Losing Jesus in Church

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

Thousands appear to be losing Jesus in the very place they should find Him. A high percentage of churched young people leave the church after the age of 18, with only a fraction of those leaving ever returning. Sadly, older ones are also dropping out at the very time they should be more and more in!

It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary.  When He was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem for the feast. This was a yearly trip for them, and the Bible says when the feast was over, they traveled back to Nazareth, assuming Jesus was with them in the crowd of family and fellow travelers.  They went a full day’s journey before realizing that He wasn’t.  They had left him behind in Jerusalem.

It is ironic that the first people to lose Jesus in Church were Joseph and Mary. Click To Tweet

They immediately turned back and began the search. Although the caravan had only traveled one day away from Him, it took them twice as long to find Him. They found Him in the temple, the recognized house of worship. When they questioned Jesus with concern and perhaps a bit of aggravation (as parents are apt to do when anxious about their children,) His answer is one of gentle rebuke, “How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  [See Luke 2:41-50] In essence, He was saying to them that they should have known where to find Him. He would be in His Father’s house and doing His Father’s work.

If Joseph and Mary can lose Jesus in church, isn’t it possible that we can also? The sad truth is that multiplied thousands have indeed lost Jesus in the very place they should find Him.  Some, like Joseph and Mary, journey through life, supposing that He is with them—when they are in reality, they choose their path and walk away from Him.  Others, like the religious leaders and learned people, stay in the Temple and marvel at His wisdom. They are curious about His ideas, but never come to know Him truly and experience His transforming grace.

We must not fall into either of these traps.  Without Jesus, our gatherings produce nothing more than the comradery of inmates on death row. Without the King, this kingdom has no power to affect the needed change and release the excellent plan of the Lord.

Here are seven keys to help avoid losing Jesus in Church:

 

Key 1: We must be careful that formulas and tradition never replace the reality of His

powerful presence. [ 2 Timothy 3:5]

 

Key 2: We must love truth! Even when it makes us miserable, it will still make us free!

[2 Thessalonians 2:10, John 8:31-32]

 

Key 3: We must seek His way of doing things and right standing with Him as the

highest priority of our lives. [Matthew 6:33]

 

Key 4: We must keep His final words before ascending into Heaven the primary focus

of all we do in ministry. [Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:4-8]

 

Key 5: We must know and believe the love He has for us. [I John 4:16]

 

Key 6: We must keep the flame of His Spirit gifts blazing in our hearts.

[2 Timothy 1:6]

 

Key 7: We must love God with all that we are and love others as we love

ourselves. [Matthew 22:36-40]

 

Key 8: We must trust enough to surrender completely to Him! Laying down our lives,

taking up our cross and following where He leads. [Mark 8:34-38]

 

Our generation desperately needs to see Jesus: the living, loving Savior-King. We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. He is still busy doing His Father’s work, in all who believe and yield to Him.  Let’s do all we can to make Jesus famous in this generation! Let’s continue to lift Him high and do our best to get preachers, singers, musicians, organizations and ourselves out of the way so people can see Jesus and get to know Him. When they do, they will never be same!

We must help people of every age distinguish between pseudo-Christian religious activity and the truth of the real Jesus. Click To Tweet

Worship While You Fast

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

When we think of fasting, it is usually only regarding what we need to receive from the Lord. And it is true that fasting moves us to the place where we can receive what God already desires to release to us. But fasting should be more than us just doing without and pleading with God for breakthrough’s in our lives. There is a fascinating passage regarding fasting found in Acts 13! The writer gives us a list of prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch and then tells us that “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them, and sent them on their way..” [Acts 13:1-3] This is a fascinating passage because it makes a direct correlation between fasting and worship.

How often do you connect worship with fasting? I believe worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting.  As you fast, I encourage you to set aside time to wait in His presence and minister to the Lord only. I am amazed by the idea that we can “bless” the Lord. King David commanded the people of Israel to, “Bless the LORD your God.” [1 Ch. 29: 20 NKJV] Typically; it is the greater who blesses, the lesser. However, there is a genuine and tangible way in which we, who are the lessers, are called to be a blessing to the Greatest!

Worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting. Click To Tweet

Worship is not about stroking God’s ego. Thankfully, He is not an egotistical maniac! Neither is worship about bribing God, so He will give us what we want. He is just as much God without our worship as He is with it. And He is just as good before we worship as He is after. Yet, our worship blesses Him. Our service ministers to His heart. It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! What an honor for our presence to be so valued by the One who has fulness of joy [fulness of all things] in His presence. [See Psalm 16:11]

It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! Click To Tweet

In Antioch the prophets and teachers took some time to go without food and just spend time worshipping the Lord. It seems they had no agenda but to minister to the Lord and love Jesus. Andrew Murray said, “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things and they grasped hold of the King of the Kingdom. Worship is a key element in setting yourself in a position to hear the heart of God. During your days of fasting, set your heart above everything else to pursue the presence of King Jesus.

They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things so they could grab hold of the King of the Kingdom. Click To Tweet

Let your reward be Jesus. His promise to Abraham is His promise to you, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  [Gen. 15:1 NKJV] As you learn to value His presence and seek Him you will soon discover that all you need is in Him.  When you get Jesus, He is what you need! As they worshipped with fasting, the Holy Spirit gave them instructions that would change the course of multitudes, indeed the course of history!  The instruction to appoint and send Saul and Barnabas to the Gentile world proved to be the key to the release of multitudes! Think about it: their time of worshipping with fasting, literally changed the world and is the reason you and I are followers of Jesus Christ! If Paul had not taken the gospel to Rome, it would not now be known in the United States where I am writing, and many of you are right now reading. This one instruction affected all of humanity from the first century to the twenty-first.

I wonder what might happen in our lives as we delight in delighting His heart through worship with fasting? I set myself in agreement with you that as you worship while fasting, you will experience breakthrough! As you bless the Lord, you will be blessed! As you minister to Him, He will minister to you! As you lift your voice to Him, He will speak to you! Keep your focus on Jesus, and you will rejoice as you rest in the fulfillment of His promises to you, in you and through you.


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We Have Today!

Abundant LifeKeith Nix MinistriesThe Awakening

Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” The Apostle Paul may have had this thought in mind when he wrote to the Roman church, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”(Ro. 13:11 ESV) Tomorrow is coming for most of us, but we all have today! What are we going to do with today? We cannot afford to sleep through our God-given opportunities. It is time for the church in 2017 to awake to our calling to impact the world for Jesus!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” Click To Tweet

World changers have always been dreamers. You must “see it” on the inside before it ever becomes your reality on the outside. Vision is key to living a life of impact.  Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” [Prov. 29:18] Joseph certainly understood this truth. Remember how God gave Joseph dreams about his future?  If you know the story, then you know that these dreams sustained Joseph through the tough days he endured. [Take a look at Gen. 37 – 41] What about Moses? The writer of Hebrews says it this way, “…he was looking to the reward.  By faith….he (Moses) endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” [Heb. 11:26-27]

Vision is key to living a life of impact Click To Tweet

Hebrews 11:13 speaks of the patriarchs who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them and embraced them…” We too must be people of vision. We must dare to dream the dreams that God gives us. Not just “small” dreams either. God is looking for men and women who will dare to dream the impossible and trust that if it is His will, “all things are possible to him that believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Vision is the birthing place for great accomplishments. But it takes more than dreams.  “World Changers” are not just those who dream but those whose faith moves them to act upon their dreams. Hebrews 11 records the victories of men and women who envisioned future “promises” and saw them become a reality by faith. Faith puts into action what it imagines! Faith seizes the opportunities of today and if there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities; faith in God creates them! Faith is never passive. Faith always produces action. (See James 2:18)

Dreaming (or vision) is a necessity to accomplishing anything great for God but as John Mason said, “To only dream of the person you want to be is to waste the person you are.” We cannot afford to waste the moment we have under the guise of waiting for God. Seize today! “This is the day which the Lord has made;” (Ps. 118:24) Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. We have today! What will we do for God today?

Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. Click To Tweet

Never stop dreaming but remember tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. It is time for the church to awake to purposes of God for our lives. This is our day. 2017 is the year of the Open Door. Walk through it! As Moses prayed so we pray, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) We have TODAY!

Remember, tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. Click To Tweet

 


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