Archive for October, 2011

Run The Race

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

We are marathon runners, not short-term sprinters. Like the early church, we must choose to continually devote ourselves to a life of pursuing God (Acts 2:42). Endurance has decisional aspects. In the 1968 Olympics, marathon runner John Stephen Akhwari chose to finish his race despite injury. His response when asked why he didn’t quit: “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” In the Word, God has provided powerful examples of people who ran with endurance—Esther, Noah, Abraham, Martha, Ruth, Moses. We are standing on the shoulders of these people who endured.

Your life is with Christ, and you are an ambassador for Him. Serving Jesus isn’t a weekend thing that we accessorize with a little religion. Jesus is front and center—our all in all. And He wants us to impact our world. We’ve been given the life-changing message of the Gospel, and we have a responsibility to carry it to the people around us. Those in the early church saw results by enduring and continually devoting themselves. I want results too. I want to see my generation come to Jesus.

The early church had a mission to go into the whole world and make disciples. Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we still have that same ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18; Hebrews 13:8). We have the same Jesus, the same Holy Spirit, the same potential, and therefore the same responsibility to continually devote ourselves. We can’t wait around for someone else to do it. We strengthen our resolve and say “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15b).

We run the race for an imperishable prize (1 Corinthians 9:25). We run with endurance so that at the end of our lives we can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Our endurance will resound through all eternity.

Continue,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2007 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

Fulfill the Call

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

God’s will can be accepted and fulfilled. We must fight through the incredible discouragement that tries to numb us as we go through life, and press toward the upward call. It’s a fight worth fighting. There is breakthrough on the other side of the mountain, a reward at the end. You are not designed to be just in maintenance mode, but you are called to impact the world.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3

This amazing verse tells us in no uncertain terms that God has set a race before us. Fixing your eyes on Jesus will give you the crystal clear vision to fulfill God’s will. Let your heart become filled with the Word of God. It’s our job to get before the Lord and, like Paul, ask, “What wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6b KJV). And keep asking. Be faithful to lay aside every encumbrance—all the ridiculous challenges and trials, the distractions and hindrances, the vision-blurring junk, the sin that so easily entangles us.

There are people out there who need our obedience, who need our tenacity. Just as Jesus and Paul fulfilled the Father’s plan, it’s our turn now. God is looking for a breed of people who won’t back down, to commission us as partners to carry the Gospel. God wants to use the church as a launching pad to the nations through all kinds of avenues—we are just scratching the surface now. So lay aside the restraints and press on to the upward call.

I (Paul) have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

I (Jesus) glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4

I trust You, Lord, to bring all Your plans to pass.
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Strengthened by the Holy Spirit

Monday, October 10th, 2011

But you, my friends, must fortify yourselves in your most sacred faith. Continue to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, and look forward to the day when our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy will give eternal life. Jude 20-21 New English Bible

Fortify yourselves in your most sacred faith. These verses show us ways we can be strengthened. We need strength from God because the things He has called us to do cannot be achieved by our own human effort. “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4b).

Continue to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. Aren’t you glad that God sent the Holy Spirit? He is the fortifier and strengthener, and His “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 NKJV) is available to guide and lead us. The spiritual effects of praying in the Spirit are similar to the physical effects of exercise. Prayer will fortify you so that you won’t faint or lose heart (Luke 18:1). Instead, you can be strengthened “with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).

Keep yourselves in the love of God. To stay in the love walk with others, we must first understand our spiritual roots: that we are loved and accepted by God. When Jesus comes into our world, He changes us on the inside. Instead of bitterness controlling us, “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

[I pray] That He [The Lord] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

The fruit of the Spirit can work in your life. As we fortify ourselves by getting in the Word, praying in the Spirit, and continually walking in love, we will become more sensitive to the subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit. We will walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. We will be less dull and more perceptive, less static and more dynamic, less fleshly and more spiritual! We will grow stronger, and the fruit of the Spirit will show up powerfully in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Ephesians 5:22-23

God bless you!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Created for Purpose

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

God created you for very specific reasons to have an impactful and fruitful life—to accomplish things that have eternal repercussions. But there is a mind-numbing resistance to this call that we must resist by fixing our eyes on Jesus.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. Proverbs 4:20-22

We don’t have to spin our wheels in life. As you and I press on toward the goal, we get traction by staying in the Word and by maintaining close proximity to Jesus—by fellowshipping with Him, by worshipping Him, by plugging into church after a long work week, by continually offering up a sacrifice of praise even when our circumstances are freaking us out and other people are pulling us in other directions.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

The race for you is distinct and particular. When apathy or temptation tries to seize you or distraction tries to pull you away, realize there is something up over the hill that you can’t see right now that’s worth your pressing on to follow through with God. There are things up ahead that will make all the challenges, trials, and battles worth the fight.

Press on,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.