I’m sure you have heard people talk about thier calling. They may be talking about what it is that they do for a living; doctor, lawyer, butcher, baker, etc. You may have heard someone who loves to dance that they were called to be a ballerina. Or you may have heard someone say about something they don’t do well that it is not what they are called to do. You may have heard someone say about someone else, “he is called of the Lord, ” to do this or that.
My question to you is, “who is doing the calling?” Who could do all of this calling; I mean who has the right to call men to do this or that anyway? Clearly the answer to this question is God, your Maker, precisely because He is your Maker and what’s more He is your Savior – if you have accepted His salvation. He owns you twice over. You are His. He can say why and what for He made you. You and I know that we have the ability to ignore Him and His purpose for us but we also know that is the definition of sin.
So here is my next question: “Why do so many Christians, after accepting Jesus free gift of salvation decide to continue as if they do not belong to the LORD but to themselves? ”
I’ve noticed some of us (notice how I freely include myself in this) have a tendency to stall and and put off our calling from God by deliberate misunderstanding. Here is what I mean. We know God’s will by reading His Word. We don’t. If we do read it, we decide to tie our calling to Spiritual gifts and then decide if our spiritual gift isn’t preaching that we don’t have a calling from God. The truth is God made all of us not just the preachers. So He has a calling, a purpose, that He has actually spelled out in His Word for all of us.
So what is your calling. It is spelled out long hand in in Jesus teaching, Paul’s letters to the churches, in Peter’s, John’s, James’ and Jude’s letters and even in Jesus letters to the churches in John’s Revelation of Jesus. A brief summary: die to self and be alive in Christ, keep yourself from sexual immorality and blood, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world, and go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
I plan on writing a blog or comments on the lessons as we go thru the new Journey book called “Disciple”. I’m a little bit behind, but we’ll get caught up.
I’ve been working with the high school AWANA since my daughter, Lisa, entered high school all the way back in 1997. The high school program has changed names a couple times since I started. It was first called AKX, with the Alpha Kappa Chi standing for the phrase “Useful for the Master”, which comes from 2 Timothy 2:21 (Another 2 Timothy verse with significance fro AWANA). The idea was that if we dedicate ourselves to following God and obeying Him, we will be a vessel of honor, usefuel to Master, and prepared for every good work. Back then, all the high school materials were in teh King James Version. While some people think the Bible was originally written in the King James Version and is the only valid version (yes, you’ll run into some of them eventually), it is not my favorite version in which to memorize Scripture. I think we studied Galatians & Ephesians that year, along with God Colored Glasses as the elective.
Eventually, AKX became Varsity; which then became Journey. The series of books studied remained the same. Romans, Galatians & Ephesians, Basic Bible Doctrines, and 1 Corinthians. We rotated thru the books every four years, along with the various electives. God Colored Glasses replaced 1 Corinthians as the book to be quizzed on in 2015.
I would have been content to continue with that for as long as I remained in AWANA. I think everyone should go thru a detailed study of Romans like we were able to do every four years. Ephesians is such a wonderful book, that it was great to study that every four years as well. Memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, was great to do every four years. And studying doctrinal truths of the faith every four years was fanstastic.
All those materials were written in the 1980s, with a academic style to them and appealing to old people like me. To say the least, life is a little bit different in 2016 than it was in the 1980s. We might have been evolved to using push button phones instead of rotary dial phones, but we didn’t have the internet; computers with any kind of memory were monstrous; we still used typewriters, and we wrote with pen and pencil (in cursive, even). We mailed letters and talked to people rather than send texts.
While the Bible is still the same today and will alst forever, and there in value in the book studies we did, the leadership of AWANA wanted to take a different approach to what a high school student should study and experience in their four years of Journey. They wrote materials with a new way of learning and interacting with God’s Word that will equip a student in many ways. After a trial last year of the materials, I wasn’t terribly impressed. But feedback was given. Some more Bible was added to the lessons. Some corny activities were taken out and were replaced with some challenging questions.
And we now have a really good book to go thru this year called “Disciple”. We’re going to go thru and study aspects of life that, when put all together, give a pretty good picture of the Christian life. In future years, we’ll study apologetics, sharing your faith, and being a leader. So for the freshmen, you will be the first group to go through all the new materials.
We’re looking forawrd to a great year. I’ll work on catching up on blogging. Together let’s truly become disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2 Tim 2:2
We’ll have our annual kickoff party at the Rohde’s on Saturday, August 13th, from 4:00-9:00PM. We’ll say goodbye to our graduating seniors and welcome new club members. Come join us for swimming, food, fun, worship and fellowship.
Please invite your friends and those interested in being involved with AWANA.
For our regular attenders, please bring a salad/veggies/fruit if your last name starts with M-Z and a dessert if your last name starts with A-L. We could also use some
The Rohde’s address is 6588 W. Vista Bonita, Glendale, 85310.
The Journey (highschool) Bible summaries for our next Awana year are now available on the Documents page.
The new books are expected to be available towards the end of the summer and we’ll keep everyone updated when we have further details!
Most Christ followers at one time or another have been accused of being self righteous. When you think about it, this is classic “projecting” in psychological terms. Let me explain.
The Bible says, and therefore a Christian believes, that righteousness is the characteristic of God. God is righteous and that is how we know what is righteousness. We believe God defines good and bad and that it is written down for us in the Bible. The Bible was written from 2000 to 3500 years ago, Revelation to Genesis respectively. We didn’t get a say in what it said was right or wrong.
On the other hand, someone who decides for themselves what they will believe is true about right and wrong has made themselves the final authority for themselves about righteousness. They decide righteousness.
So, who is self righteous? The one who believes what God says about good and bad or the one who decides for themselves? By definition the one who decides for himself is self righteous. But they are the very ones to be upset that you hold to what the Bible says about what is right and wrong. Why is this? A psychologist will tell you a deluded person will get upset about what someone says when it challenges their delusion. And a very unstable person whose delusions are challenged can become violent. You see this happen with Jesus and you see it happen to the disciples afterwards starting with Stephen in Acts 7.
So, though it may get us into trouble, someday a lot of trouble, we must remain honest and confess the truth that what God says is righteous is righteous and not what a man himself may say; for he who is self righteous is not righteous at all.
Frequently people, (that is believing Christians and those all over the spectrum of belief from nearly absolute denial that God even exists to those who understand what the Bible says about Jesus but have not yet trusted in Him,) come to a belief that God’s will is a mystery. They think that if only God weren’t keeping this secret from them they could be happy, live more effectively, be able to trust Him, be able to make better decisions, not be so frustrated, etc. They think or at least feel somehow God is holding out on them.
Paul argues in Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Paul is arguing that everyone has what “Father Abraham” had. We can all know God and we can know what He is like just because we are here on His earth as part of His creation. We can also know as Abraham did that it is our duty to acknowledge that He is God and give Him glory.
Paul also argues that in our knowing what He is like we will also know that He desires us to be like Him. But if we don’t, (“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, … although they know the ordinance of God,”) then we are going to face the horrible consequence of rejecting God; that is we are on our own. And since life comes from God we are dead and dying. This phrase, “the ordinance of God” means, “right according to God.” So we all know what is right to do.
So to recap, the first 2 items we can all (that is every person who ever lived before or after the Bible was written) know are:
1) it is God’s will for us to give Him glory as God.
2) we are to be like Him in doing what is right.
But God didn’t leave it there He has given us prophets and His own words directly from the Holy Spirit to men’s ears and hearts to write for us. In the Bible He has given us mankind’s history so that we can know why we are the way we are, constantly rejecting what is right for what is wrong. He also lets us know that He has provided a way of salvation for this death that we are born into. He himself has paid the punishment for our disobedience/our sin/ our evil, He died in our place and He rose again to give us eternal life if we will reject death and accept life. That’s #3: it is God’s will that we be saved. Check out Ephesian chapter 1. The Bible goes further and explains that we really can’t do #1 and #2 without being saved. Paul argues this later in Romans 4 that Abraham knew that his salvation depended on God and that he trusted that God would save him and Abraham lived before Moses had written any of the Bible. Ephesians 4 tells us that both Jesus saving us brings God glory and that following and growing as a child of God brings Him Glory.
So the real order is this:
#1) It’s God’s will that you to be saved from your sins, that you become His son or daughter. -this brings God glory
#2) It is God’s will that you be sanctified, that is that you grow in your relationship with God, following Him in doing what is right.- and this brings God glory.
For the rest of God’s will you can read the Bible and we will talk more on what else it has to say.
In club Saturday night I gave you an assignment to do the “buckle it in” and “on the street ” on page 7. If you have a question about finding where you can find a topic in the Bible leave a comment.
If you have found the answer to one of your questions share it here in the comments with the others.
We will be meeting at the Conrad’s house for club this week instead of at Northwest Christian.
You can find their address here.
“Mr. Sexton, wait. There is no part 1, what do you mean part 2?”
My two minutes in our last meeting was part one. That forgettable time when I stammered through Rom. 12: 1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I frequently get all emotional in my prayers for you all that you hear the words “well done” from Jesus. I pound and repound the message into you to the best of my ability that you have been chosen of the Most High God to be His child and live as His child and I entreat you not to fall away or drift but continually renew your mind by the Word and the Holy Spirit.
So part 2 is Roman 12: 3-21 where Paul tells you how to live out your life as a living sacrifice.
Step one for a living sacrifice is understand humility. It is not the false humbleness of pretending you don’t have gifts that others in the body of Christ (and also outside) need. We are to judge rightly that God is the one who has made us and He has made us for each other and we are not either more or less than what God has made us. We are commanded to exercise our gifts given to us by God fully, “according to the proportion,” for the benefit of the rest of the body of Christ.
Step two is to learn what love is. Love hates evil and clings to good. If it doesn’t, it is fake love; just a mask of love, hypocritical. Love is selfless, diligent, dedicated, grounded in God and joyful.
And step three is do it:
1Think rightly about yourself and others. And just like Paul said back in verse 2 all biblical thinking is renewing. You must continually go back and renew the truth in your mind. If you don’t the world will conform you (vs 2), or the devil will devour you (1Pet 5:8), or you will lie to yourself (Jer. 17:9.)
2 Love your brothers and the lowly. Paul says to be devoted to brotherly love. Do you know what it means to be devoted to something? We are talking about complete commitment here. Think about what it means to be brothers. You share parents, the same house, bathroom, often the same room, closet, dresser, when you’re small the same tub! You certainly pass clothes down or up or back and forth. You share events and milestones great and small. You are each other’s confidants, partners, and cheerleaders. Then Paul reinforces this my saying be diligent in it. Five verses later he tell us this means we need to remember our humility in this, that love applies to those we might otherwise think of as lowly. The “lowly” are to be our beloved brothers as well and no association is to be withheld due to some kind of social station. Don’t think this is something that is only a warning for someone from a culture that has untouchables or a cast system, or to rich snobby people, or adults with “important” jobs; you see this in student life all of the time. Also don’t think it will be easier when you graduate and go to college or out into adult life. Everywhere you go there are divisions that people make between each other. Paul is calling us to be brothers to all regardless of station.
3 Persevere in tribulation. There will always be tribulation.
4 Bless your persecutors, don’t return evil for evil to anyone – that Paul adds “to anyone,” seems to really raise the stakes.
5 Be emotional, weep when you should and rejoice when you should. When Paul talks about love he says abhor evil, cling to good. Abhor is a really strong word, packed with emotion and cling is too. This kind of emotion comes from honesty and real connection – devotion.
6 Be respectable and at peace.
The result? Good will overcome evil, and you will prove what the will of God is: that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I heard a good piece of advice on the radio today passed on from Andy Stanley. He said, “those of you over 45, stop scaring the children!”
He pointed out that many of us are upset about the state of politics in this election year and are doing a lot of hand wringing and dark cloud warning about what might, could, certainly will if…. etc.
He is of course, right. God is in control. He was when Caesar and Nero led the world and He is now. He always has been and always will be.
We do have a responsibility to be informed, to be involved and to know the scriptures and act on what the Bible says about our responsibility to lead and to influence our neighbors .
But whether we are free or oppressed or enslaved, God is on the Throne and we are His sons and daughters bought with the blood of Jesus Christ His Son and nothing can change that; not powers or principalities of earth or the spiritual realm, not trial or tribulations, not government bankruptcy, runaway inflation, massive unemployment, not even soccer replacing football as the most popular sport or loudmouths with terrible hair.
The NASB says, “do not fear,” 58 times, “fear not,” 4 times, “be courageous,” 5 times, and “do not be afraid,” 46 times. In fact I’m told that the Bible tells us in one way or another not to fear 365 times. The reason you will find is God says He is with you and you need to put your trust in Him. There are and have been good men who have done good things in obedience to God to give us a good country to live in, but our hope, our real hope is and always must be in God.
My personal biggest fear, and the one that I have during political seasons is that I haven’t done an adequate job, possibly because I wasn’t faithful to the call, of teaching the younger generation to know, believe, and live the Word of God. It is a good thing for me that my salvation doesn’t depend on my always being a successful teacher.
On the other hand may I take this opportunity to encourage you to know God, trust in Him, learn His Word, and live as His son or daughter.
God bless you all and our country.