Thursdays With Oswald—Character Development

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Character Development 

     God can put a saint into a right relationship with Himself, but He cannot make him work out that relationship, the saint must do that himself. … 

     God alters our disposition, but He does not make our character. When God alters my disposition the first thing the new disposition will do is to stir up my brain to think along God’s line. As I began to think, begin to work out what God has worked in, it will become character. Character is consolidated thought. God makes me pure in heart; I must make myself pure in conduct.

From Conformed To His Image 

I like to think of the word sanctification this way: saint-ification. Through His Holy Spirit, God is making me a saint, by making it possible for me to demonstrate Christlike conduct.

Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to make a saint out of you? What’s holding you back?

(If you are in the Cedar Springs area this Sunday, I will be talking more about the Holy Spirit’s role in this saint-ification process. Please join me!)

Pentecost Power

PentecostPentecost was just a date on the calendar. A celebration that the Jewish people had observed for nearly three millennia that occurred 50 days after the Passover. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, this celebration came and went.

Until that first Pentecost after Christ’s ascension into Heaven.

On that Pentecost, a group of His followers had been in prayer for 10 days, waiting for what Jesus had promised them.

They were praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit. They were waiting for a baptism with fire. They were waiting for a special empowerment.

On that Pentecost, everything changed.

The followers of Jesus were transformed from ordinary workers into extraordinary witnesses. They received a new boldness, a deeper faith, a more profound joy, and a burning desire to take the news of Jesus to everyone.

But the best news is that Pentecost is not just a historical event of the past. Pentecost power is for every follower of Jesus Christ. Today! Right now!

Join me at Calvary Assembly of God as we learn more about the power that God has in store for our lives right now through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit.

Prayer Partners

Had a fellow pastor who is on vacation stop by Calvary Assembly of God today. One of our leaders felt led by the Holy Spirit for us to pray for them, so we gathered around this couple and prayed for God’s blessing on their lives. I ♥ my church, and I love their passion for all of the Body of Christ!


Counter Culture

Counter Culture [web]counter culture [koun-ter kuhl-cher] noun the culture and lifestyle of those people, especially among the young, who reject or oppose the dominant values and behavior of society.

What are the “dominant values and behavior” of today? Many Christians would say that what is “dominant” today appears to be those values and behavior counter to the teaching of the Bible. Can that be true?

If that is true, then how are Christians supposed to live? Are Christians supposed to adapt or modify what we believe to match the “dominant” behavior of the day?

Actually, I believe Christians are to live out a biblical worldview, and that doing so actually makes those Christians the ones who are living true counter culture lifestyles. It is that counter culture lifestyle which pleases God and attracts others to Him.

Join me this Sunday as we explore what the Bible teaches about being counter culture.

Earth Day And The Christian

Earth Day 2013Some Christians I know shy away from being involved with anything that’s even remotely related to Earth Day. They tell me that Earth Day seems too “earthy” or even “worldly” for them. I disagree. For the Christian, I believe there are a couple of principles that converge and therefore compel us to be involved.

The first principle is mankind’s original mandate. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in His garden, He gave them the responsibility and privilege of caring for His creation. They were to care for both the plants and animals, making sure a healthy environment was maintained for them to be fruitful (see Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15).

The second principle is Christ’s directive. Jesus told Christians to shine like lights and season like salt, “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Even Jesus Himself “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).

So when there’s an opportunity to care for our environment by doing “good deeds,” I’m going to take advantage of that every single time!

Saturday, April 26, beginning at 10am, is the annual Earth Day and Cedar Creek cleanup in Cedar Springs. I will be there along with a number of other folks from Calvary Assembly of God. I encourage others in Cedar Springs to join us. If you live in a different community, find an activity in which you can get involved and let your light shine brightly and lovingly in your city.

God’s Favorite Place On Earth

God's Favorite Place On Earth [web]“God doesn’t have favorites. Everyone and everyplace is His favorite.” Do you think that’s true? If God had a favorite place on earth, where do you think that would be? What about the favorite place for Jesus during His earthly ministry? Was it maybe the nation of Israel? The city of Jerusalem?

Jesus did have a favorite place while He was on earth, and what He did there has major implications for all of us today!

The title of this series is taken from a book Frank Viola wrote (you can read my review of this book by clicking here). In an email correspondence, Frank told me that this book was the most critical of all his works to date, and I must agree! So we’re going to use this book as our guide to visit God’s favorite place on earth and let the pages of Scripture speak to us in a new and exciting way.

I am so excited to get started! Will you please join me this Sunday at 10:30am.

Just One Question

Grace's trophyPaul makes it quite clear in Ephesians 2 what we are apart from Jesus Christ:

  • Dead in our transgressions and sins (v. 1)
  • Following the ways of the world and selling out to satan’s dominion (v. 2a)
  • In obstinate opposition to God (v. 2b)
  • Living only for our own wicked cravings (v. 3a)
  • The objects of God’s righteous wrath (v. 3b)

The penalty is a death sentence. Yet God made Jesus—the perfect, sinless One—to be sin in our place so that God’s judgment would fall on Jesus Christ instead of us. That is what Paul describes as God’s great love and rich mercy (v. 4).

Mercy means not getting the punishment we should have received.

It would have been enough if God stopped there by showing mercy, but He didn’t! God brought us back to life, saved us from eternal damnation, and raised us up with Christ to a position of honor (vv. 5, 8-9). What did this? God’s amazing grace! 

Grace means getting blessings that we never should have received. 

God did this in order that we might be trophies of the incomparable riches of His grace and His kindness… (v. 7).

Gordon MacDonald said, “The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.

So just one question…

What does the world learn about God’s grace by watching you and me?


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