Stepping Up For Growth

When you step up for growth you step into more of the fullness of God. As you go higher with your faith, the character of Christ grows deeper in your soul. We all come to Christ as spiritual babes-mere infants in Christ because we're "born again." But infants needs to grow. 1 Peter 2:2-3, reads: Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. Naturally, milk is for babes, and meat is for the mature. Christian babes need the spiritual milk of the Word...so they can grow in their salvation. I am a subscriber to Essence magazine, but it doesn't do the body good from a spiritual perspective. Stepping up is growing up your faith. For Christians to grow up in their faith, they need to crave the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God. Peter tells us in the scriptures that when you truly taste Him (Jesus), you will crave Him. But, Babes need to mature before they can eat meat. For example, I have watched parent's sometime let their babes suck on a small piece of meat because they didn't have teeth to chew met. Growing babes don't need milk anymore, but don't have teeth to eat meat. Many believers are "betweener." they don't need spiritual milk, but they aren't ready for the meat of the word of God. The "milk" of the Word refers to what Jesus Christ did on earth - His birth, life, teaching, death, burial, and resurrection. The "meat" of the Word refers to what Jesus Christ is now doing in heaven as our high priest . We grow... on the basis of His unfinished work in heaven. There comes a time when Christians need to be weaned off of the milk. Stepping up for growth is advancing beyond the elementary teaching of the Word. We know that milk is not adequate for a growing child, it won't put meat on their bones, it won't strengthen their muscles, and it won't provide all of the needed nutrition. In the same way, growing Christians will need to advance beyond the basic knowledge of their faith, and began going deeper into what it means to be a mature Christian. Growing up is not without its challenges. Just like there are natural barriers between infancy & maturity, there are natural barriers to spiritual growth. The reason we have so many betweeners is because of the natural barriers to spiritual growth. The moment you decide to grow, you will discover that it takes Commitment. Commitment is a HUGE barrier for people today. People want relationships, but not marry; people want to attend Church, but not join the church. Spiritual growth starts with one commitment after another, after another. The next natural barrier is Consistency. When you commit to grow to the next level, you need to stay Consistent. Consistency is what accelerates your spiritual growth. Commitment is good, but Consistency is key! Another natural barrier to our growth is a spiritual rut. Even when you commit & when you're consistent, you can fall into a spiritual rut. When that happens, you shake up your commitment & shake up your consistency with a challenge. From time to time, we need to be challenged in our spiritual walk. We need to be challenged in our commitments. We need to be challenged in our consistency. We need to step it up. That's what challenges are all about. Here's a rule of thumb about spiritual growth, you have to take responsibility for it! What is the next step you need to take right now to accelerate your spiritual growth? 

Taking My Faith to The Next Level

Beginning in March, I kicked off a brand new teaching series called "Step Up," because God wants you unglued & unstuck from anything & everything that keeps you from taking your faith to the next level. At the next level is where you will trust God more than you do right now; the next level is where you will find enough courage to face your fears; the next level is where you will stop dragging the same old sin into every new season of your life. At the next level, victories will come a little easier, and you will discover that success is not based on what you got, but who you got! I am challenging you to step up for God, and take your faith to the next level, because every time you climb to the next rung of your faith in Jesus Christ, you shine brighter & brighter in the world. There are important moments in life when you need someone to challenge you, and push you to step up. When was the last time someone got into your face and really challenged you to step up your faith? When was the last time you sat down and set some spiritual goals for yourself? You got health goal, career goals, and relationship goals, what about spiritual goals? I want this series to be a challenge for you to wake up and step up spiritually.

It's going to look a little bit different for each person. If You Take Nothing Else From This Blog, Take This: There is another level of faith, glory, favor, and power waiting for you to discover, if you are willing to go to the next level! Read the foundation verse for this teaching: Phil 3:7, 8- 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. The writer, the apostle Paul took successive steps that put him at the level he needed to experience the fullness of God in his life, and we are challenged to have the same mindset. To do that.... You must be willing to LOSE to gain. Paul was willing to lose & gain: He had a great reputation as a scholar and a religious leader. He was proud of his Jewish heritage and his religious achievements. All of these things were valuable to him; he could profit from them. He had many friends who admired his zeal. He might have risen to the highest posts of honor in his native land because of his ambition and drive. But he measured these "treasures" against what Jesus Christ had to offer, and he realized that all he held dear was really nothing but "waste" compared to what he had in Christ. His own "treasures of success" brought glory to him personally, but they did not bring glory to God. Paul was willing to lose whatever was gain to him personally apart from God. The gains that he saw as an advantage, were an obstacle to his Salvation. In Mark 8:36-37, Jesus said: What good is it for a man to gain the whole world...soul? When you step up... you will lose everything in your life that doesn't conform to Christ. But I got good news...you will gain the surpassing knowledge of Him! You go to the next level in your faith when you admit your dependency on Him. It's easy to say but hard to do. We were not created to be in control of our life, we are suppose to depend on God. You admit your dependency of God & remove the barrier called SIN between You & God. Sin builds up a wall between us and God that prevents us from experiencing God's presence, and power in our life. Sin is a dangerous thing. It is something that every one of us deals with. Sin is weight that will hinder you from taking your faith to the next level. Sin can be described as things we do that God wishes we wouldn't. Listen to what Paul wrote: Phil. 3:8, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. The statement, "My Lord" expresses a close personal communion between the apostle and the Savior, and between you & the Lord. Sin is a barrier between us & personal communion with the Lord. How can that barrier be removed? Confess your sins to God. Confessing your sins to God simply means admitting that you messed up. When the barrier called SIN is removed, you can confidently take your fears to God. Fear may be the greatest barrier to stepping up in your faith. Fear paralyzes. It causes doubt and feelings of uncertainty. Fear takes your focus off of God & place it on your struggles.... You might be afraid or even frustrated right now. You make have stepped up in the past just to be knocked back down...failure isn't final & the past don't equal the future. Admit your dependency on God & cast all of your cares on Him! How? By taking everything to Him with prayers. You can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength. Stepping up for God maybe the decision to say yes to Jesus for the 1st time. It might mean to get baptized and become a member of the Church. It could mean spending time in prayer & bible reading every day. Stepping up could mean honoring God with your finances. May be you should step up by surrendering your fear to Jesus. I don't know what it is, but whatever it is, I want you to take the next step of faith right now.

                                   

Desperate

Do you remember the last time that you were DESPERATE? If you do, you will relate to the woman in story, found in Mark 5:25-34. Her constant hemorrhage of blood beyond her normal period was a disaster. It left her anemic, weak, breathless, and hardly able to walk. Because of the issue of blood, she was ceremonially unclean which made her an outcast of her society and seeking treatment for the disease exhausted her livelihood, making her DESPERATE. Her DESPERATION was a crisis of hope! She had faithfully placed her hope in physicians and medicine, but it didn't cure her. She spent all that she had and was still getting worse... recipe for hopelessness. There was no "health insurance" or an emergency room she could go too.
When you place your entire hopes and dreams in someone or something other than the Lord, you will experience hopelessness and despair. In her desperation, she discovered that Christ was her only hope. He is hope for the hopeless, and the hope of glory! You will face desperate times, but you don't need to face hopeless times because the Lord is a stronger tower where the righteous run to and are SAVED! Her DESPERATION met determination! She was determined to let nothing keep her from coming to Jesus! She was desperate enough to risk it all! She had "Scandalous Faith." What she was about to do would have been considered shameful, shocking, or disrespectful. She was so determined that a religious label couldn't deter her. She was considered to be ceremonially unclean because of her bleeding condition, which meant everyone she touched was rendered unclean- even Jesus. But. she thought if she could just touch the hem of His garment...she would be healed.
Are there any believers out there with scandalous faith? God is looking for Christians who are willing to get radical about their faith. This woman's DESPERATION was God's opportunity! God will use DESPERATION for His good! For most people, God is the choice after they have tried every other choice. Like the woman in the story, they turn to the Lord when all else has failed! Her infirmity caused her to seek out Jesus. She had nothing to offer but faith! She said within herself, "If I can just touch the bolder of his garment.....healed," and she touched it and He felt it! There were a lot of people in the crowd that day who were pressing up against him, but she touched him. In the crowd were spectators...they only wanted to see him; there were fans...they only wanted to be around him ut she touched him, because she placed her trust in him.
The Lord wants to seize the opportunity to turn your DESPERATION into RESTORATION. If there is anything that you have been struggling with on your own, find the faith to bring it to the Lord. He wants to loose you from your infirmities.

Church Address

Pastor Loyd Johnson

GATEWAY CHURCH      

3702 Buena Vista Road

Columbus, GA  31906     

706-687-5156

 

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2017-12-15 03:15