One Life ~ Time


“Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?”

Chicago – lyrics by Robert Lamm

onelife_time

Do you ever feel like time is your nemesis?

Do you ever wonder where the time goes?  Or when you will have time to do the things that you need to do?

We all have ideas about how we would like to spend our time but are they God’s ideas?  The new series One Life started this past Sunday and addressed the subject of time.  It was helpful to be reminded that time is a man-made device and that God operates outside of it!  He knows the beginning, the middle and the end.  He already sees the choices that we will make and how we use our time.  The question is will we stop along the way, when messages like this one is presented, and respond differently?  Will we look at our lives and determine what we need to drop in order to engage in the things that have eternal significance?

We all want to lead meaningful lives.  What better way to do that than to use our time to serve the Kingdom of God?  When we have a personal relationship with Christ, we are no longer content to just get by and fill our days with ordinary activities.

If we love Christ then we want to use our time wisely.  One of the ways we can do this is to live out our gifting, talents, and personalities in such a manner as to honor God for giving them to us.  Are you gifted in your work life?  Shine there.  Are you talented in your avocation?  Serve there.  Is your personality such that you bring leadership, laughter, or a servant’s heart to others?  Excel in that way.  There are ways that we can shine the light of Christ as we go throughout each day making the most of our time.  There are periods when we may want to join God in where He is working through opportunities that come our way.

So how do we get it all done?

Maybe we don’t.

Maybe we take a lesson from the story of Mary and Martha which has long been one of the most treasured narratives in the Scripture.  Who doesn’t identify with hardworking Martha, frustrated with her captivated sister at the feet of the Lord?  And who doesn’t admire the single-minded devotion of Mary?

There are times when we will need to be Martha.  Being a good steward of our time and resources is godly.  Of course we need to pay bills, clean the house and service the car.  Sometimes we will need to rest, or play, or be inspired by the world around us. BUT, we also need to sit at the feet of our Lord and worship Him.  We need to draw close to our Heavenly Father and listen to His voice in our lives.  When we do that, we will hear His heart for the world.  When we see His love for us and for others, we will be compelled to find the time to join Him in his work.  Then we will lead lives that matter.  Then we will find joy in each day.

Are you willing to find the time?

Do you need more information about the meaning that Christ offers our lives?

Join us…

To watch the #OneLife series online, visit www.CtKCharlotte.org/Archive

 

Anger, Politics, Skepticism and Uncertainty

stuffed_skepticismAre you reeling from the elections?

Are you angry? Happy? Scared? Relieved?

We can all agree that this has been an unprecedented political season.

We can all agree that the country has been stressed by the idea of a divided nation and such anger on both sides. It is no wonder that all of us have felt the heaviness of this season.

We have heavy seasons in life as well. Have you or your loved one experienced health issues? Are you in a conflict with a loved one or friend? Is there anger, skepticism or uncertainty in your personal life?

How do we handle all of these negative emotions that swirl around us and suck us into a downward spiral?

Our pastor has been talking about these subjects the last three weeks. He states anger is “the loss of something important to you, or, the loss of control”. Skepticism is “the inability to believe something or someone unless proven otherwise”. Uncertainty is akin to insecurity and not knowing what is solid or trustworthy. Boy that sums up the political process, doesn’t it? It also sums up a lot of life’s conflicts and challenges.

So where is God in all of this?

What does He have to say about anger? Skepticism? Politics? Uncertainty?

In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul tells us that we have been given “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all of the fullness of God.

If we are filled with the fullness of God, we begin to realize that we can deal with our anger in healthy ways.

We can trust the assurance of the absolutes of God.
We have a certainty of what is good and that it cannot be taken away.

In short, if we have a personal relationship with Christ, we may ask His Holy Spirit to fill us with love, faith, and assurance.

We can trust that God is working ALL THINGS together for good (Romans 8:28).

God longs to help us in our anger to learn, to grow, and to find love (Ephesians 4:26).

He wants us to trust Him with our anxiety and cares because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Finally, He wants us to be assured of His love and grace as we enjoy fellowship with Him while we are here in this life (Psalm 16:11)

Are you ready to empty yourself of anger?

Are you sick of skepticism and uncertainty?

Are you ready to trust the only One who is absolutely trustworthy?

Join us…

To watch any part of the Stuffed series, visit our online message archive at www.CtKCharlotte.org/Archive

Distracted Identity

distractedidentityDo you ever feel like the world is spinning out of control and you can’t get off?

Do you feel bombarded from every direction?

It’s no wonder! We, the average American people, are subjected to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements PER DAY! The pastor this week expounded on that fact by saying that these messages tell you that you need something, or that you are NOT something. No wonder we exhaust ourselves trying to keep up.

Through news outlets, television, social media sites, magazines, and work related documents, we average 34 Gigabytes of data per day – enough to crash some computers! With our news coming in sound bites, our social media coming in a few words and images, and messages coming in an onslaught of texts and emails, it is hard to find the time to sit quietly and contemplate what is real, good, and true. We find ourselves living superficially. We find ourselves exhausted with no end in sight.

This past Sunday our pastor started a series called Stuffed. He will be sharing on those things that weigh us down and his first message was about having a distracted identity. “We can have an emptiness, an insatiable desire to be filled but the problem is we find ourselves being stuffed with the things that weigh us down. God promises freedom from that weight and a satisfaction for your soul.” The idea is that if we listen to all of the messages that swirl around our culture, we will not find much peace, or meaning, for our souls.

If we have a distracted identity we will set our sights on things, or positions, or ideal (read fantasy) relationships. We will focus our attention on pursing things instead of the relationships that are closest to us. We will find ourselves on a path that has very little to do with the work that God has for our lives. We will find ourselves stuffed with busyness YET empty inside.

To find freedom from this weight of distraction we must pursue God. That means spending time in quiet reflection on Him and in His word. We must identify with Christ, meaning to go deeper to see what the Father would have us do. We must understand that real life starts when you stop fantasy and start living as believers.

That is if you are a believer. If you are not yet, would you like to be?

Are you ready to lose the weight of the world?

Are you interested in going deeper so that you can fill up the emptiness?

Join us…  visit www.CtKCharlotte.org to learn more.

Together

togetherIs there someone that has your back?

Do you have people in your life that you depend on to help you when you need it?

Have you ever tried to take on something by yourself then see the amazing results when you ask for, and receive, some help?

This week we combined our worship service with our Spanish church Cristo el Rey.  It was an exciting time to be together as one big family.  The pastor of our Spanish Congregation, Pastor Frank Garcia, shared the work that is being accomplished there.   It was thrilling to see how this extension of our church helps us reach out into the world even further than we can on our own.

The idea of being together with other like-minded individuals is not new.  Where this notion becomes unique is when you bring it under the umbrella of the Holy Spirit.  There is a supernatural power that takes togetherness and creates oneness.  This bond is spiritual and serves the purposes of God.  Jesus prayed that we experience this unity in John 17:22-23.  Jesus knew that our efforts would have an exponential multiplier when coupled with the blessing of God.

Unity overcomes opposition.  When we are one, we can overcome any obstacle that we face.  Powerful concept, right?

Oneness doesn’t make room for pride and personal agendas.  Pride comes in the accomplished mission.  We all long for purity in action and we rarely see it in the world.  What if you could be a part of something that was done solely for the love of God?  Do you think that might be a different kind of experience?  Do you think that might be really neat?

The only disclaimer to this kind of accord is that it comes from a spiritual place.  It comes from knowing Christ.  It comes from the One who always has our back and longs to rush into our lives and offer help.  This kind of cohesion belongs to the body of Christ, the church.

Have you experienced holy unity?

Do you know the One that has your back?

Join us…

I Wonder…Will I Have My Big Moment?

PrintDo you ever wonder if you will ever have a big moment?

How would you define it? An award? Getting that promotion? A moment in the spotlight? Agreeing to marriage? Having a baby?

We all have our definitions of what constitutes a big moment.

In the context of Christianity, the ideas about big moments are a bit different than those kind of events. When we have a relationship with Christ, His ideas are about how we can bring His love to our fellow man. Big moments happen when God impacts our lives with His grace, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. His love radically transforms our minds so that what might have been important before might hold less appeal than for what He longs to do in and through us.

Imagine knowing that everything you do, as a result of His transforming love, matters to Him.

Would you do things differently?

The Bible tells us that we have a special calling, a purpose to fulfill ,when we become His children. He uses our personalities, our talents, and His gifts to us to become His hands and feet to the world.

If you belong to Jesus, you no longer have to worry if you are enough. You were so loved that He went to the cross on your behalf! That’s how important you are to God.

It takes a lot of stress out of the equation when we realize that we no longer have to impress our fellow man. We experience BIG moments when we do any simple act of service in the Father’s name. The more we seek God, the more He gives us opportunities to impact the world on His behalf. It is just that simple.

Most Christians will tell you that their biggest moment was when they recognized and accepted the work of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This understanding and acceptance opens a floodgate of understanding of who God is.

Have you had that big moment yet?

Do you want to learn more? Join us… www.CtKCharlotte.org

I Wonder…Is Stress My Reality?

stress-reliefDo you have stress?

Chances are, you do. We all do. In fact, trying to write a blog about stress is stressful! There are so many variations on this theme that it boggles the mind. If you ask Google you will receive 139,000,000 answers in .35 seconds! Google will also tell you that there are 497,000 specifically Christian answers to this question.

On Sunday, our pastor, Craig, spoke about this topic and the thing that jumped out was the idea that God dwells within us, if we have a relationship with Him. That is a hard one to get our 21st century minds around. The Holy God, creator of the universe, wants to be so intimate with us that He offers to take up residence in our lives! That is huge.

In Matthew 17:20b Jesus says “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” If nothing is impossible for God, and He lives in us, then we should never worry about anything, right?

Yet we do. Oh how we worry and stress and try to control things… It is just part of the human condition.

Maybe we are asking the wrong questions to the wrong source?

Maybe the question shouldn’t be “how do I manage stress?” Perhaps we should ask God about each individual thing that is causing stress, and, how He would have us manage ourselves around it?

Perhaps we need to break it down even further and ask him “what is my next right step in this situation?” God typically only shows us the next step because we don’t need to know more. His creative pathway may not look at all like the one we imagined or could get our small minds around. His ways are not our ways! The Bible is clear about that in Isaiah 55:8-9.

So we have the Almighty God of the Universe that wants to live out our lives in, and through, us. He is the creative lover of our souls and longs to do “exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or think, according to the power that works within us” Eph3:20.

This is the good news of the Gospel.

This is real help.

Are you ready to receive it?

Are you ready to allow Him to give you the next right step?

Want to learn more?

Visit www.CtKCharlotte.org/Archive to watch this or any part of the I Wonder series online.

iwonder_rotator

I Wonder…Is Faith Doable?

“Raisins that masquerade as chocolate chips are one of the main reasons that I have trust issue.”
~ A
uthor unknown

faithdoableDo you have “trust” issues?

Do you find it hard to believe people?

Are you skeptical about what the Bible says?

Is it difficult to have faith in God?

The above quote addresses the issue of mistrust in a humorous way, but, it points out that it is common to experience a certain level of doubt or skepticism in life. That is easy to understand when we know that there are no perfect human interactions and that people may break their word despite their best intentions. We take that human understanding into our relationship with God. We want to believe. We want to trust a loving God to take care of us. We want to … but…

Is faith doable? It is, but I believe that it is a process. We begin by seeking God and looking for Him to show Himself in our lives. We begin to watch Him work and, over time, we see His faithfulness. I believe that He understands this and rewards us for each small step of trust that we take!

Sunday’s message, I Wonder…Is Faith Doable, came at the exact time that I needed it. I found out just last week that the job that I love so much is coming to an end. Our corporate team has changed its mind about developing a division of the company in Charlotte and has put our assets up for sale. I was heartbroken to learn this, yet, I am living by faith. That means that I need to trust that God is allowing this door to close because He has something better for me. Does that make me less sad? No. Does it lessen my concern over how I am going to pay my bills? It should, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that the enemy of doubt brings it up again and again. It does, however, cause me to recognize that God has taken me through many life changes and has proven faithful – Every. Single. Time. In fact, I have experienced such faithfulness from God that I was able to transition from panic to peace much more quickly that I would have several years ago. Am I perfectly peaceful? Only when I am able to silence the voice of doubt with the verse from Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” I will admit that I have to say it more than several times a day, but each day I say it less. I share this to say that as a Christian of over 30+ years, I am still learning what it means to live by faith – even though God has been absolutely trustworthy in my life! Yet, despite my shortcomings, I wouldn’t choose to live any other way. Each time we are tested – we grow. God gives us life. He gives it abundantly. He wants us to leap into his arms with reckless abandon. I, for one, am not there yet, but I can’t wait until the day that I am able to do that.

The process of faith is taking baby steps, proving that God is faithful and then taking larger steps until we finally leap without hesitation or reservation. I for one choose to live by faith not because I am faithful but because HE is. I can’t wait until the day that I ready to leap!

Are you ready to trust God?

Are you ready to take a baby step of faith?

Are you ready to leap?