I SURRENDER SOME?

20 09 2016

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What do we expect from somebody who is a part of The Lighthouse Church? I am not talking about visitors. If someone is visiting and if they’re in a spiritually seeking mode, our only hope is that we would be a place where one can safely learn and explore about faith and come to discover who God is. What I am addressing is that somebody who would call themselves a Christian and who has received God’s grace and who would say that they have put their trust in Jesus. What is our expectation as a church for that person?

 Is it that they attend worship periodically? Is it that they give some money when they are feeling generous? Is it that they serve every once in a while when it’s convenient? Is it that they would affirm the right doctrinal beliefs? Is it that they would live respectable lives in their community?  Is it that they would avoid the really scandalous sins? No, No, No, No and No! My prayer is that every individual who identifies themselves as a Disciple of Jesus would be wholeheartedly and totally committed to Jesus Christ. It is all about owning a deep devotion to loving and serving and honoring God, placing time, life, resources, relationships, choices, work, mind, and obedience at God’s unconditional disposal. Just so we’re all real clear about this, what’s our expectation for somebody who’s part of our church? It is being somebody who is in the process of making progress in being head over heels in love with Jesus and allowing their lives to shout about that connection.

 It’s a funny thing. I have never, ever heard a football coach ask his team to go out on the field and give it about 85 and a half percent. You can’t imagine him standing before the team and saying, “Now go out in the field and give it at least half of what you’ve got.”  I’ve never seen a boss at a great organization interview an employee and say, “We expect you to work about 4 of the 8 hours you are here each day.” I’ve never been to a wedding and heard a groom say to a bride, “With this ring I promise to be devoted and faithful to you almost all of the time.” But I’ve seen people go to church, sometimes for years and years, and they want to hear about grace, and how God loves them no matter what, and they want to get a little bit of relief from their overcommitted, overworked, and overstressed lives but they would really honestly rather avoid hearing a challenge that would call them to a closer walk with God.

 What does wholehearted devotion to God look like? It is constantly initiating servanthood. It doesn’t just follow the rules. It doesn’t just do what it has to do. It initiates. One day when David as a boy sees this Philistine giant taunting the people of God, David says, “God has been faithful to me as a shepherd boy. If a lion or a bear would come, God would protect me. I’ll take this guy on. I’ll risk my life for God.” David didn’t have to go toe to toe with the big bully but he couldn’t stomach somebody taking pot shots at his God and so he went to battle. David knocked the head right off the blabber mouth!

 One of the ways you can tell what your heart is really committed to is to ask yourself, “What are my dreams? What are the actions I freely initiate?” “Where’s my heart?” If you’re a follower of Jesus around church, I believe you will want to serve. You will serve inside the body of Christ. That’s part of what makes a church great when everybody says, “I want to help. I want to have something to contribute.” Then outside of that, in your daily life, at school, at work, at home, in the neighborhood or whatever, you also offer God your 24/7 to be his servant at his beck and call. Nothing is too much to do for a God who already died for you. Isn’t it the very least that we live for him?

 Wholehearted devotion to God is also passionately committed to worship. When was the last time you were so excited about what the Lord was doing that you danced before God with all your might? David danced as if he just didn’t care who was watching because his heart was fully dedicated to God. Sometimes people worship God but not with their whole hearts. This makes me scratch my head. There was a funeral, and the guy whose funeral it was, he used to kind of joke when he was alive that he was what is sometimes called a “CEO” church guy.” This stands for “Christmas and Easter Only.” He bragged that, “My body will darken the door of the church only two times a year.” And this stood true for many a year, except last year. He passed away in 2015.

And so because of his funeral, his body made an appearance at the church for a third time. Except this time, you can bet he wasn’t laughing!

 Everybody dies. Everybody ends up somewhere. If you claim to believe in God then he is very worthy of your devotion. He is more than deserving of your worship. Everybody worships. You may not worship God, but you are driven by something or someone. One of the ways to determine your object of affection is to ask, “What do I get most irritated about when it’s threatened in my life or when it’s absent from my life?” Is it an addiction, a substance, a success, a sexual gratification, money, popularity, control, or just your own comfort? I’ve known people who worship by sitting in a chair and watching television. If that were threatened in their lives, you would know the high level of attachment that has been formed in their soul around it. How about your cell phone? Is it the computer? Might it be social media?

 Let me say one last word about a wholehearted commitment to worship. Michal, who criticized David’s dancing, was the daughter of Saul. Her dad Saul did not dance before God with all his might. She grew up used to seeing halfhearted devotion. So I want to say this to parents. If you’re a parent, your wholehearted devotion to God means your kids will see your commitment to worship. I say this because sometimes there are parents who make sure their kids get dedicated or baptized when they’re young because that’s a family expectation. But then they get casual about the spiritual formation, Christian education, and well being of their children. That is not part of the equation. Full devotion means I commit myself to wholehearted worship of God. If I’m a parent, that means I get serious about my relationship with God.

 I’m telling you, if you claim to be a Christian, whatever your age or stage in life, and you’re not all in, then it is time to get off the dime, get serious, and start doing it. Make Jesus your first priority. When you think about doing it, that kind of energy will launch you into an adventure of total trust and devotion with God. I’m telling you, God is calling you to nothing less than total devotion of your all and all to him. One hundred percent commitment and that’s the real deal. It’s not a legalistic thing. It’s between you and God, but it’s nothing less than that. Follow Jesus and behave like he is your King. It is the only way to go!


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23 09 2016
Ken

Way to go Rudy amen

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