life between sundays

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Spending time in prayer and in study and in silence before God, engaging in intentional spiritual disciplines, and committing ourselves to a rhythm of discipleship that naturally facilitates balance and simplicity, in a life filled with complexity, is such a Christ-like way to live.

But if I had to guess, if anyone gets cheated, it’s God. And you. And those that need you.

As resurrected people we live life between Sundays. On Sunday the Author of Life breathes life into us communally. We yearn for Sunday because on Sunday we come to the table. On Sunday we commune with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. And on Sunday we commune with one another as His church.

Yet the design of covenant is such that we experience communion with God in every facet of life. Our worship of God on Sunday is diametrically impacted (either positively or negatively) through our day by day, moment by moment worship of Him during the week. Our communal worship works in tandem with our daily spiritual practice (worship).

God exists in community. Father, Son, and Spirit. We are created in the image of God. Spiritually. We are spiritual beings.

Because of this, we too are created to exist in community. With God. And with one another. (Are we spiritual beings having a physical experience or physical beings having a spiritual experience? Yes.)

An amazing facet of why our God has given us to one another as His church is that we commune with Him and with one another. We share in, and engage in, life.

We are in need of recapturing the communal nature of faith (not solely Communion with a big “C” but communion at every level – though too often we lose the communal nature of Communion as we come to the table).

Communal worship on Sunday is the culmination of (and genesis of) our week, and works in synergy with the fundamental practice of spiritual disciplines throughout our rhythm of life.

The goal of which is a holistic way of living a life that honors the Father, and a way of life that looks more and more like Jesus.

We think of ourselves as being in pursuit of God. And certainly we do. Prayerfully we are.

But when we consume with wonder, into our hearts, that it is He who pursues us, the transformative reality of covenant relationship and living in sync with Him radically changes everything.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts.” – Colossians 3:2a (NLT)

Glory to God!

Jason Reeves

(This is a reworking of a previous post that I’ve submitted for a project a friend is working on that will include 52 communion devotionals.)

victorious in our salvation

alive in christ

In Luke chapter 4 we are given insight into the human and divine nature of our Savior as Jesus is led into the desert by the Spirit. During forty days of fasting (or at the conclusion of them depending upon your understanding of the text) Jesus is tempted by Satan. “‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ The devil then led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ The devil led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered, ‘It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:3-13).

Much could be said about this event in Jesus’ life and ministry. The fact that it occurred (when you consider Matthew’s account) immediately following the baptism of Jesus is significant. Jesus’ discipline and complete and total reliance upon God in fasting during this time powerfully speaks to us. Jesus’ response to each test while abiding in God’s Word is crucial. Certainly Satan’s distortion of Scripture in Jesus’ testing is something that should be emphasized. But what I’d like for us to consider are the reasons behind the specific ways in which Jesus is tempted/tested.

“If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Notice Satan’s condescension: “If….” Did Satan know that Jesus was God’s Son? Absolutely. Did Jesus know? You better believe it! Was there anyone else present for this conversation besides the two of them? No. So why begin with question? He’s testing Jesus’ character! And why bread? Because of Jesus’ hunger? Yes. But even more so, if ever there was going to be a moment where Jesus was susceptible and fragile in His humanity this would have been it. Our Lord, however, stood firm. And why the temptation of the kingdoms of the world? Power. Prestige. Authority. Ego. The temptation of salvation while falling from the pinnacle of the temple? Along those same lines: Pride. Arrogance. Ability. Worth. The writer of Hebrews acknowledges that Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). And we see this reality clearly lived out in our Lord’s life in His testing. But in doing so, do we to see our own humanness as we are tempted by Satan every day as well?

John the Apostle writes, “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). Precisely the three areas in which our Savior was tempted.

We are in such dire need of salvation. So God sent us Jesus. But He sent Christ not only to save us, but to show us. To show us how to live victorious in our salvation.

Glory to God!

Jason

life between sundays

worship, word

Spending time in prayer and in study and in silence before God, engaging in intentional spiritual disciplines, and committing ourselves to a rhythm of discipleship that naturally facilitates balance and simplicity in a life filled with complexity, is such a Christ-like way to live.

But if I had to guess, if anyone gets cheated, it’s God.  (And you.  And those that need you.)

As resurrected people we live life between Sundays.  We yearn for Sunday because on Sunday we commune with God the Father, Son, and Spirit, and we commune with one another as His church.  But the design of covenant is such that we experience communion with God in every facet of life.  Our worship of God on Sunday is diametrically impacted (either positively or negatively) through our worship of Him during the week.  Our communal worship works in tandem with our spiritual practice.  Worship on Sunday is not the culmination of our week but rather works in synergy with the fundamental practice of spiritual disciplines throughout the week.  The goal of which is a holistic way of living a life that honors the Father, and a way of life that looks more and more like Jesus.

We think of ourselves as being in pursuit of God.  And prayerfully we are.  But when we consume the wonder into our hearts that it is He who pursues us, the transformative reality of covenant relationship and living in sync with Him radically changes everything.

“Let heaven fill your thoughts.” – Colossians 3:2a (NLT)

What conversations, practices, and disciplines allow “heaven to fill your thoughts” as you live life between Sundays?

Glory to God!

Jason

satan’s native language

No Devils Allowed Sign

“When Satan lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar, the father of lies.” – John 8:44

As Christians I believe we easily acknowledge that Satan has one mission: To separate us from God.  That’s his mission.

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy.” – John 10:10

As believers we readily confess we have one mission: To connect others with God.  That’s our mission.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Satan never ceases in his attempts to derail our lives, our faith, our eternity.  However, not only is the enemy seeking to alienate us from God, he also attempts in every way to interfere in our relationships with one another.  To distance us from one another.  To create animosity or stress or distrust or anxiety within the community of faith.  Why?  Because it impedes our effectiveness.

He’s the “father of lies” remember?  He is the deceiver.  If he can convince us that disharmony (not disagreement, but disharmony) is acceptable, it limits our effective witness in the world.  When he is successful in deceiving us and convincing us that the enemy is a fellow believer with whom we have disagreement, the father of lies is “speaking his native language.”  Satan wants nothing more than to stifle momentum in Christ’s church.  And very often he accomplishes this not through outright sinful behavior, but by diverting our attention, and cloaking divisiveness in the shroud of religiousness.  The tension is such that if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.  When we allow the father of lies to whisper in our ears, we serve as conduits, as he shouts from the rooftops.  And very often, through well-meaning believers misguided in who the enemy truly is.

“If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other.” – Galatians 5:15

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12

Why do we so often play into Satan’s hand?

Glory to God!

Jason

fully aware of His goodness

sunrise

“…to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Does Jesus move you? 

Let me ask you in another way: When you contemplate the wonder of Christ, does you’re heart respond with emotion?

Perhaps it would benefit to ask it of yourself like this: Am I stirred when I consider what relationship with God through Christ brings to my life? 

In 2006 Barna Research was interviewing church leaders across the country in regard to church growth and church decline and as to what they attributed each congregation’s present experience.  Then, at the end of the dialogue, the interviewer would ask each leader one final question: “What does Jesus mean to you?”  The responses they received were honest and genuine: “He is my savior, my redeemer, my friend.”  Each response was honest and genuine, and yet, each was what we would expect.  Except when they asked it of a man who ministered in small, isolated church in the northwest.  When asked what Jesus meant to his life, the minister began to cry.  Incapable of even responding verbally.

Folks that’s the response of a life that’s abandoned everything for Jesus, and is fully aware of His goodness.

I believe too often we’ve been conditioned to respond void of emotion.  Our conditioned response is clinical.  Academic.  Detached.

When is the last time you’ve stood speechless before sunrays pouring through the clouds?  When were you last moved to tears in praising His name?  Have you ever been driven to your knees when singing, “I Stand in Awe”?

There are some who argue emotion challenges reverence.

I say, they’re missing out.

Glory to God!

Jason

Christian community

What a fantastic day we had together on Friendship Day!  I am so very grateful for every one of you who invested in our time together as a church family.  You invited friends and family, acquaintances and loved ones, those that you know very well and even those that you don’t (but who came to participate in our day together anyway).

God is at work in our fellowship.  He is active in our faith.  He is present in our worship.  And He is revealed in all of the facets of church life that we experience together – every day! – and He was revealed in a wonderful way in the things that we were about last Sunday.  I am humbled and thankful to be a part of such genuine fellowship and honest community.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes that “the church only exists when she exists in community.”

As Christ’s church we are created to exist in community with one another.

Our communion with God is predicated in His divine nature.

To accept the Trinitarian nature of God is founded upon the basis of faith.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit exist in community.  They are three and yet one.  As well, we are created in the image of God.  We are spiritual.  We are created with a spirit within.  We have a spiritual nature.  We are spiritual beings.  And a central facet to our being created in the image of God is that we are created to exist in community.

We are wired in such a way, by God, that we possess an innate need for communion.  Not Communion with a big “C,” but communion (although the communal aspect of Communion is too often lost in our theology and practice).  We are communal beings.  Just as God the Father, Son, and Spirit exist in holy community (communion), so too we are intrinsically designed, spiritually, that we are only whole and complete when we go about living life founded within active communion.  Communion with God.  And communion with one another.

When we engage in this sort of life we come closer to living into the prayer that our Savior prayed the night before the cross: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).

Glory to God!

Jason

as perfect as i supposed myself

“I have tried the pharisaic plan, and the monastic.  I was once so straight, that, like the Indian’s tree, I leaned a little the other way.  And however much I may be slandered now as seeking ‘popularity’ or a popular course, I have to rejoice that to my own satisfaction, as well as to others, I proved that truth, and not popularity, was my object; for I was once so strict a Separatist that I would neither pray nor sing praises with any one who was not as perfect as I supposed myself.  In this most unpopular course I persisted until I discovered the mistake, and saw that on the principle embraced in my conduct, there never could be a congregation or church upon the earth.”

– Alexander Campbell, 1827

Glory to God!

Jason

the gratitude we embrace

Corrie ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, relates an incident she endured as she and her sister, Betsie, were housed at the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck.  Upon entering the barracks, they found them deplorable, extremely overcrowded, and flea-infested.  The Scripture reading that morning came from 1 Thessalonians.  From a smuggled Bible quietly verses 16-18 of chapter 5 were whispered to the group.  “Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”  Betsie encouraged Corrie that they should stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.  Every detail.  Even the fleas!  Corrie at first flat refused, but Betsie persisted.  Finally, reluctantly, “Father, thank you for the fleas.”  During the next several months at Ravensbruck, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible studies and meet together.  They prayed and quietly worshipped with minimal Nazi interference.  Finally they came to learn how they had been so blessed as to have lived with such little intrusion… the guards had refused to enter the barracks because of all of the fleas!

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Matthew Henry in the late 1600’s was attacked and robbed.  Later he wrote, “Father, I thank Thee first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

Helen Keller, blind and deaf from birth, once wrote: “I thank God for my handicaps.  For through them, I have found myself, my life’s work, and my God.”

“Be joyful always.  Pray continually.  Be thankful to God in all circumstances….”

The thankfulness we exemplify in life reflects the relationship we share with our Lord, the objectivity and perspective we have of life, and the gratitude we embrace in His love for us.

Glory to God!

Jason

let the chains fall away

My beautiful bride and I leave for Tulsa Town today.  Our annual trip to the Tulsa Workshop.  We’re so very excited.  This years theme: “Let the Chains Fall Away!”

We’ll be blessed by Terry Rush.  Challenged by Jeff Walling.  Convicted by Randy Harris. 

We’ll get to spend some needed time with one another.  We’ll share with Allan and Carrie-Anne.  We’ll pal around with friends in ministry, many we only see face to face once a year.  We’ll worship with thousands and pray with those with whom we are close. 

After several years of discussion, it was at the Workshop in 2004 that we finally made the decision to transition into ministry.  It was seven years ago this week that we finally pulled the trigger.  We had been at the Workshop all week, and on Sunday morning went to worship at the Memorial Drive Church.  At the end of his message, Terry said: “I know that there are those here who already minister in many ways.  And some of you have even thought about and talked about full-time vocational ministry (he had my attention)….  If that’s you could I talk to you for a minute?  Would you stop talking about it and just do it???” 

I just put my head down.  That was it.  Without me saying a word Tiersa leaned over and whispered, “When are you resigning from the department?” 

And so every year we come back.  Every year we reflect upon our journey thus far and talk about the journey ahead.  We refocus.  We recommit.  And we come home renewed and excited about what God is going to accomplish in our lives next.  Whatever that is….

Glory to God!

Jason