IF YOU COAST, YOU’RE TOAST

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11

We have become so accustomed to accepting apathetic behaviour that it’s now more common to be under-served in most endeavours of life.  When was the last time you walked away from a service situation and thought to yourself, “Wow, that was pleasant!”  From simply booking appointments, checking out of a business or eating at a restaurant, people seem bored to death.  Because they are.  True zest for life comes from knowing Jesus and growing in Jesus. 

Remember that He said He came to do more than just forgive us our sin.  He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Abundant life may be described as many things, but boring isn’t one of them.  I remember a time when my batteries ran low, dangerously low.  So, I set out to search the Bible for any keys on how to get my zeal back.  I learned several important lessons, not the least of which is that, God’s character is defined as “zealous.”  One of the passages that stood out to me was Isaiah 59:17 where God is described as “wrapping himself in zeal as a cloak.”

Boredom, laziness or indifference is a deeper problem than most assume.  It’s a matter of character.  When a person is apathetic, it signals greater personal crisis than most would assume.  At some level they have become weary of life.  They have lost hope.  Psychologists warn us that “indifference” can be masking passive aggressive pain.  The person who acts bored with the beautiful gifts of life is expressing an emotional ache in their soul. 

People with enthusiasm for life are increasingly rare.  But those who are, bring great hope to the rest of us.  AND it’s not just a personality trait.  I know people of all makes and models who evidence joy, zeal, and enthusiasm for life.  Make note this coming week in Mississauga how few people smile at one another.  It’s hard enough to get people to speak to each other let alone smile.  There is an evident lack of joy in our world. 

Let me transition to the most important area of life that requires your best effort; your faith in Jesus.  If an athlete can bring high levels of commitment to their sport, why can’t Christians bring more?  If an entrepreneur can bring great sacrifice to the table, why shouldn’t Christians bring more?  If an entertainer is willing to lay it all on the line to climb to the top of their profession, how much more the Christian?  That’s the issue, isn’t it?  It’s because athletes, salesmen, and entertainers really love what they do. 

Jesus is described in the New Testament as our “life.”  He is the source of life and the strength of life.  As a point of fact, Christians bring doubt upon their true commitment to Him when they coast through their Christian life with a half-hearted attitude.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

We are all weary from the last two years of crisis upon crisis in our world.  So, rest, pace yourself, heal up, but for goodness sake don’t become bored, checked-out and indifferent to Jesus.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

Join me at one of our Sunday morning services (9AM or 11AM) to fan the flames of your passion for the Lord.  He is stoked about hearing from you.  He is waiting to receive your heart-felt, impassioned worship.  If you coast, you’re toast. 

Agape church family,
Pastor Deric


GREATEST Father

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the men in our church family!  We are thankful beyond measure for each one of you.  My prayer is that you will be encouraged today.  May you be built up in faith as you reflect on the blessings of the Lord in your life.

Next to being a husband, being a DAD is the highest honour of my life.  I used to tell my kids that the best gift I could give them was to love their mother.  And I do!  Our little family started in the tiny coastal town of Machias, Maine, where our first, a daughter was born.  Then came three boys to finish off our little company.  They grew up and fell in love, got married and expanded our Bartlett bunch by double.  Now we are grandma and grandpa to eight wonderful little ones.  I’m a blessed father for sure!!  Now it’s a big busy family spread across the US and Canada. 

As a Christian, I come to Father’s Day with the deepest gratitude for the GREATEST FATHER imaginable.  Jesus taught us to address God the Almighty as “our Father.”  It never ceases to amaze me that the God who created the world and all that is in it reveals Himself to us as “our Father.”  He’s our greatest ABBA.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to draw us ever closer to the heart of “our Father.”  The book of Romans explains it this way (Romans 8):

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” 

You don’t have to manufacture intimacy with God because the Holy Spirit is the one who draws you into the heart of God.  You just have to listen to Him and nurture the father-child relationship that He brings in salvation.  And then model Him to all who know you.

Speaking of modeling Him, one of the great characteristics of our God is His FAITHFULNESS.  The Bible describes it as GREAT.  “Great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3).  The New Testament likewise places a huge emphasis on God’s faithfulness.  It repeatedly states that “God is faithful.”  He will do what He says He will do.  He is consistent in everything that He does.  He cannot fail.  He does not “blow with the wind” of popular narratives. 

The conclusion is obvious brothers.  We need to be FAITHFUL MEN.  Faithful to Him.  Faithful to His Gospel.  Faithful to His teaching.  Faithful to His Body, the church.  Faithful to our families, which are His great gifts to us.  And let me remind you of the words of Solomon in Proverbs 20:6: “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”  He’s saying that lots of people will leave you with the impression that they are loyal and loving.  But the truth is that a faithful friend is hard to find.  So be that loyal and faithful friend. 

I’m looking forward to digging a bit deeper with you this coming Sunday into the idea of being FAITHFUL MEN.  My text will be 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.  See you at either the 9AM or the 11AM (identical services).  This Sunday we have a little surprise for all the men. 

Happy Father’s Day,
Pastor Deric