Posts by Tami Kalhagen

Black and White – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

One of the dangers of being a Christian is becoming self-righteous. What does it mean to be self-righteous? It means that you think you have earned your way into God’s love and other people aren’t as good as you.

Being a Christian and self-righteous is particularly damaging to the name of Jesus Christ and to one’s soul. So what does self-righteousness look like?

One of the ways a Christian can be self-righteous is if they see everything in-terms of black and white. This is what the Pharisees did. They could see that Jesus’ disciples were not prepared for the Sabbath and therefore they should not eat. They caught the woman in adultery and were ready to kill her. Jesus told them, “you without sin cast the first stone.” Of course no one is innocent and no one cast a stone.

The problem with viewing our faith in terms of black and white gives no room for mercy, compassion, grace and love. If God dealt with us only in terms of black and white we would all be in lots of trouble. But the Bible is painfully clear about what God gives us. He gives us love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and ultimately his Son on the cross.

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Out of the Bushes – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they hid from God. The question is why? Did God do something that caused them to fear him? No. Did God react to their sin in a way that caused them to fear him? No. Did God change in any discernable way after they sinned? No. God went looking for them in the cool of the day like he normally did.

What, then, was different? Adam and Eve. They gained the knowledge of good and evil. They saw for the first time that they were vulnerable because of their nakedness. They also knew, from their actions, that people can be duplicitous. In other words, not everyone is entirely trustworthy (according to them)…including God.

I believe the main reason people don’t believe in Jesus Christ is not because they don’t have enough evidence. I believe they struggle trusting him. Jesus says, “no one comes to the Father (God) except through me.” Philip then says to Jesus, “Show us the father, and we’ll believe.” Philip couldn’t take Jesus at his word, even after all Jesus had done to show was trustworthy. Philip is hiding in the bushes like Adam and Eve.

Are we hiding in the bushes too? What would it be like if we believed what Jesus said? Well, define belief? Belief is more than just something you agree to intellectually, it’s how you live. If you want to see what a person believes, watch how they live. Believing in Jesus makes us vulnerable (not hiding in the bushes) to what Jesus says. What does Jesus say? What is written in the Bible?

Adam and Eve didn’t trust God—not because of anything God did—but because of what they did. God didn’t hide or leave. In actuality God has never left, he’s waiting for them and us to come out of the bushes.

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Beans & Kings – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

There’s an old story about Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack’s family is desperate for food and he is given the task of selling their cow that no longer produces milk. Jack comes upon a traveler who convinces him to give him the cow and in return he would give Jack magic beans. Jack really believes that the beans are magic and they would solve all of his problems.

Jack’s grandmother is angry that Jack sells the cow for those worthless beans and throws them out the window. As the story goes, those beans really are magic and they provide for Jack and his grandmother. In a sense, the beans are like a treasure. Jack cannot believe his good fortune that he was able to get those beans.

Of course, there are no such things as magic beans. We would be incredibly naïve to believe beans could do anything more than star in a delicious soup. The reality is, we do believe that many things are treasures when they are not. There are many things we strive for and spend our lives attaining, but they amount to nothing more than a handful of beans.

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. A field worker finds the treasure, buries it and in his joy sells everything he has to buy the field. Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven is a treasure because it has infinite value. There is more worth to the kingdom of heaven than we realize. This is vital to understand because, so often, we spend our time looking for those magic beans to solve our problems. Maybe were looking for a better job or better boyfriend or more money or more respect. Maybe were looking for anything and everything other than what is truly valuable…the kingdom of heaven. What is the kingdom of heaven? Or better, who is the king? Jesus. Jesus has the life saving value that we all desire. Everything else is just beans.

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God’s Love – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

God loved you before you knew him. He loves you after you followed him. A struggle of the Christian life is believing that God’s love doesn’t quit. Sometimes it feels like God loved us at first, but he removes his love when we struggle in life. This of course, isn’t true.

It would be like being rescued from a fire. Being trapped in a building would be a terrifying experience. But the fireman, who breaks in the door and endangers himself, shows he’s willing to experience danger when your life is on the line. It would be strange if that same fireman was irritated that you have breathing problems the next day. You would certainly need to go to the doctor to recover, and that would take time. The fireman, if he’s reasonable, wouldn’t expect you to be back to normal any time soon. You need help to be rescued, and you need help to recover. God loves you when he rescues you, and he loves you when you are recovering.

Sometimes we believe that God is that fireman. He rescues us from death, but then immediately becomes cold and stern when we struggle with broken relationship, sin, temptation and our own falleness. The reality is, God loves us so much that he saves us and He takes us through our struggles to heal us.

Isaiah 54:10 says, ‘“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed”’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

I can’t think of anything more solid than a mountain. I have never seen a hill removed. And yet mountains are less secure than God’s love. Hills will disappear before God’s promises do.

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The Law – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

The disciples were walking with Jesus on a Sabbath. They were hungry and did not have any food, nor could they buy food. Walking around all day without eating is a recipe for a difficult day. So rather than starve, the disciples picked some heads of grain and ate the seeds. They were technically breaking the rules that governed the Sabbath. Jesus was with them, and he approved what they were doing.

The Pharisees, on the other hand, did not approve. They confront Jesus about his disciples and Jesus teaches them a lesson from Hosea 6:6; it is more important to give mercy than sacrifice. What Jesus is doing is showing that the law is about something much deeper than just following the rules. What is deeper is passionate love for God and passionate love for people. When the law is manipulated by an individual or a system it is no longer the law, but the opposite.

With The Law

 

You can have-

Burnt offerings without obedience.

Sacrifice without mercy.

Gifts to God without acknowledging Him.

The law without justice.

Generosity without Love.

Religion without God.

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