From the BlogSubscribe Now

Authentic Faith

I love attending Coastal Community Church in West AshleyScreen Shot 2014-01-05 at 4.23.04 PM.  Katy and I have been members there now for going on a year or longer.  One of the things I love about the church is that it is alive.  The church has 3 services every Sunday and they have close to 450 members in attendance.  The church is growing so much that they are breaking round on a new building this year.

The evangelism strategy of Coastal Community Church is simple.  They want us to “invest” and “invite”.  We are to live our lives in such a way that people will know that we are Christ followers.  We are to invest our lives into the lives of others.  Our challenge is to love people for who they are right now and show them how much we care.

No matter where we live, where we work or where we play, there are people all around us that are hurting.  God has placed us there so that we can reach out to them and bring them hope.

One of the statements Pastor Chris made today was this.  Salt and light have a “radical influence” on whatever it is they come into contact with.  He also stated that there are three types of “Bitter salt” and “glaring light” people who are counterfeit Christians that repel people from God.  Those are the following types.

In your fact Christians” whose sole purpose in life is to cram the word of God down your throat at all costs, and communicate to you that you will go to hell if you do not change your ways.

Holier than thou Christians“, who feel as if they are better than everyone else.  They measure their worthiness of God’s grace, by their religious accomplishments.

Cosmetic Christians”  project an outward appearance of being a Christian but when you look past the surface you find that they are no different than anyone else.  The lives of those people do not tell the story of someone that has been redeemed or changed on the inside.

Unfortunately I think that all of us have been guilty of being a lot like those three groups of people at some point.  The challenge for all of us is to do our best to be humble servants and invest our lives into those around us.  None of us deserves grace.  God pursues us because he loves us.  It is because he draws us to himself that we are even aware of his presence and love for us.  Once we respond to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and ask God to be our redeemer do we really understand the power and importance of grace.

This morning we were told that Savory Salt and Illuminating Light looks like this.

A costly Christianity.  Live out our faith, even when it costs you.

A compassionate Christianity.  Don’t just share God’s love, but show it by your actions.

A consistent Christianity.  Be real, you are being watched

A committed Christianity.  Pray for people, even when they do not “deserve” it.

If you are like me, I have been challenged to be who God wants me to be in the community he has placed me in.  My challenge is to be authentic with regards to my faith and not live my life in such a way, that show me to be a hypocrite.  No one expects me to be perfect but if I say I am a Christ follower then I should act that way.

I would like to hear if any of this has challenged you.  Share with us the message you received at church today.  I would love to hear from you dear reader.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Intentional living 2014

Intentional living requires that we do something other than react to the environment or world around us.  I decided to test the theory that it is way too cold to go walking this morning.  I intentionally opened the front door, stuck my bare leg out, and jerked it back in.  Yes, it is very cold especially for Charleston South Carolina.

Why did I stick my bare foot out the door when I knew it was too cold to do so?  I did it intentionally because I knew that I was going to use that as an excuse to not go for a much-needed walk.  I set myself up for failure.  Had I put on some warm clothing to shield me from the weather then I would not have been affected so much by the weather.   I could just as easily set myself up for success had I decided to be intentional about my actions.  It all comes down to a choice.

In 2014 I do not want to set myself up for failure because I failed to be proactive vs reactive.  Granted, there are things that happen outside of our control and you are forced to roll with the punches.  You just take it on the chin and keep going.  You turn the other cheek and count it up to living life.  In the grand scheme of things we are not in control of everything that happens.  Despite that fact this does not mean that we can’t have some short- term plans or goals.

I guess you could say that over the last 12 years we have had some very difficult things happen.  We lost a child to cancer.  Katy lost her teaching job and because of that our financial stability plummeted off of a cliff.  Instead of our FICO score getting larger it got smaller.  At that point in time we had a dream of owning our own home. It is amazing how much damage losing more than 50% of your income can do to your financial stability.  We also moved closer to my job and into a more expensive living situation, which did not help things very much.  I assumed that Katy would get a teaching job or some sort of job with a regular income.  I assumed wrong.

Thanks to our faith in something or someone bigger than ourselves (Jesus) we regrouped and rolled with the punches.  We moved out of the nice neighborhood we were renting a home in, and moved into a more manageable situation that we could afford.  Four years later we have managed to stabilize some and now Katy is employed, as a full time teacher again. We are moving back to Goose Creek to a better living situation and closer to her job.  We are moving to a bigger home, on 2 acres of land, with a fishing pond and fountain in the back yard.  We love it because it is in a very quiet, serene and out of the way neighborhood.  We will be living on a dead end road where the only traffic that is there will be us and the two neighbors that live on the street before us.

I suppose you can say that we are starting out 2014 with change.  I am hoping that the change of where we are moving to, is not the only change that will happen.  I want to dream.  I want to set some realistic goals.  I want those goals to challenge me.  I want those goals to change me for the better.  I am tired of just rolling with the punches and accepting whatever happens as fate.

It is so much easier for me to compare myself to others and feel sorry for myself.   Oh look at that person and what they have accomplished.  Why can’t I be successful like that?  It is easier to have a pity party and act as if I am not as equipped or popular as that person.  Maybe that other person is successful because they have goals and they work towards those goals.

It is always much easier to look at the struggles of other people and wonder why they wont make a few simple changes to affect their lives.  People just like me are struggling with life.  It does not matter if the struggle is physical, emotional, spiritual or financial.  We see people all the time suffering through the consequences of bad planning, lack of goals or fate.

It is crystal clear to us.  If that person would do thus and so then their circumstances would change.  Our vision is 20/20 when looking at others but when we look into the mirror of our own lives it is as if we are staring through mud and can’t see the obvious.  That is because we are too close to the forest to see the trees.

The forest has become the many circumstances of our lives.  We get caught up in the minute details of every day living.  We get consumed with battling with the results of our decisions or lack of decisions.  We fail to step back and see the big picture.  I want to start fresh and new in 2014 and step back away from the forest.  I want to do some big picture thinking about the rest of my life.  I want to stop being consumed by all of the tiny details.  I want to stop allowing the tiny details of my circumstances to determine my future.  I want to intentionally change my circumstances through planning and setting up realistic goals.  I want those realistic goals and the ability to reach them to slowly but surely change who I am and who I am going to become.

Phillipians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.  I know that I CAN do all things through the power of Christ living in me.  I need to get to a place where I am tired of the old things and make the necessary changes for the new things.  I, through the power of God in me, can make those changes.  I need to take the things of my heart and mind and put them into action.  Knowledge without action is powerless.

Are you planning on making some changes in 2014?  Do you plan to shake up the status quo in your life?  I would love to hear about your plans and goals for 2014.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter