“There’s no defeat in Jesus” wrote my Grandma Leona…

29 05 2011

“There’s no defeat in Jesus” wrote my Grandma Leona during one of the most difficult seasons of her life. As a family we celebrated her life this past week, after her passing.

I am so very grateful for her prayer, over me & family, throughout my life! She saw so very clearly the church we are working to build in Baltimore. She is an amazing woman and full of grace!

Grandma Leona had a secret that changed my life. It was the kind of secret that’s out in the open. She knew the power of praying for someone else. She knew that prayer brings change. She knew that when you pray for someone, by name with specifics, God brings change. Not only does God bring change to the person you are praying for, but He also brings change to you.

This is a choice. It’s a discipline. It has changed my life. My marriage, our parenting, my friendships, and my church life are all much better as a result of praying for other people. Please give it a try.

Here’s a video of our memories with Grandma Leona:

How do I know if I’ve had a fresh start?

23 05 2011

How do I know if I’ve had a fresh start?

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 He introduces one of the strangest word pictures known to human history.

Have you ever wondered if you are “saved”? This “fresh start” it’s spiritual. How do you know if it’s real? What are the evidences of a fresh start?

Warning: coming to a conclusion on this will give you rock-solid confidence, but it does take time & effort to process what God has done for you. It takes time to recognize some of the results.

First let’s define, just a little bit better, what we’re talking about in a “fresh start” from a Bible perspective:

Here’s a couple of definitions to help you further: 

Fresh Start – a second chance at life. By turning away from our sin and turning to Jesus we are provided an opportunity to be new. At CBCB there are “no perfect people allowed” and we all need a “fresh start”.

Conversion = Regeneration “To cause to be completely reformed or improved; to form or bring into existence again; to re-establish on a new basis; to be spiritually reborn, as by a religious conversion.” “the change brought about by justification.” “It is a ‘re-genesis’ or a new beginning, a creative act of God.”

Here’s a few Evidences of a Fresh Start:

(take a quick minute to read the Scripture verse attached to each item here…it will be an earth shattering exercise for you! Trust me.)

  1. Assurance. “For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16
  2. Ability to Call God, Your Father. “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Galatians 4:6
  3. Considering Heaven. “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
  4. Free from Sin. – It’s no longer in control. Rom 6:14 “Sin is no longer your master,” When we mess up we seek cleansing. Read 1 John 1:5-7 2:1-2
  5. Ability to Live Right. “When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.” 1 John 3:7
  6. Love for God & others. Read 1 John 5:1-2; “We love each other because He loved us first.” 1 John 4:19, 21; Read  1 John 3:14
  7. Love for God’s Word. “Oh, how I love your instructions!” Ps 119:97 “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” 1 Peter 2:2-3
  8. New Desires. “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.” 2 Peter 1:4

These are just a few evidences. You may find that you don’t have each of these. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to fear for your salvation. God’s not the author of confusion or fear. You may have the beginning of one of these evidences, and yet you need to feed your spirit so that it can grow. If you are still unsure you may need to ask yourself that serious question. Jesus did make it clear that we are to believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that He is our Savior.

Please consider this:

Take Away from John 3:16 You are new.You are saved.You have eternal life. You will not be judged.

Lessons from Nicodemus (in John 3): Make Time. Be Honest. Empty Yourself. Become Intimate.

These are steps that he took to get close to Jesus and learn about salvation. Good ideas! 

Pray like it matters.

18 05 2011

Your conversation with God matters. Honestly, it is an essential connection with a living God who is ready, willing, and able to help you.

Give it a try every day. Talk to God and listen. Grab your Bible. It will help you learn how to have a conversation with God!

“How can someone like me talk to God?”

I will come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In Luke 11:1-4 Jesus helped a few people in learning how to talk to God. It provides us a pattern that will help you know what to say…when you don’t.

Come on – dig in. Using the Bible to pray will help you grow and communicate the stuff you don’t know how to say.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower – I will run into it and be safe! Proverbs 18:10

So I ask, in prayer, believing, and I know I will receive. Matthew 21:22

I exercise myself to always have a conscience without offense toward God or men. Acts 24:16

I will put on the new. Colossians 3:10

He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think, according the power that works in me. Ephesians 3:20

He who has begun a good work in me will complete it. Philippians 1:6

Rough Day?

17 05 2011

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  2 Corinthians 1:4

We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom.  2 Corinthians 1:12

We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.  2 Corinthians 1:24

Maybe 2 Corinthians 1 is worth a read. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.