Wednesday, September 25, 2013

taking steps forward

Philippians 3:13-14  GWT

(Pail said) Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet.  This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.

Staying in one place too long is not a good thing in my opinion.  It is important that we keep moving, making progress and seeing that we, and the people around us, find success.

As Jesus encountered people He was always challenging them, and one of the most difficult was when he dealt with religious leaders, as in the Pharisees and Sadducees.  These were the people who saw Jesus rocking the proverbial boat the entire time He was on earth.  Jesus questioned their reasoning, their piety and their self-absorbed religious practices.  Their beliefs were based on the law and tradition rather on faith in God.

I have just returned from a visit to the LA Dream Center, and Keith Fulcher returned home from the Dream Center’s discipleship program.  Without getting on an airplane or in some kind of transportation, this trip and Keith’s growth would not have happened.  Without stepping forward with a group of people seven years ago, The Community Fellowship would not have began and thousands of people would not have been helped in our community.  Without moving forward with the purchase of our new campus, the future ability to bless more people would not be becoming even more of a reality.  We have had to and we will continue taking positive steps forward.

It might be law or the status quo that keeps us from taking positive steps forward.  It might be fear that keeps us from stepping forward.  It could be a lack of understanding that keeps us from moving forward.  It could be a combination of those or others.  What we do know is that following Jesus gives God glory and makes us press forward.  By plugging our lives into Jesus there will fruit in our lives.

Let me give you some thoughts on the issue of staying where we are or of taking positive steps forward:

--- Staying where we are is safe but boring.  We will possibly encounter less trials or struggles if we stay where we are.  But we will also miss some of the great things that happen in life.

--- Moving forward makes me stretch myself.  It is kind of like having to jump across a hole in the ground.  It is risky, yet on the other side is some great stuff.

--- Staying in one place means keeping what we have.  That might not be true because you might use up all you have.

--- Moving forward could help you gain more blessings and more strength than you have ever thought you could have.

John 15:4  GWT
Live in me, and I will live in you.  A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself.  It has to stay attached to the vine.  In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me.

That’s only a few thoughts about the struggle to stay where you are or to move forward.  I believe God is calling me to move forward.  God has instructed me to challenge others to move forward.  We must face our fears head on, live with radical faith and watch God do incredible things in and around our lives.  Start where you are and move forward.  Hear from God and move forward.  Find a spiritual friend who is following God that you have things in common with and move forward with them.

There are things that God wants you to experience.  There are lives, including yours, that God wants to change.  There are blessings that God wants to place in your life.  But none of that will happen if you play it safe, if you stay where you are, if you don’t face and pass your fears.  It is time to take positive steps forward.  Are you with me?  Lets go!

Hebrews 11:6  GWT
No one can please God without faith.  Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that He is the rewards those who seek Him.

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