Unity in Christ Alone

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133:1

All throughout the New Testament we read about unity in the Body of Christ. In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul urges us to walk with humility and gentleness. He tells us to bear with one another and to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. David in Psalm 133 tells about how great it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity. We are called to be one body, one corporate man with Christ as the head. But how can we do this? How can the Body of Christ dwell in unity when we have so many differences?

You and I probably have different tastes in music, sports and even food. We like to spend our time doing different activities and we may even disagree theologically and doctrinally. How can we possibly dwell in unity when our personalities are so different? By setting all those things aside. We cannot do it in our own power. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, even dwell in unity. What do we have to do then to dwell in unity and be a true body? We must make Christ the center and main object of our thought and lives. This means to set aside our interests for our own personal lives. We’re no longer just individuals, we’re one body that stems from one head, that is, Jesus Christ.

If Christ is my all and Christ is your all then do we not have everything in common? True unity in the Body lies in Christ alone, not agreeing on some doctrine or tradition and not being a part of the same movement.

Plans for the Future

Hello and good day to all of you. It has been quite a while since I not only posted anything on here but wrote much at all with this blog in mind. Lately I’ve been taking some time off from blogging. It was an accident at first but it quickly became purposeful. I’ve really just been reading, studying and seeking the Lord. I’ve been learning a lot of awesome stuff from a few books on God’s eternal purpose and the Word. God has just been continuing to reveal Christ in me and in my wife and it’s been awesome.

During this little break from blogging I’ve decided to finally make plans to take this blog off of wordpress.com and move it to my own domain to have my own look and more control of the site. I’m currently designing a new theme for the site using the Genesis Framework, which I use for many of the corporate websites I develop for my day job at A2Z Computer Services. I’m pretty excited about it and I can’t wait to get all of your feedback on the new look when it’s ready to go.

The goal and purpose of the blog will remain the same. That is, I will simply continue sharing what I’ve been learning in the Word and will aim for Christ to be the center in all things. I hope to do more book reviews and start having guest bloggers on the site as well.

The only thing I’m really undecided on is the name of the blog. I love the name “Christ the Center” and it definitely fits the purpose of the blog perfectly but I’m considering changing the name. I don’t know. I suppose we’ll see what happens. I’m too indecisive sometimes.

As of right now I don’t have an exact timeline for when the new site will be up and when I’ll begin blogging again. I’m hoping that it will be sometime this Fall. I’ll keep you updated. Lastly, thank you to everyone who keeps up with my blog, gets in on the conversation and passes the posts around online. I hope that you see a glimpse of Christ on this site and nothing less.

Update 9/20/11

I have decided to continue blogging during this transition.

Stirring Up One Another

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25

How good are at this? In our individualistic society and a Christianity that tends to push the term “personal Savior” rather than focusing on the Body as whole, I would say most of us aren’t very good at this. I know that I’m not. I feel like I use to be but since God started teaching so much truth about Christ’s true centrality, church life and God’s eternal purpose there’s been more study than experience over the last two years. Don’t get me wrong. There’s been experience and there’s been Body life but overall I see that what the writer in Hebrews 10:24 states is an area in which I now find myself lacking.

Encouragement and stirring one another up goes hand in hand with meeting together. These people are even instructed to do this more and more as time goes on. Does getting together once a week, whether in a church service or in a house church meeting accomplish this? No. It’s not enough. The only way to truly accomplish this is to become part of each others’ lives, a true family. To share meals together, watch movies together, pray together, study the Bible together and encourage one in another in all of this daily.

So let us consider ways to stir one another to love and good works. Let us show one another the portion of Christ in us so that we may all grow in the knowledge of Him. And most importantly, let us seek God together and discover ways that allow us to do this more and more as time goes on.

How do you and others that you’re close with stir each other up in Christ regularly?

Rethinking How We View Hardships, Struggles and Challenges

I saw the following post this afternoon from Leonard Sweet on Google+:

19th century British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace tells of observing several cocoons, waiting for the moths to come out. One of the larger moths was beating desperately with its yet undeveloped wings to break out of the cocoon. After several hours, Wallace could not bear to watch anymore. so with a sharp knife he split the cocoon, freeing the moth from its desperate struggle. In the ensuing days, however, as he observed this moth, he discovered that it was not developing naturally. Missing were the beautiful tints and shades of color that should have come into its wings. The wings’ growth seemed stunted, underdeveloped, and in a few days the moth died, long before its time. Wallace discovered that his compassion was actually cruelty, since the struggle against the cocoon was nature’s way of strengthening and developing the moth’s wings so it could fly.

Wow. What a perspective on how we view hardships, struggles and challenges. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed for certain hardships to pass quickly to save myself some frustration. I wonder how much more I could mature in Christ if I embraced these times of difficulty and allowed God’s will to be accomplished without putting up a fight or taking the easy way out. Rest assured, the crucified life in not an easy one. Following Christ is a rough, bumpy road that’s full of potholes. Let us submit our anxieties to the Lord and leave them in His hands rather than getting impatient and picking them back up again.

What are you thoughts on the above passage?

A Pearl And A Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matthew 13:44

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. – Matthew 13:35-36

In this conversation that Jesus is having with His disciples, He is explaining what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. In other areas of the Bible, The Kingdom of Heaven is referred to as the Kingdom of God. Both of these phrases refer to the reign of God. I was reading these verses, trying to find some understanding to them the other day. After some discussion, prayer, re-reading and looking at another blog post, which unfortunately I can’t remember the source right now, my eyes were opened to something I had never seen here before

These two men went off and sold everything they had for these treasures and, which means that they were refocusing their lives around something new. Both recognized the great worth in these treasures. These items were worth more to them than everything else they owned. They were worth more than everything in this world that defined them. It doesn’t even seem like they hesitated or weighed the options in making this decision. The answer was simply too obvious.

The Kingdom of Heaven, the ultimate reign and supremacy of God, is greater than everything else that exists in our lives. What these parables tell us is that the reign of God, the eternal purpose that’s in Christ, is something that is worth centering our entire lives around. It’s worth forsaking everything we know, own and do. I don’t believe we necessarily have to sell everything we own to recognize and experience the life of Christ, although I do believe there are times and situations where God has His people do this. What I’m saying is that the Kingdom of God is greater than my little kingdom that I’m building with my job, home, talents, etc. Jesus Christ cannot be just some part of our lives. He IS our life. The Kingdom of God is not just some far off reality that we’ll experience when we die and go to Heaven. The reign of God is among us and it’s something that we not only experience for ourselves here and now, but we are also agents of the Kingdom, bringing it to others as Christ is living in and through us.

We need to recenter our lives around Christ everyday. Regardless of our daily to-dos, He must be the center, focus and source of all life. Though this may be a challenge sometimes, it’s not impossible. So let’s sell all we have in order to purchase something of greater worth. Let’s forsake our lives in order to know a greater life. That greater life is Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. The reign of God is worth more than we can give up. It’s all or nothing.

Having the Mind of Selfessness

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. – Philippians 23-7

There was a time, a few years ago, when I would read the second chapter of Philippians almost everyday. I also encouraged others to read this everyday, first thing in the morning, to always have the humility of Jesus fresh in our minds and hearts. It’s been a while since I’ve read this, although today I opened my Bible back to this passage and began to prayerfully think it over.

Billboards and commercials tell me everyday that it’s all about me. That I should do this for myself and that for myself and I can live a happy life. Well, they’re wrong. This mindset they’re trying to sell me is poisonous and it’s an epidemic in much of our society. The truth is that I’m not good enough and these cars, meals, vacations and all the other deals of the day can’t change that fact.If my life is spent serving and working for myself then I will die regretting every day that I lived.

So how do we keep from living a self-centered life? Only by Christ living in and through us. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that we have the mind of Christ. In his letter to Philippians, Paul says to have this mind of selflessness, of seeing others as better than ourselves. He also states that this mind is ours in Christ Jesus. As with everything else in this Christian life, we have nothing apart from Christ. He is our example and our life source. We follow His lead because of His life that He brings us into.

This life of of seeing others as more important than ourselves can really be a battle in a world that’s always looking out for “number one.” But be encouraged, knowing that it’s not impossible if we are in Christ, because we have His mind and His mind is humble.

Your Word Is A Lamp

Good morning blog readers. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on here, which unfortunately happens pretty often. But this morning I wanted to put a little something out so that you guys know what’s up. My wife and I have been crazy busy the past couple of weeks. We’ve been getting ready to move and with so much other stuff going on I just haven’t had the time to blog as I’d like. Sorry about that, although I know that there are a ton of great bloggers out there that can write much better than me :)

I will say this: I hope that you are all growing in the Lord and seeing Christ as the true center in all of life. Yesterday I was meditating on Psalm 119:105 where David writes “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” After a while of thinking about how important the Word is for us to go on, I was brought to considering how important Christ Himself is in order for us to go on. This of course brought me to the beginning of John where it’s stated that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” The Word that John is referring to, of course, is Jesus Christ.

After tweeting this verse, I received this reply from a brother in Christ whom I always find encouraging online:

This confirms, yet again, Christ’s centrality and supremacy. He not only leads us, but He also dwells inside of us and allows us to live from His very life. He lights our path and directs our ways. The Holy Spirit nudges us when we seem to have lost our way or have become blind in some area. Christ not only reveals truth, He is the Truth. He shows us the way by showing us Himself. Jesus Christ Himself is the way.

This was really encouraging to me yesterday in the midst of some of the positive chaos going on with our move and I hope that it can do the same for you. Jesus Christ and His riches are truly vast and extensive.