“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19 (KJV)
I am so excited to announce the very first teaching series on Pastor B’s Blog. At first I thought I would just do devotional messages and scripture of the day type things, but how many of you know that God’s plans are always higher, greater, and better than our own!?! I thought I was going to do this series over on the Christlike Ministries NWA Blog, but God lead me to a different series to do there…but I felt like I needed to do this series too. So, I have a six message series over on the Christlike Ministries NWA Blog simply titled “Potential”, and now I have one to do here titled “Finding Your Way Back To God”.
So, let’s get into this message, and find out what God has to say to us about finding our way back to Him, Amen!?!
There’s Got To Be More
It’s so much fun and such a privilege to bring you the Word of God this way. Many of you know by now that with God’s help I’ve become a pretty good writer, and when God lead me to begin working on a secondary blog I knew that if God was putting it in my heart to do it that He would provide the content for it. It’s started out just being a place where I can move all of the messages I’ve written using Evernote, but now it’s becoming more than that. I have been putting down an almost daily scripture of the day, and now the Lord’s lead me to the first teaching series for this new blog…and we’re going to talk about “Finding Your Way Back To God” throughout this series.
If you like this series you can find it by going to www.bible.com (You Version’s Website), and type “Finding Your Way Back To God” in the search box to find this series has been brought to us by Dave Ferguson & Jon Ferguson, and so the portion of the message that your going to read in the quotes are by them, and as I always do on the Christlike Ministries NWA Blog, I’m going to give these guys the opening and closing words of each message…and fill in with what the Lord wants to say in between, Amen!?!
Do you ever have the feeling that you are chasing something in life that won’t fully satisfy you? Pay attention to that feeling. It’s from God.
I don’t know about you, but this used to be an all too familiar feeling for me. I felt for such a long time that I was chasing something in life that I never really was able to obtain until I started serving God. I use to have the same thoughts as everyone else. If I can just get this job or date this woman or have enough money to get this car or get to a place where I feel like I’m worthy to do what God’s calling me to do…I would be happy. Anyone else do that…or is it just me!?! The thing of it is, I actually engaged in chasing all these things…and come to find out that no matter what something was always not quite right. For example, at one point I had a really good job, I thought I’d found the perfect girl, and when she got homesick and moved back home I was crushed cause I thought I had the perfect life…I thought I had everything I was chasing…but I was wrong.
When I stopped chasing the “what ifs”, and started being content with what I had, where I was, and seeking after the things of God…that’s when things really began to change…and more importantly God saw to it that all those things I was chasing fell into place. Today, I can say like Paul that I’ve learned to be content with where I am, what I have, and that God has fulfilled every one of my heart’s desires…and then some. God truly has blessed me with more than I could’ve imagined, and let me add that I also had a messed up view of what the abundant life was all about. It wasn’t until I began serving God, and He started showing me that the real abundant life had very little to do with financial and material wealth. So, not only did God teach me how to be content where I’m at and bloom where I’m planted…He also showed me the truth about the abundant life…because in reality what everyone is chasing is that abundant life that Jesus spoke of…but the abundant life isn’t available apart from Christ.
We’re not just talking about substance abuse issues, although drinking and pursuing other addictions are certainly ways of chasing something futile. But we’ve also known a lot of “good church people” who sit in a service every week—or who preach from a pulpit to those people—who feel themselves to be far from God. They’re “successful” or “put together” or “righteous” on the outside, but they’re missing God on the inside. They keep busy with religious practices and work, school, or family, but it just isn’t enough. They long for God to feel real to them.
Glory to God! We’ve all been like the prodigal son haven’t we, but the problem is some don’t really wind up in the pig pen of life. Some build for themselves houses that are built upon sand. On the outside the homes appear to be perfect, but underneath the surface you find a foundation that’s not very stable. We see it all the time. These “self-made” people that build these so-called empires, and when that empire they built gets shaken these same people wind up committing suicide or going crazy because the loss they experience is great. Remember…pride comes before destruction!?!
When Jesus was here He was always teaching those around Him to look deeper than how things appear. He did a lot of that during the Sermon on the Mount when He brought us from the physical act of committing a sin to showing us that the outward act is the fruit of an inner matter of the heart. He said that you have already committed adultery with someone who you look upon with lust…in your heart. He said hating someone is the same as murdering them. He scolded the religious leaders of the day for looking like they were all “put together”, but inside they were filthy and their hearts were far from Him.
You see we are always consumed with how things look on the outside, but God is concerned with the origin of everything we do…our hearts and our minds and our thoughts. Why do you think Paul took a great deal of time talking to us about having the “mind of Christ” and “taking our thoughts into captive obedience to the Word”…it’s because (as I learned from a cognitive thinking class) our thoughts lead to our feelings and our feelings lead to our actions. Our actions then become the fruit of what’s in our hearts. The more our thoughts line up with the Word of God…the more fruits of the spirit will be seen…and as we know the more our thoughts are consumed by the cares of the world…the more carnal our fruit will be.
God is always saying through my messages that we as the Body of Christ have to stop pretending, and start BEING the church. The world is very keen and skeptical. It’s looking for real, authentic, and genuine people who love God, serve God, and live like there’s a God. We want to act like we’re religious and have it all together, but the world is tired of fake. Joel Osteen is always smiling and looks like he’s got everything under control, but there’s never a time when he preaches about sin or the cross or that Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved. Rick Warren may have some really good points and quotes, but when you are a well-known preacher that says that God and Allah co-exist…that’s exactly what Jesus was talking about. There are others that look and sound like they’re great men of God, but when you dig deeper into what they are saying and preaching…it rings HOLLOW. There’s no substance to it.
Rick Warren and Joel Osteen aren’t serving the body of Christ the milk or the meat of the Word of God…they’re serving it junk food! What they’re giving the body of Christ looks, sounds, and tastes wonderful…so does cotton candy…but when the sugar rush of the cotton candy wears off…you find that not only was it not filling but your still hungry. Cotton candy is full of empty calories and so much of the Body of Christ is filling up on junk food instead of the sincere milk and meat of the Word of God. Instead they’re filling up on cookies and candy and junk food…and when they sit down in a church that teaches the real, sincere Word of God that’s meat for their souls and washed down with milk…they’re full of all this junk food.
Have you ever eaten so much junk food that when you sit down to eat a meal your too full? The junk food was good, but when it wears off we find there wasn’t any substance to it…and that’s what the Body of Christ is feeding on right now…teaching that has no substance to it. This is exactly what was wrong with the Pharisees…they looked and sounded good…but at their core they were full of things that weren’t able to nourish them. The Body of Christ is malnourished because it’s feeding upon the junk that’s coming from the pulpits because it sounds good, it sounds religious, and it even makes them feel good. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some cookies with a glass of milk. There’s nothing wrong with telling people they’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, but you also have to let them know that their lives ought to change beyond becoming new creations in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to eat ice cream. However, I also have times when I crave a really good steak, amen!?! The Word of God is the same way. There are some really sweet parts to the Word of God, but we can’t just feed upon the sweet parts. We need a well-rounded diet of the sweet, the milk, and the meat of the Word of God…that’s how we get to be mature believers. That’s how we get to having the mind of Christ…we have to meditate upon His Word. Then the Word of God begins to dominate our thoughts…and then as they resonate in our hearts…then our actions start to mirror the Word of God.
We need a renewed hunger and thirst for the unfiltered, uncompromised Word of God. I have hidden thy word in my heart that I may not sin against thee, but in order to get to a place where we sin less…we have to study the Word of God more. Amen!?!
That longing is the first spiritual awakening for all of us finding our way back to God: “There’s got to be more.”
When you long for a love that is deep and satisfying, when you want to give yourself to something that will truly make a difference, or when you seek answers to life’s most difficult questions, you are looking for God. You’ve really got two options: you can keep searching to fill these longings on your own, or you can look to the One who gave you those longings in the first place.
Do you know that a lot of the quenching of the Holy Spirit has to do with the fact that we aren’t setting aside time to study and meditate upon the Word of God? Friends, the Word of God is the voice of God. That’s how we learn to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. That’s how we get to understanding and knowing and discerning who’s voice that still small voice on the inside of us is. We can learn to distinguish between our own inner chatterbox, the lies of the devil, and the Holy Ghost. The more you feed upon the Word of God the louder the voice of the Holy Ghost will become…and of course the more you feed upon the things of the world the louder the voice of the devil and your own chatterbox will become.
I’ve come to the place in life where I desire less and less of what the world has to offer…and more of the things of God. Not long ago I wiped all secular music off of my playlists, and in it’s place I put more music that praises and worships God. The only secular playlist I have is a 3 Doors Down playlist that I some times listen to while I’m mowing the yard. I’ve lost interest in all of my old favorite television shows, and much to my wife’s dismay I rarely find there’s a movie coming to theaters that I can’t wait to see. I do want to see some of the faith-based movies, but there’s so much of the world’s entertainment that I’ve been turned off to, and it’s because I desire more of the things of God.
I’m a huge sports fan, but I find that I can keep up with my favorite teams without having to watch the games. I’m one of those that would watch football from kickoff on Saturday to the final whistle on Sunday night. However, I’ve come to find that I can keep up with my teams, and that it’s more important for me to be about the Father’s business. I’ve moved my office out of the living-room partly to remove the distractions of television so that when I know I’m supposed to be sitting here writing (like I am now) the worship music is flowing and so is the anointing to write. I love for God, and I love to be in His presence. I have a place that I can go, close the door, and seek the Lord…and one of the coolest part is watching my daughter come into the room dancing to the worship music.
I’ve made decisions and taken steps to draw nearer to God and leave more of the things of the world behind. The world has lost it’s appeal to me, and there’s been a renewed desire to press in and draw closer to God…because I know of the satisfying and fulfilling love of God…and another part of this is by doing what I’ve done with my ministry office it’s going to spill over into other areas of my life.
I want to be a better husband, father, son, and frankly just a better example…and all of that starts by putting myself at the feet of the Master.
Our longing for real love goes all the way back to how the human race was made in the first place. God intended that we experience his love both directly from him and through others we relate to in a healthy way. What we long for, God doesn’t just have but actually God is. He is love and he pursues us with love.
One of the reasons my family and I left our previous church is because their love wasn’t real or genuine. I’m sure the pastors cared about us, but how many of you know there’s a difference between caring for someone and genuinely loving them!?! You see, that’s what people in and of the world are looking for the Body of Christ to put on display. In the early days of the church (in the book of Acts) while the anointing of the Holy Ghost turned the world upside down, and another important element was that they genuinely loved people. The ironic thing is the pastors of my former church use to say all the time that people don’t care about how much you know until then know how much you care, and then the Lord spoke up on the inside of me to add that people don’t care how much you know until they know that you genuinely care for them. They are looking for love that is real, authentic, and genuine…not faked or forced or phony.
The world is looking for real, authentic love…and they ought to be able to find it in the church. I have a saying that it should never be easier to find something in the world that I should be able to find from the body of Christ. The sad thing, is I’ve found people in and of the world in the bar scene more willing to accept and love me then I find in the church. How many of you know that in God’s eyes that’s unacceptable? Jesus said that the world would know who His disciples were by the real, authentic love they have for one another…and when it’s hard to tell the difference between the love of the world and the love the church puts on display…that’s why the world isn’t as attracted to the church as the church is attracted to the world.
If we as the Body of Christ want to attract the world…then we need to share with it the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Do you know that the love of God (the love found in 1 Corinthians 13) isn’t just for those in the church or for our family…that’s the God-kind of love that we’re to be putting on display for the world. The reason Jesus’ light was so bring is because He truly and genuinely and authentically loved everyone…even those that didn’t love Him back. Today’s love in the Body of Christ is a self-serving love…but the love that God expects us to put on display for the world is an others-first kind of love. Love is the honey that will draw the world to the church…but if that love isn’t authentic…the world will know it.
Come on, friends. You know when someone really loves you and when someone is just putting on lip-service. So, take that on a larger scale, and the reason why the world feels like the church is full of nothing but hypocrites. For many in the Body of Christ their love for people is only surface deep, and in order for us to help those in and of the world to find their way back to God…is for us to find our way back to Him and rediscover our first love. That’s what I meant when I said that we need to draw nearer to God and press into God more now than ever before following the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage.
Listen, it does us no good to stand in judgment and point our fingers at the beams in the eyes of the homosexuals when we have bigger and often times more beams in our own eyes. I’ve always stood on the principle that loving the person doesn’t require me to love what they do. I can love you without loving your lifestyle. Unfortunately those who are involved in lifestyles that are contrary and compromise God’s Word see your disapproval of their lifestyle and equate that to you disapproving of them too. Listen, Jesus loved everyone that He came into contact with, but there were many people’s lifestyles of which He didn’t approve. That didn’t mean that He didn’t love them…but it definitely meant that He didn’t love what they were doing.
We see this with the story of the woman caught in adultery. In the end the only person standing there that had the right to stone that woman was Jesus. He had every right to pick up a stone, and through it at her…but instead He threw the stone at the life she was living when He said go and SIN no more. He didn’t call her sin…He called what she was DOING as sin. So…when I say that I disapprove of same-sex marriage I’m not saying I disapprove of homosexuals. I have friends that actively engage in the homosexual lifestyle…but I don’t disapprove of them. I also have a friend that was delivered of being homosexual, and is living the life that God had ordained for him to live. He’s also currently walking over 200 miles out of obedience to God praying for the deliverance of people from homosexuality too.
Anyways, people are looking for real, genuine love. Of course, the only place they can really find that kind of love is by finding their way back to the God that loved them so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the world. God so loved the world that He gave His Son’s life to prove it. True, authentic love isn’t what God has…it’s who God IS…and that’s why we as people cannot love people that way without having a relationship with Him. I’m a loving person by nature, but the more I fall in love with God the more genuine my love for people is becoming…because when you seek God’s heart He begins to download what is in His heart into yours.
Look. If I’m made in the image of God…that means that I have all of His attributes within me…and in order for me to really show people that I’m one of His children then I should display for the world the one thing that God is more than anything else. Yes. God IS Holy, God IS Faithful, God IS Mercy, God IS Grace, but above all the things God IS…the greatest of them all is that God IS Love. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV): “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”. The greatest thing to abide in is love…but the awesome thing as when we abide in Christ (by abiding in His Word) we are already abiding in the love of God that’s shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
We’ve heard it said that every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is really looking for God. If you are knocking on the door of some self-destructive behavior or relationship, you might actually have arrived at an important point in your journey back to God. Why? Because the disappointment you inevitably feel in cheap substitutes will make you wonder where you can find real love. Will you open yourself up to letting God fill your longing to love and be loved?
We have all heard or know of the song “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places”, and I was just as guilty as anyone else of seeking love in all the wrong places. However, I didn’t find the love I was looking for until I found it in the One that laid down His life for me to be able to find it. I like the use of the words “cheap substitute” because all of the things and people I thought I’d find that real, true, genuine love wound up being just that…cheap substitutes. I’ve found that there’s no one or no thing that satisfies the longing in my heart for real, true, authentic love like I found in Jesus.
With that, I believe we’re finally ready to close this message with a final thought to get you thinking about what satisfies you, and whether its authentic or a cheap substitute.
What do your activities this week suggest about what you think will satisfy you?
Heavenly Father, more and more I come to understand what the Lord Jesus meant when He said that He is one with the Father and prayed that His disciples, may be one. I see that love is a precious union of heart and a sweet communion of spirit.. and just as the Father and Son emanate the same powerful love – so we too are to have that same beautiful love developing in us, by the power of the Spirit.
Lord I pray that the body of Christ may become united as one, and abound in the unity of the spirit more and more, in love – not compromising truth but showing a genuine concern for one another. I pray that individually and collectively we may live godly lives in Christ Jesus and seek to encourage and edify one another.. seeking to be of the same mind and having the same godly love for each another.
I pray that we may be united in spirit and in purpose, and that we do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit.. but rather with humility of mind regard the needs of the other as more important than our own. This I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen!
There’s another question that I believe is the key to us being able to find our way back to God. That question is this one: Will you open yourself up to letting God fill your longing to love and be loved?
If there’s one thing I know it’s that God loves us with an everlasting, never-failing, perfect, and unconditional love. He is always watching from the porch of our lives hoping that we’ll be like the prodigal son, and desire to find our way back to Him. So many, like the prodigal, and just like the father in the story Mercy is waiting to run to us. He’s waiting to run to us, embrace us, and all of Heaven truly rejoices over the return of every lost soul that comes home.
Maybe your reading this today, and you’ve never called upon the name of the Lord to be saved or maybe you are like the prodigal that once did, but think you’ve strayed too far to find your way back. If that’s you…if you need to accept Jesus or if you need to come back to Him…won’t you pray this simple, but important prayer with me right now!?! I want you to turn everything off, get to a quiet place, and make sure you say this prayer out loud so that all of Heaven and hell can hear you. The Bible says if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord you will be saved…and that’s I’m asking you to do right now…make a decision not only find your way back to God, but accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior right here, right now…don’t wait another moment…because in the blink of an eye…it may just be too late. Pray this out loud right here, right now…ready…here we go…
LORD JESUS, I COME TO YOU TODAY LOST AND DESIRING TO FIND MY WAY BACK TO YOU. LORD GOD, I AM ASKING YOU THAT YOU SAVE MY SOUL, AND CLEANSE ME FROM ALL SIN. I REALIZE MY NEED OF SALVATION, WHICH CAN ONLY COME THROUGH BECOMING A WHOSOEVER THAT CALLS UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THEREFORE, RIGHT NOW I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THAT WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS HE DID FOR ME. RIGHT NOW, I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS MY LORD AND SAVIOR, AND ASK YOU TO HELP ME LIVE FOR YOU ALL THE REST OF THE DAYS OF MY LIFE. I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THAT I AM NOW THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. RIGHT NOW, I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THAT I AM A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS. RIGHT NOW, I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH I AM A BORN AGAIN CHILD OF THE LIVING GOD. RIGHT NOW, IN JESUS NAME I BELIEVE IN MY HEART AND CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THAT…I…AM…SAVED! IN JESUS’ NAME I PRAY, AMEN
Friend, if you said that prayer you are saved. You are a child of the living God, and your name has just been written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you need help getting some study materials take a moment to write me, and I’ll do what I can to help get you a few things. When you write me make sure to include your mailing address, and if a few weeks you’ll receive some materials to help you get started in your walk and journey with God. Welcome to the family of God, and if you’d like help finding a good, solid Bible believing, teaching and living church I’ll do my best to help you with that too.
For the rest of you…it’s always a good idea to say that prayer even if you are already saved. Just so you know when you say it you’re not bringing Jesus back to the Cross, but you are re-affirming that you are committed and submitted to Jesus. It’s good from time to time to say a prayer like this to re-commit ourselves and our hearts and make sure that we plead the blood of Jesus over our lives and that He wash and cleanse us. How many of you know that we need one really good bath in the blood, but it’s important to continually be washed in the Blood, Amen!?!
Thank you, as always, for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family. I know this message has gone pretty long, but it’s important to make sure that I get everything out that the Holy Ghost wants said, Amen!?! It’s a joy and privilege to be able to write like this, and bring you these messages. If you’re in anyway fed by Christlike Ministries NWA, and you feel like the Lord is leading you to support us financially won’t you take the time to write us too. There is a free gift available to everyone who gives whether you give $2.00 or $20.00…but whatever you can give to help keep Christlike Ministries NWA online is greatly needed and appreciated. If you’d like to know more, please fill write me at email@example.com, and when you write please include an email address to which I can respond.
Well, I believe that’s about all for this message. Thank you again for joining me. We’ll be getting into the second message of our “Potential” series over on www.christlikeministriesnwa.com over the next couple of days. I hope you’ll join me there as we continue to seek how to use our God-given gifts, talents, abilities, and potential to bring Him glory and honor in these last days before the trumpet sounds. Also, we’ll get into the second message of this series some time this or next week as well…as the Lord leads me to get back into it. Until then…please continue to visit both www.bryanjkizer.wordpress.com and www.christlikeministriesnwa.com as there are lots of good, solid Bible based messages to help feed you spiritually.
Have a blessed day in the Lord & God Bless you all!
Blessings & Grace to you,
Bryan Kizer – Pastor (aka Pastor B)
Christlike Ministries NWA
“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Corinthians 16:24 (NASB)