By Topic

Maturity

Monday

March 20, 2017

Budget From The Heart

Read

Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

Think

As parents, we teach our children various responsibilities to help set them up for success. Taking care of what is given to them is a really important lesson. A key component in this is showing them how to manage their money. Too many times, though, a very important fundamental truth is forgotten; we are merely managers of our financial blessings—not owners. True financial success should be approached with an attitude of gratitude. After all, money management is not a financial issue, it is a heart issue.

The first step toward great stewardship is learning to LIVE ON A BUDGET! It’s money management 101. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” No one wants to fail, especially when money is involved. Wondering where to start? Start with bringing back to God what is already His. The tithe is the first 10% of our gross income. It helps us remember that we don’t worship the provision—we worship the Provider.

Pray

Father God, thank You for your provision in my life, and for entrusting me with what I have. My heart is abundantly grateful. Help me to be prudent in spending my finances in a manner that brings You the glory You deserve.

Act

There is no time like the present to begin living on a budget. Here are some great free online resources to help you get started: www.Stewardship.com or www.Everydollar.com

Wednesday

February 22, 2017

So Long, Yesterday!

Read

Ephesians 4:22-24, “ You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”.

Think

We all like the idea of a fresh start or a new beginning. And as the saying goes, “Out with the old and in with new”. However, we also long for yesterday. We like to hold on to certain things from the past. Those ah—nostalgia moments, back in the day, and remember when’s… are totally fine—great even. But in our walk with Christ, our yesterdays, previous lifestyles, and former ways of thinking are futile—they’re no-no’s and definitely not okay! They lead to double-mindedness and duplicity in our character. Today’s verse says to ‘put off our old self’ by ridding ourselves of old habits and unhealthy appetites. This means we’ve got to shake off yesterday’s dirt and ‘put on our new self’, which is being clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The Bible also says ‘all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’. Huh? Before we knew Jesus, even when we were at our best and performed wonderful deeds, we were still filthy. Our number one desire as Christ followers should be growing more and more like Jesus. This requires making a conscious decision every day to put on our new self in every aspect of our lives.

We are all very familiar with who we were yesterday, but are we certain of who we are today? Absolutely! Our identity is in Christ. But if we know this and are striving to become more like Jesus, why then do we so often find ourselves playing the spiritual ‘hokey pokey’ with one foot in and one foot out of God’s will?  We don’t need to ask God for guidance in what’s already clearly delineated in His Word! Instead, we should pray for His strength to keep our past in the past and the fortitude to step forward in our faith. Remember, the Bible says we are not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore, we must identify what’s holding us back as well as identify what God is cultivating in our lives right now. It’s time to commit to repentance and lay our old habits and desires at the foot of the Cross.

Pray

Father God, change my thinking. Teach me to not think with my own instincts, but to cling to the truth as it is revealed in Your Word. Give me the discernment to flee from past temptations and to run toward Your strength and protection. And thank You, God, for sending Jesus to model who and what You desire for me to be.

Act

Here’s the phrase that pays: “Don’t let YESTERDAY hinder your decision TODAY to become who God wants you to be TOMORROW”. Write this down as a personal reminder to put on your new self every day. And take it a step further by posting it on social media with #FellowshipChurch.

 

Tuesday

February 21, 2017

Spiritual Nourishment

Read

Ephesians 4:14-16, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Think

Healthy faith in action is measured by our growth, because growth is God’s method of transformation. Brand new believers, eager for growth, are often dismayed because they want their lives to change overnight. And many new Christians–although seeking life change—find themselves resistant to change. But as time passes, through the working of the Holy Spirit, we become more and more aware of our human limitations, weaknesses, and sinfulness.  As we mature spiritually, our desire to please and obey God outweighs our desire for rebellion.

The Bible says that we cannot simultaneously love God and love the world. Without the support of the body of Christ, we are subject to cultural relativism and conditional truth. Yes, we are to go into the world and shine Christ’s light—but we are not of the world. With full involvement in the local church we are refueled and revitalized every week to stand on God’s absolute truth no matter where we are. This means we are accountable and devoted to being the same people at church, at home, and in the world. And we require relationships with other believers who speak truth into our lives no matter the circumstance. Thus, our spiritual health soars when we are nourished and supported by the entire body—built in love, under one head—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pray

Father God, thank You for the church! Thank You for my friendships with the right THEY. Help me to be a person of integrity in every aspect of my life. I love You with all my heart, and all my mind, and all my soul! In Christ Jesus I pray, Amen.

Act

Where are you in your personal growth with God? Are you like an infant, being tossed back and forth by waves? Are you on the brink of a breakthrough? Do you consider yourself to be mature in faith? Why is it so crucial to not only mature in Christ, but also to mature with the body of Christ?

 

Monday

February 13, 2017

Aloha

Read

Ephesians 5:33, “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”.

Think

Aloha is a commonly known greeting for both hello and goodbye in Hawaii.  But the deeper expression of this word has some powerful meaning behind it. It’s a Hawaiian greeting that welcomes the other person into their space by sharing the breath of life. Two greet each other by pressing the bridge of their noses together and breathing in. What a beautiful expression! Let’s put this word picture in the context of marriage.  It is a special moment when a man and woman invite each other to share life together. But this mutual spatial invitation is just the beginning. There are intentional steps that must be taken in order for this covenant relationship to thrive.

In the scripture above, the Bible gives the two most vital components to a foundationally strong marriage – love and respect.  When a husband displays love for his wife and honors her, it gives her a sense of security and affirmation. Likewise, when a wife shows honor and respect to her husband, he too feels empowered and affirmed. These components bind like relational glue, producing the desire to learn more and more about each other’s likes and dislikes. Biblically founded marriages work—they are everlasting. What a great challenge to continuously study your mate in order to keep taking the relationship to a “holy notha’ level”!

Pray

Thank God for your spouse.  Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to learn more about them each day.  If you are single, ask God to continue growing you into the person He has created you to be, so that you can be prepared for whom He is preparing for you.

Act

Take a moment to let your spouse know you are thinking of them.  Share affirming and loving words via text, phone, a handwritten note, face-to-face, or some other form of communication. If you are single, take a moment to encourage someone close to you, letting them know they are loved.

Thursday

March 3, 2016

Thriving, Not Just Surviving

Read

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:3

Think

For a plant to thrive, rather than just survive, it must be planted in fertile soil and have the right nutrients, light, and water. When it is properly taken care of, that plant can blossom and grow to its full potential.

The same is true of our lives. To reach our full and God-given potential, we must be “planted by streams of water.” In other words, we must root ourselves emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and even financially in the best environment for growth. That environment is the local church. When you look at your life, are you fully invested in what God is doing through the local church? By rooting yourself in the church, you place yourself in the position to grow and become the full picture of who God has created you to be!

Pray

Ask God to help you stay planted in the place He wants you to be. Pray for guidance in growing your roots and surrounding yourself in the most nurturing environment.

Act

Get involved in what is happening in the life of Fellowship Church! Don’t just be a consumer. Rather, become an active part in sharing your faith, serving regularly, and sowing generously into all that God is doing!

 

Thursday

September 4, 2014

Diet and exercise

Read

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14

Think

The path to spiritual maturity is not just a matter of showing up at church on the weekends and expecting to be fed. Like physical growth requires a balance of diet, exercise and strength training, spiritual growth requires us to do some things as well.

As Christ followers, it is vital for us to SERVE; to use our God-given ability to help others. It’s also important to SHARE; to step out of our comfort zone and tell others about your relationship with Christ. And finally, we must SOW; the Bible calls us to financially invest in the greatest thing going and growing, the local church. When we do all three, we discover the power and benefits of spiritual maturity.

Pray

Thank God for the opportunities He has given you, and pray that He continues to show you how you can continue to grow spiritually.

Act

This weekend, ask someone at church about where you can SERVE in the House. SHARE your story with at least one person this week. And respond to God’s command to SOW the first 10% of all you receive (the tithe) to the only thing that Jesus Christ built, the local church.

Wednesday

September 3, 2014

What Real Growth Means

Read

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  John 3:3

Think

Nicodemus was a man who was well-respected in Jewish community and extremely knowledgeable in the Scriptures. And one night, he asked Jesus what it would take to gain eternal life. Today’s verse is Jesus’ challenging answer to that probing question.

Christians often talk about being born again. But too often, they get stuck in infancy or, if they do mature some, they get stuck in the “adolescence” stage of spiritual growth. Sadly, many become convinced that spiritual growth is all about gaining more and more knowledge. They’ll even say they are trying to go "deep."

But true spiritual depth isn't about going deeper; it's about going farther. Are you putting into action what you have already learned? THAT is the key to spiritual growth!

Pray

Thank God for bringing you to where you are right now, spiritually. Now, ask Him to point you forward and show you the next steps in your journey.

Act

If you have not made a commitment to accept Jesus into your life, do so today. If you are already a Christ-follower, step up and move on to the next stage by applying what you already know.