Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: January Devotion 2015

Their Rock Is Not As Our Rock

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock,… And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26)

In an old “Peanuts” comic strip, Charlie Brown is pictured on the beach building a beautiful sand castle. When it is completed, a very self-satisfied Charlie stands back to admire his creation. Then, a single raindrop falls,…and in the cartoon’s final frame, the rain is coming down in torrents.

Charlie Brown, looking quite pensive, simply offers: “There’s a lesson of some kind in this, someplace.”

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was a passionate believer who knew what his famous philosophical character was trying to articulate. As Jesus was bringing the Sermon on the Mount to an end in Matthew 7, perhaps the most important point of His timeless message was the parable of two builders and two foundations. Such a simple but profound thought: when storms and adversity come, only that which is built on the right foundation will endure.

Of course, Jesus the carpenter from Galilee knew that was true in the natural world of construction. But His deeper, spiritual meaning is also clear: building a house is a metaphor for building a life, a legacy. Only that life that is built on the firm, unshifting foundation of the Word of God — indeed, where the Word Himself, Jesus Christ, becomes the Solid Rock upon which your life is grounded — will survive the enemy’s onslaught in a fallen world and will inherit eternal life.

In Deuteronomy 32:31, Moses contrasted the false gods of the Hebrews’ enemies with the only true and unchanging God and declared “Their rock is not as our Rock.” What an understatement! Read the rest of this entry »

Just You and Him

Mark 6:30-32 30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

Christian solitude is often misunderstood. Many of us tend to think of it as “getting away from it all.” For some, the connotation may invite thoughts of a cabin in the mountains or a house on the beach. But if you have ever had to plan, organize, travel, or orchestrate “time away” you know how daunting of a task that can be. So much so, that you can return from a “get away” more exhausted than before. Therefore, questions may arise such as “why is solitude important?” and “how can I enjoy solitude in the midst of the noise and busyness of my life?”

While nature and beauty are nice if they’re available, they are not necessary for the person who wants to quiet his or her soul to listen for and to the voice of God.  The late theologian and writer Henri Nouwen wrote “solitude is simply creating space for God.” This means carving out time in our schedule to be stilled, quiet, and to listen actively for God to speak to our spirit.

Sometimes during times of solitude, you may feel that you don’t sense God speak. Or nothing seems to happen. Likely, your mind may begin to wander. However, the real joy of being alone with God is that it serves as a method of tuning our spiritual ear to the right frequency.  As you create space for solitude, you will discover the actual benefit is that during the day, your spiritual radar will gradually become more sensitive to the things of God. Even in the middle of a fast-paced, busy day, you can distinguish the gentle impressions and leadings of the Holy Spirit.

Our call is to love people. It is impossible to love people without being around them. We are called to serve, share and concern ourselves with the lives of those God has placed in our path. Therefore, we do not remain in isolation. We enter into moments of solitude to sharpen, refresh and recharge ourselves, so that we are more effective and efficient in what He has called us to do.

In Matters of Influence

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works…Heb. 10:24

“One bad apple spoils the whole bunch”, one of the greatest one-liner idioms ever and certainly one of the most truthful! There are few misbehaving, rambunctious little chaps that haven’t been admonished by the adage at some point by a “smh” parent. Essentially, it expresses how the poor behavior of one negatively affects the assumed positive behavior of others. Implied also in the teaching is the weighty responsibility of rightly choosing the “bunch” that’s considered appropriate company.

At the forefront are two central tenets of Christianity: 1) the power of influence through association, and 2) the ability to discern good and evil. Centuries come and go and the experiment of mixing bad apples with good apples has recorded universally common results. The ethylene gas emitting from overly ripe fruit affects the good fruit causing it to ripen prematurely. The remedy is also singularly simple – remove quickly the overly ripe fruit from the good or suffer the loss of the entire. Both the cause and the cure have consistent patterns, thus a trusted principle is established. More importantly, a spiritual counterpart is equally true and enlightening and scriptures abound in support of the premise. (1Cor. 15:33)

Could evil’s persuasive power in leading men to destructive darkness be trumped by the power of good in leading others to propriety? Aren’t we charged as believers to be lights of the world? Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Worry,…Rest in Him!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Philippians 4:6

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42

It’s official,… More Americans are taking prescription drugs than ever before. Among the most-prescribed and best-selling Rx are piles of pills aimed at anxiety, depression and a range of emotional and psychotic disorders. While we in a fallen world acknowledge the existence of physiological imbalances that may require medical attention, it is readily apparent that people today are anxious,…worried,…fearful.

Do you sense it?

Maybe there is good reason for the culture to experience a collective state of gloom and despair. A teetering economy standing on the edge of financial collapse. Recent racial unrest in Ferguson, MO and other places. A spiraling national debt that continues to collect speed like a runaway train. Violence at home and abroad. Make no mistake,…the world can be a seemingly hopeless place right now.

For the Body of Christ, however, these are exciting days! Impact Church and all true believers should lift up our heads, for our redemption surely draws nigh! (Luke 21:28) And we have more opportunity than ever before to be the light in a dark culture.

Long before Pastor Jason started the current “One Essential Thing” series and as the final pages of 2014 was slipping through our fingers, our spirit was drawn to the idea of rest. No anxiety, no worry, no fear entering 2015,…just rest and assurance in our great God.

It’s so easy to become a Martha in church work, isn’t it? We can become so stressed about doing this and going there and giving this and making that – Read the rest of this entry »

From the Times to Eternity

4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

With each New Year, we see the ball drop and celebrate a new beginning. Whatever the past year’s travails have been, to experience the new year and a new start, reminds us of a restart. There is also a conflict present in the experience of time. Time is temporal and fails to last. The Present makes the Future the Past. Things of this world are just that: temporal. Paul addresses the struggle we face in living in time: our life is decaying. We are slowing down and our bodies are diminishing with time.

There is another truth in play for believers in Jesus Christ. There is an inner man who is eternal and alive in ways not seen with earthly eyes. Most of our life is defined by our body and our experiences of time. In that dimension, we experience difficult moments, Paul described them as “momentary, light affliction”. But arguing from the lesser to the greater, Read the rest of this entry »