“Chaplains Blog Book … Marble Falls 2009 … Part II”
Jim & Linda Jack
The water isn’t always smooth at Lake LBJ in Marble Falls, TX during the Lakefest, but the hospitality is always charming, memorable, and smooth as glass in the beautiful settings surrounding the picturesque hill country.
Racing is a breath of fresh air to its many boat lovers. Fresh, crisp, clean, and smooth are multiple ways of describing how a racing event can be perceived by those who love the way the racing ball bounces.
In the Bible, the apostle Peter was a breath of fresh air. His concise confession—“You are the Christ”—focused the faith of the disciples on Jesus as God among us, in person, carrying out the eternal work of salvation. His energetic preaching, ardent prayer, bold healing, and wise direction confirmed his trust placed in Christ.
His two letters exhibit the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit shaped in him. A readiness to embrace suffering rather than prestige, wisdom developed from experience not a book, and a humility that was vigorous, imaginative, and confident…making him a compelling witness in what he describes as “a brand-new life, with everything to live for.
For the Christian, salvation is only a taste of what is to follow…a bold witness doesn’t come automatically along with maturity. Like in the racing world, you have to work hard if there is any chance for progress to be made.
Christian living is a way of life…thought by thought…choice by choice…and verse by verse! My sermon for Marble Falls was a Bible study about your plan of progress as a believer, so let’s make a quick pass down the track of Scripture and see how we run? Hopefully it’s a fast one…on the fast track to growth in the Lord!
Let me know what you think? Can you use this to tune up your spiritual life? Here are some verses from first Peter from “The Message” translation with short explanations.
A New Life
1:1 “I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah.”
[Each one of us is on an assignment here on earth]
1:2 “God the Father has his eye on each of you.”
[God is watching each one of us like a father should because He loves us so much]
1:3 “Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now.
[Today, and every day is a special day in your life…with eternal life staring us in the face]
1:7 “When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”
[It is impossible to please God without faith in Christ]
1:12 “Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would give anything to be in on this.”
[Think about that. Do you really realize how fortunate you are? Living in America, the freedom to do what you want to do, the opportunity to race a drag boat, traveling all around this great country, eating wherever and whatever you so desire, having the choice of eternal life. Do you get the picture of your good fortune?]
A Future In God
1:14 “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled away into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.”
[Live your best life now… you can and should be ignited and running on all 8 cylinders]
1:18 “Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.”
[Be aware of God in everything you do and see in and around you]
1:22 “Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your life depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old life came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word.”
[Faith “comes” from the living out the eternal “WORD!”]
New Life Conceived
2:1 “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.
[Accept the challenge to clean up your life]
2:2-3 “You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.”
[It’s the blood…not the Bud that matures you and makes you complete]
2:4 “Welcome to the living stone, the source of life.”
[God is your MSD box…He provides the spark]
2:5 “Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life …”
[Be excited about your spiritual life…not just racing]
2:7 “Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.”
[You will never have any reason to look back, or want to go back…there’s no reason to]
2:9 “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the day-and-night difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”
[Congratulation…you made the cut through God’s grace]
2:11 “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it.”
[It’s only a temporary ride in this life, look forward to a craft that will take you to and through eternity]
The Kind of Life Christ Lived
2:24 “He used his servant body to carry our sins to the cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way.”
[Live for eternity…right down the middle of the lane]
Cultivate Inner Beauty
3:3-5 “What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.”
[What lane your heart is in is what matters on this side of heaven]
Suffering for Doing Good
3:10-11 “Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good … say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all your worth.”
[Any dead fish can float downstream, don’t go with the crowd, go with God]
3:16 “Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick.”
[Live your life with the character of Teflon…non-stick]
3:22 “Jesus has the last word on everything and everyone, from angels to armies. He’s standing right alongside God, and what he says goes.”
[Salute Him, honor Him, and enjoy all He gives you to do, His will be done]
Learn To Think Like God
4:1 “Learn to think like him.”
[The Bible says we have the mind of Christ…use it to the best of your ability]
4:2 “Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”
[God takes away the stress of the world and its shaded viewpoint, real freedom is only found in Christ]
Glory Just Around the Corner
4:9 “Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: If words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.”
[Distribute godliness gracefully to everyone]
4:12 “Friends when life gets really difficult don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.”
[God is always on the job 24/7]
4:13 “Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced.”
[He did it all for you, so enjoy it, take it all in]
4:19 “So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.”
[He’s going to do it forever with many, so you might as well get on the band wagon]
He’ll Promote You At The Right Time
5:2 “You care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God.”
[Please… please your Father…so He’ll always be proud of you]
5:6 “So be content with who you are … God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time.”
[Allow yourself to be promoted on earth now, and later on in heaven]
He Gets The Last Word
5:8 “Keep a cool head. Stay alert.”
[Drive and live alertly]
5:9 “Keep your guard up.”
[A good defense wins games]
5:10 “God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good.”
[Walk the walk of a righteous believer]
5:12 “I’ve written as urgently and accurately as I know how. This is God’s generous truth; embrace it with both arms.”
[Reach out and grab all that God has for you, believe me … believe the Bible … believe God]
5:14 “Peace to you—to all who walk in Christ’s ways.”
[Peace comes in the Person of Jesus Christ]
Stand fast in the grace of God. Adopt God’s special (just for you) lifestyle. We are given maturity when we respond correctly to life’s hardships. Relax in Christ…remember that God’s plan for you ends with a rainbow of new hope
It remains unavoidably true that a vibrant, living faith will be marked by the clarity of Jesus in us and through us in our actions. Our purpose in life: it’s imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contributes to God’s plan worked out by Christ.
Apprenticeship is required: an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a “Master” picking up subtle and essential timing, rhythm and touch. Your life is a passport made to impact the world.
In today’s world, there is little enthusiasm for patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for the long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.
“To each there comes in his or her lifetime a special moment when they are tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talent. What tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” (Winston Churchill)
Maurice Green, the Olympic runner, when asked about the down times, he said, “I needed to fall in love with the work, not just the winning. I needed to learn to love the training, not just the end result.”
Let’s fall in love with the process—that day-to-day walk of faith that proves the point that our lives belong to the living Christ…our ultimate trainer.
To live this life on earth doing the best we can under the Spirit’s leadership is to serve Christ regardless of any immediate reward.
We’re in a privileged position with a purpose to prepare, promote, and preach a profound proverbial need for precious people prescribing them to participate for a prize with precedence!