Seek And You Will Find

In this week’s episode of the podcast we look at the encouragement to seek. “Seek and you will find,” Jesus says. What does that mean? How should we seek? When should we seek? What will we find? All of these questions are answered in today’s episode.

Seek And You Will Find… Everyday Jesus

In this episode we discuss the encouragement to seek God. If you seek, you will find, Jesus says. What does that mean? Check out this week's episode to find out! http://www.everydayjesus.net http://www.facebook.com/everydayjesuspodcast http://www.instagram.com/everydayjesuspodcast music: hooksounds.com

(For those getting emails, you will need to click through to the website in order to see the podcast player or head to spotify, itunes, etc. and search for Everyday Jesus)

Our Sufferings Make Us Like Jesus

On Easter Sunday, I preached a message about olives. Not your typical message by any stretch of the imagination, but something I felt strongly about after diving into the text. I was preaching on the fact that Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray on the night before his crucifixion. Gethsemane in Hebrew means “oil press”. And since it was located on the Mount of Olives, it was literally the olive oil press. You can listen to the sermon below by skipping to around the 30 minute mark of the video.

One of the things I wanted to tease out a little more was about how when we are pressed by the circumstances of life, like an olive in the oil press, what is truly happening is that we are sharing or taking part in Christ’s sufferings. We are actually identifying with him in the oil press.

“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Philippians 3:10-11

Paul wants to identify with Christ in his sufferings. What does that mean? It means he believes that as he suffers in this life, he is becoming more like Christ. Now, this is the opposite of how we believe. We believe that if we are suffering, God must be against us. Paul says, no. If you are suffering, you are becoming more like Christ through your suffering.

This concept is so foreign to us. Every time I suffer from something – a sickness, a setback, a broken relationship – God is working in me. He is trying to produce something through me. I may try to fight it. I may want the suffering to end, but God is doing what is best for me in that situation. He is a good father and is trying to get me to produce something for him. The question is what is He trying to get me to produce?

Continue reading “Our Sufferings Make Us Like Jesus”

Why is the Lord’s Supper Important?

On the night before he was crucified, Jesus sat down with his disciples and had a simple meal together – bread and wine. For those who have attended church, we call this the Last Supper. I get why we call it the Last Supper, as it was the last meal that Jesus ate before his crucifixion, but I’m not sure it’s name is the best name. It also goes by another name once we pass through the events of the cross – The Lord’s Supper.

Further into church history, we find that rather than it being the Last Supper, it actually became the First Supper, as Christians throughout history have commemorated the meal at churches and homes throughout the centuries. Sometimes in church this becomes such a formal event though, that we lose the intimate value of it. Picture yourself sitting with Jesus around the table on the night that he was betrayed. He is sitting there eating, talking and loving on his best friends.

The room would have been lit up with candles. There would simple utensils lying around. Perhaps some cloth to wipe their faces. There may have been some laughing early in the evening as the disciples were unaware of what was going to quickly come to pass. Remember Jesus had rode into Jerusalem to the crowds chanting “Hosanna” and laying palm branches down before Him. This was an electric time.

Continue reading “Why is the Lord’s Supper Important?”

Palm Sunday Reflections

Have you ever felt on top of the world one minute and in the lowest depths of the earth, the next? I often think of the wild swing in emotions that were in Jerusalem during the passion week. It went from Jesus on palm Sunday riding into Jerusalem on a donkey with the crowd shouting “Hosanna!” to Jesus being beaten and killed on a Roman cross by the end of the week.

Jesus and his disciples started a week filled with just about every emotion in the book. The joy that came on Palm Sunday would be replaced by grief on Friday and then joy again on resurrection Sunday. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. No wonder his disciples struggled with how to respond properly. I would have likely responded just a they did – bewildered at the week’s events.

The Triumphal Entry, as it is labeled in my Bible, was a culmination of three years of teaching and miracles surrounding Jesus’ ministry. Jesus had been working many signs and wonders among the people for years and his reputation was growing in popularity. The zenith of his three year tour would be found in this passion week and it all started with a parade.

It’s interesting in some ways that this is called the Triumphal Entry. Jesus certainly had not won a war, which is what this tradition sometimes calls back to, but like Solomon (1st Kings 1) he was being anointed king and this was his coronation parade (and his enemies were to be defeated after his victory parade). The people recognized this as well, for they ran ahead of Jesus and shouted “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

The issue was they didn’t see the kingdom in the way that Jesus had been describing it over the years. He had painstakingly took the time to detail this coming kingdom. It wasn’t going to come with a massive battle where he would cast out the Roman army. No, it was coming like a grain of mustard – small at first, but growing into a giant tree. Yes, the king was here and yes, the kingdom had arrived, but it wasn’t what the people thought it would be. That’s why they could sign the praises of Jesus on Palm Sunday and yell “crucify him” just a few days later.

It’s interesting how quickly our attitude changes toward God when He doesn’t do things exactly as we want Him to do. The kingdoms of this world were falling, but they didn’t fall over night. Many thought Jesus was going to tear them down immediately and this march in the Jerusalem was going to be the start of the revolution. It was, but not they way they pictured it. Jesus was going to use the kingdoms of this world to bring about his purposes. He would use them to achieve his greatest victory.

The kingdoms of this world were being cast down, but they didn’t know it. As a matter of fact, they would participate in their own demise. Rome would nail its own fate to that tree on Calvary. They thought they were mocking Jesus by putting a crown of thorns on his head, but in reality, they were crowning him King of the World, not just King of the Jews. God is not mocked.

So while the world mocked, the disciples mourned. While the rulers of this world divided his bloody clothing, Jesus was clothing us in new garments that made us white as snow. While they were beating him and leaving stripes across his back, He was healing our sicknesses and diseases. The cross is a glorious paradox of victory in defeat. Yes, Jesus died, but the story doesn’t end there. Death was not the end, it was truly a new beginning.

A rollercoaster of a week, started and ended in triumph.

Three Ways To Halt Your Spiritual Growth

A new podcast episode examining the three ways that you halt your own spiritual growth. Be sure to check it out and share it with a friend!

Seek And You Will Find… Everyday Jesus

In this episode we discuss the encouragement to seek God. If you seek, you will find, Jesus says. What does that mean? Check out this week's episode to find out! http://www.everydayjesus.net http://www.facebook.com/everydayjesuspodcast http://www.instagram.com/everydayjesuspodcast music: hooksounds.com
  1. Seek And You Will Find…
  2. Three Ways To Halt Spiritual Growth
  3. Christians Are Meant To Thrive
  4. Living as Sons or Slaves Part 2
  5. Living as Sons or Slaves Part 1

What Should I Do When My Heart is Troubled?

What do you do when your heart is troubled? What do you do when things are falling down around you? Life can be very difficult. Things don’t go the way you want them to go. As a Christian, how should you deal with that?

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all of my sins.”

Psalm 25:15-18

The Psalmist, David, starts Psalm 25 with a request from God to “teach me your paths (verse 4).” What is it about following God that brings so much stress and conflict into our lives? I know some preachers promise that once you come to Jesus, everything will be sunshine and roses, but that hasn’t been the case in my walk with Christ.

In my walk, it seems that every time I get the least bit comfortable, some situation arises and it prods me out of my comfort zone. One minute everything is fine and the next, everything is falling apart and with seemingly little to no warning. Just boom. Everything is coming against me.

What I’ve found is that when I’m comfortable, I’m not growing. I’m not growing closer to God. I’m not growing spiritually. In order for me to grow, I have to get out of my comfort zone.

Getting out of your comfort zone is not pleasant. I picture it like the baby bird being kicked out of the nest in order to learn to fly. You are either going to fly or you are going to hit the ground with a THUD! When we are pushed out of our comfort zone, we have the same choice – fly or fall. More often than not, I fall. I fall into depression or loneliness or anxiety.

David and I have a lot in common. He says in verse 16 that he is lonely and afflicted. Basically he feels like he is being beat down and he has no one with him to lift him up. I don’t know about David, but I feel like this even when there are people around me, who may even be encouraging me. In some ways, it’s like my ears are shut to their encouragement. All I can hear is my loneliness.

“The troubles of my heart are enlarged,” says David. And I concur. When we are lonely and afflicted, it’s almost as if all of our troubles are much larger than they really are. They have grown. Our troubles seem larger than we are. What a terrible place to be!

What is the answer to these woes? What should we do when we find ourselves in such a place? Here are three steps:

Continue reading “What Should I Do When My Heart is Troubled?”

Deny Yourself or Deny Jesus

Our society is backwards. We are told constantly that we need to look after ourselves. We need “me” time. We need to “find ourself.” You have to focus on you, because nobody else will, the saying goes. But this is all backwards to kingdom thinking.

In the kingdom, Jesus is asking us to deny ourselves. He is commanding us to take our focus off of ourself and put it on the cross. While others are feeding into what your flesh wants to hear, Jesus tells us that our flesh has to be crucified.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

Jesus didn’t cut corners with his disciples. He told them exactly what they needed to hear and that message was simple, if you don’t deny yourself, you can’t follow me. Jesus knew that the denial of one’s own interests, hopes and dreams was a difficult ask. He knew that our flesh would fight against that line of thought. After all if you don’t look after you, who will?

Denying yourself is more than just saying no to yourself, it really is a death sentence as Jesus describes it. We deny ourselves and then we join him in his crucifixion by taking up our cross and following Him up the hill to Calvary. Denying yourself means you have to die to everything. And if you don’t deny yourself, you will most certainly deny Jesus.

Continue reading “Deny Yourself or Deny Jesus”

The Bridegroom Is Calling…

Have you ever been slow to respond to the Lord? Have you ever delayed in your response to His calling? Today I was reading from Song of Songs 5. Listen to what it says.

I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.

Song of Songs 5:2-6

This morning as I was reading this, I was struck by the fact that the bride hears the voice of her bridegroom, who is calling for her and waiting for her to open the door for him, and she doesn’t immediately respond.

How often do we hear God calling for us and we delay in opening the door for Him? I can think of several times in my life where I have heard His voice and not immediately obeyed or I have been slow to respond.

When we are slow to respond to the Lord, we can actually miss Him. This is what happens to the bride in this song, she delays in her response to him and by the time she gets up to answer, he is gone.

What slows our response to our bridegroom?

  • Lack of patience – Look at the first verse, she says she was sleeping, but her heart was awake. She had stopped waiting for her bridegroom to return and had fallen asleep. We sometimes sleep on the promises of God. We think that He will never come for us. That He has forgotten about us.
  • Comfort – The bride had gotten comfortable. She says that she’s already taken off her robe. She had gotten into the bed and gotten comfortable. There was a bit of laziness about her. We sometimes get comfortable with God and don’t respond quickly to His calling because we have grown apathetic towards His voice.
  • Excuses – The bride begins making excuses. She says she has already washed her feet. Sometimes when God calls for us, we begin to make excuses as to why we can’t do what He is calling us to do. We are too busy. We don’t have everything we need financially. We makes excuses even though He is standing at the door.

When God calls for us, we should be quick to respond. We should be waiting on Him, but too many times, He is the one waiting on us. We aren’t where we are supposed to be. We are asleep at the wheel. And yet, He continues to call out to us.

In this song, the bridegroom even puts his Hand on the latch of the door. Notice he doesn’t bust the door down. He doesn’t try to break in. He is a gentleman. He is so close, but yet still waiting for his bride to respond. As the bride of Christ, we need to realize that He is waiting for us to open the door. He won’t open the door himself. He is waiting on you. He will stand at the door and knock. Will you open for Him? (Revelation 3)

So many times when we hear that familiar verse from Revelation, we immediately think of salvation. We’ve heard many preachers use that verse out of context. But the the verse was in a letter to a CHURCH! Jesus is waiting outside of the church and he is knocking, but no one has let Him in! That’s crazy! This isn’t about salvation, it’s about apathy in the church, because earlier in the letter, Jesus says the church is lukewarm.

“I know your works: you are neither cold, nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16

When we are slow to respond, when we are apathetic, when we become lukewarm, we miss God. Our complacency is what kills us. We must wake ourselves. We can’t sleep and miss Him! Arise O sleeper! We don’t want to be like the bride in this song. Look at the result of her slow responses to her bridegroom’s calling:

I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.

Song of Songs 5:6

The bridegroom had left. He had called for her. He placed his hand of the door. He had praised her. But she did not open to him until it was too late. Then she calls for him and he doesn’t answer. I never want to be in that position. I want Him to answer when I call for Him. I want Him to still be at the door. I don’t want to be slow to respond. Lord, help me. I hope that is your prayer too. We are encouraged by the Scriptures to seek Him while he may be found. You should not delay…

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”

Isaiah 55:6

Two Things You Need To Know

There are two things that can derail you in your walk through this life. Think of it like taking a trip. You have to know where you are and you have to know where you are going. You would be surprised how many people are going through life and can’t tell you where they are or where they are headed. It seems simple and it most certainly is, but most of us spend little time thinking on these two subjects. Instead we are simply positioned and lead by external forces. Wherever the wind is blowing is where you will find me type of thing.

Where you are matters. If you don’t know where you are, how will you ever get to where you are going? If you go on to any gps device, it has to have a starting point. It’s got to know where you are starting from. Where exactly are you? Because of you think you are in one place, but you are actually in another, guess what? You won’t get to where you want to be. You have to know where you are starting from. Some people are scared to know where they are starting from. Why is that? Because you have to admit that you aren’t where you want to be.

There is a confession in the fact that you haven’t “arrived.” And for some of us, this is a hard confession to make. We’ve spent most of our lives trying to prove to others that we have arrived, that we know what we are doing. We spend most of our lives not being honest with ourselves that we haven’t arrived. Confession is good for the soul. You need to be honest with the fact that you aren’t where you want to be. If you can admit that, then you can start to be honest about discovering where you are.

In discovering where you are, you need to have clarity of thought. If your thoughts are clouded and lost in the fog, you won’t be able to see the markers telling you where you are. I see this a lot with people who think they are farther down the road than they actually are. They know which road they are on, but they are simply confused with how far they have to go. When looking honestly at ourselves, we have to come to the realization that we may actually have a long ways to go in improving ourselves or in our walk with God. We need to be able to read those road signs.

Continue reading “Two Things You Need To Know”

Leadership 101: Partial Obedience Is Not Obedience

Several weeks ago, my daughter and I were having a conversation. Earlier in the day, I had asked her to clean her room. She disappeared for a while and when she came back out of her room later on, I asked her if she had cleaned it. She said she had. When I went to her room to check it out, I found that while she picked up a couple of her toys out of the floor, the room was largely still a mess. I expressed my disappointment that she did not obey me.

“But I did obey you Daddy,” she said, “I cleaned most of my room.” It was at this point, I knew that I needed to sit her down and talk more. I kindly explained to her that partial obedience is not obedience. Obedience means that you have to listen and complete every command to the fullest extent. If you only partially obey, that means you are also partially disobeying.

Following God is no different. We cannot partially obey God’s commands. We either obey him or we don’t. There is no middle ground there. God expects our full and complete obedience. This is one of the reasons why we need a savior. We are a disobedient bunch and we need His Spirit to give us the ability to obey fully.

Continue reading “Leadership 101: Partial Obedience Is Not Obedience”