What is non-negotiable for your faith?

7 Essentials for the Christian Life

By Dennis Rainey

If you’ve ever purchased a car, you’ve seen the owner’s manual. It’s the book that tells you about the “non-negotiables” for maintaining the car. These are things like changing the oil, filling the tank with gasoline, topping off the transmission fluid, and having tires with adequate tread. We spend a lot of time making sure these non-negotiables are done so that when we get in the car, it runs properly.

The same principle is true for the life of a believer. We must spend time on the non-negotiables so that our lives may glorify God. But what are the non-negotiables? They must be defined in order to maintain and fulfill them. In seeking the Lord, I have discovered what I believe to be 7 non-negotiables for life. Each principle is centered on the Lord, bringing the glory to Him alone, and the fulfillment of each is essential to the healthy Christian life.

1. Seek God, not sin. Amos 5:4

God is the life-giver. We will find life in no other. But as sinful creatures, our hearts are naturally prone to wander from our Creator. Our souls were made to pursue God, know God, and walk with God – nothing else. It’s only as we pursue Him that we live. In the book of Amos, God tries over and over again to get the attention of His people. He allows them to experience famine, drought, and pestilence and yet, as God says in Amos 4:11, “you have not returned to me.” But Amos 5:4 reminds us of where life is found. God says, “Seek me that you may live.” These words should get our attention. We will only find life in seeking Him.

2. Fear God, not men. Proverbs 19:23

Our God is holy and is the Lord God Almighty. When I think of the power He holds, I can’t help but fear Him and hold Him in reverential awe. Do you care more about what men think of you than God? Then learn to fear God, and you will be preoccupied in walking in His presence, not wondering what other people think of you. You will begin to live your life in light of eternity, and the temporal views of men won’t matter anymore.

The fear of the Lord also keeps us from evil and sin. A.W. Tozer writes, “It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.” When we lose the fear of God and don’t respect Him and His commandments, we are going to live our lives without accountability to God and one another, which is the cause of a number of sins.

3. Love God, not the world. 1 John 2:15-17

What is the object of your affections? Power? Recognition? Hobbies? Not too long ago, I visited an unbelievable house, and as I walked around it, for just a moment my thought was, “I could have had a house like this.” But I was reminded that a house is not what life is all about. The world is seeking to seduce us into a love affair, but we must love God and be preoccupied with pleasing Him alone.

When I first fell in love with Barbara, no one doubted that I loved her; I was preoccupied with pleasing her. We must also love His people and be concerned about their eternal destiny. We must look at them with compassion, like Jesus, and be moved with action to do something for them. Those who love God will do what He wants and be concerned about His mission and His will, and they will fulfill His calling.

4. Believe God, not the deceiver. John 8:44

In 1938 a man in Long Island ordered a very expensive weather barometer. He unwrapped it and realized that the arrow that was supposed to reflect the weather he was experiencing was stuck at the bottom, pointing at “Hurricane.” So he slammed it down a few times, and when it didn’t respond, he wrote a hot letter to the manufacturer and mailed it off on the way to work. When he came home, he found that a hurricane had hit, and everything was gone.

As believers, sometimes we don’t want to believe the truth. When life and Scripture collide, which one do you believe and trust? The deceiver wants us to believe the lie. Will you believe God? The Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God, but our nature is to move toward unbelief. Never forget that your adversary is the father of lies. He wants to destroy you, so he works to make us doubt the promises and to accuse the brethren.

5. Obey God, not your appetites. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Our appetites are the passions that we have within our flesh, contrary to the spirit, craving and battling to be satisfied. If you give in even the slightest to these desires, the enemy can use that to launch an attack in your life. At the same time, the same trivial act in obedience to God may be used to launch a powerful life-changing ministry. Our passions must be subordinated to the cross.

Obedience to God demands two main things. It demands courage to say no to self, no to appetites, no to lusts of the flesh, no to what’s easy, and yes to carrying the cross. It also demands faithfulness – the plodding endurance to God, to his call, and to that which He calls you to suffer. Only by yielding to the cross can you obey God, not your appetites.

6. Serve God, not self. Isaiah 6:8

The concept of becoming a “bond slave” in the Scriptures means that we are the slaves, and He is the master. That means that we must surrender completely, without reservation. Many would see this type of service as lowly, and it is humbling, but it should be seen as a privilege to serve such a loving Lord. In 1972, in the first year of our marriage, Barbara and I decided that before we would give anything to each other we would surrender our lives in writing to Jesus Christ, giving Him everything we ever dreamed of having. We gave it up and gave Him the contract and title to our lives. Looking back at that day, I see now we gave Him nothing, but I am amazed to see that He has given us everything in return.

7. Worship God, not comfort. Habakkuk 3:17-18

I don’t know anyone who enjoys suffering, but I do know many who have benefited from the growth that occurs as a result. Are you celebrating God and worshiping Him in the midst of your pain or do you seek comfort by escaping it? When suffering comes, you must move through the pain to the God who allowed it to come to fruition. When you escape, you miss the comfort God gives in the midst of that pain.

Barbara and I have given thanks for short paychecks, for the deep waters of misunderstandings and unmet expectations, for a teenage boy with muscular dystrophy, for the loss of friendships due to the call of God – the list goes on and on. Pain has pressed us against our Savior and reminded us that we are not in control. Pain results in growth and greater fruitfulness for Him. We worship God through music, prayer, God’s Word, and baptism. But we should also worship God in the midst of suffering and pain.

These 7 non-negotiables are the basics for the solid Christian life, and if any of them are neglected, we will be the ones to pay, not God. Now that you know what the non-negotiables are, why don’t you sit down in a quiet place and meditate on the areas where you are taking good care of your spiritual life and then ask the Lord to show you the areas where you need help. And then choose a close friend or accountability partner and share with him or her the areas where you need help and prayer. Soon, you will begin to experience a healthier life – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

 from ©FamilyLife, www.familylife.com. All rights reserved.

Wednesday Night Bible Study

7pm

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
 2 Tim 2:15

A journey through the Old Testament, the root of our faith, the history that leads us to our Savior and gives us a moral
compass to apply to our personal walk with Jesus.

Prayer Requests

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Prayer Requests

Calvary Chapel in Coral Springs is a House of Prayer.

Be aware that in addition to the submitted prayer you will receive from this prayer wall, all prayer requests submitted on this page are printed, read and lifted up to the Lord at our weekly Monday Night Prayer Service.

When you pray for one of the requests below, be sure to click on the I prayed for you button so that we can let the requester know how many times their request has been lifted up.

[pb-requests]

Prayer Night

Monday Nights 7-8 pm

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’…
Matt 21:13

At Calvary Coral Springs we believe that everything we do should be bathed in prayer, which is why before every service our intercessory prayer ministry meets together to pray and intercede for the work that God is doing in and through our fellowship in the service for that day.

We meet every Monday at 7:00pm for a weekly prayer meeting to pray for all the needs and requests that our fellowship may have.

It’s a powerful time of coming before the Lord on behalf of yourself or for someone else, we encourage you to be a part and join us, once you start you’ll see that you just cant stop!

New Year Resolutions

What would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and your church, your role as a leader, or simply as someone who wants to live a life of strategic Kingdom investment?

And specifically, what if they came from the Bible?

Though many more could be added, here are fifteen to consider:

1.       Pray more.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord…‘Not by might nor by power,  but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

2.       Invest in your spiritual gift(s).

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. (I Timothy 4:14-15, NIV)

3.       Get more intentional about evangelism.

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (I Corinthians 9:22, NIV)

4.       Care for yourself spiritually.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

5.       Make the tough decisions you know are best.

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24, NIV)

6.       Confront debilitating patterns of sin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).

7.       Do the hard work needed to build community.

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. (Matthew 18:15, NIV)

8.       Keep in touch with contemporary culture.

From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders…All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (I Chronicles 12:32, NLT)

9.       Quit comparing yourself to other Christians, other leaders, and other churches.

Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind.  When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You — follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” (John 21:20-23, Msg)

10.     Read more.

Timothy, please come as soon as you can…When you come, be sure to…bring my books,… (II Timothy 4:9, 13, NLT)

11.     Prioritize your family.

A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife,…attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:2-5, Msg)

12.     Refuse to use ministry to satisfy your personal ambition.

Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. (Jeremiah 45:5, NIV)

13.     Love people, not just crowds.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (I Corinthians 13:1-3, Msg)

14.     Be more open to change.

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

15.     Stay focused on the vision.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47, NIV).

This comes from a blog post by Dr. Emery White

People have a thousand reasons to stay away from church.

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GROWING TOGETHER TOWARDS LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS

“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

In Hebrews 10:19-25, the author makes a transition from great doctrinal teaching to applying that doctrine to the life of his hearers and readers. In the first part of this passage, the emphasis has been on the confidence the Christian has in Christ, namely how they can draw near to God through the blood of Jesus by holding on and treasuring the sufficiency of His work. The byproduct of this is found in Hebrews 10:24-25 with the focus being on how they are to stir one another up to love and refrain from neglecting meeting with one another.

These verses do not provide a foundation for us to be judgmental busybodies and make the lives of others a burden, but they do mandate we take a lively interest in the affairs of other believers. The writer states, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Let us consider. In other words, we are to study and implement methods to motivate one another towards godly living.

This means that no Christian can be an individualist.

You and I are our brothers’ keeper. We must give thought to how we can help other believers. We must consider the impact of our actions on the faith of others, often surrendering personal freedoms so as not to offend the weak. This alone provides an excellent reason to gather together so that we may be of benefit to others, encouraging them and taking care that they are standing firm as the day of the Lord approaches. This also provides a mandate for the types of practical ministries that help our churches make a powerful impact on other people’s lives such as men’s group, women’s groups, youth ministries, college ministries, single adult ministries, and marriage retreats, just to name a few.

A study of the verbs in Hebrews 10:24-25 offers a practical primer on how to be a good and helpful member of the church.

First comes the verb “consider” which has to do with your thinking.

We are accustomed to thinking only of ourselves, but our thoughts are better given to others. Ask yourself: Is someone I know doubting? Discouraged? Depressed? Struggling with temptation? We must give thought to the condition of those around us. If we are not doing this, we are nothing more than consumers of religion who are of little use for the eternal destiny of other people.

The next term “stir up”, means to incite or provoke or stimulate.

The way we live should be provocative to other Christians in the best sense of the word. They should be reminded of spiritual truth because of how we live our lives. We should “stir up” and provoke each other toward godliness. The result of our example should be love and good works in the lives of other believers. Ask: does the way you handle yourself provoke others to take seriously what the Bible teaches? Does your counsel cut against the grain of worldly logic and press home the claims and promises of God? Does your behavior set a helpful model for weak or new believers? If not, you are not making the impact you should for Christ’s work in the church.

We are also to “encourage” one another.

This action requires us to come alongside other people in a way that will strengthen them in Christ. Encouragement may mean bearing a load for them. It may mean prayer, companionship, or sharing your own conviction that God is faithful based on your experience of his loving care. The writer of Hebrews made this point in 3:13, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” We often overlook how threatened each of us is by sin and its deceptive character. Like climbers roped together on a steep mountain, like soldiers teamed together on a battlefield, we must keep track of one another.

People have a thousand reasons to stay away from church.

This is not a new problem. The early Jewish church had a fall off in church attendance due to persecution, ostracism, apostasy, and arrogance. Today, persecution and ostracism may not be our experience, but people find many other reasons to avoid church not the least of which is laziness. With that said, there are solid reasons why no one should forgo church.

The first reason we should not forgo church is the presence of Christ in the gathered church.

This is dramatically portrayed in the first chapter of Revelation as Christ, holding seven stars in his right hand, walks among the seven golden lampstands that are emblematic of the church. We meet Christ in a special way in corporate worship. It is true that a person does not have to go to church to be a Christian. He does not have to go home to be married either. But in both cases if he does not, he will have very poor relationships.

The second reason we should not forgo church is that not going will hinder your ability to glorify God in worship.

Congregational worship makes possible an intensity of adoration that does not readily occur in solitude. On the tragic level, a mob tends to descend to a much deeper level of cruelty than individuals. It is understood that the appreciation and enjoyment of an informed group of music lovers at a symphony is more intense than that of a single listener at home. This holds true for worship as well.

Corporate worship provides a context where passion is joyously elevated and God’s Word ministers with unique power. Martin Luther spoke of this when he confided, “At home in my own house there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”

The third reason we should not forgo gathering together is that not going will negatively impact your theology and doctrinal understanding.

Paul, in Ephesians 3:18, prays so that the church in Ephesus “may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Great theological truths are best learned corporately “with all the saints”. Theology is to be done by the assembled church.

The final reason we should not avoid church is practical.

For example, the second half of the 10 Commandments require relationship with others. You cannot love your neighbor and have holy relationships without being around people. Considering the famous triad in 1 Corinthians 13, one theoretically may be able to develop faith and hope while alone though even that is questionable), but not love! Developing love is a communal activity for the church. So for all these reasons, ontological, doxological, theological, psychological, it is impossible to be a mature Christian while voluntarily avoiding the corporate body of believers.

So how may we spur one another?

The author of Hebrews is pleading with his people not to make such a mistake because he knows they would not survive and neither can we: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

This idea of spurring one another on is an exciting concept because the word translated spur is extremely strong in its application. The phrase stir up is the Greek word paroxysmos from which we get paroxysm, a sudden convulsion or violent emotion. Normally, as in the rest of the New Testament, this is not a pleasant word. For example a sharp disagreement (paroxysmos) came between Paul and Barnabas. As used in Hebrews 9:24, the meaning connotes encouragement, encouraging a pleasant sense of prodding our brothers and sisters toward love and good deeds.

Here are some ways we can do this.

First, we must provoke each other by praying for each other by name for the development of volitional selfless agape love and for specific good deeds. If we do this, it will happen! It is as simple as that. Do you think your pastor or spouse or boss or others you come in contact with are grouchy? Pray that he or she will have an attack of niceness!

Second, we are to provoke each other by example. Oswald Chambers said, “It is a most disturbing thin to be smitten in the ribs by some provoker from God, by someone who is full of spiritual activity.” Jim Elliot wrote, “Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth. I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.” It is a fact that loving God and man and doing good deeds are more readily caught than taught. To provoke others upward by example is the high road indeed, one we must travel.

Third, it is necessary to provoke each other through God’s Word. God’s Word is the primer for love and good deeds. The more we internalize it, allowing God’s Word to flow through us, the more we will become conduits of its virtues and gentle examples and provokers of grace.

Finally, we have to take responsibility to verbally spur each other on through words of encouragement. You and I can change a life with a kind word. Encouragement is a Christian duty. Lives of provocation through prayer, example, scripture, and encouragement are gifts the church needs desperately.

And do it all the more as you see the Day of the Lord approaching.

Hebrews 10:19-25 is no insignificant text. The author wisely moves from instruction to application. So let us boldly draw near in prayer to God with a wholehearted sincerity. Our entire human spirit must be engaged in prayer and worship. Let us hold onto to the anchor of hope we possess in Christ. Our hope is in Jesus and is anchored in heaven, where he intercedes for us. This is no blind optimism but rather a tremendous reality. Finally, let us devote ourselves to the corporate church and do everything we can to provoke each other to love and good deeds.

If we do this, the church will ride high on every storm that comes and be bold before the throne of God’s grace and bold witnesses for King Jesus. As the body of Christ, we must do this more and more as we see the Day of the Lord approaching.

by DAVE JENKINS
source: http://blogs.blueletterbible.org/blb/2014/02/20/growing-together-towards-love-and-good-deeds/

What’s Right Inside Your Bible

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All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17

The greatest verse about biblical inspiration is also a great verse about biblical application. Second Timothy 3:16-17 not only tells us who gave us the Bible but also why it was given. God breathed out His Word for our benefit. Every part of it is profitable. Waiting in its pages is a wealth of blessings ready to teach, reprove, correct, and train us in righteousness.

We call the Bible “God’s Word” because it contains what He wants to say. He speaks into our lives through it. Each verse and every word accomplishes at least one of the purposes listed in today’s passage. No matter what our need, God has provided a response in His Word.

The Bible teaches us. The word used here has often been translated doctrine—meaning core teaching. Whatever we find in Scripture is truth that’s worth being taught. Every time we read it we should be asking, What is God teaching me in this passage?

God’s Word reproves us. It is the precision instrument of the Holy Spirit, often stopping us in our tracks through the conviction of sin. When the Lord says “Don’t” in Scripture, He always means, “Don’t hurt yourself.” He graciously reprimands us.

God’s Word also corrects us. It not only points out the wrong, it also provides the right response. The Bible straightens out our lives like nothing else. On our own we steer in wrong directions, but God consistently directs us in the way we should go.

Scripture trains us in righteousness. It is an unerring guide for the lifelong process of discipleship God wants to bring about. We will never outgrow our need for His guidance.

Truth, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness are all ways God brings light to our lives by His Word. When we need to see where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going, we have a trustworthy source of guidance in the book God wrote. This is the picture described in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

But there’s a catch in this great promise about the benefits found in Scripture. Note the last phrase in the verse: “. . . that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” All that God has for you in His Word may come to you if you dig into it. But if your Bible remains closed, though the benefits are all there, you have not accessed them.

Amazing things can happen when you open your Bible. Get familiar with it. Figure out how to find your way around. Ask for help. The spiritual maturity you long for will never be a reality until you practice regular, careful study of Scripture.

Becoming a competent disciple of Jesus—one who is equipped to carry out the tasks He places before you—will always involve His Word. When you are reading His inspired thoughts, the Lord is breathing into you His truth, loving reproofs, gracious correction, and the guidance you need.

Devotional by James McDonald