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Archive for January, 2010

Hi guys, The Home Group (about 10 of us who get together once a week for worship, study and fun) I go to is currently going through the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. We read and then discuss one chapter a week.

The first couple chapters were ….. good. But then, once we hit chapter 3, it got really, really good. There are many challenging thoughts from the Scripture that we have loved digging into and discussion the life application of them. A lot of times I find it disheartening when someone tells me what they feel the Bible says but it doesn’t. Thing’s people were taught growing up or seen in the lives of others but never read for themselves. This is not a book that does that. It is raw and straight forward without being over your head.

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To understand today’s miracle, you have to understand the time line of several events.

At the beginning of this month, I left for a two-day sabbatical to seek God on the vision for our church. There is much I could tell you about that trip but for now, I came home impressed on my heart that we were “To be a real community that fulfills the Great Commission by being people of faith, displaying hope, and acting in love.” I know that at first pass that might not sound so profound but if you stop and think of the ramifications that such a goal would be, it’s pretty mind-blowing and calls for great submission.

We have been spending this month at the church going through a series I’m calling “Come Together”, in part to talk about our roles within this vision. There are many areas we covered but the one that affects this miracle was our stewardship with our money and resources.

Two weeks ago, I talked about this while discussing Malachi 3: 6-18. The short version is God is robbed when we don’t bring into the storehouse our tithes and offerings. He invites us to (get this) “test me in this” that if we bring Him our tithes He will “open the floodgates of heaven” and “pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for all of it”. Now, I’m not a big “Follow God = You will get a big house, big car, and lots of cash guy” However, I do believe if I am financially faithful, He will take care of our needs to say the least.

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Hi all….

I just got done with lunch with a buddy of mine that reminded me of what really matters. He is a Christian too and he was saved from a life that was rough, hard, and heading no where fast. When He came to the Lord there was a HUGE turnaround in his life and his joy and passion really reminded me of what matters.

With this in mind, I wanted to drop here something I wrote for our youth group’s Facebook page. This is what it is really all about…..

What is the good news? Let me share with you a few verses from a letter that an early follower of Jesus, named Paul, wrote to the church in Rome. It’s in the New Testament….

To get to the good news, we have to know the bad news. While God created us to have a relationship with us, it doesn’t take a genius to see that something went wrong. Due to what the Bible calls sin (or anything that rebels against God), we were separated from Him. This is true for all of us….

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Everyone has messed up. Everyone. While we are not alone in rebellion, it does have dire results.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Did you catch that? While we deserve death, God’s gift is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ!

In other words, while we walked away from God and He had every right to say “OK, fine! If that’s what you want, see ya!” But he didn’t! Even though He can’t ignore the justice of the result of sin, He decided to pay the price by giving His Son, Jesus Christ. Check this out….

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Unreal! We rebel, we walk away, and He gives His Son! That’s love! He made the sacrifice….He did the work….He made it easy and clear….

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Can it be any easier? People try to make it hard and mysterious but God makes it clear; to accept Him as Leader and Forgiver in our lives is a simple of speaking it and believing it!

But maybe you feel you don’t deserve it (none of us do). Or maybe you think it’s true for everyone but you. Look at this…

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 13

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you make the decision to accept this great gift from God through His Son. You follow the instructions above in Romans 10:9-10 and are saved. Then listen to these verses and think about what they mean….

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

Talk about good news! Now there are a couple things that we can’t skip over….

– It’s up to you. No one else can make the decision for you. Not your mom, your dad, your spouse, your friend, or anyone else. Now that you know, what will you do with it?

– It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun nor is it boring or disappointing. Accepting Christ is not the end. It’s not just getting into heaven. It’s the beginning! It’s a relationship!

We encourage getting more information on how to learn from the Bible. There’s a lot of stuff people believe the Bible says that is just not there. Dig deeper to know the Bible and not what others portray.

We recommend you find friends and others who will be a support community for you. If you need help with this, contact us and we would love to help out anyway we can!

If you made this decision today, please let us know! We want to celebrate with you! You and those in Heaven as well! In Heaven? Yes!

Look at what Jesus says in Luke 15:7…

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

AWESOME!

If you want to accept Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in your life or have any questions about it, feel free to contact me. I’d love to talk more!

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It’s winter here as I write this and I can see the snowy effects in the trees outside the window as I type this blog. Whenever we get this weather, it reminds me of our time in Kazakstan when we went for a month 3 years ago to get our daughter, Emily. While it was a different culture, my wife and I find ourselves homesick from time to time for a place we only spent a month.

One of the things I found interesting while we were there was our trips to a couple of the local churches. There are two prominent options there when it comes to places of worship, Muslim temples and Russian Orthodox churches. Being a Christian, we opted to visit two of the churches during our time there and it was quite different than what I am used to.

The churches are generally one main, huge room that are a couple stories high and very wide. When I went through my pastoral studies, my worship teacher would say it was designed to portray the awe and wonder of God more than create an enviroment for feeling close to Him and each other. There are many, many religious artifacts scattered about that would take the whole day with a tour guide to understand the purpose, history, and symbolism of each. There are no chairs except for one row of wooden chairs in the back of the room for older guests. It is not the most welcoming place though it is breath taking.

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