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Tag Archives: Opportunity

Reconciled. A simple word, but it carries with it the sum total of the Gospel for those who are in Christ Jesus. It is very much an identity for those who follow Jesus. I’ve recently been preaching a series about who we are in Jesus and it’s very fresh for me. So, when I was sitting in the hot tub while on vacation last week and a young man comes along with ‘RECONCILED’ tattooed on his chest, I immediately make an assumption about his identity. I concluded, with the help of the other tattoos, that this guy at least has knowledge of Christ. I’m not bashful, so I ask him to tell me about his tattoo.

He proceeded to share his faith in Jesus and the fact that he has been reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus. This began an incredible conversation… a conversation about his daughter, Eliana. She was over at the pool in a strange dry suit, not your typical swim suit. She was having a blast! Below are a few pictures of Eliana and her story…

Eliana Blocks

At six-months old Eliana was diagnosed with Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension… a rare disorder of high blood pressure in the blood vessels that line the lungs. Pulmonary blood pressure rises when arteries and capillaries in the lungs become narrowed, blocked, or destroyed, making it hard for blood to flow through the lungs. Because the vessels of the lung and the heart are physically connected, this makes blood pressure in the heart rise and forces the heart to work harder than normal.

The doctors didn’t give them much hope when they told her parents that she’d only live to the age of five (5). She’s faced many difficult days and several close calls, but God has remained faithful. In fact, she just turned TEN (10). God is good and doctors CAN be wrong!

One thing that I’ll never forget is that Eliana was overjoyed to tell me that her name means MY GOD ANSWERS. She and her family knew who they were in Jesus! Before Eliana was ever diagnosed, they knew that God hears and answers. They are and will be OVERCOMERS! It’s not because life is easy, but it’s because they know the promises of God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. — James 1:2-4

You see, knowing who you are in Christ is NOT just a good sermon topic… it’s REAL LIFE stuff. Life is NOT always easy, or as I often say, “It’s NOT always rainbows and butterflies!” It’s vital that we know and stand in our Biblical identity!

Eliana’s family is not naive. They truly understand that each day is a gift. They understand that more difficult days could be just around the corner. However, they are rooted in Jesus and know that the same POWER that raised Him from the dead is accessible to them too! Eliana is a MASTERPIECE, her family are AMBASSADORS, and they are OVERCOMERS!

WHEN YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE… YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO!

In the meantime, would you please pray for Eliana and her family? In fact, you can voice your prayer in the comments section below and they can read them. The Alderete family is from New Mexico and were in Denver, CO last week for Eliana to visit her specialists. Eliana’s story and our meeting has been shared with their permission.

On a personal level… I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet this family. I too often struggle with who I am in Christ and what that requires of me. However, on Thursday evening of last week… I got it… because I was listening to God and dug a little deeper than surface level conversation. The result was a poolside (public) prayer meeting that was simply precious!

BECAUSE I KNEW WHO I WAS… I KNEW WHAT TO DO.

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As we prepare for Passion Week and the Resurrection Celebration… I’ve been deeply moved by the following video. PLEASE, set aside 30 minutes and prepare to CELEBRATE every opportunity we have to lovingly be a FRUITCAKE.

 

 

If you are like me… This video has left you weeping and ready to sing… Everyone needs compassion… Love that’s never failing… Let mercy fall on me…

 

 

Coming NEXT WEEK during Passion Week… I will be blogging a short devotional thought each day as we prepare for Easter Sunday. Below will be the schedule. I look forward to sharing with you.

Monday, March 25 – The Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus Christ Preparing to Die

Tuesday, March 26 – The Betrayal of Judas and the Kiss of Death

Wednesday, March 27 – The Denials of Peter and his Deep Regret

Thursday, March 28 – The Scourging of Jesus Christ and the Final Hours Before His Death

Friday, March 29 – The Crucifixion and The Death of Jesus Christ

Friday Night at 7pm – Good Friday Worship Experience at Terra Nova Church

Sunday Morning at 10am – Resurrection Celebration at Terra Nova Church

Let’s be faithful to celebrate Jesus!

As I consider the times in which we live… I’m actually EXCITED. Yes, I’m serious… Just hang with me for just a few minutes! I understand the daily concerns of our culture… the condition of our government, religious liberties, jobs, our children’s future, and on and on. However, I’m excited because of one word that I believe God has been stirring in me and it’s also a word I think the Church needs to be reminded of… It’s the word OPPORTUNITY!

Op·por·tu·ni·ty (ä-pər-ˈtü-nə-tē) noun: A favorable juncture of circumstances. A good chance for advancement or progress.

When it comes to the Gospel… the time is NOW! Opportunity abounds! WE, the body of Christ, need to be faithful and switch our focus from feeling oppressed to walking in opportunity! To be blunt… GET OVER YOURSELF AND GET ON MISSION.

Scripture gives us some pretty clear mandates about opportunities…

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10 NIV)

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5 NIV)

I immediately see three things…

1. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with FELLOW BELIEVERS.

2. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with UNBELIEVERS.

3. God desires for you to capitalize on opportunities with ALL PEOPLE.

God is CONSTANTLY and SUPERNATURALLY at work creating for you… OPPORTUNITY! He is moving people in and out of your life with purpose. However, it’s not opportunity for you to make much of self, government, your political agenda, or anything else… It’s opportunity to make much of HIM. Everything that God sets into motion has one solitary purpose… His glory!

So, I’m pretty excited about the perspective that God has birth within me this week. As I pastor Terra Nova Church, I’m keenly aware that God creating NEW OPPORTUNITIES for us to make much of Him! In fact, I’ll be sharing some of these opportunities in detail during our services on March 16th and 17th… Don’t miss it!

Until then… Be ready for your next opportunity…

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)