“The Example”

Mark 10:44-45 Whoever wants to be first among you will be the slave of all, for the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.

True greatness does not lie in the position one has in life. True greatness lies in the attitude and character of the person. Jesus is a great reminder how we should live our lives and sets the example. His priority was to move people into a relationship with God the Father. This was not done by force or even all talk. He lived what he preached.

There were times He got on to people (like the Pharisees and Sadducees) when they were using their position and power for their own good instead of the good of the Kingdom of God. Everywhere Jesus went He would heal and serve.

Imagine the incredible God we serve, coming down in human flesh and serving Hie creations. We may not always want to serve other people; but God does. It is awesome to see His work throughout the world.

Who can you serve this week?

Next week, we’ll conclude Mark 10 with the healing of the blind man. The sermon is “Gaining Sight.”

Guided by the Spirit

Blue metal compass

Galatians 5:16-21 16 I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. 17 A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. 18 But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. 19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry,21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom. 

Here’s and interesting question, “do you consider yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit?” Does being led by the Holy Spirit mean we do not get to have any fun? The list Paul lays out, surely seems like we would be missing out on fun, if we let the Holy Spirit lead us and not allow us to go into these actions; but are we really missing out if we do not fall into these acts?

If we were to talk about each one of these actions, then this would either be a very, very long post; or it would take several days to get through. Bottom line is that we should avoid these kinds of actions because they all experience some kind of destruction at some point. Destruction of relationships. Destruction of the body. Destruction of freedom. Destruction of our proximity to God. Now, I do not mean here that God is further away in distance. Our proximity to God never changes, because God does not leave us. Our relationship to God can feel light years away when we choose a life that is far from the life in grace he offers us.

So here’s the question again, “do you consider yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit?” This is an extremely important question because the answer will help us live a happier, more peaceful, more joyful, fulfilled life than if we were to do everything we felt like we wanted to do, or even go with the crowd.

In our fallen state, we have a tendency to live life for us instead of living the life God desires us to live. The point of this passage is not to keep us from having any fun in life. We can have so much fun in our lives. The point of having this passage is to show us, some of, the things that will cause sin to live in our lives. If sin rules our lives, we may not hear the pull of God trying to bring us back into a life of grace.

God’s kingdom is not just for some point in the future. God’s kingdom can be experienced and lived in today, here and now. That is one of the joyous parts of the gospel. Living for God gives us greater life and greater joy. Our challenge is to not indulge our freedom to do whatever we want, but to be FREE to live the way God is desiring us to live: holy and set a part lives.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Be Different and Stand Out

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Romans 12:1-2 (Message translation): So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

What stands out to you as you read these verses?

The main thing that stands out to me is that we, as Christians, are to be different than those around us. This means we treat people differently. We do not get lost in the crowd. We positively impact people with the love of God through Jesus Christ. This passage says so many things we CAN do, that we shouldn’t miss the point of things we SHOULD NOT do.

For us to live in this world as followers of Jesus Christ, we should look at what he said.

Matthew 5:13-16 (CEB) “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of the hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus is basically saying that we are to bring out the best in people by how we act. If we allow people to suck the good out of us, we have nothing left to give. We are to be beacons of light (God’s never ending love) to everyone and should stand out from everyone else. When we try to blend in with the culture and be like everyone else, it is like we are putting our light “under a basket” so it is hidden.

Our good works also involve how we treat people. Many times we can easily engage in bullying and hurt another person’s spirit to make them think they have no value. Jesus summed up the Old Testament laws this way, showing us how we should act in this world: love God and love people.

To be the salt and light of the earth means that we are people who:

  • do everything for the GLORY of God
  • love each other unconditionally
  • treat everyone EXACTLY the way we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12)
  • be forgivers
  • do not judge nor condemn (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-11)
  • welcome anyone and everyone in the group
  • be people who respect and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • not do things or go places simply because “everyone is doing it”
  • learn and have our own opinions and not be easily swayed
  • stand firm in your beliefs; but do not condemn opposing views (learn to listen)
  • and many, many, many more good things we can do in this world

We should keep our focus and attention on God. C.S. Lewis says, “Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” This means that when we seek for and focus on God, we are able to love people and will treat them better and not worry about the crowd. When we solely focus on things of this earth, we miss the mark and will end up compromising just to make people happy.

Our task and challenge is to bring people to Christ. We do not do this by acting as everyone else acts; but rather by showing how Christ makes us different and how he makes the difference. To be people that follow Christ means we are becoming more and more like Christ.

Matthew 5:48 “Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.”

So, what do you think?

Mission Trip Begins

I have the great opportunity to lead a team of 18 people, most of whom, have not been on an short term mission trip out of the state.

We are not thinking we’re going there to do stuff for the people, we have something different in mind. We desire to learn, love, listen to and show people the light and love of Jesus Christ.

Our goal is to learn about a new culture and experience and witness how other people live when we escape from the suburbs. This will be important to meet people where they are.

We get to love. The work we do with the community will be done out of love so that we can help those who need help. When we go, I pray, others will see the reason we’re there is not to do the work for them; but yo serve and love them so they remember they are not alone.

We never know who we’re going to encounter or what the other person might be going through. I pray we all have listening ears to hear what’s said and respond out of love. This is for when we travel, when we’re there and this “task” maybe within our team itself.

All of the above is great but the most important thing we will do is to show others the light of a Jesus Christ. Our mission is to serve out of love and to speak about Christ. There may be members of this team who do not yet know Christ, but I pray they begin to know Him on this trip so all people can see the joy life can have and the peace He brings.

What a task this next week! With God working through us and in us, it will be incredible what happens.