Elevated Eyes

Look above: Fix your eyes on Jesus and see life from a different perspective

Tag: #discipleship

Cultural Sandcastles

Culture is constantly changing and reshaping, how are we meant to build something that can make a difference, how are we meant to live a life that’ll last in the middle of so much uncertainty.

It feels a little bit like we are building on sand, that is always going to change. God calls us in the book of Hebrews to be a people that are of a different kingdom, an unshakable kingdom.

We live in an unstable culture.  As we look all around we see huge shifts in mindsets, pressures in society. There is a cultural earthquake happening all around.

I believe that culture is shaking and soon there is going to be a revealing of a people that is unshakable.

Hebrews 12:26-13:8

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Sacrifices Pleasing to God

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

We’re called to be a rescue team reaching in and saving those trapped and hurting in the earthquakes of culture we see all around us.

Hebrews, I believe is written  by Paul in prison to Jewish Christians in Israel.  Before this text was written, the Jews had risen up against Rome, and the emperor was fed up. So the emperor dispatched his best general and the might of the Roman military machine to crush the zealot rebellion.

The Jewish people knew what was coming they knew the destruction that was on the way.

The Jewish nation was about to live through the reality of Roman destruction.

There was a push from the Jewish Christians to leave the sect of Christianity they were being squeezed on every side. Their world was being turned upside down.

photo-1413977886085-3bbbf9a7cf6eThey were afraid, there was massive upheaval on the way. You know what we all need to be ready, we need to be ready for change we need to be ready for hard times we need to be ready to face tragedy and disaster.

We have been called as the rescue team, as the ones reaching down into darkness disaster and pain and being a rescuer. Being a movement of God here on earth.

The writer gives us 4 things to do at this time and in these moments.

  1. HAVE COMPASSION. You are to keep the compassion of God burning in your heart. Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

It is easy to become bitter, to become resentful and angry. Do we judge those that are shaken or do we have compassion on them?

  1. FOCUS ON COMMUNITY. You need to turn away from self-interest and turn towards community Hebrews 13:2-3 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

What do we see in countries around the world hit by devastation? In times of trouble we need to remember to stand alongside each other, to embrace those in greatest need. When everything else is being broken, you need to tend to community. In times of trouble it is not good to isolate ourselves and we need to fight that impulse and build each other up. People want to feel community that is stable. They want some where to call home. A place to find identity to find calling.

  1. WE NEED TO CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE BIGGER STORY. As earthquakes shakes the world, peoples security falls. What they build there identity in, there security in, there jobs there families it crumbles. We need to show people that there is a story bigger than us. As the world around us shakes and falls remember there is a Connection story that connects you to all of the people of God down through the ages, that connects you to all the Christians who love the Lord. There is a bigger story there is more than your here and now. There are seasons coming that you needed to be prepared for and this is a preparation time. Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

 There is a bigger picture here, let me show you. Keep holding on keep moving forward. This is happening for a reason, but the Lord is faithful throughout it. We need to show people that there is a connection story that there is something bigger happening. Something that is not about loss but about redemption.

  1. BE A COMPASS POINTING PEOPLE TO CHRIST. Where do we go when there is confusion, when the maps are no longer clear. I believe as a rescue team we are called to point people to Jesus to give them a stable and secure compass. Be a Compass pointing the way Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’ follow the one that is unchanging and teach others to do the same. Be a disciple. You have the spirit of God living in you in the midst of a shaking world. We are the people of God. Remember who you are. Point people to Jesus. It is all about him.

Be the rescue team of God reaching into a hurting world. Show compassion, demonstrate community, connect them to the vision and redemptive story, and lead to the unshakable one who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Give your Boat to Jesus

Do you ever wonder if you’re doing what you were called to do. I think this is something that we often struggle with in life.

Am I with who I’m meant to be with?

Am in the job i’m meant to be in?

God calls us to live life to the full with Him, to do what we were built for, which I believe is to live every day with the Spirit of God inside.

If you are ever questioning your purpose, calling or direction ask, am I allowing the spirit of God o flow through my life.

In Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus demonstrated what it means to live life with the Spirit of God

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Now let me ask you a question, what is a boat built for? It is not built to be tied to the shore it is built to be pushed out into the ocean.

It’s not built for the shore, but it is built to sail it’s built for adventure.

You weren’t built for the shallows, you were built to be the boat in the deep.

Life with Jesus is meant to get your adrenaline pumping.

Sometimes we need to let go of that rope, we need to push of from the shore and allow the Spirit of God to take our life and guide it in the direction He has for us.

God longs to take you deeper. He says follow your heart, surrender to me trust my way. The boat was not built to be tied to the shore but it was made with a purpose it was made to sail. Invite Jesus into your boat, push off from the shore and life will never be boring again.

Now the bible doesn’t say that Jesus owned a boat so it is probably safe to assume that someone leant Jesus the boat that day.

I want to encourage you, hand your boats over to Jesus. Give Him all you have.

Give Him your gifts, your time, your talents, your future, your hopes, your dreams.

Give Him your all and your life will be host to the miracles of the king of kings.  Just give your life to him and watch what He can do.

If you notice in the  story the disciples are fearing for their lives, they are fighting to stay alive. They are bailing water out of the boat. I wonder if you ever feel like that in life, just trying to stay above water. The most you can hope for is that you can somehow survivor this.

Like the disciples you cry out to Jesus in the middle of the storm you are facing and with all the tender strength of his heart He stands majestically to his feet and the creator of the universe commands the elements back into order and the waves to lie down.

Jesus commands the waves that are surrounding you to lie down, and peace returns. Your lake is calm and you survive.

But you see in verse 36 of the passage that they weren’t the only boats on the sea that day.

On that lake and in that storm there were other boats, sailing to the left and to the right. That day who got blessed? The people crying out to Jesus yes, but the people on the left and the people on the right. When the blessing fell, it fell to the left and to the right. Some might have been friends some might have been strangers but they all got blessed.

God’s plans for your life are bigger than your life,

God’s plans for your boat are bigger than your boat,

God’s plans for your journey are bigger than your journey.

The plans are bigger than you think. Because there is a world caught in a storm, there are frightened people everywhere and they need Jesus. Every boat on the lake got to enjoy the blessing because some cried out to Jesus.

The miracles are for everyone you come in contact with, His love pours from our lives.

Through His love practically worked out in your life others can navigate their stormy sees. We reflect His love to others so that they can find their peace in Jesus. You are not the only boat on the sea today. Make sure that you surrender your boat to God so that His blessings can flow to others because of you.

What area of your life do you need to completely surrender to God? 

Who do you know around you that is in the middle of a storm right now and what can you do to help? 

 

Investment

‘I believe in you’ Is a powerful, encouraging and gracious sentiment to speak over each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  But that statement of belief in another should be backed up with investment in them.  If we love and believe our football team is going to be successful we invest time in watching them and invest money in going to see them.  If we have genuine believe in something we invest time in it.

Time is an un-renewable currency.

It is incredibly valuable. God calls us to be good stewards.  ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace’ 1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of us a gift, a gift of time.  God’s call on our life is to be wise steward of time and invest well.  We want to be people that are building for the long-term, as kingdom people we cannot be short-sighted.

If we want to change the world we need to think like kings, kings are big picture, long term thinkers, they look to leave a legacy and invest in future generations.  We are called to reign in life (Romans 5:17) value time highly, believe in people and invest generously in them.

We see so many characters throughout the bible say ‘i believe in you, I value you and I am prepared to invest in you and leave a legacy that will change the world’.  We see Eli investing time in Samuel, Miriam in Moses, Moses in Joshua, Elijah in Elisha, Jesus in the disciples and Paul in Timothy.  In Genesis we see an amazing story of God saying because of your faith in me, I also believe in you, and I am expanding my name and my kingdom in you.  This is of course the story of Abraham, where God made a covenant with Abram. This is what it says in Genesis 17:3-8

‘Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. I’m establishing my covenant between me and you, a covenant that includes your descendants, a covenant that goes on and on and on, a covenant that commits me to be your God and the God of your descendants. And I’m giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now just camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever. And I’ll be their God.”

God invested in Abram by making a covenant with him.  He promised, protection, land and a legacy that would last for generations.  God believes in leaving a powerful legacy, He sees you as a king and kings invest in the future.  Use your time wisely, don’t waste it.  Find somebody this month who you can invest time in, speak to them words of life, truth, faith and encouragement, always looking to build them up in Christ.  Invest in the next generation, think like kings and leave a powerful legacy.

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