Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: October 2014 Devotional

God Can Be Pleased

When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Matthew 8:10

In a culture obsessed with “look mom, no hands” to validate one’s significant ability, and “selfies” as the pic-trendy commercial for individualism, it’s no shock few live out their potential. Place and value are the vacuous dark holes of the soul, and energies expended to fill those voids leave most bankrupt. For the cost of searching them out is as prohibitive as the false assurance we hope to find in the search. And though means thru which common men will seek acceptance is noble, the sandcastles on the seashore of life are the ignoble labors of the unwise. There remains however, a better method of satisfying both human significance and value!

Humanity’s need for special attention is rooted in its insecure fellowship with the Creator. The peace Adam experienced with the Father’s presence in the cool of the day had no ostentatious purpose. No image projection was hoped for, nor was some subliminal message intended. God’s presence satisfied man’s significance and in that environment, community became the ultimate belonging. Regardless of alienated societies, divisive rhetoric and impersonal lifestyles, a renewal of that basic need of community is nearer than we think! And though the path is hidden by a demand of the spectacular, a moment of Grace reveals simplicity.

It’s beyond most to think we could do or say anything God could admire. But that’s a premise we’ve bought into from our fallen insecurities. From the beginning, God desired fellowship with man thru faith, so that a simple trust in His Word and power would bring peace to man and pleasure to Him! Furthermore, that virtuous combination would have heaven as a byproduct! The disbelief exercised in man, from Genesis to now, has been the single ingredient making human existence toxic and intolerable. And that includes both man-caused tribulation and God’s divine judgment. Our unbelief is the creator of the world’s crisis. But God can be pleased…and created beings have power thru faith to walk under, and with, divine favor!

Jesus was visibly moved and verbally inspired to recognize the Roman centurion’s grasp of a basic tenet of faith. A man of authority, he concludes, could speak here and have work done over there! Wow! Jesus marvels at the barbaric soldier’s approach to divine things! So you just speak the word, Jesus and my servant, miles away, will be healed! And with his own family unconvinced of His Messiahship, a rough untaught man of violence and war was getting what the ones who should trust couldn’t! The Creator of the world, the Origin of all wisdom, the Caretaker of the universe was in awe of the simplest of man’s ability! And we think we have to dunk well, run the mile in 4, or have a perfect SAT score to succeed and play a significant role! No way! Jesus marveled and stood amazed, simply at the Roman soldier’s willingness to believe!

There’s no one with more clout than the name of Jesus! Agreed!  So when His eyes have caught our faith, when our heart opens to trust and when our focus rivets on His ability, the Creator rises to revel in that exchange! And if the God of all glory is the spectator in the stands of our faith, who else’s admiration would we ever seek? It’s certain the vacuum of value and significance is forever satisfied when a high-fiving Jesus comes down and applauds you before the whole world! We seek His face thru believing His Word and His presence is the reward of our effort! If the Father affirms, no other affirmation really matters!

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Each Person

In this technological, digitally permeated culture, communication is convenient from a distance. It’s also easiest in bulk. Mass memos, email blasts and volume messaging are the norm.  It is expedient and resourceful to use every medium and method available to convey the message; but the truth is those do not normally achieve the greatest results.

How did you find your favorite restaurant?

How did you start watching your favorite TV show?

How did you hear the last song you kept on repeat?

My guess is the answer to most of those is that someone you know told you about it and invited you to be a part. It is a basic but electrifying reality. A purposeful, intentional invitation from someone you trust is the highest mechanism for response there will ever be.  Programs, promos, and propaganda don’t get people to do things. People get people to do things! Personal, individual, tailored interaction is and will always be the most persuasive and influential way to advance an ideal, relay information or enlist support.

The Apostle Paul was way ahead of us as he instructed the Colossian church on the “secret” of effectively relating to and reaching others in Colossians 4.

6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer EACH PERSON.

Grace is best ministered to each person!

In the same way that even the best chef allows the guest to salt their food as desired, the way we speak and interact with others should be adapted based on the person and the situation.  That’s impossible by mass or bulk. Obviously the truth of the gospel remains the same, but our ability to interact with individuals to convey its power for them personally demonstrates our maturity and our concern for their well-being.  We can take a different angle or unfold the truth at different proportions based upon the leading of the Holy Spirit and the needs of the recipient. While this is more dangerous than simply screaming from afar, it has far more potential impact.

A Message To Men

“My covenant was with him (Levi) of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear with which he feared Me, and was afraid before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with Me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.” Malachi 2:5-6

We here at Impact Church want to grow strong families for the Kingdom of God. And that means growing strong men! So ladies, feel free to listen in and translate this into a language that speaks to you,…but this one is primarily for our brothers in Christ.

The obscure couple of verses above from the minor prophet Malachi were directed to Old Testament priests. So how does that affect me, you ask? Peter and John the Revelator clearly tell us in the New Testament that we are all a kingdom of holy and royal priests with unhindered access to Father God! That is an incredible privilege,…and with privilege comes responsibility.

God made a covenant with Levi, the Hebrew tribe given priestly duties, for the blessings of life and peace. (And who among us wouldn’t want more of those?) The man’s part of the covenant was fourfold:

(1) WORSHIP … The Lord stated through the prophet that Levi had a reverential fear of God. Not a knee-shaking, nail-biting fear,…but a sense of hushed wonder at His presence. Many Bible translations note this by saying that the priest “stood in awe” before Jehovah. In other words, he worshiped!

(2) WORD … A man of God is a man of the Word of God.  He simply cannot mature as a disciple of Jesus Christ without regularly immersing himself in the Bible, the “law of truth.” Read the rest of this entry »

One For Many

For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 2 Corinthians 2:9

The deadly African Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas. A crazed man jumping the fence and running down the hallways of the White House. What? How can the most sophisticated country have the simplest of admission errors to expose a population to a terrible disease? And how is the President of the leading country of the free world not protected by his most trusted people? Something is terribly wrong with a system if a single individual can wreak such havoc and threaten so many.

These real time stories reveal that very complex organizations are vulnerable to events that threaten the very essence and reasons why the organizations exist. The Presbyterian hospital system in Dallas is among the best in the country and the Secret Service has faithfully protected Presidents for generations. Yet, both organizations found that one individual tested the organization’s very purpose and organizational response.

In the passage above, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church about an individual who had tested the church’s purpose. Paul explained to the church that how they handled this person’s life was a “test” for the church. A test to determine whether the church would be obedient to the Lord in all that they do. In short: an entire church was being tested for how it responded to the actions of one individual.

The Corinthian church had been too lenient in its dealing with a member’s behavior as his first letter reveals (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). The church responded to Paul’s rebuke and now, in the second letter, he admonishes the church they were running the risk of being too stringent by not restoring the offending brother fast enough (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). This reveals how easy it is to be an extremist and how difficult and yet godly to discern the will of God.

The written exchange between Paul and a church he planted and loved reveals one of the most important principles of church life: the struggles of an individual in the church is not first a chance for the church to discern how it responds to the individual, but primarily a test for the church to learn what matters the most to the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »