirit of the living God that enabled David to say, “your lovingkindness is better than life itself!” Psalm 63:3 We need to encounter that love.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah
Often we experience it to the greatest degree in our own brokenness. I have often seen it happen in others after a failed relationship or after experiencing loss.
We have recently been reconnected with Carrie, one of the people who were part of the Manor when we started. Recently her daughter, Trinity, was in a very serious car accident, had been in a coma and went through two brain surgeries as a result. She reached out to us and it has been incredible to watch her faith come back to life as she has been pressing in and praying over her daughter along with us. We have been declaring promises over Trinity from the Word that she “will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17
We have seen a new Carrie through her brokenness and during this very difficult time in her life and she knows God is hearing her prayers. He has been so good and so faithful.
Yesterday as we were visiting with Trinity her eyes opened up and she began to focus on her mom, Carrie and us. She was able to move her arm and also her foot responded to Carrie rubbing it. Trinity has a long way to go but we continue to declare that she will make a full recovery!
GET SET Colossians 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
There are times where I just learn to ‘soak in’ a song.
You Are Here (The Same Power)
The same power that conquered the grave
Lives in me, Lives in me
Your love that rescued the earth
Lives in me, lives in me
The premise of the song was the amazing revelation that the same power that raised Christ from the dead flows through me. We talk about how we want to begin a new year, bring in a new perspective. Start on your knees and renew yourself –spirit, body and mind with this same thought that gripped Paul. I am raised with Christ! I am raised with Christ! I am raised with Christ! The place that I belong is in His fullness, being made complete in Him, not in the valley of defeat and despair. It lights my day, it renews my mind. It needs to energize me beyond belief.
So, instead of putting up a good fight with sinful habits, getting worn out in the process and finally succumbing when tired; choose to seek God’s face for a deeper revelation of what it means to be ‘raised with Christ’. Take your eyes off your weakness and put them on the exalted position of Christ.
As one writer shares:
You are not a sinner struggling to get free from the tight grip of sin but an ‘heir with Christ’, raised up together with him with sin trying to pull you down.
Learn to look down at sin not up at it.
The most important things about us are invisible. No one can really identify the things that are really affecting us by just looking at us. They cannot ascertain the critical issues that really determine us and who we are from this vantage point. The realization that you are raised with Christ is the most valuable, most important invisible truth about you as a follower of Christ….stop reading ahead, let this sink in!
We are united with Jesus Christ. We have died and have been raised with Christ and our lives are hidden with him in God. These realities cannot be proved by how you look; nothing you can measure, touch, and show other people. Your very connection with Jesus in this way is the greatest truth imaginable. However you have to choose to believe it and act on it because it can’t be seen. You want to live in freedom, believe that Jesus has set you free. We need to appropriate the riches of your position. Stop living like a slave to sin when God has told you that you are an instrument of righteousness! (parallel passage – Romans 6)
set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.v1
The heart is the seat of affections. We need to position ourselves so that we are ready to receive. It is a matter of appetite, what am I really hungry for.
Have I come to the ‘Rolling Stones’ revelation in my own life….’I can’t get no satisfaction.’ Have I really experienced the joy of the Lord as my strength?
Or is the U2 reality…’I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ Am I just flirting with my affections for the King or does He truly have all of me. I can’t experience all of Him until I have fully surrendered all of me. That is the only way that it works. You have as much of God as you want for they that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled!!
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. V2-4
Once you have accepted your spiritual position in Christ and your heart is Christ’s home and it is more than just a cliché , the next place to work on is your mindset. You need to understand the nature of sin with your intellect – your mind.
You are not your habits. Sin wants to be your master and it will not give up. It is a thief and it robs you of time, community and real relationships. Sin never delivers on its promises. Sin takes real needs and pushes you to fulfill them in illegitimate ways.
Arm yourself with this mindset: If there is a death that needs to take place, it might as well be my death in Christ to the power that sin has over me.
It is a training process of your mind to learn to hate the consequences of sin despite the temporary pleasures it presents. Evil, wrong thinking always gives birth to evil, wrong living. If we are to live well, we have to align our thinking and keep renewing our minds, fill it with godly truth, soak its transforming power into our lives.
I can remember very clearly having a conversation with Dan about his journey of overcoming addicition. He would share how when he was tempted how he would let him mind run the full course of giving into his addicition and where that would lead him. He would imagine how he would feel after the high, the rush and the sickness that would come. He would also look at how he would often lose his job and be completely broke after spending the money to feed the addiction and the amount of time to come back to his normal self and then he would be able to say this is absolutely not worth it.
The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come that you may have life and life to the full!
Renewing the mind is a journey; don’t get discouraged at the first sign of defeat.
Live in light of who you are, not the way that you feel after you just got beat up.
GO Colossians 4:2-6
Be missional always!
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Birth your initiatives to reach your peers, your community in prayer.
Pray that God will give you the opportunity.
Pray for boldness – don’t be afraid of people – Paul went to jail for his words, you won’t… well, at least not yet.
Pray for clarity – know the Scriptures
Be wise – timing is everything - one on one’s I find are the best
Speak the truth in love – have compassion, have empathy for others
Believe that the Holy Spirit can give you the right words to know how to answer people.
Jesus said to His folowers in Luke 12:12 “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."!