Faith Is All It Takes

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Galatians 2:15-18 15 We are born Jews—we’re not Gentile sinners. 16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law.17 But if it is discovered that we ourselves are sinners while we are trying to be made righteous in Christ, then is Christ a servant of sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild the very things that I tore down, I show that I myself am breaking the Law.

In this passage today, Paul is still confronting Peter in his hypocrisy because Peter stopped eating with Gentile (non-Jewish) people when people from the Apostle James (Jews) came to meet with him.

This is a passage we all should remember. Maybe this could help remind us of the joy that Christ gives. Here is the basic message of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ: we are saved and made righteous by faith not by our good works. In other words, it is not something we do that makes us earn grace. This is something that God freely gives. The only part of this done by us is believe it. That’s it.

How does this sit with you? How do you like to receive a gift “just because?” This is how God is. We tend to think that we need to prove ourselves and the gifts are the reward. God does not work this way. We need to stop trying to make ourselves look good and realize God is not concerned with what we do, but what is in our hearts (our motivations).

So what is “righteousness?” According to Webster dictionary it is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin, morally right or justifiable.” Do you feel this way everyday? I don’t. There are times where I do not feel I deserve to be in God’s presence as well as there are times I do not feel I am good enough to do what I am doing. Both of these are lies that stop people from doing what God calls them to live.

We do not have to have everything perfect, because God has made us righteous because of Jesus Christ. We all, like Paul, have a sullied past; but God sees us like he sees Christ. You and I are made holy and righteous because of Christ.

Now, it is possible to have this knowledge and our lives are not changed. We can tell is we are allowing Christ to work within us to transform our lives when we exhibit more and more the fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23. Going back to living for ourselves and not allowing Christ to reside in our hearts rebuilding a wall that we need to tear down. This means we lose time for God to make transformations in our hearts.

We do not need to “earn” God’s favor or grace, we simply accept it. Then we should allow this grace to live in us to make us more and more like Jesus Christ.

These are all things I am continually striving for with God’s help.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Who Do You Say That I Am?

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Buda United Methodist Church Saturday Evening Worship 11/8/14

Live Stream link for the message:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGtquM0JHA

Youth Director, Ryan Stratton delivers this message on WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM.
Jesus Christ once asked his disciples “who do you say that I am?” and this is the same question he asks us today.
This 6 week series should help us answer this question for ourselves. We will be looking at the life of Christ from the cross to the cradle as we prepare to receive him once again into the world at Christmas time.

Grace and Peace to YOU!
Buda United Methodist Church
www.budaumc.org

You are invited to join us for worship anytime in person or online. Our mission is to empower people with the love of God and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Worship Times:
Sunday 9:00a and 11:00a
Wednesday 6:30p
Saturday 5:30p (Live Stream message begins at 6:00p)

*All times CST

Prepare

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Saturday and Sunday is upon us. Most people are rushing home after work to enjoy the start of another weekend. To enjoy spending time with family and friends. To find time to veg out and not have to worry about specific schedules again until Monday. Then there are many people who try to fill up as much of the weekend as possible to do things and run errands that there was not enough time for during the week.

We all are excited about time to spend without the demands of work and people constantly expecting certain results from us. One of the things that begins to happen is a busy weekend that simply “includes” going to church instead of making it a priority.

For those of you who are religious, Saturday or Sunday is a time when we gather at our church, supposed to be praising God and lifting the name of Jesus Christ while living in and listening to the Holy Spirit. Many people (including me some weekends) have turned our time of worshipping Jesus Christ into another to do list item to simply check off and then go about our day.

I believe we are all challenged to look at church another way. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, would begin preparing for Sunday worship on Thursday. This may make some people nervous thinking, “I just don’t have that kind of time to prepare.”

With the business of our schedules day in day out, week in week out, year in year out, we all should look at how we prioritize our schedules. Now, I do not presume to know, nor am I trying to judge or condemn people here in any way. I simply hope to encourage each one of us as we walk with Jesus Christ and allow him to transform our hearts which has a direct affect on our lives.

So, here are some questions I invite you to consider:

  • Why do I attend church? Is it for me and my inspiration? Or is it truly for God and allowing my heart an opportunity to hear from God and become recharged with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
  • How often do I pray for the worship time, church leadership, and the church as a whole?
  • How much time do I spend reading the Bible along with other sacred writings or devotionals during the week?
  • How is God moving in my life and through my life to make a difference in my community, state, nation, world?

These questions may be a little convicting; I know they are for me.

My prayer for each one of us is that we allow God is make himself known so that we can see the world through his eyes and allow our hearts to break for what breaks his heart. Let’s all take some time to prepare ourselves for the literal presence of God when we gather for worship.*

*On a quick side note: worship can be done anywhere, even during your personal quiet times with God.

Hardened Heart

As I was traveling to a meeting this afternoon, I passed several people on the side of the road asking for money or in need of some kind of help. To confess, I have to admit that I was thinking negative thoughts about them and tried not to look at them directly.

As a person who works in a church, I felt convicted, as I passed the people, that I should have stopped to help, or at the very least, acknowledge their presence.
That’s when I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me. It wasn’t an audible voice; but I clearly heard him say, “These are real people made in the image of God just like you. Why are you hesitant to even acknowledge their presence?” That convicted me and has given me something to keep in my heart.
I tell this not for any personal reason, except it seems like this is how most of us tend to go through our lives. While I was driving to my next destination, my single focus was where I was heading and what would be discussed. I believe if we are open to including more people from all over the human spectrum, we will be able to see God clearer in our day to day lives.
Even the writer of Hebrews, in the Bible, says “they entertained angels unaware.” Imagine what would happen and imagine how kinder the world would be if we noticed and showed hospitality to those people we feel are beneath us. So, as we go about the day ahead, the invitation is to look at people with non-judgmental eyes and see the person inside…the person that God created and loves. Just like you and I!
Lord, may our hearts become soft toward all you love.
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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.

Live Differently in God’s Presence

This message is over Exodus 34 and how Moses shined after meeting with God. Have you felt like people don’t, or you don’t, feel differently after going to worship? This message is hopeful because God gives us chance after chance after chance. I pray you’ll see how God is calling each of us to be the lights that shine as a city on a hill to bring people into the Living God’s presence with us.

Streamed live on May 31, 2014
Youth Director, Ryan Stratton, leads this message on “Living Differently in God’s Presence”
Scripture: Exodus 34

Grace and Peace to YOU!
Buda United Methodist Church (www.budaumc.org)

You are invited to join us for worship anytime. Our mission is to empower people with the love of God and make disciples for Jesus Christ.