Three Foundational Principles of Discipleship

Colossians 1:16-17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

There is nothing that was created without God’s hand.  When you study the origin of all things; all of it dates back to God.  God is the origin of everything.  The key to believing the Bible is believing the first verse in the Bible – “In the beginning God…”  Matter of fact, if you want a great understanding of the word “origin” then it could be just as well that we use “God” in its place.

The reason many of our young people are falling out of Church today is because they are not getting their facts straight.  We have built an educational system that emphasizes evolution as more “fact” than “theory”.  While at the same time we have created a spiritual system that emphasizes Biblical “history”, Biblical “accounts” as nothing more than a “story”.  Bottom line…We go to school to hear the “facts” about our origin and we go to church to hear “fairy tales” about our origin.  There are three foundational principles that Christians must begin to bring back into the structure of its discipleship in order to see a radical change in our future.

  1.  God Created All Things:  The things in heaven, earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers were all created by God.  God created us and everything around us.  It is not just a fairy tale; it is a God given fact found throughout the Bible that God created everything.
  2.  God Claims All Things:  All things were created by God, but at the same time, all things were created for God.  This principle helps us remove the selfish mindset that many of us have toward our possessions.  While God has allowed us the authority to rule over these things, He still reminds us that these things were created for His good pleasure.  If it is not for His glory then it is all in vain.
  3.  God Controls All Things:  We quote it often, but I am afraid we rarely believe it.  Everything is in God’s control.  Sure, man has a free will but the things created by God are the things controlled by God.  The movement of the earth, the storms, the stars in their sockets, the sun and its orbit, and everything else though of is under the control of God.  So before we go giving Satan more credit than He deserves we must remember that God is ultimately in control. Personally, I would rather give God the glory than give Satan the credit. 

Today’s Challenge:  This is more of a life-long challenge than a “today-only” challenge.  We must begin to lay these three foundational principles in the backdrop of all our discipleship if we are to save this next generation.

Six Things That Make Us Better Thinkers

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, thing on these things.”

The mind is a powerful tool.  Honestly, we must realize that the things that we think upon are the things that control our actions as well as our relationships.  Our thought-life is the mechanism that builds or breaks our relationship with Christ as well as with others.  The Lord gives us a great picture of what should be going through our minds.  I would like to identify the things we are to think upon.

  • Things That are True – Don’t focus on error when you can hold truth in the backdrop.
  • Things That are Honest – There is nothing that brings us more frustrations than a lie.  Remember that Satan is the most dishonest being ever to live.  Don’t think about the author of lies.
  • Things That are Just – God is fair and just. Life is unfair and if we get focused on the unfairness of life we will neglect the fairness of God.
  • Things That are Pure – This may take changing a channel, even if it is something as simple as a news broadcast.
  • Things That are Lovely – There is nobody more lovely than the Lord.  There is nothing uglier than sin.
  • Things That are Good Report – The glass can be half-full if you look at through these eyes.

Notice that these things have virtue and at the same time offer praise.  They take our minds off the problem and help us to focus on the solution.

Today’s Challenge – Think on these things!

Three Ways We Can ALL Connect To Christ

Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death;”

The verse begins with a desire to know Christ.  It begins wanting a very intimate relationship with the Lord.  Our relationship with Christ is leveled throughout this verse.  Throughout life we work diligently to connect to certain individuals or even certain groups.  We contemplate how we can connect in such a way that we develop a great relationship with them.  We build such relationships by figuring out areas where we can relate to one another.  However; I am afraid that we have completely failed in the area of relating to Christ.  We have failed because we think He relates to things in our life that He does not have much experience.  If we are going to connect to Christ then we must embrace the following principles:

  • Salvation – no one will ever connect with Christ without first experiencing the resurrection power through salvation.  Our religious experiences are not going to be what connects us to the Lord.  A personal relationship through saving knowledge of Christ will be what connects us to the Lord.  Christ can definitely relate to defeating death, hell, and the grave.  Those that accept Christ as Savior will really be able to connect on the same grounds.
  • Suffering – not the part of Christianity we want to accept, but it is definitely a reality.  Jesus knows very little about the blessings of homes, money, or friendships.  He knows a lot about suffering.  Our suffering connects us to Christ on a level unlike any other.  It is through our sufferings that Christ fellowships with His children
  • Sacrifice – conforming to his death, means we must accept the principle of sacrifice within our lives.  In other words, those things we normally count as a loss, God counts them as gain.  Sacrifice is the ultimate connection point with Christ.  None can Sacrifice the level of Christ, but when we sacrifice for Christ or because of Christ then we are bringing our relationship with Christ to a higher level.

Today’s Challenge – Which connection level do you see yourself?  Embrace a relationship with Christ through these three experiences.

How To Make Right Decisions

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

 Many times we approach God with a very…well…”whatever” type mentality.  The attitude that we are deserving of God’s presence must be removed immediately.  So much of our ideas, beliefs, and decisions are made without God’s view or heart.  Fear and trembling should be the way we approach God.

  •  We Must Make Our Decisions With Fear And Trembling – We would be way better off approaching God with reverence and respect.  Each decision must be made with the judgment of God in the backdrop.
  • We Must Establish Our Beliefs With Fear and Trembling – We should be willing to overlook what everyone else believes in order to establish a Bible based faith.  Just because our Grandparents and Parents believed it, does not make it the right belief
  • We Must Create Our Ideas With Fear and Trembling – If not careful our sinful imaginations will create ideas that our false.

Today’s Challenge:  Keep God’s Judgment in the backdrop of every belief, decision and idea.  It will help keep us all in check!

Striving Together

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:  that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”

Much can be drawn from the contents of this verse.  The key phrase to this text is the words “striving together”.  This reminds me today of the value of unity.  The Lord values unity and harmony between his people.  It is essential that Christians quit battling one another and start working together.  I have come to the conclusion that much of American Christianity is lost in its own selfishness.  We find Christians calling out other Christians over Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets of social media.  They are gossiping, complaining, and belittling fellow believers rather than loving, understanding, and building them up. Someone the other day asked what I thought about the methodology of another Church and my first question was – “Are folks getting Saved?”  Really, is that not the general objective?  My heart breaks this morning over the fact that more congregations are battling and bickering over the minors, when we should be worried about the majors.  Just for a reminder, I would like to discuss some essential steps that would help all of us strive together.

  • Assess Your Conversation – When you assess your conversation, is it one that would promote the gospel or harm the gospel.  Listen closely…when we talk poorly of other Christian Leaders, we could be directly effecting the salvation of others.  Regardless of whether we like them, agree with them, or even believe if they are truly Christian we must guard our conversation because it could have a direct influence on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Avoid Badgering, Battling, and Bickering with other Christians – I feel as though the reason most of our battles are being lost is because we are so focused on the methods and actions of other Christians instead of concentrating on reaching the lost.  I encourage you to ask yourself some questions – Is the Gospel Being Preached?  Are People Getting Saved? If so, shout about it rather than scoff about it.
  • Act Like A Christian – Lost people have a standard that they actually expect from the Christian world and they know when we are not acting like we should.  You guessed it….it is called hypocrisy!  Don’t be “that” in front of a lost world.

Today’s Challenge – Look at the actions, attitude, and conversation and decide whether you are the causing harmony or discord.  Remember that we are to be battle together and not against each other.  Don’t be the one that destroys the unity of God’s people or hinders the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Keys To Living Longer

Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Honor is the act of respect, and appreciation.  There are many who believe that this scripture only applies to those that have not yet reached adulthood.  However; this is a scripture that truly measures our adulthood.  God gives this command and feels so strongly about the obedience to it that he places a significant promise along with it.

  • Note the Precept – Honor the authority God has placed in our lives.  Outside of God himself, our parents are and will remain authoritative figures in our lives.  Those that cannot honor their parents will not be able to honor the Lord.
  • Note the Peace – God want us to be able to say “it is well”. Those that struggle to honor the authority within their lives will be the ones that struggle with the peace of God in their lives.
  • Note the Promise – Those that obey this commandment will have a long life on earth.  That is a commandment worth keeping.

Today’s Challenge:  Remember to honor those that God has given authority over you!

The Dangers Of Disobedience

Ephesians 5:6 “Let no man deceive you with vain words:  for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”

We live in world where people want to be told what they “want” to hear rather than being told what they need to hear.  The Bible says that we should avoid being deceived with vain words, or rather, “empty words”.  We cannot be a generation of ear ticklers and crowd pleasers. I think this verse highlights the fact that God is very displeased with disobedience.  Those that live a life of complete disobedience toward the Lord and His Word should expect His divine wrath.  God’s wrath is something that we must never take too lightly.  We have to overcome the fear of rejection, and realize that people are in complete need for truth.  My heart breaks because we are wasting moments, and messages trying to make sinners feel better about their sin, when God says that His wrath is kindled toward those that live out lives of complete disobedience.

  • To Those That Are Believers – Quit trying to be a crowd pleaser, and start speaking truth to those that need to hear it.  Truth can be presented graciously and tenderly, but we need not avoid allowing people to hear just what they want to hear.
  • To Those That Are Non-Believers – If you don’t obey the call of God in your life then God’s wrath is what is to come for you.  A life of disobedience will result in the experience of God’s wrath.

Today’s Challenge:  Please make sure we solidify our words with something that people need to hear.  May our conversations be more than just hollow, empty, vain words.