Raising the Temperature Pt. 3

      So the question has been raised, “How do I raise my spiritual temperature?”

     The answer is, “By relating to God.” 

    Now that seems relatively easy but God is not some slob off the street I can just walk up to. Relationship with Him is based on the fact that He is God and I am not His equal. Relationship with Him is based on the premise that I love Him by giving Him everything: heart, soul, mind and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). That means I turn over all my decisions to him. All my emotions are put under His control. All my understanding is sold out to Him. If He thinks a certain way about a certain thing then I do too even if I disagree. It doesn’t matter what I think; it’s what He thinks that counts. Finally all my life force is turned over to Him. I will do what He says. That’s called obedience and it is the primary way I relate to God. Lots of obedience equals temperatures rising through the roof. Little obedience equals temperatures like Alaska in January. Half and Half obedience means I am  about the temperature of potato salad that’s been left out for eight hours in the hot sun. 

      I hear a lot of people say things like “Well I asked Jesus to forgive my sins. But I don’t go to church because I have a very busy life.” 

      I hear people say “I asked Jesus to come into my heart, but I just don’t like worship, reading the Bible or praying I guess that’s for other people.” 

      I have heard “ Jesus is my Lord but we’re in the New Testament God doesn’t require me to tithe anymore.” or “I will give to missions when we stop giving to all those people over seas. My money is staying in America.” 

     Some say “I ask Jesus to forgive me everyday. I know my lifestyle is wrong, but God just has to accept me the way I am because I can’t change.”  

     These statements all stem from a heart of disobedience. The Bible commands us to join ourselves with the body of Christ. We are commanded to study, pray and worship. We are ordered to give even sacrificially. Finally we are told we have no choice but to declare war on sin in our own lives even if we think we were born that way.

      Now I just lost some of you because you have now said “That’s impossible and I guess I will never raise my spiritual temperature.”

      Please give me another moment or two and let me win you back. Yes obedience is a requirement to raising the spiritual temperature and having relationship with God. But God also knew it would not be possible for us to do it ourselves. THAT IS WHY HE SENT JESUS TO DIE AND RISE FROM THE DEAD FOR US. 

      Jesus did not just die to forgive your sins. He rose from the dead so that you could be free of them; So that you could obey and have a relationship with God that would raise your spiritual temperature. But you have to decide to let Him do it. You have to give him control and let Him begin to help you defeat sin. And this is how He does it.

“The LORD your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you.” Deut. 7:22 NLT

     Jesus is not asking you to win the battle today. He’s asking you to start it. You start. He’ll finish!

Raising the Temperature Pt. 2

     As you go through this study you might want to open your Bible to Deuteronomy 6 and 7 and give it a quick read through as well. We’re going to be talking about obedience for the next couple of blogs; It’s pretty important to the life of faith.

    Moses uses the word “obey”10 times in Deuteronomy 6 and 7 and several of those uses link obedience with loving God and Him loving us in return. So what’s that’s got to do with raising the spiritual temperature of the church? Let’s find out:

    excerpted from sermon notes 8-1-11

     We are talking about raising the temperature of the church today. I have to tell you, that is a thing sorely needed. A spirit of lukewarmness is descending, trying to put out the church’s fire. We must not let it! Further we do not have to let it! We do have a choice because the Bible declares, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”  I John 4:4

      Satan doesn’t have any more power to make us lukewarm than he has power to knock God off the throne of Heaven. The difference between us and God is that when Satan came and tried to kick God off the throne, God fought and won. He used His power.

     Too many times when Satan comes and tries to cool down the fires of the Holy Spirit in us, we sit down and say “Cool down? No problem. Just don’t hurt me.” We don’t rise up with the power of God inside us and fight. 

     It’s time to raise the temperature of the church and we have a say in that brothers and sisters! 

     I want to tell you how to raise the temperature. But first I think it’s important that we look at some things that will not raise the temperature:

 More People in attendance at church will not raise the temperature. How do I know that? Well because a lot of people attend Lady Gaga concerts. She’s attracting more and more people every week but it doesn’t matter how many people go to her concerts even as repeats the spiritual climate of those concerts is still going to be ice. Because Holy Spirit is not invited there!

More money will not raise the temperature of the church. Money is not bad. It’s a tool. As such it has no more spiritual temperature than a hammer and we would never think of saying “More hammers will make the church more on fire for Jesus.” That would be ridiculous. 

Greater fame or approval in the world system will not raise the spiritual temperature of the church. In fact raising the temperature of the church usually makes approval of the world system go away. You don’t believe me? Let’s talk to the fastest growing church in the world in China. Declaring yourself a Christian doesn’t gain you approval there…. It could get you sent to jail though.

  Benchmark success will not raise the spiritual temperature of the church. This is a big trap for us. This is the mind-set that says “Set your goals for attendance and reach for them. Raise up excellent programs and the spiritual temperature will rise”. 

      I can tell you right now that won’t work. Setting and meeting goals will make us successful and if we get good enough at it we might become as successful a church as McDonald’s is a restraunt. Maybe we’ll even be able to hang out a sign that says  “ served communion” but bench mark success will not raise the temperature of the church.   

     Don’t get me wrong more people, more money, fame and approval, success all nice things but they don’t raise spiritual temperature. They are by products of a rising spiritual temperature! They are like the carbon emissions from the tail pipe of your car. When the engine is hot the fumes pour out. But too often the church has been guilty of confusing spiritual temperature with the fumes. 

     What raises the spiritual temperature of the church then? It’s the RELATIONSHIP THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH HAVE WITH THEIR GOD!

     The problem today is not with our programs, our money, our popularity, or our cultural relevance. What kills the temperature of the church is our individual intimacy with God. The church goes into revival when its people live in revival by getting into relationship with God! Until that happens the church can get grants, build buildings, and offer programs and services but the temperature will only be lukewarm. It will remain so until the people stop going to church and start going to Jesus!

Now you tell me what do you think we need to do to grow in intimacy with our God?

Raising The Temperature Pt. 1

It has been one hot summer around our nation. Have you noticed? I was watching the news one day two weeks ago and Minnesota was experiencing record heat. On that day parts of the state were slated to experience temperatures of 124 degrees! Myself I think it’s global climate change. I think it’s a sign of the soon return of Jesus. How about you?   

    I notice these weather changes with great interest. But I do not get too excited or fearful about them. I’m not as concerned with the physical temperature of Minnesota as I am concerned with the spiritual temperature of the church. The time has come brothers and sisters to raise the temperature of the Body of Christ. The time has come to make all lukewarmness go and to bring back the fervent fire of the Holy Spirit of Pentecost. We can do it you know! We must do it to! And this our work.

    Some of us are waiting for revival as though it’s somehow only up to Jesus. But revival is a choice that the church has to make. Walking away from lukewarmness is a choice the church makes. Oh make no mistake we need Jesus’ full power to  accomplish it. But we must make the choice first and then continually if the revival is to come and lukewarmness is to go. The time has come to raise the temperature.

What choices do you think the church must make to raise the spiritual temperature of our nation?