Monday, January 31, 2011


John the Baptist performed no miracles, but throughout his life he faithfully followed the path God had chosen for him. And in the end Jesus commended his life as he did no one else. Jesus said that John was greater than anyone in the past, and that would include Abraham, Moses, or David. No one topped John the Baptist.

What do we learn from John the Baptist? There are Four Choices we must make that God would describe as “being great”.

1. Discover how God has uniquely designed you and called you for His purpose.
Eph. 2:10 (Mes) We neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Question: How are you going to let this truth change your perspective of “you” this week? How will you act differently?

2. Point others to Jesus because He appointed you.
Jesus said in John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” What Jesus said, He said to all His followers, and that includes you and me.

Question: What are you going to do to lead someone toward Jesus this week?

3. Deflate “self”.
John baptized many people and they flocked to hear him. But John constantly sought to downplay his own significance. John said in John 3:30 “He must become greater; I must become less.” For Jesus to increase in our lives, we must decrease.

Question: What can you do this week to decrease “selfish motives, fears, and insecurities” and increase your attention on Jesus?

4. Live greater than your doubts.
I am sure that all of us here have doubted and even stumbled at times at the way God’s plans seem to unfold in our lives. There are times when what is happening in our lives is a mystery to us. And we’ve felt that the Lord has let us down or at the very least that he hasn’t worked things out the way we would have desired.

John knew who Jesus was, but in prison, doubt began to worm its way into his heart.
In Matt. 11:3-6 John sent word to Jesus and asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

In effect Jesus says this to John: “John you may not understand why I do the things I do. And you may not understand or agree with my timing, but you can trust Me.” John decided to live and act greater than his doubts. He chose to live his life, in prison, and right up to the day he was beheaded – resolutely believing in Jesus.

• We must choose to believe Jesus and act in faith, with or without our feelings.

Question: How are you going to show your belief in Jesus this week – that it’s real – that Jesus is real to you?
To God, that’s what being great is all about.

Monday, January 24, 2011


As the people of Israel were getting ready to enter the Promised Land, Moses sent out 12 spies to check it out. Ten of the spies came back and said that conquering the Promised Land would be too tough. There were giants in the land. Two of the spies looked at the land through eyes of faith and said they could conquer the land with God’s help. But the children of Israel believed the first set of spies and their pessimistic outlook.

God gave them a test and they failed miserably. Instead of making it into the Promised Land, they spent years wandering around in the desert. Because these ten guys chose to look through eyes of fear, they lost an opportunity that God had prepared for them. They delayed their destiny for another 40 years.

It can happen to us, too. You’ve probably got a challenge in front of you right now. You know what it is. Maybe it’s your job or your finances or your marriage or your children. Maybe it’s a health issue. Something is in front of you that’s too big for you.

Nothing will play a bigger role in what God does through your life in 2011 than how you look at the world around you. It’s a matter of perspective. You have a choice: will you choose to look at your life through eyes of faith or eyes of fear? Look at the situation through eyes of fear and you’ll only see the giants in the land. Look at the situation through eyes of faith and you’ll see the big God who goes before you.

Monday, January 10, 2011


We are often guilty of trying to second guess God. And when others are going through difficulties we are often tempted to act as if we know how to explain the plans of an infinitely wise God. But the truth is that our minds wrestle in vain to explain the unexplainable. When we’re unable to solve the mysteries that confront us, we can allow unanswered questions to rob us of our joy. It may be a tragedy that threw you into depression. Or it may be that you have experienced hurt from a relationship. Whatever it may be it can cause us to doubt the power or goodness of God.

Job was a man who worshipped God and did all the right things, but he was tempted to doubt God’s goodness. In spite of his goodness Job still underwent adversity. In one single day he lost everything, including his children. Then when you think nothing further can happen to poor Job, he breaks out with skin ulcers all over his body, and his health is destroyed. Friends came to comfort him, but they added to his misery by insisting he must have committed some horrible sin for which God was punishing him.


You don’t know exactly how another human being feels.

What someone needs is a genuine friend who will walk with him or her on their spiritual journey - someone who encourages their faith without trying to explain the unexplainable.

You are always in the care of a loving God.

Nothing happens in the life of the believer that has not first passed through the permission of God.

Experiences you can’t understand provide the greatest opportunities to exercise faith.

Though Job continued to have faith in God he never learned why God permitted him to suffer. Sometimes there are no apparent or easy answers to life’s problems. Through suffering, we are forced to face the mystery of God. We’re challenged to trust Him deeper. Job did come to know God better.

Faith is proven to be genuine only when it is tested.

The Bible reminds us that a faith that passes the test is more precious than gold.
1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

God has multiplied blessings in store for you.

God blessed Job abundantly.
Job 42:12-13 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.

You may not get every single one of God’s blessings in this life, as Job did, but they are there for you. They are reserved in heaven, waiting there for you.

The Job who emerged from the severity of pain had a deeper trust in God than the Job who entered it. That’s what God wants to have happen in each of us when we, too, face the hurts that are a part of every human life.

Monday, January 3, 2011


It’s that time of year again. We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future, and spend more time with family. We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And these are all good, but in addition real living goes beyond these things.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions for living the “new life” we have in Christ:

Pray more.
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord…‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

Invest in my spiritual gifts.
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:14-15, NIV)

Get more intentional about evangelism.
I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22, NIV)

Care for myself spiritually.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

Make the tough decisions I know are best.
And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24, NIV)

Confront debilitating patterns of sin.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

Quit comparing myself to other Christians, other leaders and other churches.
Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Mes)

Read more.
Timothy, please come as soon as you can…When you come, be sure to…bring my books,… (2 Timothy 4:9, 13, NLT)

Prioritize my family.
A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife,…attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (1 Timothy 3:2-5, Mes)

Stay focused on the vision.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)