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Archive for July, 2018

For the last seven weeks, we have been studying the letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. In these letters, we have found words of encouragement and concern on issues we still deal with in the church and in our lives as Christians today.

This week, we will be looking at Revelation 5 which shows what the next step is in any of our lives that want more than the passive Christianity that seems to be so popular today. Even if you have not been through our other studies, there is much to find life in as we move from everyday Christianity to opening the door to Jesus the way He wishes we would.

(With the VBS decorations, we had to reposition the camera. Please excuse us when people pass back and forth during the video. Thanks!)

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As we come to the last letter that Jesus dictated to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3, we come to one of the most important ones; the church of Laodicea.

Laodicea was a rich and beautiful city filled with people who were loving life. It was also a city where the Christians who made up the church had become lukewarm in their lives. This is a situation that is easy to slip into but is dangerous for not only ourselves but for the outreach to those around us.

In this study, we will see what Jesus’ view of a lukewarm walk is, how to change the course, and the beauty of what He promises if we do. For many of us, it’s time to rekindle the fires of yesterday in our lives.

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Several years ago, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood had a hit song talking about how significant others saw a couple who were tempted as better than they really are. There are many ways that we are impacted by how other’s see us and how we see them. Sometimes it’s in a positive way where someone can speak into our lives something they see encouraging us when we are down on ourselves. Sometimes, it not very positive at all.

What is on my heart today is on the negative side. I believe it’s something we all deal with from children to adults and often times, don’t realize it. It’s when we see another person in a negative light, not because they did anything wrong to us but because someone we are close to doesn’t like them. Our friend tells us gossip, complaints, and negative things about someone and now, you are starting to see them “through another’s eyes”.

I caught myself doing this before. Once upon a time, I was deeply involved in camping ministry. A friend of mine was also on staff and he did not like his boss. He would tell me things the boss would say, do and how he would undercut ministry from happening.

Up to that point, I thought his boss was a decent guy and had a heart for ministry. However, as I heard these things he said and did, I pulled away from him and was really disappointed in him.

Years later, I had seen enough trends to know my friend tended to be critical towards people and often time to cover his own shortcomings. I realized there was a chance he was trashing his boss to cover up for his own struggles. When I looked at the boss’ legacy of ministry, I could not see one thing negative except for things told to me by one person. I had wrongly judged a man due to seeing him through another’s eyes.

I invited that boss to lunch even though I had not seen him for over a decade. He was very suspicious because he could tell I was distant from him and had a bad view of him back in the day. However, when I apologized to him for believing what I was told, not coming to him to get his side of things, and being distant from him for years, he was truly moved. The scales fell off both of our eyes about one another and we had a great conversation for almost two hours about life, ministry and more.

As we talked, I realized I had chosen poorly and lost years of having this mentor in my life.

That said, I also see this in my life where I am the person being seen through another’s eyes. Being a pastor, I enjoy many loving and caring relationships that we are blessed by. At the same time, it puts you in a role where you become the victim of this trend at times.

There has been more than once that it becomes evident that someone pulls away from you. It could be because they are upset with someone I did, it could be their own insecurity (like above), or it could be one of a thousand different reasons.

When someone slips into that mode where they start to pull away, the next thing I usually notice is the people closest to them start to pull away as well. Not because they have an issue but because they start to see me through another’s eyes.

I believe all of us have been on the receiving and giving end of this trend. It’s very easy to fall into. However, often times we find that we are judging or being judged not fairly but because of gossip, complaining, or misrepresentation.

So, what do we do?

What I do know is that I wish I went to the “boss” much earlier and just had a conversation with him about what I was hearing. Not in a way that sold out my friend at the time but in a way I could hear his side. I bet additional communication would have made a big difference to the situation.

If you find yourself reading this and realize that there is someone in your life who you were friends with, was a mentor, or a family member that you have pulled away from only because of what others have told you …. maybe it’s time to take a pause. Maybe it’s time to talk to them and see what you find. You might reunite with a brother or sister through your own eyes instead of blinding yourself with someone else’s vision.

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18: 17

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As we continue our study in the letters that Jesus dictated to seven different churches in Revelation 2 and 3, we now come to my (Pastor Tom) favorite one! This week we will dig into the church of Philadelphia!

So far, we have covered five churches dealing with issues we still struggle with today in the church and as Christians. In this letter, we will see what it looks like when we are doing it right!

What do we judge churches by? Their size, resources, and popularity?

What do we judge successful people by? Their jobs, their money, and if they look like they nailed the American dream?

Jesus is looking for something completely different and does big things when we lean into His ways. Come and learn what He has to say about what matters, what opportunities lay before you, and what happens when you keep in step with Him!

“They who have an ear, let them hear what the Spirit says….”

 

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Is it possible to be a megachurch that looks on fire but is actually dead? Is it possible to be a Christian with a great reputation but be spiritual dead? Is it possible to be a small church or an introverted Christian and be on fire for the Lord?

As we continue our look to the letters Jesus dictated to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, we come across his strong concern when it comes to being a dead church or a dead Christian.

While we may have impressions of what that would look like, in this study we find that dead spirituality according to Jesus is more common than we think. He believes passive Christianity is dead Christianity. We hope you join us in this study to learn how we avoid a major pitfall in our lives and our churches to have freedom, passion, and purpose!

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It doesn’t take much to find churches or Christians who stumble due to sin, hypocrisy, and watered down living. Many times, it’s not too hard to find it in our own lives as we sometimes struggle as well.

As we continue to look at issues like these in Revelation 2 and 3, we talk about what Jesus has to say about the seriousness of double living as well as the encouragement He has for us! We see His words on how we can gain freedom from these “giants” and His promises for those who do!

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