Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Light by Which I See

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

MISSION STATEMENT

Mission Statement
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

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

Atonement


Atonement
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

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.

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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Church is...

The Church is...
If you are on the outside looking into the church you may see it as just another big organization. One making rules for it's members and requiring them to all walk in lock step. But from inside many churches, including mine, you find more of a family unit. 

In a recent sermon series Pastor Greg pointed out how churches need to be in order to truly serve God and love others. As you can see in my drawing we are in a circle praying together. The words and scriptures around speak of working together, praying, loving and listening. But I made sure to have someone reaching out to others to come join us. 

Not perfect people mind you. We are learning all the time ways to be a better family.  So, thanks to the people in my church who are my moms, dads, cousins, aunts. and uncles. They have stepped up beside me to encourage, serve and pray with me. 

I love you all! 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fisher's of men

Fishers of Men
I love this story. Where Jesus answers the fisherman's needs, then calls them to leave it all behind. After fishing all night and catching nothing, these men were tired and fed up. Jesus came and told them to cast the nets into the water. Obeying Jesus, they cast the net and there were so many fish they could barley get them in the boat. Then what does our Lord ask?

"Okay, now that you've seen what I can do, leave it all and follow me to become fisher of men."

They dropped their nets, left the valuable fish that was caught, and went off with Jesus. That could have been the bigger miracle. So, God wants us to "catch" people. To bring them into His boat. What nets should we use? Debating about presidents? Refusing help to anyone that disagrees with us? Standing up for our rights, at the destruction of others? Maybe parsing words about which lives matter. Maybe making sure first they understand what side of the political isle to be on.

This is what I hope my net is made of: love, no judging, willing to listen, seeing potential, starting small but starting, priority is the person, bring comfort, shine the light that the darkness cannot overcome.