Church Roots

1 Peter 1:19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”  We are bought by the blood of Christ and the blood of the saints are the seed of the Church. If you would have asked me a few months ago what my church roots are or anything about church history I’d have only been able to tell you a very little bit. The Lord directed me to come for a second year of the GFA Discipleship Program and in this year I’ve been learning about Church History, which is proving to be very beneficial.

I’m in awe of what the death of Christ has done for me in making me a part of the Bride of Christ. The Apostle’s passion to see the nations reached with the love of Christ compelled them to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the extent that it cost them their lives. Those that came after them paid a heavy price of martyrdom, passing on the tradition and the Apostles Creed onto the next generations. Saints like Polycarp, Ignatius Tertullian and a host of others that would not back down on what they were taught and believed; they gave their lives for Christ in unimaginable ways. If it had not been for them we would not hold a Bible in our hands, have the structure and order in our worship services that we do today.

As I’ve been learning about the lives of the saints the verse in Psalm 116 starts to make more sense. When reading it before I wondered why the death of saints would be precious in the eyes of the Lord. Psalms 116:15 says. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Couple this verse with a quote from Tertullian an early church father. “The blood of the saints is the seed of the church.” This gives a glimpse of why the death of Christians might be precious to the Lord.  I don’t fully understand the verse or the meaning behind it but I’m grateful for what others have gone through to give us the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In studying books like “Tried by Fire,” “Early Church History Made Easy” and a few others on early Church History I see that the Church has gone through very dark times. I was reminded in our last lectures that in the middle of all the darkness God is still working and keeping the Church alive, the Bride of Christ and preparing her for Jesus. Just like a seed when it is planted in the dirt, we don’t see what is happening but we trust that the seed dies, germinates and then brings forth life; so God kept His Church and will keep it until Jesus returns. We are one body with many different members and together we are the Church of Jesus Christ bought with His precious blood.

As I’m learning about what the Universal Church is and how it is one body which is being prepared for Christ return, I get excited because I am part of the whole Church. I, as a blood bought child of God, am part of the universal church. It is not about this Christian life being just Jesus and me; it’s much more than that. Every born again believer is part of the Body regardless of what church they go to. This realization makes me grateful to live in a community of like minded believers. We may be different and come from diverse backgrounds, but we are one in Christ.

 

What is Revival?

I had always thought of revival as the Church growing…which it is. However, I viewed it as the Church growing because there were more stones being added to the temple of God (more people being saved). The Calvary Road by Roy Hession flipped my view around. Revival doesn’t have to do with people outside the Church. If you break down the word ‘revival’ it means to infuse life back into something that has lived before. People outside the Church have never been alive spiritually, and as such they cannot be given life again. Revival is inside the church. It is the growth of individuals inside the Church, those who are already a part of the temple of God; and this won’t just make the temple taller or more expansive, but will actually multiply the size. A square that doubles in size occupies four times as much space as it did before. A cube will occupy eight times as much space. As the temple grows it will become more fit for the dwelling of God.

Revival is also not a communal thing in and of itself. It is a personal thing in that the members of the body of Christ each saying in his heart that he will be more like Christ and surrender his will. He will break before God daily and be filled with the Holy Spirit. With this being the definition of revival, it is impossible for there to be a revival outside the Church!  The Holy Spirit only indwells people who are surrendered to Christ.

What does revival mean to me? It used to mean that I would look for more people coming forward at an altar call. I thought that it would mean more people coming to the church on Sundays, larger Sunday schools and more Wednesday night Bible studies. That isn’t what I see it as now. Now I see revival being me, as an individual, going into my room and pouring out my life in surrender and brokenness before Christ.

 

School of Discipleship USA

Gospel for Asia

Losing Faith and Hope

Losing Faith and Hope

As Christians and students of the faith we are about the business of gaining insight into God’s character.  It always amazes me how much more we can learn about His character as we move further along in our journeys.

Ever since God made me aware of my call to missions, I have been one track minded seeking out opportunities to go overseas and  joining different missions organizations.  I remember abiding in His strength only and being sold out to Him. I look back on that season with longing often as at that time I was completely sold out to Him.

For past few years I have been task oriented when it comes to my walk with the Lord and obeying His commands. If He tells me to do this or that, I will go do those things but in my own strength. What I didn’t realize is that I stopped abiding in his strength. After a while I became spiritually lazy and would be in self-indulgent. Of course, I would do whatever God told me to, which at the time I thought consisted of the notion of going to another country and dying for him. I began to rely on my walk in the past and therefore became lazy. Since I read the Bible and had learned so many lessons from it, I had the notion I didn’t need to read the Bible anymore. Even though I had no desire to read my Bible I would have gone and died for him.

Recently, my School of Discipleship class went through a book called Calvary Road. When I was reading through it I caught myself thinking that I knew these things, but then God convicted me the next several days saying, “There are so many things you think you know! You lost faith in the blood of the lamb, you lost hope in eternity.” I didn’t realize that I slowly but surely let the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches cloud my judgment. I had become a hearer of the word deceiving myself.

I was reading in the Word and read through Romans 3:25 “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” The Spirit led me to carefully analyze and consider these things. What is faith? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction in the things not seen. What is conviction? Conviction is belief. Somewhere along the way I stopped believing. I was running on fumes. But the Lord is faithful and assured me that He is with me always. I am thankful that my logic and judgment does not dictate the truth, such as whether or not there is a God and His Son is Jesus. He has helped me realize that I need to become a Christian who lives by faith and not by experience,  feelings or emotions. He has shown me that reading his word refines my faith in Him. I love His faithfulness.

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

The Year is Almost Done

The School of Discipleship January 2013 year is coming to a close and we are now officially studying our last book together as a class. But, not only are we studying it, but we are going to be teaching it, Lord willing! Yes, you read that right! We as School of Discipleship students have the amazing opportunity to facilitate class! I know that it will be a huge challenge, but in that, it will help me to depend on my Saviour more, and help me grow deeper in my relationship with Him! Yet another benefit to this is, as  Susan said, we will get way more out of the lessons we teach, than what we ever have before! This year has been absolutely amazing! I have learned a lot and I praise my Heavenly Father for all that He has done in my life as a result.

What is so Amazing about Grace?

Grace is so amazing! It completely boggles my mind! I don’t understand how the God of the universe could bestow grace upon us humans. To think, that because of His grace, I get to spend eternity with Him forever! If he would have given justice, hell would have been our destination after death. If it was mercy, God might have let us just live in an earth state for eternity. But no, He gave us…me grace! I can look forward to being in His presence till the end of time and beyond!

Looking forward to being with Him forever is staggering as it is, but I also have the chance to live in freedom until I wait for that day. His grace frees me to be no longer have to obey the enemy with his temptations, or my own fallen flesh. Through grace, I can live free from the bondage of these things, as well as my own pride and legalistic thinking.

Knowing all this, my mind (like I said before) is completely blown! I am reminded that the Lord loves me (I will never be able to understand how much He does) This makes me want to spend all my time with Him, alone. Just the two of us. To have no distractions keeping me away from knowing Him more.

This amazing grace is, well…amazing to know about, but it is so much better to live! Jesus has helped me to, more or less, chill out. I tend to be very legalistic, and when I make a mistake, I feel like a failure (which is not true). As I apply this grace, I am reminded that I will make mistakes, but God does not view me as a failure. He views me as what I will be when He is done perfecting me. I can’t tell you how encouraging and relieving that is!

When I am reminded of this grace that God has shown towards me, I find it easier to have grace for others as well. I need to continue to have grace for others, because the Lord is working in their lives as He is working in mine. He might be working on different characteristics or sins hidden deep down inside. I should let God be God and not judge my brother or sister because they might not have the same opinion on the issue being discussed. Grace gives me room to respect, and even more importantly, to accept their opinion. To have an open mind that is ready to hear different views on a topic. I know, and am reminded how much I didn’t deserve God’s grace, and this allows me to give grace to others.

I can’t say that I have attained the grace yet in all areas of my life, but I sincerely hope that one day, I will be able to say I am completely free. Free in Christ, free indeed. Free at last.

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