Never Give Up

neverIn life we all go through ups and downs with emotions, with unforseen circumstances, with storms of life, with letting ourselves down and not living up to who we want to be. I have three words for you “Never Give Up”. Jesus tells us that there will be storms, that you will have ups and downs, that you will let yourself down. But one thing is certain and never changes – God and his love for us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but what he does ask is that we depend on him and that we lean on him and that we build ourselves up strong by spending time with him. He gives us direction on how to do life and on how to lean on him. We could never survive life if it wasn’t for his goodness and mercy and his grace that gives us ability to be strong when we are at our breaking point, when we are at our weakest. When we learn that we are nothing with out him and that we can’t do it on our own, that is when his grace works in our lives and he makes a seemingly impossible situation work out.

James 4:6  “But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
We need to realize and be humble about life. We need to learn to trust that God knows what is best for us and that we don’t. When you learn to be humble in life in reverence  to God, he then will give you grace to get through what ever life is handing you. You will find more peace about not knowing what to do, because you are learning to lean and trust him in and through life, even when we go through hard times. He has been my constant and ever so faithful to me, and he will do the same for you.
Proverbs 3:5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”
This requires a DECISION on your part to put your trust in him. If you believe the bible than you should believe his word is true and that his promises are true. He will guide us, but it is up to us to place our trust and faith in him so that he can guide us. Things aren’t automatically awesome and perfect when we do follow him, but that decision to trust him will give you peace in times of trouble. And if you follow him and trust him long enough, learn also to see the miracles he will give birth to in your life. He will work things out even through the storms and the heart aches. It is a tough thing to do, to not make every decision on our own, but it is the best thing we can do, so that he can work in our lives the way he wants to. “All things work for the good of those who love him”.
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We need to trust that God is with us and he will never leave us. If we learn to trust in him and walk with him, we will find more courage and strength that if we were trying to do things on our own. He will give us grace to live life more joyfully and more fulfilled. Trusting him does require patience, because we live in such a NOW, Instantaneous results kind of world, we need to learn to change our patterns. It is something you choose to do, but if you don’t fully choose to trust, then you won’t see the great things God has planned for you. While you trust God, you should have a personal relationship with him, walking with him daily, talking with him daily and letting him lead your path. If you trust him, but go your own way, you can’t expect for your path to be straight and for things to work out. God has a plan for you and that is something he wants your trust in too. So continue to follow him in your life and learn to trust him. Make the choice, its yours to make. But God will lead you if you learn to follow.
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
My challenge for you today to apply to your life, is change your patterns of impatience and make a choice to trust in God and follow him through all the ups and downs in life. He gives you peace and grace to get through anything this life throws at you. I challenge you to follow him with your life and trust him with your life. He has the best life planned for you.

Keep Standing

keep standingA lot of times people have faith enough to get things going and to follow God right off the bat and for a while, but then we lose faith when we begin to not see results right away. But when u r believing for something that God has told u to believe for I encourage u to keep standing in faith and putting your hand to it, if God said it then u will be so blessed when u see the outcome. Stand strong through the circumstances or when things seem stagnant because God is working it out. I heard it said that people quit digging 3 feet before they reach gold. Dont quit, stand strong and keep pressing towards God and your vision. God will work it out.

Promise, Process, Payoff. Not all of God’s promises come instantly when we pray. We see God’s promises in the Bible and what he did for others, We begin a process of standing on God’s word in faith (do not let your faith go, but believe beyond what circumstances and what you can see that God’s word is true), and in God’s timing you will see the payoff for why God did it in His timing and not your own. #Trust #Faith

life so aware

cropped-banban.jpgHey guys, I want to talk to you today about living a life that is consciously aware of God’s presence in our lives. It is kinda what I named my blog after. It is really easy in life to live every day chasing dreams, watching tv, spending time with friends and family, etc. But something that we need to realize is that God’s presence is with us, God is with us every second of every day. He will never leave us or forsake us. We need to make a conscious effort to be aware that he is there. Talk with him, ask him for guidance, praise him, thank him, these are all things that we can do on a consistent basis even when we are busy running errands and facing the trials of the day at hand. We can choose to walk life with God, and to include him in our everyday decisions and learn to dwell in his presence. When we are aware of God’s presence with us constantly, it will give us the strength to overcome temptations, it will give us the faith to make hard decisions, it will give us the trust that God will get us through it, it will give us the peace that God is working for the good of those who love him, it will give us the belief that miracles are not to far fetched. God is with you! How amazing and awesome is that!?!? When we learn to be aware that God is with us we can be encouraged in life in all areas. When we learn to be aware that God is with us, eternal things become more important than the little let downs that life can bring. If God is for us, who can be against us? Learn to live a life so aware.

John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

God is with us and in us! His presence is all around us! Learn to be aware of the little things and the details that God works in your life and be thankful. Also be aware of the big miracles in your life and answered prayer. Be aware that God is with you when you face trouble, God is with you in every present moment, spend time with him and let him in on every occasion.

My challenge to you today is to make the effort to be consciously aware that God is with you always. Trust in him, cling to him, have faith in him, be thankful to him, love him, be obedient to him, be aware of him!

live and learn

live2So at the end of 2012, I want to talk to you today about reflection. Not getting down on yourself about all the failures, mistakes, or shortcomings of the year. But about looking at the past year reflecting on it, taking it in and learning from it. Something that I always say as a joke, but also very true is that “You live and you learn”. You mess up once, understandable, but take that experience and learn from it. Learn not to make the same mistakes over and over again. Really apply yourself, your will, and the strength and grace we have to overcome from the Holy Spirit to not making the same mistakes over and over again. Just like in life, when you overdraft by using your bank card when you don’t have any money, you learn not to do it again, or you get kicked in the hinder with a overdraft fee. A lot of times it is easy to get down on ourselves when trying to live this awesome Christian life for God and we screw it up by some sort of sin or mistakes, but since you made the mistake, go to God to ask forgiveness and he will give you a fresh start. Not only that, but you now have an experience in your life to learn from. Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning. He is always there to run to and to forgive any time we screw up (that’s not an excuse to sin, that would be another story, his grace isn’t a license to sin, but his grace is there to make us strong and to overcome.) This is a great time to reflect on the past year and learn from our mistakes and shortcomings and make the decision to change some things around whether that be overcoming an addiction, setting priorities straight, or just simply making more time for God and his call on your life. Yes, forgive yourself for your mishaps, but learn from them to not do them again. Ask God for grace and strength to keep strong and in pursuit of him. Know that when you do mess up, not to run from him further into darkness and sin, but run to him for he is there with open arms to receive you and love you and direct you.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”

Phillipians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,”

Forget the sins the you have committed, don’t dwell on them and let them drag you down, instead, you have learned from your mistakes, now strive forward towards God and keep your eyes on him. We all have a past, maybe even the past year that we want to forget, and we can do just that, give it to God and let his mercies cleanse you and make you clean, now that you are clean, run towards God and his plan for your life.

My challenge to you today is to reflect on what you have learned from life’s experiences this past year and declare this new year a time of dedication to God and his plan for your life. You have learned you can’t always do things on your own, you need God leading the way. You have learned that certain sins lead to certain results, but with God’s help we can over come that sin. You have learned that you feel emptier inside, because you haven’t given God the time of day when it comes to spending time with him and you aren’t pursuing his call in your life, so set aside that time daily to spend with him and follow where he leads. I challenge you to learn from this past year and decide what is right for you this year as it pertains to God and his calling and desire for you!

Perception

Think PositiveToday I want to talk to you about perception. About the way we look at life and what our mindset is going into life and all it’s different situations. Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person. I think it really is an important thing and the Bible the tells us so as well. Think about the kind of people you like to be around. Do you like to be around someone who is always complaining, dragging their feet, and someone who knows how to turn a typically normal situation into this big drama, or something negative to complain about. Or do you want to be around someone who is always looking for the best in people, someone who is looking to spin a bad situation into something that really isn’t that bad after all if you look at it a certain way. I mean you can take both of those to extremes and a lot of times extremes can be dangerous and unreal. You want the positive person, unless you are one of the negative extremes people. Of course be sympathetic to someone who may be going through a hard time and try and relate to them, but don’t let them bring you down or drag you into negativity. Do your best to look at life with the eyes of love and the way God looks at people.

Phillipians 4:6,8 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God…….Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Matthew 15:11 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I could go on and on with verses that God is telling us to look at life positively and with love and kindness. These are just a few encouraging verses to you on just that. We need to really take a look at our heart life and our mind life, what kind of voices are talking to us in any and every situation? Are they voices that scream negativity, doubt, fear, hate, and so on or is it a voice of peace, love, kindness, forgiveness, and positivity? One of them is the right answer, the second one is the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us and the negative one is either your own negative attitude that you have adopted as your own, or it could be the devil and his evil temptations that are sly and may come off as a normal response, but are just temptations to give in to those negative attributes that we talked about. I’m not saying that any time you are negative, it’s the devil, but watch out for it. And plain and simple, looking at life one way or the other is a choice. You have the power to change and to be a light and to walk in love.

A lot of times when you fill your heart and your mind with negative thoughts, that is a direct line to what words come out of your mouth. If your heart is filled with God’s word and his direction and love, you’ll find that his word and love are the type of words that will come out of your mouth in conversation. Same with that dirty negative attitude, if you are always dwelling on the negative of life, those are the type of things that will flow from your mouth in conversation.

Matthew 12:34 “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

My challenge to you today is to try and see what kind of heart and mind you have taken on as your own. Do you find yourself thinking negative a little too often or do you find yourself full of positivity and God’s word? Be honest with your self evaluation, if you want, ask others which category they would put you in. Once you have determined what you were, now you have the choice to make a change, now you can determine what kind of person you want to be. Learn to fill your heart and mind with God’s Spirit and direction, and then choose to put away any negative thoughts that may want to overwhelm you and give them to God, for he cares for you. I challenge you today to start thinking positive and start speaking positive no matter how bad life may get, it’s only worse if you let it be, by your outlook and perception of it.

Baggage

At one point Jesus was kind of cornered by some religious leaders, and they were asking him how do you sum up the entire bible, what is the greatest commandment. And in Jesus’ day we have to know there were about 633 commandments they made from the 10 commandments, Jesus said I’ll do you one better than that, I’ll boil them down to two main commandments. #LoveGod and #LovePeople (the first and second commandments). It’s very easy for someone to say go out and #LoveGod and #LovePeople, but a lot of times we don’t know how to do that. It’s not that we don’t want to do just that, but we can’t Love them (whoever it may be family, friend, coworker, etc), at least not in the crazy passionate love kind of way that the Bible is truly referring to. And that reason is because of ‘Baggage’. Baggage can be anything from jealousy issues, self-esteem issues, unforgiveness/bitterness issues, anger issues, pride issues, taming of the tongue issues, etc.

In John 17:20-26 Jesus is praying to God. Right there we have to think this is very important, I mean it’s Jesus, he could be praying for anything, and this is his prayer.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me….25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

He said, I’m going to pray that some how all those who believe in me and for those in the future who will believe in me (which is talking about us – Jesus prayed for you) will move together and flow together in community and love as one, and he goes on to say the way in which they love one another will be proof of my existence and my character.

*The way we relate to each other, is reflective of God

God created us in his image. God is a relational God. He creates community within himself, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Everything he created was created in community and is all intertwined, the mountains, the sun, the moon, the galaxies. God created for us to live in this loving context of community. God is a relational being and if we are going to reflect that, we have to live in the context of that love and that is community.

Jesus said, the proof that you are my follower and proof of my character is that you love one another. I think that the reason we have a hard time sometimes to love people is baggage and it’s keeping us from living out the commands that God has called us to, to #LoveGod and #LovePeople. And by not doing that, we are not reflecting God the way that we are to reflect him. Your baggage is what’s keeping you from reconciling with your parents, your baggage is what’s keeping you from calling your sibling this afternoon, your baggage is what is keeping your marriage from ever moving beyond mediocrity, your baggage is what makes you jealous and makes it hard to celebrate when others have success, its your baggage.

There is hope, It’s God’s desire for you to have freedom. We have to realize it may be a battle and may take time. We have to be Honest with ourselves with the junk that we may have in our lives. Whatever it is in our lives we need to be honest with ourselves and give it to God. If it is unforgiveness, we need to let it go and forgive. Even though it may be hard, that is the first step to healing, giving it to God. If we are dealing with trust where we have hurt someone. Confession to God is a start, but take a look at Matthew 5:23-24

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” God not only tells us to ask forgiveness from him but to reconcile with our friends and family. The bible also says in James 5:16 “16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” It may be scary and tough, but it is clear and simple of what we are to do, and trust that healing will come. When dealing with Envy of others, we see so many things commercials, ads and everything this day in age of the world telling us what we need and want, when God tells us what we really need is Him and his love and contentment in that. Seek that first. With all of what the world is telling us everyday what we need, a good start and reminder of what we really need would be to focus our thoughts on one message a day from God and his word. No matter how put together someone may seem and how much together we think they have it. We all need healing. We all need each other and we all need freedom and we all need God.

For us to begin to love like God has called us to love, for us to reflect God the way we are called to reflect him, we need to be honest with ourselves and begin the healing process in our lives by facing the Baggage we may have picked up somewhere along the way. We need to face the Baggage and start the healing process what ever that may be. I recommend, in what ever situation you are in, to take that Baggage problem and talk to your pastor about a good way to start the healing process. Get God’s word on the situation and begin heading towards a life of freedom.

 

 

Are you making a point or making a difference?

Do “non-believers” need the straight up truth about everything the Bible has to say about everything they may be doing wrong? Do they need you to make a great point about how they are living in sin? Maybe you made a great point about something that they said or did that didn’t match up with God’s word, and all of your Christian friends really applauded you for that. Or do they need you to show unconditional love and to not point any fingers? Do They need someone who won’t judge them for what they may be doing wrong? What does the Bible say? Is there a right and a wrong way to treat a “non-believer”? Let’s take a look at a few scriptures to see how the Bible tells us to handle these situations.

In Luke 19:1-10 “Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. 8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

This was a problem for a lot of the religious people. And I’m sure we can see that a lot today. A lot of people might see someone new show up to church with a baseball cap, tattoos and piercings and smelling of the Marijuana or alchohol and want to kick them out on the spot, but that is not the way Jesus showed us. Jesus didn’t go up to Zacchaeus and say you are a dirty sinner and I want nothing to do with you unless you get saved and then walk over to his disciple buddy’s and say “yeah Peter did you see me drop that bomb on him, he didn’t see it coming” haha. No Jesus didn’t want to make that point, you will see the religious Pharisees doing that, but not Jesus. Instead Jesus made dinner plans with Zacchaeus and I’m sure showed him Grace and Love! And then Zacchaeus changed for the better. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, to make a difference, not to make good points.

*Jesus allowed for people to Belong before they Believed

In Matthew 11 The religious people tried to dis Jesus by calling him a “Friend of Sinners”. But Jesus wasn’t in the business of trying to impress other Christians. On paper Jesus had more in common with the Pharisees than the Pagans and non believers, but Jesus constantly directionally leaned toward the people he may have disagreed more with, the people he had less in common with. I want to make a note that a lot of Christians may not agree with, that is that we should not fear guilt by association. We shouldn’t freak out if someone from church sees us out to eat with a “sinner”/non believer. If you struggle with the sin, then be smart about it, but don’t be afraid of reaching out to sinners and showing them grace and love. We to should be a friend of sinners.

In Galatians 2:11-13 we see an example of Peter getting embarrassed to be hanging out with uncircumcised gentiles. Some friends of James came by and Peter basically ditched out on them, on the uncircumcised gentiles that is. And as a result some other Jewish Christians followed that hyprocritical example of Peter. He was afraid of criticism from other believers. We should not be afraid of criticism.

I want to give some props and credit to someone that I know, that is a great example of how we should be toward sinners and non-believers. Clayton, my brother-in-law, has been such a great example in reaching out to non-believers full of grace and love. Ever since I have known him, this has been his ministry and there is always people coming to the Lord from it just like Zacchaeus did. I think a lot of us “Christians” can learn a lot from him on how to reach out to the unsaved and treat them. He is constantly asking them if they need rides, taking them out to eat, inviting them into his home and that is the way Jesus did it and the Bible tells us to do it. So if you know him, take his example in that area! We shouldn’t judge non-Christians for acting like non-Christians. 1 Cor 5:12 says “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”

Here is a key verse from what i have been talking about is this

Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders, make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Surrender your agenda and lovingly serve the people in your path.

Instead of judging and saying sinner, sinner, sinner,  Rather than saying you are a  sinner, doing this wrong, doing that wrong and saying oh yeah, by the way, Jesus Loves You. Rather than those things, Be full of grace and season it with “some salt”. In other words, show them love and we can season it with a little bit of God’s word, but don’t over do it. Balance it the way this verse does “full of grace, seasoned with salt…FULL of grace and just SEASONED with salt. Show them patience and humility so much so that they can see there is something different with you. That something is the same love and grace that Christ showed towards the sinners. He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it! So we should take his example and run with it. We should do more of it! I know that I need to do more of it and in doing so I can bet that we will be making more of a positive impact and difference rather than a negative “point” or impact.

Plan B

What do you do in life when your dreams are shattered? What do you do in life when life isn’t going according to plan? What do you do when God doesn’t show up for you the way you thought he was going to show up for you? Everyone of us in different times and different seasons are faced with things that we didn’t expect. The dream that we had, the plan that we had seemed like it was right there, but at the same time it seemed like it was slipping away.

Plan A is the plan that we have for ourselves. For some of you it’s to be a mom, to get that promotion, go get in to that college, to accomplish certain goals we have set out for ourselves. Plan A is always somewhere in our comfort zone, something that we know we can handle.

But what I want to talk to you about is Plan B. A lot of times in life we find ourselves in situations that we feel we don’t deserve. Sometimes our Plan A isn’t working out and not because of anything we have done wrong. We want to have things all under control, but life throws us a curve ball and maybe you didn’t get the promotion, maybe you didn’t make it into the school you wanted, maybe life isn’t turning out the way you thought it would be and you can’t figure out why God would let this happen, I mean it is your Plan A. But God may have another plan for you, a Plan B. Plan B may be something that you don’t have the skill set for, you don’t have the know how for, it may be something that requires more patience than you have. God’s plan may be Plan B. We have to realize that a lot of times God’s plan is going to require more than what you can give. It is going to require things that you can’t do on your own strength. God will set before you a Plan B that may be impossible on your watch, but we have to remember that “God is with us”, the same way he was with Joshua leading the people across the Jordan River. I’m sure they were complaining and thought this is impossible, this wasn’t in the plan. But with God with them, He made it possible, God gave Joshua specific instruction on how to do it. It is the same way with us, Our Plan B maybe something that you can’t do on your own and it requires a spiritual risk taking on your part, it requires for you to lean on God and put your trust in God as if He is actually with you.

We read in the Bible that God will never give you more than you can handle, right?…Wrong, it is actually the opposite. God gives us things that we can’t handle on our own strength, on our own ability, with our own talent and plan. Paul says in 2 Cor. 12:9 “That His strength is made perfect in my weakness”. God gives us a plan not to handle on our own, but a plan that makes us depend on Him and his strength and ability. When we realize that our Plan B is God’s plan and that we need him to accomplish anything worth living for, that is when we start walking with God and start walking with God’s power and ability working with us. Whether it be raising 4 kids, holding down a job and finding time to spend alone with Him or Becoming the next Revivalist to lead thousands to Christ. God has the skill set, ability, and strength that we don’t have. We need to start relying on Him and his ability and go with his Plan B for our lives.

Sync – STALLED

Why is what I’m about to talk about important? It is, one, because I need this for myself and you may also need this. My life is not and has not been prioritized in the way that it should be. It is a little Out-of-Sync from where it should be.The Real issue is that I have no one else to blame for this, because the responsibility of living this balanced, prioritized life lies solely on my shoulders. My personal life with Christ is not where it should be.

Why your church may need to hear this? I am taking notes from a message I heard spoken. There was a survey taken from Christians that attend church from all different backgrounds across the board (new, old, denominations, non-denominations, etc). They put “us” into 5 categories.

-Exploring Christianity

-Growing in Christ

-STALLED

-Close to Christ

-Christ Centered

They had 4 different practices categories, such as – praying, confessing sin, reading scripture, and setting time aside alone with God. The reason this blog is called STALLED is because people in the STALLED category were often sometimes lower in the practices categories than even the “Exploring Christianity”.

Right now, I would say that way to many of us, including me are in and have been in the STALLED category. New explorers, believers, new to church people for the most part are excited about everything – reading, growing, getting involved in groups and programs, they are growing! That was/is you. Then 2 years, 3 years or further down the road, all of the sudden we “STALL”. We all I’m sure have experienced this before. We look back and think, “What Happened?”, “I was growing, becoming more like Christ, amazing things were happening in my life” and then all of the sudden, it kinda just “STALLED”.

2 things can often happen when we get “STALLED”. 1- They often leave the church, because they are frustrated and angry and they assume that I must not be doing something right, because I was growing and all of the sudden I am stagnant and have been that way sometimes for a couple years. Thinking “Either the Christian thing wasn’t really true” or check out because I’m feeling guilty that I am not where I need to be. 2 – People will stick around and complain about everything, because they can’t quite put a finger on what it is that is going on. So they say “the church isn’t doing it for my anymore” or say “I need something deeper” (Which you probably do, but are looking in the wrong place.)

If you are STALLED in your spiritual life and are Out-of-Sync. You are looking in the wrong place. You don’t need more “me”, you don’t need a better message, or more intense worship, you don’t need another program, You certainly don’t need to find a new church. What you need is more of Jesus Christ in your life. And you haven’t found a way for that to happen yet. You are depending on certain instruments and institutions to do that for you that weren’t intended to do that for you in the first place.

John 15 talks about Jesus being the vine and us being the branches and apart from him we can do Nothing. Look it up and dwell on in for a few minutes. Its pretty simple. It’s not just some cute little phrase, it’s not something Jesus just wanted to put on a t-shirt or something. This is a promise, the REAL DEAL. He tells us to “Be in Me”, not just be in a church or a small group. This next thing I am going to tell you is KEY, make sure that this hits home with you!

“You Have to OWN your Own Spiritual Life”  – You need to get to that place where you understand that that is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!

As you grow and mature as a believer you become less dependent on programs and more about an arranged life. The church can do it’s best to team up with you and try and make things clear for you, but at the end of the day, no one can do it for you. No one can read scripture for you, serve for you, give for you, etc)

You have to OWN your own spiritual life.

In Mark 1:14-15 Jesus tells us “The time has come, the Kingdom is near” and is telling us that (paraphrased) “it’s possible for you to live in the context of the kingdom. You can be a part of the kingdom, all you have to do is follow me. Do what it is that I do. I don’t care how old or young you are, how good looking or athletic you are. If you want to be a part of the kingdom movement, you can be a part of the movement, just follow me. You can be like me, you can experience transformation in your life.” The Apostle Paul talks about this in Romans 12:1,2, being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Being transformed as talked about in the Bible is very dense, deep and sometimes really hard to try and figure out and understand. How can we spiritually transform, what is the best way to do that, where do we go from here?

I am going to give you an Acronym that can probably help us in this area.

VIM

V is for Vision – Understand what Spiritual Transformation looks like/to really follow Jesus

I is for Intention – YOU have to make a DECISION that YOU want this more than anything else in life

M is for Methods – a process and certain disciplines

Matthew 13:44-45 “Kingdom of Heaven”, we need this Vision, discovering the kind of life Jesus wants you to live.

We have settled for a life of mediocrity, a life chasing after cars, money, popularity, a raise, applause and ignoring the Reality of the life that God has called us to live.

We can grow more like Jesus. Spiritual Transformation is possible if we lean on Grace and Faith and we are willing to center our lives around the activities of Jesus Christ. We have compared this vision of the life that Jesus wants for me and the reality of where we are really at. There is this gap. I’m not really where I want to be. I’ve settled and am chasing after all this stuff that is different from the life God has designed me for.

If we are honest, a lot of us would say my life really isn’t centered around the fact that Jesus is in me. Instead we wrestle with doubt issues, fear issues, anger issues and all of these other things are dominating my life but not Christ in me.

We are not talking about external behavior or legalism, we are talking about the “inside”, about Christ being formed in you and understanding that that’s a reality and that is possible. That is the Vision, and at some point Intention and decision has to come, you have to say to yourself that “That is what I want, I want that.” Of course this won’t be a perfect journey. There will be times when you forget, get off track, screw things up, but the decision we will always come back to the Intention of it! ARE YOU THERE?

Methods – Jesus engaged in certain practices in his life here on earth. He withdrew himself to spend time with the Father, He threw himself into scripture, He was always a part of service and community. If Jesus used these methods, how much more do we need them in our lives, how much more important is it.  Don’t only “trust” Jesus for your salvation, but trust him with your life. Believe that he knew and knows how to do life. The purpose of methods is to free you up in the right things at the right moment. It’s not just another chore or responsibility to make you feel guilty.

Intent – Have YOU yourself made the decision for yourself that you want Christ formed in you and you want something more than a STALLED or stagnant life, more than anything.

John 8:12 Jesus said we don’t have to walk in darkness. Don’t be a slave to earthly things. Follow Jesus into his way and this way of life. Jesus freed us from the power of sin.

John 10:10 Jesus came to lead us to a better life and a better way.

So if you are STALLED. Remember that YOU have to OWN your own spiritual life. Its not anyone else’ responsibility. Sync up with Jesus way of life.