Tag Archives: Christlike

Go…wherever you are called, just go!

Just a few short hours ago I was flying over the Black Sea leaving behind a 10-day experience in Odessa Ukraine.  In those 10 days I was part of an amazing group of teenagers seeking after God’s heart while serving the people of Ukraine.  We came along side our brothers and sisters in Ukraine to provide a Bible Camp to 70 children from villages around Odessa as well as refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in the Eastern part of the country.  God moved through that camp and in the end, several children accepted Christ as savior and forever changed their lives and eternal destiny.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve my Lord in this country, and am blessed beyond measure to have the chance to help lead our teenagers as they discovered the joys and challenges of foreign missions.

Derek Belcher - IMG_0940On the flight home, I was reading a book that has sobered me to a painful point in my life and made me look at my past Christian walk.  I have been heartbroken by the choices I have made and where my priorities have been.  There is so much more I could do for the Lord and so many opportunities I have lost.  But I remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…”  God isn’t interested in what I haven’t done. He is focused on what I can do…today, tomorrow and the rest of my days.  In reading this book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, he made this statement: “Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples.  I wonder then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?  You’ll notice he didn’t add, “But hey if that’s too much to ask, tell them to become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”Derek Belcher - IMG_1175

That’s powerful truth, staring you in the face. If you claim to be a follower of Christ then you have to be willing to go wherever he leads you.  We have one super simple job…teach others to follow Christ, so they can join our super simple job – teaching others to follow Christ.  This mission experience reaffirmed this simple call in my life.  I love foreign missions. It’s scary and exciting to visit a new place, to learn about their culture and see how God uses their different approach to life to accomplish His purpose, bring glory to His name and develop personal relationships with those that trust Him.  But my heart is burdened beyond that.  I realized, this week, and through reading the gospels and this book that the call is there for all of us, whether it be in a place like Ukraine or around the block in your neighborhood.  If we really want to call ourselves followers of Christ, true Christians, it’s time to open our eyes and answer the call to go.  Go to the local outreach, go on the short-term trip, go to the next county or state, go wherever God provides an opportunity to share His message of hope through Christ.  Just Go…wherever that may be…just Go!

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Father, I thank you again and again for your love and mercy in my life. I thank you for the grace we see in you, and for the indescribable love you show each of us everyday.  I thank you that you are not concerned with what I haven’t done, but with what I can do for you.  Make me the disciple you want me to be.  I pray that I will never miss the opportunity to Go!  In your name I pray – Amen.

Playing Church

When we think of playing things, especially thinking back to our childhood, I would venture to say playing church isn’t what comes to mind.  In fact, I can remember playing just about everything else – cops and robbers, superheros, even school – for some weird reason.  From a young age, church was just that – somewhere you went and learned a little about the bible and then you came home to reality and didn’t really think about it until next Sunday.  While we didn’t intentionally play church, that is exactly what we were learning to do.

For so many people, church is the building.  It is an appointment on our weekly calendar.  We may be 100% faithful in attendance, and may be overly involved in the various activities, but all the while, still just playing the part.  For years, that was me.  Even today, there are times when I reflect on where I am with my walk and realize that I am playing more than I’m living.

Playing church is a dangerous game for non believers, and can be a major roadblock in the life of a believer.  For the non-believer it’s an eternal game changer.  The bible is clear that there will be many people who come before Christ and are surprised to find out that they never really had a relationship with him, but were simply “playing the part”.  Mathew chapter 7 is pretty clear that many people will cry out Lord Lord and he’ll respond with “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If you are someone who has played the church game, but never taken the time to really give your heart to Christ and be intentional in your faith in the finished work of salvation through Christ then this is where you are heading.  There are a lot of people out there that look like Christians but have nothing to show for it other than church attendance.

Playing church is also something a believer can do too, and I think that it’s just as dangerous.  When do we tend to slip up in work, or when we’re playing a sport, or whatever?  Is it when we are totally focused and thinking about the next move, or is it when we are cruising along and comfortable?  Most often, it’s the latter.  As a Christian, I find that I become the dirtiest when I am not moving or being intentional in my seeking to serve Christ.  It’s just like stagnant water.  It stinks.  It gets a film on it, has an odor, becomes cloudy, etc.  It’s no good.  It’s still water, but it’s not good for anything.  That is our life if we let up in our walk to be more like Christ.  When we are stagnant – who are we attracting?  No one.  It’s a domino effect.  We aren’t growing in our personal life, and we aren’t serving others or more importantly Christ.

So rather than playing church we should be living church.  Everyday, our mission should be to live in each area of our life for Christ.  Seek how to handle each situation and decision with an eye on how this may or may not bring glory to Christ.  When facing habitual sin habits, seek the power of the Holy Spirit to help us change direction and make a better choice.  Be intentional in our race to be like Christ.  This will produce an attitude of service and love in us that can’t come from anything else.

Lord today I confess that I have spent too many days playing church and not really living it.  I have been lazy and apathetic toward my walk with you.  I have let habitual sin drag me down time and time again.  I pray for your forgiveness of my apathy and my intentionally choosing worldly pleasure over serving you.  I pray that you will fill my heart with a desire to be more like you and to seek your face through prayer and study.  I pray that each choice I make will ask the question – how does this bring God glory.  I thank you that you are committed to my life and that your love has no limit or stopping point.  Thank you for helping me see my need to be more intentional in both my public and private life.  It’s in your name I pray – Amen.