God gave me the opportunity to preach at Sandhills Community Church in Columbia, SC on July 2. My text was Revelation 1:4-8.
In the first 4 minutes I explained our new adventure which includes church starting and leadership coaching.
Whatever “BAD NEWS” is touching your life — God has GOOD NEWS to touch the hard painful places. The good news centers on our God who IS, who WAS, and who is TO COME. Enjoy!
I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS
I am a member of a pastor’s prayer group. Recently one of the men shared of a whisper of the Spirit he received during a period of worship.
From God, “It is OK to doubt yourself. BUT do not doubt Me!”
As I have reflected on those words a recent reading from Oswald Chambers seemed to be saying almost the same thing as he wrote about Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” The first rule of living in the Kingdom is to own our poverty before God. We must be aware, feel and come to God as one who is poor. Perhaps that includes all of those times when I doubt myself and see very well my frailty and weakness. BUT — while poverty is the true state of my self never, never, never, doubt God.
Do not doubt Him as you stand there holding a few pieces of fish and bread.
Do not doubt Him when the storm is raging and the boat seems to be going down.
Do not doubt Him when you are in prison and they are sharpening the ax.
God has been working, will keep working and He is working right now, in this very moment.
I met Nancy through a mutual friend who is very effective at disciple making in the N. Af and the Middle East regions. Her website is full of beautiful photography and many Biblical and other uplifting quotes. My quote she is using comes from my newest book LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP.
In fact, the spiritual journey can be understood as the movement from seeing God nowhere, or seeing God only where we expect to see him, to seeing God everywhere, especially where we least expect him.
Discernment is an ever-increasing capacity to “see” or discern the works of God in the midst of the human situation so that we can align ourselves with whatever it is that God is doing.
I do not believe God hides his will and we must discover it. God is working all the time around us and we must be looking to see it.
WHAT HELPS YOU SEE GOD’S HAND?
C.S. Lewis reveals the alternative in Mere Christianity: A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never … commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.
The Christian Case for Carpe Diem
Why seizing today matters.
BY MICHAEL D. GIAMMARINO
A couple of years ago I remember seeing an interesting Pepsi ad. It depicted young people celebrating, socializing, and having a generally great time on what seemed to be a rooftop party. The ad concluded with the campaign’s slogan, “live for now.” The whole thing felt like a promotion for a life of depravity and debauchery—essentially, that one should embrace momentary pleasures with disregard for future consequences.
Commercials like this Pepsi one have long influenced me to think that living for the moment was a bad thing. There couldn’t be a more naturalistic perspective, I thought. Christians are to be the most future-oriented people of all with eyes gazing past death and into eternity, right? What’s more, I found the Church reinforcing this mindset by saturating sermons with encouragements to “Follow your dreams,” and that “Your best days are right ahead of you.” Simply put, I’ve never been exposed to a “live for now” outlook on life that has come from the Christian community.
That is until now, of course.
You see, living for the moment and living wildly do not necessarily go hand in hand. Where the secularists get it wrong is that they conclude something like, “If I live for today, I’ll just pretend I won’t have to deal with the ramifications of my decisions.”
But that’s not how that goes. After all, by putting greater emphasis on the present, wouldn’t someone be more inclined to make better decisions since it would require more focus and time? It is the person who is so future-focused that they neglect the importance of smaller, everyday actions and thus unwittingly damage their future. He is sawing off the branch on which he sits!
C.S. Lewis reveals the alternative in Mere Christianity:
A more Christian attitude, which can be attained at any age, is that of leaving futurity in God’s hands. We may as well, for God will certainly retain it whether we leave it to Him or not. Never … commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.
Living for today is all that we can do. We can’t live and take action tomorrow because we only exist today. We have no control over tomorrow and we never will. Duty can only be done and grace can only be received today, in this moment.
Today is what we are given. That is all.
After the Lord personally showed me this reality, it ushered in a deep sense of relief followed by conviction. I was relieved because for the first time I felt I didn’t need to strive endlessly in mind and body to make tomorrow turn out the way I hoped. I often became frozen, like a deer in headlights, in deep thought about my future. It was very stressful, to say the least. And that is precisely why I was convicted. I finally understood that the reason I stressed tomorrow so much was pride and control.
I needed to control my future because surely I knew how it should pan out better than God. I couldn’t fully let go of my hopes for tomorrow and place them into His hands. That’s asking a great deal of me! What if He doesn’t come through? Or worse, what if His plans aren’t what I want them to be—what if they aren’t my plans?
But as Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, God’s plans are good! Plans of “hope and a future.”
I also realized that I made an idol of my future. Frequent daydreams of that perfect life drenched my mind. It’s coming soon. Certainly. I thought to myself. I just need to hurry through this scrappy present so I can receive my future. Once I’m there, in my perfect life, I’ll be happy. I hadn’t realized that it was an idol. I did what Lewis advised against: I committed my virtue and happiness to the future.
How often I have neglected the small joys and blessings of everyday life because I was moving too quickly to receive them. I knew little of the irony that in receiving those momentary blessings, the future takes care of itself. It doesn’t work out in spite of a slower paced, live-for-the-moment kind of life. It works out because of it. By embracing today by receiving and giving all you can in it, you are surely setting yourself up for a better tomorrow.
This is no surprise. Jesus Himself told of this simple principle for healthy living:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:33-34
God knows your desires. So just loosen up your death clutch on life and give it to God.
Tomorrow can surely be thought of, hoped for and even planned for. It must certainly be prayed for. But we are nonetheless given today. That is all we have. We’re given this moment and it is our duty to live it out in a way that honors God. He’ll deal with the rest.
MICHAEL D. GIAMMARINO
is the author of Discovering Justice, a book that analyzes the modern concept of justice in light of a historical Judeo-Christian framework. He currently resides in New York City and studies business and theology at Oral Roberts University located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
See the free library of written, audio and video resources by Robertson McQuilkin http://mcquilkinlibrary.com/
and James “Buck” Hatch
Both men have crossed over into a new level of eternal life. So much of their teaching is classic — it is not dated in the least.
Enjoy! And leave comments below of resources you find helpful.
In January 2017 we settled on the name “Market Common Community Church” for the new work we trust God to do here. In March we found out that we cannot use the trademarked name in our church name. SO — would you take time to read the message below and pray and send me any ideas for a name by May 31? Thanks
Aristides was a Greek philosopher who died around 134 AD. The Roman Emperor, Hadrian, asked Aristides to study the Christians and report on whether they were a threat to the Empire. Read these selections from his research below.
“But the Christians… show kindness to those near them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly…
They do good to their enemies…
If one of them have bondsmen and bonds women or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness.
Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another….And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him into their own homes and rejoice over him as a very brother…
And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity…
And if there is any among them that is poor and needy, and they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food…
Such, O King… is their manner of life… And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine in the midst of them.”
This describes the kind of church I long to be a part of. As we ask God to establish a church based in the Market Common District of Myrtle Beach, SC this is what I am asking God to raise up.
We found out that we cannot use the name “Market Common” in the name of the church. So help me out. Send me ideas for what you would name a church we are seeking to start? Send your submissions by May 31 to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks
Aristides, “The Apology of Aristides the Philosopher,” in the The Ante-Nicene Fathers, first series, original supplement to the American edition, vol. 10, ed. Allan Menzies (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965)., 276-78.