Thursday, September 05, 2013

Copycat Christianity

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1
This passage of scripture helps us understand what a Christian truly is called to be - an imitator of Christ. We are His disciples and so we do what He did and we say what He said. We act and even think like Jesus now because we are His disciples and because our lives are now hidden in Him, no longer our own, but His. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who now lives in us.

As we do life this way, we can confidently and matter-of-factly encourage others to imitate us. It is not ego or pride. Rather, it is discipleship; it is kingdom living. Like the Apostle Paul, let’s be true Christians and practice “copycat” Christianity by imitating our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In doing this, we are glorifying God, living out our new identity, and discipling others.

Lord, show me where I am not imitating you. Show me those areas of my life where I am doing it my own way and not Your way. Lead me in Your way everlasting. I choose to come into agreement with You and to be an imitator.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ARE YOU A PEOPLE PLEASER?

Conventional wisdom says that we shouldn’t be people pleasers. However, the Apostle Paul proudly declares, “I try to please everyone in everything I do.”

Yes, Paul sought to be a people pleaser. Why? Well, Paul let’s us know that he engages in people pleasing so that he can create a platform on which to share Christ with others. Paul puts others before himself, serves them, tries to please them, and even lays down his owns rights so that they might be willing to hear and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul is not gaining favor with man in order to promote himself or to obtain personal gain. Rather, it is all for the kingdom of God and for the reward of Jesus’ suffering.

Likewise, we are called to be people pleasers for the Lord that the Gospel might be received and that many would be saved.
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. – 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, ESV

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Friday, August 16, 2013

For My Brother

Just because God allows me to do something and my conscience is clear, does not mean that I should do it. The Apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth that when we do something that causes our brother to fall into sin, it results in us actually sinning against Christ.

This is true even when the thing that I did was allowable and my conscience was clear to do it. For instance, I may have a clear conscience before the Lord that it is ok for me to have a drink of alcohol from time to time. But if my drinking alcohol causes my brother to be tempted to use alcohol in a sinful way, then I have in fact caused my brother to stumble and thus have sinned against Christ.

I cannot live in a vacuum as if I am the center of the universe, because what I do affects others. What I do can either build others up or tear them down. It can benefit my brother or it can break him. Therefore, I must not only live for God and myself, but also for my brother. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God. Then he told us that the second is like the first – love your brother.

Lord, show me those things that I should lay down for my brother and give me the grace to do it.

9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.– 1 Corinthians 8:9-13
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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obedience is a Joy

In my study through 1 Corinthians this morning, I stopped and contemplated this passage:
19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. - 1 Corinthians 7:19
So, the Apostle Paul is telling the church that keeping God's commands counts. However, I find a common belief among Christians to be that obedience is optional. Some would propose that while obedience to God is better than disobedience, in the end it isn't a major factor. But, this is not what God's Word presents. I am reminded of Jesus has said:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. - John 14:15
"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” - John 14:21
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have keptmy Father's commandments and abide in his love. - John 15:10
Obedience is an act of true love and it gets to the core of our relationship with Jesus. Obedience isn't bad. It's not works-based religion. Rather, it is the evidence of real love. And so, while outward religious acts like circumcision are optional, the circumcision of our heart is not optional and it is made evident in obedience.

Often we look at obedience as a bad thing, as something we have to do. I propose we need new thinking about obedience. We need to look at it from God's perspective and see obedience as a joy. It is a joy to love Jesus and so it is a joy to obey Him. This little change of perspective can make a world of difference. 

Lord, instruct me and guide me in obedience. Help me grow in it. Let obedience be evident in my life for it is my joy to obey. Thank you for your grace that teaches me obedience and empowers me to walk in it. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Talk is Cheap. Show Me the Power:

The Apostle Paul was intense and in this scripture he is calling out a group of big talkers who were lacking the ability to back up their talk.
19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. - 1 Corinthians 4:19-20
What we believe is important and what we profess is important. However, if we don’t live it out and display the power of our beliefs, then we are missing the kingdom of God.

As the church, we can talk all we want about the love of God and His power. But, if we don’t also demonstrate God’s love and power, we are just full of hot air. It’s one thing to talk a big talk, it’s another thing to walk it out. And it is in walking it out that we actually bring God’s kingdom for all to see.

I propose that the world has heard plenty of talk from the church in America. They are ready to see the power, the evidence, the love, the miracles, and the real deal.
“You can talk all you want, but can you back it up? I want to see this kingdom of God, not just hear about it.”
And so, the Apostle Paul is reminding us that talk is cheap as he declares that it is time to rumble. It’s time for the church to stop simply talking; it’s time to show the power of God’s kingdom on this earth.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Monday, July 29, 2013

JUST ADD WATER

Earlier this summer, one of my sprinkler heads broke. I figured that I would get around to fixing it soon enough. However, time flew by and the evidence began to show that the repair had obviously not been made. The grass quickly turned from a beautiful green, to an unattractive brown, and finally settled in on its new identity: dirt spots.

The look was so bad that I became ashamed for people to even see my backyard. And so, I had a choice to make. Would I keep living this way or would I address the problem? Procrastination set in as I imagined that the repair would be difficult, that the cost would be high, and that it would take a lot of my time. Meanwhile, the dirt spots were expanding, while the grass was retreating. However, one Saturday morning, I took action. I went to Home Depot, bought the parts and went to work on it. The repair took less than 30 minutes and the cost of the sprinkler head was less than $15. The water was once again flowing.

However, the question remained, would the grass grow back? The fear that I had forever ruined my backyard was upon me. Had I allowed things to get so bad that I was doomed to forever have dirt spots? Was the damage irreversible? At this time, all I could do was water. And so I did. I watered daily. I kept the soil moist. And to my surprise and great joy, the grass returned. It didn’t take a year or even a month. Within one week, the grass had returned; the beauty was back; my backyard was redeemed.

Like my backyard, we were created to be beautiful and full of life, but we need to be watered. We need to be watered with God’s Word and with His presence – the fullness of His Spirit. If we fail to water our lives in this manner, things will get ugly and parts of us will die. However, if this has happened in your life, it doesn’t have to remain this way. Just add water and you will see the life and the beauty return. And it won’t take as long as you might think. God’s grace is powerful and the Lord is able to make all things beautiful again.

So, JUST ADD WATER!

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Want Truth? Then Be Filled with the Spirit

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, the Apostle Paul presents us with the reality that God's truth cannot be fully comprehended or realized without walking in the fullness of the Spirit.

Here are a few excerpts from this passage of scripture:
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
11b So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
13a we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit
As believers, we can actually create intricate doctrines in our "human wisdom." While this wisdom may appear theologically sound and logically make sense, it will fall well short of the depth of wisdom Paul is telling us we have available if we walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

So, if we want want more Truth, then we want more of the Holy Spirit. If we restrict the Holy Spirit or the "things of the Spirit of God" like His gifts, then we will be limiting the wisdom, understanding, and Truth of God in our lives.

Holy Spirit, I continue to invite Your fullness into my life. I want all of You and all that You have. Lead me and guide me into all Truth. Open my eyes to the deeper things. I am Yours.

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Eric Jones is the Lead Pastor of Evident Life Church: a Spirit filled, Bible based, family integrated church in Gilbert, Arizona. Pastor Eric Jones is also the Director of the East Valley House of Prayer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action

and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, - 1 Corinthians 1:4
What I say is important, but what I do is more important; more specifically, the evidence of what I allow God to do in me and through me. As a pastor, good teaching and preaching are necessary, but without the visible move of the Holy Spirit and His power in my life, the results of ministry will always be less-than. Could this be what so much of the church is missing? Is the lack of the demonstration of the Spirit and power the reason we are not seeing wide scale revival in our generation?

Lord, I always want it to be about You and not me. I want to always make room for You to move and for Your power to be displayed. I thank You for the evidence of the Spirit and power in my life, but I want more. I don't want to inhibit, I want to exhibit. I want Your glory to be shown forth in me and through me. Let my words be fewer and let Your glory be greater in my life. Let me decrease while Your presence and power increase so that You will be glorified and so that You will receive the full reward of Your suffering.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Boasting in the Lord

"Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 1:31
Lord, I recognize that in my own strength, in my own wisdom, and in my own flesh I am weak, foolish, and can do no good thing. However, I also recognize that I am no longer my own, but I am  Christ's. I am a new creation living in a whole new reality. Therefore, I have the strength of God and the wisdom of the Lord because I walk by the Spirit, filled with God's powerful grace. I can now do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I can even tell a mountain to be removed and it will. 

This blows my mind and humbles me to the core. The God of the universe cares for me, He is mindful of me, He would do this for me simply because I am now His son through Christ Jesus. So on this day, I boast in the Lord and His goodness. He is strong and mighty. He is my God. Therefore, this day I will live, not out of my own imaginary strength, but instead out of His strength and who I am in Christ. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thinking God's Way

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:18

Lord, Your Word is powerful. Your way of thinking is right. And so, I submit my life to you; I submit my mind to You. I desire to always think Your way about all things. I determine to approach every moment with the mind of Christ for only in this reality will I be approaching life with the wisdom and power of God. And only in this manner of thinking will I be able to truly show others the love of Christ.

May all personal wisdom, faulty thinking, and distorted views be destroyed in my life and may Your wisdom continue to rise up. Lord, I want to think Your way about everything. I want to think Your way about everyone. I want to think Your way about myself. I want to think Your way about You. And so I submit my mind to You again this day. Be glorified in my thinking. For I am confident that the power of God will continue to grow and show in me and through me as I remain resolute in my meditation on "the Word of the Cross."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Thankful for God's Powerful Grace

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Lord, Your grace is powerful. It is transforming me and I desire more. God, I don't want to lack any of what You have for me in Christ Jesus. May Your grace take full affect in my life; may it complete its work; may it mold me and make me into the man You created me to be. May Your grace continue to chisel away the old and smooth out the rough edges; may it put to death the flesh so that I might walk only in the Spirit being fully alive in Christ. I thank You that because of Your powerful grace, I can walk in every spiritual gift. And so I eagerly desire to grow in all gifts - "not lacking any." God, You are good, You are faithful, and Your grace is truly amazing.