Tag Archives: Testimony

How does a Christian grow?

People who are truly saved have a desire to learn more about God.  They are drawn to anything that will teach them about the wonderful savior who died for them.  They have a desire to grow as a Christian, but how do they do that when they are surrounded by a world of sin?  How do they find light when they are engulfed in a world of darkness?

I have thought about this many times. It doesn’t seem as though any one will grow if they are not related to or surrounded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The light of Christ dwells in every true Christian, but every Christian does not know this.  Or, they know it, but do not reckon it to be true.  They live like Christ is only present when they are in church, reading their Bible, praying or when they are talking to the preacher.  To navigate this world of darkness, we need the light of Christ.  Since Christ lives in us, we all possess the light of Christ, but how do we make it work for us?

I know that it is a very big step to take but the short answer is you must surround yourself, you must saturate yourself with God’s people, God’s music, God’s television shows, God’s books, God’s paintings and God’s word. Douse yourself, emerge yourself in God. If you do it will have an effect on you life. You will grow as a Christian.  When you go out into the world, you will know how to invoke the light that lives in you.

As a pastor I am often asked, “How do I live as a Christian?  I keep failing. I don’t know how to take the things I learned and use them successfully. How do I keep my mind on Christ?”  I too had this question when I was just a new Christian.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Learn to surround yourself with Christian things.  Get rid of all things you know Christ would not like.[/pullquote]

I learned to surround myself with Christian things.  This first involved taking down all NON-Christian things.  I got rid of all things that I had that I knew Christ would not like.  For me, this involved cleaning out my liquor cabinet, flushing all of the recreational drugs and throwing away all related paraphernalia.  I burned all my bad magazines, broke all 300 of my records and threw away all clothing that had disrespectful messages and pictures. it was like a spring cleaning.  I rid myself of any worldly distractions.  It was like cleaning the slate of  my life so there was room to add the new things I so desperately needed.

After this I started reading my Bible every day. I didn’t always understand it, but I read it anyway. Then I began going to church. Here I didn’t understand everything either, but I always asked questions.  The pastor was always happy to give me an answer.  I bought Christian music, posters and books.  I put them all over my apartment.  Everywhere you turned you could see God.  I hung out with the people I met at church and it didn’t take long to see that they were not prudes like I initially thought them to be.  If it had God in it, I was involved.

This filled my mind with thoughts about God which effectively pushed out thoughts of the world.  It was “out with the old and in with the new.”  If you are going to get rid of the old man, you must replace it with the new man.  The Bible refers to this as a purging process (1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Tim. 2:21; 2 Pet. 1:9).  People don’t get this though.  They think that when they become a Christian, they can just start leading a new life.  So, they neglect the old life.  As hard as they try to live the new Christian life, the old life keeps showing through.  They have neglected to purge out the old ways to make room for the new ways.  This is essential if they are going to be successful at leading a victorious Christian life.

Christians can never grow if they do not address getting some of their old ways removed from their life.  There will never be room for the new life to take hold if they are not willing to allow the old to be “pushed out” (purged).

In summary, the way to grow as a Christian is to allow the old to be pushed out by the new.  Get rid of the things that draw you away, or distract you from God.  Then surround yourself with the things that you want in your life.  Then the purging process will successfully accomplish what it is intended to do.

 

JUST DO IT!

2011 Family Street Preaching 004I was pleased and overjoyed when God’s people go out on the streets preaching His Word.  I know that this really makes the Devil mad.  He would like nothing better than to discourage the entire church from doing anything for the Lord, AND he knows that the best time to do that is now.

It is so easy to just go to church and receive all of the blessings of God, and not really do anything to get people saved.  It takes a real love for the Lord to transcend from being a “taker” being a “giver” of the blessings of God.  Jesus said, “if  ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).    It takes a love for Jesus to do what He says and the final thing He told us to do before ascending into heaven was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”  If we are not actively engaged in trying to get people saved, then we are not following His commandment, and our love for Him should come under evaluation to see if it is appropriate.

I know that it encourages me to see others love the Lord so much so that they are really out there on the front lines doing something for Him.  Likewise, I know that it discourages me to see people doing nothing for the Lord.  I know one may say, “Well, I teach a Sunday school class.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord, but is it doing what He has commanded all Christians to do?  Is it what He wrote down in His Word?  Another might say, “Well, I have a family so I know that I already have a ministry; my first ministry is to my family and If I don’t take care of them, I am worse than an infidel.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord and He has made that clear in His Word that we are to take care of our family, but is that doing what he commanded regarding getting people saved?

 I know that it is easy to get distracted with the cares and burdens of life.  There is always something to do; some sickness to deal with; some appointment to keep.  All of these things are necessary, but we must be careful to not get out of balance and one day find out we have replaced them for the endeavor of getting people saved.  Why?  Because people are watching.

Everyone is watching our lives to see how a Christian is supposed to act; what they are supposed to be doing.  Our children are scrutinizing our life and learning by our actions how they are to approach living for the Lord.  For example: are they learning that going to church is something you show up “just on time” for, or even show up late?  Do they see you show up late for work?  For appointments with the world?  This is not to say that such things are not important, but what message are they getting when they compare those things of the world you are involved in with your relationship to God’s things?  Do they see you staying up all night to prepare for work, but “throwing together” something to teach in the House of the Living God?  What message do we think they might get?  Perhaps you are more vocal and straightforward with your attack upon God’s work by gossiping; running down the church or badmouthing the preacher or other Christians with your mouth (James 1:26; 3:5, 6, 8).  You are not doing anything to help God’s cause.  You are intentionally hurting God’s cause and discouraging your brothers and sisters as well.  Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).  I would certainly not want to find myself in that situation.  If I did, I would repent of that quickly.

It has been said that we cannot see the forest for the trees, likewise we cannot really see what message we are portraying by our actions because we are too close to the situation.  But, others are seeing the situation of our “life message” from a much greater vantage point.  They can “see the forest.”

Doing wrong things certainly preaches a message about how we really feel about something, but there is something more damaging:  that is when we don’t do something right.  Usually people think that: “if I just don’t do anything to hurt the cause, then I will be okay.”  But, this is not true.

Doing something you choose to do can be even more destructive than doing nothing at all, for it may border on the line of hypocritical.  That is to say, people may think that you are doing just fine, when all the time you are still not doing what the Lord commanded.  You certainly don’t look like you are against the Lord, you look like you are doing what God said when all the time you are doing nothing.  The message this preaches is: “How to look like you are doing what you should be doing, but not do it.”  The Christian who is not doing anything to witness or get people saved, is undermining the Lord’s work because of his/her inconsistency.  If they were actively witnessing (passing out tracts, holding signs, coming to visitation, etc), they would be inspiring and teaching others how a New Testament Saint is supposed to be acting.  This is very important, especially in this Laodicean age in which the entire world is void of true gospel witnesses.

Maybe it has been so long since you passed out a tract that you have become frightened.  Most people reason this down to one of the most popular lies of the Devil: “I don’t want to offend anyone.”  How offended do you think they would feel at the Great White Throne Judgment being dragged away by the angels to be thrown into the Lake of fire as you watch on, knowing that you could have at least done something to give them a chance.  I know I would wish you did something for me.  In fact, I am glad that someone did do something for me.

Sometimes the Devil convinces us that we just need to wait for the right moment; the right opportunity.  This is such a damaging lie that it is not even worth contemplating for the Child of God who loves His father.  God said, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).  Today is the day to tell someone about Jesus.  Now is the time to say something to your friend.

Instead of offending somebody, we should be thinking about offending the Lord.  He certainly would think highly of us if we were at least trying to get someone saved.  Inversely, how do you think He feels about us when we are doing nothing?  How will we really be able to stand before Him one day and give accounting for why we didn’t do what we were supposed to do?  Will it not be a question of love?

I know that most people feel inside that they would like to do something for the Lord.  In fact, they know that they should be witnessing, but they just don’t do it.  It becomes like so many “ruts” we experience in our lives when we get to that stage.  I would like to say I sympathize, but I really cannot, because I don’t want to endorse not doing what we should be doing.  Like giving advice to a smoker who is trying to quit; I don’t really want to tell them “its okay” because I don’t want them to give up trying.

So, while the Devil gets mad and tries to keep us in our “rut,” the only way out is to “JUST DO IT!”  The only way to change this situation is to just begin witnessing.  You can write a letter to a stranger, send them a tract, give a word of testimony outside the church, or hold up a Scripture sign.  There are many ways to “get onboard.”  Best of all is to come to the visitation time on Saturday mornings, even if it is just for a little bit.  You know there is strength in numbers, and if kids can do it, then we can too.  I’ll be there, and for your own spiritual health, I pray you will be there too!

~Pastor

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The Danger of Not Going to Church

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It is a dangerous thing to not go to church, especially if you are a parent. First and foremost its obvious it affects your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. When you are not going to church, the less you … Continue reading