Questions & Answers from 3/15/15

Anyone can now text questions in during & following the service based on the sermon.  Those questions not answered after the conclusion of the service will be answered here in a Q&A blog post.  This is what this is.

Q: John 15:12 states to “love one another”  Is this only love for fellow believers or even those who hate you?

A: In Matthew 5:43-47 and Luke 6:27-35 Jesus answers that for us by telling us to “love our enemies” and goes on to expound on that.  He uses the Greek word “agape” (unconditional love) in both places just as he used in John 15:12.  So we are to love even our enemies, which is impossible in our own strength, but praise God, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us to be able to do so.

Q: Who were those who hated Jesus (John 15:18)?

A: Jesus said, if the world hates you know that it hated me before it hated you.  The world is mankind as a whole.  Romans 5:10 tells us how we were enemies with God when we were reconciled.  Luke 11:23 states that those not with Jesus are against Him.  Whether we realized it or not, before we were Christians we were enemies of God doing those things against Him because we served Satan, walking according to this world and according to Satan (Ephesians 2:2).  We know we fight not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12).  Satan hates Jesus and hates His children and thus those who are serving Him will do likewise (some more vocally and physically than others).

Q: Who killed Christ and who are the counterparts today?

A: In the literal sense, the Romans crucified Jesus and the Jewish leaders as well as the people asked the Roman government to crucify Him.  However, we know He willfully laid down His life and could have easily sent a legion of angels to destroy those seeking to kill Him if He wanted (Matthew 26:52-53, John 10:15-17, and other places).  We also know that it was our sins that He was crucified for so that we may have forgiveness and grace.  Our sin is what is deserving of punishment and Christ took that punishment for us, so in a figurative sense, we played a part in that crucifixion of Christ.

Advertisements

No Light in the Room? Have You Used the Switch?

Imagine: you’re sitting in a dark room wishing and hoping you could see what was in the room or that you could just simply walk around in it with out bumping into things.  No, there isn’t anything wrong with the lights, they work just fine.  In fact, they work amazing – never burn out, always turned on when used, and brightens the whole room beyond what you would need.  The issue isn’t even the power source or the switch – all is in working condition.  The matter is that you’ve just chosen to not turn on the lights.  You talk about how glorious it would be to see things in the room, but spending the time to go and turn on the light switch just isn’t worth it.  You’d rather do everything in your own power in the dark.  You’ve got a cell phone and it’s 6 inch screen of light works just fine.  You tell your friends of the potential of the room if the lights were on and you ask others to take interest in your room, but you just don’t bother to turn on the lights.

Crazy right?  And yet sadly this methaphor can describe many of us at times when it comes to our “light switch” we just don’t even turn on.

This light switch is prayer and maybe, more importantly, corporate prayer (praying with others).

Oh, I’m not saying you don’t have a prayer time or pray for your needs – please keep doing so.  But I’m specifically referring to that promise we find in Scripture when it comes to prayer, found in John 14:12-14:

Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.  And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” – Jesus [John 14:12-14]

We know that greater is not more spectacular but greater in number/magnitude impacted.  We also discussed that this promise of answered prayer is in the context of greater works for Jesus, it is to glorify Himself and the Father (not us), prayed according to what goes along with His nature (His name), and to those who are disciples of Jesus (not just Christian in name only but following Him, denying themselves).

We have a chance as believers to impact the world through prayer that will be answered.  Want to see more missionaries sent out into the field to places not reached?  So does God – pray & He will answer that.  Want to see your pastors and leaders encouraged and strengthened?  So does God – pray & He will answer that.  Want to see strongholds taken down in your life or your town?  So does God – pray & He will answer that.  Want to see more power in your local church body, more leaders raised up, and greater ministry take place with more opportunities to serve available?  So does God – pray & He will answer that!

Unfortunately, our favorite TV show, our children’s activities, meaningless time spent on our iPhones or iPads, excursions with friends, and many other things are more important to us than seeing prayer answered.  We let these distractions keep us from going to God in prayer.  We’ll gladly get together for a potluck or any other social activity, but get together to spend 1 hour in corporate prayer together?  No thanks – we’ll pass!  And we miss being part of a work that Jesus wants to do and sadly, we really don’t care either.

In Luke 18:8, Jesus says “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” and when you examine the context of the passage, you find it is in relation to prayer.

Please understand, this is not a lashing to say “we could all pray more”, because we all could.  No, this is an exhortation to pray more, but pray more corporately and pray for works of the Lord.  Don’t just spend your prayer time (and group prayer time) praying for your own needs but go deeper praying for works for the Lord to do.  And trust me, the Holy Spirit will guide you in your prayers if you come with this mindset.

You can continue to sit in a dark room wishing and hoping what it would be to have a room fully lit up in the power that is available or you could start turning on the switch.  I hope you use the switch because when you do, you’ll enjoy prayer in a whole new way and see the Lord move in ways He has been waiting for you to ask Him to move in!

You’ve just read this post, why not start with just taking 2 minutes for the Lord to move in His church to stir His people up to pray.

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 14:1-14 titled “Famous (Almost) Last Words” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Spiritual Snobbery

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – Jesus, John 13:34-35

Yes, “snobbery” is a word in case you began reading this blog with that thought – I looked it up to be sure, moving on…

On Sunday, February 21st, I taught John 13:18-38 on how Jesus has love for the backstabbers and bail outs.  We focused a lot on how He loved and how we are to love.  It is a high calling indeed and one we are incapable of doing simply in our own strength, but Jesus gives us the power to love others the way He did.

One of the ways we can be unloving (maybe without even realize it) is when we begin to develop what I will call “Spiritual Snobbery”.  Let me explain…

I read an article (and I got its point and agreed with much of the author’s premise) and in the article it mentioned the “if you like that, you will love this” lists for music (ie. if you love Hootie & the Blowfish, you will love Third Day; etc.).  The article seemed to almost look down on those lists (and I am in no way critizing the author because this is outside his points) and I at first found myself agreeing with him in that we are simply copying the world’s way instead of being our own creative being as Christians.  However, I remembered those lists are what drew me to Christian music in the first place and Christian music has been a huge factor in my spiritual walk and made a major impact on my life.  As a young Christian, I needed those lists to help me in finding Christian music I would like and they did just that.  Just because I don’t need them now (and I’m not sure whether they exist or not) as a more mature Christian, does not mean they are less useful.

Spiritual snobbery happens when we look down on things not up to our level of “spiritual maturity”.

When we begin to make fun of things in Christian culture because we are mature and therefore cooler than “those things”, spiritual snobbery is happening.  When we make fun of young Christians in the faith because they are zealous to take on the world and have not figured out how things work (in our “spiritually mature” minds), that is spiritual snobbery.  When we look down on Christians because they don’t know as much as we do in theology or the Bible or whatever, that is spiritual snobbery.  When we turn down our nose at other churches because they don’t teach the way we teach (I’m not talking about churches that teach false doctrine or unorthodox teaching but topical vs verse-by-verse, etc), that is spiritual snobbery.  If we look down on others for their supposed lack of liberty (or because they have “too much” liberty), that is spiritual snobbery.  If we find others describing us as “jerks for Jesus” because of our coldness or superiority complex, we have perhaps become spiritual snobs.

Spiritual snobbery is not love and is not the way Jesus loved.

Jesus was around sinners and tax collectors, yet never condoned their actions nor joined in with them.  He loved on them while also pointing to their need for Him.  The early church was the same way.  If we find that we can’t love those who are in the world (be it our neighbor, our president, our co-worker, etc) because they are less than us, we have become spiritual snobs.

The only way to combat spiritual snobbery is to take a deep hard look at ourselves.  When we do we will realize in and of ourselves we are wretched, no-good, sinful people in major need of grace.  God did not call us because He was gaining something; we are the fools of the world, the nobodies, the foolish, the un-noble (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).  The only thing that makes us something is Jesus as He looks at us as His bride and beloved children.  He uses us to bring Him glory and all glory should be going to Him.  We aren’t somebody now because we have been saved for a while or because we know a lot about the Bible.

The more you grow in love with Jesus, the more you will love others the way He loved.  Spiritual snobbery only shows you aren’t growing in your love for Jesus.

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 13:18-38 titled “Love for Bail Outs & Backstabbers” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Lead by Example

“I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” – Jesus, John 13:15

Though He was God and could simply tell us how we are to act, how we are to serve, etc. (as He is God and has that right), He modeled the behaviors for us, giving us an example to follow, His example!  He never said “do as I say, not as I do”, but showed us how to live.

The example in this passage that He laid out for us was that of serving one another and humbling ourselves to serve one another.  As He washed the feet of His disciples (foot washing being the thing that the lowest of the lowest slave was responsible for doing), He did not only wash those who loved Him perfectly or were kind to Him.  Had that been the standard, there would still be some dirty feet among those disciples!  But He washed the feet of Peter who would deny Him, washed the feet of Judas who would betray Him, washed the feet of Thomas who would doubt Him, and washed the feet of all who would all turn and run at the hour of His capture.  And He tells us we are to do as He has done for us.

Now rather than go over this again (which you can find the sermon on John 13:1-17 here), I want to approach the subject of leading by example.

It is very easy to say to our kids or our employees or those around us what they need to do or how we should all act, but it is quite another thing to model that behavior.  We all love the theory of serving one another, but the practice often is underused.  We love talking about love, but have hard time showing it to those we can’t get along with.  Jesus modeled the way to live and we need to strive to model Christ-like behavior for others as well.  If we expect our kids to behave a certain way, are we doing likewise?  If we tell others involvement in church is important, are we involved?  If we want our kids to have a love for the Word of God, are we reading and studying it ourselves?  Do we want our sons to treat their future wives like we as husbands are treating our wives?  Do we want our daughters respecting their husbands as they see their mom respect their dad?  If the last two questions are no, then we need to start modeling better.

Dr. Campo (“Todd” we all called him), one of my all time favorite bosses I had privilege of working for at Liberty University, was certainly this kind of example to us.  I think all of us in the Dean of Men’s office would have gladly sung the song “We’ll Follow the Old Man…” from White Christmas to him because of how he modeled leadership to us.  We loved to work hard for him because of the respect, love and self-sacrifice we saw modeled in him.  We always felt he put us first and took the “blows” from above for us when we made mistakes.  It made for a great place to come to work everyday even though we were often dealing with tough things and student discipline.  He is an earthly example of servant-style leadership to me.

So if you find yourself in a place of leadership (and if you are a parent you already are in that place) in work, family or ministry, what kind of example are you setting?  It is easy to lead by words, but are you leading by example and action?  We won’t attain perfection in this area but are we daily seeking to improve and be more like Jesus?  The good news is there is grace for our shortcomings and renewed power when we simply ask Jesus to make us more like Him.  And therein is the key, it is all through Jesus.  Our great model also gives us the power to walk as He walked.  We simply must ask and obey.

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 13:1-17 titled “Exemplary Example to Emulate” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.” – Proverbs 29:25

As we looked at John 12:20-50 this last week, one thing we saw the sad verse of Pharisees who believed in Jesus but did not confess Him for they feared the Pharisees and “they loved the praises of men more than the praises of God.”  We spent time showing that making decisions based on the fear of man will never allow you to be a good decision maker or a good leader in your home, work, school or life in general.  Decisions are always going to be questioned by someone but you can stand firm if you’ve made your decision based on the Lord’s leading.

I found it interesting then, that hours later, during Super Bowl XLIX, a decision that was made by the offensive coordinator (OC) to pass led to an interception that allowed the Patriots to win the game.  That decision was dubbed by many “the worst call in Super Bowl history!”  People were quick to react and post all sorts of funny memes and not so funny rants on why the OC did not just give Marshawn Lynch the football and have him run it into the end zone from the 2 yard line.  And so in our Growth Group Home Fellowships, we discussed how we would handle being that OC and what we would say about our decision.

But that also got me thinking and I brought up this question in the GGHF I attended: what makes something a bad decision or good decision?  Should the result always be the determining factor in a good vs bad decision?  Had it worked, would we have still said “worst call ever”?

As I read more about what went into the decision, I realized there was a reason why the OC made the decision he made and it made sense – even if I don’t agree with the philosophy (I come from an old school run the football mentality anyways), I can understand the call.  It also made me remember something else: I don’t get paid millions of dollars to coach and make decisions like that nor am I equipped to be a judge and be an armchair coach as if I have a higher intellect and understanding and my thoughts are better than that OC’s.

Yet, so many people want to lead from the sidelines.  They want to express their opinions as facts without seeing the big picture.  Whether it be people questioning the president of the United States, questioning their boss or teacher or questioning a ministry leader about decisions, the truth is, it is always easier to “make decisions” from the opposite side of the desk, when it reality, we don’t see the big picture that that person sees.  Therefore, we need to be careful of who we start condemning or calling out.  We need to simply trust that leader if the decisions are not against the Lord’s ways.

Now to those making decisions led of the Lord, we also don’t always understand the big picture of the Lord yet we need to trust that the way He is leading is right.  Steps of faith are often required in making decisions in ministry and we must follow His leading.  And if we are following His leading, then don’t let the fear of man keep you from stepping out and standing on the decision you’ve made.

Will it sometimes be questioned?  Absolutely!  Could some even be hostile or mocking due to decision that was made?  Certainly.  But you answer to the Lord – not to the people and we must remember that.  Others most of the time don’t see the big picture, they just have their tiny view of what is going on (just as I do when I try and armchair quarterback).

But when it comes to making decisions, follow the Lord and don’t let the fear of man keep you going the road the Lord wants you to take!

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 12:20-50 titled “Final Words of Jesus to the Crowds” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Why To Read the Old Testament

In our latest study on John 12:1-19, we spent a good portion of our time in Daniel 9 looking at the fascinating prophecy detailing the exact day Jesus would openly declare Himself the Messiah and why, had His disciples not sung in praise “Hosanna”, that even the rocks would cry out as the specific day was the day the Lord had made (Psalm 118:24 – which is what that Psalm is really about).  If you did not hear it, I would encourage you to listen here.

With that said, it is important we know about the Old Testament as well as the New.  In fact, the best commentary on the New Testament is the Old Testament and vice versa.  You miss many of the meanings behind Scripture and many of the prophecies foretold if you aren’t spending time in the Old Testament.

“Yeah but the Old Testament is hard to understand with all the various prophecies and what not!”, you may say.

Well if you are reading this, then you have internet, and if you have internet, then you have the ability to do some simply Bible studying and research on those difficult passages.  You’ve got time to check out IMDB to figure out who that actor was in that one movie, you’ve got time to check out someone’s life on Facebook, so you’ve got time to access a Bible site to get some help with a difficult passage.  My recommendation: www.blueletterbible.com – a great site with all the tools you need and some commentaries from well respected pastors/commentators to help understand passages you may be stuck on.

“Well the Old Testament is boring.” – not if you understand it is God’s Word (meaning there is purpose for it and it still speaks) and go into it asking Jesus to reveal Himself through His Word to you.

I often find that, aside from the well known passages in the Old Testament, there is a general lack of knowledge of what is written in the Old Testament.  Don’t let that be you.  Spend time digging in (not just Psalms and Proverbs, but Genesis, Isaiah, Habakkuk, even Leviticus).  Find a Bible or Bible tool which has cross references (verses associated with whatever passage you are reading) and as you read the New Testament, visit the Old Testament cross references.

Why should you read the Old Testament?  Because it is the Word of God (just as important as the New Testament), it will help you understand the New Testament better, and it will impact your life as you see the lives of the Old Testament heroes and their examples for us, as you read prophecies that have been fulfilled EXACTLY as prophesied and see what awaits, and as you know the origins of where everything came from and why those origins are important for us.

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 12:1-19 titled “Jesus: Exactly on Time” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Odds Are You Won’t Be Remembered

If you made it past the title and are actually reading this, congratulations you weren’t too offended to stop reading past the title.  However, truth be known, the title is true – 100 years from now you probably won’t be known.

Without looking it up, do you know who won the 100m gold in swimming in the 1992 Olympics?  Probably not and yet this athlete trained many hours, many days to win the coveted gold medal that most of us don’t remember.  Does the name Otto Graham ring a bell?  If you are an NFL historian or know your history, then probably.  But still how much do you know about him?  How much do you know about your great-great grandfather?  Name or even birthdate?

The point isn’t to depress you but remind you that though we can strive so hard to leave a legacy by doing things for this earthly kingdom, they probably won’t be remembered in 100 years.  Michael Jordan’s name won’t be highly remembered in 100 years should the Lord tarry.  The only things that truly last are those things which are invested in the Kingdom of Heaven – those things that we shall be rewarded for.  In fact we all will have to stand before the Lord and give account for how we lived for Him [not sin judgement, but account for the works or lack thereof and how we used His gifts] (see 2 Corinthians 5:8-10, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

So if we won’t be remembered by the this earth and since all these things pass away, why do we spend so much time on the earthly things?  Instead we should invest in the Kingdom of God, the only “investment” we truly take with us.  When we share the Gospel, when we give to the church of our finances and our time, when we join in cooperate prayer, when we help the hurting in the name of Jesus – all these things are investments that we shall be rewarded for.

Challenge yourself – if you were to die today would you be remembered for high video game scores, long hours at the office, never missing a sporting event?  Or would it be service to the Lord, that though the world forgets in 30 or so years, the Lord doesn’t?

Live for His Kingdom not your own…not this one!

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 11:1-57 titled “Don’t Fear the Reaper” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Questions that Should Be Asked – But We Already Know the Answers So We Don’t

In this week’s teaching, “Wanting the Truth You Can’t Handle” from John 10:22-42, we looked at the Jews who asked Jesus to tell them whether He was the Messiah but they weren’t interested in the truth – just a fight.  Plus Jesus said they did not believe because they weren’t His sheep.

I posed that we too ask questions we really don’t want the answers for or maybe we don’t ask questions because we already know the answers:

  • Do I really need to forgive that person?
  • Do I really need to be one devoted to Scripture reading?
  • It’s okay if I fudge a little on my taxes right?
  • I know I should be devoted more to my walk with Jesus, but it isn’t a matter of Heaven or Hell so why bother?

The problem with these, and other like questions, is we already know the answers but we just aren’t interested in obeying so we don’t honestly ask.  It is like in school – if we don’t ask the professor for further clarification, then we won’t have to do all the work that would be required if he did answer.  In other words, ignorance is bliss.

Where we fail is when we think that the here and now is the most important thing at stake – that our own comfort, wants and desires are the most important things.

  • “Sure I could for go my time to go to a Sunday night prayer meeting, but it’s not a matter of salvation so I’m sure my time is better used being happy in my own home.”
  • “Sure I could spend more time with the Lord, but it’s football/baseball/hockey/basketball/name-your-sport season and He isn’t all that concerned.”
  • “Who is that guy to challenge me – that’s just legalism or being a Pharisee”

Listen, it isn’t necessarily the church, the Lord or the pastor who misses out the most when you pay more heed to the temporary things rather than the eternal ones – it is you!  There is blessing both here in seeking more of the Lord as well as in the eternal when we get to partake of those heavenly things we invested our time or money into.  Not one of us will get to Heaven and wish we had spent a little more time in front of the TV or whatever it is.  That’s not to say we can’t have free time or anything like that, but I think too often we justify our free time and liberty as a means of not partaking in the eternal opportunities God has set in front of us.  I think we’ve let “comfortable” become the biggest idol we idolize in our modern society.

Perhaps the biggest question that should be asked – but one we are afraid to fully examine – is just that: have I made comfort and fun the idol I worship more than anything else?

This blog post comes from further thoughts of the sermon on John 10:22-42 titled “Wanting the Truth You Can’t Handle” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

How Much Will You Press This Year?

It is once again a new year and upon every New Year many Americans are known to make New Year’s Resolutions.  However, very few ever see their resolution completed.  Now resolutions aren’t a bad thing to make, but if you are going to make them, make sure they are attainable and that you find ways to keep going at them (write them down, create a habit, etc.).  Also make sure they are beneficial to you and those around you.

We looked at Philippians 3:12-16 this past Sunday (you can listen here) with the message title being “How Much Will You Press This Year?”  Paul spoke of how he pressed on to lay hold of that which Christ Jesus laid hold of him and how he pressed toward the goal for prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  That word press means “to run swiftly in order to catch a person or a thing.”  In other words, Paul’s Christian walk was not a casual one which many American Christians seem to have where just “being saved” is good enough for them and no further effort is put forward in their walks with the Lord.  I spoke on how we need to press (not in our own power but through the power the Spirit gives us) in our walks understanding how much Jesus has done for us (meaning we don’t do it to earn salvation or love from the Lord, but in order to see growth in our lives because of all He has done for us).

I gave the following challenge to those at Calvary Chapel Sanger and also give them to you the reader:

  1. Devote yourselves to making Sunday morning attendance a priority: only 58% of evangelicals attend any sort of service weekly.  We are the body and we need each other.  It isn’t about having numbers but seeing growth.  Others need you as much as you need others.  He has given us all talents and gifts to be used to edify the body.  If we aren’t involved with the body, we aren’t benefiting those around us.
  2. Devote yourselves to daily Scripture reading: only 48% of Protestants say they read their Bible at least once a week.  It is no wonder we don’t know the Scriptures!  My challenge is to make a habit where daily Bible reading is part of your life.  If you have time for TV, time for relaxation, time for other temporary things you certainly have time to read (or even listen on the car ride to work) the Bible.  Our website has reading plans for you to develop that habit (or simply download the YouVersion Bible app on your smartphone).  This is for your benefit – God won’t love you even more for this (or less for not doing it), but you’ll know Him better and see growth in your own life.
  3. Devote yourselves to getting involved in one of our Growth Group Home Fellowships: these will start in February and will be an excellent opportunity to make deeper connections with one another, chew on what was taught on Sunday morning, and have the type of fellowship that just isn’t available on Sunday mornings.  If your church has small groups or home fellowships, get involved.  They will be a blessing to you and to those around you (since again we need each other).
  4. Devote yourselves to attending at least 2 of the Abide prayer services in January: it is important that corporate prayer is a part of the church’s life.  We meet on Sunday nights from 7-8pm and pray for the needs of the body, for one another, for missions, and other things as the Lord leads.  We don’t pray down a list but seek the Spirit’s moving and directing in how He wants us to pray.  It means there is life in our prayer times and a chance to partner with God in doing His work (prayer is His idea).  Hopefully your church has a time for this and if so, get involved.

I would challenge you to write down your goals and hang them up somewhere you can see.  You are ten times more likely to fulfill your goals if you write them down and have them somewhere you see all the time.  These aren’t to make us legalistic or be used to judge how well we are doing compared to someone else, but to see growth in our lives, the lives of the body, and be able to see that abundant life that Jesus promised that comes only through Him.  Take the challenge!  How much will you press this year?  You can let us know if you use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #challenge2015

This blog post comes from the thoughts of the sermon on Philippians 3:12-16 titled “How Much Will You Press This Year” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

Star Search

This past week we were blessed to have Pastor Gene Pensiero Jr. from Calvary Chapel Hanford filling the pulpit.  I also wanted to add him as our guest blogger this week which you will find below.  Enjoy!  – Pastor Mike

This past Sunday we took a look at the journey of the Wise Men in Matthew chapter 2.

Their story is a classic, celebrated every year. But think for a moment about just how astonishing their decision to go was: They saw a star and decided to pack up and just start walking till they arrived at…

…at where?

The truth is, they didn’t know where they were going! At least, they didn’t know the place. After all, they had to ask Herod where they should be looking.

No, they didn’t know the place, but they certainly knew the Person waiting for them at the end of the road. They were willing to walk indefinitely until they reached the presence of the Lord.

What would it take for you to pack a bag, get in your car, and just start driving till you got somewhere you didn’t know you were going?

It sounds crazy, but it does give us an interesting look at what walking with Christ is like.

Now, we know that we’re headed toward a specific city, one whose Builder and Maker is God. So, in that sense, we’re not walking indefinitely the way the Magi were.

However, we really don’t know how far our road is going to be, how long it will take for us to get there, how smooth the path, how many turns, how many deserts or mountains. But God asks us to follow Him as He leads us on.

Here in Hanford, there are certain streets I try to avoid when driving because they have too many stop lights or too much traffic at certain times of day. Instead, I find the path of least resistance. But I don’t get that luxury in my walk with Christ. My directive is to follow my Leader, who is always leading me forward.

The question is: Am I pursuing God and making progress? He’s definitely leading His people to growth and to action and to destinations, but we’ve got to make the choice to step out of the door. As we saw Sunday, there were many priests and Scribes who had heard the Word, could be directed to the star by the Wise Men from the east, but, at the end of the day, they didn’t have an interest in taking a walk with God. They stayed home and missed the Messiah.

This life is about pursuing a Person – Jesus Christ. We may not know all the twists and turns, deserts and valleys that we’re going to have to go through on the journey, but we can be confident that our God will not lead us astray. He will go with us until, finally, we are face to face with our Savior and King.

Let’s hit the road.

God bless you!

This blog post comes from the thoughts of the sermon on Matthew 2:1-12 titled “Star Search” which can be found by clicking here or simply visiting http://www.refugesanger.com/teachings

For more about Pastor Gene Jr. or the ministry at Calvary Chapel Hanford, please visit www.calvaryhanford.com