A Christian-tinted Life

Life through a Christian world view


By Joshua Hart

I’ve been learning a lot lately about what it means to engage in true discipleship with others and to lead others to a deeper relationship with Christ. Sounding all “doom and gloom” certainly isn’t my aim, but I think we need to rethink how we do discipleship in the American church and soon. Otherwise, I’m afraid we’ll come to see our churches are filled with people who don’t have authentic relationships with Jesus. Or worse, church attendance will be sparse or empty.

Here’s where I think we can truly make a difference for the better:

  1. Do more “life-on-life” style discipleship wherein we share life experience and community with other believers instead of simply meeting for a class or group.
  2. Shift focus of church ministries away from bringing people to the church to simply hear and enjoy teaching and messages, and instead use the church and groups as a means to train believers to be disciple makers.
  3. Become more involved in meeting the needs of the community versus imploring the community to come to us. I’ve heard this one a thousand times: “People don’t care how much know until they know how much you care.” Nothing shows caring than getting out of our comfort zone and meeting people where THEY are.

It’s a short list, but a great starting point.

Why did God have to become a baby?
— my son, Jacob, responding to the story of Jesus birth.

Daddy, your eyelashes look girly.
— My daughter

A little dinner conversation with my daughter

  • I finished my first week on a Paleo diet and here's how the conversation went at dinner with my 5 y/o daughter
  • Daughter: [Sniffing crescent roll] Mmmmm. Smells sooo good. Do YOU want some, daddy?
  • Me: No thank you, sweetie.
  • Daughter: Smells like butter, and cream. Like butter cream. [Waves the crescent roll toward me]

Jesus’ Call to Come to Him - Part 1

This past weekend, I had the privilege of preaching in church for the very first time. I had the distinct pleasure of dividing God’s word to three services and was well received by all. In this and the next two posts, I want to share what I preached and what I learned as I studied Scripture in preparation for my inaugural sermon. I’ve changed the first point in the sermon slightly, though the content is the same. The sermon was drawn from Matthew 11:28-30.

Jesus calls sinners to new life

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus calls the heavy laden and worn out to come to Him. I can remember going about a task in an inefficient manner and hearing someone ask, “Why are you doing it that way?” The prophet Isaiah says it this way: “Why do you spend your money on that which is not food, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isa. 55:2) The truth is, we do things our own way because we believe we can do it better. In verse 29, Jesus uses the image of a yoke to describe the means of righteousness we seek to make us right with God. You see, we are all yoked by something. Jews in that day were yoked under the Law and were constantly reminded of that fact by the Pharisees. Jesus, in essence, is saying that the current yoke we’re tied to is inefficient and only serves to wear us down and make us weary, and in Him is something different, something better.

So, what do we yoke ourselves with today? In what ways to we say to God, “We can do it ourselves; our way is better”? Career, financial success, relationships, doing good—all these things serve as functional saviors in leiu of Christ. And, they don’t satisfy. Climbing the corporate ladder never seems like enough. There’s no such thing as enough money. People will inevitably let us down. And, we cannot do enough good for God to count us righteous.

At the end of the day, when we look back and realize our efforts are in vain, we’re left weary and heavy laden. Jesus not only calls us to follow Him, he also promises rest in doing so. Every one of us is looking for satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Such joy is found only in Jesus. His grace is enough (2 Cor. 12:9); in Him is true riches (Eph. 3:16); He is a true friend (John 15:3); His righteousness is sufficient when all ours are as filthy rags (Rom 3:21-26; Isa. 64:6). He commands only that we trust Him and follow Him. Our lives given to Him in exchange for eternal life with Him.

If you labor and are heavy laden, answer the call from Jesus and find true rest for your soul. Repent of your sin and trust in the perfect sacrifice made on your behalf by the one who will never fail you. He’s calling you. Will you answer?

When I Grow Up

I was cleaning out my Google Drive and I came across this document I wrote on October 9, 2011. I thought I’d share it here:

I feel a burden. I’ve felt it for a long time. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment the feeling appeared, but, I know when it became more persistent.

When I lived on Fort Belvoir I remember coming home and talking with Krista about how I’m dissatisfied with my job and how I want to do something more in line with my faith. I want to be directly involved with ministering to the lost—and to the found. Making the gospel known among the lost and solidifying it among the found has been on my heart for so long.

I cannot get enough of my Bible. Sure, I could read it more than I do, but even when I’m not reading it, I’m yearning for its truth. Any opportunity to discuss the things of God is a welcome opportunity to me. Two weeks out of every month I teach an adult Sunday School class and I love it. I could do it more often and that would suit me just fine. Happiness to me is time spent with my family, time spent studying God’s word, and time spent delivering God’s word to God’s people.

This weekend my eyes were opened to a startling fact. Day after day American people mill about entertaining themselves without so much as a care concerning eternity. I say this broadly as though I know the thoughts of every American, but I don’t. What I see points to that conclusion, however. The attitudes, speech, manner of dress, values, etc. all speak to priorities which do not include God and His word. This is the world in which we live and it’s getting worse each day.

The world I can understand, but God’s house is another issue entirely. While on vacation, Krista and I spent our Sunday morning in a Baptist church where the name of Jesus was spoken only by way of Hymns and the Lord’s Supper was served to anyone willing to partake. Scripture was read, songs were sung, but the feeling that the service was hollow and lacking the Holy Spirit was pervasive. I heard a startling statistic about how thousands of churches will close their doors each year and that made me incredibly sad. Now I’m worried that those whose doors remain open are as dead as those whose doors are closed.

I love the Lord. I’m grateful for His salvation. I have nothing to offer except my life in return for the grace shown me. Knowing my passion for God’s word and for it to be made known to all nations, all peoples, near or abroad, leads me to a crossroads in my life. Will I continue on the path set before me or will I engage this battle head on? Am I willing to be made available to God as he commands or will I seek a life of comfort and relative predictability? In my heart, I hear my voice saying, “I am no longer content to stand idly by while God’s word is not proclaimed boldly and wholly. I must act.”

Not willing to be caught up in an emotional response to a reality so many believers are already aware of, I offer this prayer and move forward in faith that God will sustain and bless my obedience, regardless of where his will takes me:

Lord, I offer to you my whole self. I have nothing more than that to give. You gave all for my salvation; to reconcile me to yourself, and I cannot repay you. Jeremiah 20:9 speaks of a man who when contemplating no longer speaking in your name or sharing your word is afflicted with a passion he likens to a fire being shut up in his bones. I have felt like this for years and have attempted to quench this fire with the pursuits of other endeavors. No longer. I pray now asking for the courage to step out in faith, trusting you to guide my steps and continue working for my good because I love You. Please give me discernment, wisdom, and peace as I seek you and the advancement of your kingdom. I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus, your Son and my Savior, Amen.

Last November, I stood before my church and publicly surrendered to God’s call on my life to preach the gospel. I’m so excited and humbled by this calling. I’m praying for God to enable me, sustain me, and use me for His glory and for His fame. I guess it’s time to sit down, buckle up, and get ready for the ride of my life.

To God be the glory!

Learning Obedience

  • Me: Son, what are you doing?
  • Son (2 y/o): Climbing up the counter.
  • Me: That's not safe. Climb down.
  • Son: No.
  • Me: What does Ephesians 6:1 say?
  • Son: Climb down.
  • Me: Good job!

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