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Archive for the tag “Multiplying Christ in Me”

Exalt Christ in the Battle – Ephesians 6:11-24

Ephesians 6:10-21 is a familiar passage where Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God.  The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of truth, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Armored head to toe, ready for battle.  But against who?  Most think we are armored to take our stand against the daily temptations of the Devil.  But did you see verse 13 or did you read right past it.  Contemplate that verse for a while.  According to verse 13 our battle is not simply against Satan.  Notice there is a list of foes we are fighting.  Each entity on the list is plural, and worse yet, all are promised!  Paul tells us that our struggle is against: rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.  This is not a series of different names of Satan. It is a list of foes in addition to Satan that are aligned against you and me.  Out for our very souls.

In verse 13, Paul tells us why we put on the full armor of God “so when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Paul promises days of evil and describes the battle.  First, we ready ourselves and stand braced against the onslaught of evil.  Then, we engage the enemy by doing everything as Paul describes.  After we engage the enemy (do everything) we should still be standing if we are prepared for the onslaught.  But what exactly is Paul referring to when he says “everything”?  Verse 18 tells us one effective battle tactic is prayer.  What other tactics fall under Paul’s “everything”?  It is important for us to identify those tactics so were are standing after the onslaught.  Paul exhorts us to be active combatants not passive.

Verse 13 tells us, sometimes our goal in this world is just to be able to stand after the battle.  If we only focus on the pieces of armor in this passage, we miss the power of the passage.  To not know what we are up against causes us to underestimate our enemies.  Failing to acknowledge and prepare for the foes will leave us unprepared to withstand the intensity of the battle.  What do you need to do today to make yourself ready for the onslaught?  How many pieces of armor are you wearing today?

Craig Lee

Exalt Christ in the Workplace – Ephesians 6:1-10

Is your job “sacred” or is it “secular”?   Some Christians divide their lives into two separate compartments.  There is a sacred compartment and in that compartment we worship, we fellowship with other Christians, we serve God in Christian ministry, and we give our offerings.  Then there is a secular part of our life in the workplace.  These two compartments often do not meet.  There is a wide canyon between them.  But Paul tells us to act differently in the workplace:

Ephesians 6: 7-8 (NIV)

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.”

And Jesus tells us not to hide our lamp:

Matthew 5: 14-16 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Detaching our religious life from our secular life destroys our faith’s purpose, for the purpose of a living faith is to give meaning to all of life and to connect wholly and completely to God.  Is your job sacred or is it secular?  If you are born again, your job is always sacred.

Do your job with all your heart.  Deliver quality results even if your boss or co-workers do not.  Be active and industrious when others are lazy.  Your exemplary job performance is a witness to others.  Christians should be the best workers in every organization.

Always have a Bible on your desk.  Many nonbelievers think Christians are hypocrites.  Show them that your faith is genuine and that you live with assurance Christ forgave your sins.  You know with certainty where you will be in the afterlife.   Your coworkers will want to be there too when they watch you!

Greg Kasten

Understanding Our Calling

Take a moment and think about the disciples that walked with Jesus?  I am sure you have done this lots of times before from several different perspectives, but this time I am asking you to think about them from the perspective of living a new life with Jesus.  Matthew, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James, Simon, and Judas.  Each of these men came from different backgrounds, but Jesus saw something in them.  He called them to follow and be fishers of men.  Jesus, God’s Son, called them.  He told them to leave everything behind and that they would suffer and be persecuted.  He told them.  He taught them how to love, how to serve, and how to lay down their lives for the cause of the Gospel.  As they were changing into these powerhouse messengers for the greatest message ever to be told, stop and wonder what they might have been changing from.  I don’t know for sure where all of these men came from in regards to their personalities, but I have an idea.

When I was in college I worked in a factory for a short time and also on a house framing crew for several summer and winter breaks.  Both of these work areas were tough places for me spiritually.  The conversations were often very offensive and degrading to anyone.  There were moments that I was fierce with my faith and worked hard to be a witness, but there were times when I also stumbled and fell on my face in my walk.  The wisest choice for me was to leave these areas.  Simply flee.

In the midst of these times I received my call to ministry.  It was a literal phone call.  I rejected it at first, but a year later accepted.  The call was to serve as a youth minister for a very small rural church.  I am pretty sure I was called by the church because of the example of faith my parents had set in the community. I would be in charge of all programming from birth through college age.  My first week in the ministry the seriousness of my calling became a reality.  The children and students that followed my example and leadership needed me to be something that I wasn’t in my every day life.  I needed to change. I needed to… accept my call.  To do this I had to know more about Jesus and allow Him to multiply inside of me.  He needed to have more space in my heart and push out the stuff that shouldn’t be there.  I had to learn to walk like I was worthy of my calling.

Now, take a look at Ephesians 4:1-6.  It is here that Paul reminds us of our call. Our call to be united. To be humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with one another.  As we search together I encourage you to allow Christ to multiply in you!  To change you from the inside before he mulitiplies your impact outside!

Matt Lee

Exalt Christ in the Home – Ephesians 5:22-33

MARVELING THE MESSIAH  

Did you know there are just two places in the Bible where Jesus was “marveled”?  Mark 6:1-6 states that Jesus “marveled” at the unbelief of His own hometown friends and family! It was so bad that He did not do a mighty work there!  He left!

In contrast, the other place Jesus marveled is found in Luke 7:1-10.  Jesus “marveled” at the great faith of the centurion.  This non-Jewish soldier understood and believed that Jesus did not need to see his sick servant to heal him!

Why is it, that at times those of us who should know and believe in Jesus are the last to demonstrate our faith in Him?  I want to marvel the Messiah the way the centurion did!  I pray that if Jesus walked into my home at this very moment, He would see that He is first!

My family and I do some of the things most Christian families do; we attend church, pray together and tithe but I know there is much more we can do.   I realized quickly that I am very lacking in this area!  I decided to ask a few of my family and friends what they did to exalt Jesus in their homes.  To my surprise and honestly, to my relief, I found that we all felt inadequate in exalting Jesus.  My eighty-one year old mother, whom I compare to the Proverbs 31 woman, admitted that she should have done more to put Christ first in her home.  We all agree that it is our heart’s desire to exalt Jesus every day!  Here are a few things that we strive to do:

  1. Pray together as a family, even in public. Your goal is to make prayer a priority, thanking God for all things.
  2. Have a family prayer request list, acknowledging when prayers are answered.
  3. Wives and husbands should be emotionally and physically faithful to each other in all ways. Remember, our children are watching our example.
  4. Wives and husbands should show each other in the BEST light, not highlighting faults and failures, especially in front of others.
  5. Families should demonstrate forgiveness and mercy to each other when feelings have been hurt. We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.
  6. Families should give each other the gift of unconditional love. We may not always approve of their choices but we still love them.
  7. Strive to make your home a safe haven for your family. Putting Jesus first will eventually lead to a place of peace where all will know they are welcomed and loved.

I am certain our Lord would not want us to feel defeated and inadequate but rather motivated in finding meaningful and creative ways to demonstrate our faith in Him.

A good friend of mine left me with this thought,  “If you or I were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us?”

If Jesus entered our homes today, I pray that He find an abundance of mounting evidence of our love for Him.  I pray that He would be greatly pleased and possibly, quite possibly be marveled at our witness.

Mary Mirre

Spiritual Multiplication

When we think of spiritual multiplication, what would be the first thing that comes to your mind?  Multiplying the number of those that believe the Gospel, right?  Creating followers of Jesus.  Creating those followers who will in turn create more followers of Jesus, and so forth.  But how are we doing this?  When we read the Bible, attend church, worship the Lord, set aside our daily prayer time, etc. we are making sure that our faith is continually being refreshed, but are we helping ourselves to reach out to others?

   Ephesians 4:11-12 says that “Christ gave gifts to people, some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people.  Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger”. 

We are each given spiritual gifts to help advance the work of the Lord.  My gifts are put to wonderful use in Critterland, as I have the inclination towards caring and nurturing.  When we really look at the gifts that we have been given, and if we utilize them in the correct way, what can stop us from multiplying those we speak with into their own discipleship?  I think if we all really assess what we have been given and use it to further  the whole church, we can become great not only in our numbers, but in our personal faith as well.

Lesley Tipton

Multiply Christ in Your Marriage

Husbands: Love your wives like Christ loved the church

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” (Ephesians 5:25–26)

As we continue to move through Ephesians as a church I want to challenge my fellow husbands to multiply Christ in your marriage by loving your wives as Christ loved the church.  How did he do that?

Jesus died for the church (v. 25)

The first thing he did is he “gave himself up” for the church.  He died for her.  What does that mean for us as husbands?  It means leading our wives by dying to ourselves daily for the good of our wives.  It means waking up every morning or coming home from work every evening and committing to care about her more than you care about yourself.  It means doing things that neither one of you wants to do simply so that she would not have to do them.  This is a hard calling, and it’s a wonderful picture of Christ and the gospel to the rest of the world – and especially to our wives.

He made her holy and cleansed her (v. 26)

Second, Jesus made the church holy – he sanctified her – and he cleansed her of her sins.  What does this mean for us as husbands?  It means if we’re going obey this calling we have to take a personal interest in the holiness and salvation of our wives.

What does this look like practically?  First, it means we must be cultivating a strong relationship with God in regular times of Bible reading and prayer on our own.  How can we give to our wives what we don’t even have ourselves?  Second, it means we shoulder the burden of leading spiritually in the home.  Don’t make your wife get the kids together at night for a Bible story and prayer.  You take the initiative to do that.  Don’t make her be the one motivating the family to get to church on Sundays and to be involved throughout the week.  You take that responsibility on yourself.  And lead in repentance.  Model to her and to your household that godly leadership means being the first to admit your sins and ask for forgiveness.

Husbands, multiply Christ in your marriage by leading it like Christ led the church.

John Davis

Exalt the Father of Christ – Ephesians 5:1-21

“Two young boys are talking about their fathers.  One says, “My Dad is the strongest person in the world.”  The other boy answers back. “Oh yeah, well my Dad can whip your Dad with one hand tied behind his back!”

What are these boys doing?  Well, among other things, they are “exalting” their Dads by their words.  Each one thinks his Dad is the greatest and wants the other to know it.  Exalting someone simply means to do all we can to ‘lift up’ that person in such a way that others will honor, and want to know that person.  Paul challenges us in this passage to exalt the Father by imitating him like children imitate their parents (vs. 1).  “How do we do that?”  Glad you asked.  Paul indicates we do it by the way we live.

First, he instructs us to live a life chacterized by love.  He’s talking about the kind of love Jesus demonstrated, not the “love” you hear and see in movies, books, and TV.  Jesus’ love motives you to live a pure life like Him.  When we live that kind of life, people want to know why.  They may ridicule us for it, but they often secrectly respect and long for that kind of life themselves, and we have opportunity to testify that it is possible only by the power of the Father.  He is exalted by that kind of life!

Secondly, Paul says we exalt the Father when we live our life according to the light of His Truth.  As you are well aware, we live in a time when many claim whatever necessary to promote their agenda; true or not.  It’s harder and harder to know the truth, but we can accept the Father’s word as always being true and as we live by that truth we “exalt” the Father.

Lastly (preacher’s points!), we are to live our lives in the wisdom of the Father.  So we seek the filling of His Spirit through worshipping together as we exalt the Father in our praise and thanksgiving, even in the hard times.  And we look forward to the day He ‘lifts us up’ from this world to be in His Exalted Presence!

Ken Jurgens

Christ Lives Through Me

One of the solos that I have enjoyed singing for many years is the song, Christ Lives Through Me from the musical, A Good Life, by John W. Peterson & Don Wyrtzen.

The song is based on Galatians 2:20a“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. “ 

Here are the lyrics:

O glorious, wondrous, matchless truth that in the Word I see—

The risen Savior, glorified, lives out His life in me!

I yield to Him and reckon self as crucified and dead,

So that the life of Christ my Lord may be outlived instead.

Christ lives through me! Christ lives through me!

By the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, Christ lives through me!

This is the path of power divine for service here below —

The only real, effective way to count for God I know.

‘Tis by the Holy Spirit’s power that He abides with me;

And as I to His Lordship yield He gives me victory!

Christ lives through me! Christ lives through me!

By the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, Christ lives through me!

This song is a powerful testimony of what can happen in our lives as we yield to the will of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.  We all have so much that has been given to us, but for so many, it seems difficult to make a commitment to use those gifts willingly.  When we do, we become the hands and feet of Christ.  We should live to serve Christ and encourage those who need Him.

We multiply the ministry of Christ and His Church each time we serve others and hopefully that service will prod them to do the same in someone else’s life.  Multiplying our ministry is not always easy, but if we stick with those we are discipling, it can be exciting to see what can happen from our investment in them.

Don Seevers

Exalt the Person of Christ – Ephesians 4:17-32

Wow, why did I do that, I often find myself wondering as I lose my patience in the Chick-Fil-A line; raise my voice to my ten-year-old granddaughter; expect someone else to say they are sorry first, when it should really be me apologizing. Oh, how I wish I cou1d do better exalting the person of Jesus, but then the Holy Spirit helps me remember Hebrews l 0:14. My Jesus, by offering his blood, forever made me perfect in my Father’s eyes and gave me the Holy Spirit to help me be made Holy day by day.

I must remember being made Holy, as my Jesus was Holy, and being able to exalt him is a day by day growing process on my part as a saint, a Christian, a surrendered believer.

I must not be discouraged in my journey. I have my best friend, the Holy Spirit to be my guide. I have a special book called the Bible, to give guidelines to being a little Jesus in the flesh. As it says in Philippians 3: 13-14, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it yet (exalting Christ totally) but one thing I do, forgetting or learning from what is behind and striving toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal of exalting the person of Christ every day.

When I fall down and sin, I cleanse (I John 1:9). I communicate daily with my team (my Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit). Jesus, led of the Spirit, talked to the Father often (Mark 1:35). I seek to find and apply Biblical guidelines daily from that special book called the Bible. Success will come over time in exalting Christ (Joshua 1:8). I must never give up in my Spirit-led journey of exalting the person Jesus, who gave his all for me.

Bruce Carpenter

Reflecting the Person of Jesus

One of the comments that people make to me from time to time is that I have my Dad’s smile!  That comment blesses me.  That comment brings warm, loving thoughts of Dad to my heart.  In thinking about that comment though, I have a question, “Do I have Dad’s smile because it is in my DNA, or do I have Dad’s smile because I saw his smile so much?  Do I have Dad’s smile because it is in the genes, or do I have his smile because I spent so much time with him?”  The answer is both.  The last time I was with Dad before he passed away, right before I left him to come back to Lexington, he cupped my face in his hand and gave me a big smile!  He passed away the next day!  Great forever memory etched on my heart!

Our theme for April is “Multiplying Christ in me!”  We will be exploring the last three chapters of Ephesians for this theme.  Ephesians 4:20 says, “But you did not learn Christ in this way.”  One of our primary goals as a Christian is to reflect the person of Jesus Christ.  Reflecting the person of Jesus and pointing people to Jesus was the goal of John the Baptist.  When someone said something to John the Baptist about the multitudes following Jesus, John replied, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  Is pointing people to Jesus one of our goals?  Is reflecting the person of Jesus one of our priority goals?

How do we reflect the person of Jesus better?  One way is through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us.  The power of the Holy Spirit living in us would be the DNA of Jesus!  Do we demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?  The second way is to spend more time with Jesus in His Word.  The more time we spend with Jesus in His Word the more we will reflect the Spirit of Jesus.

When I was growing up on the dairy farm, I spent a lot of time with Dad.  We milked cows together.  We cleaned out the barn together.  We worked in the hay together.  We worked in the tobacco crop together.  We repaired fence and built new fence together.  We did so much together.  So, while part of his smile is in the DNA, the genes; part of his smile that I reflect comes from spending so much time with him.  When we spend a lot of time with Jesus, we will reflect the Spirit of Jesus!  May our goal through the last three chapters of Ephesians be to multiply Christ in ourselves so that others will see Him and be drawn to Him!  And what a day that will be when we see the smile of Jesus!

Tommy Simpson

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