Moving Forward, Conclusion: Keep Seeking!

What will keep you ‘Moving Forward’, spiritually?

What will actually lead you to ‘Full Life’ in Jesus Christ?

After all, if all we do is start, but we don’t continue, that’s a failure!

In this blog series, we’ve talked about ‘Moving Forward’ by getting rid of the garbage in our lives, and we’ve talked about Moving Forward by focusing on/making room for the Good Stuff…but how do we keep moving forward?

Think about any journey you’ve taken…or any trip you’ve planned…or any strategy you’ve developed–there’s always a destination, a goal.

What is the GOAL of the Christian life?

To be sure, there are lots of things to do…lots of ‘spiritual activities’ to prioritize.

Time in the Word of God, consistent involvement in church, serving others in His name…

But that’s not the ‘goal’. Those are steps along the way.

…and, if we’re not careful, they can become ‘religious hoops’ that we jump through, with no real sense of purpose. In those cases, they become ‘obligations’…lifeless ‘duties’ we follow, hoping that one day we’ll ‘get it’.

What, then, is the Goal of the Christian life?

What is the ‘pursuit’ that gives your life direction, meaning and clarity, as a Christ-follower?

I think it has to be this: to Seek God.

Now some are thinking ‘wait…I’ve already found Him!’, and in one sense, you’re correct. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus, then you have ‘found’ Him.

However, that is not the end, but the beginning.

‘Finding God’ in the sense of becoming a believer, being ‘born of the Spirit’ (see John 3:3-6) is like your birth-day. You don’t stop living after that!

Many of us, children of God by faith in Jesus, have forgotten that.

We’ve been ‘born again’, and we’re headed for heaven, but we’re sort of in a ‘holding pattern’ here. We’re stalled. We’re waiting…we’re certainly not ‘moving forward’.

Why is that?

Because, in many respects, we’ve stopped ‘seeking Him’.

In Jeremiah 29, the prophet has a message for those in exile. He wants them to know that it won’t always be that way. There will be a time when God will restore them.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

They were originally placed ‘in exile’ because, as a nation, they had been unfaithful to God. They had taken Him for granted, they had intermarried and begun to worship the ‘gods’ of the nations around them. He’d warned them and called them back, but they’d only responded half-heartedly, and had continued on their misguided path.

So, they were experiencing what He’d promised them: the Discipline of the Lord.

Now, He was promising them that one day, they’d be restored.

What would be the key?

They would begin to “seek Him with all their heart” (29:13)

In Hebrews 11, we’re reminded of a similar thing: without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Seeking God, it seems, is pretty important…and we can’t do it with half our hearts, a portion of our minds, and a fraction of our behavior. We need to seek God COMPLETELY!

Fellow Christian, are you ‘stalled’ in your faith?

Are you in ‘neutral’?

If so, let me just ask you: Are you Seeking God…for real?

Here @ KCC, we talk about ‘Relentlessly pursuing an ever-deepening relationship with God’.

By that, we mean to say that, no matter who I am, no matter how long I’ve been a Believer, I know that there’s more. I know that my loving Father is inviting me to go deeper, to know Him more, experience Him more…and we want to go there.

What about you?

When was the last time you really fell on your knees to ‘SEEK God’ with all your heart?

Now is the time…Today is the day…This is the hour!

Cry out to Him and ask Him to renew and revive you! Ask Him to bring you deeper…and to keep you moving closer!

Do not settle for ‘what has been’…seek Him more!

He wants to ‘Start a Fire’ within you…and keep it burning!

Will you let Him?

WHO Will Stand Tall?

UGH!

What a mess this is!

I have held back somewhat on expressing my opinions on this election. I’ve tried to be as civil and respectful as possible to all points of view, but I’ve also made it known that I am not a ‘fan’ or supporter, on a personal level, of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Yet, I think it’s time I expressed some of what I’ve been praying on and thinking about.

In future blogs, I’ll eventually share my opinions on the candidates’ positions and proposals, but since so much of this campaign has been about each candidate saying, in essence, ‘Vote for me because the other one is worse’, I think I need to share.

Here goes:

We have a political campaign in which 2 of the worst candidates ever are debasing the process, debasing the office, and debasing the country.

And we’re getting exactly what we deserve–and exactly what we’ve asked for!

For decades, our society has thrown off all restraint and has given self-centeredness, sexual promiscuity and immoral behavior a place of honor and esteem.

Our media has celebrated this, and reveled in it–from our t.v. shows to the lyrics to our songs, to the subject of our books. With each passing year, that which seemed ‘controversial’ has been pushed and prodded so that it seemed ‘commonplace’ the very next season.

Our schools have, at times, taught our children to elevate ‘self-expression’ above virtually all other values, and to shun any hint of authority which seems to call them back to  ‘moral standard’, even to the point where kids are encouraged not to go to their parents, who ‘won’t understand like we do’.

Many of our churches have capitulated, adopting the standards of this world, in order to be ‘relevant’, trading in the Truths of God for the ‘moving target’ of what’s ‘acceptable’ to our culture.

Not surprisingly, our families have disintegrated, devolving into a tug-of-war, in which every person involved is seeking ‘their way’ above all else.

 

Into this environment two people come who bring out the worst in everyone.

One, a woman who has been corrupt for years, using the power of her name and her office to line her own pockets, running over any individual who stands in her way. She has lied, stalled, obfuscated, blamed, connived and deceived her two-faced way to the top of the ticket.

On the other side, a man who seems to be an especially poor choice–at least from a morality standpoint–has shown himself to be an arrogant, bullying, petulant, materialistic, and ridiculously self-centered man who apparently thinks he can do no wrong and has never even had to ask forgiveness from God! Every revelation of ‘who he is’ and ‘what he’s said’ seems to bring a new low.

THESE are the two people who would run our country?

Let me sum up my emotional response to this situation again:

UGH!

Head in Hands

Yet…this was predictable, and is the inevitable outcome of a society which elevates ‘self’ and ‘feelings’ above all moral values and adopts the mindset which says that other people–especially the government–owes me everything I want.

We have become a nation which has turned it’s back on everything that made us truly ‘exceptional’ and ‘great’–starting with our ‘corporate’ identity as a ‘Christian nation’– and have ended up a choice between a ruthlessly self serving tyrannical candidate or an adolescent bully with money in a suit.

We have attempted, as a culture, to kick God out of the corporate identity, and now have the mess left to clean up!

This CANNOT be blessed by God!

Isaiah 5:20-21:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!”

Sound familiar?

IF there is ‘hope for America’, this must change!

But it will not change easily.

This is going to require real  personal humility, real brokenness in our hearts, and actual REPENTANCE before God!

Note: By this I do not mean simply ‘sorrow’ because we’re in a mess (like most politicians do), but actual Repentance–the willingness to turn around and go back to God.

Where’s it going to start?

 

With me. With you.

With the Church in America.

We–Christ’s followers–must be willing to admit that we’ve grown too ‘worldly’ and too ‘apathetic’ to God’s priorities in our world. We’ve become lazy, unmotivated, worldly.

As a result, we have forgotten Jesus’ words when He prayed for His disciples (and us) before being betrayed and crucified:

John 17: 13-19: “They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.”

We need to remember again that, as Jesus’ followers (and children of God, by faith), we have a calling to represent Him in this world–through our actions, attitudes, words and deeds.

How have you been doing on that–especially with respect to the election, or the other chaotic and divisive things going on in our culture?

We need to remember, again that we are Christ followers first, before anything else.

Ephesians 5:8-9: “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”

In the next few weeks, the mud-slinging, name calling and accusations will get worse…that’s just ‘what it is’ this time.

But WE–if we are children of God, through faith in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit–do not need to employ this strategy–especially at one another!

We must try to push back from the negativity and focus on issues. When we disagree, we must try to do so with respect, self-control, and a commitment to loving one another.

…and we must Fast and Pray!

We must “humble ourselves and pray, and seek (His) face, and turn from our wicked ways”. (“2 Chronicles 7:14), and then to trust God to “hear our prayer, forgive our sin, and heal our land”, and to bring about the result that is in keeping with His plan.

I believe that the future of our country–and more importantly, our churches–depend on our response to this challenge. Will we stand? Will we fall?

THIS is the time! THIS is the hour!

It’s up to you and me!

Please join me in praying on behalf of our Nation, our Presidential (and others’) election, our culture, our churches, our families and ourselves.

We need to ‘seek God’ again. We need to give Him back His rightful place.

However, before it can happen anywhere ‘out there’, it needs to happen first ‘in here’–in our hearts.

So I want to ask you to join me in praying, fasting (in whatever way God leads you), and asking God to…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

May God Start a Fire within us!

Pastor DaJo