Why The Things Above?

I became a believer in Jesus Christ in February 1984, during my sophomore year at what was then Southwest Texas State University (today’s Texas State University-San Marcos). Since then I have had a burning desire to become more like Jesus in my thoughts and actions. Over the past five years or so, Colossians 3:2 has become my life verse: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (NASB). When my beloved wife, Pat, gave me a Bible I always wanted for my birthday/anniversary in 2008 (yes, we got married on my birthday; more evidence that my senior year honor of “Most Unique” at Judson High School in 1982 is still evident), I chose to have this verse printed on it (another testimony to the “Most Unique” label) rather than my name. When we place this in the larger context of Colossians 3:1-4, we see this verse relate to the second phase of salvation–sanctification. Sadly this phase of spiritual growth seems to be overshadowed by the first phase of regeneration, coming to Christ in faith (v1) and the third phase of glorification, when we die or are taken to Heaven prior to dying (v4). As a case in point, I have heard for years that many Evangelicals stress winning the lost for the Lord more than they do helping these new converts grow in Godly grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). For approximately eleven years I was the Discipleship Training director of my home church in San Antonio–one of several experiences that stoked my desire for Believers to be fully maturing and serving within the confines of a Bible-believing church. While I have the utmost admiration for servant-leaders like Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, and Luis Palau who engage in the ministry of interant evangelism, it seems that there are only a handful of gifted Christians who engage in the ministry of itenerant discipleship (Beth Moore is one who comes to mind right away; feel free to share other names with me). As I have wrestled with God’s call on my life for many years (I was licensed to preach in the same San Antonio church where i served as Discipleship Training director for many years, but have never really lived that out except as offering myself to at least two Associations in Mississippi as a supply preacher~in 4+ years where I have had this desire to serve, I have only had one invitation to do so[July 2008 at a small Baptist church in Mississippi near where Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties come together]), I wonder if He is using my life experiences to engage in a full-time ministry of itenerant disicipleship? I only recent responded to the tug of my heart in this direction; and the Lord has graced me with a ministry at three nursing homes in my current city of Grenada, MS, where Pat and I help out with leading a worship service. I have also tried to promote a page on Facebook with a similar title, but it seems like I have problems posting content on this page. Since I have also wanted to have my own blog for many years, I am confident that maintaining this blog will be easier than maintaining a similar Facebook page. To start with, I want to post messages that are the same ones I present in my nursing home “circuit.” I am even coloring outside the proverbial box by sharing Scripture that will help those affected by the recent school shooting in Connecticut take comfort in our Great God.

To answer the question “What are the things above?”, we can take all of Colossians as a sampling of how God wants us to pattern our lives. We have motivation to walk as our Lord walked and bear fruit for His sake (1:10-12; 2:6-7;3:15-17, 23-24), stay grounded in our relationship with Him (1:23), avoid the influence of humanistic teaching (2:8, 20), not preferring one day–like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter–over another (2:16), deliberately laying aside things we desire that are contrary to the heart of God (3:5-14), live in harmony with our families and other persons we associate with regularly (3:18-22; 4:1, 5-6), praying and giving thanks to God for all things (4:2-3), and being faithful to service/ministry opportunities God has given us the desire to fulfill (4:17). In fact I was going to use part of Chapter 2 in a devotional I was going to share last Sunday at one of the aforementioned nursing homes until Pat and I got ill with the flu and flu-like symptoms respectfully. I was going to use that as the basis for what we as Christians can do once the celebrations and hoopla of Christmas are over; but with January around the corner it would be an appropriate message in light of resolutions many of us make each New Year’s Day.Image

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