This week, we are giving the LYL Challenge away free to all. If you want to check out the other challenges for this series, head on over to ACCESS and login or sign up for a free user name and password.
As you read in our recent devotion, we are talking this week about how the LYL lifestyle offers us a means of preservation when we face struggle and opposition. The call to serve God comes with many trials and tribulations. There are forces in the world that desire to limit and stamp out the followers of Christ. The attacks they lob against us are fierce and can seem to be overwhelming it at times. However, Christ promised to preserve us if we give him our lives. We are preserved because we have the Spirit of God in us. That Spirit is what makes us the laborers we become when we submit to sacrifice for the Kingdom, and that Spirit molds our minds when others and even we ourselves question our calling and purpose in Christ. So how can we tap into this Spirit to find our preservation? It's all over the New Testament and its the core of our challenge today. To prepare for the struggle, or for those already facing struggle, use this challenge to strengthen and buoy your spirits in the face of the attacks of the world:
1. Look up everywhere the Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament. To help you with this, we are providing a link to Blue Letter Bible where we've already done the word search. Feel free to do your own as well. We selected from Romans to Jude because those letters directly address the already established saints of God. Knowing what the Holy Spirit can do within you once you have it is a very encouraging thing and these scriptures show that. We also recommend looking for the Gifts of the Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit and any offices that the Spirit offers the saints of God.
2. As you study these benefits of having the Holy Spirit develop inside of your inner being, pray that God would add these benefits to you so you can become a well-rounded saint of God.
3. Note in a journal every time you feel that one of the benefits of the Holy Spirit has been added to you. If you already have some of these benefits, write them down as well.
4. Thank God for the benefits of His Spirit that eases your struggle and helps guide you as you labor for The Kingdom.
We hope to hear from you about this challenge. Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
LYL: Lose Your Life
A Christ-Centered Pathway to Sacrifice
There are few things Christ mentions in all four gospels. The Sermon on the Mount is only recorded in Matthew, though a number of its principles are mentioned in another sermon in Luke. The Golden Rule is only mentioned in Matthew and Luke. Christ's famous line, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..." which teaches us about how to treat those who have fallen only appears in one gospel (John 8:7). The conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 is only recorded once, though we find a similar statement to John 3:16 in Mark 12:6. People would assert that these as well as many more are core values and tenants of Christian faith. However, they don't fall into the category of being mentioned across all four gospels.
Does this make them less valuable than those that do? Of course not. All of Christ's actions and utterances deserve our attention and consumption. However, there is a certain level of reverence that is owed to those that were thought of by all four writers of the gospel to include. Christ's death, burial and resurrection are found in all four gospels along with several key actions and miracles. The Great Commission-every Christian's purpose in life beyond salvation and relationship with Jesus-is found in every gospel right towards the end along with other great statements and thoughts from our Lord and Savior. One of those cross-gospel statements is found right in the midst of Christ's ministry on Earth and it cuts us to the quick.
That's six times that Christ talks about losing or wanting to lose our lives! When we look further, three of those accounts are from the same story from different accounts (Matthew 16, Mark 8 and Luke 9). That leaves us with four separate instances Christ talks about losing one's life for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. It's clear this is an important idea to God and deserves our further examination. With that in mind, over the next four weeks, we will learn what it means to lose our lives (a real LOL moment) for the sake of Christ. We will do so by examining the context surrounding Christ's utterance of this phrase and how it relates to us today. Here's what you can expect to receive:
Wednesdays: Weekly devotion detailing the Lose Your Life (LYL) moment, what was going on before Christ spoke the phrase, what spurred him to speak it and what happened directly afterwards. We will then do our best to relate it to our world and walk today.
Fridays: ACCESS only activity that helps us to try out the LYL moment discussed on Wednesday. The activity will be both spiritual and practical in its application and our hope is to here feedback on your results as you try the activities
Mondays: Special creative story that centers around a character struggling with their own LYL moments. These fictional stories will hopefully provide another perspective of the concept we are covering. You will be able to read an excerpt on our Compass Page, but the full version will only be available via the ACCESS Page.
We look forward to sharing this new experience and believe that, due to the season we are in, it is a great way to honor the sacrifice Christ made for us by sacrificing ourselves for him. Find out how starting this Wednesday!
What Is Above All?
Above All is a dramatic retelling of Christ's last days on this Earth as presented by the Pentecostals of Alexandria (POA). In this production we are given an intimate window into the relationships Jesus Christ had with his closest followers and the conflict he had with his staunchest opponents. It culminates with his trial, punishment and crucifixion, stopping short of presenting the resurrection and ascension like in other productions at the POA and other churches.
The dramatic production is accompanied by dynamic video projections and contemporary music that work to both transition the story and provide the viewer with multiple layers of understanding for each scene. Another wrinkle in the production is the inclusion of modern people, not just as spectators, but as players who interact with the other cast members. It's clear that POA was looking to go a different route from Messiah. How did they fair?
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.