This past Sunday, I preached from Acts 2-4. I talked about my vision for Cresset Baptist Church. I challenged our church to do something different. I said, “if we continue to do the same things week after week, why should we expect anything different to happen in our lives or our church?” At the end of the sermon, I asked people to come forward and pray for God to work in mighty ways in their lives and in our church. The response was overwhelming!
In Acts 4, the disciples were threatened with arrest if they continued preaching about Jesus. They responded by meeting together for prayer. What did they pray for? Boldness. They didn’t pray for an easy time, they didn’t pray for the threat to disappear, they prayed for boldness in the midst of the threats. The Bible says the place where they prayed was shaken! It goes on to say that they preached the message of Jesus with great boldness! God answered their prayer. I pray that God will shake us, that He will use us to bring glory to Himself in our area and in our world.
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I ran across a quote a few weeks back. A sports coach made this statement to his players, “there are 2 pains in life, the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.” That has stuck with me lately. Too often our lives can be sprinkled with regret. The hardest part of regret is the inability to rewind time and do something over again. The remedy? Do it right the first time.
Discipline is hard. Discipline requires work. Discipline requires consistency. A few weeks ago I started running. Several people have suggested a training program called “C25K”. The program boasts that you can go from being a couch potato to running a 5K in 8 weeks! I am on week 4 of the program. It is tough. It requires discipline, work, and consistency. The encouraging part is the progress I am making. The first day I struggled to run for 60 seconds. Now, a 3 minute run is easy for me.
In our walk with the Lord, discipline is required. Consistent effort, hard work, and intentional obedience all are keys to a disciplined life walking with Jesus. So we can choose…the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
Recently, a question was asked of high school seniors. The question went something like this, “what would you do with your life if you had a million dollars?” This type of question is helpful for a person to search their heart and find what they really want to do in life. As adults, maybe the question is, “what career would you choose if money was no concern?” Again, the purpose is to examine your passions in life. Money and financial security drive many decisions in life, so we need a hypothetical like this in order to discover our true passions.
As followers of Jesus, He has promised to meet our every need. He has promised to take care of all our needs. We won’t live like we have a million dollars, but we can make decisions without the pressure of money and financial security. Jesus has promised to give us these things. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The “these things” are basic needs for survival that He mentioned in the previous verses…things like food, clothing, shelter, etc.
So, the question for us as followers of Jesus is this…”SINCE money is no object, how do you want to spend your life?” This frees us to fulfill God’s plan in our lives without the pressures of worldly things. Jesus tells us to live for Him and let Him take care of the material things that are needed for daily survival! If you are living out God’s will in your life, He will meet your every need! What a blessing! What a promise! What a freedom!!
Today I changed the domain name of my blog. It is now http://jonglass.me
I also changed the look and feel for the site. I don’t know if these changes will help me blog more frequently (probably not), but we shall see.
I have had several people ask me to post this sermon. We have been studying 1 Corinthians since the start of the year. This past Sunday, I preached from chapter 6, verses 12-20. The point of the message is that for the believer, your entire body belongs to the Lord. The sermon is about 50 minutes long.
The second lesson I learned while hiking in Yosemite has to do with Goals. Every person likes achievement. It makes us feel like we accomplished something. If we never lay down any goals, we cannot say that we have achieved something. Maybe marking an item off of your task list, maybe meeting a deadline, maybe finishing a project…we all like accomplishments. In our 5-day journey we set goals for each day. Each day and each goal brought me a new challenge. Each day as I would meet the goal, I could mark my achievements. I can look back and track my progress. Each goal brought me closer to the finishing the journey.
Monday, our goal was to arrive at the park and set up camp for the first night. We had to set up in the rain. Then we needed to make it through the first night. I am not a camper. I don’t like tents. I do like air conditioning, soft beds, and electricity. So I set up, and made it through the first night. Tuesday, our goal was to carry our 35-40 lb backpacks past Vernal Falls, past Nevada Falls, and to our campsite. We traveled about 6 miles and covered 3000 feet of elevation that day. We set up camp and made it through the night with temperatures dipping down to 28 degrees! Wednesday, I had to work through sore muscles. It was tough to stand up from the sleeping bag. The warm fire (thanks Corey for starting it) motivated me to move. Our goal Wednesday was to make it to the top of Half Dome and then back down for the next campsite. I wrote here about that journey. Thursday, more sore muscles and a 7 mile hike to Merced Lake. This was a beautiful hike. It took a long time to get there, but when we arrived we all felt a great sense of accomplishment. Our goal had been met! We hiked 7 miles back to our campsite. On Friday, our goal was to work through more sore muscles and hike the 6 miles back down to Yosemite Valley.
I can look back and know that I achieved many things on this journey. They are easy to identify since there were goals all along the way. In our lives as believers, we should set goals for our selves. We can push towards these goals, and when we reach them…we can rejoice and celebrate. We have a sense of accomplishment and achievement. What goals is He asking you to set?
I had the joy of spending 5 days and 4 nights in Yosemite National Park June 4th – 8th. It was an amazing experience. Over the next few days, I will be posting some of the lessons I learned.
The first lesson is a lesson about limits. We all have limits; physical, mental, emotional, fears, and more. If we never push ourselves to the point of our limitations, we can only assume where those limits exist. The only way to truly know our limit in any area is to push ourselves to the point where we recognize and hit the limit. Once we are at that point, we no longer assume where the limit lies, we have experienced it. Form that moment on, we know the limit…we can also push past it next time.
On day 3 of our journey, we climbed to the top of Half Dome. There were 4 distinct times on that journey where I said to myself, “I cannot and will not climb to the top!” But, I kept pushing. I kept realizing my true limit was a little farther than I thought it was.I realized that my limit was much farther than I first assumed. I don’t like heights, I don’t like unsteady situations. As my father-in-law said, “worry can’t add a day to your life, but caution can!”
The Lord often requires us to go beyond our assumed limits. We hesitate at first. We declare, “I can’t do that!” We back away from it. We limit ourselves out of fear or uncertainty. In life, our limits exist somewhere beyond the end of our comforts. Life would be dull if we stayed comfortable all the time. Jesus pushes us, He calls us to go beyond where we think our limits exist. He calls us to go beyond where we are comfortable. Once we step beyond our comfort, we must rely on Him. It is in those times we see His comfort…His comfort is far greater than any comfort we can manufacture in this life. I pray that we all will be willing to move beyond our assumed limits and into the place of trusting Him!
Here are the places I said “I can’t”. First was before we began up the hill known as “Sub Dome”
The second time I said “I can’t go any more” was at the top of Sub Dome, looking over to the base of Half Dome.
The third time I said, “I can’t do it” was at the base of the Half Dome cables. This was looking up the 400 foot climb. We climbed the face of Half Dome while holding on to the two cables.
The 4th time I felt I had reached my limit was about 150 feet up the cables. I did not take a picture of that! I determined that I could take one more step, then one more step, then one more step…
We finally reached the top! After hiking 6 miles and 3000 feet of elevation on day 2, we hiked 3 more miles and another 2000 feet of elevation to reach the top of Half Dome!
Here is my brother-in-law, Joe, celebrating what we all felt!
It was a long way down to the Yosemite Valley. The view was breathtaking!