Posts Tagged "grace"

Truth and Judgment-Pastor Matt

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

Truth and Judgment-Pastor Matt

Are there people in your life that just bug you?  For whatever reason, they leave you feeling annoyed and irritated.  Sure you might not hate them, but you probably find time for judging them.  For example, they probably don’t have a great work ethic, their family life is a mess (because of their mistakes no-doubt) and they certainly aren’t as spiritually mature as you are.

The irony of course, is that there are many other people in your life—including you—that have the exact same problems.  But the difference is, you like those people.  You like yourself.  You understand that God has bushels of grace for you and those you love.  But maybe not so much grace for them.

This is the human heart.  We are jealous, biased and easily offended.  We are prone to casting judgment on those that make us uncomfortable, while giving grace to ourselves and those we love.

The good news is this, the hearts of men are judged by God.  In Romans 2:2-3 is says, Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

In other words, God makes judgments out of truth.  Our judgments are so often marred by our own jealousies and lack of truth.

So let’s all together consider those who just bug us.  God’s love and kindness are for them as it is for us.

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Braveheart – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Braveheart – Pastor Matt

To be a good leader means that you have a certain amount of steadfastness and resolution.  You wouldn’t want to follow a general who never made a decision on his own.  You wouldn’t want to follow a coach who asked everyone’s opinions before making a game plan.  A leader needs to be resolute, clear and always conscience of the goal.

I personally look up to those leaders in history who had an unwavering knowledge of what needed to be done: Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Braveheart, etc…   In all honesty, I really want to be just like them.  I am, however, content to not have to go to war; yet, I still want to be so resolute in my faith that I inspire everyone around me.

One of my all time favorite passages in the Bible comes from Daniel 3.  This is where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are on trial for not bowing down to the golden statue of King Nebuchadnezzar.  Facing a most horrible death they defy the king with these words, “If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us.  But if not, be it know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

The best word to describe these men is cojones.   They are facing death and they know that God can save them.  But what is even more impressive is that their obedience to God is not contingent upon God saving their mortal lives.  They are willing to trust God to the extent of execution.  In other words, death or no death, they will trust God.

I want to be like these men.  And by God’s grace he has put me in a position to be resolute.  I have children who benefit from my resolution.  I have friends in the church that benefit from my steadfastness.  I have students who benefit from my tenacity.

Who encourages you with their resolute faith?  Where is God putting you to show others your resolute faith?

God is calling us to be Braveheart.

 

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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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Spiritual Pullover – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Spiritual Pullover – Cassi Piper

On Valentine’s Day I was pulled over by the police. I was driving home with my mom and a friend when I saw those notorious flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Completely bewildered as to why I would be stopped I pulled over and waited in angst. In my head I quickly went over my driving the past few miles. Was I speeding? No. Did I signal lane changes? Yes. How many years had it been since I was last pulled over? Twelve?

Eventually a young gentleman sporting his uniform came to the passenger window and asked me if I knew why I had been pulled over. I honestly didn’t know. He proceeded to tell me that my headlights were off. He then asked me where we had come from. “Minneapolis”, I answered. Then it hit me. I was pulled over in New Brighton which meant somehow I had managed to drive over fifteen miles at night without my headlights on! I could see the same realization come over the officer. Sure enough he politely handed me a ticket.

I couldn’t blame him. Even though I wasn’t speeding or driving recklessly, I had placed other drivers at risk who might not have been able to see me. Here I had been, happily chatting away in the car, driving under the lights that dotted the freeway, completely oblivious that my vision was severely impaired.

And so it can be with us. As Christians it can be easy for us to coast spiritually, doing faith dimly, satisfied with going to church, hanging out with our church buddies and occasionally reading a verse or two. During these times we may feel comfortable and safe, but by not allowing God’s grace, truth and love to truly penetrate our being, we place the eternity of others at risk. How many people have missed out on the only Jesus they may ever see because we weren’t willing to live out our faith in our daily lives?

My prayer this week is for those of us who are in need of a spiritual pullover. It is time for us to turn our faith back on in our daily drive through life, bringing it into our conversations, our actions, our attitudes and our relationships. Only then can the light of God’s truth go beyond our Sunday schools, Bible studies and prayer groups and begin reaching out to the hurting world around us.

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Den of Robbers – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Den of Robbers – Pastor Matt

The book of Jeremiah has this interesting verse where God is speaking to the people of Judah through his prophet.  God asks, “Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?”  The house that God is speaking of is his Temple.

What strikes me about this verse is that he clarifies—at least for me—the meaning of the phrase “den of robbers”.  See, Jeremiah goes on to say that the people of Jerusalem believe that they are God’s people simply because they have the Temple.  In other words, God’s temple equals God’s favor.  So as long as the Jewish people have the Temple they are just fine, regardless of their actions (specifically their oppressive and unjust behavior).

So when Jeremiah calls the Temple a “den of robbers,” he is referring to the faulty belief that the temple equates to protection.  Consider this, for a band of robbers—on the run and always looking for new advantages—a den is the perfect location for their plots and schemes.  A den is an incredible place of safety.  Likewise, the Temple is serving the same function as a den.  It is a place where those in Jerusalem can plot and scheme in absolute safety.

Jeremiah goes on to say that this is an incorrect view of the Temple.  It will not protect but expose the hypocrites that rely on the Temple for safety.  It would be the modern equivalent to someone attending church on Sunday only to live the rest of the week like a monster.

This passage in Jeremiah serves as a great reminder of our salvation.  We are not saved by our Church, our money, or our time.  We are saved in spite of our imperfection.  And nothing can save us except the grace of God.  The Christian life does not start anywhere but by receiving God’s grace through faith.

 

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