When I was a young boy I can remember talking to God at night. I would lie there in my bed, going through a list of petitions, wondering if God was listening. I never heard anything back. At that point in my life my prayers were motivated by fear. I thought I needed to pray so that nothing bad would happen, always wondering if I had been good enough for God to hear and answer. As I got older and started to act out more and more on the desires within my heart, I grew further and further from God. I began to wonder if He was even real. I was tired of feeling guilty when I did things that I knew were wrong. Who gets to say what is right and wrong anyway? Some religious fanatics probably made all that up to control the masses. I was done with feeling like I could never measure up, and so I tried to just forget about God completely. I gave myself to whatever came naturally. I gave myself to the secular culture around me. I was born this way.
Through a heart-breaking series of events, I one day found myself facing God once again. Doing things my way had led to near destruction, and I was desperate for some help. I prayed an internal prayer: “God, if you’re real I need help. I’m not ready to die and I’m scared.” Nothing happened that day. Nothing I could see or feel anyway. I started to pursue God relentlessly by reading the Bible. I couldn’t understand anything I read, but I kept on. My heart was open to the truth, which was something I’d been seeking my whole life. I started to see truth in the word of God. I took a chance and surrendered my life to Jesus.
This was a major turning point for me. Gone were the days when I felt my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling of my bedroom. I began to experience a real relationship with Jesus. I started to feel different on the inside, and this made me act differently on the outside. Change was happening from the inside out. There were plenty of struggles during those early years after my conversion to Christianity, but God had promised to never leave me nor forsake. He didn’t and He hasn’t. My mind and emotions had been programmed to the sinful world system. It was now being re-programed by the new nature I received when I turned from sin and accepted Jesus Christ. That’s right, I had a new nature. It would be just as ridiculous now for me to sin as it would for a fish to live in a tree or a squirrel to live underwater. The sin nature had been done away with and I was now a new creature in Christ.
It’s popular in today’s culture to dismiss sin by saying “I was born this way.” I agree completely. Everyone is born with a sin nature and we are all capable of committing every sin. Depending on our life experiences, we will commit those sins to a greater or lesser degree. However the good news is that you do not have to continue functioning with the same sin nature you were born with. You can repent. You can be born-again. You can be made free in Christ.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Spirit of Life Church
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Hello everyone. Have you ever noticed how much mammon and our idea of “successful ministry” are alike? In Mathew 6:24 Jesus says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” A subtle deception the enemy suggests to us is that in order to fulfill our calling we have to arrive at a certain level of material success. This deception, if heeded, can turn our thinking from Christ-centered to ministry-centered and in the end cause everything we ever do in the name of “ministry” to be carried out with the wrong heart motives. The apostle Paul spoke of the motive of the heart as it relates to doing things for God in 1 Corinthians 3 and 4.
1 Corinthians 3:13-14 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (KVJ)
Paul is saying that whatever we do in ministry will be tested by fire at the believer’s judgment. His language paints a picture of a process of purification for metals that was common in that day and is still used in modern times. Metals are heated to a very measured temperature in order to separate what is valuable and what is useless. Particularly with gold and silver, this process is used to clean out the “trash” elements that may be hiding within the much more valuable precious metals. We gain more insight in the next chapter.
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. (NASB)
The trial by fire of our works before God will be a melting away of everything that was not done with a pure motive, and all that remains will be what we did in love.
When we equate ministry success with large offerings or regular incomes or being well-known or even well-liked we start to worship mammon instead of the God of grace who both calls and equips. Self promotion causes us to start seeking man’s approval and we can become caught up in a cycle of following man instead of God. You cannot serve both God and mammon. Psalm 75:6-7 reads, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”
As children of God we know that He is always mindful of us. You have not been forgotten. You have not been passed up nor overlooked. God’s purpose and calling for your life is still intact. We can fulfill our calling simply by pursuing our heavenly Father. There is no greater calling or purpose for us than knowing who we are as sons and daughters in the Kingdom. Out of this understanding will come the fulfillment of everything else God has for our lives.
Following God is not easy but it IS simple. Just pray and obey. The Father who is love will never steer you wrong
“The physics of our world is one thing, The physics of the Kingdom of God is something else.” -Gary Carpenter
”The sense of being led by an unseen hand which takes mine…grows upon me daily. I do not need to strain at all to find opportunity…strain does not seem good.” -Frank Laubach
”We’re so busy running around looking at finished products that we don’t know how to stop and become one.” -Dave Roberson
“Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely.” -John Ortberg
Allright guys…here we go. I’m going to start using the website now “for real”. In the coming weeks I will begin posting teachings as well as selected media from the ministry. -Greg