I’m not sure what your church service looked like this past Sunday, but this was mine! At Believers Church, we had service outside underneath a HUGE tent adjacent to the property our church family will soon call home (hopefully within the next 18 months to 2 years). We called it Celebration Sunday!
Yes, we got a little crazy, but isn’t the love of Jesus something to be crazy about!
So what were we celebrating? I am so glad you asked! During this service, we were able to look back and see how far the church has come since the Rescue Project, a former project that allowed the church to build our current worship center. Back then, the church was really no bigger than your average Baptist church is today, and my husband and I weren’t part of the membership! We have, however, benefited from the hard work and strong faith of those who took God at His word and launched out into the unknown “to rescue those who were drowning in their sin.” Darrell and I came to Believers in 2006. Next year, we will have been with the church 10 years! And the growth has been incredible, so much so that we have outgrown our current building and are working toward building a new church that house all the kids, teens, and adults that Jesus sees fit to send us each Sunday (almost 1500 total).
Goodness -How do you define it? When looking up the word goodness in most dictionaries these synonyms are listed: integrity, honesty, uprightness, virtue, and my personal favorite -moral excellence. And evil, yes, there are synonyms for this too, but let’s just call it by its real name -sin.
Daily, I struggle against the sin within me to achieve some level of goodness. However, apart from God, it is an impossible task. My human nature is weak, but He is strong. Let’s use God’s litmus test for judging if we are good or sinful.
The Ten Commandments:
1. “You shall have no other gods before me.”
2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
6. “You shall not murder.”
7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
8. “You shall not steal.”
9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:3-17 NIV
In our culture, when we think of kindness we think of simple acts, such as providing a meal, sending flowers, or giving a gift of money. All these things are kind, but Jesus wants us to go deeper. Supernatural kindness starts with the Golden Rule:
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT
The kindness Jesus speaks of can only be born out of a grateful heart. Those who have received and accepted true kindness are eager to return it. Read more
Each year, at the end of July or the first of August, a team of volunteers from Believers Church goes down to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Believers partners with the local church there, Verbo Church, via Orphanetwork. As August draws near this year and the time to return to Nicaragua comes, I am getting excited all over again. Each year as we go down, we see growth in both the church and the structure of the orphanage as well as the children it serves.
I have traveled to Nicaragua several times now, and it never gets old. There are a lot of logistics to work out for a trip of this nature: timing, financial ability, arranging flights, and packing. However, the most important thing needed, before going, is time to reflect on what the Lord’s will is for the trip. When we go out in the Lord’s name, we have to allow Him to have all of us, and we have to do everything for His glory. So as I sit and think about the next trip, I contemplate what Jesus would have me to do this year.
Do you realize that we all have a mission? We are all called to be Christ’s ambassadors.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV
This week I am starting a blogging challenge put on by WordPress. It is a great tool to help bloggers get their creative juices flowing and improve their ability to develop content. Each day we get a new question to blog about.
Monday’s question: In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be?
Interesting question, but here’s my answer. In 300 years, I do not wish to be remembered as a saint. I do not wish to be remembered at all, except as a sinner saved by Jesus. I would be OK if my epitaph read, “Here lies a messed up, wrecked person that found new life in Jesus” versus “Here lies one of the greatest saints, who accomplished many good works.” Having said that, I thought the question of sainthood and the start of our new message series at Believers Church, #FollowMe, was a perfect conversation piece. So, here goes!
How does Christianity relate to sainthood? I believe there are many Christians that strive hard to be seen as a saint, but shrink back at being labeled a true Christ follower. However, as Christians we are to be Christ-like, not saintly. Sainthood, can be achieved more readily than being Christ-like, as sainthood only requires that we are ‘seen’ as good. Being Christ-like requires that we ‘be’ good and therein lies the challenge. Following Jesus should not be equated to being saintly. Sainthood is a man-made label.
You see, Jesus was not a saint. He was and is the true Son of God. His power is greater and more awesome than a mere human could muster. In fact, Jesus knew how to shake things up and leave those around Him in awe and wonder. He was also kind and compassionate beyond belief. This is my Savior. I cannot measure up.
In spite of myself, He asks that I do one thing -follow Him. He calls me to throw off the nature of this world and take on His.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
He knows I am weak in character, flawed beyond belief, and helpless without Him. Yet, He loves me anyway. No, I could never be a saint. Saints do not need a Savior, sinners do!
I appreciate the fact that there are those who wish to honor the great humanitarians of our day by bestowing such a title. Some have done tremendous things in the name of world peace and love. However, unless we realize our need for Him, we are nothing but works, and works will not save us.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
No, I don’t want any parts of sainthood. Just give me Jesus and His free gift of salvation, and we’ll call it even.
To join us for the #FollowMe series, feel free to visit the Believers Church website where you can watch or download any of the messages. We would love to have you! http://www.believerschurch.org/
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.