The Price to Get In

“…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’ they said.” – Acts 14:22 Today I was reflecting on how much I love going to the gym. It has lots of amenities to help you stay in shape and keep your body healthy. My gym also has hard-core battling ropes and chain equipment, which can be challenging and uncomfortable at times, but yields great results. I was thinking about the similarities between this and our walk as Christians — when we are called to get out of our comfort zone, but in the end, it’s worth it.  There’s another spiritual lesson here I want to share. I’m always curious how my gym can afford to operate a huge facility when not many people go. A fellow gym patron shared some wisdom: “Bobby, many people pay

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What Love is Not

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6,7 Yesterday we talked about the purity of agape love and how it can be easily contaminated by selfish desires. As we continue our discussion of what love looks like, I want to share with you two things that it is not.  First of all, love is not what you do, it’s who you become. I think we have a somewhat incorrect understanding of love that is often propagated by well-meaning churches. While it is true that love is demonstrated through action, simply willing yourself to do the right thing doesn’t make you a genuinely loving person. The fact is that love is a matter of the heart, and the ability to give agape love to others comes from within. The kind of love that Jesus demonstrated

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Differences Are Diamonds

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:1-3 We are certainly living in a hotly divided culture right now. Never have I seen so many people so prone to judge anyone who is not on their “side.” And while there are issues of great concern facing the nations of the world today, I believe that as Christians, our call is to model a higher standard. While it’s natural to associate with those who see things the way that we do, this is not our charge as believers. In fact, we’re

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God Loves Gatherings

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20 Yesterday, we talked about the amazing truth that Jesus chooses to make His home in us, His followers. Thus, when two or more of us gather together, we experience His presence and see new facets of His love through others. In fact, as I write this, I can’t help but remember the wonderful get-togethers at my Grandpa and Grandma Schuller’s house as I was growing up. Though ours was a big family and we didn’t all see each other often, when we gathered at Christmas and Easter, there was a wonderful sense of warmth and worship (my Grandma even had an organ built in the dining room so we could sing together at meals). I dealt with a lot coming from a divorced household and going back and forth between two parents, but

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God Incarnate

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27 Faith is not existential, it’s relational. Many people say that it’s just them and Jesus and that’s enough, but such an approach to Christian living doesn’t really work. This is because we adhere to the doctrine of incarnation, which means that the Word of God became flesh, lived among us, died, was raised, and ascended into Heaven. But that isn’t all there is to the story, because incarnation continued in the Church. This was made clear in Acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit entered the body of every single believer. And what it means for us today is that because of His indwelling, when we look at a fellow disciple, we’re not only seeing that person, we’re gazing at Christ within them. Likewise, we’re not just listening to

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The Anointing of Nourishment

“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” – 1 John 2:27 For the past few days, we’ve seen that as Christians, we have an anointing of power, light, and healing on our lives. Today, I want to talk about one final manner of authority we have in our heavenly covering, and that is nourishment. In Biblical times, the olive oil that was used to anoint physical bodies was also a critical source of nutrition. In dry and parched desert regions, the fat it provided was vital fuel that kept people going on long journeys across the wilderness. Even in small amounts, it had a satiating effect, and it was an important part of

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Welcoming Jesus

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20 If you’ve been listening to me for any length of time, you know that I’m passionate about hospitality. In fact, I believe that offering an open and safe place for people’s hearts is one of the most effective ways to expand the Kingdom of God. And while the human manner of welcoming happens primarily in person-to-person relationships, there’s another type that’s important to our spiritual lives, and that is creating a warm and inviting home for God Himself. You see, when we said yes to Jesus Christ, the Lord of all Creation came to live inside of us, and now, we’re called to make His stay as fruitful as possible. This doesn’t mean we should

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The Community of Jesus

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” – Mark 6:30 For the last couple of days, we’ve talked about two of the three habits we see Jesus model as we study His life — solitude and Scripture memorization — and today, I want to talk about the third practice He exercised consistently, and that is gathering in community. Our Lord was not a loner. While He enjoyed extended periods of solitude, the purpose of those times was to bring Him back to people. He came to lay down His life for others, and He continually poured Himself out to His followers and gleaned strength from being with friends. His first miracle was performed at a wedding feast, and there He joined in a joyful days-long celebration and partook in all the festivities. He clearly understood the importance of having fun, but He

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“…not giving up meeting together…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:25

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