Thursday, June 9, 2016
This last spring Pastor Greg talked about creation by bringing out two different types. The one where God made the world, and in the way He recreates our lives when we come to Him. I illustrated this by putting in nature and expressing all the exquisite treasures He designed for us. The path winding through the sketch represents our life path and how he recreates our life into His plan.
Greg quoted lines from two different songs to represent each type of creating that God does.
"You make beautiful things out of dust - US!"
"You made something beautiful of my life!"
A few weeks ago Todd Spieker preached a sermon for his confirmation class. The one he taught, not the one he graduated from. They were celebrating having finished the course. Todd went back to his childhood and brought out a memory that those from Colorado Springs can relate to. It is that when you hear the sound of jets overhead and the Thunderbirds are literally thundering in the sky that summer is at hand. The cadets at the Air Force Academy are graduating.
Then he told them something I hadn't even known about. That the night before their graduation the cadets received their commissions. Their new title and the places they will serve. Because, unlike other schools and colleges, this is not an ending, but a beginning. They are not stopping and putting away books and lessons to seek out a new course. They will be just beginning to use all they had learned.
Todd's confirmed students need to see this as their beginning. Not a time to quit reading their Bibles, going to church, or to stop stretching their faith, but now is the time to BEGIN!
Keep going, Don't stop, start, never finish, go, go , GO!
Be strong and courageous.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
The Light by which I See
The Bible is like a flashlight. A lamp. It guides my steps. Sometimes the light is only for one step at a time. I am absolutely gobsmacked at how often the words and phrases fit my needs. Not just rules, but encouragement, hope, how to deal with the future and the world around me. When I can put out my anxious fears like ice on a matchstick, why wouldn't I hold this book close?
The Bible tells the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ (the good news.) Throughout Old and New Testaments His death, resurrection, and fulfillment of the covenant is embedded through prophesy and witnesses from that day and time.
But it also tells us how God interacts with man, through his encounters with Noah, Moses, Abraham, and David. How He longs to be an active player in our lives. His message is clear. Don't be afraid, have hope, serve with passion, and be ready to receive His extravagant love.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Did you ever think Jesus had a mission statement? We can tell what it might have been by the way He lived his time on earth. Always, compassionate. Always teaching, healing, loving.
What is your mission statement? Do well in business? Make good money? Be a star? Write a great book?
The Bible says follow the truth. What is the truth? To do what you saw Jesus do? Jesus did what He saw His Father do. We should be doing what Jesus did. Beyond using our talents, and far past giving money for good works, and light years ahead of following rules, we need to show justice, compassion, mercy, and love.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Church is not a Pew
When you hear the word church, what do you think of? A small white building with a steeple? Or a large stained glass cathedral? Maybe a sanctuary filled with people singing Amazing Grace, or a man up front preaching on verses. Quiet men and women with bowed heads sitting in pews.
That seems to be what we see on television. But that's just the surface. Take my little church for example. We're a family. We work hard together, share, eat, and play together. Currently we are helping a member to buy life or death medicine. We have a standing unofficial group of Living Hope movers. That includes anyone with mobility, time, and desire to help friends move in or out of the their abode. We give car service to those needing rides to doctor appointments. Food for when people are laid up, or a new born in the home. We also reach out to the neighborhood and across the world.
If you've never realized churches can be a body, a community, an organism rather then a big organization, I'm here to tell you they can. Not perfect. Not without fault, but a community of people that are striving to live like Jesus, love like Jesus. We want to "be" the church, not once a week pew warmers.
And with our God's help, we will!
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Ever wondered about this word? Atonement? What it really means for us? Well, in my Sermon Sketch I used the word to visually show how through the sacrifice of Jesus our sin is washed away. But below is a terrific video from The Bible Project that does an even better job of explaining. Please take a look.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Dating your Church
Are you dating your church? Do you come expecting to have all your needs met while you sleep in the pew? Or maybe you think you will be taken to great heights of spiritual triumph, and are disappointed when nothing happens.
This sermon was on discipleship. Something that as Christians we are responsible to be doing. But it made me think of people who attend a church wanting to have every need met. Expecting to be fed but not bothering to pick up a spoon themselves. Then they blame the pastor, or the leaders if the food is not tasty enough.
And in like a dating relationship if your date chews his meat funny, or doesn't pay enough attention to you, or says something in an unkind way, what do we do? We break up with them.We look for another church.
The problems might be that the music doesn't suit you. Or the pastor said something to hurt your feelings. Maybe you don't like the way the finances are being run. Did your child have a problem fitting in with the Sunday School program one year? I've got an idea, let's teach them to simply find another church if this one is not perfect enough.
Maybe it's time to be in a committed relationship with your church and stop dating it. There comes a time when you need to take some responsibility for your own Christian walk. The church isn't there to date you. It is not there to meet all your spiritual needs. No, really it isn't. You are expected to become a disciple of Jesus. Work together with your church family to give each other accountability, encouragement, and love.
How often do you disown your mother, uncle, or grandpa when you disagree with them. How often do you disown you spouse? In a committed relationship you fight to be there. You forgive. Be accountable for your own growth. You overlook wrongs.
Yes, I've disagreed with things in my church. I've been hurt at times. In one case, in a church from long ago, a child died because the leaders wouldn't listen to me.
But I stayed, and we worked it out.
But I stayed, and we worked it out.
Take a look at my drawing to see ways to become a working disciple. Being hospitable, reaching others, fellowshiping, pulling people up when they fall, studying the Bible.
And what if our churches stopped being revolving doors? Don't you wonder how much more could be done for the kingdom? I do.