Though I've been "reporting" on the religious front for a while now, I have been hesitant to put a personal stamp on it. Then, I heard a message so inspiring - challenging yet comforting - I couldn't help but pass it along. In a nutshell, it refutes the phony and hollow prosperity Christianity and gives a credible answer to the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" - Jessica Smith
Here are some sermon note snippets from Conyers First United Methodist Church's Dr. John Beyers from his current teaching series, "Jump Start: Revive What's Inside This Year."
Part 2 of 5 - "My quest for the Character of Jesus" I Corinthians 9:24-27.
The author of Hebrews wrote, "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." (Hebrews 12:1c-2a). What is the race marked out for us? What is the prize of life? Character.
From the beginning of time, God's plan has been to make you and me like His Son, Jesus Christ. Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life, and like training for a race, will involve stress.
Much confusion in the Christian life comes from ignoring the simple truth God is far more interested in building your character than He is anything else. We worry when God seems silent on specific issues, such as "What career should I choose?"
The truth is there are many different careers that could be in God's will for your life. What God cares most about is whatever you do, you do in a Christ-like manner. God is far more interested in who you are than in what you do. We are human beings, not human doings.
You must make a counterculture decision to focus on becoming more like Jesus. Otherwise, other forces like peers, parents, co-workers, and culture will try to mold you into their image. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like Himself before He takes us to heaven.
God wants you to develop the kind of character described in the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5:1-12), the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) and St. Paul's great chapter on love (I Corinthians 13).
Every time you forget character is one of God's purposes for your life, you will become frustrated by your circumstances. You'll wonder, "Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time?" One answer? Life's difficulties enable us to grow in character. But in that growth, He promises to be with us!
"When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through fires of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (Isaiah 43:2-3 NLT)
To hear Dr. Beyer's entire message, go to www.conyersfirst.org where a podcast is available.