LIVING BY FAITH

 

 “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

 

When SELF is dead (“crucified with Christ”), you live by faith in the Son of God.  When you live by faith in Him…

 

  • You live as though God…is God,
  • You live as though with God nothing is impossible,
  • You never say, “In my life, the sky’s the limit.” You say, “In my life, heaven’s the limit.”

 

When you live by faith in the Son of God, you believe that there is a magnificent power available to you…

 

“That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

                   Ephesians 1:19

 

When you live by faith in the Son of God, you never shy away from asking God to do something God-sized.

John Newton was a slave-trader-turned-pastor and hymn writer, the author of “Amazing Grace.”

He would receive almost unbelievable answers to his prayers because he believed in what he called, “large asking.”

When explaining what he meant, Newton would often cite a legendary story of a man who asked Alexander the Great to give him a huge sum of money in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Alexander agreed and told the man to request of Alexander’s treasurer whatever he wanted.  So, the father of the bride went and asked for an enormous amount.  The treasurer was startled and said he could not give out that kind of money without a direct order.

Going to Alexander, the treasurer argued that even a small fraction of the money requested would more than serve the purpose.

“No,” replied Alexander, “let him have it all.  I like that fellow.  He does me honor.  He treats me like a king and proves by what he asks that he believes me to be both rich and generous.”

Newton concluded, “In the same way, we should go to the throne of God’s grace and present petitions that express honorable views of the love, riches, and bounty of our King.”

When you live by faith in the Son of God, you believe that there is a magnificent power available to you.

 

You never say, “That will never happen.”

You never say, “He will never change.”

You never say, “To ask God for that would be…ridiculous.”

 

When you live by faith in the Son of God, you live without limits because the God you serve has none.

 

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PASSPORT TO THE VISION

This past Sunday I introduced the “PASSPORT to the Vision”–a seven-step process that will place you in a position for the Holy Spirit to fill you and turn you into a Soul Seeker who makes disciples…who make disciples.

I urge you…

The seven steps can be taken in any order.
We recommend the following:

  1. Small Group–Participate in a small group where you can experience Christian fellowship (Connect 4) as well as study the Bible and reach out to the lost (Sunday School, Life Groups, and Life Transformation Groups).  To sign up or to receive information about these groups, please email Pastor Michael: msove@allenmemorial.org or text him: 443-880-1716.
  2. “Can We Walk?”–A five-week class offered on Sunday mornings that treats Christian basics for brand new believers or those who were just never taught the basics.  Contact Pastor Bruce: bglisson@allenmemorial.org/443-944-6157.
  3. “The Holy Spirit: An Introduction”–A five-week class offered on Sunday mornings that presents who the Holy Spirit is and how you can have surrendered daily fellowship with Him.  Contact Pastor Michael.
  4. “Surrender”–A worship service for all those who want to surrender all to the Holy Spirit.  We will conduct this service periodically on Sunday nights at 6:00 p.m.  Ministry for young children will be provided.  Our first service was held this past Sunday night.  The next service will be held on Sunday, November 5.
  5. “Let’s Talk”–Six weeks of “on the job training” offered on Monday nights to teach you how to share the gospel, to help eradicate your fear of doing so, and to lead people to accept Christ.
    Please contact me: wwarren@allenmemorial.org/443-366-5419.
  6. “Love Your Neighborhood to Christ” (L.Y.N.C.) or Z-Team.
    When you participate in L.Y.N.C., you agree to befriend some of your neighbors with the goal of helping to lead them to faith in Christ.  Please contact me.

    As a member of the Z Team, you “adopt” a single mom and her family from Prince Street Elementary School whom we already assist through “Blessings in a Backpack.”  You show and share the love of Christ as you meet needs using church resources and the love in your heart.  Please contact J.D. Schroen: josephschroen@yahoo.com/443-365-1219

  7. Lead and Guide–This step is the culmination of the entire PASSPORT effort…to LEAD someone to faith in Christ and to GUIDE that person through the PASSPORT so that they lead someone to Christ and you become a spiritual grandparent!  When you have completed this step…contact me!  We will praise God together.

    Please pursue the PASSPORT to the Vision and become a “Spirit-filled Soul Seeker Who Makes Disciples…Who Make Disciples”–all for that which matters the most: the glory of God’s Name and the pleasure of God’s heart.

WHEN THE BOTTOM FALLS OUT…

How should you respond when God allows you to fall further in pain and sorrow than you ever thought He would?  As I have walked through the valley with some of you and as I have heard the stories of persecuted Christians around the world, I have sometimes been shocked at how much heartache God will let us have.  So, how should you as a follower of Christ respond?  Should you stoically bear it all in silence or let God have it with both barrels?

The psalmist charts the perfect course for us:

“Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
Psalm 62:8

Clearly, then, in the most difficult times we must abandon neither faith nor forthrightness.  We must not think that crying out, “Why?” is automatically a sign of disbelief in God’s faithfulness.  Nor should we believe that the lament, “God, this is NOT FAIR” signals an abandonment of our faith.  These and similar convulsions of the heart are but an obedient response to the command to “pour out.”  But when we have emptied what is inside of us, we must continue to believe that God is worthy of our trust…that He who did not spare His own Son (Romans 8:32) has not suddenly abandoned us who also call Him, “Father.”

Pour Out But Don’t Trust.
A formula for disillusionment with God.
Trust But Don’t Pour Out.
A recipe for distance from God.

So, when the bottom falls out, tell God that you are not enjoying the fall…
But also tell Him that you know…that you know…that when you stop falling, you will land in His nail-scarred hands.

Pour Out and Trust.
Trust and Pour Out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AWAKEN

“Lord, what do You want for Allen?”

That is the question members of the Awaken Team lifted to the Lord repeatedly during the weeks preceding our recent retreat held at Camp Wo-Me-To and graciously funded by one of our members.

“Who is the Awaken Team”?

A team of Allen Memorial members and pastoral staff assembled to seek the Lord’s will for our church and to help us pursue it.  After months of prayer and consultation with the pastoral staff and the deacons, I was delighted to recruit the following people to serve on our first Awaken Team for the next twelve months:

Amy Self, Bruce Glisson, Janice Davis, Jay Waddell, Michael Sove, Elisabeth Murphy, Dottie Clutter, Jud Kossum, Wendy Cain, and Kim Musser.

We emerged from that retreat with four areas we felt the Holy Spirit led us to improve in 2017:

  1. Prayer Strategy
  2. Communication System
  3. Groups Strategy
  4. Engagement Pathway (from guest to fully-functioning member)

Each of these four teams has recruited others from the church to assist them.

Please pray for the Awaken Team as they diligently work on the answers they have received to the question burning in their heart: “Lord, what do You want for Allen?”

(“Okay, why is your blog entitled, “500”?  To assure you that it will always be BRIEF–500 words or less.  Aren’t you glad?)