Blog Change!

Our Blog is now located directly on our website at:

http://www.goodlifefl.com/blog

We will no longer be using the wordpress site  in an attempt to streamline all of our communications.

Feel free to keep up with the Good Life Journal on the website.

It is our honor to continue sharing the gospel and our lives as well with you.

-Jason Smith, Lead Pastor, Good Life Church

 

 


Good Life Journal – 1 John 2

Scripture:

1John 2

2:We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to love Him must live as Jesus did.

Observation:

John writes this letter to Christians in general. It is a follow-up to churches that he has already planted and given the Good News. Many false teachers and “antichrists” followed John’s teachings with untrue doctrines.

There are two items that I find striking. First, in this letter is the unequivocal statement that those who say they know Christ but do not follow his commands are liars. Second, is his definitive statement that, “if anyone loves the world, love for the father is NOT in them.” There are no gray areas there is no doubt. Either you love God, and not this world. Either you follow in absolute obedience to Jesus or love of the Father is NOT in you and your faith is a lie.

Application:

I am convicted this morning by absolutes. I am saved. Nothing will change that. But am I a liar? Do I claim Jesus but not follow all of his commands? Do I love the world, even a little? If my love for the Father is 80% but the love for the world is 20%, I am denying the Father of 20% of my love. The Father’s love for me is 100% at all times and deserves 100% of my love.

Also, if I claim to know Christ, am I obedient? Does God deserve my disobedience? Am I in the light or am I in the darkness? In what areas of my life am I a liar, not being obedient to God? I must search for areas in my life where I am not keeping God’s commands. For “ if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them”

Prayer:

Father, I am either 100% in light or I am in darkness. Help me to search my heart for areas in my life where I am disobedient or not following You 100%. Help me to find areas where I love the world more than I love You. I want to be made complete in Your love. Help me to start today to give You 100%.

– Don J


Good Life Journal – 1 John 1

Scripture:

“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us…(1 John 1:3a ESV)

 

Observation:

John writes eloquently about what he and his fellow brothers saw walking with Jesus on the earth. He speaks as a man totally of a changed mind, understanding the Eternal Son, what they physically experienced, and the resultant expression of their lives: “we proclaim also to you…”

But there is an objective that can get missed in reading this passage: “…so that you may have fellowship with us…” and by implication with the Father and the Son.

And their joy is made complete.

Application:

I am thinking about fellowship. How often do I “fellowship” and completely avoid speaking about the Gospel (in any part of the Gospel)? I don’t mean non-believers, I am thinking about those guys I would consider (in some way) brothers in Christ?

How do I carry myself? Do I carry myself in some sort of religious attitude? Make sure I say a scripture, reference a speaker, talk about a song, or something like that? Do I do my due diligence to mention something about religion somehow, some way?

Or am I applying myself to make the Scriptures a living part of my life every day—so smoothly integrated as not to be able to tell the “old Rick” from the “new Rick”…not in any expression insincere or fake but intent on cooperating with the Spirit of God to be changed, have my mind renewed, to walk humbly and consistently in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Scripture indicates that if I humble myself, God draws near; He hears my prayers; and is pleased to answer prayer that is given concerning subjects He approves. Somehow all of this changes me.

Prayer:

My Lord Jesus, who has saved me from certain destruction concerning my Sin through Your giving of Yourself as my penalty Substitute: The Propitiation for the World. I don’t review this enough. Everything from my waking to the Gift of Grace that is sleep is due to the Gospel. Father: If I grow in maturity, reveling in the Fact of the Gospel, making that the talk of my tongue no matter where I am—it is sure to bring me a certain joy. Will I falter? Yeah, probably: I will feel embarrassed, wonder how I am going to be fluent and matter of fact; I will wonder how to make Christianity reflexive and not an effort. This is what I ask for: Reflexive Christianity so that I walk worthy of the Gospel every day, every hour.

-Rick Sutton


Good Life Journal – 2Peter 3

Scripture:

2 Peter 3 :9-10

The Lord really isn’t slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgement.

 

Observation:

There will be scoffers and mockers that will question the second coming of Christ. God operates outside of our time and he is a just, loving and patient God. Romans 2:4 says, “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” God wants everyone to receive his grace, repent and be saved! Jesus will return to pass judgement as the earth will be destroyed in fire and we will not know that time.

Application:

As false teachers preach misleading doctrine, I must stay focused on the love of God and what he has done through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and his resurrection. It is not our job to predict the second coming of Christ, rather we must be faithfully obedient and prepared as we await his triumphant return. God does not want to destroy anyone, so we have an awesome opportunity to share the Gospel with all as the day is approaching.

 

Prayer:

Father,

Thank you for your kindness, patience, grace and love for all sinners. Help me stay strong and clearly focused on your Gospel and your word so as not to fall to the temptation of false teaching. Let your Spirit guide me to share the Good News with everyone so they may repent and know you.

 

-Todd Dawson


Good Life Journal – 2Peter 2

Scripture:

2Pet. 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

2Pet. 2:2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.

2Pet. 2:3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.

 

Observation:

Peter continues his second letter to the local church. He warns them about false teachers/prophets. People who will be loud with their words but their lives will not line up. He specifies two practices of a false teachers personal life, sensuality and greed.

 

Sensuality- Peter is referring here specifically to sexual immorality. If a teacher has no control over his own sexual desires, it is a red flag that he lacks self-control in other areas of his life. Just like today, in the first century people attempted to explain away their sin. Just like today people in the first century would try to make others believe that which is wrong and sinful is really OK. Sexual immorality is serious to God. It should be serious to us. Peter reminds the church of the Old Testament reality of Sodom and Gomorrah. He uses this story to remind the church of God’s response to immorality. It’s not that God got lighter on his sentence of immorality. Instead he has given people the opportunity to repent through Christ.

 

Greed- The second practice of a false teacher’s life is greed. If a teacher is consistently wanting more, desiring more, not sensing a level of contentment, there is something wrong. We see this today just like in the first century. When a teacher’s theology is shaped more by a driving desire for abundance and less by a spirit of contentment we know there is a problem. When a teacher leads people to believe that they still need more and that God’s main dealing with His people is to give them more, we can easily recognize this person as a false prophet. Jesus taught more about contentment than He did about abundance.

 

Application:

Leadership matters. As a leader in a local church I am responsible to pursue Jesus and to not lead people astray. Passages of scripture like this are a great litmus test for me. Are their leanings in my life towards sensuality over purity? Are there tendencies to focus more on what I feel like God is holding back from me than expressing gratitude for what He has already given me? Sensuality is centered on the pleasure of the flesh. The reality is that the flesh is never satisfied. We always get hungry and thirsty again. We always will require more rest or more sexual satisfaction. If our flesh is driving us, we will live unsatisfied and always want more. Yet when we operate in the Spirit we function from a place of contentment. The Spirit is fully satisfied. He lacks nothing. Therefore my senses are accountable to the Spirit, not the other way around. This also speaks to the greed mentioned in this passage. As a believer I am filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus actually said in John that it is better that He go to the Father so believers can have the Spirit. I believe that if Jesus were walking with me today I would not be obsessed with having more. Instead I would be passionate about making a difference in the world and helping people. That is what Jesus spent his life doing and I assume if He were with me today in this room as I write this, I would be consumed with doing His will. Now, knowing this to be true, why would the presence of the Spirit lead me to be selfishly obsessed with having more stuff? Why would Jesus leave, say it’s better to have the Spirit, and this result in me lacking more than I would have been if He had stayed in flesh on Earth? It doesn’t make sense. People who masquerade as spirit-led, yet whose theology is centered on gaining more stuff as a sign of blessing are clearly missing the point. When I am more consumed with what I don’t have than I am content with God has blessed me with, I need a heart check.

 

Prayer:

Father I grasp that sensuality and greed are both a result of lack. The Spirit is He, which ultimately can satisfy my longing for more. You are all I need. Therefore as I walk in the Spirit I will find satisfaction because You are the master of my flesh. My flesh and my desires are subject to You, my God. Lord, let me lead and teach today from a place of fullness, not from a sense of lack.


Good Life Journal – 2 Peter 1

Scripture:

2 Peter 1: 3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Observation:

The church, success and failure

Church –

Peter was talking to Christians. He was giving both reasons, success and failure of being a committed Christian vs not.

Success –

God’s divine power through his glory and goodness. It gives us everything we need for a godly life.

I noticed almost immediately at how simple success sounded. Peter didn’t mention cars, money, homes, savings, etc. All certainly ok but not success. It’s not what we own but what owns us.

Failure –

Escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Again, Peter didn’t say losing a business, a deal, or even a loved one. Nope, we escape corruption from evil desires! Who’s desires? Mine? Others? I’ll take both!

Corruption from evil desires – Can anyone say political presidential race? Where we’re told we’re all doomed financially, and every other way – UNLESS we pick the right sinner. I’ll vote to help solve a few “surface issues” for our country. But my real vote – the non sinner, Jesus! Peter spells it out pretty clear. No one, no thing, and no government can offer such a deal!

Application:

share these observations with others I meet. They’re in deep trouble without Jesus. While others share the message of democracy I want to focus on the message of divinity. It’s true success.

Prayer:

Father please help me keep you in perspective, you in the spotlight. Continue observing you. Thank you for allowing me, a sinner, to enjoy your divine nature through YOUR GLORY AND GOODNESS. Not politicians, materialism, greed, or anything else which may be a corruption from evil desires. Please guide me as I share your hope with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

-James Smith


Good Life Journal – 1Peter 5

Scripture:

1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly

Observation:

Peter is speaking to the elders as an elder himself. He is encouraging his fellow elders in a letter to lead according to God’s will with simple instructions on how they should lead. What is most powerful is Peter gets to use the “I am a witness” card. Not only is he speaking to other elders as an elder but also “as a Witness”. In the first few verses he makes statements that indicate:

  1. Flocks must be led
  2. Flocks need direction
  3. Servant elders must lead eagerly, willingly, not out of compulsion
  4. Servants must follow God’s will and example

Application:

I must follow God’s lead and example. We do not have to serve God. If we are believers, and we believe that Jesus is our Risen Lord and Savior, we should WANT to serve God. We should want to serve not out of guilt or fear or compulsion but out of love. The more you know about Jesus, the more you trust him as your personal Lord and Savior and the more you want to be like him.   He gave us the example of serving others and by putting others first. I must follow his example.

We should serve with our eyes and heads up looking for ways to connect with others and looking out for the needs of others. Serving with our heads down may cause us to bump our heads and stumble. We should not serve out of a belief that if we don’t do the job, it won’t get done. God has many ways of fulfilling his plans and purpose.

Am I leading or am I driving? The example of an elder being a shepherd means he is leading a flock. Flocks need to be led, not driven. Therefore, I must lead by example. I must lead by knowing the needs of the flock and being able to lead the flock in the direction it needs to go. This takes being in the Word on a continual basis, regular prayer and humility.

Prayer:

Father, you have placed the needs of a flock under the care and direction of an elder team at Good Life. Help us to lead our congregation according to your will and in a manner that is pleasing to you.

I ask you for continual wisdom, guidance and clarity as we tend to our congregation’s needs so we can glorify you in all we do both as individuals and as a congregation. Help us to teach, lead and live according to the example that you have given us in your son, our Savior, Jesus.

-Paul Palmer


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