Month: January 2018

Love’s Influence

By Chad Spriggs

In his Gospel, Matthew sets out the success of Jesus’ ministry (ch.5–9). He summarizes, ‘Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness’ (9:35). In word and action Jesus ushered in the kingdom of God. Jesus lovingly pursued bringing the reality of God’s rule and presence into the lives of those around him.

What do you pursue?  Some people desire fitness while others focus on art.  Some seek  justice while others long for mercy. No matter what it is, one thing is certain.  Your pursuits reveal what you love.


Here is another way to look at it. What are you known for? If I ask a dozen of your closest friends and family to tell me about you, what would they say? Would they say you are driven, creative, kind, hospitable, funny, or intelligent? Would they describe you based on your talents or your character? Your pursuits reveal what you love. What you love reveals who you are.



Here’s where this gets hard to swallow. The life of a follower of Christ should be characterized by the singular pursuit of God through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. If you pursue anything other than knowing God and showing Jesus, your pursuit is empty, dead, and void of God’s redemptive power. If you love anything above God your love is tainted and reveals sin’s command of your life.

Let’s take it one step further. Your pursuits reveal what you love. What you love reveals who you are. Who you are is your greatest influencer. Your influence will point people to God or away from God.




The world is held together through relationships. The strength of money, infrastructure, social media, government, military, pop-culture, and art do not compare to the strength found in a trusting relationship.  When relationships are fractured the very fabric of society is ripped apart.

I believe the church was formed through a singular pursuit of loving Jesus. This love revealed who they were, Children of the Living God. Then Christ in and through them influenced people, families, communities and regions with His transforming power. And the church grew.

The sad thing is that in just a few short years the Church was no longer singularly focused. Tradition, politics, culture, and self advancement crept in. Paul’s corrective letters in the New Testament primarily pointed people back to the influence of Christ rather than the influence of the world.

Some things haven’t changed. The Church today must fight against the influence of tradition, politics, culture, and self advancement. It must run to Jesus and allow His influence to influence others.

Lets take a look at how Paul challenged The Church in Colossae to pursue Jesus, love Jesus, and allow Jesus to influence others through them.

“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17 HCSB




The Church of Collossae had a choice. Continue to be influenced by Gnostic thought, secularism, and tradition or abandon it all and follow Jesus. The only way the Church would survive is if Christ followers decided to allow Jesus Christ in and through them to influence the spiritual health of others in the Church. This is a Historical truth that has timeless implications for every local church. It’s time we ask ourselves a hard question.

How are you and the church influencing the spiritual health of others?

God may be revealing specifics to you even now. That’s great. Along with those specifics, Paul’s encouragement in Collisions 3:12-17 can help undergird our efforts to influence the spiritual health of others. Let’s take a look at the actions found in this section of scripture. Meditate on these truths and ask yourself how you are expressing this character, and if you are not. What must you do to align with scripture’s truths?

  1. Put on heartfelt compassion kindness, humility gentleness, and patience.
  2. Accept one another.
  3. Forgive one another.
  4. Put on love.
  5. Let the peace of the Messiah control your hearts.
  6. Be thankful.
  7. Let the Messiah’s message dwell among you.
  8. Teach and admonish one another in all wisdom.
  9. Sing with gratitude in your hearts.
  10. Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The church’s actions corporately and personally will align with Colossians when they pursue Jesus, love Jesus, and allow Jesus to influence others through them.

How are you and the church influencing the spiritual health of others?


Overwhelmed for Worship

By Chad Spriggs

When was the last time you were overwhelmed?

In the Old Testament we see time and time again that God’s greatness was revealed after His people were overwhelmed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s stubborn love and longing to draw them close and bless them with His favor was overwhelming. They worshiped, making much of God, and God healed their land.

In the New Testament we see God’s greatness revealed in and through Jesus Christ. When people opened their eyes and ears to receive forgiveness of sin they were overwhelmed. Jesus captivated their heart, mind, and soul and never let go. His followers worshiped, making much of God, and God healed their lives.

God’s people from every era and generation worship God when they recognize the true greatness of God and are overwhelmed by His love. Imagine a love so great it overwhelms you. It captivates your heart, mind, and soul. It may encourage some to become strangely still; even quiet, others fall to their knees tears flowing, many stand in awe, and a few may leap with joy. It may happen in crowds of people, alone, or in the most unexpected ways and places. Is this what worship looks like? Is this what happens when you comes face to face with the transforming truth of God’s love and redeeming power?

God wants to overwhelm you with His love.
He is only limited by your willingness to worship Him.

With all that we’ve done to replace, reinvent, and rewrite God’s love story he simple asks us…“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

The original intent of this verse was for God to establish a works based relationship with his people. Their works were based on their humility toward God, focus on God’s instructions, and repentance of things that opposed God. The application is timeless, God longs to have a people that expressed their devotion to him through a life surrendered to God, desperately wanting to honor God through obedience, and daily trusting Jesus for life direction. God may not heal our land but he has and always will seek to heal lives that are overwhelmed by God. That state of mind will prompt people to humble themselves, seek Him, and repent of wickedness.

When was the last time you humbled yourself, sought his face, and repented of wickedness?

Worship is not the song we sing, the sacrifice we make, how well we represent God on social media, raising a good family, or representing our church well. All these things are good but in and of themselves are not worship. Worship is humble adoration, communion with God, seeking God with our whole body, and turning from sin while running to God. Worship elevates God and takes us off the paying field.

Humble Yourself
Humility becomes a reality for those that have come to grips with their limitations and look forward to God’s Influence. Humility begins with perspective. The humble will say, “I am nothing, but God is everything.” Their life will be one example after another of making much of God.

How is God becoming the influencer of everything you say and do?

Prayer transforms a person when they believe God hears, cares, and longs to meet their heart’s cry. Prayer is the most intimate act of trust. It helps a person recognize that God is present with them through the good and bad.  The more we pray the more we are centered on God rather that the circumstances of life. Prayer gives the intangible substance.

How is your heart’s cry met through your relationship with God?

Seek His Face
When a person seeks His face they are intentionally loosing track of the things that distract, corrupt, and rob them from knowing God. The purpose of life is found in knowing God. The Bible promises that those that seek him will find him. It doesn’t mean they wont find despair, fear, anger, and uncertainty along the way, but it promises they will find God.

How is seeking His face giving you strength for each new day?

Turn from Wickedness
Turning from wickedness takes recognizing sin has corrupt even the best, purest thoughts a person has apart from the enlightenment of the Father. Wickedness is pervasive. There is no escape apart from God’s forgiveness through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Sin has no dominion over Jesus. If a person is covered by Jesus’ love and sacrifice, sin has no dominion over them. Wickedness is a fading memory of a past reality. Worshiping God in his greatness becomes our clear reality.

How is wickedness fading and worship growing in you?

I recently asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter this question. Other than God, what things do you find yourself drawn to worship? Here are some of their responses.

  1. My cat
  2. Music…listening to it and making it.
  3. Doing good.
  4. Tone, melody, instrumentation, vocals…all things that drew me to music to begin with.
  5. My house, I too often worry and stress over making it perfectly organized and clean.
  6. Me – what I like, what I want, what I don’t want to do…
  7. Fly fishing
  8. Laser beams
  9. Screaming guitar shredding and R&B background singers.
  10. Sports Activity
  11. Security
  12. Contentment
  13. Convenience
  14. Anything that I’m willing to defend.


Think it Through
Read Isaiah 6

Before Isaiah saw God his answer to my question would be similar to ours. Contextually appropriate, but the same. When He saw God… all of God… the love of God… he was overwhelmed. His response, his next step, was a life of devoted worship.

Imagine a love so great it overwhelms you. It captivates your heart, mind, and soul. Now stop imagining it. Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from wickedness…say here I am…send me! Worship God.

How are you and the church drawing closer to God through worship?

Living Hope

By Ty Haguewood

I hate feeling hopeless. I hate seeing other people feel hopeless.

I recently went on a personal journey to try and understand hope on a deeper level. I wanted to figure out what hope was so I would know where to look. I stumbled upon this passage of scripture and it changed my life. I want to share with you four key lessons that I learned about hope from 1 Peter 1:3-4.

1. Hope comes from God. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”  (verse 3) 

The hope we have now is a result of God’s mercy on us. We as believers need to understand the power of our hope. God caused us to be born again to this living hope because He chose mercy. Our hope was a very costly hope. Our hope was bought because God showed mercy on us by taking the payment for our sin on His Son, Jesus. It was through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that we have access to this living hope.

Let me put it this way: we do not possess an accidental hope. We have a hope that God designed for us; our hope is Jesus.

As believers, we must first see His mercy if we want to walk in His hope. We must first see that our hope comes from God.

2. Hope is alive.

“…born again to a living hope” (verse 3) The resurrection of Jesus is the reason for our hope. We hope in the One whom death could not hold. We believe in the One who stripped death of its power. We believe the One who could not be bound to the grave. We believe in Jesus; our living Savior.

You may feel broken.

You may feel hurting.

You may feel lost.

You may feel lonely.

You may feel discouraged.

You may feel heartbroken.

You may feel dead.

We may be surrounded by death but we are secured by the Author of Life This is why our hope is so powerful! Our hope is powerful because our hope is in Jesus. Our hope is living because our God is living.

3. Hope is eternal. 

“…who by God’s power are being guarded through faith” (verse 4) Our hope is alive and guess what? It will always be alive!

Our hope is eternal. The God who purchased our hope is the God who secures our hope for eternity. We never have to worry about losing our hope or going a day without hope. Our God is the faithful guardian of our soul and He promises us hope through Christ Jesus. He promises us a living hope.

We have a hope that generations upon generations have trusted; a hope that has no expiration date.

4. We do not design hope for ourselves.

Can I confess something to you? I struggle with clinging to the hope God has for us. I struggle because I would rather take things into my own hands usually. I see a problem and I try to solve it myself. I feel hopeless so I try to fix it with temporary solutions. Have you ever been there?

Maybe if I try to be more positive.

Maybe if I ignore the bad stuff.

Maybe if I just try harder.

Maybe if I am more motivated.

Maybe if I achieve that goal.

Maybe If I dream bigger.

I always resort to these “Maybe if’s.” They are my sorry attempt to design hope for myself. We exhaust ourselves trying to design hope for ourselves when God never ended for us to do so.

God doesn’t call us to design hope for ourselves; He calls us to discover hope through Him. He designs and we discover!

What does that mean for our lives? It means that we can take a step back and finally breathe. We must simply press into God and allow Him to press hope onto us. We must simply trust and follow.

I pray that you would set your eyes on Jesus, our living hope.