Enough Faith?

I really love when you are reading the Bible, and the spirit allows you to see a different perspective, it allows you to see things a little bit different.  That’s what happened to me this morning.  This is the familiar text I was reading, Luke 17:5-6.  Listen to what it says:

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Ok, check this out.  They come to Jesus and say, increase our faith.  Now, that’s a good thing, right?  I mean, who doesn’t want more faith?  Who doesn’t need more faith?  So, they come to Jesus with a good request.

But then, look what Jesus does.  He doesn’t say, no, I won’t.  He doesn’t say, sure, no problem.  He says this.  If you have the faith of a mustard see, you can throw a tree in the sea.

MustardSeed_(1)We hear that and think (quite often) about the size of the faith, and just a little bit of faith is powerful.  And then we think, man I just don’t have even that little bit of faith.  I need just that little bit.

But look at what Jesus is saying, if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can do amazing things.

Guess what?  They did have the faith of a mustard seed.  They did.  They had left all they had and followed Him.  They had this faith.  Was it perfect?  No.  But it was there.

And so Jesus was saying this.  You don’t need more faith.  You have enough faith. Use what you have!

We are like them in this way. Are we perfect?  No.  Do we have all the faith in the world?  No.  But you know what, if you believe in Jesus, you have faith.  If you follow Him, you have faith.  You do.

He’s saying that you actually do have the faith of a mustard seed.  You do. And that means today that you can do it!

In other words, you aren’t inadequate.  You really aren’t.  You have all that you need.  You can do it.  It’s not the size of the faith that you have, it’s the size of the God that you serve.  

Don’t worry about having more faith, or not having enough faith.  Use the faith that you have. With that faith, you can do anything.  Anything.  Anything is possible.  It truly is.

So today, live, love, serve, laugh.  Live out the faith that you, and watch God do amazing things.  You can do it.  You have faith.  God can will use it.  Through Him, you can do amazing things.

Today. And each day.

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May We See Jesus

One of the things we see a lot of in the Gospels is Jesus casting out demons, waging war against evil, stopping the powers of wickedness in this world.  Now, there’s a lot of things within these concepts that we could talk about or focus on, but you know me, I think one of the best things we can do with scripture is to sometimes focus on the big picture.

For instance, look at today’s Gospel reading from Luke 33-35:

And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha!What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.

jesus-stained-glass-lambOk, there’s a lot happening here.  But here’s something that I want you to notice.  When Jesus comes, this unclean spirit immediately recognizes Him and acknowledges Him for who He is.

He says Jesus is the Holy one of God.

He calls Jesus who He really is, the unclean spirit actually gives Jesus the respect He is due.

Now, later in the Gospels, we see Jesus have many run-ins with the Pharisees and the religious leaders.  They try to trip Him up, trap Him, and eventually work to have Him crucified.

Now, these are the religious leaders.  And they don’t recognize Jesus for who is. They very ones that should know best don’t respond as they should.

And yet the unclean spirit here recognizes Jesus and gives Him respect.

So, when I read these passages of scripture sometimes I ask myself this.  Which camp do I fall in to?  Now, I never want to be on the side of the devil and the unclean spirits. But, at least in this instance they gave Jesus the respect He is due.  The recognized Him when they saw Him.

The religious leaders did not.  They didn’t give Him the respect He was due.

So, today, what about us?  Do we recognize Jesus when we see Him?  Do we feel the moving of the Spirit when we read His Word?  When we worship?  When we pray?

Do we heed the call of Jesus to love others as He would have us love them?  Do we see Jesus in the call to serve?

And do we give Him the respect He deserves by obeying His commandments?

Today, I want to see Jesus.  I want to give Him the respect He is due for saving me.  I want to obey Him, follow Him, love Him.  Today, I want to see Jesus.

Today, in all our lives, wherever He places us, may we see Jesus.  And may we follow Him.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

The Hard Right

One of the things that I’ve been blessed by as the pastor of Asbury has been the number of military men and women that I’ve been blessed enough to serve as their pastor.

And one of the common refrains I’ve heard from comes from making choices about what to do in leadership. What decision should they make. What road should they choose? What path should they walk down? I’ve heard them over and over again say these words – always choose the hard right over the easy wrong.

What does that mean? Always do what’s right even if it’s the harder option. Sometimes (most times) what is easiest isn’t always right.

What does that have to do with scripture? Listen to what Jesus tells the disciples today in John 6: 66-69:

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

follow-JESUS1The disciples had heard Jesus teach some really hard truths. They had heard Him say some things that were really, really hard for them to believe. They didn’t know if they could be faithful.

Maybe they should turn back. Maybe they should go home. Maybe they should walk away.

That would be easier.

So, Jesus asks, would they leave too. And Peter says Lord, where can we go? You have life. You are life. You are truth. Where could we go?

Quitting would have been easy. But it would have been wrong.

Choosing to follow Jesus, even into the hard places, would be hard. But, it would be right.

They choose the hard right, over the easy wrong.

So must we today. We must choose to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads us. Because no matter how hard it may look, it will be right. It will be life. It will be hope. It will be purpose.

It will be right.

Today, follow Jesus wherever He leads, no matter how hard it looks. Because it is the path to life. And following him, no matter how hard i is, is always right.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Listen

Sorry no posts the last few days.  Holly’s grandmother passed away this last weekend and we’ve been back in Lincoln county and I didn’t have a lot of computer/internet access in the mornings.  We are back home now, so everything should be back on schedule for the rest of the week!

In today’s readings listen to what Jesus says in John 10: 25-27.  And that word listen is huge:

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

listen_to_god_by_teensieking-d5kts0eJesus tells the religious leaders that do not believe because they are not His sheep.  His sheep will hear his voice. They will follow Him. They will hear, and they will listen.

It’s hard to follow Jesus if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to follow His command, if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to know which way to go, what to do, where we should be, if we aren’t listening.  As His sheep, we’ve got to listen.

We live in a world of real distractions, things pulling at us.  Emails, texts, social media, instagram, everything.  So many things vying for our attention, for our mind, for our heart.  We’ve go to listen.  We’ve got to slow down, if just for a moment, and listen for that still small voice, calling out to us.

If are in a place of confusion, slow down, and listen.  If you struggling with things in your life, slow down and listen.  If you are unsure, slow down and listen.  Listen.

Listen for His voice in His word.  Listen in your conversations with other believers.  Is the music you listen to.  In the things you read.  Listen.

He is speaking.  He is the good shepherd, who loves His sheep.  That means us! And He will speak to us.  Listen.  He is there. Calling out.  Listen.  He will speak.
Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

The Secret to Life

One of the relentless commands Jesus gives to His disciples in Gospel of John is this –  Follow Me.

Over, and over at the end of John He gives this command, they are leave behind all that have, all that they are, and they are to follow Him.  He has a plan, He has a purpose, He has a goal, He knows what He is going to accomplish in them, and through them.  Listen to what He says in John 21: 18-19:

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

secret-to-life-He is talking to Peter in this passage, and He tells him that He is to follow.  But, before, He tells Peter – it won’t always be easy.  There’s going to be some tough times, you will be lead to places that you don’t want to go, and have to do things that you don’t want to do, and yes, Peter, you will even die a way that you don’t want to die.

And it’s ok.

Because in all the places that Peter will go – it will glorify God.

You want to know the secret to life?  You want to know how to live a life, truly worth living, a life that is full, and abundant, and full of joy?  An amazing life?

The secret to life is to understand this.  It’s not about you.  It’s not about me.  It’s not about any of us.  It’s about God.  It’s about living for Him, His glory, His purpose, His plan.  That’s where life is found. That’s where purpose is found. That’s where it is all found.  Not in our stuff, but in His stuff.

And so Jesus tells Peter, it’s not going to always be easy.  Follow me anyway. Because when you follow me, you’ll actually find a life worth living.

That’s the secret to life.  To understand that it’s not about us; it’s about Him. When we understand that, then we actually, actually get to live. And that’s when the fun really starts!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Follow Me

Today I was blessed enough to be able to share with the First Priority at Petal Middle School. I want to share with you some of the words I shared with them.

I read from Matthew 4:18-22:

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

follow-meJesus sees Peter and Andrew and James and John, and this is His command to them. Follow me.  He doesn’t tell them where they are going.  He doesn’t go into great detail about what they will do and how they will do it.

He doesn’t answer any questions.

In fact, He doesn’t take any questions.  He simply says, Follow Me.

And they did. They followed Him. And they went all over the world, telling folks about Jesus.

That’s our call today. To follow Him.  Now following Him will look different for each of us. For some of us, that may me for the the first time placing our full faith in Him.

For others, it may mean entering into ministry.

For others, it may mean reading your bible more. Praying more.

For others, it may mean standing up for the little guy.

I don’t know what it means for you today.  But I do know this. Each of us, today, no matter where we are, that’s our command.  Follow Him.

Today, may we follow, wherever it is that He is leading!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

What Will We Choose?

Jesus lets us make choices. He respects our free will. He will call us. He will let us answer. And He will let us make the choice that we make.

Today in the text we read, we see how Jesus lets us make choices each day.  Listen to what happens in Luke 9:57-62:

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In this text, we see three different people have a conversation about following Him. The first tells Jesus that he will follow Him. Jesus says that in following Him, this man will have to make some real sacrifices. Now scripture does not say, but is implied that he didn’t follow.

Two others are given the chance to follow, but each comes up with a reason or an excuse that he cannot follow. There is a reason why they cannot follow.

And what does Jesus do? He lets them make that choice. He lets them decide what they want to do. He lets them live with choices that they make.

He doesn’t chase them down. He doesn’t make them follow Him. He doesn’t force them into a relationship with Him. He lets them choose. He lets them decide.

And He lets them live with the consequences of that choice.

Today, Jesus is calling you. He’s calling you to love Him, follow Him, serve Him, and serve others. He is calling you today. He wants to know Him.

He wants you to make that choice.

But, He will respect your choice. He will not force you. He will let you choose.

Today, what will you choose? Will you choose to follow? Or will you not. Will you choose to follow Jesus in each moment of your life today? Or will you choose to say no and follow you own will and own way.

Today, we have choices to make. What will we choose?

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Choices

Today is a day of choices.  What will eat for breakfast? Will I drink two pots of coffee, or just one?  Will I wake up my children while sleeping to annoy Holly, or not?  (I will not)

What will I choose to do?  How will I choose to live?

Who will I choose to serve?

The book of Joshua ends with this scene of choices.  Will the people choose to serve God, or will the choose to serve false idols. What will they do?

Joshua had already given them a choice and said that he and his family would serve the Lord, no matter what the others will do.

And then he laid it for people – choose. What will you do.  The people responded in Joshua 27:

21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!” 22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”

Joshua says, if you are going to choose to serve God, you must do two things.

First put aways those false gods.  Put away those things that draw you away from God.  Put away those things that keep you from serving and following.  Put them away.

If I want to follow God, I mean, really follow God, then I need to put away things that keep from following.

Today, what in your life keeps you from following?  What is it in your life that keeps you from following God as you should?

And the second thing is incline your heart to God.  Spend time with God, listen to  His voice through prayer and scripture. Seek Him.  Walk with Him.

What will we choose today?  How will we choose to live? What will we choose today?  Will we choose to follow?  Or will we not? The choice in our hands.