Posts Tagged "Christian"

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Being the long-time Twins fan that I am, I have been excited about their surprising showing.  “Go Twins!”  But when they go into a slump, which they did the first part of June, I found myself thinking, “OK, here they go…back to reality.”  So I was interested when one of the veteran players was asked, “How does this team handle losses?”  His response wasn’t what I expected, but it was good.  He said, “Baseball is a game where you can lose 62 games in the season and still make the playoffs.  It’s a 162 game season.  Losing 62 games means you won 100!  So we don’t let it get us down and we’ll go out there tomorrow and play our best and have fun.”

That attitude is a good one to take into your life as a Christian.  You are going to lose some “games” – a lot of them, in fact.  But if you let your losses take away your joy, if you take every defeat personally, you won’t be able to go out “the next day” and live for Christ.  For example, there’s a challenge in 1 Peter 3:15 that says, “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

There are days when I walk away from a conversation and think to myself, “I could have said it so much better.”  It can really feel like I struck out.  But I can’t quit.  I replay the conversation in my mind.  I think about what I could have done differently.  I try to listen to my “Coach” and determine to do better the next time.

So as we live this life as Christ-followers let’s remember that it’s a long season.  God isn’t expecting perfection.  He’s looking for a teachable heart and a willingness to keep “swinging the bat.”

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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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Unearned Love – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Unearned Love – Pastor Matt

Whenever you watch an interview of a football coach who just lost a game, what does he always say?  He says they didn’t do enough, try enough and sacrifice enough.  Even if the other team was simply better, he still blames himself and his team.  For some reason, that makes fans feel better.

There is a great big ugly problem with this mentality.  The problem is, no matter the outcome, there always could be improvement.  No matter how good a team does, there will always be mistakes and there will always be a need for improvement.

The sad reality is, most of us approach out spiritual lives in the same mentality.  We know we need improvement, we feel we need to be better and even if we are successful in certain things we still beat our breast and say, “I’ll try harder next time.”  Here’s the problem: we want God’s love to be directly correlated to how good we are.  The reality is, we are never good enough, that’s why we try harder and harder.  We approach our relationship with God like a losing football coach.  We constantly admit we didn’t do enough, try enough and sacrifice enough.  We blame ourselves.  For some reason, that makes us feel better.

Here’s what we need to know.  God’s love is not related to what we do.  God’s love does not rise and fall with our successes and failures.  God’s love is steadfast and complete.  God does not love us anymore than he did 20 years ago.  Why do we want him too?  Do we think he is holding back some of his love until we are good enough to receive it?

This truth is most evident in John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only son. 

That means the highest expression of God’s love was given at the point where we deserved it the least.  God most showed us his love, when we most showed him our hate.

So rather than living as though we need to earn God’s love, we live knowing that God’s love is complete and we are sons and daughters of the living God.  Our Father’s love is not something to be earned, but something to place our lives.

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Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Easter’s Mortal Wound – Pastor Matt

The Easter celebration is filled with powerful images.  The crown of thorns shows us the sheer brutality and ironic sensibilities of Jesus’ executioners.  The Via Delorosa is marked by the stations of Jesus’ ascent to Golgotha.  And the cross is a vivid reminder of the pain caused by God turning away from Jesus.

What I love about the Bible is how everything is interrelated.  One of the most obvious interrelations is the unity between the Garden of Eden and the place Jesus died.  I have heard it said that Genesis 3 gives the very first prophecy concerning Jesus.  After Satan successfully leads Adam and Eve into sin, God says this, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal.”  That he is a man born of a woman.  That he will not succumb to temptation, live a perfect life and crush the head of Satan.

The he is Jesus.  Satan strikes Jesus with the pounding of a pike through his feet on the cross.  And Jesus deals a mortal wound to Satan’s head by overcoming Satan’s most powerful weapon…death.  Therefore, the death of Jesus sets off a chain of events that cannot be reversed and the doom of Satan is secured.

It is certainly true that the work of Christ on the cross (the Atonement) is marked by a number of important effects.  One effect is imputing our sin upon Jesus and simultaneously imputing his righteousness upon us.  But another effect is the ultimate destruction of that vile snake that has hounded the righteous since the first rays of the sun.

Since the children have flesh and blood (us), he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil…  Hebrews 2:14

This Easter season, let’s remember not only our undeserved salvation, but also the deathblow dealt to him that would take away our salvation.

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In-Field Faith – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

In-Field Faith – Pastor Matt

There are two guys who love baseball.  One is an extremely knowledgeable student of the game.  He can rattle off all sorts of facts and statistics about players and teams.  He also spends lots of money going to professional games and traveling to the different ballparks.  But he never actually plays the game except for one year of baseball in middle school.

The other guy doesn’t go to professional baseball games.  He doesn’t know much about all the professional players.  But he plays baseball with a group of guys every week.  He loves the smell of the dirt and his glove.  He loves the feeling of pulling off a double play.  Playing catch with his daughter is one of his favorite things to do.

Now which person would you say knows baseball better?  The gentleman who has facts but hasn’t picked up a baseball bat in 20 years? Or, the gentleman who doesn’t know who has the best batting average, but can’t wait until Saturday to put on his cleats for a ball game.

The one who spends his time playing has better knowledge of the game.  The simple reason is that baseball is a game with the fundamental purpose to be played.  The fundamental purpose of baseball is not entertainment or the memorization of facts (although that is an extremely fun element to the sport).

Jesus at one point, rebukes the disciples for not allowing children to come near to him.  He says in Luke 18, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

What Jesus is saying is that the fundamental purpose to the kingdom of God is not having a vast knowledge of the kingdom, but rather being close to someone…Jesus.

Children are our teachers when it comes a simple faith.  Adults worry that they are doing the right things, saying the right things and acting in ways that are holy.  When all the while, children just want to get close to Jesus.

Receiving the kingdom of God is not knowing about Jesus, but rather getting close to Jesus.   The kingdom of God is a matter of proximity (which leads to true knowledge), not an amount of knowledge (which leads to distrust).

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