When A Son Becomes A Brother

This is not some kind of riddle. It is just a thought that has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. The thought began when our oldest son, Drew, came to his mother and I and said that he was ready to become a follower of Jesus.

This moment is one that my bride and I have been anxiously awaiting for some time now. We began praying soon after each one of our sons was born that they would become genuine followers of Jesus. A couple of weeks back, our oldest son crossed that threshold.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of baptizing our oldest son. Each baptism I am a part of is special, but this one definitely placed at the top of the list. I promised myself that I would not cry, but the moment was just too much. As my son looked up at me and answered affirmatively that he has chosen to follow Jesus, I couldn’t hold it in.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “a time to weep and a time to laugh.”

Yesterday was a day that I will hold as one of the greatest days in this parent’s life. It was a day where my son was recognized as my brother in Christ!

The Power of a Testimony

“Would you be willing to share your testimony?”

That question can bring many different emotions to a person.  For the extrovert (like myself), this question can bring excitement.  The opportunity to talk to and be around other people, why thank you.  For the introvert, this question might bring fear.  The thought of getting up in front of other people and being vulnerable and speaking… oh my goodness!

In the realm of Christianity, this question is seen mostly as dealing with how a person became a Christian.  Many people think of the outline: “before Christ, how I came to Christ, and what life has been like since I came to Christ.”  While that is a testimony, any act of God in our lives is grounds for a testimony.  It might be how God got you through a hard time, brought healing to your body, or answered a prayer.

It always makes me shake my head when I hear a person asked to share a testimony about how God has worked in their life and they shy away.  I understand that it is not the most comfortable spot to be in front of others and speak (isn’t the fear of public speaking one of the greatest fears of man?).  I love Peter’s words in 1 Peter 3:15 – “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”

Revelation 12:11 says, “They conquered [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.”  This verse should give every Christian boldness.  We see that our testimony is a powerful tool.

Some believe that they do not have a “great” testimony.  They do not have a past that is filled with wild living, substance abuse, or other “gross sins.”  As one who has had some of that in my past, I want to say that those things do not make a testimony “great.”  Revelation 12:11 shows what makes a testimony great – the blood of the Lamb.  It is the blood of Jesus Christ applied to a life that makes it great.  It is the blood of the Lamb that forgives sins and makes us new.  Too many times we focus so much on the “past” that we miss the miracle of any testimony – Jesus’ work.

If you have trusted Jesus and had His sacrifice applied to your life, then you have a Revelation 12:11 testimony.  It is one that overcomes.  It is one that people all around you are longing to hear about.  I would encourage you today to share the amazing things that God has done in your life with someone.  You might be surprised at just how many people share your “past” and need your “present.”

One Great Day

As a parent, there are some days that you look forward to with great expectation. There is the seeing the child for the first time. There is hearing them say your name for the first time. As they take those first steps, you are there with the camera (or smartphone) going.

As a parent who is a Christian, there are a whole other set of things that we look forward to seeing in our children. At the top of the list has to be when your child places their faith into Jesus for themselves. This is a point that you pray for from their first day.

This past week was a great week for our family. Our oldest son, Drew, came to us and said that he was ready to trust Jesus. He had been asking questions for a while. This past week, he nailed that decision down. Yesterday, he shared with our church family the great news.

I took a couple of things away from this experience:

1. Be praying for your children. This may seem like one of those “needless to say” statements, but the truth is that the best thing that we can do for our children and grandchildren is to pray for them. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their future spouse. Pray for them to be used for God’s glory.

2. Remember that salvation is a personal decision. One of the hardest things with my oldest son was allowing him the room, freedom, and time to make the ultimate decision to follow Jesus. I wanted so bad to see him saved from the moment he was born. I realized quickly that it wasn’t my decision. Give your children that room to make a decision on their own.

3. Rejoice when one is saved. It doesn’t have to be a family member coming to Christ for us to get all excited. We should rejoice anytime that one comes to Christ. If it is our children, celebrate all the more. Watching my son accept Christ reminded me just how amazing that moment is in a person’s life.

Are you awaiting the day when your child or loved one comes to Christ? Keep praying for them. Keep an open door to them for questions. Let Jesus show them the difference He can make in their life.

Empowering of the Holy Spirit Part 2

As we continue looking at the Holy Spirit and the power with which He brings to our lives, we want to look at the power He gives us to live the life that God desires.

When a person comes to faith in Christ, one of the first things that flood their soul is the desire to do what their new King would desire.  The problem is that on their own there is no way for this to happen.  Because of the impact of sin on a person’s life, there is no one who can do what God desires on their own.  This is a work of the Holy Spirit within the life of a believer.  He gives us the power to live the life that God desires.

There may be times when we find ourselves in situations where we want to do God’s will, but we are not sure what it might be.  The Holy Spirit will give us the direction that we need.  Jesus said in John 14:26 that “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”

When there are times when we are not sure what to do, we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will keep His deal and help us in our time of need.  Because of His work, we now have the power to live the abundant life that God desires for us.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit Part 1

The Holy Spirit.

Those three words can raise many thoughts in people’s minds.  For some, it can be down right scary.  Maybe they heard the old school teachings of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Ghosts have a way of instilling fear in people.  That is not what should be with the Holy Spirit.  For others, the term brings great joy as they think about the One who has come alongside them and carried them through tough times.  This is a more accurate image.  Sadly, there are those that have a huge question mark in their minds when they hear about the Holy Spirit.  They have not heard much, if anything, about Him.

The Holy Spirit has been cast off into the corner by some denominations of the Christian faith.  It may be that there is nothing in this physical realm to which we can relate Him to.  It is easier to understand the role of the Father because we have one.  The Son is not hard to grasp because many of us are sons or have them.  The Holy Spirit is different.  There is nothing in all of creation like Him, but to not know Him is a great tragedy.

When we look to the Bible, we see that the Holy Spirit is vital to us.  Over the next couple of days, I want to take a look at some of the different ways in which the Holy Spirit brings power to our lives.  The first area of power that will be discussed is the power of salvation.

Salvation takes place when a person is completely saved from their sins.  Romans 3:23 plainly tells us that every human being since the Garden of Eden has been tainted with sin.  This sin separates us from have a relationship with the living God of the universe.  Nothing that we do on our own can ever make that right (Isaiah 64:6).  This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

This salvation (forgiveness of sins and a new life capable of having a relationship with God) is made available only by the power and work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus talked with a man named Nicodemus in John 3 about what it takes for a person to be right with God.  In verse 5, Jesus says that a person must be born of water and the Spirit to see the Kingdom of God.  This is a work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  How does this work happen?

First, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the truth of our sin.  John 16:13 says, “When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.”  The Holy Spirit first shows us what is present in our lives and keeping us from God – our sin.  When we begin to see the sin in our lives for what is really is and what it is doing to us, that is the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit calls us to Jesus.  In John 6:44, Jesus tells us that “no man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.”  The Holy Spirit not only points out the sin in our lives, but He also points us to the only way of forgiveness and true life – Jesus.  No person just wakes up one day on their own and says, “I am going to be a follower of Jesus now.”  That decision comes as the Holy Spirit pulls our hearts to our Creator.

If this was the only thing that the Holy Spirit ever did, it would be enough to praise Him.  Because the Holy Spirit has the power to break through any person’s sin barrier and show them the way of life, we should get to know Him more… we should love Him more… we should follow His leading.