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Clean Your Glasses

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NASB) ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, ‘ 

Every single day we are faced with the opportunity to look on the world, our life and others, one way or the other, positively or negatively.  How we live, what we get from this life and what is accomplished with this life, is largely the result of how we choose to view this life.

Re-known biblical scientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf says, “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain.  As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”  Essentially, she’s saying there is a direct correlation between what we think and our reality.  

Think about it this way, isn’t one of the foundational precepts of our faith, hope, optimism about our future, God’s grand design for our life, others lives, this world and the next.  As a christian we are instructed by Christ to look forward in hope of the glory to come, expecting the fullness that is promised in Him.  So, why is it so hard for us to look first on the bright side of day to day life?  Why are we always so quick to believe the worst, wait for the other shoe, refuse to trust, to love to find joy in virtually anything?  Why is it so hard to clean our glasses and look on things with clear eyes and a bright heart?  According to Dr. Leaf, that “reality” is often times, what we chose, whether we think we did or not.  However, more importantly, God, through His word, says we are what we choose to be.  

So often, our circumstances, the fullness of life experienced, are direct reflections of how we have chosen to view the people, and the world around us.  So my question is, do you choose life, or do you choose death?  Have a blessed weekend.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Growing

 

Well, its officially Spring and things are starting to look that way.  We have had a little rain and some sun and there is a hint of green starting to show in the land.  Growing up on a farm, I took it for granted that things grow.  I wasn’t in charge of the farm operations, but I got to help with things.  I remember my dad loading bags of seed corn in the planter and after several days, just waiting for things to grow.  I was more involved in what went on in the garden behind the house where we dug in the dirt with our hands to plant potatoes and a variety of seeds.  This was more meaningful to me than endless rows of corn, because I could see more directly what helped things grow well, or not so well, and how it impacted the harvest we got from it.  What lessons do you take from the natural order of the world? 

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:45

The same lessons are still available today, and take place in a variety of forms in my life.  A week ago, I had a few little helpers with me as I put down some grass seed in a few spots of the yard, as it is a good object lesson for life.  If conditions are good, in a month or more, we should see some results.  There are several variables that impact how things grow in the yard, field, garden, or anywhere.  Many of these are out of our control, such as the temperature, amount of rain, sun, wind, and animals, etc.  But there are things within our control, such as the timing of when we plant, where we plant, additional water, fertilizer, etc.  So, while we have some role in the process, its not a guarantee either way.  Ask any farmer, it takes a bit of faith that things will go well each year to allow for a good crop. 

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”   Matthew 13:3-9

What were the conditions that allowed you to become a believer in Christ?  Were they favorable or an unlikely scenario?  Maybe you had family or friends who shared their faith with you, or maybe it was a seeming random encounter with a stranger.  Could you imagine what it would take for someone in a country with less than 1 percent of Christians in the population?  In either case, there are no guarantees.  You likely know someone who grew up in a ‘good Christian home’ who is not a believer today, despite favorable conditions.  There are others who come out of seemingly impossible scenarios who’s lives are changed and are now champions for the Kingdom of God.  When you think about how people grow best, it is with a mix of adversity as well as good growing conditions.  Your faith grows when it is tested and challenged by difficult conditions in life, and causes your roots to grow deeper as you become stronger.  There are several lessons the Lord can teach us from the world around us, as we walk and grow closer to him.  This in turn will motivate us to help others grow as well.  How has your planting been going? 

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.  Colossians 1:9-10

Yours in Christ,

Clark

How to Change the World… Part 2

What you do with “NO” sets the trajectory of your life. 

I am parenting a 2 year old strong willed little girl.  I am teaching her the meaning of NO.  Most of the time she is climbing on something or getting into something.  If she does not obey, it usually ends up in a short fall or a little mess.  I need her to respond to NO correctly.  There will be a day we are playing near a street or she is climbing towards the hot stove.  If she does not obey NO then, she could get really hurt or worse.  Every year 400 kids die by getting hit by a car.  

As she gets older, no impacts what she sees on TV when I am not watching.  As a teenager, it is how she drives and relates to boys.  When she is a young adult it impacts her ability to keep a great job or she treats alcohol.  No will impact her friendships and her relationship with God.

“NO” is one of the most important words she will ever respond to.  What she does with “NO” sets the trajectory of her life.

Joshua was a young leader under Moses leadership.  He was by far not a perfect leader.  He did not enter the promised land because he did not respond to “No” given by the Lord. Before Joshua led the Israelites into that land, he had a no.  Moses was a prophet, and one day the Spirit of the Lord fell on the elders of Israel and they started to prophecy.  By the way, what is prophecy?  Prophecy is hearing what God says and saying what you hear.  Joshua hears these men doing what Moses does and he wants to stop it.  These men are trying to remove Moses from leadership.  Moses in this instance gets it right.

Numbers 11:26 Two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed behind in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but they had not gone out to the Tabernacle. Yet the Spirit rested upon them as well, so 

they prophesied there in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since his youth, protested, “Moses, my master, make them stop!”

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all!”30 Then Moses returned to the camp with the elders of Israel.

Joshua has a choice.  Push the issue or submit to authority.  Here is the 2nd way to change the world. 

Willing to submit to Godly authority

I am a follower of Jesus, husband, dad, pastor, and friend. In every one of those areas, I am only as strong as the men (because I am a man) who can tell me “No” and I will submit.  I choose to submit to their Godly leadership and council. 

So who can tell you “No” and when you disagree you will submit.  You are only as strong as that list.  Ask God who needs to be on that list.

Live a Better

Brandon Sereg

 

Red Letter Day: It is Finished

It’s officially the start of baseball season, which is always one of my favorite times of the year. For many years I entered each season hoping against hope, as I’ve been a Cubs fan all my life. The old Cubbie phrase “hope springs eternal” was my Facebook status for many years, as I hoped against hope for a Cubbie World Series. Yet, a couple of years ago they FINALLY ended their drought and won the World Series. For me, all the years of waiting and suffering were over once and for all when they carried that trophy off the field. 

As we continue our series on the final days of Jesus we look at Jesus declaring “it is finished.”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

When Jesus uttered these words he was not only saying his life was over, but that sin and death were defeated once and for all. Because of the work Jesus did on the cross we have the perfect hope of eternal life, a hope that no one can take away from us. 

  1. Hope really does spring eternal: I used to live on a lake in Wisconsin, and every winter the frigid temperatures froze the lake nearly solid. All except one small section near our house. That’s because a small spring fed into the lake there, and between its warmer water and constant movement that small section never froze. No matter what happens in our lives, disease, economic collapse, depression, the death of loved ones, etc. our lives never freeze completely over. Even in the most wretched of circumstances God’s hope is constantly bubbling up in our lives. What is that hope? The promise that He made to us—eternal life 1 John 2:25. It is the GUARANTEE we have of eternal life in a perfect heaven. No matter what goes wrong in our lives (and trust me, plenty of things will) no one can ever take away the guarantee of eternal life we have because of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross. As long as we confess our sins and believe in Him the ultimate reward is already on reserve for us. 
  2. We need to celebrate eternal life daily: Not to be mean, but it’s kinda sad that the greatest joy I’ve ever witnessed in others is due to the outcome of a baseball game. Let’s be honest: we take God’s grace for granted. We sit around and bemoan our situation in life, and we forget to celebrate daily the reality that we’ve been saved for all eternity. Here’s what Paul tells us in Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Let’s take time EVERY day to praise God for what He has done for us, and to let the gift of God’s grace flood over us. 

Every Sunday at 8:30 AM

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