Posts Tagged "Bible"

God’s Love Expressed- Pastor Matt

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

God’s Love Expressed- Pastor Matt

The Bible has much to say about moms and dads.  It mostly says that we are to honor our parents and to listen to their teaching (Proverbs 6:20, 21).   In fact, our parents are so important that the 5th commandment regards how we treat them—right before the commandment to not murder (Exodus 20).

How we treat our parents is incredibly important in the eyes of God.  Leviticus 20:9 says that if anyone curses their father or mother they are to be put to death—Wow!

Let’s agree on one thing: God wants us to treat our parents well even when they aren’t looking or don’t deserve it.

Why?

God’s expression of love comes most clearly through the love of our parents.  Take our mothers for example.  In general, the clearest example of compassion is our mothers.  The clearest example of being perpetually on our side is our mothers.  The clearest example of self-sacrifice is our mothers.  The clearest example of love never-ending is our mothers.  The list goes on.

God wants us to honor our mothers and fathers, because they show us what God is like.  It is through our parents that God gives us our most basic love needs.

Mother’s Day is not just about our moms.  It’s about what God is showing us through our moms.  Our Mothers are God’s way of saying he has unlimited compassion on us, he is perpetually on our side, he sacrificed his Son for us and his love is never-ending.  Let’s honor our moms as the living expression of God’s perfect love.

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The Lowly – Joel Ericson

Posted by on Apr 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Lowly – Joel Ericson

I get discouraged as a Christian sometimes because sometimes I compare my actions, and faith, and piety with that of others, and in my mind I come up short. Like the golfer that never seems to be able to make par, I am tempted to give up on the game. It’s an extreme attitude and maybe a “little tongue in cheek” but our failure, especially when self-examined tend to divert us from what is right.

It’s a tool: for satan would love for us to wallow in this self-doubt at the expense of fulfilling God’s plan for us. God doesn’t require superstars, or the perfect, or the pious because he can do great things with the ordinary. Take a look at the ones he chose.

Peter, by Jesus’ own declaration, the foundation of the church, denied even knowing Jesus and was gifted with a quick tongue. Thomas was a doubter. James and John had a selfish interest in their own eventual glory. Matthew was a tax collector. We can think of many modern day equivalents that personify his greed. Saul aka Paul, spent his early times delivering misery to Christians.

Can I find traits in each of these giants of the church that when self-examined, will cause me to doubt my worthiness. When examined with my self-absorbed attitude I can find weaknesses and faults from each, living in me, and more. If I think God requires superstars, I’m not one. But God knows us and knows our weaknesses, and in fact seeks them out. God uses ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things.

The Bible says: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”—1 Corinthians 1:26-29

 “God chose the foolish things of the world; He chose the lowly things …the despised things. Who is that? That’s me in a nutshell. He doesn’t need what I alone am capable of; he wants what I am capable of with his help and direction so I need to forget about my self-deprecating and humble myself to accept his hand.

I’ll continue to do my best and trust God to forgive my failures. My image won’t likely be ensconced in some grand church stained glass window like the disciples, but they were flawed men, just like me, who humbled themselves to God’s guidance and allowed God to achieve great things through them. Who knows but that something that God has done with me may someday bear fruits.

 

 

 

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The Sword Army – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Sword Army – Cassi Piper

Many young children have an imaginary friend or two that they do life with. My son has an entire sword army. My husband and I first began hearing about this mysterious band of weapon bearers several years ago. At first we thought he had picked up the idea from a television show or book, but we never could recall an episode or family reading time involving a militia of any sort.

Over time, we have learned many things about the sword army. For starters, it is very large and they practice, a lot. Every Sunday they gather to fight bad guys. Sometimes with swords, other times with tanker trucks and shields. Adults are not allowed at their station, and everyone is assigned a job to do. They have a family of pretty snakes for pets (the adult snakes are super long while the babies are really short), and they do not believe that root beer has sugar in it.

For the most part we don’t give the sword army much thought. After all, my son is only four years old and we think it’s awesome that he has such a grand imagination. Sometimes though, we wonder if perhaps he might take it a little too seriously. Like the time he told me he was super stressed because he thought the sword army was going to fire him from his job. When asked why he might be fired, my son blamed his dad saying that he gives him too many things to do so he is always late to his sword army job. When I jokingly told my son that he could get a job somewhere else, he quickly retorted that he had already tried every job in the universe, and that he would still choose the sword army even if he might be fired. Oh boy.

Although as adults we may think ourselves too mature to engage in an imaginary world like the one where my son sometimes lives, our imaginations are more present than we may think. Many of us, for instance, often live in the past replaying events and conversations over and over in our minds. Others use our imagination to catastrophize the future, causing ourselves to fear what has not yet happened, and most likely never will.  These mental wonderings can result in powerful emotions like anxiety, fear, shame, guilt and regret.

The good news however is that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love and grace are over our past, over our present and over our future. By faith our past sins and regrets are redeemed in Christ’s name. By faith our future is secure and we can have eternal hope. By faith we know God is actively working for His glory in our present circumstances. We can rest knowing that nothing happens outside of His divine authority.

So the next time our imaginations want to take us to a time of regret, let’s take them captive to the cross and be reminded that in Christ we are all made new. The next time we want to dwell on the worst case scenario, let’s take on an eternal perspective and remember God’s faithfulness. Let us remember the true purpose of our imagination, to contemplate God’s glory, His goodness, His steadfastness and His unending grace and love.

As for the sword army, regrettably one day my son will come to realize that it is all in his head. When that sad day comes my prayer is that as he lays down his imaginary armor he will pick up his spiritual one. That we will have trained him up to recognize there is a real war in this world, one for souls. After all that practice he should be a mighty warrior indeed!

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Resolved to Resolutions – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

One thing that New Year’s Day teaches me is that I’m not very good at making resolutions.  Actually, I’m good at making resolutions, just poor at keeping them for any period of time.  The usual fair for my resolutions include anything from lowering my weight and TV consumption to more Bible/prayer time.  All these things would be good for me to be sure.

As I have set up and ultimately failed the majority of my resolutions, I have noticed that I’m an all or nothing guy.  If I can’t fulfill my resolutions perfectly I quickly give up on them; thus, Februarys of my past are filled with tombstones of long dead, but well intended resolutions.

Resolutions are attractive for a very good reason.  They give you power.  There is a part of your life that you have lost the ability to control.  Otherwise you would not make the resolution at all.  A resolution is a bid for you to take back what you may have lost or never have had.

2.0In the book of Matthew we see Jesus talking to John’s disciples about fasting.  He tells them that his own disciples do not fast because “people [do not] pour new wine into old wineskins.”  The new wine is Jesus and the old wineskins are his disciples.   Jesus is simply saying that doing new things doesn’t make you new.  You must first be made new by Jesus.  And anything after that brings you new life.

See the follower of Jesus knows that true/real newness comes only from the work of Jesus Christ.  That is our foundation and our source of life.  We are not made new from our work/resolutions (which are temporal) but by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (which is eternal).

Resolutions aren’t bad, but we must know that any true newnessonly comes from the one who has the power to make us new: Jesus Christ.

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Love’s Eloquence – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Love’s Eloquence – Pastor Matt

Generally, there are two types of people, those who are quick to speak and those who are slow to speak.  As a member of the former, I readily admit that we have a problem.  Sometimes we speak too quickly and end up saying something we regret; for example, “When are you due?” or “I can’t believe your dating someone and I’m not,” or “my grandpa wears those same sandals.”

Those who are slow to speak have their own problems.  Admittedly, I cannot speak from experience, but like any good “quick speaker”, I’m really good at guessing.  I imagine slow speakers wish they were proficient at witty comebacks and dazzling crowds with articulate yarns.

I’m sure that we can all agree that we can improve our speaking.  Imagine speaking at such a level that everyone was jubilant over every syllable that came out of your gaping maw.  That would be nice.

The apostle Paul talks about speaking with such quality, such confidence, that you could hold the attention of both men and angles.  But he asks this question.  What good is it to be the most eloquent speaker if you do not have love?  Without love, enrapturing people with your words means about as much as a car horn.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul compares love to the things we find important.  If we are honest with ourselves, eloquence of speech is often preferable to love.  The reason is simple, love is hard and doesn’t bring acclaim the way speaking well does.  But which has more meaning?  Is it love or speaking well?

The economy of God is pretty clear.  Love for others necessarily benefits both the loved and lover.  Speaking well may be beneficial to those who listen, and not necessarily beneficial to the speaker.  Love is the best economy because it benefits all.

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