Posts Tagged "food"

Resist and Refocus – Pastor Mark

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

Resist and Refocus – Pastor Mark

Part of my sermon last Sunday included a series of pictures on PowerPoint.  They included chocolate layer cake with peanut butter filling, crunchy, salty, potato chips, an ice cream cone of 4 scoops (all different flavors), warm chocolate chip cookies, a tray of yummy pastries and one of a glass of ice-cold Coca Cola.  The purpose of the pictures was to illustrate the principle that “knowledge is not enough to deter us from sin.”  I was certainly not saying that eating chocolate cake, having a cheese danish or enjoying a Coke was sinful!  The point of the exercise was to illustrate that knowledge is not an automatic protection against sin.

The apostle Paul used an example from the 10 Commandments.  The 10th command is “You shall not covet.”  In Romans 7:8 Paul writes, “I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, ‘You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.’  Sin found a way to use that command and cause me to want all kinds of things I should not want.”

After seeing all the things that were not healthy, did the congregation have a stronger commitment to be healthy?  Or were they hungry?  Yup…you’re right.  They were hungry!

You live in a world of stimulation.  From every direction, from every device – phones, radio, computers, tablets, TV – you are bombarded with images and sounds that can shape you, if you let them.  And they can shape you in ways that aren’t exactly holy.  What can you do?

Romans 12:2 says that first you can RESIST.  “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-make you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed.”  You have a choice.  You can choose NOT to allow certain things to shape you.  At the same time you can choose TO allow other things to shape you instead.

The second thing you can do is REFOCUS.  Writing to the church in Philippi, Greece, Paul summed up his message by saying “you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things (that are) true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

These portions of Scripture are good words to live by.  Grab a handful of grapes and read them over again!

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Christmas Reality – Pastor Matt

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

Christmas Reality – Pastor Matt

Have you ever met someone who wasn’t “living in reality”?  These are people who are not concerned with important things, but are concerned with superficial and unimportant things.  Usually they are individuals who find themselves in really bad life situations.   We may have actually been those people at times in our lives.

I have a good friend who—a few years ago—found his wife in rehab.  She was abusing alcohol and prescription drugs.  My buddy confided in me that she was making things financially difficult for him, because while she was in rehab, she would shop online for cloths and other things she didn’t need.  In the mean time, my friend was struggling to make rent for their apartment.  He was upset because his wife was focusing on things that were unimportant in the midst of her very important rehabilitation.  For a time, she just wasn’t living in reality.

Jesus says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the son of Man will give you (John 6:27).”   My friend’s wife was eating food that spoiled.  What she needed was food that never spoiled…Jesus.

Isn’t that how many of us life?  We focus our time and energy on things that are not real.  We focus our time and energy on things that spoil.

The birth of Jesus is our ultimate reality check.  Jesus did not come into this world to help up make more money or improve our golf game.  Jesus came into this world to save us.  Jesus came into this world because—the reality is—we are born children of wrath who are destined for hell.  This is reality: Jesus is the only one who can save us.

We celebrate Christmas, not simply because it’s a time of family and fun, but because it’s the time God’s reality invaded our world to do the one thing we cannot do on our own: save ourselves.  This Christmas I encourage you to focus on the reality of Jesus.  Share with your friends what he means to you.  Reconnect with long lost relatives.  Ask for forgiveness.  Give generously.  Because this is reality: Jesus gave his life for us, and our appropriate response is to live in that reality.

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Fasting – Pastor Matt

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

Fasting – Pastor Matt

Fasting is hard.  My wife can vouch for me.  When I don’t eat for three or more hours I become something less than Christian.

We see in scripture that Jesus fasts.  Remember when he is in the desert for forty days?  On top of being in the desert and not eating, Jesus is also being tempted by Satan.  One of the Satan’s temptations was to make bread out of stone.  Imagine fasting in desert 40 days.  You would be incredibly weak and tired.  Your body would constantly call to you for nourishment.  Your stomach would ache for the satisfaction of any kind of food.  Your hand might occasionally wander to your mouth out of habit.  Satan was right, all Jesus had to do was make bread out of stone, and all his pain would go away.  However, Jesus replies to Satan, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So there must be something to this whole fasting thing.  When I think of fasting I think of the “self sufficient man”.  You know that guy that doesn’t need anything from anybody.  He creates the world around him and he doesn’t answer to anyone or anything.  The problem with the “self-sufficient man” is that there is no such thing.  No matter how hard he tries, he is still dependent on things.  One of these things is food.  Have you ever thought about that?  No matter how independent or “self-sufficient” we might believe we are, we are still totally dependent on food.

So what does it mean to fast?  Fasting is us saying that our dependency on food is much less important to our dependence on God.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if you approached your Christian life the way you approach your eating life?  Total devotion!

Fasting is us telling God that though we are not perfect we realize that our true sustenance is Christ.  And by refraining from eating we give up our material dependence on this world for the spiritual dependence of Christ Jesus.

Practically speaking, what does fasting look like?  It can take many different forms, but typically it is refraining from food and drink (not water) for a predetermined amount of time.  Of course, we want to be careful if we have health problems.  We would want to limit our physical activity.  It would also be wise to consult a physician if there were any potential health problems.  I would encourage all of you to consider trying it out for a meal or two.

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