Crushing Idols

The Almighty God, who knew us BEFORE He formed us in our mother’s wombs, He designed us for a purpose, even before the creation of the world, and though in His Just and Righteous character, His wrath is kindled against sin (direct offenses to His very character and nature), He loved us so much that He paid the ransom to redeem us, His very own creation, from the clutches of an evil thief, to cleanse us and reconcile us back to Him and restore us to His Plan for us.

It is incomprehensible how easily we settle for so little intimate knowledge and communion with the One who knows more about us and is more intimate with us than any other person or being. Out of the 168 hours per week given to us BY OUR CREATOR, there are sooooo few spent with Him in His Word and with His people walking in His Spirit. And what’s even worse, what little many of us DO know about Him is an invention of our own minds, not substantiated in Scripture.

This is called idolatry, worship of a god of man’s making. Idolatry is bringing God to man’s level and forming an image that looks more like us, rather than us becoming more like Him.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Romans 1:18-25

It is not only our DESIRE to know God intimately that destroys idols. It is the actual pursuit of knowing Him intimately through His Word, through fellowship with others whom He indwells, His Bride (the church). Intimacy comes through crucifying the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life and allowing His Holy Spirit that indwells us to conform us to His image.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

1 John 2:16

Crush the idols of your heart and lift up the one true God.

Your Children And The Church

Parenting Well #750 – It’s not enough to just take our children to church faithfully, but it’s a start. Discipleship of our children absolutely begins at home for followers of Jesus. Discipleship is getting into The Word together with them, both literally AND practically, by teaching them what God loves and who God loves through every facet of life – how we prepare for our day; how we prepare, serve and eat meals; how we watch TV and play games; how we take care of the home, furnishings, and vehicles God has given to us; how we decide to spend money on the things we need; how we rest in Him, etc.

But our children discover how we value God’s Word by how we put it into practice…and a piece of that, most of the New Testament, is how we engage and interact with the local body of Christ – The Church.

  1. Attend the Gatherings of a local church body faithfully – if we’re in town and we’re not dying, we’re with the body. Don’t send your children confused messages about your priorities or about what theirs should be. The church is not a PLACE where you GO – it’s a PEOPLE who you ARE. But if you do not GO, you will not BE.
  2. Join yourself to the local body in a Covenant of Partnership. It’s a family of commitment, not a distant relative that you catch up with when you have time or are in the area.
  3. Build loving relationships with people that you can learn from and that you can also pour into. Invest. Invest. Invest.
  4. Serve the body. Be observant. Look for emotional, spiritual and physical needs that God can use you to meet.
  5. Serve with the body. Get involved in ministry…serve in KidzMin, become a Greeter or Usher, make coffee and serve it, clean a portion of the building or grounds regularly, etc. There’s so many needs for FAITHFUL volunteers in every church. There’s plenty of people that will do it “when it’s convenient” for them.
  6. Participate in the Worship Gathering. It’s great to serve, but not at the expense of never being in the Worship Gathering. There is something supernatural and transcendent that happens when the people of God come together to worship Him. Don’t miss that. Don’t hang in the lobby with the other men. Don’t slip into the Nursery to chat with a friend. Sing your heart out, take notes from the sermon, go to the altar to pray, say amen, shout hallelujah, hug your brothers and sisters, pray over them…out loud and in person.
  7. Talk to your children about your experience as well as their experience at the Worship Gathering that day. Dig for the lessons learned from the Bible not just what people were wearing or what Sally said to Betty.
  8. Invite people from the body into your life and accept invitations into their lives. Have meals together, play together, serve together. Use your home as a center for ministry.
  9. Read through the Announcements together and talk about why it’s so important to participate in the mission of the church. At our church, a community becomes family — helping people find AND follow Jesus! We do what we do so that others may HEAR the glorious gospel of Jesus…and LIVE!
  10. Teach your children to support the mission of the church with their time, talents and treasures. Teach them how to give generously from their birthday money, allowances, lawn mowing jobs, etc. Model generosity with your own time, talents and treasures. Let your children see you giving of who you are and what you’ve been given.

Not an exhaustive list by any means…there’s so many more. Hey, here’s a thought. Maybe talk to your kids about this list, share it with them, and see if you can add any more.#ParentingWell #C2Parenting

Not A Fan of Normal

I saw this meme the other day. “Normal isn’t coming back. Jesus is.” The latter is a very, very true statement. This is the blessed hope of every follower of Jesus. I don’t know that I can say the former with any authority. I don’t know if normal is coming back, but I sure hope not. I gotta be honest, I wasn’t too fond of normal before it left.

  • I loved that families had to sit down and eat at home, creating conversations together because they had nowhere else to go to be distracted or hide from authenticity and intimacy.
  • I loved that there were no concerts or sporting events to obsess over and/or distract toward idolatry.
  • I loved that there were no “good movies” to see.
  • I loved that people were spending their money on what was valuable, meaningful and crucial rather than on entertaining and/or numbing themselves instead of investing themselves.
  • I loved that people were getting creative to deepen real relationships and enjoy themselves.
  • I loved that people were fighting to get their churches reopened and found what they did at church to be more meaningful once they had been deprived of it for a few weeks.
  • I loved that people started thinking about what AUTHENTIC community looked like…REAL people meeting REAL needs for the RIGHT reasons in the RIGHT ways.

I quite honestly think too much of it returned for too many people.

Nothing Can Distract Me

When my eyes are fixed on what they should be on, there is NOTHING around me that can distract me – no political or social event, no attraction, no relationship, no virus, no mandate, no argument, no party, no person in the office, no sin or sinner, no other goal…this one thing.

Philippians 3:13-16 ESV
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, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Philippians 1:20-21 ESV
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. [21] For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Do You Know YOUR Jesus?

In light of recent cultural disruptions and debates, I hear and see a lot of people wax both eloquent AND ignorant about “What Jesus would do” if he were here right now. Whether it’s a response to covid, masks, mandates, systemic racism, gender equality, gender identity, sexual identity, identity politics, political parties, etc., most of the times that I hear or see people say, “Jesus would ____________”, they prooftext a passage and build straw man arguments of what Jesus did with one person or one audience. What they also do is completely ignore three-fourths of what Jesus did and said throughout the rest of the Gospels with other people and other audiences. Jesus knew His audience and we do not.

If you’re going to tell people how Jesus would behave in a certain situation, how He would comply with certain expectations, what He would say to a certain scenario or how he would treat a certain demographic, you’d better know more about everything that He did while interacting with ALL people groups, sins, and scenarios. Know who you are talking to. Know what you’re talking about. Most importantly, if you’re going to speak for Jesus, Know Him.

To do so without knowledge is to ignore God’s indicting Words to those who add to or take away from God’s Word, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.

Thank You Jesus! #SoliDeoGloria

Evil Makes A Promise It Cannot Keep

The enemy called Evil (the world, the flesh and the devil) makes this promise: “you can define what is good and what is evil on your own terms and put yourselves in God’s place.” Believing in this promise results in brokenness, corruption and violence. It brings to surface the “need” of self-protection, self-preservation, self-gratification and self-elevation.

Jesus let evil exhaust all of its power on Him using its only real weapon, Death. Jesus knew that the love and life of God was more powerful than Evil and He overcame death through His resurrection, opening a way to escape the death-grip of Evil’s deceptive promise and discover New Life through His Promise.

We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. No follower of Jesus ever need be defeated by evil, doomed by the curse of sin or enslaved to the hurts, habits and hangups brought about by the broken promise of evil. This war has already been won.

Romans 8:31-39 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [36] As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What Controls Your Life?

Darryl Jones

3h  · Shared with Public

Public

“Whatever consumes your mind controls your life.”

It could be one of many things…

  • your looks/appearance
  • what others think of you
  • sex (self-gratification)
  • sports
  • your kids
  • your job/career
  • your illness/handicaps
  • money
  • getting married
  • being single
  • your spouse – their flaws or their good qualities
  • your past – abuses and traumas OR “the good ole days”
  • the rest/relaxation/benefits of life you think you’ve earned or deserve
  • the exhaustion, hardships, trials you think you don’t deserve or are unfair

Or it could simply be Jesus.

For too many, we don’t know how to really fix our eyes and our mind on Jesus. If we’re really, really transparently honest – for many of us, Jesus is a religious means to a personal end. The focus is OUR need, OUR convenience and OUR comfort rather than HIS glory, HIS will and HIS Kingdom.

For many of us, Jesus is a religious means to a personal end. The focus is OUR need, OUR convenience and OUR comfort rather than HIS glory, HIS will and HIS Kingdom.

1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Philippians 3:9-10-16 ESV
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— [10] that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death... [12] Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. [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, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB
Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

A Day That Belongs To The Lord

If you were an 8-hour sleeper, could you rest in the sanctuary of God’s presence for the other 16 hours of a day and be completely satisfied and content…fulfilled? Would you find this to be a day of abundance?

John 10:9-10 ESV
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

If you didn’t have to go to work and didn’t have to take care of children or others (which CAN BE forms of worship also), could you spend your waking hours of just one day reading His Word, discussing His Word, Worshipping Him in His Word and Praying Through His Word, listening to His Word through sermons, soaking meditating in His Word? Would that bore you or drive you nuts? Would it make you antsy and unproductive?

Keep in mind, this wouldn’t deprive you of exercise, meals, or relationships. It wouldn’t chain you to a specific location. It wouldn’t deprive you of community, music or conversation. It wouldn’t tie your hands from your devices…but could you spend an entire day where your Creator and Savior, His Spirit and His Word are your absolute, complete and only focus – walking with Him, talking with Him, learning of Him, resting in Him and not feeding any fleshly pleasure for more ________, not even one ounce?

Would you be willing to try it? Could you find a day in your life that you could Sabbath with God Himself…a day where you could completely focus your reverent attention on Him, every waking minute for the purpose of spiritual, physical, and emotional rest, replenishment, rejuvenation?
Would this not be what it means to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

Romans 8:28-30 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Who We Are

Church, we’re not committed to being better than someone else…God’s Word tells us that comparing ourselves among ourselves makes us fools.

What we are to compare ourselves to is Jesus and the teachings of His Word and to that comparison, we all fall short. So we’re on a journey together…we’ve made a covenant with God and with one another to be transformed.

What we ARE fully committed to is this — keeping our gaze laser-focused on being conformed to His image and pursuing that with reckless abandon…TOGETHER. We walk in this Blessed Hope TOGETHER…in His Word TOGETHER…in His Spirit TOGETHER…for His Kingdom TOGETHER. You may not be there yet, but to be The Church, you MUST BE committed to the journey:

  • We’re not going to make excuses for our sins and shortcomings.
  • We’re not going to get sidetracked by the trappings of this world.
  • We’re not going to pursue lives of self-indulgence and self-gratification.
  • We’re not going to allow the Gospel-Centered Church of Jesus to be used as merely a religious practice, something used to make ourselves feel better about ourselves when it suits us.
  • We’re not going to allow the Gospel-Centered Church of Jesus to be used as merely a social circle of belonging for those who feel alone. Though it is a warm, friendly and welcoming environment, open to all who are seeking Jesus, the Church is not merely a place like Cheers or the apartment of Friends or Seinfeld. It is soooooo much more.
  • We ARE going to learn to love one another…unconditionally.
  • We ARE going to serve God AND one another with the humble hearts of bond servants.
  • We ARE going to pursue covenant community, responsibility and accountability.
  • We ARE going to declare God’s message of love and forgiveness to all who seek healing from the brokenness of this world.
  • We ARE going to be vessels of God’s Grace, Mercy, Love and Hope to a broken and hopelessly lost world.
  • We ARE going to receive all who come to Jesus and repent of their part in this worlds brokenness.
  • We ARE going to be the image bearers of Jesus’ reconciled, redeemed, and restored Creation to a world that God loves and wants to restore to Himself.

The church is the assembly of the Bride of Jesus Christ — those chosen, called and set apart for God’s pleasure and purpose. We will unashamedly and unrelentingly walk in that mission —so other may hear…AND live!

…helping people find and follow Jesus!

Keep Your Gaze Fixated on the King

As she was giving all she had to live on, the widow wasn’t disappointed that the others were only giving of their scraps…their spillover…their leftovers. When she gave it all, she was fixated on the One to whom she was giving it.

There is no doubt that it is a challenge when…

  • …you are giving yourself completely in your marriage and your spouse treats the marriage like it’s a convenient store
  • …you give your job 110% and your co-workers only engage when the boss is watching
  • …you’re killing yourself to honor and care for your aging parents and your siblings act like it’s your responsibility
  • …you’re fully engaged in the work and support of your local church and others treat it as a hobby that they dabble in when they have time.

Keep your head in the game, your eye on the prize, your gaze fixated on the King.

Mark 12:41-44 ESV
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. [44] For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."