And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cross Centered Living

Cross Centered Living

In the next few weeks I will be finishing my set of sermons working through the Sermon on the Mount. We will then begin in Matthew 16. The next Matthew passage takes us through several hard questions to apply to our life. The context of it all is the denial of self, the taking up of the cross, and following Jesus. Our church stands at a great moment to be doing so. For even if we are but a match light in a dark cave, we will bring illumination. Not it is the work of God, not of ourselves. But even though the times are dark, we by contrast can show live giving light.

So this list below is a compilation, though not exhaustive, of questions that call us to persevere. As a pastor my doubts and issues must all be held against the cross. If we look at the assailments against us and the daily grind of original sin we can have a much greater perspective on that grace that has been bestowed.

Enjoy the list……..

Cross centered living………
Involves our thinking, what do we think about and to what depth
What values do we have?
What do we consider frivolous.
How different are we from the world?
What power is in our life as it relates to waiting upon God for Him to move and not for our manipulation of situations?
Given that the cross deals with sin, what sanctification is evident in my life? What sin do I long to rid myself of?
What brings me joy?
What moments with God have I cherished?
Name the references of scriptures that guide your heart? If you live by them you will have a kinship with them.
Since I bear the cross, denying self and following Him? Where has He led me and through what trials? What have I learned of Him in my trials that is unforgettable? How was I changed?
How have I denied self? Or what have I given up to gain Christ?
What do we allow into our lives and what do we pour out?
How often do we seek change?
How often can we point to change happening?
Where is my free time spent?
To where does my mind wander?
What is my hope for the future?
What goals do I have? Are they cross centered?
Have I ever taken a stand in the world to speak out against sin? Have I squelched gossip?
Do I Berean my advisors or take everything as gospel?
What is my language like?
Do I understand what it is to worship?
Do I regularly give God glory and credit?
Do I rejoice at righteousness?
Do I desire that others advance just as long as I advance too?
What is my prayer life like? What do I ask for?
What do I do when it comes to repentance?
How often am I at peace?
What is the Sabbath day in my life as compared to scripture?
What entertains me?
What educates me?
If asked, what verse dominates my current thought life?
What investment am I making into the life of my family?
What investment am I making into the life of someone outside my family?
Have I sacrificed?
What pains have I bore and kept silent about a s to not exalt self?
Are the songs I am moved by man or cross centered?
Have I glorified Christ by leading others to faith in Him? How often?
Am I more concerned about His name or someone’s feelings getting hurt?
How easily swayed am I?
What authors have I cherished and how did they finish the race?
Do I find tithing an issue of difficulty?
Do I sacrificially give, expecting no return, and find it pleasing?
Do I limit God by agreeing to act a certain way only if circumstances are favorable?
Have I persevered?
In what way?
Was my perseverance temporary or long term?
Have I understood Foxe’s Book of Martyrs?
Do I have a heart for the persecuted church?
How much time to I give to prayer?
How much time to I give to reading His Word?
What did the preacher preach on Sunday?
What did I teach my children last week?
Do I look forward to Sunday?
How do I show it on Saturday?
How have I trusted my Lord by honoring my pastor?
What was the last lesson God taught me?
What was the last thing God told me to do?
How do I know His voice?
What lengths have I gone to to hide His word in my heart?
What else is in my heart?
To whom have I sought forgiveness?
Where have I ever made restitution?
What does my schedule reveal?
What are the heart plans of my retirement?
Have I ever said “No Lord”?
Do I obey?
Could my children point out that I say one thing and do the opposite?
Can my spouse or children reveal that I act a particular way when people are looking at me and another at home?
What would embarrass me if it were found out?
Knowing Christ, what of my past would I have done differently?
How and I living differently now?
How am I discipline others not to make the mistakes I have made?
Do I call sin as sin, or is it a mistake, problem, ongoing temptation, or other watered down name?
How is my self esteem?
Can you justify self esteem and denial of self?
What do you do with compliments?
What “trophies” do you display?
How long do you spend time in prayer? How deep do yours prayers go before it is time to stop?
Have you skipped meals to spend more time in bible study or prayer?
What keeps you home from church and fellowship with the brethren?
When at home, what do you do?
Where has your computer been to on the internet?
Do you fear God? In what way?
Do you fear death?
What do I complain about?
How often do I complain and what form does it take?
Am I a master at acting before men?
Do I keep on even when I don’t feel like it?
Whom do I aim to please?
Am I dissatisfied with the amount of worship I am involved in?
What awes me about God?
How do you actively love your enemies?

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