GUEST POST: Different

Josh Griffin —  December 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

The most powerful messages are never spoken. They are found in the way we live our lives. The world is watching and looking for something “different.” They are looking for truth, for love and for a different approach to responding to opposition. As Christians, we should be showing the world this kind of “different.”

Different: Truth
Rather than reading God’s Word to find out who said what to who when, we should be reading with an open heart, ready for God to change us from the inside out. How do you read with an open heart? 1. Start out by praying for God to read you as you read His Word. 2. Instead of rushing for time or word count; take your time. Close your eyes and try to imagine what you just read, what it must have been like and just picture the characters in the passage as if you were right there with them. 3. Apply what you have read. The simplest way to do this is with a devotional. Devotionals lay it out for you with a thought, a message, the word and prayer. You can take that thought and turn it into an action and live it out!

Different: Love
It is easy to love others who love us. The Bible says so in Matthew 5:46, “If you love on those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even the corrupt tax collectors do that much.” Loving our enemies on the other hand, may be difficult; but NOT impossible. We can begin by knowing that none of us is perfect. If someone hates you, it is not you they hate. It is an unresolved issue or wrong way of thinking that is lying within them and comes out as resentment and hatred towards you. Likewise, if you get angry in return, it is not them you are angry with; it is an unresolved issue or wrong way of thinking within yourself. Maybe you may not know how to handle the situation; they may not know how to handle the situation either. Be the example. You do not have to be their best friend but continue to smile and say hello when you pass them, if you see them struggling with something; walk over, give them a hand and be on your way. Little things like this will plant seeds of encouragement, love and grace. Eventually, they will know how to love as well and return that love; either to you or to someone else.

Different: Hopeful in opposition
There will be times when opposition strikes. The world is watching to see how you respond. Let’s respond with hope. “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Even through the toughest circumstances, God is with us and He will work even the worst situation out for our good. So we might as well go through it standing tall, knowing He is on our side.

As we show the world truth, love and how to have hope even in opposition; we can be sure that God is working through us to show the world the difference they are looking for, the difference we were designed to live out, the difference that is not so different in the right world; God’s world, our world.

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.

Weekend Teaching Series:  Summer Camp Kickoff Weekend (1-off)

Sermon in a Sentence: An introduction to the theme for summer camp (When Heaven and Earth Collide) by the summer camp speaker.

Service Length: 68 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we brought in the speaker, Mark Moore, who will be our camp speaker this summer. He did a great job of introducing the camp theme and walking students through the Sermon on the Mount – from memory! It was a great talk and the students were definitely into the talk for sure.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played the most incredible game since Facebook Hack – it was called Velocicopter and it was invented by one of our team members named Hannah. So awesome! It is basically a game where we duct tape the contestants arms to their chest so they have these tiny little arms. We spilled ping pong balls on the stage and told them they needed to collect as many of their eggs in 1-minute as possible. Then we topped them off with a velociraptor mask and spun hem around as the game began. Hilarious! Here’s a little picture, I’ll see if I can find a video to put online, too. The prize was HUGE: we gave away a full camp registration to the winner!

Music Playlist: Charlie Brown (Coldplay cover), We Are the Free, Go, We Could Change the World, All I Am, Forever Reign, The Earth is Yours

Favorite Moment: I love our band of seniors! They are graduating in just a few short weeks, but they are going to also lead at camp so it was AWESOME to have them leading us this weekend. Love these students, camp will be so great!

Up next: What is Worship? (1-off)

After you spend time reading about Christ, our sin, and how much it cost Him, at some point that information and your belief in it must translate into action. If we truly care about true beauty, purity, modesty, femininity, loving other people–and what we believe is true–then we can’t sit still.

Enough complaints have been made about the problems, and we’ve discussed our beliefs at length. We know the solution to all problems is found in Christ. If a girl struggles with bulimia–God is there. If a girl wonders about purity–God is there, too. If any person is filled with sin (and we all are), that person desperately need God’s redeeming love–whether she knows it or not. Now what? What do we do with knowledge?

Now’s the time to put the solution on banners and run through the streets like raving lunatics on a mission. Don’t let any fears get in the way between you and crazy, passionate worship. Forget about looking civilized. Forget about what others may think. With hoarse throats, exhausted lungs, and full hearts, let’s proclaim the glorious loveliness of Jesus Christ as if we mean it. If we’re genuinely passionate for His Cause, why shouldn’t we?

The more I see who Jesus is, the more I glimpse the wise womanhood He’s called us to, the more I see how the whole story of history revolves around Him–the more I realize how ridiculous it is to allow any inch of my life to escape His dominion. Every Jesus follower is expected to. . . follow Jesus! I’m not talking about worship that kneels, face-down 24/7, but worship in action.

You and I were called to be the dearly beloved of His soul (John 17:26, 1 John 2:4, 3:16–18). The nature of God’s love is passionate, consuming. If we remain unchanged by it, we probably never encountered it in the first place.

Now’s the time to step out of our way to pray with that anxious friend, encourage the classmate suffering from depression, be a friend to the junior higher next door. So maybe those efforts do not exactly equate to running with banners, but taking initial steps is being faithful to Christ in small things, in actions that speak louder than any running through-the-streets-screaming. We’re saying, “I love You, too” to Christ through our lives.

And whatever Love motivates us to reach out in these ways–that must be a Love worth living for. That Love is what we’re communicating.

If we are going to recognize the power we have to affect other people around us, we also need to understand the responsibility we carry.

1 Timothy 4:12 is often quoted to prove that “youth matter” to the church: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” It’s pleasant to consider how much influence our actions carry, but I confess sometimes I squirm at the command to “set the believers an example.” It’s fun feeling important, but I just don’t like being responsible for the consequences.
To quote that brilliant philosopher Peter Parker (otherwise known as “Spider-man”), “With great power, comes great responsibility.” We can reach out to others, spread truth, and encourage the lives around us. This means we have great power. And along with that great power, we are also given the great responsibility to use it wisely.

Like it or not, we are trendsetters. Just as every fashion model ever to strut the runway, we affect the minds of others by what we wear. With such power, it’s vital to question ourselves: Am I an example of Christ-centeredness? Or have I just gotten comfortable in the “Christian routine” and have forgotten why I’ve chosen to live this way?

What will be the grand result of our actions? Will we take the world by storm? Will our influence set an example for others that will change the course of their lives? Will we reform the world?

I’m not claiming that we will. We know the world will never be perfect; it will be broken until Jesus returns to make it new. But as God-given “lights” in the world, I think our chances for change are better than we think (Matthew 5:14, Revelation 21:1).

Excerpted with permission from Moody Publishers from chapter 11 of Uncompromising (Moody Publishers, 2011) by Hannah Farver