August 11, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 4:7-18

I don’t know about you but most of the time, when I read the end of one of these letters where they give final greetings, I tend to just skim it and think to myself, “they are just saying goodbye”. Writing this today made me really stop and read this ending and examine it for a while and what really hit me was a question.

What do you do in the kingdom of God?

We see several different people in this ending from Paul and he attaches to most of them jobs, assignments or purposes that they have within the kingdom of God. Let’s look at them:

Tychicus and Onesimus- reporters to the churches of Paul’s ministry
Aristarchus- fellow prisoner with Paul for Christ
Mark and Jesus (called Justus)- fellow co-workers with Paul for Christ
Epaphras -prayer warrior
Luke and Demas- fellow co-workers with Paul for Christ
Nympha- hostess for church that met in her home

There is one last person, Archippus, that Paul directs a command to that I want to pose to you and I today.

And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.””
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬

Now, back to the question, what is it you do in the kingdom? What are your gifts and talents? What is the, “ministry the Lord gave you”? My challenge to you and I today is if you know what that is, be sure to carry it out. Use what God has given to serve others. If you don’t know what that is or you do but you are not fulfilling it, get going and get serving. God has uniquely gifted and purposes you to help the body of Christ grow and expand. Don’t miss out on the blessings God has in store for you as you serve Him and the church.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd

August 10, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 4:1-6

​We are nearing the close of the book of Colossians, and Paul is beginning to give some final encouragements. These verses in particular are extremely practical for us and should be seen as a vision for us to live out today. Here are 2 things Paul wants us to focus on today:

1. Prayer is vital for personal growth and Kingdom growth.
​Prayer is imperative for the Christian. We are told our prayers should be done steadfastly and watchfully. We should be alert and we should persevere in our prayers. Why? Because prayer makes us more like Jesus! Every time we commune with God we are humbling ourselves before him, reminding ourselves that we are a people who are in need of a God who has no need. We should pray with passion, belief and thankfulness. We should pray for ourselves, but we should also pray for the Kingdom.

​This passage is clear that the Kingdom spreads when the church prays for the mission Jesus Christ has given to us be fulfilled. Paul tells us to pray for ourselves, but he also tells us to pray for those who are sharing the gospel regularly. He asks the church at Colossae to pray for him, that he make the gospel clear. As a church, are we praying that God would open doors for us to share the gospel with our friends, neighbors and coworkers? Are we praying God would open the doors for our friends and people in our Connect Groups as well? Evangelism is not an individual sport, it’s a team sport. We as the church should be praying for the gospel influence of everyone who comes through our doors.

2. The gospel we preach must be the gospel we live.
​This passage also makes clear the way we conduct ourselves everyday has an effect on eternity. Paul exhorts us to “walk in wisdom” and have gracious speech. Why would he write this if he didn’t believe the way we act everyday has an eternal impact on the people around us? The Bible is clear: the gospel must be communicated through our words. The quote: “Preach the gospel everyday, if necessary use words” might be cute on a coffee mug but it doesn’t come from the Bible. We have to use words to preach the gospel! But it is also true that if the gospel we preach doesn’t match the gospel we live, the world will want no part of it. Our words have to match our deeds, and this is done by having wisdom and being gracious with our words.

Questions for reflection:
–When is the last you have seen God answer a prayer? Have you ever been frustrated that you haven’t gotten the answers you wanted? Check your heart: is what you’re praying for building God’s Kingdom or yours?
–Do you regularly pray for opportunities to share the gospel? How often do you pray for the gospel effectiveness of Center Point?
–How are you walking towards outsiders? Are you walking in wisdom and graciousness?
Posted by: Graham Withers

AUgust 8, 2015

 

Today you should read: Colossians 3:18-25

Let’s face it we are all a mess so it is no surprise that our families are messy too. When you put two or more sinful people under one roof you will at the very least get an adventure. Just think about some of the best comedies over the past decade and most of them revolve around family. One of my personal favorites is “Everybody loves Raymond.” The interactions between the family members are hilarious but that show is a good insight on the pulse of our society’s view of roles in the family. The husband (Ray) is aloof and acts like a big kid. The wife (Deborah) is dominate and plays the parent to kids and husband. The kids run wild except for a few moments with mom and dad decide to teach a lesson. In-laws over step their bounds and but in too much. Everyone is trying to figure out how to get their way from the other members of the family. Although it makes for good TV, families that function this way find themselves in chaos.
Our passage today calls for a different type of structure for the home. God’s structure for the family is controversial and counterintuitive to the social norms of today.
• Wives submit to your husbands
• Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them
• Children obey your parents
• Fathers do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged
• Slaves obey your masters (Probably does not apply)
• Work heartily
When we look at each of these roles in this passage I notice two very distinctive things that we are being called to. First, all of these commands are to be done “as to the Lord.” We are not loving one another or submitting to one another out of a personal gain but out of worship to our God. He is the one who created us and his goal is that we would worship him. When we follow the commands of our passage today we are demonstrating our love for God. Second, we are demonstrating love for others above ourselves. All of these commands require self sacrifice and none of us like to do that. However, when we are functioning this way God is glorified and everyone wins. “Things always work better when you do them God’s way” (Tim Parsons).
The rules from our passage today are an outworking of Matthew 22:34-40:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Questions to Ponder:
Can you ignore these commands for the family and love God? What area’s do you need to grow in?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

August 7, 2015

Today you should read: Colossians 3:1-17

I love modern technology. Information at your fingertips at all times, social media for the latest buzz, incredible graphics in the latest movies, and all of the ridiculously cool gadgets… it’s really remarkable stuff. Man, to think of how far we’ve come in this world! One thing that has quickly risen to my list of favorites concerning modern technology: LIVE-STREAMING, ON-DEMAND TV. You can catch up on any show or documentary without waiting on reruns. For our impatient western culture, it truly is a breakthrough.

Here’s what I’ve found, though, and especially in college ministry: if addiction to television was bad before, Netflix and Hulu have exposed and exploited it to a whole new level. If you want to catch up on 24 or Saved By The Bell or _____________ (**fill in the blank with your favorite show**), you know that you need to block out some time. You can’t just watch one. That’s the sinful, insatiable desire for more that we each wrestle with. Before you know it, you’ve binge-watched 5-6 episodes of said show.

Where am I going with this? I’ll get there.

Let’s say you finally recognize that this is a terrible habit. Fantastic decision. You decide that you are cutting out 3 hours of TV… BUT… what will you put in its place? If you don’t put something good, helpful, wholesome, uplifting, etc. in your newfound 3-hour freedom, how long before some other sinful habit creeps in? Not long. Feel free to interview half of our college ministry. This is a real challenge.

Enter the apostle Paul and Colossians 3:1-17. This is the famed “put-off – put-on” principle. This chapter gives us a great rule to follow in our fight against sin and destructive habits. For everything we put off in verses 5-9, we must put on something better, which is all provided for us in Christ through the Holy Spirit in verses 10-17. Struggle with lying? As a follower of Jesus, you can put on truth. Struggle with greed? As a Christian, you wake up each day, and through the Holy Spirit, you choose generosity. Instead of back-biting and gossip, you can put on edification.

Or back to my not-so-far-fetched illustration: your daily 3-hour chunk of time no longer invested in the Andy Griffith Show can be spent in the Bible, Christian community, exercise… something better.

All this is made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we *ARE* and *WILL BE* raised with Him (reread and marinate in verses 1-4). Be blessed and overwhelmed by the Word today, family.

Posted by: Todd Thomas