Tag: Carter Conlon

When the Cross is No Longer Attractive

Carter Conlon90x115by Carter Conlon

It is amazing how many people want the power of Christ but not the path of Christ. They do not want to follow a Christ who uses His resources and power to help others. However, they will soon discover that following Jesus inevitably leads to a road of self-sacrifice. It is at this crossroads that many turn away from following the Jesus of the Bible.

We see in the Scriptures that multitudes came to Jesus because they were hungry and saw that He could multiply bread. Others came because they wanted to rule and reign, and they thought Jesus would overthrow the Roman Empire. What Jesus was asking for, however, was full commitment to the cause of God that was about to be unfolded in His life. He told them, “It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). In other words, “What I am telling you will give you life, carry you, sustain you and keep you through difficult days.” Jesus added, “But there are some of you who do not believe,” for He “knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him” (6:64).

When they recognized what it would cost, many disciples turned away and walked with him no more. I believe this is how it will play out in our day too. When the truth of Christ is proclaimed, many people will realize that they did not sign up to be a representation of God’s life in the midst of a hostile generation. God is asking for a commitment that will take them to a cross — and suddenly it is no longer attractive.

Scripture does not say the people abandoned religion; rather, they abandoned Jesus Christ. In other words, they returned to “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). They went back to a form of religion, and perhaps they were even more zealous than before. But all of it was powerless. They went back to powerless singing, powerless reading and powerless praying — all because they were confronted with what a life of following Christ is truly supposed to look like.

The true power of God is ultimately found in reaching the lost. Once we are determined to give ourselves for the purposes of God and for the people around us, this Spirit of power will be realized in our lives.

by Carter Conlon

When God Changes Your Plans

Carter Conlon90x115by Carter Conlon

Good ideas are not always “God ideas.” We see this in the life of the apostle Paul: “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:6-7).

Just as it happened with Paul, a sincere disciple of Christ, it can happen with all of us. We may want to go certain places and do certain things, expecting God to go with us. However, sometimes the pathways we choose for our lives during a particular season may not actually be the pathway of God for us.

Paul had a vision of a man appealing to him to come to Macedonia and help them (16:9). “Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (16:10). So, although Paul had had different plans, he and his company headed off to Macedonia. On the way they ministered to a group of women meeting for prayer. One of them was an influential part of the community and “she and her household were baptized” (16:15).

Next, they encountered a demon-possessed slave girl and when she was delivered, her masters seized Paul and Silas and had them beaten and thrown into prison (16:22). This serves as a reminder that we have no guarantee that we will get a pass through trials and trouble. In fact, sometimes obeying the will of God will actually get us into trouble. But God’s plans are always far superior to our own.

In prison, Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord and witnessed to the jailer, who in turn was transformed and baptized along with his entire family (16:33). And just think, all this started with a man appearing to Paul when he was praying at night, saying, “Come and help us.

The power of God is always found where the Spirit leads you. Today I implore you to have the courage to say, “Lord, I do not want to live simply for my will. What would you have me do? Where do you want me to go? Let your will be done in my life.” Then watch God do miracles!

by Carter Conlon