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Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

Day 74: The Walking Dead

Posted by undergroundchurch on February 24, 2014


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

Since Genesis 3, God has demanded sacrifice. The first 4,000 years of this proved that no sacrifice but the life of a person was able to cover the sin of a person (e.g. A lamb does not equal a person in value; that is why they were constantly sacrificing).

When Jesus came, he, being God, was worth the lives of every person ever to walk the planet. His sacrifice was enough to cover all sin, and it does for all who receive this sacrifice.

Ironically, the sacrifice that brings life to all, also requires that we die to self.

For you have died, and your life has been safely guarded by the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you, too, will be revealed with him in glory. – Colossians 3:3,4

The problem is that I’m still breathing, which means though I’m dead, I’m also alive and kicking. The problem with the walking dead is that they still get into mischief. As the old saying goes, “the problem with being a living sacrifice is that you can get up off the altar.”

This concept of dying to self is all over the Bible, virtually on every page – especially in the New Testament. It’s talked about so much because it is so hard to do. One way to succeed is to follow the SHAPERS principle:

  • Submit to God
  • Humble yourself
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to lead
  • Pray
  • Ears to heaven
  • Repent
  • Serve others

Posted in Living, prayer | Leave a Comment »

Day 73: Terrestrial and Alien

Posted by undergroundchurch on February 23, 2014


Scriptural Nuggets Daily DevotionScriptural Nuggets Daily Devotion

It is no small task to think extra-dimensional. We live in at least 11 dimensions, with only 4 measurable using physical math you learn in school. So is it no wonder how we struggle to put our minds on the things of God?

Keep your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. – Colossians 3:2

Paul, James and Jesus all tell us that if we try to live a life that pleases God, we must stop thinking like the world and on the things of this world and think like an alien in this world. (Phil 3:19, James 3:15, John 3 and 8)

In God’s world, the greatest person is the least among people, the servant (literally “slave”) is the highest calling and in order to live, one must die. These concepts are absolutely foreign to a world full of sin, greed, selfishness and idolatry.

To live in this world and not fall victim to its ways, we must put on the mind of Christ and stop thinking like the world expects.

Posted in Living, Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Meaning of Life – Discovered!

Posted by undergroundchurch on January 25, 2010


“42”

That’s it! –  “42”

As calculated by the supercomputer in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” over a 7.5 million year period, the answer to life, the universe and everything is “42”.

Look at all the proof…

  • 42 is the name of three bands and two songs… that’s a full house!
  • Fox Mulder of the X-Files lived in apartment 42
  • 42 is the actual length of a one-hour TV show
  • It’s the name of Buzz Lightyear’s ship
  • In binary, 42 is displayed as 101010… coinsidence?
  • It’s Jackie Robinson’s jersey number which just happens to be the only jersey retired from every major league team
  • It’s the angle in degrees of which a rainbow appears
  • and most of all, in the simple magic cube, it is the sum of each row using the number 1-27

Ok, so you’re probably not convinced.  How can the meaning of life be summed up in a number?  That would be too simple, but though it sounds improbable, the meaning of life is actually quite simple.  The answer though is different depending on your starting point.

Self-ish

If you live life for yourself, the meaning of life is simply whatever pleases you.  It is a simple view that starts and ends with you.  The side effect of this approach to life is that its scope is also the limitation – relationships tend to be of a superficial and temporary nature.  Unfortunately, it is very hard to satisfy the self driven purpose to life.  It is not a life of contentment, but one that never truly achieves joy, peace and love which are key components to a satisfied life.

James, in the Bible, says of the Self-ish driven life:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:13-16)

A self driven life drives a wedge between you and others and is not a wise method of living.

Self-less

The other approach to life is to live life for someone else.  If that other person happens to be God, you will discover a vast expanse of joy, peace and love that ties you not only to the creator of the universe, but by default, connects you in a special

James goes on to say:

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (vs. 18 and 19)

Your understanding about the meaning of your life determines the source of your wisdom and the fruits of your life.  One is eternal, the other is buried the day you die.

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Four Points of Faith

Posted by undergroundchurch on December 29, 2009


Faith is an action, not an intangible.  Real faith reveals itself through the actions of the believer.  Works don’t create faith, but real faith will produce works. James spends an entire book in the Bible on this subject.  Yes, faith is a starting point, but not the end.

I like to think of faith as a match.  When struck, it produces a fire that can burn down a forest, but until it is applied to kindling, tender, or some other fuel that can cause the first to grow, it will burn out.  Faith must be applied or exercised to grow. Let’s look at four ways Faith can be increased.  These are starting points that contain many different elements related to each one respectively.

Love of God

This is everybody’s favorite.  God loves you – and for many, that’s all they want from God.  This understanding alone usually produces an unbalanced understanding of God and usually aids in the believer forming God in their own image. The believer that only wants to know the love of God finds it hard to see God in his holiness and righteousness.

However, in balance, the love of God is powerful.  It produces trust so that no matter what happens to you in your walk, you know that God will see you through to the end.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t suffer in this life, it just means that you understand that God’s love transcends the troubles of this world.

Fear of God

This is a highly neglected element of faith in today’s society.  To be frank, we don’t want to think of God as a God of wrath, righteousness and one who can’t stand sin in His presence.  But God is holy, just, true, righteous and we must balance the love of God with the fear of God.

We are so used to coming boldly before the throne that we forget to tremble in the presence of a Holy God.  We are both children of God and servants of the Most High. Paul says it this way concerning Israels failure to recognize the Messiah,

You will say then, “Branches (Unbelieving Israel) were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  – Romans 10:19-22 (italics mine)

Gifts of God

This is what we know as ministry.  Every believer has a ministry, gift and calling.  This is how we carry out our faith in action toward one another and how we are to build the church.  Most ministry is defined by how the believer interacts with the world around them and other believers.

God gives us gifts and methods to bless one another, but too often we leave this task to the “paid” ministers or “leaders” in the church.  We fail the church when we don’t all operate in the calling and giftings God has given each of us through the Holy Spirit.

Fruits of God

You’ve heard of the nine fruit of the Spirit listed in Scripture… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23), but what they really represent is the change that should take place in the believer’s life because of the presence of God.

The fruits of a righteous life, a loving believer, a dedicated and devoted follower of Jesus and one who reflects the image of God.  They indicate changes that should be evident because a believer is a redeemed dead person.  We were headed for destruction, but by the grace of God, we were saved.  The encounter we have with God and the depth of that encounter will evidence itself through one’s actions, lifestyle and devotion to Christ.

Each of this points of faith must be active in the believers life if he/she is to experience all that God has for them both here on this earth and on the one to come.

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What is Your Purpose Statement?

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 26, 2009


One of the goal setting techniques “self-improvement” instructors tell their students is to set goals. When setting goals, don’t set them too high, too far out or too unrealistic. Set your goals in phases – short-term and long-term. Set limits (very important), and establish general timeframes.

I’m not a huge fan of “self-improvement” thinking, but I will say that setting a “Purpose Statement” for your life is a good one because… well, God established it first.

Today’s Biblegateway scripture is John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

This scripture is very important for us now because it is the current goal God set for Jesus. We know that there are other tasks and goals that have been achieved and will be achieved by Jesus, but for now, this is His purpose statement.

Look at some of Jesus’ past and current goals

  • Creation of the universe and specifically, the earth and man
  • Establishment of a tabernacle that pre-figured his coming ministry on earth
  • Fulfillment of hundreds of prophetic statements while on earth
  • His successful journey to the cross
  • His establishment as the savior
  • Obtaining a name above all names with power and dominion

These are all important, but are in no way the end. He has some long-term goals that are yet to come to pass.

  • He will return with a sword in judgment of the world. In other words, he will one day come to condemn the world; He didn’t do it the first time He came because He had to first come as savior king.
  • He will rule with an iron scepter.
  • He will destroy and rebuild heaven and earth.
  • He will establish a kingdom that will never end from the New Jerusalem.

These goals are yet to be accomplished, but if His track record is any indication, there is no doubt that He will be successful.

So what about you? What goals have you set – both long and short term?

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Being a Neighbor by Leaving a Legacy

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 23, 2009


I once heard that the greatest hindrance to knowing your neighbor is the electric garage door opener.  Think about it… you can get in your car, leave your house, and return to your house without ever stepping outside.  You don’t have to ever see your neighbors.

The Biblegateway scripture today is

“Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”- Romans 15:2

It’s one thing to be a good neighbor – like the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Remember him, he was the last person you’d think would be there to help an injured Jew on the side of the road.  Even the coldest heart can feel the pain of others when that person is in great pain.

It is quite another thing, however, to go out of your way to please someone with no strings attached.  That is what Paul is suggesting in this passage.  Jesus taught us that everyone is you neighbor and that you should reach out to your neighbor in their time of need.  Paul takes that and builds on it.

We are expected not to just help them out, but to please them.  The pleasure you are to bring is not measured in their happiness level, though that may be a side effect.  It is measured in how they benefit from it.  Does it build them up? Does it grow them closer to God? Does it have an eternal, physical or spiritual benefit? 

When you invest in people, you invest in the only thing you get to take with you after you die.  People are the only thing that matters. There is a word for that which you leave in people – your legacy.

A legacy is the imprint of your life on the lives of others.  It is how you make your mark, and what you leave behind when you die.  It is your influence, your blessing, your song and your calling. 

The song below sung by Nichole Nordeman reflects this message of leaving a legacy.  I hope you enjoy it, and I encourage you to be a legacy leaver.

Posted in Bible Study, Living | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Have a Powerful Life

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 20, 2009


You know, Christianity is easy in theory, but very difficult in practice.  But like most things, the more you practice, the better you get. 

There is a secret that every Christian should know about their faith.  It’s a secret that many may have heard about, but few understand.  If we can just get this one nugget of knowledge, we can and will become a most powerful people. 

Like the U.S. Constitution for our country, the Bible lays out a great framework for the believer’s life.  Application is the key.  When the Constitution is rightly applied, the country benefits and the original intent is met. When it is misinterpreted, you get all sorts of strange concoctions.

The Bible delivers an outstanding framework in one particular chapter that if followed, will guarantee success.  Now remember that success is not measured by the content of your garage, but the character of your being; because God is more interested in your character than your comfort – Rick Warren

Romans chapter eight is the believer’s constitution.  So many have preached on it. So many more have said amen to its content, but so few really follow its instruction. Its instructions are plain, but its practice is difficult, especially if you try to practice it on your own.

Jesus left earth with a promise, the Holy Spirit.  He would come and dwell in us and empower us to live out this difficult Christian walk.  He is more than a conscience, He is the power you need.  He brings with Him, power, comfort, correction, gifts, character building tools, insight into your appointed path, help in dealing with your faults, enhanced prayer, conviction when your stray from the course and a tireless attention to detail.

The Holy Spirit is more than a tag-along in your Christian journey; He is your strength.  The secret to the victorious Christian walk is not to rely on your own strength to do it.  You have to let go of the reigns and and let God get in the driver seat.  He wants you to succeed, and more important, He knows how to get you there. 

So fellow believers, have a powerful life!  You aren’t alone, the Holy Spirit is there just waiting for you to let go.  When you do though, be ready.  He will not operate in ways that always make sense to you, but the more you release to Him, the more you trust in Him, the greater your victories and the more powerful your life shall be.

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The Toughest Scripture in the Bible

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 11, 2009


My title may be somewhat relative, but even if it is not your toughest scripture, it certainly has to rank in the top five.

Here is the scripture of the day from Biblegateway,

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

It is easy for most to receive forgiveness from God even though many struggle with forgiving their own selves.  However, this scripture takes the forgiveness to a who new level of maturity.

I heard once that your maturity is not determined by your actions but be your reactions.  This is really the heart of the scripture.  God is not so concerned with just forgiving you, though he wants that most.  His goal is to change you into the likeness of his Son. 

Did you know that Jesus plants two most difficult doctrines on his disciples?  One, I hear quite a bit about, the other I have never in my life heard anyone really preach on it because, I suppose, it doesn’t fit in today’s adaptation of Christianity.  Both, however, have the same result if you fail to observe them- God will not forgive you.

Right away I have your dander up, but there is a reason for the doctrine that transends an arbitrary rule.  Let’s look at both through a couple of scriptures spoken by Jesus himself:

And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.  – Matthew 12:31,32

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this one here, but Jesus is so emphatic about it, He says it twice in a row.  It is specifically designed to, hopefully, stir the fear of God in the believer, and it shows the unique relationship of the Father, son and Holy Spirit. 

The Father and Son have roles that actually allow you to blaspheme and still be forgiven.  The Holy Spirit’s role does not allow that for the believer.  His work in the believer’s life is very selfless.  God is very protective of the Spirit who can be grieved. In our “graceology”, we can’t seem find a place for this to fit, but Jesus wasn’t just speaking to hear his own voice; he meant what he said and meant to say it.

As tough as that one is, the next is more difficult because it affects most of us everyday. 

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins – Matthew 6:14,15

Again, either Jesus is lying, or you have your doctrine wrong if you think that you can go through your Christian journey with unforgiveness in your heart.  Jesus says that God will not forgive your sins.

Sure, you can make the argument that that is sin you commit after you are saved and not “original sin” that keeps you from God, but really; do you really want to have unforgiven sin at any level in your life when you stand before God?

To see how important this is, Jesus included it in the example prayer he gave to his disciples that is repeated millions of times per day by believers all over the world.

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us. – Luke 11:4

When you pray this prayer, you say to God, forgive me on the same level as I forgive others.  Are you sure you want that if you aren’t forgiving others?

Here’s the bulleted summary:

  • You have no right in God’s eyes to have unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone no matter what they did or are doing to you.
  • God will not forgive your sins if you have unforgiveness toward others.
  • Jesus showed you how to do it. On the Cross, he said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”  You do it when it costs you the most to do it. Don’t wait 20 years.

Paul tells you what the heart of forgiveness is; it shows kindness and compassion.  These are the very things that Jesus showed you on the Cross.  If you can’t give away to others what Jesus freely gave you, you took it for the wrong reason, and you are a long way from imitating Christ.

Posted in Bible Study, Doctrine, Living | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Mother’s Sacrifice

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 10, 2009


There are many great examples of mothers throughout the Bible.  I wanted to highlight perhaps one of the most pivotal decisions a mother made and the results of that decision.

The days were nothing special and the power of God seemed to be far off.  The people went through the motions, and the religious community was corrupt.  The nation of Israel contained both righteous and wicked people, and the nation had experienced great ups and downs through the years.  But something was stirring in the mind of God, and a chosen couple would soon arise with pure hearts and come to a point of decision that would alter the course of history.

The woman struggled day in and day out with her inability to have children.  She would cry out before God and ask him to remember her.  One day, while praying at the temple, she prayed a prayer that would alter her life forever:

O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.

God heard, and 9 months later, she bore a son.  She aptly named him, “God hears”.

She weaned the boy and took him back to the temple to the high priest and, because of her promise to God, left him to be raised in the temple.

What faith this woman had; what struggle she must have felt in her soul when she walked away that day, but her trust in the Lord gave her the ability to write a song.  That song is recorded in 1 Samuel 2 and reflects the triumph of that day.  For she saw that God had answered her prayer and removed her disgrace.  That alone was worth the great sacrifice she would make.  The very thing she prayed to receive, she was willing to give back to God so that He could do something with her Son that she could never imagine.

For the boy grew up in the presence of God and was there the day God rejected the current religious leadership of Israel.  He stepped in to fill a gap in history between the time of the judges and the time of the kings. He fulfilled his own name when he alone heard God when even the high priest, Eli could not.  And when the time had reached its pinnacle, God used this man to anoint a shepherd boy named David.

For a God-fearing and loving mother, Hannah had set into motion by faith a spiritual revival beginning with the selfless act of her giving her one and only son, Samuel that he might be a light and hope to usher in a new dynasty for Israel.  Her sacrifice, dedication and love for God and her son proved invaluable to the course of human history.  It was that selfless act that kept the lineage of the Messiah alive. 

Her faith started a snowball effect for Israel’s renewal of faith. It’s amazing what one selfless act can do.  It reminds me of another mother that made a selfless choice to be the mother to the son of God.  Selfless acts never go unnoticed by God.

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Your Role in Life

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 4, 2009


There are really two attitudes you take in this life  – what can I get out of it and what can I do to make a difference. A shortened way of saying this is that you are either selfish or selfless.

You’re probably thinking, “that’s pretty narrow minded”, but the fact of the matter is that everything you do in life can be put in one of these two categories.  

The answer to the title of this blog starts with your attitude.  If you are the selfish type, you will look at life for what you can get out of it.  Many of the people that live life in this category honestly don’t want to be here, and they get into a endless cycle that keeps them returning to an attitude of selfishness. 

By nature, mankind is bent toward the selfish approach to life.  It was the very thing that got Adam and Eve into trouble.

 “[Eve] saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it and gave somet to her husband who was with her and he ate it too.” Genesis 3:6

The selfsish person is one that feeds off the system… whatever that system may be. For example, these are the people that attend church and do nothing about being active in the church.  These are the people that live for themselves and spend all their untaxed money on themselves.  These are the people that, though they may hurt for those in need, really do little to nothing about it. Everything tends to be about them.  

The other attitude is quite different because though they may have their moments of selfishness, for the most part they act selfless.  They take on a ministry in a church, they feed the hungry, give money like it grows on trees, they invest in other people and like the selfless person, they hurt for the hurting and do something about it. And when things happen to them, they don’t take it personal instead seeing the bigger picture.

The best part of all this is that you determine your attitude.  Yes, you can change your role in life.  Our pastor mentioned this week that Charles Stanley once said that the one thing in your life you have complete control over is your attitude. You can’t blame anybody but yourself for your attitude in life. Read the story of Joseph in the Bible.  Very few people were hurt by others like he was, yet his attitude was always one of selflessness.

I have been in both arenas in my life.  At times, I fluctuate back and forth between them.  But on the whole, I strive to live a selfless life.

A motto I repeat to myself every so often to remind myself of my purpose is, “What can I do to make you better off than you were a minute ago.”  When I think like this, it tends to take the focus off of me and changes my attitude.  

The result is that when I please myself, my feeling of satisfaction is usually brief and unfulilling. When I meet others needs and bring a little light into their lives, I get a deeper, richer and more profound feeling of satisfaction that lasts much longer and really makes a difference in my role in life.

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