Monday, June 18, 2012

A Christian's Bread and Butter

In your day to day life, there are things that you can't seem to live without. Microwaves, cellphones, a car, etc. But then there are also things that you really can't live without. Food, water, rest.

These are the essentials of life, the "bread and butter" of our existence.

As Christians, though, we have a different kind of bread and butter. Necessities to a prosperous spiritual life that I think perhaps much of the church goes without, and so are spiritually starving.

Prayer and the study of God's Word.

It seems a simple answer, but it really isn't. Most Christians can go to church on Sundays, say a prayer at the dinner table, and hold their hands up during worship. Bust most don't really know how to study God's Word, or how to pray.

Prayer shouldn't be five-minutes of recitation at dinner every night and before bed. It shouldn't be a chore for us. Prayer should be a continual conversation between you and God. Just as you never cease to think, you should never cease to pray. Just as you never cease thinking, you should never cease praying. When you're not doing the talking, you should be listening. Your ears should always be open to hear a word from God.

Prayer shouldn't be one-sided either. If you went to coffee with a friend and the whole time you were there, you simply talked and talked and talked, never letting them get a word in, and, worst of all, most of your talking was asking your friend for favors.

If I found out this description was of me, I would be mortified. What a terrible friend! And that's the sickening part, this is a description of me. It's a description of you, it's a description of nearly all of us! God is our best friend in the entire universe and we won't stop talking for even two seconds to let Him speak to us! How shameful, how rude, how utterly inconsiderate.

We, as Christians, need to step up in our prayer lives, or perhaps rather step down. We need to be still and listen and allow God to speak to us instead of allowing the constant flow of chatter to come from us.

One of God's most useful tools, in fact His very words to us, lie in His Word. The Bible. Thinking of the Bible as a Living book can be a little terrifying, but I think it's time we were a little more awestruck with it.

How many times has your pastor preached on a single Bible verse? Or a few different verses from different places in the Bible? Did you look up the verse when you got home to make sure that what was taught is really what God says? Did you read the context to make sure that one verse would still mean the same thing? Do you even know what the words mean?

The reason the church has lost its passion is that we're being spoon fed baby food. Many of today's church leaders teach us what the Bible says without even encouraging us to go to the Bible and learn for ourselves! The Bible was not created so that God could speak to you only through a pastor. God's Word was created and put together so that God to talk to you directly through its pages!

Reading the Bible for yourself, sitting down and analyzing it and studying it for yourself, learning truths from it that you discovered for yourself will give you such joy, such communion with God! And the best part? The truths you learn for yourself from the Bible cannot be taken away from you.

If one preacher says something and a different preacher says another, how will you know which to believe? If you simply compare the two, you will go with the one you like the best or perhaps the one that "sounds better". But what's to stop one of them from convincing you that the first pastor you heard was wrong and this one is right? What if neither of them are right? How much more grounded you would be if you knew what God himself says about it. You know the truth of what God said because you read it and studied it and discovered it for yourself.

The church is dwindling. Our passion is burning out. We need more than entertainment, than feel-good music, more than pastors spoon-feeding us. We need God. We need the bread and the butter to fill us up. We need prayer and devotion and study.

I beg of God to raise up a church that is grounded in Him. A church that has such deep communion with Christ and such passion for His Word that nothing can stop us, nothing can deceive us, nothing can lead us astray. And He can do it, if His people are willing.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Power of Words

God has given words incredible power. It was words, when God spoke them, that brought the earth and everything in it. I give you today, messages that have incredible words. Allow God to speak to you through them. Allow them to seep into your heart and teach you. Allow them to change you. Watch a few of them. Watch all of them (trust me, they're worth your time). Watch one of them that looks interesting to you. This is a reference for me, of all my favorites. I hope it can be a reference for you as well.

"Run" by Carter Conlon

"Prayer" by Leonard Ravenhill, E.M. Bounds, and Charles Spurgeon

"The Manly Stuff" by C.T. Studd

"Come" by Paris Reidhead

"Go" by Jackie Pullinger

"The Glory of God" by Paris Reidhead

"A Call to Anguish" by David Wilkerson

"Battle Cry" by William Booth

"This Is War" by Paul Washer

"Judgment Seat of Christ" by Leonard Ravenhill

"Christ's Call to Follow in His Footsteps" by K.P. Yohannan

"And They Crucified Him" by Art Katz

"Obsessed" by Stephen Manley

"The Spirit Is Willing" by Eric Ludy

"The Call of God" by Steve Gallagher

"The Call of Christ" by Danita Estrella

"Salvation" by Ian Thomas

"True Beauty" by Leslie Ludy

"Intercession" by Eric Ludy

"Three Questions" by Leslie Ludy

"Seek My Face" by Richard Owen Roberts

"Depraved Indifference" by Eric Ludy

"The Gospel" by Eric Ludy

"I Will Veil Myself in You" by David Wilkerson

"The Ancient War Cry" by Eric Ludy

"Asking the Tough Questions" by Eric Ludy