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JesusWOD

Things Above

“…set your hearts on things above…set your minds on things above…When Christ, who is your life…”  – Colossians 3: 1, 2, 4

The things our hearts and minds are focused on is usually what drives our lives. They take our energy (physical, mental, emotional), and time (a commodity you cannot buy more of and is short in length).

Have we ever really thought about what we are setting our lives on?

Does Jesus really think, or believe, we will keep our hearts and minds on Him 24/7/365? No. The majority of us are lucky to do that for a half-hour straight. We are too full of “us”.

I do believe He wants to see a better consistency established in this area of our lives. It won’t be complete until we are called home.

JesusWOD:

If Christ was taken out of verse four, how would we fill in the blank?

“When ____________, who is your life…”

JesusWOD

the-lord-is-near“The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:5(b)

How often do we forget this simple fact? Even though God reminds us throughout the Bible he “will never leave” or “forsake” us, we tend to take life head on … alone.

Oh, we may have sought the “wisdom” of family and friends, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, “The Lord is near” and still waiting for us to give him a ring.

In verse four, Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Verse six reminds us to not “be anxious about anything” (easier said than done, right?).  Verse seven states, “the peace of God” will “transcend all understanding.” Why can all these things take place?

Because, “The Lord is near.” (We also forget, as His kids, He lives within us – can’t get much closer than that.)

It doesn’t mean we will waltz through life’s struggles or laugh past utter disappointments.

Life is tough.

The struggle is real.

But, “The Lord is near.”

He can give us a reason to “rejoice”, quell the “anxiousness” and provide the “peace” we cannot comprehend, if we only remember He “is near.”

JesusWOD:

As we travel through the peaks and valleys of life, are we tapping into the power of God that lives inside of us?

JesusWOD

Exits

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14

Everyone has traveled, or is traveling, through the wide gate and on the broad road. Age is irrelevant and Christians are not excluded.

Just because we are saved doesn’t mean we still won’t take the “on ramp” to the world’s highway. It’s a thoroughfare filled with promises of fun, happiness and great times without signaling what lies ahead.

The world’s road is like a playing field with no boundaries. Anything goes. No whistles blown. No penalty flags thrown. With no regulations, it must be more fun than a narrow path with guardrails and warnings? How many times have we become caught up in the chaos of the broad road? The focus is on us or keeping up with the Joneses. Everything must be bigger, stronger and faster. The promises it offers becomes a dizzying frustration leading to disappointment, discouragement or ultimate “destruction.”

Thank the Lord for exits. Exit sign

God promises in Deuteronomy 31:6 He will not “leave… nor forsake us.” As we “merrily” travel the world’s paths, exhausting ourselves along the way, God provides countless opportunities to exit back to the peace, joy and safety of His “narrow” road.

No matter how long we stay on the world’s path, an exit to paradise is always there. Ask the thief on the cross (arguably my favorite person, besides Jesus of course, in the Bible because we are all, in one way or another, a thief).

I think he would encourage us like this: “I was blessed to be dying on the cross that day. I could not have been in a better place. It brought me to my last exit ramp, Jesus.”

JesusWOD:

What road are we traveling on today, right this very moment? Do we need to exit to the road less traveled? The ramp is there. The choice is ours.

 

 

Chains

“Remember my chains.”  – Colossians 4:18

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul ends it with a simple request – “Remember my chains.” Paul is under house arrest in Rome and will be so for two years. 

Though Colosse was hundreds of miles away, Paul knew the power of their prayers would sustain and strengthen him during this difficult time. 

Unfortunately, chains have not gone out of style. 

In different parts of the world, Christians suffer major persecution, and are slaughtered because they claim the name of Jesus. Others face the “normal” daily difficulties, troubles, hardships, worry and stress life constantly brings. 

Chains bind, create fear, stagnation and steal the joy and hope God promises to all his “kids”.  

As Paul did 2,000 years ago, brothers and sisters in CHRIST are crying out today – “Remember my chains.” These people are not just a world away. They are right beside us. At work, school, on our teams and even under our own roof. 

JesusWOD:

Who do we know being weighed down by the chains of life?  Will we take time to remember their chains and bear these burdens with them in prayer today?

JesusWOD

“…GOD is for us.”

If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31

From “the beginning”, God has been for us. All 66 books of the Bible are an account of how far, deep and wide His love is for us. In the same way He hovered “over the waters” of a dark and empty earth, God hovers over our dark and empty lives filling them with His light and His purpose.

He was for Noah on the ark.

He was for Moses standing at the edge of the Red Sea.

He was for David facing Goliath.

He was for Daniel in the lion’s den.

He was for Hannah who was childless.

He was for Saul, who became Paul, on the road to Damascus.

He was for Peter who denied Him three times.

He was for John the Baptist who was beheaded.

He was for the woman at the well.

He was for Thomas who doubted.

He was for Lazarus who died.

He was for the thief that entered paradise.

He was for men that administered the whipping.

He was for the Romans that nailed Him to a tree.

He was for the Pharisees that spit upon Him.

He “is for us…” 

And that goes for every human that has ever graced the stage of life. Whether we accept the gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, or not, it still does not take away the underlying truth that God has always been and will always be for all of us.  

John 3:16 states,“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

Jesus came for the sinner, and that includes all of “us.” 

JesusWOD:

To the unbeliever, will you be for Him, by asking Jesus Christ into your life today? Will you believe someone can be for you so much He would take on your sins and die in your place? 

To the believer, are we for Him? And, if so, how?

JesusWOD

apart or a part

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

As a basketball coach, it’s not difficult to tell which players are about the team and which ones are about themselves. Do they want to play defense as much as they want the ball on the offensive end? Will they hustle, dive for the loose ball … do the dirty work? Does their body language affect the team in a positive or negative manner?

In John 15:5, Jesus basically said if you’re on My team, you “can do all things through” Me. Jesus is the lifeline. He is the life-giver. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

On God’s team, you are a segment, a piece of His divine plan that serves a special and specific purpose. “The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ…Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.” (I Corinthians 12:12, 27)

As Christ is “the vine”, we serve as an extension of Him to the world. Our every breath and heartbeat comes not from our greatness, but the simple fact we are attached to Jesus. 

Break a branch off from its main source and certain death will come. For non-Christians, being “…apart from” God doesn’t mean a successful life cannot be had, for it certainly can. The difference is when those individuals die, and we all will, they “can do nothing” to be a part of God’s team. Time has run out. The game is over. An eternity apart from the Father has been sealed.

JesusWOD:

God has a place for you on His team. Have you asked Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior? 

If you’ve already accepted Jesus, is He asking you to be a part of something “special and specific”? 

 

JesusWOD

Team First

“…then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:2-4

Teams come in various shapes and sizes. An entire football team could have 80 plus players on the sidelines while a basketball team might have 15 or so. Relay teams in track and swimming consists of four while two can make a team in tennis, beach volleyball, golf (best ball), figure skating and even professional wrestling (The Minnesota Wrecking Crew – those from the 80s will know).

As these teammates strive to improve personally, they must also work in coordination with each other to attain maximum success (whatever that might ultimately be – usually getting the most out of their potential).

Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden was an expert on team success. He guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA basketball national championships from 1964-1975. Of the many great insights on “team,” this might be his best:

“A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group for the good of the group, that’s teamwork.”

In 1978-79, the Los Angeles Lakers won 47 games and finished third in the NBA’s Pacific Division. Enter Ervin “Magic” Johnson, the NBA’s number one draft pick from Michigan State University. 

During his rookie season, the celebrated Johnson wasn’t the team’s leading scorer (3rd) nor its top assist man (2nd). He was, though, the ultimate team player and the contagious excitement from the 6’9” ball handling wizard immediately made everyone around him better. 

As a team, the Lakers improved in points per game, assists, team rebounds and field goal percentage. Individually, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Norm Nixon and Jamaal Wilkes saw their scoring averages go up. Even the attendance at the “Fabulous Forum” rose from 482,611 to 582,882. A team was solidified and “Showtime” was born.

More importantly, Los Angeles netted 60 victories, 13 more than the prior season, and won the 1980 NBA Championship. Why? Because the missing link chose not to make himself the most important one. 

The greatest team player in all of history is Jesus Christ! He was the first to wear a t-shirt with “TEAM” in large capital letters and “me” in the smallest of font sizes. 

Paul captured Christ’s essence when he wrote:  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

The “Great I Am” had every reason to make it all about Him since He created it all in the first place. 

He didn’t.

After turning water into wine, Jesus didn’t pull a Sharpie from his robe and sign the miracle holding basin. He didn’t take a selfie with the blind man He gave sight to or go on Instagram live when raising Lazarus from the dead. After three days in the grave, Jesus didn’t Tweet, “I’m back!”

It wasn’t about Him; He is about us.

Knowing the coming carnage Calvary would offer, Jesus courageously put team in front of self. He spent His time in the garden praying to his Father “…that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:22). For that to happen, Jesus had to “…continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26).

So, Jesus “valued” us more … than Himself. 

He took the humiliation, the sharp crown of thorns, the brutal whipping and the nails – each with our names on them.  He took our sin. He took our death so we might live. 

Team. First.

JesusWOD:

Each of us are members of one or many teams that include family, spouses, friends, school or the workplace. Are we willing to humble ourselves, put aside our wants for the good of others and the glory of Christ?

Jesus WOD (Workout of the Day) – apart or a part

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”  –  John 15:5

As a basketball coach, it’s not difficult to tell what players are about the team and which ones are about themselves. Do they want to play defense as much as they want the ball on the offensive end? Will they hustle, dive for the loose ball … do the dirty work? Does their body language affect the team in a positive or negative manner?

In John 15:5, Jesus basically said if you’re on My team, you “can do all things through” Me. Jesus is the lifeline. He is the life giver. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

On God’s team, you are a segment, a piece of His divine plan that serves a special and specific purpose. “The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ…Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.” (I Corinthians 12:12, 27)

As Christ is “the vine”, we serve as an extension of Him to the world. Our every breath and heartbeat comes not from our greatness, but the simple fact we are attached to Jesus.

Break a branch off from its main source and certain death will come. For non-Christians, being “…apart from” God doesn’t mean a successful life cannot be had, for it certainly can. The difference is when those individuals die, and we all will, they “can do nothing” to be a part of God’s team. Time has run out. The game is over. An eternity apart from the Father has been sealed.

JesusWod:

  • God has a place for you on His team. Have you asked Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior?
  • If you’ve already accepted Jesus, is He asking you to be a part of something “special and specific”? Are you following His calling?

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