Posts Tagged 'persistence'

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit Your Need

John 15:1-9

Every year, we remember what God does for us, from the beginning of the plan (Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem) to the end (His return). Through it all, we see the example that Jesus gives as He lived. As we move through Advent, this year we’ll be looking at specific steps that will help us live the Christian life every day.

Have you found the Christian life to be frustrating? Try saying “I can’t…”

Parts of Your First Step

* Produce Produce! ~ John 15:1-2

  • We are EXPECTED to bear fruit! But HOW? Three possible ways to do this:
  • Plan A. keep the Law; (spoiler alert: doesn’t work)
  • Plan B. cling to grace/justification by faith (because plan A doesn’t work), or
  • Plan C. mix A and B (which is just A repackaged)

* Profess Powerlessness! ~ John 15:3-6

  • 3 Jesus’ word cleanses us (like a branch end must be clean to be grafted)
  • 4 focus is US being IN Jesus, not Jesus being IN us! Difference? We are to come into HIS presence; we enter into HIS Kingdom; HE CALLS THE SHOTS IN HIS OWN HOME
  • 5 this means we are powerless; (cf Matt. 5.6 abject poverty of spirit)
  • 6 look at the difference: a branch on its own has no life CANNOT bear fruit; a branch connected to the Vine has life (but not its own) – and THAT Life makes us able to produce!

* Persist and Preserve! ~ John 15:6-9

  • 7 “and my words remain” far too often, Christians focus on “ask whatever”, and forget the necessity of REMAINING in Christ and RETAINING His Word
  • 8 Farmers: how do you KNOW when a crop is ready for harvest? Don’t you INSPECT the fruit? We give ribbons at the county fair for brag-worthy crops; that’s our goal, too: to be blue-ribbon servants all for God’s glory (GOD is the Grower; we’re the Grafted)
  • 9 Don’t just visit: STAY because of LOVE

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability… (Deuteronomy 8:17-18a)

Apply step 1: Dear Father, I come to You today to acknowledge that I am powerless. I am fundamentally powerless – period! I am also powerless over the effects of my separation from You. Apart from Your intervention in my life today, I do not have the ability to be Yours.

Revived Thoughts Podcast 2


Some time ago, I was really blessed to be able to voice a minister from the late 1800’s named J.C. Ryle for the Revived Thoughts podcast.

It really was a devotional experience for me. It bolstered my walk significantly, and I told them that I was **really** looking forward to doing it again.

Well, apparently, they liked my interpretation, because it has been my honor to be selected as one of their regular voices. They wrote, “It’d work out well if you wanted to be our J. C. Ryle! If this is something you’re interested in, let me know.”

I let them know right away, and so for my second recording for them is the J.C. Ryle sermon, The Christian Race. I hope you’ll go over to Revived Thoughts, and give it (and the other excellent sermons) a listen!

God bless you as you seek to deepen your faith.

Lingering in Worship: Persisting

Lingering in Worship: Persisting Sermon Audio Here

Ezra 5:1-5; Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

Our eyes have a neat feature called “persistence of vision”. When light enters the eye, we see it… but we continue to see it even after it’s stopped. Ever watch a kid playing with a sparkler on the Fourth of July, and watch them draw shapes in the air? Your eyes “connect the dots” and you see something due to persistence of vision.
What do you see in your spiritual life? What is persisting in worship mean to you?

What Remains In Our Vision of Worship?

The Call to Carry On ~ Ezra 5:1-5

  • 1 prophets’ message: come to ME, get to work
  • 2 rebuilding temple work starts again
  • 3/4 enemies thought they’d won; Israel just on pause
  • 5 This time, even though a letter was written, they didn’t stop working; they kept rebuilding the temple
  • they persisted in the work necessary to worship

Christ Has Carried Us All ~ Hebrews 9:1, 11-15

  • 1 (see much of OT)
  • 11 temple in Heaven is REAL; earthly temple just a copy (still good, still used, but not the original)
  • 12 Jesus is the PERFECT sacrifice; ONCE for ALL
  • 13/14 our works of worship are temporary; Jesus’ are permanent
  • 15 “for this reason”: the new agreement that God made with us was to rescue us based on HIS righteousness, not ours, using HIS work of worship, not ours. The old temple rituals of sacrifice are fulfilled, and no longer needed

Christ’s sacrifice COMPLETES the work of worship; now, when we participate in worship, we’re not working or earning or proving anything: THIS is just about being in the presence of God together, reminding each other of where we are and Who we’re with.


Pastor Ed Backell

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