By “rites of passage” I am referring to a person’s transition from one status or phase to another. In the church we have various ceremonies that mark different phases of spiritual and biological maturity like baptism, first communion, confirmation, etc. However, in the context of this article, a rite of passage is more of a test that is part of a process God uses to bring believers into another stage of maturity, before assigning them to another level of kingdom service.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:1,6).
How many of us have promises, hopes, or dreams that are yet unfulfilled?
When most people think of how to choose their friends they have more of a worldly, casual concept rather than a biblical one. In John 15:15 Jesus told His disciples He called them friends and not servants. Since the Kingdom of God is based upon relationship and not ministry, it is important we know how to choose our friends wisely.
In our culture we have a proclivity to elevate “doing over being”; to focus more on causes than on Christ. This means that the greatest threat we have as Christians (as defined by Paul in Galatians and Romans when we try to have salvation by works) to our growth in Christ by process is that we live in a future oriented culture that relates time largely to efficiency and productivity. We are more inclined than ever to use time to accomplish results than to enhance relationships.
Many people have a hard time receiving from God because in the world we are programmed to receive based on what we earn. If you work, then you receive payment based on the expertise and amount of hours you put in. It is unusual for someone to come up to you and give you something valuable you didn’t work for or earn. Even on Christmas we expect to receive gifts because we give gifts in return; thus it is not really a present but a blind exchange. Contrariwise, receiving from God is made easy and possible because Jesus bore all of our sins and all curses in His body on the cross.
Jesus said that in the world we will have trouble (John 16:33). Job said, “Man born of woman will have trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). See also Psalm 34:19. Sometimes the challenges are so intense we can be severely distressed.
Seven ways to live 2018 in the fullness of God:
1. Commit to acknowledge God in all your ways (Proverbs 3:5,6)
Many times we make decisions and then ask God to bless them: this year start off by bringing God’s Word and God’s Spirit into every major decision and give Him opportunity to speak to you and guide you.
2. Don’t live in anxiety ( Philippians 4:6,7)
There is a huge emphasis nowadays in the Evangelical church related to evangelism, church planting and the like. This is good since the church should never be separated from its mission of proclaiming Jesus to this lost world. In light of this, I believe the church will fall far short of our goals unless we incorporate the power of signs, wonders and miracles into our methodological norm for evangelism.
Often, when we are sharing the gospel with an unbeliever we think that we must begin with a blank slate in regards to their understanding of and adherence to God and salvation. We try our best to understand their perspective and their personal narrative and see how we can fit in the gospel message.
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