Monday, May 27, 2013


In Matthew 21, Jesus tells a couple of parables to teach the importance of using the opportunities God gives us to obey Him and express our faith in Him.  He says our opportunities are like “vineyards” that are to be worked and harvested.  God has prepared opportunities – vineyards – for us and expects us to use them productively.    Here’s how:

1. Go to the opportunity and work it.
“There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’” Matt. 21:28.  Take initiative.  The opportunities are presented to us.  Now we must go to them and make them productive. 

2. You are saved to serve.
“A certain landowner planted a vineyard… Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers … At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop”. Matt. 21:33-34 (NLT).  You have a vineyard to work and make productive for the Kingdom of God.  You’re on assignment.

3. Look, listen, and choose the right way.
“For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins”. Matt. 21:32 (NLT).  There is a right way to handle situations.  Learn God’s ways of living.  Put into practice God’s righteous ways of dealing with people and circumstances.

4. Count on your calling.
“… ‘go and work today in the vineyard…he sent his servants…he sent other servants… he sent his son’…” Matt. 21:28, 34, 36, 37.  Know that you’re sent on a mission.  Let it motivate you wherever you are.

5. Be productive for God’s Kingdom.
“… the kingdom of God will be … given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Matt. 21:43.  Your job, your school, your family, your neighbors, your friends, your recreation – all provide opportunities to be productive for God’s Kingdom.

Work productively in the vineyards God as entrusted to you.  Work towards the harvest of more believers in Christ and transformed lives.

Monday, May 20, 2013


You who revere the Lord, bless the Lord. Psalm 135:20b (NAS)

What does it mean to “bless the Lord?”  We seem to have an easier time defining “praise the Lord”, or “thank the Lord.”  But how is “bless the Lord” defined?  When we apply the definitions of the word “bless” we get to the heart of it.  It means to please God, to honor Him.  Do what brings Him delight.  Delight His heart. 

We choose to delight His heart:
- in what we say and do,
- with a whole heart, all in for Him,
- with joy and gladness,
- with a giving attitude, and
- by obeying immediately.

Jesus sums it up for us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Monday, May 13, 2013


In our modern world we have become very attentive to identity.  Whether it’s choosing an identity, assigning someone an identity, showing evidence of our identity, being ID’ed, digging through evidence in order to identify someone, protecting our identity, assuming an identity, or denying an identity – we can say this much:  we love to identify. 

But there is one identity that many seem to be fuzzy about.  What’s the difference between a Christian and a mature Christian?  How do you identify a spiritually mature Christian?  What does a devoted follower of Jesus look like?  What we strive to do as a church is to see people transformed from a broken and selfish life to a whole and useful life in the kingdom of God. 

Paul states our objective in this way:   Him (Christ) we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God, that we may present every person mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28 Amp).  Paul also put it this way:   My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19). 

Maturity means life-change.  It means life transformation.  Becoming mature in Christ and that Christ is formed in you are the same thing.  So what does Christ-like maturity look like?  It’s when your life takes on the characteristics of Jesus.  It’s when your life shows the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life which is described in Galatians 5:22-23:  The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (NLT). 

These are character traits of Jesus.  And they are produced in our lives as we learn to live with Jesus everyday as our Savior and God, submit to His leadership through His Spirit and His Word, rest in His perfect and intense love for us, and choose to discipline our lives in such a way to obey Him.

There are Christians and then there are mature Christians.  When you look closely at Christians, you see among them some mature and transformed “all in” devoted followers of Jesus because you see Jesus in them.

Monday, May 6, 2013


God transforms our lives as believers in Christ.  But we have a responsibility in it too.  Paul reminds us, “Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.  Don’t be greedy … You used to do these things ...  But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.” Colossians 3:5-8 (NLT)

Transformation happens when these things become an on-going pattern.  We’re to “put to death” the sinful ways of the flesh, the old ways of living for self, the old habits.  In order to live the “new resurrected life”, death must occur.  Death is the prerequisite to resurrection.

“Normally, burying something in the ground is a way to get rid of it.  But if you do it with a seed, something happens.  The seed becomes something it was not.  It becomes a plant or a tree, and it produces fruit.  Now it isn’t just getting life; it’s actually giving life.  But it could never have happened if the seed hadn’t died first.” – Ian Pitt-Watson, former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest.” John 12:24 (Ph)