Posts Tagged "truth"

Resolved to Resolutions – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

One thing that New Year’s Day teaches me is that I’m not very good at making resolutions.  Actually, I’m good at making resolutions, just poor at keeping them for any period of time.  The usual fair for my resolutions include anything from lowering my weight and TV consumption to more Bible/prayer time.  All these things would be good for me to be sure.

As I have set up and ultimately failed the majority of my resolutions, I have noticed that I’m an all or nothing guy.  If I can’t fulfill my resolutions perfectly I quickly give up on them; thus, Februarys of my past are filled with tombstones of long dead, but well intended resolutions.

Resolutions are attractive for a very good reason.  They give you power.  There is a part of your life that you have lost the ability to control.  Otherwise you would not make the resolution at all.  A resolution is a bid for you to take back what you may have lost or never have had.

2.0In the book of Matthew we see Jesus talking to John’s disciples about fasting.  He tells them that his own disciples do not fast because “people [do not] pour new wine into old wineskins.”  The new wine is Jesus and the old wineskins are his disciples.   Jesus is simply saying that doing new things doesn’t make you new.  You must first be made new by Jesus.  And anything after that brings you new life.

See the follower of Jesus knows that true/real newness comes only from the work of Jesus Christ.  That is our foundation and our source of life.  We are not made new from our work/resolutions (which are temporal) but by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (which is eternal).

Resolutions aren’t bad, but we must know that any true newnessonly comes from the one who has the power to make us new: Jesus Christ.

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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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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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Are All Religions the Same? – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Apr 15, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Are All Religions the Same? – Pastor Matt

Are all Religions the Same?

This is a question that is raised all the time, because there are universal similarities to all religions.  In essence, all religions claim to have an answer/solution to THE big problem: evil.  Of course, there isn’t consensus to the definition of evil and thus no consensus to the answer/solution.  To illustrate, modern politicians seek to address issues like poverty, yet there is no consensus on the causes of poverty; therefore, there is no consensus on how to best approach the issue.  One wouldn’t then say all proposed solutions would solve the problem equally.  There are better ways and worse ways to address poverty.

Raising the question about the “sameness” of religions shows that there is at least a consensus about the existence of a problem.  Religions agree that there is something wrong with this world, even if they don’t agree as to what.  That only proves there is a problem.

If one concludes that all religions are the same, it would essentially minimize the meaning of all religions.  If all religions are the same they essentially are nothing and mean nothing.   It’s like playing a game of Trivial Pursuit and instead of earning wedges by answering questions correctly, you earn wedges by listening to questions being read.

If every proposed solution to end poverty garners the same results, then why propose a solution in the first place?  If we truly believed that, we would have to believe that poverty isn’t real.  But poverty is real, whether we do anything about it or not.  So, if we truly believed that all answers/solutions to the problem of evil garners the same results, then there must not be a problem of evil.  Most of us, however, know deep in our hearts that evil is real.  Responding to that evil is where it gets interesting.

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Transparent Power – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Transparent Power – Pastor Mark

I was listening to AM 1500 last week and a radio spot grabbed my attention.

Patrick Reusse, co-host for Sports Talk and a columnist for the Star Tribune began the spot in his gravely voice, “I’m 67 years old.  I should be living in Naples but I’m not.  Instead I’m working full-time on the radio and part-time at the newspaper.  Why?  Because when I was young I was foolish!  I didn’t invest my money like I should have.  Don’t be like me.  Contact Josh Arnold.  He will tell you how to invest your money in today’s market.”

Why did that ad grab my attention?  First, you don’t hear people giving their age on the radio.  Second, nobody admits mistakes – especially big ones!

Reusse could have given a good plug for his sponsor without being so transparent but he didn’t.  He chose transparency and it had punch.  You see, this man is also a recovering alcoholic.  He has learned the power of telling the truth, both for himself and his listeners, and he’s not afraid to talk about his realities.  Yes, he can be a curmudgeon at times and coarse at others but you never wonder where he stands.  He’s going to tell you what he thinks.

Transparency isn’t easy.  It can be uncomfortable.  But it can also be like a fresh breeze coming through an open window on a warm spring day.  “Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) is one of my life goals.  Not easy.  Not always comfortable. But definitely powerful!

– Pastor Mark

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