Saturday, September 15, 2012

What Would Jesus REALLY Do?

            One of the greatest novels that I have ever read was In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  The book beautifully illustrates a church’s efforts to follow in Christ’s footsteps.  Members of the congregation vow to not do anything without first asking the question, “What would Jesus do in my place?”, and then faithfully obeying whatever they truly believe He would do.  
Sound somewhat familiar?  That’s probably because this book began the “WWJD?” craze of the 90’s.  Even though Christ’s message was spread broadly across the country, this period of Christian history is unfortunately often characterized as one being filled with people who simply chose to wear the name, the t-shirt, the bracelet, etc. – but who never really cared enough to live it out.  So was In His Steps really just something that simply passed away, having little lasting effect on the world?  I believe that though this book may have started a temporary craze, its message will not wither away. This is because the message of this novel was based solely on the Holy Word of God:
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21, ESV)
            For most of our lives we have been told that Jesus was the best example to follow, but I don’t believe I really understood just how true that was until I read this novel.  There are many examples to follow in the world, and most people have someone whose example they strive to follow.  Most choose someone well known; perhaps someone who has donated money to a charity, started a foundation to help the needy, or even risked their lives and reputations to change something for the good of others.  These things are great, but remember: none of these people are perfect.  Romans 3:23 says, 
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
            They are all corruptible, just like you and I.  Jesus is the only true role model.  He alone was perfect.  Becoming a true Christian begins with deciding for yourself that you will follow faithfully in His steps. 
My challenge to you is to be like those in the book who took a vow to be faithful to the Lord.  This week, before doing something, first ask yourself what Christ would do if put in your place.  After asking yourself this, follow that decision – no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. Then leave a comment below saying how this effort impacted your situation.  Perhaps sharing your story could encourage someone else in their walk with Christ! 
May God help you and bless you as we endeavor together to follow in His steps!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Am I a TRUE Christian?


What kind of thoughts does that word bring to mind? Do you think of words such as “immature” or “rebellious”? To many people, these words describe how the teens of today appear.

Sadly, I believe my generation is becoming more and more characterized in this way. Sin has no doubt taken hold of every generation in history, but I don’t believe it has ever been so applauded or encouraged as it is by society today. Media everywhere promotes teenage rebellion against authority and discourages responsibility. 

The world seems to think that the teenage years are meant to simply have fun and enjoy life before you reach the years of adulthood, in which you must take up responsibility and somehow “become” mature adults. What the culture fails to realize is that the words of Scripture have held true for all generations:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

A teen that lives irresponsibly and in rebellion will eventually grow up to be – not surprisingly – an irresponsible and rebellious adult, seeking to please themselves instead of their Creator. Unfortunately, the story for Christian teens is not much different. In his book, Family Driven Faith, Pastor Voddie Baucham states,

“it is estimated that as many as 88% of teens who profess Christianity walk away from their faith by the end of their freshman year of college.”

If a teen comes to church every week and professes Christ as their savior, then why would so many be leaving the church? I believe that many times, a teen that simply professes Christ may not be a Christian at all. They may instead be what is called a nominal Christian, meaning a Christian “by name only” - someone who may say they’re a Christian, but who acts in an entirely different way when outside of a church environment. 

Now before we become quick to judge, the question needs to be asked, how are we any different? To the rest of the world, I may seem just the same as any other teen guy. How do we show that we are different? The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (1 Cor. 13:11)

From this verse we can see that the “teenage” years aren't meant to be an in-between stage between childhood and adulthood. While we may not have the legal status of an adult, our teen years are still given to us by God to use for His purpose. We have the chance to serve our Savior more in these years than we may ever have later. 

But many times we let our age diminish our call. The fact that we are teens should not alter our role as followers of Christ – in fact it should enhance it. We’re not just teens. We’re Christians. That is what causes us to stand out from the world. Instead of letting the fact that you’re a teen decide your actions, let your Christianity decide. 

That’s what I want this blog to be about. I want to see my generation become true Christians. I want us to live for Christ unselfishly. I don’t want to wait until the world says I’m ready to be a true follower of Christ. I want to follow him now, even in the midst of trying times and persecution. But I can’t do it alone. 

So will you join me?