barnabas.in : Alexi George

Till Christ is Formed in You

“If every Christian would live like Christ, then the whole world would turn to Christ.” This is an amazing statement that we use with good intentions.

Unfortunately such conversations usually leave us and others feeling guilty. But is it really possible to live like Christ in every way? Many of us have tried to some extent but failed miserably.

When writing to the Galatians, Paul said: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). shows us that this is a process that we are going through. We want quick results, but being “formed” is a process that takes time.

Although human beings were created in the image of God, that image was marred due to sin. Now, those who have accepted Christ are born again into a new life. In this new life, we are being formed into the image of Christ.

So, how are you living today? As we are in the process of being formed into the image of Christ, we can see ourselves in process. If we don’t see ourselves as a work in process, we will be disappointed.

We must give ourselves over to God’s process of forming us. This process is often called Spiritual Formation. It is a process where we cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He works to form Christ and his characteristics in us.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

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Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam language video summary of this post, visit my Facebook Page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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Stay Away From Leaders on Judgement Day

“There may be numerous lines of people waiting to be judged on Judgement day. If you find a line that is short, you may want to go there to save time. But if that line has many pastors, teachers, and leaders, don’t go there.

Those people will take too long because they have to answer many more questions than the average person.” This was an interesting statement I heard years ago from Dr. Walter Kaiser, an Old Testament scholar. I’ve shared this scenario many times over the years as it points to an important truth.

His words may have been inspired by James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

A high level of integrity is required. Not only in the practice of teaching, but also in life. Teaching has greater value when it is done by a person of integrity. Leaders are more effective when that person lives a life of integrity.

Are you a teacher, preacher, or leader? I believe the same level of integrity is required for all of these. I hope you will stand up to the challenge of integrity.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam language video summary of this post, visit my Facebook Page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


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Are You Sure You’re Alive?

If we can experience life as most people, if we can breathe, then we can be sure we are alive. If you want more proof, you can see the doctor and just confirm. But how about our faith? How can you be sure you are alive?

The book of James clarifies the question of faith. “So faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead” (James 2:17). Paul clearly stated that we are saved through faith and not through the works that we do (Eph 2:8-9). Thus salvation is not through works, but the evidence of our salvation is through works.

These two are not in contradiction to each other, but they are complementary. We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The vital signs of our life of faith becomes our deeds. How do we know if our faith is alive? Through our deeds.

Therefore if good deeds are not evident in the life of the believer, what should we do? Shall we send the person for further testing? Commonly, when some form of medical testing is done on people, we consider the results with great importance and we take action.

When something is lacking, we immediately send people for further testing and treatment. We want to correct those areas that show deficiencies as quickly as possible.

Maybe we need to do the same for those in faith. Are there no good works that show evidence for faith, then let’s take it seriously. Further testing may be needed. Or they need some form of “treatment” to bring them back to a level of faith that shows up in their actions.

When was your last faith-works checkup? Are you doing something about the results? Let me spur you on to good works.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam language summary of this post, visit my Facebook Page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:

 


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Just Persevere

Recently I posted a statement online like this: “Maybe one of the greatest leadership traits is perseverance. At the end of it all, you’ll be left standing.”

Soon afterwards I read this statement from James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

We admire those who have accomplished great things in life. Among the many good qualities they possess, persistence is probably the most common trait.

My statement was probably more survival centred, while James 1:12 is eternity focused. Either way you look at it, there is a future, there is a reward.

I’ve been asking young people to invest 20 to 30 years of their lives into one community. The trend is to move from one place to the next within one or two years seeking better opportunities. There is nothing wrong with better opportunities, but it is better to invest your life into a particular location for something you truly believe in, for the glory of God.

Persevere, and remain steadfast. But to do that, you’ve got to develop patience as a strong trait within you. This will help you to stay put regardless of your situation.

Along with patience, you’ll need to forgive people if you want to work with them for the long haul. Without forgiveness, your relationships will begin to fall apart, and you won’t be able to persevere.

Ultimately, if you learn to persevere, you’ll grow in your life in every way possible. As a matter of fact, you’ll be forced to grow.

You will make a significant contribution in this life, and in the life to come, you’ll receive the crown of life.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam language video summary of this post, visit my Facebook Page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


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Move Forward or Risk it All

It’s a major concern for me when we see people unable to move forward in their faith. They are still dealing with the basic factors of the faith. Somehow, they are not completely sure of their faith.

Since our faith rests on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, we have a confidence that it is firm. Our faith has a firm foundation. It is sure.

Now, it’s time to move forward.

But still, many continue to doubt if God loves them. They have difficulty believing that God accepts them and cares for them. Some are fearful that God will only accept them if they are good and live free from all sin. We want to live free of the bondage of sin and live for God, but that is not the measuring line which God uses to see if we are acceptable. We are accepted only because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Those who continue to struggle with these important foundational matters have the risk of falling away and abandoning their faith. For such people, it is quite difficult to return to the faith in Jesus.

Thus we are to move forward in our faith. Otherwise we risk it all. The twelve disciples and the seventy two disciples were sent out to heal the sick and teach people about the Kingdom of God. Instead of doubting, they simply believed the words of Jesus and moved forward. 

As quickly as possible, set your foundation in place. By faith, trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Then, spend your time bringing healing to people. The healing needs to be physical, emotional, mental, and relational. Then, teach people about God’s Kingdom. John Wimber had called this “doing the works of Jesus, and teaching His words.”

This is how we are to move forward. If we don’t, we risk everything.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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Choose Dead Heroes

* A Malayalam language video of this post is available at the bottom of this page.

We all have our “favorites” in the faith: Abraham, Paul, Peter, and other biblical characters who have exemplified faith and courage. In the modern world, some may choose Martin Luther, John Wesley, D. L. Moody, Billy Graham, John Wimber, and even some of the “faith” preachers.

I’ve got to be careful here, as Steve Brown warned against choosing our heroes before they are dead. While they are alive, they still have a chance to mess up their lives before they die. So, maybe I’ll stick to the dead ones as my heroes.

The Jewish people considered Moses to be the greatest individual in their history. For them, he was the greatest patriarch, prophet, leader, and deliverer. When these Jewish people came to faith in Jesus, their exaggerated focus on Moses continued. Along with their strong allegiance to Moses came their allegiance to the Law of Moses, the first five books of the Bible that the Jews call the Torah. This focus was not all that bad, but the writer of Hebrews wanted to make a strong statement that Jesus is worthy of the greatest honor.

By comparing and contrasting Moses and Jesus, Hebrews is focused on encouraging Jews to give Jesus the highest honor in the faith (Heb 3:1-6).

So who are your favorites? Who are the modern “heroes” of faith that have impacted your life? For me, some Christian leaders, preachers, Bible teachers, pastors, and musicians have had a great impact on my faith journey.

But there is none like Jesus. He is the one who deserved the greatest honor in my life.

In yours too.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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I Will Never Leave You Nor Forsake You

*** View a Malayalam video of this article at this link: www.facebook.com/barnabas.in

We often think of the above promise in general terms and we apply it to all areas of our lives. Yet the text in Hebrews 13:5-6 is dealing with financial difficulties.

Three areas of financial concerns are evident here. Focus identifies where your trust is, thus the term “love of money.” The practical issue of Contentment brings order to our lives. Finally, Trust is the foundational matter when it pertains to God’s providence for our sustenance. Fear is dissipated and replaced with confidence when we know that God is with us.

Focus

“Keep your lives free from the love of money.” This sentence focuses on the heart issue of where we put our trust. What we focus on is what we love. That’s where our hearts are drawn to.

So this phrase is a negative command. We are clearly instructed to keep away from loving money. Thus we are to turn our focus away from money and put it on God who is able to truly care for us.

Contentment

“Be satisfied with what you have.” Although this statement seems to be quite simple, and maybe simplistic, it points to an internal matter of contentment.

Being content requires a great struggle against feelings of inadequacy and want. It also grinds against the need to “cover” the losses we have faced in life with things that feel like an adequate substitute.

Trust

“For God has said ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you. Let us be bold, then, and say, ‘the Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’” In the context of money and contentment, God says these words of comfort and strength.

Thus we have a place to put our trust when we struggle with finances. Focus on God, be content with what we have, and trust God.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

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* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

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The Un-Sacrifice

*** View a Malayalam video of this article at the bottom of this post or at this link: www.facebook.com/barnabas.in

A sacrifice isn’t much of a sacrifice when the gain is so much. But the truth is, we like to complain. We compare ourselves with others and complain about what could have been, what should have been, and why others are in a much better position than we are.

I’ve always thought of Jesus’ sacrifices in life as a “no-brainer” as the very purpose of His life was to die. Then He knew that He would be in heaven after His resurrection. Thus His life was focused toward His death. He suffered with His eyes set on the Joy that awaited Him (Heb 12:1-2).

The heroes and martyrs of the faith did the same. They lived their lives as temporary residents, on their way to their homeland (Heb 11:16). They knew it was a better place, much better than anything available here on earth. They knew their lives were temporary and that their death only leads to greater things.

Unfortunately we continue with our heads down – focused on the “stuff” of this world. Let’s face it, this world has not served up a good deal for us. Our expectations have mostly been shattered by the systems of this world. The ancients knew this reality and they accepted that. Jesus realized that and brought hope. A hope for a better future in heaven.

So what about the sacrifices we make in life? Since we have so much to gain, our sacrifices are not much of a sacrifice anyway. Maybe it’s sort of an un-sacrifice.

Your Turn

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Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

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* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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When You Don’t Get What You Hoped For

Regrets about the past are not uncommon — especially when our hopes and expectations did not come through here in this life. Sure, you love God with all your heart, but there is this gnawing feeling of loss as you have followed Christ.

What did you give up to follow Jesus? Did you sacrifice much? Do you often think of what you left behind? Was the sacrifice worth it?

Now, was it really a sacrifice? That depends on what you’ve been promised. Really, it depends on your expectations. The “heroes” of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 were looking forward to something beyond this life. They didn’t get much in this life. In fact, they surely got a raw deal in life and finished off their lives in horrendous death experiences.

But their expectations were promises much beyond this life. Those expectations drove them to live a life of contentment in the mindset of utter turmoil and pain. The raw deal they get in this life was not at all an issue for them as they were looking forward to a glorious future beyond this life.

Yes, Jesus did promises us some things in this life, but much more in the life to come. We need to shift our focus. Once that focus is shifted, we can begin to live this life with more freedom and satisfaction than you’ve ever imagined.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

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An Indecent Invitation

When people are struggling with the guilt of their sins, why would God simply open up the Most Holy Place and say “come”?

Now, in the community where we live, any decent person would be selective of the people they invite into their homes. But this approach of Jesus to open up God’s house to anyone without limitation, is certainly questionable. At best, it is indecent.

But when we take him up on this offer, we won’t need to enter His presence and feel like an indecent, worthless person. Here’s what the writer of Hebrews says: “So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water” (Heb 10:22).

The invitation of Jesus is a package deal. It’s an invitation to experience the transforming power of God in every area of our lives. When you enter the presence of God on a regular basis, you will be changed.

Over the years I’ve noticed that if the person is resistant to changes, they eventually drop out and never return. They want to be in God’s presence, but are unwilling to be changed.

The invitation is always open. I am an invitee who continues to experience the “washing” and “purification” mentioned in Hebrews 10:22. He continues that work in us throughout our entire lives so we can be formed into the likeness of his Son Jesus.

Have you accepted that invitation? If not, are you ready to consider it? Click here to learn how to accept the invitation of Jesus. [Link to “Need a Change”]

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:

 


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