One thing I have found in life is that it is full of surprises. Many of them are unexpected pleasures and blessings that come our way. Others are tragic and sad. I have been greatly surprised by the way some people's lives have turned out.
Somewhere along the line, we have separated evangelism from discipleship. We preach the gospel, but we don't disciple. We don't get people on their feet spiritually. But the two go together.
Some may think the Christian life is restrictive, but actually it is the very opposite. Out there in the world where there are no restrictions, people will start reaping the consequences of their foolish actions. But those who are following Christ will find life at its fullest. Yes, there are boundaries and parameters, but they are there for our own protection.
Thus, there were quite a few last names I could have chosen to take. But there was only one of those men who treated me as a father should treat a son: Oscar Felix Laurie. So I chose that name. When looking at the other options, it was the "name above all other names." Though he was not my biological father, he was in every other way my dad.
To be growing Christians, we must be disciples of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples. It takes one to make one. So first we have to know what a disciple is so that we can then go and make other disciples.
Some believers have known the Lord for years, yet they think it is all about everyone catering to them. But my question is this: When are they going to grow up and start serving other people?
There are times when I have gone into the pulpit with a prepared message and have ended up saying things that I never planned on saying. I believe that is because God will speak through the person who is teaching His Word. Something supernatural takes place when we hear God's Word being taught in person.
I read an interesting article about how narcissistic our culture is today. It said, "A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
There is a direct connection between a Christian's worship and a Christian's witness. Believers are being watched both inside and outside of the church.
When someone loses a loved one, perhaps a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, or even a child, where does that person usually turn? Many people will turn to the church. Even if they aren't a part of the church, they often will come to the church looking for help. And they find help and solace there.
It has been said that men talk of killing time while time quietly kills them. According to the Bible, we live our lives for a certain period of time—not a moment longer and not a moment shorter.
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: "finished."
Christ's passionate love for the world is evident in His statements from the Cross:
Easter is not about brightly colored eggs, wearing pastels, or enjoying a big meal, although it could include these. Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During the days of the early church, thousands lost their lives because they would not say two words: Kaiser Kurios, which means "Caesar is Lord." That's because they understood that words matter.
Have you ever stopped and thought that maybe there are things in your life that haven't happened because you have simply failed to ask God for them?
Did you know the Lord can move the heart of a king? Or a prime minister? Or a president? The Bible says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes" (Proverbs 21:1).
I have noticed that many times, the previews for a film are better than the film itself. All of the best bits are in the preview. But people don't go to the movie theater to see a preview; they go to see the movie.
To be a growing Christian, you must have a prayer life. And what is prayer? Simply put, it is communicating with and listening to God.
It is hard for some people to believe, but you can have a happy life without sin. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:28). There is happiness in hearing, believing, and keeping the Word of God.
It's amazing how the Word of God can revitalize the heart. You can be going into a tailspin of doubt and fear when someone will quote a Scripture verse that suddenly pulls you out of your discouragement. No matter how long you have been a Christian, you need to be reminded of spiritual truths.
Have you ever used GPS? Many cars come equipped with it today, and you can get it on an iPhone or other mobile device. The problem is, sometimes GPS can lead you in the wrong direction!
I love gadgets, but I don't like to read user's manuals. So when I buy some new gadget, I will start pushing buttons and always end up doing the very thing that I wasn't supposed to do. It is always good to consult the user's manual.
Some preachers today have hijacked the words prosper and prosperity. They say that God wants everyone to be wealthy and healthy, and so you are to just speak it out, and God will give it to you. That is their focus. And that is wrong.
Once I had a friend—I'll call him Bill—who worked out every day at the gym. When we got together, he liked to flex his bicep and say, "Greg, feel this!" Bill's muscles were rock hard. Then one day I heard terrible news. Bill had died of a heart attack. Even though he appeared robust and powerful, his heart was diseased. Inwardly, as it turned out, Bill was a weakling.