Posts Tagged "Christians"

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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Rooted in Christ – Pastor Matt

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

Rooted in Christ – Pastor Matt

This past Sunday we talked about our being; namely, our being is in Christ.  Our being has to be somewhere, whether we are aware of it or not.  If our being is not in Christ than our being is somewhere always inferior.

One of our problems is that we struggle to believe that our being is actually in Christ.  When trials and temptations come along we topple like a tree with shallow roots.

Colossians 2:7 talks about being rooted in Christ.  Trees and their strong roots are a great image for us.  For not only do the roots feed the tree, but they firmly plant the tree to the earth like and incredible anchor.  When the strong winds blow, trees are able to withstand the storm.

There’s another reason why trees and their roots are an important illustration.  When a tree grows the roots grow.  A tree does not first grow roots and then grow above ground.   No, as the tree grows it needs further anchoring: the higher the leaves the deeper the roots.

That goes for our lives as well.  The more we know Christ, the more we recognize our incredible need for him.  That is why being rooted in Christ is so necessary.  The more we grow in our faith the deeper and deeper our roots anchor into Christ Jesus.

When was the last time you acted or reacted to a situation that made you feel you were not rooted in Christ?

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Opting Out – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Opting Out – Cassi Piper

My email inbox is constantly full of messages I don’t read. Several times a day I find myself deleting scores of emails, most without even looking to see what they contain. Some are from vendors with whom I have done business in the past, hoping to lure me with some “best deal” to make another purchase.

Others are newsy, wanting to alert me to the impending doom of our world, while others implore me to sign some petition which I should then send to dozens of my friends. In the mix are also those often cheesy viral forwards that seem to cycle every few years, along with a plethora of e-newsletters, wanting to educate me on everything from the latest “super food” to the best way to clean my bathroom. Their frequency varies: Some come once a month, others once a week, many more than once a day.

As a stay at home, homeschooling mom of four, I have come to the realization that my time is precious and God calls me to use it wisely. So, several weeks ago I began a quest to eliminate the unnecessary from my inbox. Rather than spend valuable minutes deleting emails I don’t want, I rather started to “opt out” of each one as they came in. The process has been somewhat laborious, but I have already begun to see my daily mail shrink to a more manageable size.

The hardest part has been realizing that even though I now experience less frustration when I check my email, and I have noticeably more time on my hands, there is a part of me that misses receiving so much mail! Even though it was communication that wasn’t meaningful to me, there was something about looking at my phone and seeing that I had an email that got me excited. Someone, somewhere in the world wanted to connect with me, even if it was merely to guilt me into buying something I didn’t need.

As humans we crave connection. God has placed in us a deep desire to be in communion with Him, but oftentimes we try to fill that void with the things of this world. Rather than dig deeper into our relationship with our Lord and Savior, we settle for taking pride in the number of friends we have on Facebook or the people we follow on Twitter.

My challenge to us this week is that we take a moment to ponder how we are filling our need for connection. Are we striving to get it from the creation, or from the Creator? Your honest evaluation may surprise you, as it did me.  It is my prayer that as a church we will use discernment in our connections and that we will work to eliminate those that take us away from our relationship with God. For it is only in communion with our Heavenly Father that our insatiable need for connection can truly be filled.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness…”                                                                                                                                                               Colossians 2:9-10

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Seeing is not Faith – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Seeing is not Faith – Pastor Matt

Let’s pretend that every year our church did a spiritual audit of every member.  Our pastors would call you into their office, sit you down and determine your spiritual health.  They would tell you if you are doing a good job in your relationship with Christ or they would tell you your spirituality needs a lot of work.  Of course they would base their statements on things like attendance, tithing, general friendliness and willingness to volunteer.

What would be the problem with doing that?  Well, no one can be a perfect judge of spirituality based only on things that they see.  How many times have we heard stories of Christians who were seemingly strong in their faith only to find out later that they had a hidden sin or issue that did serious damage to themselves or others?  Or what about those quiet individuals who don’t get any public recognition but are the spiritual pillars of the church?

We certainly wouldn’t want our spirituality to be measured by people who cannot see the full work God is doing in our own hearts.  So how can we measure the spirituality of others?

I had a friend recently say, “It doesn’t take any faith to say what you see in people.”  In other words, what we see in people is so often different from what God sees.  What we might see as an immature Christian, God sees as a chosen son or daughter filled with the Holy Spirit who is hungry to grow in their faith.  So when it comes to seeing our fellow Christians, we need to have faith to see them the way God sees them.  We need to have faith to love them the way God loves them.

Paul’s hope for us in Ephesians 3:18 is, “… [that we] may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

It doesn’t take any faith to say what you see.  It does take faith to believe what God sees.  And God sees a church filled with individuals of immeasurable worth and infinite potential.

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Bringing Jesus – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Bringing Jesus – Pastor Matt

This past Sunday, Pastor Mark said something that really stuck with me.  He said—to the effect—that since Jesus is in all Christians our role is to be present.  In other words, if we want Jesus to show up, we need to show up.  We could bring Jesus to the toughest atheist.  We could bring Jesus to the hopeless teenager who hates herself.  We could bring Jesus to our children every night before bed.  We bring Jesus, because Jesus is present in us.

Jesus uses the illustration of Christians being the “light of the world.”  He says, “You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…in the same way let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.”

Because we have Jesus inside of us, we bring Jesus everywhere we go.  That changes how we view ourselves doesn’t it?  Now we see church as a way we bring Jesus to our fellow believers.  Now we see going to work as a way we bring Jesus in the midst of the toughest unbelievers.  Now we see Jesus among our hurting family members.  Now we see Jesus spending time with the sick and destitute.  Now we see Jesus paying attention to the neighborhood kids.  We see Jesus do all these things because we are with him, and he is in us.

Friends, we are not called to simply pray that Jesus would affect situations and hearts; we are called to accompany him.

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