Jesus

Making Disciples – Consecration and Impartation

By Karen Polich

Pastor Kevin Linthicum continued his sermon series, Making Disciples, with the next two steps in true discipleship. Listen to the sermon series via podcast here. Consecration and impartation were added to selection and association.

Consecration. Jesus required obedience. He simply said, “Follow Me.” Those who chose to follow him, trusted him and believed in him. They went the way of the cross.

“Is Jesus satisfying you right now?” – Kevin Linthicum

There is a price to discipleship. It costs something to be all in. We must let go of worldly pursuits and acknowledge Jesus above all things. Few choose to pay the price. We need to recognize and embrace the truth that spiritual apathy is at an all-time high. We shouldn’t be satisfied with where we are, but should be answering the call of the great commission. Are we willing to pay the price?

“You don’t find Jesus by running after those who have run away.” – Kevin Linthicum

Impartation. Jesus was the perfect example of what it means to be a servant. He gave Himself away. A follower of Christ who is a disciple will be a fruit producer. Disciples are compelled to share the gospel. When we are yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit, we will see the people around us who need to hear that message.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

You can’t give something away you’ve never had. God will overcome the world with or without you. Will you choose to be a disciple?

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Discipleship

By Kristi Sullins

“Go therefore and make disciples”. It is a straight forward command Christ gave to the new church in Matthew 28:19. He did not give the followers a five-point plan or a “how-to” list. It was a straight forward command of action.

For most Christ followers that statement is translated as go and lead people to a saving faith in Christ. There is a clear call to evangelize in that statement, but it does not stop with belief. Christ called the church to do more than accumulate converts. He wanted those whom He had invested in to pass on the investment by making learning, lifetime believers. Believers who grew deep enough to disciple others.

What does this discipleship look like? The book of Acts gives us a beautiful picture of how the early church obeyed Christ’s command. They shared their lives.

It was that simple. Those who had seen and heard from Christ shared that knowledge. They ate together, learned together, shared their struggles and victories and the realities of their lives. Acts 2:42 gives us a picture of those first disciples.

Could you do that?  Do you have struggles, victories and failures you would be willing to share?    Would you open your table to someone who wants to spend time with you?  Would you be willing to learn alongside someone who also wants to know more about the life God has called us to live? Do you have room in your life for a brother or sister in Christ?  Would you love to know that there is someone praying for you and someone who trusts you to pray for them?  Then you should be discipling.

If your answer was no then there are bigger issues. For EVERYONE who says they are a follower of Christ then you do not have the right to refuse to disciple. It was a mandate given by Christ to all those who would choose to follow Him. He was not speaking to those who would be church leaders or missionaries. It was to the church, period. He was calling those who make up the church to remain in Him, obey and bear fruit. Discipling others is a fruit-bearing step of obedience we do not have the right to reject.

Neil Cole, author of the Organic Church, goes a step further when he compares the success of a church to the success of discipling. He says, “Ultimately each church will be evaluated by one thing, its disciples. It does not matter how good your praise, reaching, programs or property are. If your disciples are passive, needy, consumerist, not moving in the direction of obedience, your church in not good.”

Are you ready to step out in obedience and disciple?  The first thing to do is pray that God would show you who He would have you journey with. Then start actively looking. You don’t get to just sit and pray about it. Then make the commitment to find the time. The reality is that we all have the same amount of time, and we find time for what we consider important. When you accept that discipling others was a mandate to all believers you will find time for it. Surprisingly, when you make that commitment you will find that time of your week to be your very favorite, and most fulfilling.

That is a truth I can testify to. I am a working mother of three teenagers with a husband who has gone back to school. Time is something precious, but more precious to me is the time I spend each week with a young woman that God blessed me by putting in my life. Those couple of hours of sharing, studying, and praying are priceless to me. Sometimes we are deep in the Word and other times our weeks have been so rough that we are talking through life lessons. There has been much laughter, frequent tears, deep discussions, and learning on both sides. She is my family, my friend, and my constant reminder that no matter the ups and downs of my journey in this life, God can use it.

Discipling, living life together with the goal of becoming more like Christ. It is time for you to start.

 

 

V

Silver Linings

By Elizabeth Thomas

We’ve all heard the expression, every cloud has a silver lining. It’s a poetic phrase that reminds us to look for the good in the midst of the bad. It helps us remember that even in dark times, there is light coming. It’s a the thing people say that provides a glimmer of hope in troubling times.

In Kid’s Klub this past weekend, we remembered Jesus’ troubling times. We showed the kids a crown of thorns like He wore. They felt a piece of rough wood, like the wood from the Cross. They saw what the nails might have looked like and drank vinegar like He drank. I prayed they would understand what happened. I prayed their hearts would be ready to grasp the significance of what He did. Sometimes I find it difficult to teach about the crucifixion, because it can be hard to explain that what happened was horrific, but God still deemed it necessary. What happened was terrible, but Jesus did it on purpose. It’s hard to show this black, ugly cloud had a silver lining.

I know it was hard for the people who loved Jesus. The disciples, Mary and Martha, all those who followed Him – they couldn’t see the hope in what He did. The Bible says the ones who knew Him watched Him die (Matthew 27:55-56). Those who weren’t there at the crucifixion went into hiding (John 20:19). Their hope was gone. The One who performed miracles, the One who brought the dead to life, the One who spoke of hope and salvation, was dead. The religious leaders had won and those who loved Jesus were heartbroken. It was really over. Can you imagine what those three days felt like, the days Jesus lay in the tomb? I can’t even comprehend the anguish they felt. What a hopeless, terrible time.

But we know, the story isn’t over. Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose three days later, and appeared to many different people. He shared His message of hope and salvation; He encouraged others to do the same. He completed His journey and fulfilled prophecy. His resurrection was the silver lining. His completion of salvation is our silver lining.

I won’t say that I’ve gone through times as troubling as Jesus, but I have had my share of hardships. I have had moments where I feel like all hope is lost. We all have. We have all had moments where we lose our faith. Dark clouds settle in our skies and we can’t see the light. For some, those clouds last for years. For others, it seems that there will never be a silver lining.

I don’t know what you are going through. I don’t know what dark clouds are in your skies. I don’t know if you feel hopeless. But I know that our Savior knows exactly how you feel. He has been where you are. He has experienced trauma, hardship and suffering. He knows the feeling of hopelessness. He knows because He was here. He walked on this Earth, He was tempted and tried. He was beaten and executed. For you.

Easter may be over, but don’t forget Jesus’ sacrifice. When your clouds get dark and gloomy, don’t forget the light. Don’t forget our silver lining, our hope, our salvation. Our Father sent His Son to die for us. When things get hard, don’t lose your faith. He is waiting for you to trust in Him.

Remember

By Kristi Sullins

Where were you when?  This question was part of a recent Ladies Bible Study class, and it immediately stirred up great conversation. Many of the answers were the same. The Challenger explosion and 911 were events that had left their marks on us as children, youth and young adults. A true blessing to our group is the diversity of ages represented, and the best of our group happened to be sitting right next to me that morning. Ms. Lucy Stevens held us all speechless as she shared her memories of the radio announcement after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and hearing about the dropping of the first nuclear bomb while she was in her kitchen ironing. These were memories seared in her brain. Memories of events that changed everything. Even years after each of us had experienced those life-changing moments we were able to sit and remember.

I must imagine that same question would have been asked years after that Friday, that Friday that changed eternity. The young and old, rich and poor, Gentile and Jew would have had a story to tell about Friday when Christ was crucified.

Maybe they were in the courts when Christ was falsely accused and charged with crimes as He stood in silence. They may have seen Pilate try to find fault in Him, and ultimately wash his hands of the whole matter. Did they hear about the beatings from the Roman soldiers or witness His destroyed body first hand?  Maybe they had strong enough stomachs to stand on the hill of Golgotha as the man who claimed He was Messiah was nailed to a cross and hung between 2 thieves. They would have heard His cries for mercy to God for those abusing Him, and His cries when the God of the world had to turn His back because of the sin resting on Christ. Those serving in the temple would have shared hearing the temple curtain rip from top to bottom with no explanation. All would have remembered the sky, black as night, and the earthquake that shook the ground after Jesus spoke “It is finished”. Everyone would have had a story to remember about that Good Friday.

It is time for us to remember too. The Easter season is always a time of fun and fellowship. We dress in our best for church, ready for a time of celebration. That is good, but we cannot skip Friday. Sunday is the day we celebrate the empty tomb and our risen Savior. But Sunday’s celebration could have never come without Friday’s sacrifice.

Take time to remember what Christ withstood on that Good Friday. Read the different accounts given by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Talk with your children about that day. Remember His sacrifice driven by love. Remember His suffering driven by evil. Remember grace shown to the thief at His side. Remember the prophecy promises Christ kept to the letter. Remember the king of the world being laid in a borrowed tomb. Remember.

Do not over think the act of remembering. For my daughter and I, we remembered over the kitchen sink, peeling potatoes for dinner. Back and forth we shared the details we knew about that Good Friday. We talked about feelings, sights and sounds. I told her the part of the story I hate the most (God turning His back on Christ) and she told me her favorite part (heaven and earth reacting to His death). There was no fancy setting or preplanned speech. It was just the two of us, sisters in Christ, remembering.

It is your turn now. Do not reject the hard part of this Holy week. Sink deep in the story. Shed tears as you remember. Your Father’s love is so great that He sent His Son to die. Our Messiah’s love is so great that He willingly walked into hell on earth for all mankind. Let the story remind you of the impossible grace of our God, and the eternal hope we have because of that Good Friday. Remember.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to the Cross Part Two

By Elizabeth Thomas

As a leader in Kid’s Klub, I am often surprised at how the lessons I teach the kids affect my life too. I find that although the material is written for them, it also speaks to directly to me. This week, I was faced with a difficult lesson – following God’s plan instead of my own.

Last Sunday, we taught the kids about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. What a fun story to teach! Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, while people laid their coats and palm branches down. They shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9) and everyone seemed excited that He had arrived! It’s the hopeful, joyful part of Jesus’ journey to the cross. But as we all know, the excitement didn’t last long.

The people were hopeful because Jesus had said He came to save them (Luke 19:10). But they wanted Him to save them from Roman rule.  Even those closest to Him thought He was going to establish His Kingdom here on Earth. But that wasn’t His plan. Instead of challenging the Roman government, He challenged the Pharisees and religious leaders. Instead of setting up His political throne, He cleansed the temple. He didn’t free them from Rome like they wanted. So, the people began to doubt Jesus. Was He really going to do what He said? The Pharisees took advantage of this dissention and started acting out their plan to kill Him. The opposition among the people grew when they realized Jesus wasn’t following through with “their plans”. Eventually, they turned on Him and pleaded for His crucifixion. When He didn’t fit their plan, they lost their faith.

Isn’t this just like us? When our plans unravel, so does our faith?

I have often wondered how the people who saw Jesus perform miracles could have turned on Him so quickly. How could they have crucified the Man who came to save them? To be in the presence of God, to see His power firsthand, only to abandon Him and turn away. But then, I remember how many times I have turned away from God. How many times have I seen His power in my life and then lost my faith in Him when things don’t go my way? How many times have I forgotten to trust Him when things are difficult? How many times have I questioned His plan, without remembering His sacrifice for me?

The great news is, Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. His plan was to redeem us eternally, and He did so on the cross. Aren’t you glad that He is up in Heaven now, preparing his Heavenly kingdom for all those who chose to follow Him? During this week of remembrance, don’t forget that God still has a plan. It didn’t end with Christ’s sacrifice. He has a bigger plan for your life. He is calling you to something greater. The question is, will you follow His plan or your own?

Hearing the Words from the Cross

By Karen Polich

Dr. Earl Craig delivered a Palm Sunday message on the words from the cross. Listen to the podcast here.

The cross is known around the globe but not everyone seeks to hear to what the cross is about. The cross is God fixing the human dilemma of sin. It goes beyond what we feel to what we hear and choose to tune in.

The family word. (John 19:26-27) Jesus is magnifying family relationships as he hangs dying on the cross. Families today need encouragement and the cross reminds us that God wants us to care for each other.

The forgiveness word. (Luke 23:32-34) The forgiveness of Christ was at its very best when man was at his very worst. Jesus taught us to love our enemies and showed no limit to forgiveness. In broken relationships, God is not concerned with who’s right or wrong but with who will make the first move.

The futility word. (Matthew 27:45-46) Jesus’s words come from the depth of human experience. The greatest enemy of a Christian is not disease but despair. Jesus knows what it feels like to be forsaken. When you are at a loss for words, the Holy Spirit will groan on your behalf. (Romans 8:26)

The final word. (John 19:30) Jesus’s first recorded words were about doing His Father’s business and his final words spoke of the completion. Finishing strong is important.

Regardless of where you are today, the words of the cross can speak light into your life. Everything can be overcome by the words of the cross.

Dr. Earl H. Craig was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, on a golf scholarship. Dr. Craig has a Master of Theology and Doctorate of Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He served as Senior Pastor for over twenty years in three churches. Dr. Craig moved into stewardship ministry with RSI and became a Senior VP. This allowed him to be in over 130 churches a year for over 25 years. Dr. Craig has served on the Board of Directors for Dallas Baptist University, Mississippi College, Southwestern Seminary and Dallas Athletic Club. He and his wife Ann have been married for 50 years. They have a son and daughter and four grandchildren.

The Last Straw

By Elizabeth Thomas

As a third-grade teacher, I like to think I have a lot of patience. But lately, my students have been driving me crazy over something so silly – pencils.  They’re constantly losing them, stealing them and always, ALWAYS asking to sharpen them! I have tried to ignore it, but last Friday was the last straw.

I had refilled the pencil bin earlier that morning, but around lunchtime they told me it was empty again. As you can probably imagine, I lost it. I told them no more pencils! When you lose your pencil, find something else. Well, that was interesting. They found crayons, colored pencils or even markers to use. (Let’s just say the spelling tests were quite colorful that day….) I stood firm. I’d  had enough. It was the “pencil that broke the teacher’s back.”

This story reminds me of something we taught in Kid’s Klub on Sunday. In preparation for Easter, we’ve been teaching the kids about Jesus’ journey to the cross. People might say that His journey began when He triumphantly entered Jerusalem or during the Last Supper with His disciples. But I’ve learned that His journey started even earlier than that. It started with death.

More specifically, Lazarus’ death. The Bible says Jesus loved Lazarus (John 11:5). But when his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word that he was sick, Jesus didn’t drop everything and leave. He stayed where He was for two more days before going to see Lazarus (John 11:6). His disciples warned Him not to go, saying, “But Rabbi, … a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” (John 11:8). Now, Jesus could have saved Lazarus before He died, or even healed him from afar. But He chose to return, even if it was dangerous for Him.

When He arrived, Jesus learned that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). Jesus mourned Lazarus, comforted his sisters, and then raised him from the dead. An amazing miracle which caused many Jews to believe in Him (John 11:43-45).

When word got to the Pharisees that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, a man who had been declared legally dead for more than three days, it caught their attention. They worried that people were starting to follow Jesus and they were losing control. The Bible says that from that point on, they plotted to kill Him (John 11:53). This might have been avoided if Jesus hadn’t raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus hadn’t made a mistake. He hadn’t “accidently” upset the Pharisees. He chose to perform His miracle, knowing that they would set out to kill Him. He literally set the last straw on their backs. Jesus was in control of His journey from the very beginning. He knew it would start with death, Lazarus’ death. And He knew it would include His death. But He also knew that His journey wouldn’t end in death.

Isn’t it a relief to know that our journey won’t end in death? Our Messiah came to earth and literally orchestrated His death to save us. Even more amazing, three days later, He rose and conquered death! He put Himself on the path to rescue us, because of His love for us?

As we enter this Easter season, don’t forget that Jesus did it all on purpose. He was tried, beaten and crucified on purpose. He saved You on purpose. Remember to be grateful that Jesus’ journey to the cross started with death, but ends with our resurrected life.

Elizabeth Thomas is a third-grade teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools. She and her family have attended First Baptist Church of Albuquerque for seven years. She is passionate about working with children and serves in Kid’s Klub on Sunday mornings.

 

The Difference

By Karen Polich

“Your tomorrow does not have to look like your yesterday.”  Michael M. Cook

Jesus loves you, not because you are good, but because He is good. He is the difference maker in a changed life. Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Fragile Growth, continued in Colossians 3:1-11 with two big areas that should change when Christ is in our lives, sex and rage. Listen to the podcast here.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:1-11

As a Christian, ideas about sex will change. (verse 5) There are things that need to be put to death. Sexual issues have three common denominators:

  • The person is in a place they clearly do not belong.
  • It is difficult to get out of a situation alone.
  • Secrets have power in the dark. There is incredible freedom and liberation when secrets are pulled out into the light. After light shines into a secret, God will use it for good.

We should rid ourselves of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. (verse 8) When we desire something, but don’t get it these things can come out. Disappointment over not getting something we want or need can lead to anger. Desiring something is okay, demanding it becomes an issue. Demands at our center point can be destructive. We may make others pay a penalty when things don’t go as we wanted. These things are part of the old and should be put off with the old self.

When Jesus is the center point, we live in our new identity.

You are now His, not yours. Go back to where you are anchored. He has given us a new heart and new mind. Seek Him, read His Word and apply it to your life.

 

 

 

The Gift of Forgiveness

By Michael M. Cook

Jesus doesn’t make bad people better; He makes them new.

The forgiveness of Christ is remarkable. It extends beyond all sin. Our mistakes and shortcomings don’t define us. He is eager to meet us where we are. Have you experienced the magnitude of His forgiveness? Spend time today thinking about these five characteristics of forgiveness.

Gracious. Romans 3:24 says, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Grace is not earned. It is truly a gift.

Complete. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7) I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. 1 John 2:12 There is nothing missing in His forgiveness. Nothing.

Ready to Forgive. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 His goodness and love are evident in His forgiveness.

Certain. “… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:18

Unequaled. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  Micah 7:18 There is nothing like the forgiveness that comes through Christ. It is life-changing, life-giving and the ultimate gift.

If you’ve never accepted His gift of forgiveness and new life, simply say to Him: “Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for my debt. I accept your gracious gift of forgiveness and want to follow you.” If you’ve already done this, thank God for this gift. Want to talk to someone? Call us at 505.247.3611 or email kevin@fbcabq.com

Blending Jesus

By Karen Polich

Jesus + Anything Else = Trouble – Michael M. Cook

A blended Jesus quickly derails a life. Faith can become so weakened that Jesus isn’t even part of what or who is being worshiped.

Beware of the blender. There is no need to add anything to who He is. Life around us shouldn’t guide who we serve. As we grow in our faith, have we ever thought that our relationship with Him is not weakened by what is taken away as He makes us new, but by what we add in? How can you start with something already in its purest form and then choose to add anything to it?

Pure Jesus. He’s the One. Pure faith comes when we don’t blend cultural beliefs and ideas into “our Jesus”.

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Fragile Growth, to learn more about an unblended Jesus. He shared three elements of “pure” Jesus. (Colossians 2:6-23)

New Life. We are made new in Christ. It is God who is cutting things away from our hearts, bringing us closer to Him and who He has called us to be.

Christ did not come to make bad people good or good people better. He came to bring life. He came to make dead people live. We are made alive in Christ. Trust Him, embrace Him, be careful not to add anything else to the mix.

New Identity. Think of it as related to the debts we cannot pay. How do we reconcile all that we cannot change? There are words we shouldn’t have said and those we know we should have. There are the things we did or didn’t do. All of the things we’ve done in our imperfection. None of it is who God created us to be. What’s the answer for it all? It takes something beyond this world, beyond what we can do. He has taken it away and nailed it to the cross. We can do nothing, but He can everything. He alone brings salvation through grace.

New Freedom. We are made new, filled by the Holy Spirit and given new life. Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14

Seek Jesus at His purest. He is the One.