Christmas Day, 2016

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
1 Peter 4:10 NLT

On this Christmas day, let us each unwrap the gift he has given us and use it unfettered to build his temple, the church, the place where his Glory dwells, of which we are all a part, as we are all living stones of that temple.

Merry Christmas Ignite Church.

God bless us everyone!

“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15b NLT

You Must be Born Again

John 3:3-8

I think we lose sight of the impact Jesus words had on Nicodemus because of our familiarity in the modern day church with the term “born again.” I’m not a Greek scholar, but I can imagine from Nicodemus’s reaction that he took what Jesus said as being along the lines of “unless you are reborn” or “unless you experience another birth”, you cannot see the Kingdom of God. And this “seeing” I think applies not only to the after life, but also to a current awareness, in the here and now, of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is in the presence of God, and when Jesus was born he ushered in the Kingdom of God. From that momoment on, God has dwelled in the presence of man and made it possible for man to dwell in His presence. Thus Jesus said repeatedly, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
John 3:3-8 NLT

Look Straight Ahead

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.

Proverbs 4:25 NLT

This speaks to me about doing well the things that God has set before me in the place that I find myself right now. If I believe God is sovereign, then I must believe that everything that has happened to me has led me to where I am and has either been allowed or caused by God. Therefore, I should do well the things that lie before me (look straight ahead) and not worry about finding something else to do or finding the next big thing or even tomorrow.

Total Commitment


There was no turning back for Elisha after destroying his livelihood. He offered his old life completely to God and it was totally destroyed in the process. And at the same time he was offering himself completely to God’s service, for whatever new purpose God had for him.
His life was repurposed.
By sharing with the townspeople, he testified of the transformative work God was doing in his life.
This event in Elisha’s life foreshadows the work of the cross in our lives.
Have you given yourself so completely to the Lord Jesus Christ that turning back is no longer possible?
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

He Called Him by Name

fig-374118_640What will you feel when you meet Jesus face to face, as He looks you in the eye and calls you by name?

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:1‭-‬10 NLT

Emotional Prosperity

I like what the speaker says about having fun. I think as Christians it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and even feel guilty about having fun because we somehow think we should be spending time in ministry, prayer, Bible study, self-improvement, etc.

The following text is from the original post.

Before we can effectively lead our families and others, we need to know how to lead ourselves in emotional health so that the life we are leading is sustainable. Being individually well is key to thriving inside of community! In this teaching, Jason Vallotton shares how we can get our needs met in body, soul, and spirit so we can partner with Jesus to express the joy of His kingdom. This message is from week 5 of Bethel’s Life Series.

* Published: 10/16/16 6:30:00 AM

* Episode Download Link:

* Show Notes:

* Episode Feed: Bethel Church Sermon of the Week –

So Who’s Being Obtuse?


Don’t some of Jesus’ responses to the disciples seem at times a bit obtuse?

Take this passage from Luke 17: 5-10 for example:

The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you! “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
Luke 17:5-10 NLT

The disciples ask Jesus how to increase their faith. His first response is like a faith baraometer and indicates to them how weak their faith really is.

But then he goes on to talk about the very ordinary life of this very ordinary servant who plows the fields, tends the sheep, prepares meals, and serves his master. A very ordinary life filled with very ordinary tasks that would seem to occupy most, if not all of this guy’s day and time.

Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes Jesus’ responses, like this one, leave me scratching my head and saying, “Huh? Is this even part of the same conversation.”

But as I ponder encounters like this I have to consider that, at least with his disciples, Jesus was not deliberately obtuse. Rather, he was masterfully insightful. He knew the thoughts and intentions of their hearts. With Him there is no back door, or exit stage left, or exit stage right. Jesus was and is masterful at cutting to the chase. If the true nature of the question was cloaked or disguised because they were afraid to ask it head on, he could see through it. If their approach was tangential because they wanted to test the waters before they got full into what they really wanted to know, they were wasting their time.

And aren’t we the same? How often do we approach Jesus like we are on a tightrope or broken glass? More often than not, isn’t it we who are obtuse in our approach to Jesus?

If we are ready to receive it, Jesus will give us a direct answer, even if we are being obtuse in our approach.

Perhaps that’s what was happening in this encouner. Perhaps the disciples were wondering when they would get to do some of the cool stuff like Jesus did. When will people crowd around us to hear us teach? When will we get to perform miracles? With all the miles they travelled, and all the time the spent attending to Jesus and the crowds, maybe they thought their lives seemed pretty ordinary (at least compared to that of Jesus).

Then it occurred to me, maybe this was a direct answer to the real issue, which was approached in an obtuse fashion. Maybe this is a direct answer to a question that masked the real issue, which was a woe is me, what about me attitude, but also answers the question as it was phrased. Masterful!

Maybe that’s exactly how we increase our faith. We press through the very ordinary stuff of the very ordinary days of our very ordinary lives, not expecting thanks, but just doing what’s expected of us. When we do this with the right attitude of heart, not expecting thanks, but knowing that we are serving our master, and we push through with thankful hearts, greatful to be alive, greatful to be united with our Maker, and greatful to serve Him with our very lives, we are increasing our faith, whether we feel like it or not.

So how do we increase our faith? We live our lives, we enjoy life, and we give thanks and praise to our Maker at every turn.

Take courage and serve him with your life, and know that your faith is being increased as you do.

–Dr. Lund


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NLT

Trust is at times difficult to practice. Sometimes it goes against all reason and everything inside you says “that makes no sense” or “I’m not gonna do that” or “that’s not God’s voice.”

Recently I shared a problem I was having with my wife. When she offered a solution, I went away thinking “that makes no sense. I’m not gonna do that.” Then the thought occurred to me, “isn’t that what trust is all about? Isn’t that how trust is built? Isn’t that how relationships deepen? Even when it makes no sense, you trust the one you love and do it anyway. You move forward, even if you don’t believe, because you love the source.”

Wow! That slapped me upside the head like a two-by-four. Was that the voice of God? Or was that just me?

The funny thing is, my wife’s suggestion worked better than anything I had tried.

Lesson learned?

I hope so.