We go to a satellite church of Northpoint, a mega church out of Atlanta with Pastor Andy Stanley.
Every Sunday, we have the opportunity to hear him speak God's word and if you've never heard him speak, he is phenomenal. He has this way of getting down on your level and speaking to you as though you were sitting in his living room, just talking as old friends.
Recently, we've been going through a series called, "Big Church".
It's been monumental to me.
I don't believe I've ever heard such profound messages that spoke straight to my heart and my life as I have in this message series...and let me just tell you, I have sat through many a church message!
The biggest lesson I have taken from this series though is more of a challenge to be bolder in my faith and in my life.
This life that we live in encourages everyone to be neutral, non-offensive, politically correct.
That way no one is offended, no one feels convicted, no one has to look deep into their hearts and realize there are issues that need addressing.
This way of living just makes me sick.
In fact, it is the exact opposite of how we are to live our lives, if we are Christians.
We have been studying about Paul.
Paul...what a man.
He was fresh out of prison, just flogged (flogged= beaten, as in shards of metal and rock on the ends of a whip, ripping through his flesh on his stomach and back until he was near death) for preaching about Christ and you know what his first reaction was? He was ready to go out, telling others about Jesus, not in another town or country but literally in the same place where he was JUST caught.
Talk about boldness, right?
As we are studying the early church, my eyes have been opened to how much "church" has changed. We've gone from being the church who was flocked, beaten, tortured and murdered because of the gospel truth that was shared to the almost complete opposite (at least here in America). We call these "feel good" churches.
The types of church that don't like to preach on sin or hell or what really happens when a person does not accept Jesus Christ as the one living true Savior.
Jesus Christ is THE only way...no matter what Oprah tries to tell ya.
But, a lot of "gospel preaching" churches aren't preaching that. They want you to leave their church feeling good about yourself so that you'll come back next week.
This post is about a lot of things. I am guilty of not being bold enough, or really being bold at all.
What would happen if we all asked God for some boldness? What would happen if we invited our neighbor to church? They might say no! Oh my word...and then our lives would be ruined, right? NOT! At least you can say that you tried...and that's all we can do!
But if we never try?
This post is about finding a church that doesn't make you leave feeling awesome about yourself this week. How about a church that makes you feel...big words here folks.......CONVICTED........GUILTY............in the big and little things in your life.
I think it's easy to believe the parts about the Bible that we want and then leave the rest out that don't quite fit into our "lifestyle".
I'm going to be bold here for a minute about some things that our society deems as acceptable, and I'm going to offend some of you, maybe a lot of you...and if I lose every follower I have, I will risk it because I am not speaking words from my own mouth, I am speaking the truth that we can all find in God's Word.
Here are some "things" that a lot of people around you will tell you are perfectly acceptable:
Cheating on your spouse...if you aren't happy, then it's okay to find someone that makes you happy.
Sex outside of marriage...even with your long time boyfriend that you love with all your heart.
Living with someone you aren't married to.
Homosexuality, I said it. Everyone will tell you there's nothing wrong with it and we should accept it.
Having an abortion...even at 8 weeks along...it's a baby from the day of conception.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Everyone wants to brush these under the rug because it's much easier to not accept that the Bible outright says each one of these is sin...along with a million other things...and just because you aren't doing any of these doesn't make it any better when you accept it as ok when others are.
Being bold may mean addressing one or more of these in your life, or even approaching someone you love because they are living in a way that's acceptable in the world's eyes, but not in God's.
God says that as a Christian, we are responsible to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, even when that means putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations at the risk of losing friendships.
You won't be the first one to lose friends over standing up for what's right, and you won't be the last.
Being bold can mean so many things though.
God's possibilities for boldness for us are endless.
But we have to ask Him to help us to be bold.
This past Sunday, we were all given a wristband to wear that says, "Be Bold Acts 4:29".
Acts 4:29-30 says,
"And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
We were encouraged to wear them as a reminder to us to BE BOLD. It sure has been a reminder to me! I look at it all the time, mostly because I am not a bracelet wearer so it's driving me nuts, but I just take that as a good thing because the more times in a day that I look at it, the more opportunity I have to pray for boldness and to be aware of situations where I have can be bold.
I can't give all of you a BE BOLD bracelet to wear, but I did make a print out for you.
Something you can put anywhere...take to your office, put on your fridge, wall, bathroom mirror.....who knows, maybe by putting it in an obvious place, you'll have the opportunity to be bold!
I am also attaching the link to the messages we heard from Andy Stanley.
If you have a few minutes, I think your life will be forever challenged by his words of truth.
Life changing messages...I just can't say it enough.
Click HERE to check one or both out.
I say all of this out of love for each of you.
God's love is powerful and He wants the best for each of our lives, but we can only better our lives by striving to be better ourselves.
God expects a lot from us and He gives us the tools and the love and the wisdom that we need to strive to be better for Him!
Right now, when the world is telling us be neutral, God is telling us to stand apart from the world.
You don't have to accept sin just because everyone around you is.
There's no better time than right now, here in this very moment to choose to live a life of boldness for Christ.
It's time to be bold, are you ready?
Click here to print your own "Be Bold" poster.
Here are a few more encouraging verses to remember as you begin your new life of boldness:
1 Chronicles 28:20
"...Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail your or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."
"The LORD is my light and my salvations; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you."