If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
(John 13:14, 15 ESV)
How do YOU choose a church? This tweet from Scotty Smith made me think yesterday.
I know what I look for in a church, though I’ve not looked for a long time since I’ve been at my church for over 13 years now. I look for the presence of God, healthy relationships and families, solid theology, and integrity and humility in the leaders (and vibrant worship helps too).
But, what do you look for?
I’ve blogged about being spiritually effective and growing in relationship with God (one of my most popular posts), about things that inhibit growth, about hearing from God and making decisions, about discipleship and priorities because there’s always too much to do. But after all of that talking I really want to hear from you.
I’d like to know what specific practices you use to:
- Stay connected with God
- Hear from God
- Grow in your relationship with God
- Get out of a rut
So, there you go. Here’s your chance to blow my socks off and share what God’s taught you over the years. Please comment, share, tweet, ask around, and reply to your heart’s content.
Photo credit: Nicholas_T
Do you recognize one of the primary differences between people who are caught up in popular culture and people who are part of the Christian subculture?
Most of the people caught up in popular culture are striving towards goals. While, at the same time, many of the people who are part of the Christian subculture think they’ve arrived – that now that their salvation is secure, there’s nothing left.
I’m sure this doesn’t describe you. But just keep it in mind for that friend of yours who needs to remember that he or she hasn’t “arrived” yet.
It’s a lie
Let’s start there: for a Christian who is still alive and breathing to believe that there’s nothing left to do or accomplish but to wait for final, sweet death is a lie. It’s an abomination. It runs contrary to how God created us and what Jesus taught.
Do you want to stand out in a crowd? Do you want your life to matter?
Live on Purpose
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Stand Out by Being Positive
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
Have you ever considered praying the Bible? Below is my prayer for today based on Colossians 1:1-6. I used a devotional format that is in Jean Fleming’s book, Feeding Your Soul (Amazon link) that I have previously written about here. If you’ve never tried this, I’d recommend it.
Lord, God Almighty, grant that we might accept the place that you have for us in life and in your kingdom and that we might be faithful in all that we do so that you might be glorified in and through us.
May our lives be filled with thanksgiving for all that you’ve done and for what you’re doing.
May we hear of the faith and love with others and may our own lives be marked by the faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up for us in heaven. And where we are lacking, may you, by your sovereign grace and power, restore our faith, our hope, and our love.
May our lives and our teaching be true to your Gospel and may we not teach, accept, or allow any substitute “gospel” to supplant your truth. And may we truly understand your grace so that your Gospel can grow and bear fruit in us and throughout the whole world.
Blessed be our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Have you ever noticed how children may pay a lot of attention to what they wear but not necessarily whether their outfit matches? I my minds eye, I can see a little girl wearing a tiara, a sweatshirt, dingy jeans, a tutu, and rubber boots. She’s cute but she doesn’t match.
I’ve met that girl
When I was growing up, there was a girl in our neighborhood that had even less style sense than the girl in my mind’s eye. I know it’s hard to believe but I’m telling you, it’s true.
We used to make fun of her.
I know it’s mean and I’m sure not proud of myself now. I’d like to think that I’m more mature and that I would behave differently now. But children can be cruel and we did make fun of her.
I’m even worse than she was
But here’s the deal: I’m even worse than she was. Sure, I might dress myself well – at least in terms of the physical clothes I wear. But spiritually, I’m often a pretty poor dresser.
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. This year was definitely different, but no exception. You see, this is my first Christmas as a daddy.
Looking back over the year – really, looking back over the decades – I can see how amazingly good God has been to me. How he’s taken care of me. How he’s kept me from harm and from evil. How he’s blessed me with a beautiful wife and baby. And I can’t imagine a better life.
Today, of all days, I’m reminded of how blessed I am. Not because of the gifts my friends and family have given me – though I am so thankful for their love and generosity. But because of the amazing gifts God has given me in this life and in the life to come.
This morning we opened some gifts and had a little breakfast and then headed out to worship. As I was sitting there in the presence of God and surrounded by my church family, God reminded me of just a few of the kindnesses he’s shown me.
He’s given me an unbelievable wife and an unspeakably cute daughter. My brother and his family have been so gracious to me over the years and I’m proud to know them. And, more recently, my sister-in-law and her family – it’s been great to get to know them. I have an incredible spiritual heritage though my parents and through their parents (and the list goes on). God has given me a church family that I know and love. But even before that, I’m blessed beyond measure simply because of the gift of Jesus.
How can I fail to give him honor?!
Glory to God in the highest!
May we have his peace and favor on earth (Luke 2:14, paraphrased)
How often do we quietly whisper “here I am to worship” rather than loudly proclaim our love for and devotion to God. Should praise and worship be quiet or loud?
Obviously, there is a time and place for everything. But there’s nothing wrong with loud praise and worship. Nothing wrong with it at all.
In fact, even back in the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon commented that making our worship “genteel” might also make it a mockery. That focus on refinement might actually miss the heartiness and ruggedness of congregational song.
It is regretted that the niceties of modern singing frighten our congregations from joining lustily in the hymns. For our part we delight in full bursts of praise, and had rather discover ruggedness of a want of musical training than miss the heartiness of universal congregational song. The gentility which lisps the tune in well-bred whispers, or leaves the singing altogether to the choir, is very likely a mockery of worship.