Diving Deeper – Moving Out From the Shallows

In my last post I shared the story of how I almost drowned when I was younger. It’s true that after that the deep end scared me. But it did something else too, it motivated me.

That year in school was the first year that we had swimming in gym. I threw myself into learning how to swim. After a the first couple of weeks of swimming, I could swim all over the pool without fear. From there I started to build up endurance, I never became a competitive swimmer, but I could definitely hold my own after we finished our swimming class.

The next year I took another step. I learned how to free dive. In two years I had gone from barely being able to doggy-paddle to being able swim laps in an olympic size pool and to be able to free dive to the bottom without any fear. I did not let the fear of the deep end keep me from going back in.

Whether you have had a “drowning” experience, or your just starting to move into the deeper end of what God has, there are some universal things that we must each do if we are to overcome our fear of the unknown and to let God brings us deeper and deeper into His plan for our lives.

The first thing we have to do is to live a life of surrender. Before we can go and make disciples, we must learn to be a disciple first. Charles Spurgeon said,

Men do not drop into the right way by chance; they must choose it, and continue to choose it, or they will soon wander from it

We have to daily choose to surrender our lives to Christ in order to grow in Him. This complete surrender requires that we trade our desires, for God’s desires.  We have to commit to praying and reading the Bible daily, we have to make this commitment to spend time with Jesus on a consistent basis. The ultimate place of a disciple is being in a place where we can learn daily from Jesus, and obey.

We also have to develop a heart of sacrifice. Sacrifice for us is something given to God in order to make more room for Him in our lives. That means for us learning to give up worldly desires, comforts, and material possessions for God.

Our entire life as Christ-followers is following the example that Jesus laid out for us. His life was one of complete sacrifice. He lived apart from family, He had very few friends, He had no home. His life was permeated with and culminated in the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us. When we sacrifice something, we can do it confidence and the knowledge that we are not being asked to do anything that Jesus didn’t, and in most of our lives, we are asked to give up far less.

What are some things that you can give up today to make room for more of God? Is it financial? Maybe its something in your schedule. Remember that the more you carry with you, the harder it is to swim in the deep end.

While we are learning to swim, one of the best ways we can learn is by faithfully supporting the Great Commission. 

I’ve often heard it said that whatever you spend your time and money on, that is where your heart truly lies.

If that’s true, than if we commit ourselves to faithfully pray for and financially support missionaries, than we are building our own heart for missions, and developing a life dedicated reaching the lost.

This is something that I don’t just believe, but live out as well. I believe in praying for our missionaries and their families, that’s why I pray every missionary I know, or hear speak. If they have a prayer team, I make sure they know that they have the support of my prayers to encourage them.

That is also why Stacy and I give faithfully to Speed the Light every week and also personally support 4 other missionary families. We believe in their callings and in their missions, it’s an honor to be able to support them in their endeavors for Christ.

But this means more than praying and giving. It means living as a missionary right here at home. Since our home is in heaven, not on this earth, we are all missionaries here, and we all have a work to do in the Great Commission, whether it’s at school, work, or at home. We all have our mission fields that we live on or visit daily.

It’s time for many of us to move out of the shallow end of our faith. It’s time for us to experience the deep end in our relationship with God. The risks are great, but our reward is greater.

My challenge to you is too start taking these steps to move out of the shallows. Commit to praying for a missionary, financially give to missions, and start looking for a way to live out the missionary calling that we all have been charged with.

Matthew 28:19 NLT

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Source Material: The Fifty Two, Volume 4  Produced by national youth ministries Copyright ©2010 Gospel Publishing House.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Being a Sacrifice

Day 4…

Sacrifice: Climb Onto the Altar

Genesis 22:8-9 (ESV)

Abraham said, â€śGod will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

We are always talking about making sacrifices. Give up tv so we can spend more time with our families, pass on the dessert so we can drop a few pounds. These are what qualify sacrifices in America today. We all make sacrifices in one way or another.

But the challenge today isn’t about making sacrifices, it’s about being a sacrifice. Are you willing to give up who you are and want to be for God? And not just giving up your dreams and aspirations to seek God’s plan for your life. What if God asked you to give up the dream He planted in your life? Could you be the sacrifice?

As part of my message tonight I shared my initial feelings about the church merger and how much it frightened me, and also made me angry. I was living out the dream God placed in my heart, pastoring at a church and working with teenagers. And than the merger happened. I had to lay myself on the altar so that our body could move on to a place of growth and health. It was tough, there were bitter moments, it still isn’t always easy. But true sacrifice means you are the offering, not making an offering.

How committed are you? Can you give yourself to God until there is none of you left? Are you prepared to crawl on the altar and be the sacrifice so that others may hear of the love and saving power of Jesus? I end with this, we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in every way that we can and in some manners that only through God’s power can we accomplish. Jesus was the sacrifice so that we could be redeemed to the Father. Who do we think we are that we can deny being a sacrifice so that the lost can be found.