A love of writing and my search for the meaning in life
 led me to take part in speaking at churches on occasion.
 (This is a talk I have shared.)


(Ephesians 4:25 The Message*)
What this adds up to, then, is this.
No more lies, no more pretense.

Tell your neighbor the truth.

In Christ’s body
We are all connected to each other, after all.
When you lie to others,
You end up lying to yourself.

(Ephesians 5:2 The Message*)
Watch what God does,
 and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior 
from their parents.

The question is this. 
Are you a part of the body of Christ?
Do you attend church regularly?
Do you pray sometimes?
(Maybe not as often as you could or should.)

Have you joined a church?
Do you sing in church?
Do you give your money to the church?
Have you been baptized?
Do these things you have done 
make you a part of the body of Christ?
Are your sins forgiven?
How can one know 
if they have received the Holy Spirit?

These were the questions 
the gathered brothers asked Peter
 in the book of Acts.

So now what should we do?

(Acts.2:37 The Message*)
Peter said, “Change your life. 
Turn to God and be baptized.
Do this each of you 
in the name of Jesus Christ,
 so your sins are forgiven.
Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The promise is targeted to you
 and your children.

You must admit there are times
 when you may be tired of being you.
There may be times
 when you become tired of experiencing defeat.
 Are you tired of feeling guilty and alone? 
 Do you wonder if you’ll ever reach the point
 of trusting Jesus Christ so much 
 you want Him to take control of your life?

Are you ready to live that kind of life?

If you believe you are ready, what happens now?

Oswald Chambers in his devotional book
 “My Utmost For His Highest”*
 says this:

I must know Jesus Christ
 as my Lord and Savior
 before His teaching
 has any meaning for me.

Other than that
 (it’s just) a lofty ideal 
which only leads to despair.

 But when I am born again
 by the Holy Spirit of God,
 I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach.
 He came to make me
 what He teaches me to be.

“Then you’re in a wonderful place,
 let me show you how it’s done”.

Among the characteristics of the Christian
 are good motives.
 They have been made good
 by the supernatural grace of God 
through the Holy Spirit,
 which is within.

Is a motive good 
even if the resulting act fails?

Christians believe the cross 
was not a failure, 
even though only some
 will be saved.

The Christian ethic insists it is good
 to work against racism
 even if one should fail.

It is good to work against poverty
 even though the poor
 will always be with us.

These things are so
 because a moral choice and moral actions
 reflecting God’s nature
 are good in themselves,
 whether or not 
they are successful.

No one can make himself pure 
by obeying laws.
 Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations.

He gives us His teachings,
 which are truths 
that can only be interpreted by His nature, 
which He places within us.
This comes from the indwelling
 of the Holy Spirit.
(My Utmost For His Highest*)

His teachings offer you standards.
How must you interpret His standards?
  You can only understand
 when the gift of His nature
 resides in you.

The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is 
 He changes our heredity.
 He does not change our human nature.
 He changes its source.
He doesn’t change our natural instincts. 
He replaces them.
Our new instincts come from Him. 
(My Utmost For His Highest.*)
With these new instincts 
He changes our motives as well.

Beware of thinking of our Lord 
as only a teacher.  
If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, 
then all He can do 
is frustrate you
 by setting a standard before you
 that cannot be attained.
What is the point of presenting me
 with such a lofty ideal
 if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it?
(My Utmost For His Highest*)

You must commit your life to Him

 and receive His Spirit.

When you have accepted Jesus Christ 
as your Lord and Savior,
 the source of your new instincts
 becomes the Holy Spirit within you.

“There is only one master
 of the human heart.
Not religion.
(My Utmost For His Highest*)

Have you ever considered 
the business of being religious 
might get in your way
 of having a relationship with God?

In a way,
 religion can become your God.

Who or perhaps what,
 is the master of your heart?”

Jesus reminds us of this.

(Matthew 6:24 The Message*)
“You cannot serve two gods at once.
 Loving one god,
 you’ll end up hating the other.”

This isn’t the end of your quest.
It doesn’t end 
with asking Jesus Christ 
to become your own personal Lord and Savior.
It doesn’t end 
with the repenting of sins 
and the committing of your life
 to Christ.
It doesn’t end at all.
It begins.

So what’s the point?

You have not arrived at this place
 solely to develop a spiritual life of your own.
 You are here to take part and become part
 in the building of Christ’s body,
 the church.

We are joined to one another in Him.
As the scripture reminds us,
We are all connected to each other.

One step at a time 
and one day at a time,
 God reveals to us
 His purpose for each of us
 in His body.

Absolute obedience to His spirit is required.
You are to be used
 to complete His plan, 
His purpose, 
and not your own.

  In the process, 
 fruits of your obedience
 will be revealed 
within His perfect plan.

God has given you free will. 
You can choose to be obedient
 or you can choose to follow
 your own inclinations and desires.

In effect
You can choose
 to become your own god.

( Mark 8 The Message*)
Jesus says;
Anyone who intends to come with me 
has to let me lead. 
You’re not in the driver’s seat.
 I am.
What good would it do
 to get everything you want 
and lose (yourself), 
the real you?
What could you ever trade your soul for?

You are quite familiar
 with the concept of obedience. 
 You’ve known since childhood 
the results 
of obedience and disobedience.

You are familiar
 with the rules and regulations 
of the highway, 
the state, and the country.
You know the price to be paid 
for disobedience 
to those rules and regulations.

In America, 
you are free. 
You may challenge
 your government’s laws. 
You can appeal 
the decisions of the courts 
when you disagree
 with their judgments.  
 you can get a law changed.

You can question the meaning of our laws 
and hire an attorney
 to argue your position,
 if necessary. 

It is the duty of the Court 
to interpret the meaning of the laws, 
which the founders had in mind 
when they penned
 the Constitution of the United States.

There are always many questions 
revolving around our government’s laws 
and their original intent. 
The Supreme Court of the United States
exists to resolve the origins
of the Constitution.

Was the United States of America
 founded on Christian principles?  
Were the writers of the constitution
Was the United States of America
 founded as a Christian state? 
If it was,
 does that mean that all other religions 
were to be excluded?

When the Holy Spirit abides in you,
 it will lead you 
through the discourses of today 
as well as the discourses
 of the scriptures.

 The bible is a living book
 with revelations of life
 on every page,
 waiting for you to discover
 its meanings
 to you and to our world. 

The Spirit will become
 your guide.

The Sermon on the Mount 
dealt with all aspects 
of living the Christian life.

Being and Doing, were among them.

Matthew 7 ( The Message*)

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. 
 The market is flooded 
with surefire, easygoing formulas 
for a successful life
 that can be practiced
 in your spare time. 
 Don’t fall for that stuff,
 even though crowds of people do.”

The way of life to God

 is vigorous 

and requires total attention

Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot,
 dripping with practiced sincerity.
  Chances are they are out 
to rip you off some way or other. 
 Don’t be impressed with charisma,
 look for character. 

 Who preachers are 
is the main thing, 
not what they say.

 A genuine leader
 will never exploit your emotions 
or your pocketbook. 

These diseased trees 
with their bad apples
 are going to be chopped down and burned.

 Knowing the correct password 
and saying Master, for instance,
 isn’t going to get you anywhere
 with Me…

I can see it now 
at the final judgment.
 Thousands will be strutting up to me and saying, 
Master we preached the message,
 we bashed the demons,
 our God sponsored projects 
had everyone talking.
 And do you know what I am going to say?

You missed the boat.

All you did was use me
 to make yourselves important. 

You don’t impress me one bit. 

These words I speak to you 
are not incidental additions to your life.
 They are not homeowner improvements 
to your standard of living.

You’re out of here….

And don’t say anything you don’t mean.

 This counsel is embedded 
deep in our traditions. 

You only make things worse 
when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk,
 saying “I’ll pray for you,” 
and never doing it. 

Or saying,” God be with you”
 and not meaning it. 

You don’t make your words true
 by embellishing them
 with religious lace. 

In making your speech sound more religious
 it becomes less true.

When you manipulate words to get your own way, 
you go wrong….

Let me tell you why you are here.
You’re here to be salt-seasoning
 that brings out the God-flavors
 of this earth.

  If you lose your saltiness, 
how will people taste godliness? 
You’ve lost your usefulness 
and will end up in the garbage.

Here’s another way to put it.
You’re here to be light,
 bringing out the God colors in the world.

God is not a secret to be kept.

You and I are here to BE the body of Christ.

John Wesley put it quite simply.

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can

In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.

Watching what God does
 and trying to do the same 
is a full time endeavor.

Through the indwelling presence
 of the Holy Spirit
Through the church, 
the body of Christ….

All things really are possible.


*Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE.
Eugene H. Peterson
The Bible in contemporary language
Copyright 1993,1994,1995,1996,2000,2001,2002
“Used by permission of NavPress Publishing group.”

Eugene Peterson is a longtime pastor and teacher, and the guy who paraphrased this Bible from Greek and Hebrew (The languages in which the Bible was originally written.)into contemporary language that sounds a lot like the language that we use on a daily basis.

*My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
First published 1935
Copyright renewed 1963


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