God Will Pull With You

Jesus says to “Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me…” – Matthew 11:29-30

What does “Yoke” even mean?

A yoke pulls together two oxen so that they can share the load plowing a field. Jesus is saying for us to “yoke up” with Him, so that we can partner with Him and be transformed, and made good (Holy) at the core of our being.

When we join up with Jesus, he’ll plow our lives for us. He’ll pull with us and for us.

Christians: Don’t Judge, Do Discern

It’s important for believers to discern the truth about how to live righteously. But using that truth to judge others can do more harm than good in trying to lead others to Jesus.

Figure out what lost people can discern of God and only share information that will invite them to investigate matters of faith further.

Shining your light to the world means leading with love. What people need most is the love of God, not the laws of God.

Blind to Yourself, Deaf to God

A critical spirit will kill any relationship. When you judge others, it’s likely because you’ve become blind to yourself and deaf to God. This means you dismiss what you’re doing wrong and then you magnify the faults of others.

Pray and ask God to help you see things more clearly and tell Him you long to hear from Him. Then, silence the critical spirit inside you.

 

Jesus Lifts Us Over the Bar

Perhaps the church should be more loving to people and tell them, “We’re not above you. We’re actually just like you. We’re only made righteous because of Jesus.”

None of us can leap over the bar of righteousness on our own. Jesus lifts us over the bar with his righteousness.

The Role of the Church Is Not to Judge People

The Pharisees were prideful and judged others harshly. But the Bible teaches us that God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

The role of the church is not to judge the world, but to introduce it to Jesus. We must unlearn religious judgement and relearn what it means to love.

Does Jesus Raise the Bar?

The Pharisees raised the bar God set for righteousness, and the world removes the bar completely. The world removes the bar by allowing everyone to simply decide for themselves how they should live; there’s no right and wrong.

Jesus came to lift us over the bar. He didn’t come to condemn the world. He came to save it! But if you dismiss Jesus, you condemn yourself.

Man-Made Rules Are Religion

The Pharisees raised the bar for holiness, which was set by God, and added their own set of man-made rules. Then, they condemned the people who couldn’t measure up.

The Pharisees sought to be more righteous, but they only became more religious. And in doing so, they lowered the standard of God’s love.

 

Jesus Wants Us to Unlearn Religion

Often, people who were raised in the church may have a great deal of knowledge about religion, but no real understanding of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

That’s because what was intended to be a relationship with God became a religion about God. Many people go to church out of religious duty, but never know the power of a life transformed by Jesus.

It’s time to unlearn religion and learn more about Jesus.

 

God Made the Way to Heaven

There’s a sin gap between where we are and where we long to be. No matter how much we try, we can’t earn our place in heaven.

Thankfully, God made a way – and He made it clear in the Bible. Through Jesus’s death on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 

 

Half-Selfish

“Half-selfish” is when we’re all about getting what we want and fulfilling our own selfish desires, but we need someone else’s help to make things happen. It’s selfishness wrapped up in a pretty package to make it appear as though it’s something else. We might want to be about others, but we’re still all about ourselves. Jesus’ disciples understood this tension all too well.

 

We Can’t See Our Own Selfishness

The Bible teaches us in Matthew 20:28 that “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We admire that kind of selflessness in Jesus and the people around us. We just don’t want to live that way ourselves! The truth is we want others to live selflessly so we can continue to live selfishly.

Often, we can’t even see our own selfishness because we’re so blinded by the wounds inflicted upon us by someone else’s selfishness.

 

Does the Life of Jesus Flow Through You?

As a follower of Jesus, you are filled with “living water.” What will you do with that life-giving, life-changing power?

Dr. Benji Kelley, guest speaker from Newhope Church, teaches that you can be a reservoir, or you can be a river. A reservoir stores water and grows stagnant while a river passes water through it to others.

Don’t hoard God’s love and redemptive power. Let it flow in you and through you.

Consider Jesus’ Endurance

When you’re ready to give up and give in, consider Hebrews 12:2-3 and what Jesus faced for you.

The joy set before him – for which he endured the cross – was the glory of God and the fulfilling of the Father’s will. It was the mission of bringing forgiveness, salvation, and redemption to the world.

When you remember all Jesus endured, it’s not as easy to grow weary and lose heart.

What Perseverance Is

Comparing your race to others can lead to discouragement. We’re all at different stages and our lives progress at a different pace.

The good news is God never wastes a season of waiting. In the waiting, He builds perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to stay under pressure – and keep pressing on – until God finishes His work.

God’s Race for You

Jeremiah 1:5 teaches us that God created a special work – a special race – for each one of us. It is through a relationship with Him that you can best determine your calling and strive to fulfill God’s plan for your life.

So don’t treat God like Google Maps, only going to Him when you need direction for your life. Develop a deeper relationship. He will help you get to where you need to be and grow into who you need to become.

First in Righteousness

When Jesus comes first in your life, He defines what is righteous and unrighteous.

Note: If you’re not a Christian, please don’t begin your faith journey with a list of what’s right and what’s wrong. Encounter God’s love and grace first, and then you’ll become interested in learning about righteousness.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

John 6:33

As a Christ-follower, you don’t get to pick and choose the standards of righteousness. God has clearly defined righteous living in the Bible, and we must strive to live accordingly.

Your Strength Is in The Lord

The world tells us to be strong. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

If you want to live a victorious life, you’re going to need more than your own power, strength, and grit. You’re going to need God’s infinite, limitless, resurrection power. Thankfully, once you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, you have access to just that –  God’s supreme power.

What Happens When God Awakens A Community

This is what it looks like when God awakens a group of people, when he invades a community, when changes the moral climate of a city. Faith becomes part of their conversation; it’s part of their family, it’s part of their relationships. They’re talking about Jesus around the dinner table, in the workplace, marketplace, telling stories about what God has done, they’re talking to God about people, they’re talking to people about God. They’re demonstrating radical generosity in Jesus name, opening up their hearts, opening up their homes, opening up their lives, opening up their wallets, saying here’s $10 just don’t spend it on the whiskey.

Jesus’ fame is spreading through Jerusalem because faith is public, it’s not just contained to an hour and fifteen minutes on Sunday, it’s a part of life.

Why Should Christians Should Get Baptized

Why get baptized? Jesus was baptized.

The first thing he calls us to do as followers is publicly identify with him. Does baptism save you? No. But ask yourself the question, why would I balk on the first thing Jesus asks me to do?

Baptism is a demonstration or a symbol of that commitment. Similar to a wedding, a confession is like a vow, and a baptism is putting on the ring.