By Don Gentry
Have you ever wondered if you were a Christian? Have you ever wondered if someone else was “really” a Christian? Have you ever wondered if the church has any real Christians in it? Let me suggest if you have ever had one of those questions then you are completely normal. Here is why. You are doubting the human element of following Christ. This human element is really what we have been addressing in this series.
We need to identify that God uses fallen people and that it isn’t about being a perfect Christian but it is about being an authentic follower. This coming Sunday we are talking about how surrender in God’s kingdom doesn’t create captivity it actually creates freedom. We are going to be discussing four primary areas that we struggle to surrender to God.
I know in my own life I have had three very significant experiences of true surrender to God. One was with my goals as a collegiate athlete, another was when I was a Junior in college and had an un-submissive approach to following God, and then the other was when I truly surrendered my desire to get married. What I came to realize in my late teen and early twenties is that surrendering to God doesn’t always yield our desired results, it yields results with God showing up in our lives in amazing ways. There is usually a battle of the wills, but God is always patiently faithful.
One of my many favorite passages is James 4:13-17 (NIV2011).
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
God got a hold of me at a very young age and revealed to me that His will was always the better way and that my life is but a temporary blip on screen of eternity. I learned that I wanted to live in God’s will for my life. But what about you? I hope you come out on Sunday and hear about the struggle that often ensues as we learn what surrender really looks life in the life of a follower of Christ.
What an incredible Easter we had at Journey! I’m so excited for what God is doing in the hearts and lives of the folks who call Journey home. I was happy to meet all the friends and family that our partners INVITED to JOIN THEM on Easter and they came! What a great opportunity to share the Absolute Hope we have in Jesus through our new series “Am I Christian?”
As I said Sunday, this question often comes up whenever our EXPECTATIONS of how we define “Christian” seems so far from the reality we are experiencing. Sometimes, we need to go back to the BASICS (the non-negotiables) of our faith. However, I really think the approach that brings us better results is to ASK BETTER QUESTIONS.
So here are the questions we are asking you to consider.
Am I Free? We discussed this last weekend (Easter) and I expressed that if your faith doesn’t actually cause you to feel MORE FREE, than you may not be doing something right! Maybe you need to go back to the basics, but for most of us we need to find out WHY we feel in bondage to religion, fear, or our old ways of living. That’s going to bring us to THIS SUNDAY’S QUESTION.
Am I Experiencing Change? One of the basic characteristics of a disciple is a Transformed Life. Yet, we don’t often know what that transformation is supposed to look like. Many of us are trying to change our behavior or the way we think and feel SO FAR from what we think a Christian should be doing or thinking.
This Sunday, we’re going to unlock the mystery behind a theological term called “Sanctification.” What does it mean to be a NEW CREATION (New Man) in Christ? Why do we still struggle with sinful thoughts, desires, choices? How does this help me figure out why I’m not feeling FREEDOM in my faith journey?
This could be the most freeing Sunday you’ve ever experienced in your lives when you begin to understand how Transformation is Produced in your life!
I hope to see you Sunday as we continue this highly impactful series “Am I Christian?”