God’s Bigger Story – Where Do I Belong?

At my church, Lake Forest, we just finished up a series called The Bigger Story. We explored God’s story of Creation, the Fall, Rescue, and Restoration. Although, the topic has been on my list to write about for some time, I really didn’t know how to approach it.

In fact, I had no idea how to tell my story. How does my story fit in with God’s? Over the last several years I’ve been learning what my purpose is in God’s Kingdom, but I had no idea how it fit. Certainly had no idea how to tell it.

For the next few installments, I’ll explore how my story fits into God’s in hopes of helping someone else who has been struggling with this question. “What’s my story and how does it fit into God’s?”

Our Pastor, Mike Moses, utilized the teaching in this video by James Choung to bring the message home this past Sunday. Boy did it. Check it out:

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#143 – Running With Confirmation

#143
I Love You Too

Anyone remember the days before text messages?  You know what I’m talking about.  The days where “the cool kids” carried… pagers.  Yes, I know.  some of you are feeling icky.  That kind of icky you felt when you first saw your parents in those close circa pre-1980 and almost threw up.  Yes… let’s face it.  We are old.

Back to the pagers.  IF you carried one or knew someone that did you knew the routine to communicate.  You’d dial the pager, type in your number, and they would receive the message in numerical form.  Remember, I said the “Cool Kids” had these.  That means we all decided to cheat the system a little.  There was a SECRET pager code we spoke in.

It would go a little like this instead.  You’d call someone, type in the phone number you were near (land-line presumably since there were no hand-helds at that time), and then enter your words converted to code.  There were many creative ones, but the two that stick out in my memory were these.  9-1-1 meant call me in a hurry and 1-4-3 meant I love you.  The 911 is easy, but for you youngsters or oldsters I’ll break it down.  1-4-3 corresponds to the number of letters in I love you.

What the heck does this have to do with following God? Continue reading “#143 – Running With Confirmation”

The Shield of the Faith | Armor of God | Part VI

20140730-071709.jpgIn my experience, faith is one of the most difficult words to define. I have heard it used in the Bible interchangeably with Trust and Belief. That doesn’t make it easier to define, but it does give the word some context.

We may not be able to define those words easily, but we all know what it’s like to experience them. In the Bible Belief, Trust, and Faith are mostly interchangeable and that will help in my attempt to bring them into focus.

One of the best examples I’ve heard was from Dr. Neil T. Anderson in his book, Overcoming the Darkness. Dr. Anderson said faith in practice is like a traffic signal. We all believe that when the light is green that we can safely pass the intersection. We Trust that others are obeying the law and stopping for the red lights.

In other words, we Believe that we will be ok if everyone follows those laws. We believe it so strongly that it becomes automatic. We don’t even think about having to BELIEVE that anymore. We just KNOW we can go safely through a green light.

That works until something happens to break that trust like an accident. If speak with someone about faith in other drivers at traffic lights that’s been in accident… well you can guess how their faith would stack up.

When our Faith in God is strong and we know that His promises are true, nothing can rock that. Sure, our faith gets tested from time to time, but what’s important is that we access the strength Jesus provides us through His grace.

Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the more it grows. In order for your faith to grow, you must allow it to by tested by constantly seeking the Holy Spirit’s Guidance AND accepting the challenges He may propose in your everyday life. It’s like Jesus is standing there… just beyond “safety” motioning us into an adventure with Him.

DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know your Faith is a weapon of defense? That’s right. Your Belief, Trust, and Faith is a defense against the “unholy trinity”. The world, the flesh, and the devil. When the enemy begins an attack, your Shield of Faith is designed to protect you. If you haven’t exercised that Faith muscle, you may have a tiny shield. Heading into the thick of the battle of life, would you rather have a shield the size of dinner plate or one the size of tractor tire?

Exercise your Faith daily by asking the Holy Spirit to invite you deeper into Him. It will not only prepare you for the battle, but it will also give you a life filled with colorful adventure.

God Bless…

Helmet of Salvation | Armor of God | Part V

20140720-221239.jpgThe one thing that Jesus came to do is the one thing the devil wants you to think can be jeopardized. Your Salvation.

How many times have you wondered, “Just how saved am I?” Seriously, you get in a groove, you feel “comfy” in your Salvation, and BAM! You do something you shouldn’t. Something you regret. Sometimes something small and sometimes it’s something pretty big that will rock everyone’s world around you.

What’s your first reaction when that happens? When you slip up a bit. Do you have “thoughts” that say things like:
1.) I ruined it. I ruined my Salvation.
2.) I knew I couldn’t keep things straight.
3.) I have blown it. There’s no way God would want me now.

These are common “thoughts” reported after folks step outside of God’s will. Otherwise known as sin. The reason I’ll give at the end of this post will surprise a few folks. Probably even make a few upset. Before we get to those thoughts and their source, let’s address the Salvation that Jesus offers.

SALVATION:
If you are or have ever considered yourself “Saved” by Jesus then I’m talking to you. If you haven’t considered yourself “Saved” by Jesus and would like to all you need to do is pray a simple prayer like this with conviction in your heart.

Dear, Lord Jesus, I give all that I am and know of me to all that I know of you. I accept the Salvation you offer and choose to follow you.

Now, back to those of us that have considered ourselves “Saved” by Jesus. That Salvation He offers didn’t cost YOU anything. It did however cost Jesus EVERYTHING. That means that you don’t have the ability to lose it. The Lord of the universe paid the atoning price for your sins and gave you Salvation as a gift of His Grace. YOU CANNOT LOSE IT. Unless… Unless you CHOOSE to walk away from it. Choose to stop believing in it and Him.

About those thoughts. Remember that enemy we talked about in the previous posts? Yes, the devil. He has been around for a long, long time. That means he probably knows what upsets you, how you will react, and what to whisper in your ear in those moments. Just the right thing to set you off in the wrong thought pattern. Maybe even a thought like, “I just blew my Salvation.”

The Helmet of Salvation is your protection. The helmet protects the head which is where the mind is thought to live. Your mind has the protection of The Lord of All, Jesus Christ, to help you know you are SAVED for Him. Stand firm in the shoes we spoke about last week and be clear of mind with the protection given for your noggin… The Helmet of Salvation.

Knowing you are saved will help you recognize when some of those negative thoughts as “not your own”. Make no mistake… I’m not talking about schizophrenia. I’m not talking about hearing voices. I’m talking about “your” negative thoughts.

If you give into those thoughts you could allow yourself and your subsequent actions to be compromised. If you remember to utilize the Helmet of Salvation in your battles you will be able to keep a clear head, invoke positive thoughts, and recite scripture (Which will be crucial to help you fight).

You now have some of the basics you need for battle. You have the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, The Shoes of the Gospel, and now the Helmet of Salvation. Next week we’ll cover the Shield of Faith.

Now’s a good time to go back and review the previous weeks and make a few notes. You may need them for the next two posts.

In The Faith,

Ryan McKinney

The Shoes of the Gospel | Armor of God | Part IV

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When I went in search of quotes to begin this post about the Shoes of the Gospel, I have to admit… I was at a loss. There just weren’t many things worth putting in the post about shoes. There were materialistic quotes by Imelda Marcos and even Michael Jordan. Marilyn Monroe had the best one to open. Here’s what she said…

Continue reading “The Shoes of the Gospel | Armor of God | Part IV”

The Breastplate of Righteousness | Armor of God Part III

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Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he describes the Armor of God. The second piece of armor Paul talks about is the Breastplate of Righteousness. The imagery Paul was calling on when he wrote to the Ephesians would have been Continue reading “The Breastplate of Righteousness | Armor of God Part III”