On her worst days: Manipulative. Stubborn. Judgmental. Outdated. Boring. Ineffective. Shortsighted. Self-centered. Mean. Isolated. Pessimistic. Distracted. Hypocritical.
On her best days: Generous. Loving. Truthful. Redemptive. Encouraging. Focused. Inspiring. Energetic. Bold. Brave. Involved. Hopeful. Merciful. Grace-filled. Gentle. Tenacious.
But here’s the thing – whether she is having a good day or a bad day, one thing is always true: She is always the Bride of Christ. Christ loves her passionately, in spite of her imperfections. He loved her so much that he willingly laid down his life for her. He knows full well that one day they will be together face to face and then she will be absolutely Perfect. Unblemished. Beautiful. Fully His.
What are the implications for us who self-identify as Christ followers?
We should love her too.
We should be slow to criticize her.
We should support her with all we have.
We should believe in her.
We should realize that WE ARE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. Jesus loves us as we are but loves us enough to not let us remain as we are. His desires for us are nothing but good, redemptive, honorable, merciful and caring.
The church is God’s one and only plan to deliver the life saving message of Christ’s sacrificial love to a desperate and dying world.
I’m loving this song recently! May we always remember that our strength comes when we stop trying to do it on our own and look to the one who is capable of far more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
I think Asaph was equal parts disillusioned/confused/angry/depressed.
In the first half of Psalm 73 he honestly admits that he is struggling with all that he sees around him. The wicked seem to prosper, while he struggles. It appears that evil is running rampant – seemingly going unchecked by God. He begins to wonder if his attempt to live a godly life is pointless. He is disillusioned/confused/angry/depressed.
The turning point in his attitude is found in verse 17:
“Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.”
He determined that instead of focusing on his circumstances and those around him, he would instead focus on God. He went into the sanctuary and worshiped. And then everything changed. Well, not everything – the circumstances didn’t change. What changed was his mindset. His attitude. His perspective.
He finally realized that the wicked are not to be envied because ultimately their life will end in disgrace and judgment. Though they seem stable and happy – ultimately they will be anything but. He then goes on to praise God for his strength and provision in his life. He acknowledges that only God gives real meaning and purpose; that eternal reward is found in him. He closes the Psalm by committing himself to seek God for strength and to tell others about him.
We live in a crazy world. At times it seems like it’s getting crazier by the day! Let us all learn a lesson from Asaph. Don’t focus on the people around us. Instead, focus on God. In so doing we will have a totally different perspective. This will keep us from growing pessimistic and discouraged. It is indeed worth the struggle to live for God in this fallen world. He is the Sovereign Lord and he will uphold us.
As Asaph wrote in verse 26:
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
In Matthew 28:18-20 we read some of Jesus final instructions to his disciples…
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We refer to this as the Great Commission. It’s Jesus sending us on a mission to make disciples (followers of Christ). A key component of the process of making disciples is to baptize them. In the video below Pastor Dave shares a few thoughts about Baptism and then you get to hear some amazing faith stories. Enjoy!
On Easter Sunday we showed the video below that tells the story of how Jesus has changed the lives of three people in our church. So so powerful… our church mission is to be a loving community where ordinary people experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Mary Ellen, Sarah, and Mike for embodying the mission and sharing your stories!
Yesterday, February 1 was a snowy and cold Sunday. As a result, our attendance was about cut in half but those who were able to attend were encouraged and blessed by the teaching of Chris Modrzejewski as he preached from 1 Peter 2:4-12.
Here is what I walked away with:
The center of God’s activity in the world used to be the temple in Jerusalem – now it’s me! (And you and anybody else who is place their trust in Jesus.)
Jesus is the one and only cornerstone, not a cornerstone among many cornerstones. (Acts 4:12)
My basic problem is not that my desire for sin is too strong but that my desire for God is too weak.
If you want to avoid an obstacle in the road – you have to look away from it; if you continue staring at it, you will run right over it. The lesson: I can’t focus on the sin in my life in order to get rid of it – I need to place my focus on God.
Knowledge of God’s word and growing in my understanding of God will help to increase my desire for God.
Chris and his team are taking our high school students on their winter retreat this coming weekend – we should be praying for them.
Jesus was rejected by men, but honored by God. We should expect no different for ourselves.
Don’t underestimate sin – it wants to destroy me!
My exhibiting grace under pressure could inspire others to cross the line of faith.
A few days ago I went to Best Buy and got a new phone. I am now the proud owner of a new iPhone 6. I have a lot to learn! Though it has many basic similarities, it also has a lot more bells and whistles than my old iPhone 4. Though I am still very much in the discovery process, I realize I’m not using it to its fullest potential yet. Yes, I can make phone calls, texts, play games and surf the Internet but there’s so much more it can do that I haven’t tapped into yet.
I was thinking that many of us do the exact same thing in living for Christ. We experience his blessings, but not to the fullest. We live for him, but at only a fraction of our potential. We know him, but we still have just a very small view of the totality that is our great God!
If you’re like me, and you don’t want to just settle – then this verse is for you:
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment… 1 Peter 2:2
Did you catch it? The key to experiencing the fullness of our salvation – all that God wants us to see, hear and know is found by us nourishing our spiritual lives on the word of God – the “pure spiritual milk”.
Let me encourage you to take time each day to read your Bible. Develop a real hunger for it. Only in this way will you maximize your Christian experience.