Faith Matters - Current Posts

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Church is for Everybody

Every story recorded in the Bible is there for a reason. And when a story is retold several times, you know it’s important. One such story is of a Roman army officer named Cornelius. Cornelius was a centurion in the Roman army occupying the Jewish Promised Land. It was a dangerous assignment because the Jews hated the occupying Romans.
What makes Cornelius unique was his fascination with the Jewish faith, in spite of the animosity between Romans and the Jews. Cornelius reverenced the God of the Bible. He prayed regularly. He even gave money to Jewish charities.
So why is his story included in the Bible several times? God was doing something new and different. Cornelius was the “poster child” to demonstrate that Christianity wasn’t just for Jews. Jesus died on the cross for everybody. The church is for everybody – even the improbable, like a Roman Centurion. Jesus goes after pagans and seekers.
Is Jesus pursuing you? Cornelius was on his way to becoming a Christian, but he wasn’t there yet. Are you, like Cornelius, curious about religious things? Do you pray, not really knowing God personally? If you’d like to move from being a seeker to being a real Christian, I invite you to pray this prayer with me, right now.
“Thank you, God, for pursuing me. I want to become a Christian today. I admit that I’m a sinner and I’m sorry. I know that Jesus died for my sins and is the way to eternal life. I vow my full allegiance to him today and forever. I pray this in the Name of Jesus. Amen.”

Related Scripture: Romans 6:23

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

God Changes our Preferences

The Bible is full of marvelous and practical instruction to help us live with purpose. Listen to the wise advice of this Psalm:
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways.
The phrase, “Delight yourself in the Lord,” means putting God absolutely first. Whatever God wants is what we choose – even if it’s none of our preferences.
“He will give you the desires of your heart” doesn't mean we get our preferences, but that God will change our preferences to want what is best.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him” means having absolute confidence that God will accomplish his purposes in our lives.
“Wait patiently” means trusting God's schedule.
“Do not fret when others succeed” means we don't need to compare; just trust God.
Allow me to put these ideas into a prayer. I encourage you to pray along with me. “God, I commit the purpose of my life to pleasing you. You will be number one all the time with everything. I trust you to fulfill your purposes in me even if that means giving up my preferences. I’ll leave the timing to you even if it means dying without knowing. My life purpose is to please you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Related Scripture: Psalm 37:3, 5-7 & Romans 12:2

© 2007 Leith Anderson

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Didn't do it on Purpose

When I was eight years old and in the third grade, I walked home from school for lunch each day - it was about a mile. I quickly ate lunch so I would have a few minutes to play before having to head back to school. One day I went out in the back yard to play with my dog. I took the dog’s leash and started spinning it around until it made a whistling sound. It was really whipping. My mother called me and said it was time to walk back to school so I stopped spinning the leash. It snapped around and the metal hook squarely hit and split my front top tooth. I intuitively caught the pieces and ran into the house. I was driven to the office of Dr. Stillwell, our family dentist. With tears running down my cheeks, I held out the pieces to him and said, “I didn’t do it on purpose.”
That was my favorite excuse every time I did something stupid. And it was true. To this day I'm still missing the back half of my front tooth and I want you to know that I didn’t do it on purpose.
Life is all about purpose. Some things we do on purpose and some things we don’t. The practical question for us as Christians isn’t about what we didn’t do on purpose. The practical question is what we did do on purpose. Let us think through every day how we can purposefully, thoughtfully, intentionally and deliberately live our lives to please and honor God.

Related Scripture: Romans 12

© 2007 Leith Anderson