We’re Not “All That”

humbleThis election race has been grueling and has revealed flaws in America’s values. We have the two most unlikely and unliked candidates vying for the most powerful office in the world. Why is it that someone so unpopular with the American people will become our next president? Is it possible that the citizens of our great country no longer care about the things that matter? The last year has proven that lying and hypocrisy are no longer red flags as long as our favored candidate can put money in our pockets. It seems that character, or the lack of it, is no longer a factor in running for office.

This election process has not only revealed the flaws of our candidates, but it has also revealed the flaws of our people. We are a flawed people who sometime lack character. We also do not always act from a stellar moral center, and the arrogance of the candidates may be a reflection of the arrogance of the American people.

I shared a theme scripture with you yesterday that I plan to use today and again tomorrow. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This passage not only calls us to prayer, but it also presents three things we must do as we go before God. The first is that we must humble ourselves.

Pride is the one thing that will keep us from God. It is our arrogance that keeps us from repenting and crying out to God for help. God must be the sovereign of our hearts, but our pride causes us to remove God from the throne of our hearts and take that place ourselves. The prophet Isaiah (Isa 47:10) wrote inspired words 2700 years ago that sound as if he wrote them about America this morning: “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’” We forget the words of Proverbs 18:12: “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”

We cannot experience repentance without humility. Through humility, we recognize our dependence upon God and our utter helplessness. Through humility we see that we are not “all that,” and we realize God’s sufficiency. The marvel of it all is that God, in His mercy and compassion, longs to meet the deepest needs in our lives. He is simply waiting for us to humble ourselves before Him and cry out to Him in prayer.

 

I’ve asked our Children’s Minister to write family devotions to go along with my blog each day.

Humble Yourselves Before God – Family Devotion by Amy Autry

Getting Started: Ask each member of the family to a draw picture of someone who is powerful. This may be a real person or a fictional character. What do they look like? What makes them powerful? How did they get their power?

Most of the time we think of powerful people as being the biggest, or strongest, or having the most accomplishments.

Bible Time:

Read 1 Kings 3:5-14

When Solomon became king, God appeared to him in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon could have asked for anything? He could have asked to have the most money, or be the strongest person in the land. Instead, Solomon prayed that He would have a wise and understanding heart. Solomon was humble before God and understood that true power and wisdom only come from God. God was very pleased with Solomon’s request. In fact, God promised that if Solomon continued to obey His commandments he would have a long life.

Like Solomon, God wants us to be humble before Him. To humble ourselves before God means that we know that we are not perfect and we surrender to God’s wisdom and trust His purpose for our lives.

Read Psalm 25: 8-10

In verse 9, the bible tells us that God will teach the humble His way. God wants to teach us how to live and follow His plan for our lives. God promises that when we trust His ways and follow Him that he will show us exactly how to live.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What did Solomon ask God for? (A wise and understanding heart)
  2. What was God’s response to Solomon’s request? (God was pleased and gave Solomon more than he asked for)

How can we humble ourselves before God? (By trusting God and following Him)

If My People Will…Pray

pledge

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Solomon obeyed the Lord and built a magnificent temple in Jerusalem. At the conclusion of this great project, all of the people of Israel gathered to celebrate the completion of the temple and to dedicate it to the Lord. After the people left and Solomon was alone, the Lord appeared to him one night and told him that He heard Solomon’s prayer. The Lord then made an interesting statement, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people…”

Why would God shut up the heavens so it didn’t rain or send a plague on His people? It sounds to me like he was pointing to the reality of judgment upon Israel. God knew that even though they had just dedicated the temple, His people would waver and fall away from Him. Israel’s history and humanity’s disposition shows that as sure as night follows day, sin follows obedience. Israel lived out a cyclical pattern of obedience, submission, and pleasing God followed by a period of sin, rebellion, and dishonoring God. In response to this reality of human weakness, God made two promises. The first one is stated above: He will bring judgment upon humanity. The second one is contained in the next verse (2 Chronicles 7:14): “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This famous verse was part of a conversation God had with King Solomon in the middle of the night about Israel, but God included it in His Word for us. Israel is not the only people with a propensity to sin, and God’s promise still rings out true for us. If we will turn to God, God will heal our land.

Our nation is at a crossroad, and the people of God must fall on their faces before Almighty God and seek him as never before. The path we have taken for many years is a path leading us away from our Creator. The consequence of rebellion is judgment. If we do not repent and come back to God, His hand of protection will be lifted from our great country, and we will encounter His wrath.

We are in the final stages of electing a president for our nation. This election process has been shameful and embarrassing, but the differences between the candidates are stark. As Christians who have a voice in the electoral process and who are seeking the face of God, we must vote and we must ask God for mercy and healing as a nation. We should vote for the candidate who will best lead us to be a nation who honors the Lord. While economic prosperity is important and while military strength is essential, the Bible says that a nation is blessed “whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

This next president will be selecting at least one new Supreme Court justice and will have considerable influence upon the future direction of our land. In the past, we have passed laws that stand in direct contrast to the clear teaching of the Word of God. Our next president will be making choices about future laws. Will we continue to move down a path away from God or will we come back toward being a people who submit to God’s sovereign rule? If we move away from God, we can expect “the heavens to be shut up and locusts to devour the land.” God’s judgment will come in a variety of ways, but it will come.

I’m writing to call us to pray. We must seek God’s face and intercede for our nation. We must turn from our sin and turn to God. I’m asking you to join me in these final three days of the election process in prayer, crying out to God for help and mercy. If you can fast, I encourage you to fast. Will you set apart a significant amount of time during the next three days to cry out to our Creator for His help and intervention. If we as a people will pray and seek the face of God and turn from our sin, then we will hear from heaven, and God will heal our land.

Family Devotion

Getting Started: As a family, name ways that we can talk with someone who is not in the same room as us. When we talk with people, we can get to know who they are and what is important to them. It is the same with God. God wants us to talk to Him, so we can know him better. What are some ways we can talk to God?

Bible Time:

God loves it when we talk to Him. Another name for talking to God is prayer. When we pray, we are talking and listening to God. We can talk to God anywhere about anything.

Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Jeremiah 29:11-13

After the temple had been built, God appeared to Solomon. God told Solomon that there would be hard times ahead for the nation of Israel. He promised that if the people prayed and followed God, He would hear them and heal their land. In the book of Jeremiah, God again promised that he had a plan for Israel and promised to hear their prayers. Just like God had a plan for Israel, God also has a plan for each of us and listens to us when we pray. We can talk to Him about anything!

Discussion:

  1. How can we talk to God?
  2. What are some things we can talk to God about?

Family Activity:

Stock a basket with index cards, markers, and stickers. Have children decorate the cards and write a prayer request on each card for our country and leaders. Place the basket on the dinner table. Each night at dinner have a child choose a card and pray for that request. Remind the kids how God promises to hear our prayers.

Historical Crossroads

crossroadOur lives are filled with crossroads every day. We get up every morning and make decisions that affect a lot of things in our lives. For example, you may decide to take the scenic route to work and inadvertently avoid running over a nail that will give you a flat tire or a collision at the intersection down the road. Sometimes, the crossroads are even more significant. These types of crossroads have personal impact and may touch others as well, but sometimes, we face historical crossroads that impact nations and cultural destinies. We are at such a crossroad now!

Every presidential election is a historical crossroad, but this one has the greatest impact of any presidential election in the history of our nation. I say that because we have been on a road to destruction for quite some time. History shows us that once a nation gets to a certain point morally, economically, and philosophically, there is no return. We are standing on the edge of the cliff and leaning precariously over the edge. One more step will define and seal our demise.

The Word of God says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). It does not say “blessed is the nation who has a strong military” or “who is economically sound” or “who has a Republican/Democrat as president.” I believe in a strong military and sound economics are critical, but the key to a strong nation is one “whose God is the Lord.” I will go on record as saying I’m disappointed with BOTH of our presidential candidates. I still have an obligation put upon me by Almighty God to do my part to put a person in office who will do the best job of those on the ticket to lead us to be a nation whose God is the Lord.

For me personally, my choice is clear. I have strong opinions about the need for small government, decreasing national debt, strong military, and secure borders. I’m also extremely burdened about a nation who creates dependence and a culture of entitlement, but one thing seals the deal for me as to who gets my vote. I do not believe God will bless a nation who kills unborn babies. It is estimated that over 54 million babies have been killed since abortion was legalized in 1973. It is mind boggling to me that people in our nation have embraced the worst form of abortion that hell has conjured up: partial birth abortion. It is difficult to believe that some people in our country think it is okay to allow a child to be partially born and then kill the baby before he/she is free from the mother’s body. Heaven weeps at the atrocity.

Another belief distinguishes my position from some candidates running for office. I do not believe God can bless a nation who totally disregards His Word. While we are to never disregard people or personally pass judgment on an individual, God clearly defines sin in the Bible. How we may feel about a particular topic or even what we think about an issue makes no difference. Morality is not up for vote. God’s Word is clear. We have become a nation who embraces immorality and passes laws that stand in stark opposition to the clear teaching of Scripture. I cannot stand with a party that embraces sin as normal and passes laws requiring the rest of a nation to embrace sin along with them. Please hear me out. Any sin is an abomination, including hypocrisy, gluttony, prejudice, homosexuality, injustice to the poor, and on and on I could go. We do not need to stand for any law that requires our citizens to condone any sin.

My choice for president, senate, or the house has nothing to do with party, though we now live in a time where party affiliation often defines position. My choice has everything to do with position. I ask myself “What is this person’s position on moral issues about which the Word of God is clear?” I’m also concerned about other issues, but these positions give me clarity in the voter’s booth.

I encourage you to pray hard about this decision and then vote for the person you think will lead us to be a nation “whose God is the Lord.” If we do not return to God, we will fall off that precipice, and there is no return.

I’ve been informed about an event online that will be worth watching. It is a 2-hour program sponsored by My Faith Votes on Wednesday, November 2. You can stream it live by visiting https://www.myfaithvotes.org/faithincultureandpolitics/. It begins at 7:00 pm Eastern Time.

Let’s pray as never before and do our part to vote on November 8. May God help us, and may we become that nation that God can bless.

God’s Mercy

chainsofsinElevation Church Worship Band recorded a wonderful song about God’s mercy entitled Mercy Reigns. Here are a few of the lyrics:

My God is strong enough to raise me from the grave Your love is great enough to take away my shame Your mercy reigns My God is making new the wreckage of my heart Your hand is reaching down to pull me from the dark Your mercy reigns; Your mercy covers me Your grace sustains; Your grace is all I need

Mercy is an important theme in the Bible, and the word is used a number of times throughout Scripture. It’s difficult to get an accurate count of a particular English word in the Bible because the Bible was not written in English. You may find several different words in the original text that could be translated mercy or another word that is similar. For example, Lamentations 3:22-23 are some of my favorite verses about mercy: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Henry Morris mentioned in one of his articles that there are four Hebrew words and three Greek words associated with the word “mercy” and these words are used a total of 454 times in the Bible. Wow!

Often times, grace is used synonymously with mercy, but they’re two different concepts. Grace is often thought of as undeserved favor. I once heard someone say that grace is getting something we do not deserve. Mercy, however, is more connected to withholding judgment. If grace is getting what we do not deserve – forgiveness, mercy is not getting what we do deserve – condemnation. Here’s an interesting thought. God mentions mercy more than grace in the Bible. I don’t really think that means one concept is more important than another, but it does make us pause to think about the significance of God holding back the judgment we deserve. We deserve death and hell. It is only because He is a God who is willing to withhold condemnation that we have hope for eternity. God’s mercies indeed never come to an end.

Be Transformed

One tree in field

Transformation! At my church, we have begun a fall spiritual growth campaign called “Transformed,” and I’m really excited about how God is going to use it in our lives. I’ve been thinking a good bit about how God is in the transformation business. It began with Adam and Eve and it continues today in me and you. He takes that which is bad or useless and transforms it into good and useful. One thing that strikes me about transformation is that while God is in the business of changing lives, it really depends upon our willingness to change. I stressed in the first two messages of this series that God is the One who does the transforming, not us, but we have to put ourselves in the place of transformation. This “positioning” requires several things I would like to share.

First, we must long for transformation. We must ask ourselves if we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Transformation is not easy. It is often times painful. When was the last time you lost a significant amount of weight? That’s transformation, and it’s not easy. We must be able to see ourselves as we really are and long for what could be.

Second, we must be willing to incorporate the steps necessary to bring about transformation in our lives. It’s possible that we know what to do to transform our marriage or our finances, but it’s also possible that we’re not really sure. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to share some principles that will help us with this process of change in my weekly sermon (you can listen to these messages online), and a number of books and resources are also available to help us with needed change in our lives. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to be willing to learn from others that God may place in your lives.

Third, we should set some goals in our lives for transformation. Based upon our reading, listening, prayer, and study, we should establish some S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time framed). I always encourage people to write out their goals. What are some goals you have in your life regarding spiritual transformation? What are some things you can do to place yourself in a position of transformation? For example, you could set goals to meet with God every day in Bible reading and prayer or attend worship at your church. What about transformation in your health or finances? What could you do to place yourself in a spot where God can bring transformation in your marriage, your family, or your career? Write out some goals. The series at SonRise will deal with transformation in the following areas of our lives: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, and vocational. Are you willing to set some goals in these areas and see what God can do through your life?

How Do You Say Goodbye to your Mother?

momHow do you say goodbye to your mother? My mother passed away last week. I kissed her the night before she died, told her I loved her, and told her that she would soon see Jesus. It was a sad time when she died the next day, but our sorrow was not for my mom. It was for us. My mother loved Jesus with all of her heart. The scripture is clear that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Even with Alzheimer’s, my mother lived out her faith. Just months before her death, she was not able to talk about much, but she could carry on a conversation about the Word of God. She would sing hymns and pray. A month before she passed, I was at my parent’s house doing some repairs, and my mom walked into the kitchen and said, “I need to pray for you.” We bowed our heads, and she started a prayer. My mother didn’t get past “Dear Heavenly Father,” but God knew exactly what was on her heart. I am confident that the Holy Spirit finished her prayer somewhere in the portals of Heaven.

My mother was passionate about sharing the gospel with everyone in the world. She lived out her passion and influenced thousands and thousands of people all over the world. I know that she personally led over 1000 children to Christ during the 13-year period she was a camp director. I learned last week that she had written a song or chorus. I can’t believe I didn’t know that. Many of the grandchildren knew it. All of the grandchildren and great grandchildren (at least those who were old enough to sing) sang her song at her funeral:

Everyone, everywhere needs to know of God’s love; for everyone, everywhere, Jesus came from above
To die on Calvary; His great love for all to see. Everyone, everywhere needs God’s love.

My oldest daughter told me yesterday that her two-year-old daughter asked her daddy to sing to her Grandma’s song. I am confident that my mother’s heart and life’s passion will continue to influence my family and the world for generations to come.

How do you say goodbye to your mother? If you and your mom are Christians, you don’t have to. The Bible is clear that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. I have no doubt my mother is in Heaven. I don’t have to say “goodbye” but rather “I’ll see you later.”

Someone Checked His Brain (and Morals) at the Door

brainless    The third largest school district in the country has spoken. USA Today reported Tuesday that the “Chicago Public Schools said its students, teachers and staff could use whichever restroom matches their gender identity.” When I was a kid, gender identity had to do with anatomy. Today, gender identity is determined by how an individual feels at the moment. If a teenage boy decides that he is a girl, then he showers and changes clothes in the girls’ locker room. Really? Have people lost their minds? Is everyone okay with a man going into the girls’ locker room at the local gym and changing clothes? Can’t people see where this is going to lead? We have enough perverted and twisted human beings in our nation today doing the unspeakable. Why would we want to feed their perversion with ridiculous laws? Politicians in North Carolina took a stand against this absurdity by passing a law requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate. A representative from the Department of Justice has given North Carolina notice that they are in violation of the Civil Rights Act and will be required to face the consequences if they do not remedy the violation by Monday.

Four years ago, I began writing my book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, and I wrote of how our nation would continue its slide into the moral abyss. I stated, “While considering the national slide into immorality and the disdain with which people treat the truths of scripture, unrighteousness will be the new normal in a world heading toward Armageddon.” Although I addressed this move toward immorality, I am still stunned at the stupidity of our political leaders. You would have had a difficult time convincing me three or four years ago that our Federal Government would be threatening a state with consequences if they did not allow men to use the women’s locker room or women to shower with men after a morning workout at the local gym. This is simply an indication of the moral blindness of our secular culture. We should not be surprised by this. Second Corinthians 4:4 reminds us that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.” This is the only explanation for the direction our nation is going. Many of our political leaders are blinded to truth and to the consequences of an immoral nation.

I believe that our nation is already under the judgment of God. As you read through the Old Testament, you see story after story of God bringing judgment on a nation or on an individual. While God would pass judgment, it would often take years for the people to realize that judgment had come. In 1 Samuel 15:23, God told King Saul, “He has also rejected you from being king.” Saul continued to serve as the King for another fifteen years before he was ultimately killed in battle. Whenever we stepped out from under God’s umbrella of protection and blessing by passing laws that removed prayer from school, made it legal to murder unborn babies, and sanctified marriage between two people of the same sex, we opened the door up to all manner of consequences. When immoral and self-absorbed people go to the polls, they elect people who continue their agenda of immorality. Scripture says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” The god of America is no longer the God of the Bible. We have become our own gods who simply live for our pleasure. God cannot bless the nation we have become.

Four years ago, I predicted that the 2016 presidential race would be won by a person who would continue leading us down a path toward immorality. I said that the new president would continue an anti-Semitic policy that would ultimately lead Israel to stand alone against Russia and a 5-nation coalition (Ezekiel 38-39). As badly as I want to see a strong conservative in the White House, the Bible says that society will continue a downward slide until Christ’s return. I would love to see a revival and a return to morality in our nation, however, I do not believe it is going to happen. I think that the church must learn how to stand firm against the “wiles of the devil.” We must realize that we are in a spiritual battle and do everything we can to share our faith with those who will listen. Put on your spiritual armor daily. Prepare to engage our culture with God’s truth and shine your light into a world that is growing increasingly dark. If you have not read Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, I encourage you to read it. If you are unable to purchase it right now, contact me and I’ll send you a digital copy for free. I share important truths in this book that will help you prepare to stand firm in the days to come.

We know where all of this is leading, and it will eventually be glorious for followers of Christ. Do not lose heart. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Our redemption is drawing near.

Make America Great

2016election“I’ll make America great again.” We’ve heard that a lot over the last months of the presidential campaign from a number of candidates. I think we all realize the serious place we are in as a nation, and many of us believe that this election may be our last hope to turn around. I also believe that we all want America to be great again. There is a misnomer, however, in the midst of all of the campaign rhetoric. God is the only person who can make America great again. I fully believe that the reason America was great in the past is because America had a greater commitment to following God and His Word. We have now banned God from public places, He’s no longer welcome in our public school system, His Word is openly violated as our nation’s leaders have passed laws that diametrically oppose the teaching of Scripture, Christians are scorned, and God’s truth is belittled. Should we be surprised that America has lost her luster? The Bible is clear: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). I believe that many Americans are tired of political correctness and dishonest politicians. We long for a leader who is principle centered, tough against terrorism, and strong in the face of financial challenges. We will all be going to the polls soon to vote in primaries across our land and ultimately to elect a president. While a strong military is needed and a stable economy is essential, the Bible is clear about the source of a nation’s greatness: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).

 

We can listen to politicians as they try to convince us that they are the best candidate. I would encourage us to look at their message and consider their past positions. We need leaders who will not lead our nation away from the Lord. America is only great when we declare the greatness of Almighty God and surrender to His sovereign rule.

When Evil Prevails

terror

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13

 

We all stand in shock at the terrorist attacks in France yesterday. While acts of terrorism are becoming normal in our global culture, it still amazes me that people can go into a theater and start shooting innocent people in the name of their god. I could share my political opinions or even comment on what I think world leaders should do in response to this act of terror, but I prefer to address a deeper issue. We must realize that what we are watching is simply spiritual warfare. The god of this world is wreaking havoc on our world, and we are moving ever closer to the end of time that was prophesied throughout Scripture. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that perilous times would come before His return.

How do we respond to this? Our first obvious response is prayer for those who have been personally impacted by this devastation and for our leaders as they consider a proper response. Secondly, we should not be surprised. God told us in His word that calamity would come and evil would show its ugly head. We must remind ourselves that terrorists are not really our main enemy. Even ISIS is not our ultimate enemy. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. The god of this world is our enemy. There is a spiritual battle that is being waged, and ISIS is but a pawn in the hands of the master deceiver.  There are certainly things that our national leaders must do to stop evil in its tracks, and it is my prayer that our president and other political leaders will have the substance needed to take bold stands against this global evil. However, we must see the bigger picture.

Real spiritual battle takes place in other ways. For starters, it begins on our knees. This terrorist attack should call believers to a time of great prayer. Ephesians 6:10 commands us to “be strong in the Lord.” I wrote about this passage in my book Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days, and I find that it has special relevance today.  Any preparation we take for spiritual conflict is built upon us yielding to the power and presence of Christ in us. Then the Ephesians 6 passage continues by telling us to take some steps in our preparation: put on the full armor of God. I urge you to consider the teaching of this passage in light of the spiritual conflict that is going on in our world. The Church of the Lord Jesus must prepare spiritually for what is going on around us. Do not be surprised by terror and persecution; be equipped. God is on His throne, and He will guide you to find strength and hope in the days to come. If you are strong in the Lord and equipped with His spiritual armor, you will be ready for whatever we will face in the days to come.

I have lowered the cost of the digital version of Immovable in hopes that it will be a guide and an encouragement for you during this time. Take steps toward preparing yourselves for the spiritual conflict that will only increase before the return of Christ. Study Ephesians 6:10-18 and Matthew 24 in light of what is going on in our world today. The Bible is clear that God will ultimately win this conflict, so we do not face these battles with hopelessness. We have great hope in Jesus Christ. Let’s pray as never before, prepare for what is to come, engage our enemy on spiritual grounds, and comfort those who hurt. Trust that our faithful God, our Leader in battle, will prevail in the days to come.

The Heart of Worship

praiseMany of you are participating in the “What On Earth Am I Here For?” journey with the SonRise Baptist Church family. Why are you here? Have you determined that God has made you for a reason? He has at least five purposes for your life as outlined in the Bible. We will never find ultimate joy until we are living out our purposes. Rick Warren began the first chapter of his book, What On Earth Am I Here For? (formerly The Purpose-Driven Life) with these words: “It’s not about you.” Understanding our life’s purpose begins by realizing that God never intended everything to revolve around you. You do not play the lead role in this drama called life. God does. Living out our purposes begins by abdicating the throne of our lives and allowing Jesus Christ to sit there. This means that we are handing the controls over to Jesus and allowing Him to be in charge.

Last week we were reminded that we were made for God’s pleasure. We were created to be loved by God, and God wants us to love Him back. Loving God back is called worship. Worship is our first purpose and greatest priority. To know God is to worship God. One chapter in last week’s reading of What On Earth Am I Here For? focused on the heart of worship (if you began reading a chapter a day on September 27, you’ll be on chapter 17 today). Rick Warren said that the heart of worship is surrender. What do you think of that? The heart of our salvation is surrender. We cannot become a Christian unless we first surrender our lives over to Jesus Christ. We cannot live a victorious Christian life unless we surrender every day to the Holy Spirit’s control. Living a life of worship means that we surrender daily to God’s control and authority. Worship is so much more than just singing a few songs at a designated hour on Sundays. It is living a life of surrender and obedience. If we are not surrender daily to God, then we are not worshipping.

Surrender seems like a negative thing, but it is not. We think of surrender as if someone just lost a war or a concept that expresses weakness. Think of it as a drowning swimmer surrendering to the strength of a life guard. Someone who is drowning must stop fighting and allow a life guard to pull them to safety. Surrendering to God means that we acknowledge that He is God and we are not. It means that we yield to His rule in our lives, His wisdom in our circumstances, His strength in our troubles, and His authority in our decisions. The heart of worship and the heart of life is surrender. That’s a great place to start with the rest of your life.