James And Jude

Steve Arterburn

Do you have an older sibling?  It can be difficult to live up to the high standards set by older brothers and sisters.  It can be equally difficult, and sometimes more painful, to live down the reputation of a notorious or embarrassing older sibling.  James and Jude are two men in the Bible who had to deal with both challenges.  Their older brother Jesus was both perfect and, in their minds, embarrassing.

Jesus must have been a hard act to follow, don’t you think?  It may have been difficult for James, Jude, and the rest of their siblings to feel close to their wonderful, though different, big brother.  

After Jesus’ public ministry began, his brothers James and Jude seemed to take a stand-back-and-watch attitude.  One day Jesus would do great miracles and be acclaimed as a hero.  The next, he would present a convicting message and offend the powerful religious and political authorities.  In the end, he angered too many people and was sentenced to death.  He’d claimed to be not only the promised Messiah but also God himself!  No doubt, James and Jude thought their brother had gone off the deep end.

Yet the resurrection of Jesus overcame the doubts of his younger brothers, who later became leaders in the early church.  Both brothers are remembered for the letters in Bible they wrote.

This same power that transformed James and Jude can transform you, too, and turn you from an unbelieving cynic to a faithful follower of Christ.

Worship

Steve Arterburn

Worship is a way of life.  Worship isn’t simply what you do for God in church; it’s also who you are for God in the world.  

So how can you bring worship into you daily life?  Let’s consider some suggestions from another man’the apostle Paul. In chapter twelve of his letter to the Romans he gives us some good counsel.

First he says you need to allow God to transform your mind.  In this way, your allegiance is transferred from the world to God.

Second, he tells you to serve others with your gifts.  This displays God’s glory as your Creator.  You should rejoice in these gifts and use them to accomplish God’s purposes.

And third, Paul says you need to be a reflection of God’s love and grace.  The second great commandment is that you love others as yourself.  Paul provides numerous concrete examples of how you can obey this commandment.  These aren’t simply humanitarian gestures.  They are acts of worship, acts that please and honor God.  Let me leave you with a few ways Paul says you’re to worship God.

Love each other with genuine affection
Never be lazy in your work
Be glad for all God is planning for you
Be prayerful
When God’s children are in need, be the one who helps
Get into the habit of inviting guests for dinner, or if they need lodging, for the night
Don’t try to act important but enjoy the company of ordinary people

Fulfilling Your Mission

Steve Arterburn

A life that’s been set free from sin is a beautiful sight.  When you turn from your sin and live a life more in tune with God, you testify to the glory of God and give others hope that he can change their lives.  You know that the suffering, affliction, and brokenness come from going and doing things your own way.  You know what its like to be enslaved to your passions.  Yet you should also know there is more to life than bondage’more to life than alcohol or pornography ‘more to life than envy and jealousy’more to life than work or football.  There is healing and freedom.  There is beauty and joy.  There is love, forgiveness, and mercy.

And you have the wonderful privilege of proclaiming this Good News to those around you, both in your vocal testimony and in the testimony of your life. I love the saying: Go out and preach Jesus to all you meet, and when necessary, use words.

When you surrender your life to Jesus, he’ll put you on a path of new life. Your salvation is assured, and now you will live a life of gratitude. You’ll change from the inside out because God got a hold of you. Others will notice, and God will be given the honor and glory.