VIDEO Newton on the Christian Life

To Live Is Christ

by Tony Reinke

John Newton is famous for his legendary hymn “Amazing Grace.” Many have celebrated his dramatic conversion from a life of sin, and his work helping to ending the British slave trade. But often overlooked are Newton’s forty years as a pastor ministering to parishioners and friends unsettled by the trials, doubts, and fears of life.

Newton is perhaps the greatest pastoral letter writer in the history of the church. He took up his pen day after day to help others fix their eyes on Christ, which, he writes, is the underlying battle of the Christian life. Through a careful study of scores of letters, Tony Reinke brings together Newton’s brilliant vision of the Christian life in one accessible place.

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Before you decide to leave the church

church missing thei535project

A few days ago I read several blogs from young Christians who were shunning the church, explaining how they have completely detached themselves from any involvement from the church completely. As I was reading, I began to really ponder on the fact that more and more Christians are leaving the church…and the more I thought about it the more distraught I became of the idea.

Could we possibly have a day where majority of believers abandon the church altogether and just sit home with their bibles and daily scripture statuses like everything is all good? While the thought of that makes my soul cringe, God gave me an illustration on The Church and its true purpose. (not “a church meaning a building, but “The Church” meaning the body of Christ). Just follow me for a second….

Put the idea of a hospital in your imagination. Who does it consist of? Doctors, nurses, receptionist, switchboard operators, security, tech team, the ambulance, and maintenance. Although its easy to think that all you need are doctors and nurses to run a hospital, in actuality without all these components running together you wouldn’t have a successful hospital at all. The purpose of the hospital is to house and treat the sick right? Without maintenance the hospital would be way too dirty to prevent disease, much less treat it. Without receptionist, the vital records of patients would never be kept. Without security the workers and patients alike would constantly be in danger, and without the ambulance they wouldn’t be able to reach the sick that extend outside the walls of the hospital. All of these positions, working together as the parts of the body works together, they ensure that the purpose of the hospital gets fulfilled. In essence, the hospital itself really isn’t the building at all, but the staff that labors inside of it!

Now, imagine these people….doctors and nurses and other staff beginning to leave the hospital altogether. “I can do my own thing at home, I don’t need to be here, this isn’t for me, I don’t like the other staff, I’m a doctor with or without it…”. Once more and more people begin to leave the hospital…it stops being a hospital because it can no longer fulfill its purpose. People with severe sicknesses will go to the hospital only seeing the doors closed shut because no one works there anymore! Emergency after emergency now falls on deaf ears because groups of people decided they didn’t want to work anymore. You see how bad that would be?

Whether you believe it or not, The Church HAS a purpose…to introduce healing to those who are suffering from the diseases caused by sin. Those that are lost and looking for peace should be able to come to The Church for their healing. People should be able to come among a community of believers and hear life changing testimonies, be part of earth-shaking worship sessions, and here pastors deliver the gospel that pushes them toward accepting Jesus and becoming healed. You think church is “unnecessary”? consider the apostles in Acts 2.

The Holy Spirit Through Numbers

  • Apostles faced a huge crowd of people as they preached the gospel
  • Through their unison with the Holy Spirit, they were able to all minister to all the different languages (about 14 different languages I believe)
  • Coming TOGETHER as the body of Christ can multiply your effect on the world

Peter’s Sermon

  • His sermon influenced 3,000 people to give their lives to Christ
  • Majority of people have given their life to Christ because of the convicting sermon they heard by a pastor
  • Jesus uses Pastors to convey his message to those who are seeking something other than what the world is offering them. Also, these messages refill the spirits of those already saved….we never get to a place where we don’t need to hear a word from The Lord.

Fellowship/Support

  • Toward the end of the chapter the newly saved people in the congregation began to fellowship with one another. Building friendships, making connections, and ministering to one another. Having believers you can connect with can greatly strengthen your relationship with Christ! (Lions often isolate THEN pounce, stop thinking you just too independent to stay with the flock…Satan will convince you be isolated so attacking you gets that much easier)
  • They also began selling their possessions and distributing them among those in the congregation that were lacking. The body of Christ was designed to support itself, those in church that are willing to help you can’t, because you’re too good to be there! Helping each other in need is what will make The Church powerful again, the body being healthy with Love circulating through its veins!

Now I know there are a LOT of corrupted churches out here…I know this. But there are also corrupted doctors and bosses, bet that wont stop you from going to the hospital when you’re sick, or to your job when you know them bills on the way! If you have been hurt and mistreated by a church, please, find another one! As a Christian you will never operate to your fullest potential in Christ while being completely isolated from the body of Christ. What use is your arm if it becomes detached from your body? What use are you to the kingdom detached from the body? Don’t let satan trick you into isolation

Acts 2:41-47

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who 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.”

Peace

 

by FREDERICK GRAHAM JR.

https://walkingflame7.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/before-you-decide-to-leave-the-church/comment-page-1/#comment-26

How to Be a True Disciple of Christ

Courage Billy Graham

Being a true disciple of Christ means learning from God and putting His Word into action, the Rev. Billy Graham says.

Graham, a 97-year-old Baptist minister who founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, explains in a My Answers Q&A that to be a disciple of Christ means to be someone who “believes in Jesus and seeks to follow Him in his or her daily life.”

While in the Bible disciples actually knew Jesus in person, today a disciple is considered to be anyone who has committed themselves to Jesus.

Christian disciples have two responsibilities: to learn from God through His teaching, and to live out this teaching daily through their actions, the influential leader writes.

To be a disciple of Christ “means first of all that we want to learn from Him — and we will, as we study God’s Word, the Bible, and listen to others teach from it,” Graham writes, referencing Psalm 119:130 which states that the “unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

The second responsibility of a disciple is to put God’s teaching into action on a daily basis.

“[B]eing a disciple also means we want to put God’s Word into action by seeking to live the way Christ wants us to live — with God’s help,” Graham says.

Dan Delzell, pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska, wrote on the topic of discipleship in an op-ed for The Christian Post, explaining that while some might think the title of disciple implies a higher level of dedication to God than a Christian, both are equal.

“If you are born again through faith in Jesus, you are a disciple of the Lord. There are no ‘second string’ disciples in God’s family. You are either born again, or not. If you are saved, it was the Good News which God used to grant you salvation,” Delzell writes, citing Romans 10:17 which states that “Faith comes from hearing the message.”

By being inducted into God’s family, you have earned the title of disciple, the pastor continues.

“It is not a message telling you what you must do in order to work your way into the position of a disciple. No one has ever been made a disciple by his works. Disciples do good works because they have been brought into God’s family by the power of the Gospel message,” Delzell writes.

Delzell adds that to try to differentiate between a Christian and a disciple would be to undermine God’s power in one’s life.

“If we make a distinction between ‘Christian’ and ‘disciple,’ we end up doing irreparable damage to both words. A person who is a Christian did not become one on his own. He was ‘born of God,’ (John 1:13)/ To say that some ‘Christians’ are not yet ‘disciples’ is to greatly minimize the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion … .as well as minimizing the Presence and benefits of having Jesus ‘dwell in your hearts through faith,’ (Ephesians 3:17),” the pastor writes.

This is not to say that there are not some disciples who could afford to strengthen their relationship with God.

“There is not one of us who couldn’t be living more like Christ. But that doesn’t mean that some born again people are disciples, while others are ‘only Christians.’ The Bible does not teach such a division,” Delzell says.

BY KATHERINE WEBER

http://www.christianpost.com/news/billy-graham-how-to-be-a-true-disciple-of-christ-164292/

A Mission from God

As Christ’s representatives on earth, we have a heavenly assignment—and a message to deliver.

Imagine sitting in your home one afternoon when the phone rings. It’s the president, and he wants you to come to Washington immediately because he has a very important job for you. Upon your arrival, you are ushered into the White House and greeted by the Commander in Chief, who says, “I want you to be my ambassador. I am giving you the authority to deliver my message.” How would you respond? You would probably be shocked and maybe even a little fearful, wondering if you could handle such great responsibility.

However, if you are a Christian, something similar has actually happened to you. On the day you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you became His ambassador. Your assignment is to represent the King of Kings and deliver His message to the world (2 Cor. 5:14-20). Once you comprehend the magnitude and importance of this job, it will greatly influence every aspect of your life, especially how you relate to others.

To help us understand our task as Christ’s ambassadors, let’s consider the characteristics and responsibilities of a diplomat. He usually resides in a foreign country, speaks on behalf of his leader, has a lifestyle different from those around him, and honors his home country with his character, attitude, and conduct. In the same way, Christians are citizens of heaven who live in this world as strangers (1 Pet. 2:11). Our assignment is to deliver the good news of Christ’s salvation to those who don’t know Him. Furthermore, we seek to honor and represent our King by the way we live.

The message entrusted to us is one of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). There are people all around who are overwhelmed with sin, struggles, hurts, and failures. But we’ve been sent as representatives to give them a message of hope for a new beginning. Whenever people are reconciled to God through His Son, the broken and shattered pieces of their lives will be put back together—though often in a way other than they anticipate. In Christ, they truly become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17).

Even though we have such good news to deliver to a lost and hurting world, the reality is that our message isn’t always welcome. In fact, it frequently brings misunderstanding and criticism. But that’s all part of an ambassador’s job. The people who are not yet citizens of the kingdom don’t understand our worldview and often misinterpret our motives. Just look at the apostle Paul. Wherever he went, he encountered various degrees of opposition and disapproval.

This truth is further emphasized in Paul’s words to Timothy: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Therefore, since we can’t escape the conflicts that result from our loyalty to Christ, we must address them and respond with a spirit of humility, grace, and patience. Whenever we encounter antagonism, six practices will help us deal wisely with criticism and conflict.

Maintain a quiet spirit. If one of our country’s diplomats flew into a fit of rage or berated those who disagreed with him, he’d be a very poor representative for his nation. Moreover, his hostility would prevent others from accepting the message he was sent to deliver. Although anger may be a natural reaction when we feel attacked, James 1:19-20 says, “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” Realizing that our critics don’t know the One who sent us, we must view them with a heart of compassion.

Refrain from immediate self-defense. When tempers flare, nothing is gained because each person is bent on defending himself. That’s why it is wise to let the angry or critical words pass by. Instead, breathe a quick prayer: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3). The beginning of a conflict is the time to listen in order to gain understanding of both the person and the situation. Once you grasp his or her point of view, then if necessary, you may clarify any misunderstandings or explain your case, but always do it with a gracious spirit.

Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. Since God alone perceives the hearts, thoughts, and motives of those who are critical, He’s the only one who knows how we should respond. As His ambassadors, we need His guidance not only to discern what’s going on in the other person’s life but also to know how to represent Christ with our speech and attitude. When we let the Holy Spirit have authority over our words, He teaches us what to say (Luke 12:12).

View the situation as coming from God. If we focus on the person who is being critical, we’re more likely to accuse him of wrongdoing and justify ourselves. But when we realize that the Lord has allowed this difficult or painful situation for His good purposes, we’ll have peace (Rom. 8:28). Instead of seething with anger, feeling sorry for ourselves, or trying to manipulate the situation, we can trust God and surrender our “rights” for His sake.

Focus on ways to help and love the other person. Since conflicts tend to sidetrack us from our role as Christ’s ambassadors, we must remember our goal is to introduce others to our King and tell them about His offer of salvation. Instead of being offended by their negative responses, we should find ways to demonstrate Christ’s love to them with our words and actions.

Keep an attitude of joy. When Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed for preaching about Jesus, their songs and praises to God in the midst of suffering spoke volumes to those who were listening (Acts 16:23-25). Very few people are led into a relationship with Christ through condemnation or contentious debates, but nothing is more attractive than a joyful life. Even when conflicts are painful, believers can have Christ’s unshakeable gladness regardless of circumstances.

As ambassadors of Christ, we do not have the job of reforming this world or fixing every person who disagrees with us. We are simply to present God’s Word and demonstrate His character with our conversation, conduct, and attitude. Our goal is to let others know that they can become citizens of heaven—just like us.

Although some may respond negatively, we must remember that Jesus predicted this would happen (John 15:18-21). When unbelievers see us react to their criticism with kindness, patience, and love, they receive a glimpse of the heavenly kingdom. That’s when we become an awesome testimony of the reality of our Christian faith.

by Charles F. Stanley

A Saint in Embryo Stage

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

—Romans 7:22-23

The regenerate man often has a more difficult time of it than the unregenerate, for he is not one man but two. He feels within him a power that tends toward holiness and God, while at the same time he is still a child of Adam’s flesh and a son of the red clay. This moral dualism is to him a source of distress and struggle wholly unknown to the once-born man. Of course the classic critique upon this is Paul’s testimony in the seventh chapter of his Roman epistle.

The true Christian is a saint in embryo. The heavenly genes are in him and the Holy Spirit is working to bring him on into a spiritual development that accords with the nature of the heavenly Father from whom he received the deposit of divine life. Yet he is here in this mortal body subject to weakness and temptation, and his warfare with the flesh sometimes leads him to do extreme things. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).   TIC053-054

Lord, sometimes I could wish I were not “still a child of Adam’s flesh and a son of the red clay.” But I live in this flesh and realize constantly my total dependence on You for spiritual victory. Grant it today, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

Cast thy burdens upon the Lord

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.—Psalm 55:22.

 

To Thee I bring my care,

The care I cannot flee,

Thou wilt not only share,

But bear it all for me.

O loving Savior, now to Thee

I bring the load that wearies me.

Frances R. Havergal.

 

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee”-burden and all. “Thee” is the greatest burden that thou hast! All other burdens are but slight, but this is a crushing burden. But when we come to the Lord with our burden, He just lifts up His child, burden and all, and bears him, all the way home.

Charles A. Fox.

 

He lays his affairs and himself on God, and so hath no pressing care, no care but the care of love, how to please, how to honor his Lord. And in this, too, he depends on Him, both for skill and strength; and, touching the success of things, he leaves that as none of his to be burdened with, casts it on God, and since He careth for it, they need not both care, His care is sufficient. Hence springs peace, inconceivable peace.

Robert Leighton.

 

Our Delight And Desires

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Ps. 37:4

Delight in God has a transforming power, and lifts a man above the gross desires of our fallen nature. Delight in Jehovah is not only sweet in itself, but it sweetens the whole soul, till the longings of the heart become such that the Lord can safely promise to fulfill them. Is not that a grand delight which moulds our desires till they are like the desires of God?

Our foolish way is to desire, and then set to work to compass what we desire. We do not go to work in God’s way, which is to seek Him first, and then expect all things to be added unto us. If we will let our heart be filled with God till it runs over with delight, then the Lord Himself will take care that we shall not want any good thing. Instead of going abroad for joys let us stay at home with God, and drink waters out of our own fountain. He can do for us far more than all our friends. It is better to be content with God alone than to go about fretting and pining for the paltry trifles of time and sense. For a while we may have disappointments; but if these bring us nearer to the Lord, they are things to be prized exceedingly, for they will in the end secure to us the fulfillment of all our right desires.