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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

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My wife sent me a video today that is moving around the internet. In watching it, it was a touching moment from a couple days ago where a little boy asks the pope if his father is in heaven. His father was an atheist but had all four of his kids baptized into the catholic faith.
I have had similar questions posed to me. I find and give comfort in the fact that while someone spent their life rejecting Christ’s gift of salvation and purpose, that we simply do not know if they come to Him before their passing. Like one of the other men on the crosses, I do know that any who cry out to Jesus, even in their final moments find eternity with Him.

However, this is not the answer the pope gave. The short answer was that even if the father never had the “gift of faith”, he did have his son’s baptized which means he was a good dad. He said only God knows who goes to heaven so if this man with a dad’s heart came face to face with God who has a dad’s heart, do you think that God would not let him come into heaven. The crowd yelled “no” and the pope said “Well, there’s your answer.”

My first response was to fact check the video. Here the pope is not speaking in English so I figured someone had added subtitles to make him say something he was not saying. I was saddened to find that this is not the case.

What the pope taught here is simply wrong and dangerous. Why? Because it is contradicts the Bible and if people believe it, they could completely miss heaven and a relationship with Jesus thinking that they are good and that’s what it takes.

Look at what the Bible says…..

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10: 17-18

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Have you ever found a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest and tried to nurse it to a healthy life? It’s possible but not easy.

Once the baby bird has lost it’s way, often times the mother bird abandons it to the elements, leaves it unprotected from predators, and suffers it to starve for provision.

It reminds me of a proverb in the Bible. Proverbs is a collection of sayings from King Solomon who had asked God for wisdom which is displayed in these eternal truths.

As I skimmed through Proverbs 27, I came across verse 8 that says….

“Like a bird that strays from it’s nest is a man who strays from his home.”

Often times, people find themselves feeling like they have fallen out of the nest. They are lost, exposed, and hurting with similar feelings to the baby bird fallen to the ground.

As I did a quick study of some of the reasons birds stray from their nest, it struck me that it’s similar of how people stray from home (a life with Christ).

Weather – Storms and unexpected wind currents often times will knock a young bird right out of it’s home in the same way the storms of this life can do to us. A move, job loss, family member passing, addiction and other challenges leave us feeling lost and beaten.

Inexperience – Juvenile birds making their first migration without the lead of a mature bird often times undershoot or overshoot their destinations. Sometimes, we too head boldly on a path without instruction, mentorship, or God’s map to find where He was leading us all along.

Wanderers – Some types of birds have been known to simply be wanderers and undertake destinations that are not within their normal environments. In the same way, we sometimes look for places that are not ours but it just seems the “grass is greener on the other side”. These situations can show up as marital affairs, shortcuts that lead to failure in the work place, or going against God’s ways to obtain something we want in the moment.

Whatever the reason, falling out of the “nest” leaves us feeling just as hungry, lonely, and abandoned as the infant robin alone on the ground. However, the good news is God does not abandon us there like a mama bird does to her young. He is just a whisper away willing to offer you forgiveness, direction and provision when you lean back into Him to find mercy and grace abounds!

In Matthew 23: 37, Jesus refers to himself as a mother hen who longs to gather her chicks (you and me) under her wings (for protection, love, and care) but that often times, we are unwilling.

Will you choose to not “stray” but “stay” with the Lord? Trust me, it’s much better in the nest.

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

(If you have a topic you would like Pastor Tom to blog about, feel free to drop all ideas to tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org)

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There are many positives to being a relational person and being a pastor. You get to partner with many in life with deeper relationships, and see how God moves in other’s lives.

One of the hardest parts though is when people draw close to you when they need help or are going through hard times but then bolt again once the life of this world gets a little easier. It is heartbreaking when people come for an ounce of hope in a dark season but walk away from a eternal spring of power that’s inviting them in Christ. So many people walk right back into lives of struggle, bad decisions, and/or loneliness (even though they found a boyfriend or girlfriend that they think is going to fix everything only to be dumped a few months later).

While the door is always open for them to come back, it still hurts to watch them go through more struggle they could avoid with Christ and Christian community in their life.

The point of this is if it breaks my heart, I am certain that it breaks our Savior’s heart even more. So many in this world come to Him for a quick fix when things are rough and then walk away again instead of following Him. We see it time and time again in Jesus’ life and far too often in our world today. It breaks His heart when we use Him like a parachute instead of falling into His arms as our salvation.

If this is you, know that He too keeps the door open and would love for you to turn around today. He too would like to give you a new life instead of just patching up a hole and walking back out the door. He is a relational God and He wants to have a relationship with you.

If I can help you in any way with that, feel free to touch base.

Pastor Tom Hypes
tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org

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What is baptism? Do you need to get baptism? What about infant baptism? Why and when should you consider baptism?

God has blessed us with many passionate, symbolic sacraments to share with us and others the power of His love and truth. One of these is the sacrament of water baptism.

In this podcast, we will explore the history and importance of baptism. We will be answering some of the most awkward questions and marveling at the beauty of a merciful and mindful God through this action.

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Why does it seem that so many people who claim to be Christians have lives that are stressed out, hypercritical, and look nothing different than most anyone else? They claim to follow Jesus but instead continue in a cycle of actions are not of God and end up in places of regret and bondage.

If you believe in God, believe in Jesus and/or just think God wants you to a good person and that’s it…… this study is for you.

In this study, we will explore the disconnect between faith and actions. We may not be able to fix the world by ourselves but we can make new steps in changing the worlds around us.

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We are spending some time studying the Bible in a particular way. We are reading smaller segments but spending more time on reflecting on the Word and praying through what is laid on our hearts and minds.

For instance, today I spent time reflecting on 1 Timothy 1:15-16 and I thought I would share some of it with you.

As Paul is writing to a dear friend and disciple of his, he shares this “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

As I broke it down on paper, there were some good truths there that still stand true for us today. Let me give you a short version of my notes as I share.

He starts with a “trust worthy” statement that is “deserving full acceptance” that “Christ Jesus came into the world” “to save sinners” “of whom (Paul) is the foremost

In other words, we can fully know and accept that Jesus decided to sacrifice heaven to come to this earth. He decided to sacrifice the throne for the common place.. He decided to sacrifice the fullness of all things to enter the muck and the mire of the fallen creation. Why in the world would He ever take that huge of a loss?

Paul tells us his motive is to save the lost! He came to save sinners! He came to offer us salvation from what this world has to offer and what we give to ourselves. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that if we just acknowledge Jesus is the Son of God with our mouths and believe in out hearts that He died and rose again, we are saved. This is not a casual statement since believing such things means changing your life and submitting to Him but it leads to the life you were created for and an intimacy with God.

Now many pastor types would stop right there. They would present the global message of salvation putting it on you alone but Paul goes a step further. He personalizes the message. He realizes the sin in his own past as Paul was one messed up man before coming to Christ. He says before this section that he was a blasphemer, persecutor, and an insolent opponent of Christ and this is true. If we are honest with ourselves, in our own sin and actions, we can see the same in our pasts and maybe even our present state. This should drive us to start to ponder what this means to us personally instead of keeping “Jesus came to save sinners” as a truth that we hold at arm’s length.

But I received mercy!” and “for this reason, that in me” “Jesus might display his PERFECT patience as an example to those who would believe for eternal life“.

Everything changed when Paul received God’s mercy and the same is true for you and for me. I did a word study on mercy before (just means I looked it up in the dictionary to see what implications the different definitions might have and I found this….)

Mercykind and forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly, help to someone in a desperate situation, compassion shown to an offender, compassionate treatment of those in distress.

That’s what God offers to you today and what He has given me countless times over in my life. This is a loving act for several reasons including the new start He wants to give to you in freedom. However, He also wants to show through you, what He will do for others if they turn to Him.

Many people are only interested on how to get their “get into heaven” card but He invites us to more. His purpose is deeper. It is to give us freedom through His ways and heart today while also sharing our stories with others so they are reached as well.

– Have you accepted Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in your life? Do you mean it and let it impact you? Does it drive you as you follow Him? Grow in Him? Is there some new decisions you can be making today for freedom’s sake? Do you need to plug into Christian community through a church to get support? Where is new life and mercy trying to come to you today?

– Are you living in such a way that people see that change and find it attractive for themselves as well? Are you telling people about the mercy Christ has given to you and how it impacts you? Are you leading people to Jesus or pushing them away?

I am so thankful that God has given me forgiveness in spite of my short comings, my unworthiness, and my sins. I am so thankful for the life He breathes through me. I am so thankful that His hand is upon me and life is more abundant than I ever have had before.  I am so thankful for MERCY!

If you are struggling or hurting and want what you see God is doing in my life. If you want salvation from sin and the day-to-day grind also… touch base with me. I’d love to share more with you about the victory that Christ brings into your life!

Read the Word
Reflect on the Word
Pray over the Word you Received

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

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In this podcast, we start a new study series into the book of James! During this time, we will be invited to explore the relationship between the faith we claim to have and the works faith should produce. We will also consider the impact our faith should have in our lives and in our community.

In this first study, we look at the trials that come in our lives and the temptations we struggle against. While they are unavoidable in this life, they offer us great benefit in our spiritual walks as we lean into God. James will talk to us about how we do this and the mind shift many of us need to embrace this.

James is not an easy book of the Bible. It’s challenging and stretches the reader. However, it leads to new places of maturity and impact!

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