Christian Living

How then shall we live?

Throughout the book of Romans, Paul has comforted the Roman believers by redirecting them back to the Gospel. It is through a renewed commitment and understanding of the Gospel that we see everything in perspective and have our hope and joy restored.

In Romans 12, Paul begins to discuss how we should respond to the Gospel, and how we should live in light of the Gospel.

Church People

-A note from Pastor Leland Acker

Amidst all the Christian media, movies, music, stage shows and trendy churches, we must ask ourselves, “Is the Gospel enough?” Such is the premise for “Church People,” a Christian comedy released in 2021 by MyPillow’s Mike Lindell.

Church People follows a youth director’s struggle as he watches the megachurch where he has spent his ministry fall into the rut of using gimmicks and theatrical antics to draw crowds, while the meaning of the Gospel gets lost altogether. The film not only addresses the importance of the Gospel, but personal sin and struggle, the shallowness of some forms of Christianity, church politics, reconciliation and redemption.

My main concern with this film would be that it would inadvertently create a parody of church life and Christianity, and thus miss the target of refocusing the audience on the Gospel. My concern has been alleviated after watching the film, and I whole-heartedly endorse this film, not only for family entertainment, but for ministerial use as well.

The movie features a cast of quirky characters, mostof whom are caricatures of folks you might have met in church life. However, the film skillfully uses those characters as object lessons to get us to the intended message, which makes the film successful. From the greeter who seems to have a divine insight into people’s lives, the newly converted member of the youth group who can’t be involved enough, the pastor’s daughter turned missionary, the disenchanted youth director, and the rock-star wannabe worship leader all play a role in helping this film not only get its message across, but also deliver some amazing laughs along the way.

At the end of the day, we are all reminded that, yes, the Gospel is enough. Not only so, but the Gospel is the very essence of who we are in Christ, and what God has done for us. Furthermore, the movie does what so few do, correctly define what the Gospel is. For that, I happily recommend this movie to anyone.

How Do You Start Your Day?

The invention of the snooze button tells you a lot about how we feel about mornings. The alarm rings, we know we need to get up, but we want a little more sleep, so we hit the snooze button to silence the alarm for nine precious minutes before it wakes us up again.

Mornings mean the routine starts again. It’s another day, another to-do list, and another schedule filled with stressors, from work-related conflict, to financial challenges, to family issues. These daily challenges wait for us to rise out of the peaceful dream state and re-enter the grueling reality of this world.

We hate mornings. We hate Mondays. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

My daily Bible reading brought me to Psalm 5 today, and in it, verse 3, which says, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice, in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

These words, penned by King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were convicting to me. I do not always enjoy mornings. Many times, I have hit the snooze button to the point where my morning routine is rushed. In these times, I fail to pray, give God glory, and appreciate the blessing of another day.

Then, I read the words of David. “In the morning you hear my voice, in the morning, I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

Prayer was important to David. He prayed relentlessly, and continually praised and worshiped God. The picture he paints in Psalm 5:3 is one of waking up early, selecting the lamb for sacrifice, conducting the sacrifice, praying to the Lord, watching the sun rise, and then watching to see how the Lord blesses the day.

The entire process oriented the day around the Lord, and thus David enjoyed peace in the Lord despite the turmoil and stresses that come with being king.

Life is hard, and stress is part of the package. We can either rise up reluctantly in the morning, curse our fate, and trudge through the daily battles, or we can rise up early, give God His glory, and watch for Him to do amazing things throughout the day.

The lesson we learn from David is one to be well received. We will enjoy more peace and joy if we learn to prepare God’s sacrifice of prayer and praise in the mornings. May the Lord help us to begin each day in gratitude toward Him, and may He give us the energy to rise up in plenty of time to worship Him, and to rely less on the snooze button.

Pastor Leland Acker has pastored Life Point since its inception in 2008. He is a longtime morning radio personality, former hospice chaplain, and financial services advisor.

Take Your Cross!

In Luke 9, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of His death, burial and resurrection, before telling His disciples that they must take up their cross to follow Him. What does it mean to take up your cross? Check out today’s message, posted above, as Pastor Leland Acker defines the Gospel, then discusses what it really means to take up your cross.

3 Steps to Discipleship

Jesus called us to do more than say a sinners prayer and rest upon our blessed assurance. He called us to follow Him.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

The call to follow Jesus is the call to an amazing lifelong journey in which you will literally see amazing things.

The life of a disciple is truly a transformational and fascinating experience. Think about it. When we read the Gospels, we often imagine ourselves as one of the disciples, as one who would follow and learn from Jesus.

In fact, there’s an entire TV series dedicated to that idea. The Chosen spends as much time, if not more, exploring the lives of the disciples and their personalities than it does recreating the events of the Bible.

None of us imagine ourselves as just one of the townspeople, Roman soldiers or Pharisees. We tend to imagine ourselves as disciples. That’s where Jesus was. That’s where the action was.

But life for the disciples was not for the faint hearted, and neither is life for disciples today. When Jesus issued this call to discipleship, He clearly set tough expectations. He made it plainly known what we should expect.

In Luke 9:23, we see three steps to discipleship.

1. Discipleship begins with the commitment to follow Jesus. Jesus had just predicted His death, burial and resurrection for our sins according to the scriptures. He then said, “If any will come after me.” Basically, He was saying, “This is where we’re headed.” To follow Jesus meant that you would have to be committed to the cause.

2. Discipleship involves sacrifice. Jesus’ next words were “let him deny himself.” Denying yourself means foregoing current temporary pleasures in order to achieve the greater goal of following Jesus. Sometimes this involves financial or career sacrifice. Sometimes this means discontinuing activities that are not pleasing to the Lord. Either way, there is sacrifice.

3. Discipleship involves following. This means we learn from the Lord and conform our lives accordingly.

Being a disciple means learning from the Lord and growing in your faith. This is an endeavor we have all undertaken. This is a journey that is best taken together.

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