Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Paying Twice or Paying Forward

It is very frustrating to discover we have paid twice for the same service. What frustrates even more is to have somone argue with us that the double charge is somehow justified.

We have all learned to live with hidden costs, extra charges, double taxation and special fees.  We simply cannot seem to keep up with all the ways mankind invents to siphon off more from us all.  We know paying twice happens, but we don’t have to time to argue with it.
Christianity is meant to be different.

Christianity is meant to be freely offered since Jesus has made Himself the full payment for everyone and everything Christian.  Even so, history is filled with second payment plans invented by Christian religious leaders and organizations. In some nations Christianity has even been funded by government taxes. Imagine that!

Wouldn’t it be great if the one place we could count on free service is in Christianity?  As hard as that is to imagine the entire Christian experience was designed by Jesus to be given away freely  by those who receive it freely.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. “  Matthew 10:8

Can you imagine how much we could charge for these specialized services?  Check out the size of the homes of faith healers and you will get an idea.
Jesus’ freely giving plan does not mean that no one pays a price for this system to work.  Jesus knew that His followers would freely and voluntarilly pay the price of free love in His name so others could freely receive.

Christian organizations should raise funds by focusing believers on Jesus’ generosity and abundance. There is no other plan that is truly Christian.
In a church community that is abiding in Christ, those who know they are freely receiving all from Jesus will freely give so others can freely receive as well.  Funding for love is only a problem when a Christian community doubts Jesus’ past and present  generosity. 

When we freely give as disciples we are paying forward out of Jesus’ generosity. We are not paying twice.  We are not the source of what we give.  Jesus is.
Start giving forward from this fact.  “Christ is all and is in all.”  Col.3:11

Stay away from those who argue one must pay twice for Christianity. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Living In The Jesus Environment

There is a story of an environmental struggle that made success impossible for the disciples.  Picture yourself in their situation in Mark 6:45-51
Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.  And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.  Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land, Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased.

No matter how they tried, the environment was against them. Yet, when Jesus came into the boat One greater than the surrounding environment changed everything.  When He came into the boat the surrounding environment ceased to be a problem and they were able to obey Jesus’ command to go to the other shore of the sea.

Environment matters.  Depending on what one is trying to do environment either helps or hurts.  Just ask people who live under corrupt governments if environment matters.  Just ask people who live under suffocating political oppression if environment matters. Rowing with wind in your face matters.

That is why the phrase “Christ in us” is so important to the Christian life.  Jesus’ presence creates in us an environment called the Kingdom of God.  Where Jesus is present,  people can reach amazing places and do wonderful things no matter what environment surrounds them on the outside.  Every believer can enjoy an inner environment called the Kingdom of God.  Even when the wind of circumstances is in their face they can do what He commands.

Every Christian should be a living from a personal, empowering Jesus environment.  When they do, the will of God will be done.  Wonderful things  will be accomplished for God’s glory.

With Jesus in the boat the wind of the Spirit is always at our back. 
Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Time Of Crisis

We experience crises along the way because it is in these times that our souls can truly learn to calm down, grow and expand in love. Cooperating with Jesus in a time of crisis is essential to spiritual growth.  Without cooperation with Jesus during a time of crisis our souls only grow more confused and distressed.

There are no sanctuaries in our world where we can flee from crises.  There is, however, the sanctuary of Jesus’ presence in us from where we can be prepared to face a time of crisis.

To survive and even grow in our time of crisis we must learn to live from the center of being-our spirit.  From our center in Christ we, by faith, believe that the Father will take care of the circumference of our lives in this time of crisis.  Jesus explains this center and circumference reality in Matthew 6:33-34. 
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its  own trouble.

Jesus’words in the passage are the final words on how to live in times of crisis.

To seek the kingdom of God we must live with our spirit under the complete control of Jesus.  We must give to Jesus our willingness for so He can  create within our spirits the kind of intentions that He wants to send out into the world through us.  We cannot divide this control with Jesus. It is all under His control or it remains all under our control.  There can be no partial control at the level of our spirit.

By breathing a simple prayer we can surrender our spirit to Jesus. We surrender by simply and sincerely saying “I am only Yours.” This posture of surrender lived moment by moment puts our spirit under the control of Jesus so He can manifest His love through us.

From this unified center with Jesus, Jesus by His Spirit can calm us and align our thoughts, emotions and will with Him.  The peace of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.  The happiness of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.  The love of Jesus will be ours in the time of crisis.

The circumference of our love for others will actually expand in the time of crisis when our center is unified with Jesus.  We will discover that a time of crisis is our best time for growth and love.

Jesus has already experienced and defeated the time of human crisis.  Now He wants to do the same in us and through us as we face our time of crisis.  Jesus is the sanctuary we go to in this world.  When He has us calm, aligned and ready, we will face the crisis with love for God and others.

Don’t hide in a time of crisis. Center in Jesus and be sent as He was sent into the world.

John 17: 18-19  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth
Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Discipleship 100% Jesus

“…Christ is all and is in all.” Col. 3:11
Discipleship begins in every believer at the moment of conversion when our permanent connection to Jesus by the Holy Spirit is sealed.  Discipleship  gains stability as we learn Jesus, gains power as we receive fully from Jesus by the Spirit and abundantly bears fruit  as we cooperate with Jesus continuously.  Anything less than discipleship 100% sourced and sustained in Jesus does not deserve to be called discipleship.

When we transform discipleship into courses attended, material understood and principles applied we are not discipling people to Jesus. Signing people up for discipleship, teaching them about God and demanding spiritual homework will inform but it falls short of spiritual formation.    Without taking a new convert to see, hear, love and live Jesus our system of discipleship remains much less than a Christian needs and the Father desires. The Father sent the Son, not a course. For this reason the apostle Paul said “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,…” Gal. 4:19

The way of discipleship is Jesus.  The truth of discipleship is Jesus.  The life of disicpleship is Jesus.  The destiny of discipleship is oneness with the Father and Son by the Holy Spirit.  This is why Jesus so clearly said in John 15:5  “…without Me you can do nothing.”

Discipleship is learning Jesus and the true teacher is the Holy Spirit. 
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” I John 2:20
The annointing for discipleship where Jesus is seen, heard, loved and lived is already on the life of every believer. At conversion we are eternally  “signed up” for the only discipleship that matters—100% Jesus.

To learn Jesus is to grow in our comprehension of who He is.  It is to  grow in our cooperation with what He wants.  Because of who He is and because He abides in us and we abide in Him, He wants to manifest His life through us to the world.  We are the branches He is the true Vine.  He is the Head of the church and we are His body.

We are eternally connected by the Spirit to Him. 

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” I Cor. 6:17
Accept nothing less than discipleship 100% Jesus. 
Bud McCord
Abide International