Posts Tagged "Church"

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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Praise – Pastor Mark

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

Praise – Pastor Mark

C. S. Lewis writes this in his work, Reflections on the Psalms:

“I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.  The world rings with praise – lovers praising the ones they love, readers praising their favorite author, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game.  I had never noticed either that just as we spontaneously praise what we value, so we spontaneously urge others to join us: “Isn’t she lovely?” “Wasn’t it glorious?” “Don’t you think that is just magnificent?”  I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.  The delight is incomplete till it is expressed.  When we act out our love and acknowledgment of Him in this way, we fulfill our purpose; and when we are rightly fulfilling our purpose, we have the best possible joy – God is pleased, our relationship with Him is enhanced, and He has rightly received what He deserves.”

We all can benefit from letting these significant truths soak into our souls:

–       Praise is a natural response to God’s blessings

–       Praise expresses, but also completes, the enjoyment

–       Praise is not just suggested but commanded in Scripture

–       Praise is part of the fulfillment of our purpose

Have a great week of praise!

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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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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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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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