Posts Tagged "faith"

Not a Lonely Faith – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Not a Lonely Faith – Pastor Matt

We often discuss the great and mysterious love of God.  He loves us so much that he sent his Son to die for us: his perfect Son for imperfect us.  That concept alone is difficult to grasp, and millions of sermons—rightly so—have focused on this.  But it’s even greater and more impressive than that.

This past Sunday we discussed the mystery of the gospel in terms of the gentiles (anyone who was not the elect i.e. Israel).  Through the gospel, the gentiles (who previously had no hope) are now co-heirs, one body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus with Israel (Eph 3:6).

What this tells me is that God is not only concerned with reconciling us to Himself, but also with reconciling the world to His chosen people.  Think on that for a moment.  This means that our salvation does not only bring us into a vibrant relationship with God but additionally brings us into a vibrant relationship with everyone who calls Christ Lord.   That means if our salvation is true, we are fundamentally looking out for each other’s good.

Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “we are saved by faith alone, but not a faith that is alone.”  A faith that is alone is not a faith.

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Olympic-Style Faith – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Olympic-Style Faith – Pastor Mark

Is it just me – or are the Olympic athletes even more amazing than ever this year?

Whether it’s trying to imagine how fast the downhill racers travel or how high the slope-style snowboarders launch into the air, this year’s athletes have me hunting for new adjectives.  I wore out “Wow!” by Saturday.  And I love the ads that go in reverse and take us back to the firsts: the first time a tough little guy laces on his skates or a cute little girl hops on a snowboard.

Every journey has a beginning.  Every dream starts with that first attempt.  Every gold medal journey comes complete with starts and stops, raised arms and face plants, tears and blood, and that dogged determination to get up, do it again and get it right!

As you and I live our lives and watch the “Olympic athletes” of Scripture we run the risk of being overwhelmed.  “I could never have faith like that!”  “I tried to forgive and I couldn’t do it.”  “I’ve prayed for 6 weeks (or 6 months or 60 years) and nothing happens.”  How did Abraham do it?  What was Joseph’s secret?  Who can even think about following in Job’s footsteps?  We run the risk of quitting; giving up and believing that this isn’t for us.

I could quote 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 here.  It’s pretty Olympic!  Instead, I’m drawn to 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he (the Lord) said to me (Paul), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When things are about you and me, they are always going to fall short of the goal.  When they are about Him, the attempts that may not appear “golden” to us may be, in His eyes, a perfect 10.  So let’s “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

– Pastor Mark 

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This Present Waiting – Cassi Piper

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

This Present Waiting – Cassi Piper

“Are we there yet?” What parent hasn’t dreaded hearing their child ask that question! With as many road trips as my parents took with my brother and me growing up, I’m sure we said it a time or two (or twenty). When we are young we simply do not have a firm grasp on the concept of time and much to our parents’ chagrin just ten minutes on the highway can seem like an eternity.

I must confess however that as an adult, even though I may know how long an hour or a day is, I have no firmer grasp on God’s timing than I did on how long a trip to Cincinnati took when I was a little girl. How often have I found myself in a place of wait, asking God, “Are we there yet?”

As many of you know my husband and I are expecting our fourth child and I am in the home stretch of my pregnancy with less than two weeks to go until my due date. Recently I found myself in a labor and delivery room at our local hospital anticipating the arrival of our little boy. After 24 hours of increasingly frequent contractions however it was determined I was experiencing false labor and was consequently sent home. Disappointed, I couldn’t help but ask God “Are we there yet?”

At times in our life all of us have found ourselves waiting. Perhaps we are waiting for our soul mate or for the right job. Maybe we are waiting for healing or for a loved one to come back to the faith. Maybe we are waiting for a relationship to be restored or for our hard work to pay off so we can finally breathe financial freedom. Whatever we are waiting for, it can be easy for us to focus on what has yet to come rather than on what God would have us do now to further His kingdom in the meantime.

There are many instances in scripture where men and women of faith found themselves waiting. Sarah waited for a child, the Israelites waited to enter the Promised Land, Mary and Martha waited for their brother to be healed, and as Christians today we await the majestic return of our Lord.

The question then becomes, what shall we do while we are waiting? Does our life come to a halt until our preferred destination is reached? Does our faith stop until we feel God comes through? Do we grumble and complain until our plans come to fruition?

When I realized that our son was not to be born just yet I found myself walking around the house the next few days disappointed and frustrated. After all, those contractions hurt! But my husband gently reminded me that I should make the most of this time, to prepare for our son’s arrival and also to spend as much unhindered time as I could with our three precious children whose lives will forever be changed by the arrival of their little brother. He was right, and the wait has been a lot easier since I switched my focus to the life God has in front of me right now rather than what will come.

My prayer and challenge for us this week is to focus on how God would use us right now as we simultaneously anticipate the answers we seek from Him. May we be a church that lives fully for Christ in the present, knowing that God’s timing is perfect and His plans for us our greater than we could ever imagine. Though we may not ever receive the answers we are hoping for this side of heaven, scripture assures us that if our lives are fully devoted to following Christ in this present day, great will be our reward!

 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 15:7

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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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Prove It – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Prove It – Pastor Matt

There is a story in Luke where Zachariah goes into the temple to light incense.  As he approaches the altar an angel appears to him.  The angel tells Zachariah that he and his wife will have a baby.  And how does Zachariah respond?  He brazenly asks, “How can I be sure of this?”  Zachariah is asking for hard proof from an angel.  Does that sound odd to anyone?  Shouldn’t the presence of an angel be proof enough?

It would be like a man asking his girlfriend to marry him.  He says the words, and he slips the shiny ringed rock onto her finger.  She then asks for further proof that he wants to marry her.  Isn’t the expensive ring proof enough?  Wouldn’t that absolutely deflate and crush the man?

I think sometimes we are like that with our Lord.  God provides for us.  God takes care of us, yet we struggle with believing that he will continue to take care of us.  That is one of the main reasons for our sin.  We have a hard time believing that God will still take care of us, when we do not sin.  That is the lie about sin.  It makes us feel in control, secure or happy.  But these are only temporary when they come from sin.  The ultimate control, security and happiness can only come from God.

In the case of Zachariah, he couldn’t trust God in the midst of overwhelming proof that God is in control.  Our case is no different.  We go to things other than God.  We want more proof.  We struggle in the midst of overwhelming proof that God is in control.

The good news is Zachariah eventually gets it. That’s us.  We do the same thing.  We deny the obvious.  And then God gives us the time and grace to fully comprehend his work.

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