Firm Faith

Hebrews 12, vv.1-3 records this:  “Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.”

I imagine that if you went out on the street today and asked this question:  Would you like to refrain from enduring any challenges in your life? – that the answer “yes” would be overwhelming.  As a matter of fact, it may be close to unanimous.  When presented with the choice to live “event free” or “eventful,” most would select Easy Street.  If we are honest, even as Christian believers, we can probably look back to a time when we would desire that path.  No winepress.  No sifting.  No testing.  No problems.

As I just gander at 2012 and the 5 months that have nearly passed in this year, so far, much has been transformed, changed, flipped, and rocked in my life and in the life of my family.  As I write this out on Saturday, May 19, there are 3 critical “winepress” life challenges that face us, none more important of course than having a 6 year old son still in a battle against Lymphoma.  Questions.  Uncertainties.  Unchartered waters.  Yet,  a part of life.  A part of faith cultivation.  An opportunity to draw closer to God (and not further away).

It is an opportunity for me, for us, to “focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.”  My prayer is that in all of this, in life itself, that I will know God more and more with each passing day.  That the sun wouldn’t go down today without me knowing God in a new way and to a greater depth.  Today, I merely seek to be more like Him; reflecting His grace, and mercy, and love in this life that I live.  Let us run this race and never give up.  Let us not be discouraged and defeated, but alive and victorious, in Him.

Lord, may You be magnified, glorified, and satisfied by the way I live my life.  May it speak to Your goodness and truth, which are eternal!

In His power, that is all sufficient,

Porter

Offense

I like this definition from Wikipedia:  “the action of engaging an opposing team with the objective of scoring.”

Hold onto that for just a moment.

During my athletic days, I have to confess that I always liked playing offense more than defense.  This would include both football and basketball.  I know it takes all types to make a team, and I certainly realize that without a strong offensive and defensive unit, it was hard to win.  In short, the team was better when the offense could score and the defense could hold.  Common sense tells you that having the benefit of both would give you a favorable position.

But I still preferred offense.  And in a transparent way – I was a better offensive player.  In football, I do not believe I played defense after Pee Wee, and in basketball, I was always more of an offensive threat.  Not always for the right reasons, but that is just how it was “back in the day.”

Fast-forward a decade or two.  I am now part of a team that is universal, local, unified, and equipped with an eternal message that will never be extinguished.  All who believe and who have confessed are on this team as well.  It is not merely historical, it is present.  It is not only theory, it is reality.  We are on Team Jesus.  And for all who are authentic and sincere, we are The Church.  One team.  One head.  One vision.  One mission.  No individual players.  No parts of the team are greater or more valuable.  We each have a responsibility and a charge:  “to go…”

In talking with several people over several weeks, I have come to the conclusion with the insight of the Holy Spirit that we, as His team, need to adopt some offensive strategies.  We need to be more offensive minded.  We need to take the “action of engaging the opposing team with the objective of scoring.”  There is but one team we are in battle against: the enemy of our Lord.  And in the battle against his team, there is but one score, and it is determined by souls.  The opposition has no doubt been offensive, in more ways than I care to count or list.  They have not stopped short of devising new schemes, new excuses, and new methods.  It is time that we not only plan and develop strategy for our part in the action of engaging, but I believe we must adopt the philosophy of running up the score on the opposition.  Let’s blow them out!  We can!  Our message is timeless and our Team Leader  is “able to do all things.”  So the question is not, “Can He, and can we?” – the question is, “Will we decide to be a part of it?”

So how do we do this?  How will it be accomplished?

We seek first His Kingdom…we go into all places where God leads us and directs us…we seek and receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit…we pray constantly…we engage His Word of truth daily…we obey and trust Him in all things…we get intentional in our relationships…we participate in what God is doing and stop spectating…we overcome pettiness.  Yes, these are some of the ways that we get more offensive – note the word, some.

Great days are ahead.  More on this to come very soon.  Please be in prayer for the ministry opportunities that abound.  Let us seize them.

Press on in love and in the joy of knowing that we win because He has won!

You are loved,

Porter