I remember Mom crying a lot and Dad reminding, “Don't forget where you come from son and don't forget to call.” He told me that they would always love me and trust me to be faithful to God now that I'm away from home.
The Christian life is difficult sometimes, isn't it? God asks us to leave behind our selfishness and devote ourselves to Jesus Christ in the service of others. This journey has a clear beginning and an even clearer end, but its path is littered with dangerous obstructions and precarious curves. Thankfully, its destination provides lasting, eternal rewards.
Chances are you have experienced the difficulty of losing your way on the journey. We've all been tempted to stray, to step away from the fundamentals of authentic Christian living toward the more immediate fulfilments we desire for ourselves. But God calls us to a life devoted to studying the Scriptures, to prayer, and most important, to knowing Christ Himself.
Let these resources remind you that the goal isn't just reaching our heavenly destination but walking closely with Jesus as we get there.
God is more concerned about our hearts and our being, more than He is about our doing—who we are as opposed to what we do. That sounds pretty radical.
I want to pass along some thoughts by way of four simple reminders. Let's call them “commandments,” which apply to anyone graduating—as well as to those of us who graduated years ago.
All of us need heroes to inspire and challenge us to live authentic lives of integrity. Centuries ago, one such hero of integrity kept himself afloat in the swamps of ethical compromise. His name was Daniel, and he serves as an example of authenticity for us to become heroes in our own generation. A life well lived not only inspires others but also results in great rewards both in this world and in the world to come.
A silent battle rages in every one of us: the conflict between the sin of pride and the virtue of humility—the desire for significance versus the goal to be Christ-like. We should not be surprised that when God led the prophet Micah to tell us what He expects of us, He included “Walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Contrary to popular opinion, humility—not self-promotion—marks the path of a life well lived.
Micah 6:8 reveals the second character quality of a life well lived: kindness—a quality often expressed in mercy or forgiveness. Few things catch the attention or remain in the memory more than acts of unmerited kindness, but it sometimes seems that everything around us works to block those acts. Of all the biblical examples of amazing acts of kindness, Joseph's treatment of his brothers may shine the brightest.
Desiring to get the job done or meet other expectations, a congregation can lose its primary objective: to ascribe supreme worth to our supreme Lord. Worship is more than meditative contemplation, the passive enjoyment of great music, or listening to a well-delivered sermon. Worship requires participation…a response…praise and service, celebration and action.
Few things steal a church’s joy like discouragement…especially if that discouragement comes not from outside circumstances but from inside instigators. Scripture tells us that we are to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). But far too often we choose instead to speak words that dishearten, hinder, and deter each other from living the life God intends.
Out of every continent, country, and nation, He is reaching out to build His body, the church. But the church is not only universal in scope; it is local as well. In these places, music and message mingle to refresh sagging spirits, confront wrong, point the way, model the truth, help the hurting, hold out hope to the discouraged, rescue the perishing, and care for the dying.
We have examined the Scriptures to find out what we are to be involved in between now and when Christ returns. But what is the Lord doing? What is He concerned about during this present time? The answer is clear, according to the New Testament. It’s the same project He’s been working on since the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18), and that is what He has been doing.