“He who has the Son has the life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (1. John 5:12) All of life absolutely reduces down to the simple question, “Got Jesus?” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear in Matthew 7 that there is a narrow gate to life and a broad way to destruction. There are two trees, one that bears fruit and one that is cut down and thrown into the fire. There are also two confessions; one that leads to eternal life and one that will hear the words, “I never knew you.” And finally there are two foundations, one of sand and one of rock. When Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life,” in John 14:6 He was not declaring that there are many ways to God.
Jesus alone IS the way to eternal life. No one can come to the Father except through Him. Though we live at a time when the majority embraces pluralism, this ideal is just the voice of the broad, fruitless confession that is founded on shifting sand of opinion, and not on the Rock of Jesus Christ. It is essential to know the truth as declared by God Himself in the Scriptures. And this is the truth that sets people free. Be encouraged to dig into the Word of God to know with assurance that you are holding onto God’s opinion and not your own. And it is this pursuit in life that leads to The LIFE. It is the goal of The LIFE App to encourage people to grow within this LIFE. This is the life of John 3:16 from the Wycliffe Bible Translations Da Jesus Book
www.pidginbible.org “God wen get so plenny love an aloha fo da peopo inside da world, dat he wen send me, his one an ony Boy, so dat everybody dat trus me no get cut off from God, but get da real kine life dat stay to da max foreva.” Be sure to sign up for The LIFE online discipleship tool Just go to: www.thelifeapp.us Be sure to join a group or start a group with your accountability peeps.
Have you ever thought of the aroma that you spread to those around you? Not your aftershave or perfume, but the fragrance of Christ that you carry with you!
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”(v14)
It’s the paradox of being a conquered slave, but at the same time being an emissary of God himself! Then in the next verse, he describes another paradox, that to those who are being saved, we are the aroma of life, but to those who are perishing, we are the aroma of death. The same gospel has opposite effects on people – a beautiful fragrance of life or a pungent, offensive odor of death.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul describes why some people can’t understand the amazing gift of salvation that God is offering to them:
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (v 3-4)
A few years ago, I was at a conference and one of the speakers said that we have three options of how we relate to the world:
- Fortress – we can pull away from the world and protect ourselves and our children from all the bad that is out there
- Force – we can choose activism to try to force change through legislation and political action
- Fragrance – we can live in the world in such a way that others see Christ’s love through us
There is a spiritual battle being waged for the souls of humanity, and our job is to (1) take the gospel – the beautiful fragrance of Christ – with us everywhere we go, and (2) pray for the illumination of the hearts and minds of unbelievers around us.
What kind of fragrance are you spreading?
It’s officially wedding season. That means men and women across the world will spend thousands of dollars on flowers, dresses, cakes and rings. As well as hundreds of hours on making sure the 7 hour extravaganza is absolutely perfect. The challenge with this picture is that in most cases very little time is invested in what’s most important: the lifelong marriage.
The Bible instructs us on our roles as husbands and wives. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. Wives, respect your husbands in all things (Ephesians 5:21-33). How to love God’s way, be patient and kind, as well as what love is not, jealous, boastful, proud or rude (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It provides us with a Godly perspective on marriage which is very important particularly in our society that views marriage negatively. Marriage is good because God said so (Genesis 2:18). When we face challenges we can conclude that what we are experiencing is not good, but marriage is.
No matter how beautiful the dress, bomb the food, or carats in the rings, it has very little to do with the success of your marriage. What will have the most significant impact on you having a great marriage is you laying a solid foundation before the big day as well as the amount of time, creativity and effort you invest in your marriage. Time; spend time growing in your faith by reading the Bible and praying alone and together. Take the time to become a master of your spouse. Creativity; the God who made the heavens and earth as well as all the creative things in it, created marriage so ask God to hook you up with some creative ways to display your love to each. This will prevent it getting stale or you shifting to auto pilot marriage. Effort; always bring your best to your marriage, and not leftovers. “I promise to love you in sickness or in health, in good times and bad til death do us part, that’s an incredible promise we made but that’s just the beginning. Gods word says “ and whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord and not unto men (Colossians 3:23). Husbands and wives lets not sit around and wait until we get to the end. God has big plans for married people so don’t settle for anything other Greatness in your marriage! Play hard and have fun. If for any reason its not what you want it to be, fix yourself first.
A spirit of rebellion is a very dangerous and harmful thing. Let me start by saying it was Satan himself that rebelled against God first, he did not desire God’s will nor did he desire to obey God above all he did not desire that God receive all the glory, he rebelled against God and took angels with him. After that it still wasn’t enough, he invaded the Earth and got a humans (perfected) to rebel against God as well. That one act of rebellion sparked our sinful nature which desires to rebel to this day. Don’t believe me? Look at a small child, you never have to teach them to rebel against you no matter how well you treat them, they want THEIR way and will fight as hard as they can to get it. Rebellion is a real and serious thing and it exists in the hearts of many today who call themselves believers.
Listen to what God’s word says in 1 Samuel 15:23 ”Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft (divination), and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.”
Rebellion in essence is desiring a different type of intervention, stubbornness is a heart focused on a different answer and power, other than God.
The easiest time to rebel is when the situation doesn’t benefit you anymore, or when someone has hurt you. Sometimes a person or leader might offend you or even cause you to lose trust in them which leads to pride, resentment, bitterness and among other things, a spirit of rebellion. Why discuss this today? Why does it matter? I believe the spirit of rebellion is completely demonic in nature and highly influences people to make choices they should not, you see even when the situation doesn’t benefit you anymore, you can still trust God to work it out, that is called faith. It also affirms what scripture tells us in the New Testament over and over again, if we live with Christ we must also be willing to suffer for Christ.
IF you don’t like your leader, your boss, your manager- the situation, don’t allow bitterness to grow within you and give birth to a spirit of rebellion, ask God to purify your heart, seek forgiveness and healing so that rebellion will not get a hold of your heart. Remember this:
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
NO CONDEMNATION! Not based on our worthiness or goodness, but based on being “in Christ Jesus.” Jesus death fully paid for every sin, and when a person surrenders to Jesus through faith, they are placed in Christ and become a new creation! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17)
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18)
Are you in Christ by believing in him? Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ by believing what he said is true about you and rejecting the deceptions of the evil one, who only wants to discourage you and tear you down. Walk in the new life he has given you and reject guilt & condemnation!
Community Group Pastor
Last night as I was preparing for our worship service, I kept reading and memorizing Psalms, I usually do this just to prepare my heart and mind to speak God’s praises and get my natural language to be in the mindset and spirit of worship and praise. As I was reading and uttering some of the Psalms I said, in my mind “God is my Rock and my shield”…which as you know was written by King David many times.
The Holy Spirit, just then whispered something so powerful that had not dawned on me until he said it…He said, “David knew me as a small boy, every time he practiced his sling shot and picked up a rock, he knew me as His rock since then, when he faced Goliath, he picked up three smooth rocks… that’s why he always wrote, God- My ROCK and my shield” As we led worship today I mentioned that David called on the name of the Lord because knew who God was, he knew God was his Rock because God had delivered him many times through small rocks. How well do you know God today? I pray you would know him so that when you are able to call upon him, you can rest upon whom you are calling. He is able and mighty to save those who would call on his name in faith.
At the Rock Church we are dedicated to ensure that every person has an opportunity to grow in God’s love. Over the past 2 years we have developed an online discipleship tool that creates community called the L.I.F.E.
The purpose of The L.I.F.E. is to bring followers of Jesus Christ into a deeper level of authentic spiritual growth in relationships, evangelism, ministry and stewardship. The L.I.F.E. is a relational and value-driven Gospel-centered model of discipleship that provides a strategic pathway for living out the Christian faith through the L.I.F.E. transformational paradigm (Loving relationships,Impacting ministry, Faithful stewardship, Evangelizing the lost).
In 1 John 5:12 the Bible states, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” It is hoped that this online tool will help strengthen this life of God within your soul.
The L.I.F.E. is a means to support believers as they are guided through a process of living out the call of what is traditionally referred to as Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Within the Great Commission believers are challenged to become disciples who disciple others, as they engage God within transforming relationships. Current research and historical record affirms that Biblical training moves people in a process of spiritual formation and transformation that will bear the fruit of Christlikeness. It is within one’s intimacy with Jesus Christ that he or she will experience growth in character, faith-enriching relationships, ministry engagement, evangelism experiences, stewardship and personal mission. It is believed that a participant’s personal commitment to grow within the means of God’s grace and obedience is most greatly influenced by spiritual relationships in community as people live life together in reciprocal faith development (i.e. mentors, spiritual friends, spiritual coaches, directors, small groups, etc.). It is also essential that processes of discipleship need to recognize that people live through seasons of great success as well as through times of brokenness and loss. It is appreciated that people live within a variety of relationships that often adjust throughout the different stages of the life cycle. The L.I.F.E. tool intends to provide access to resources and online group functions that empower people to move from initial stages of exploring Christ to a more Christ-centered life through a holistic approach to spiritual growth.
The L.I.F.E. provides a wide array of resources that are seen as beneficial in nurturing people in one or more of the L.I.F.E. categories. The resources may include books, websites, online Bible studies, articles, videos, blogs, activities, ministry opportunities and much more. The goal is to provide various means of study and experiences that are both informational and transformational.
Sign Up Today and begin your journey at www.thelifeapp.us
Pastor Shawn Wagner
The Jewish leaders were continually trying to trap Jesus in what he said so they could condemn him publicly. On one occasion, they came up with a scheme to make him choose between the hundreds of commandments from the law. A lawyer asked Jesus which was the most important, and without hesitation Jesus replied,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, ESV)
Bam! He boiled the whole Old Testament down to two things: Love God and love people. There was no way the lawyer could argue against that. And when it comes to loving other people, Jesus said the qualification is that we love them to the same degree that we love and care for ourselves. Now when it comes to my family, I’m okay with that. I love my wife and kids and would do anything that is for their best. I would even take a bullet for them to save their life, or choose to get sick if it meant them staying healthy. But Jesus said that our love isn’t just for family, it’s for our neighbor as well!
Then another time, Jesus raised the bar even higher when he said,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34, ESV)
Instead of my self-love being the measure of love for others, Jesus took it to a new level and says that we’re supposed to love others in the same way that he loves us! Wow! That’s a tall order! Jesus’ love is way beyond what we normally have. This command is sandwiched between washing the disciples’ feet (an act of humility and servanthood) and his arrest, which led to his greatest demonstration of love: dying in our place. His love compelled him to step out of heaven and become human. His love drove him to undergo the beatings, humiliation and crucifixion. He didn’t have to do all that, but he did because of love. Then he goes on to say that this kind of love is the distinguishing mark of being a disciple (v35).
So… how’s your love for God and for other Christians? Can you say that you love like Jesus loves you? And what would it look like in your life this week? In relationship with your family… your co-workers… your neighbor… the homeless guy on the street corner?
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18, ESV)
I was born with a sinful nature, a natural state of sin trapped in this mind, body and soul. We all were, thankfully the Blood of Jesus delivered me from this eternally and by God’s transforming power I get to be born again. That is PRAISE WORTHY right there.
The Bible tells us more though, not only have I been cleansed and have access to God the father, through Jesus, I get to live the life HE lived by HIS power. This is such great news. Think of it this way, if I played basketball, there wouldn’t be much to see because I am not all that good. What if Lebron James called you and said, “hey let’s play some basketball together”, you’d probably enjoy this but in reality the game wouldn’t be very competitive because he has abilities you simply don’t have. He’d be dunkin’ you me like crazy, stealing the ball, blowing right past you. What if he said “I’m gonna touch your heart and after that you can play the game like me”…”Huh?”….that be pretty sweet.
God’s word says we share in Jesus “Divine nature”, Jesus has made the way for us to live a full, godly life, let’s read it here: 2 Peter 1:4 ”And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
Not only did Jesus set us free, make us right with God, we get to also share in his power and divine nature to live godly life, this is great news because we are all flawed and weak but HE promises to be our strength, right now, in this moment and every moment. YOu don’t have to continue to walk and live in your old sinful nature, we get to share in HIS divine nature.
Today I was informed that a friend, who’s daughter only 4 years old, passed away after a long battle with Cancer. How do we respond to this as humans? How else but to simply cry with those who cry. Pray, offer love and assistance anyway we can. It is a very, very powerful reminder of our limited time on earth.
This hurts to any parent more than anyone, no parent ever wants to bury their child, yet God did. God knows because he watched his son get abused, beaten and murdered in cold blood, because he loved US more? Yup. Isn’t that a crazy thought, he loved you and me MORE, enough to allow his own son die in my place.
I rest in that love in times like this, I rest in the thought that God wanted to destroy death once and for all…by dying himself and resurrecting. I know and believe that this baby girl, is free right now, healed right now, laughing and holding on to Jesus hand.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15