Posts Tagged "light"

Vow to take an Oath – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Vow to take an Oath – Pastor Matt

Jesus says in Matthew 5, that we should not make vows or oaths either by heaven, God, earth or ourselves.   Jesus continues to say, “All you need to say is simply, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

What is the purpose of a vow or oath?  It is to give validity to what is being spoken.  But here is the problem.  Unless you are in a court of law, a vow or oath is spoken because credibility is in question.  So the purpose of a vow or oath is to basically manipulate another person.  If one cannot be believed, a vow is simply a way to make one more believable.

Jesus says no.  If you cannot be trusted by your yes or no, you have a truth problem.  If you feel the need to swear by something—a stack of Bibles, your Mother, God, your goldfish—perhaps that is an indication of a lack of trustworthiness.

Jesus goes on to say that anything beyond a yes or no is from Satan.  Strong words you might say.  But a swear, vow or oath is nothing more than a way to deceive however subtle.  When deception is used Satan is around.

As I write this I’m keenly aware of my own flippant use of swears, vows and oaths.  When I am confronted by my own sin, often times I want to protect myself from the pain I have already caused.  So I project truthfulness, I lie.

We compound sin.  This is why Satan is close, because not only does he want us to sin, he wants us to suffer for it.  But as Christians, we fight our sinful inclinations, by bringing truth.  We light a lamp in all the corners of our homes.  We shed light on every part of us.  So even if we have made vows or oaths in the past, we now put away those evil tools and bring light wherever we go, even if it hurts in the moment.

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Everyone Knows Evil – Pastor Matt

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Everyone Knows Evil – Pastor Matt

Everyone knows evil.  We can sense it like the coming of a thunderstorm.  From the avowed religious to the strict materialist, we all know evil is part of our world.

Now our culture has a difficult time in defining what-is-wrong-with-the-world (evil); thus, our definitions of evil range from poor education to nationalism to economics to chauvinism to anything we want.

As Christians we affirm that any one of these isms or societal problems can lend itself to terrible evil; however, focus on any one as the “true” or “source” of evil is to reduce evil to a group or an idea.  The problem with reducing evil to a group or an idea is to absolve oneself from any participation in evil; just because we can see the splinter in someone’s eye, doesn’t mean we don’t have a plank in our own.

Our culture is obsessed with finding evil in the world.  We hear it on the radio and watch it on the TV.  Evil is so often reduced to “that other group that doesn’t agree with us.”

On the other hand, Jesus teaches that evil is found within each of us, not just in ideas or other people.  He teaches that evil can be found in our own hearts; we are broken people who so often choose our own good over the good of others.

Jesus doesn’t stop there.  Evil is also the handiwork of Satan and his demons.  Our culture mocks the idea of a malevolent spiritual force, yet Jesus affirms that Satan exists and will be judged.

The Christian world-view expresses that evil is both the darkness in our own hearts, and the work of Satan and his demons.  This is important because we cannot express how to fix the problem of evil without a true definition of evil.  If the Christian definition of evil is correct, our framework for evil must change.  We no longer battle against people, but against Satan who is the ruler of this age.  We no longer define groups as evil, but rather see them as broken (like us), and in need of the power of Christ’s love.

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Light – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Light – Cassi Piper

My kids have recently come up with a new game in the car. Whenever we are about to pass a house lit with Christmas lights they race to see who can yell “lights!” first. Even my toddler gets in on the fun and yells “lights!” with glee every time he sees a festive house or store front.

It seems people have always been drawn to lights. Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther strolled through a snow-frocked forest and was struck by how peaceful the trees looked when backlit by starlight. He was reminded of God’s faithfulness and His everlasting light in our lives. Wanting to recreate the effect, Luther went home and made specialized holders that he used to place candles on his family’s Christmas tree. Soon candles adorned trees across Germany. And, with the advent of affordable strings of electric lights in the early 1920’s, people across the world now share in Luther’s experience that night.

Today though it seems we are over-saturated with light and we easily lose sight of its symbolic significance in our lives. We have lights in our homes, on our cars and on our streets. We even carry light in our pockets on our cell phones. Light to us is a given, not a cherished entity. We even scorn it when our neighbor’s lights keep us awake at night!

When God created the world the first thing He made was light. Though that light still remains, man’s soul has been darkened by sin. Lost in that darkness it took the humble birth of God’s son, Jesus, to provide the way to our eternal redemption. There in a manger God gave us the light of the world. And, like the whimsy of a beautifully lit Christmas tree, our weathered souls are inherently drawn to the life saving grace of Jesus.

With all the amenities our modern age affords it is easy to become overwhelmed by the details of carrying out the holidays rather than reflecting on the great saving work God began to accomplish through the birth of His son. It is my prayer that in the midst of family, traditions and lights that we will allow ourselves to once again take in the true meaning of Christmas:

[Jesus] who, being in very nature with God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And, being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and in every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.    Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)

Merry CHRISTmas!

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