All Is Well – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceAll Is Well – Introduction

At various times in our lives, and to varying degrees of difficulty, we all face trials and tribulations. Though we may not know what the outcome will be, we know that, with God, All Is Well.

Spiritual Quote

“Say you are well, or all is well with you, and God shall hear your words and make them true.”
~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Planned Scripture

  • John 16:33
  • Psalm 46:1-11
  • Psalm 139
  • Matthew 28:20
  • John 14:23
  • Psalm 30:5
  • John 14:1
  • John 14:27
  • Matthew 11:28-29

Join Us

Join us every Sunday at 10:45 for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

 

Jesus is Calling – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJesus is Calling – Introduction

No, He’s not leaving a voice mail. He’s not sending text messages. He’s not posting on Facebook, or sending us emails. But, Jesus is Calling. He’s calling us to Come to Him, to See Him, to Go to Others, and to Tell them about Him. He’s calling us into a new life, a life transformed by our faith in Him.

Spiritual Quote

“No man can follow Christ and go astray.”
~William H. P. Faunce

Thoughts

Every holiday has a message:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Equality through peace and non-violence.
  • 4th of July – Our nation’s independence from foreign rule.
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – Moms and dads are special; deserving of honor, love, and respect.
  • Memorial Day – Freedom comes at a cost; and we should remember and honor those who paid for our freedom with their lives.
  • Christmas – Jesus’ birth.

Today, we come together to celebrate Easter. More than bunnies, fake grass, brightly colored eggs, candy, and egg hunts; Easter is when Christians remember Jesus’ death, and celebrate His resurrection. The message, of course, is, “He is Risen!”

I’d like to talk today about a deeper message that can be found in Scripture. It’s a message that, though written over 2000 years ago, can be applied to our lives today. Each of the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – tell of the events around Jesus’ resurrection slightly differently. Today, I’m going to focus on the story as it is told through the eyes of Matthew.

To set the state: Jesus has been tried, convicted, beaten, and crucified. His body was prepared and buried; and the tomb was sealed with a stone. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week (known today as Sunday), Mary Magdalene and a woman identified as “the other Mary” went to see the tomb. There was an earthquake, an angel appeared, and the angel rolled away the stone. We pick up the story in Matthew 28:5-8.

“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.”

There are five words in the passage that convey a meaningful message – Jesus is Calling.

The first word is – Come! The angel invited the women to come. Scripture often invites people to come. The people of Israel were invited to come out of Egypt; then, they were invited to come to the promised land. Listen to Isaiah’s invitation in Chapter 55, Verses 1-3:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread. And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me…”

And listen also to the invitation issued in Revelation 22:17:

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirst come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Who is “the Spirit and the bride”? The Spirit, of course, is the Holy Spirit. The bride is the church, the body of believers. The church, along with the Holy Spirit, invites everyone to come to know Jesus – the Living Water.

In Matthew 11:38, Jesus extends the same invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

This has a spiritual meaning. What’s our burden? Are we burdened by guilt, negative behaviors, or trying to live up to others’ expectations? Jesus is Calling – and He invites us to Come to Him.

The second word from Matthew is See! Seeing is more than just looking. When we look at something, we may not always understand what it is we’re looking at. When we truly “see” something, we understand or comprehend it. That’s why the angel told the women to See, not just to look. The angel wanted the women to understand the magnificence of the moment – the tomb was empty, Jesus had risen.

In Ephesians 1:18, Paul invites us to See when he prays, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling…” Through seeing, knowing and comprehending, we are transformed.

In Romans12:2, Paul invites us “to be transformed by the renewing of (our) mind…”

Jesus is Calling us to See Him – and to be transformed.

Next, the women are told to Go and to Tell. This is reminiscent of our Palm Sunday message last week. The Gospel of Mark tells the story of a demon-possessed man who was healed by Jesus. The man decides to travel with Jesus. Instead, Jesus tells him, in Mark 5:19, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”

Mark 16:15 tells us to, “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel…”

Go and Tell is a common theme in Jesus’ teachings. Jesus is Calling us to go out into the world and tell others, not only about Him, but of our experience with Him – how our faith in Him has transformed our lives.

The last word from our passage is not so much a word as it is a behavior – Obey. The women obeyed the angel and “went out quickly…and ran to bring His disciples word.” Jesus is Calling us to obey. Just as we discussed last week, we are to obey His commands – His command to Come, to See, to Go, and to Tell. And what was His greatest command, after loving God? The Gospel of John tells us twice:

John 13:34-35 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 – “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Closing Thoughts

The message of Easter is – Jesus is Calling.

He calls us to Come to Him, to See and to Know Him, to Go out and Tell others about Him, and to Obey His command.

We don’t have to stand on street corners and yell through bull horns or loud speakers. We don’t have to carry large posters and signs. And we definitely don’t have to beat people over the head with our Bibles. We simply have to live the message of Easter each day.

When we truly live our lives as followers of Jesus, and we obey His simplest of commands – to love others – others will see the changes in us. They will See Him, the risen Christ, living in and through us when we obey His command and learn to truly love one another. They will be inspired to Come to Him. And, as their lives are transformed, they too will go on to tell others.

Jesus is Calling us, each day, to be just a little bit better than we were the day before. Jesus is Calling us to a fuller, richer life – through Him. I invite you to answer His call.

Scripture

  • Matthew 28:5-8
  • Isaiah 55:1-3
  • Revelation 22:17
  • Matthew 11:28
  • Ephesians 1:17-18
  • Romans 12:2
  • Mark 5:19
  • Mark 16:15
  • John 13:34-35
  • John 15:12

Join the Discussion

If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to respectfully comment. And, if this message resonates with you, please fee free to share it.

Support Our Ministry

We are a very small church doing wonderful things within our community. In order to continue doing the work God has put before us, we need your help. Please consider making a donation, or sign up as a monthly pledge donor. All gifts large and small are greatly appreciated. Simply click the Donate link in the upper menu. Thank you, and may God bless your generosity.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

Jesus is Calling – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJesus is Calling – Introduction

No, He’s not leaving us voice mails. He’s not sending text messages. He’s not posting on Facebook, and He’s not sending emails. But, Jesus is Calling. He’s calling us to Him, to See Him, to Go to Others, and to Tell them about Him. Jesus is Calling us into a new life; a life transformed by our faith in Him.

Spiritual Quote

“No man can follow Christ and go astray.”
~William H. P. Faunce

Potential Scripture

  • Matthew 28:5-8
  • Isaiah 55:1-3
  • Revelation 22:17
  • Matthew 11:28
  • Ephesians 1:17-18
  • Romans 12:2
  • Mark 5:19
  • Mark 16:15
  • John 13:34-35
  • John 15:12

Join Us!

Join us Easter Sunday at 10:45 for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

Apostolic Disciples – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceApostolic Disciples – Introduction

Oftentimes we wonder, “How is ancient Scripture relevant today?” As 21st century Christians, we read, study, and examine Scripture; and we seek clues as to how to make the stories and lessons relevant in our lives. On this, Palm Sunday, we’ll look at Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem. And, by looking closely, we’ll see that His journey has given us clues through which we can be Apostolic Disciples.

Spiritual Quote

“Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thoughts

Before we go too far, we need to understand what being a disciple really means. The word in Greek, “mathetes,” means student, learner, or pupil. It is derived from “manthano” or “matheo,” meaning to learn and to understand. Scripture often tells us that the key to living a God-centered, and for we Christians, a Christ-centered life, is to learn and understand His Will for us. For example:

  • Proverbs 1:5 – “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…”
  • Proverbs 18:15 – “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
  • Colossians 2:1-3 – “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Apostles, on the other hand, are called to be more than students. The Greek word translated as apostle is “apostolos,” a derivative of “apostello.” Apostello means to send out or send away. Apostolos means messenger or he that is sent. Apostles are disciples who are called by the Spirit of God to spread His message.

We are all meant to be disciples – students and pupils. And, to an extent, we are also called to be apostolic – spreading the Gospel – the Good News of God’s love, and the fullness of life that can be found through Christ – His birth, His life, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection.

Palm Sunday is when we remember Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem. We can read of His journey in Matthew 21:1-11:

“Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, you King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.””

The symbolism and deep meaning pictured in the telling of His entry into Jerusalem was not lost on the early hearers of Scripture; and it should not be lost on us, either. For instance:

  • Verse 5 demonstrated Jesus fulfilling the prophet Zechariah’s statement about the anticipated King riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). By riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the perception would have been that Jesus was declaring Himself the King of Israel; which, of course, would only serve to anger the Sanhedrin. It was also tradition at the time for king to ride a donkey to signify his intent of peace – Horses were ridden for war, donkeys for peace. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey is a symbol of Him being the Prince of Peace, not a king of war.
  • Palm fronds also had deep cultural symbolism. In ancient Egypt they were often carried in funerals to symbolize eternal life. They were also one of the four plants used in the festival of Sukkot as a “wave offering.” And the Romans often used emblems of palm branches to signify triumph and peace.
  • The crowd went further, however – laying down garments, cut rushes, etc. It was a symbol of honoring a king. 2 Kings 9:13 tells us that Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, was honored in this way: ” The each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, “Jehu is king!”

As a side note, many, if not most, of those in this crowd were the very same people who, only days later, would be shouting, “Crucify Him!” Just as today – this demonstrates just how easily swayed we humans can be. Mob mentality, wanting to be part of the group, thoughts of self-preservation – all were present then, just as, in many instances, they are for many people today.

However, for us, today, the passage also has a symbolism. Scripture does, indeed, detail many of the faults of those early disciples. Guess what, we have faults, too. But Scripture also tells us of their good qualities. And, if we look closely, we can see that Matthew’s words give us an outline describing the qualities being students who carry His message, aka Apostolic Disciples:

  1. Ears to Listen: Verses 1-5 indicate a willingness to listen. The two disciples listened to what Jesus told them. The story doesn’t say whether or not the disciples were confronted when they went to retrieve the donkey but, if they were, they obviously listened because the disciples returned with the donkey and the colt. Having the ears to listen is the one component of discipleship – hearing the words of Christ, meditating on them, striving to practice them in our lives. To reinforce the point, consider these Scriptures:
    • Mark 4:9 – “Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.””
    • Matthew 11:15 – “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
    • Revelation 2:7 & 2:11 – “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches…”
  2. Feet to Go & Will to Obey: In Verse 6a, the disciples went; and in 6b-7, they obeyed Jesus. For us today, this symbolizes that, as students and messengers of Christ we should also strive to obey His commands; and to carry His teachings and message wherever we go. And, we shouldn’t be shy or apprehensive about proclaiming our faith. Consider:
    • Mark 16:15 – “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.””
    • Matthew 28:19 – “Go you therefore, and teach all nations…””
    • Philippians 2:12-13 – “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
    • John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
  3. Possessions to Share. In Verses 7 & 8 the people gave of themselves, paving Christ’s path with their clothing. We each have different gifts and talents. As followers of Christ, we are to be generous with our gifts and, in so doing, bring honor to Him. Think on these Scriptures:
    • Romans 12:8 – “If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others. If it is sharing, share generously. If it is leading, lead enthusiastically. If it is helping, help cheerfully.”
    • 1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19 — “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. … Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
  4. Lips to Proclaim: Finally, in Verses 9-11 the people proclaimed who Jesus was to them – a prophet from Galilee. This symbolizes to us that our words should always be a reflection of our faith in Jesus, the Son of God, as our Lord. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament remind us to have lips that proclaim His glory:
    • Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
    • Psalm 51:15 – “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”
    • Psalm 119:171 – “Let my lips utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.”
    • Romans 10:8-10 – “But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

Closing Thoughts

Whether Christian or not, just about everyone knows the story of Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter. And, whether Christian or not, we often ask ourselves whether ancient stories of ancient times and events could possibly have any relevance to us today, over 2000 years later. The answer to the question is, of course – yes! If we take the time to be true disciples – students and learners of God’s Will – it is through that study, prayer, and meditation that we can see how the messages contained in Scripture are applicable in our lives today. And, when we have the opportunity, we can carry that message to others. In so doing, we are, indeed, Apostolic Disciples: Students and Messengers of Christ, who strive to live and proclaim His message of Peace, Hope, Love, and Life.

Scripture

  • Matthew 21:1-11
  • Zechariah 9:9
  • 2 Kings 9:1
  • Proverbs 1:5
  • Proverbs 18:15
  • Colossians 2:1-3
  • Mark 4:9
  • Matthew 11:15
  • Revelation 2:7 & 2:11
  • Mark 16:15
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Philippians 2:12-13
  • John 14:15
  • Romans 12:8

Join the Discussion

If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to respectfully comment. And, if this message resonates with you, please fee free to share it.

Support Our Ministry

We are a very small church doing wonderful things within our community. In order to continue doing the work God has put before us, we need your help. Please consider making a donation, or sign up as a monthly pledge donor. All gifts large and small are greatly appreciated. Simply click the Donate link in the upper menu. Thank you, and may God bless your generosity.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

Apostolic Disciples – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceApostolic Disciples – Introduction

Oftentimes we wonder, “How is ancient Scripture relevant today?” As 21st century Christians, we read, study, and examine Scripture; and we seek clues as to how to make the stories and lessons relevant in our lives. On Palm Sunday, we’ll look at Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem. And, by looking closely, we’ll see that His journey has given us clues through which we can be Apostolic Disciples.

Spiritual Quote

“Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Potential Scripture

  • Matthew 21:1-11
  • Zechariah 9:9
  • 2 Kings 9:13
  • Proverbs 1:5
  • Proverbs 18:15
  • Colossians 2:1-3
  • Mark 4:9
  • Matthew 11:15
  • Revelation 2:7 & 2:11
  • Mark 16:15
  • Matthew 28:19
  • Philippians 2:12-13
  • John 14:15
  • Romans 12:8
  • 1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19
  • Psalms 34:1
  • Psalm 51:15
  • Psalm 119:171
  • Romans 10:8-10

Join Us!

Join us each Sunday at 10:45 AM for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

 

Eternal Life – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceEternal Life – Introduction

Many profess a belief in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. One of the primary components of the Christian faith is the belief in Eternal Life. What does Eternal Life really mean?

Quote

“There is no believing in God. We either know God, or we don’t.”
~Gregory David Roberts, Author “Shantaram”

Thoughts

Welcome to the 5th Sunday of Lent. As we near Easter, our attention naturally turns to Jesus, the crucifixion, His resurrection, and the promise of Eternal Life to we who believe in Him.

Now, before going further, let me acknowledge there is a lot of debate, even between Christians, as to whether or not Eternal Life is reserved only for Christians. I’m not going to address that debate today. Today, I want to talk about Eternal Life as it applies to those of us who are Christian. And, perhaps some who are not yet Christian will be inspired to explore accepting Christ into their hearts and lives.

Scripture tells us, over and over again, how belief is an integral component of Everlasting Life. For instance:

  • John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
  • John 6:47 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
  • John 11:25-26 – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

We can see from these passages that, from the Christian point of view, belief in Jesus as the Son of God is a key element to Everlasting Life. But, what does that even mean?

Scripture answers that for us, too. The Gospel According to John records one of Jesus’ last prayers before his arrest. In John 17:1-3, Jesus’ prayer opens with, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as you have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Notice His words…knowing God and knowing Jesus IS eternal life. Knowing is more than just belief. The Greek word for know, in this passage, is “ginosko,” and it means to be aware of, to feel, to have knowledge of, can speak of, to be sure of, and to understand. All of these definitions of “know” indicate something that is much deeper than mere belief.

To feel God, to be sure of God, to understand God – these are things on which a deep relationship is based. The question then becomes, “how do we “know” God?”

Once again, Scripture provides the answer. 1 John 4:2-16 tells us, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love on another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

And what does it mean to abide in love? In John 14:21, Jesus says, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” In John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” And in John 13:34-35, Jesus says, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So, if we love Jesus we love God. To love Jesus, we obey His commandments. And what was His commandment? To love one another.

Now, you might be asking yourselves, “What does this have to do with relationship?” Everything! Think of it this way – when we love someone, we want to spend time with them. We want to do things that please them. Not just when it’s convenient. The love is so deep that we want to spend time with them and do things for them, even when it’s not convenient. Not because we feel we have to, but because that deep love has created a deep desire. If we truly love God, we will desire to spend time with Him. This means more than just saying we believe, or calling ourselves Christian, or just showing up for church on Sundays. It means spending time with Him every day. It means having a desire to do that which pleases Him and brings Him glory. It means caring about His family. It means studying His Word, understanding His plan for us, and choosing to follow it. Not just when it’s convenient. Not because we have to, but because we want to.

What happens when we don’t have that deep relationship? We struggle. We struggle with anger, with jealousy, with pride. We struggle with addictions. We struggle in our relationships. We find ourselves being unkind and rude. We behave in mean and hurtful ways. We make decisions that are out of step with our beliefs. And we do things that move us away from God rather than closer to Him.

Closing Thoughts

If we abide in love, we abide in God, and God abides in us. And, if God abides in us, since God is love, we will love others. Not just fellow believers – but everyone. Colossians 4:5-6 says, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Whether someone is a fellow believer or not, we must treat everyone with dignity, respect, kindness, love, and grace. It is through love that we know God and, it is through knowing Him that we have Eternal Life.

And, if we truly love others, treating everyone with love and respect, we might actually be an inspiration to others to enter into a relationship with Jesus and with God.

Is believing important? Yes. That’s where we start. But it isn’t enough. That belief must lead us into a deep relationship with God. We must know God or our belief means nothing. For Christians, we enter into that deep relationship through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we follow Jesus’ teachings and example, we internalize and live a life of love. And through our love of others, we love God; when we love God, we know Him; and when we know Him, we have Eternal Life – we will never be separated from Him, in this life or the next.

Scripture

  • John 3:16
  • John 6:47
  • John 11:25-2
  • John 17:1-3
  • 1 John 4:2-16
  • John 14:21
  • John 10:30
  • John 13:34-35
  • Colossians 4:5-6

Join the Discussion

If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to respectfully comment. And, if this message resonates with you, please fee free to share it.

Support Our Ministry

We are a very small church doing wonderful things within our community. In order to continue doing the work God has put before us, we need your help. Please consider making a donation, or sign up as a monthly pledge donor. All gifts large and small are greatly appreciated. Simply click the Donate link in the upper menu. Thank you, and may God bless your generosity.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

Eternal Life – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceEternal Life – Introduction

Many profess a belief in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. One of the primary components of the Christian faith is the belief in Eternal Life. What does Eternal Life really mean?

Quote

“There is no believing in God. We either know God, or we don’t.”
~Gregory David Roberts, Author “Shantaram”

Planned Scripture

  • John 3:16
  • John 6:47
  • John 11:25-26
  • John 17:1-3
  • 1 John 4:2-16
  • John 14:21
  • John 10:30
  • John 13:34-35
  • Colossians 4:5-6

Join Us

Join us every Sunday at 10:45 AM for worship and fellowship.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

 

Spiritual Weed Control – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceSpiritual Weed Control – Introduction

It’s the time of year when new growth is emerging – plants are growing and flowers are blooming. And, unfortunately, along with the new growth of trees, plants, and flowers comes a new growth of weeds. In order for our plants and flowers to thrive we exercise weed control. Like our gardens, our minds are fertile grounds – sprouting, nurturing, and growing our thoughts. And, like our gardens, in order for our thoughts to thrive and bear good fruit, we must exercise Spiritual Weed Control.

Spiritual Quote

“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughts

Welcome to the 4th Sunday of Lent.  The message today is fairly short…but full of Scripture to ponder. To be honest, there were many times this week when I experienced very human thoughts and emotions which, if allowed to go unchecked, would have spread into many aspects of my life – like weeds overtaking a garden. And, twice this week I awoke with images of weeds growing rampant, and thoughts of The Parable of the Tares (Weeds). I’m convinced it’s no coincidence that, during a week when those negative thoughts were springing up so powerfully, that the Holy Spirit planted the images and thoughts in my mind as a reminder of that on which I should be focusing.

When tending our gardens, we trim and prune to promote new, healthy growth. And, we work diligently to remove the weeds. If left unchecked. the weeds will choke out the plants. So we pull, we dig, and we spray. But, the weeds are resilient and persistent. They seem to grow no matter how poor the soil, and no matter how poor the conditions. Still, we work and work to try and eradicate them in order for our plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs to bloom and bear fruit.

Our minds are the gardens of our lives. We must tend to them, nurturing the thoughts that help us to grow in spirit and build a strong relationship with God. Thoughts that are loving, generous, kind, forgiving, compassionate. Thoughts like envy, greed, anger, vengeance, hate, etc., when left unchecked, choke out the spiritual seeds we’re trying to grow and nurture. When we allow this to happen, our thoughts become the spiritual equivalent to Jesus’ parable in Mark 4:7: “And some seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.”

Our thoughts, good and bad, define us. They express our inner selves – our hopes, dreams, desires, and feelings. Our thoughts are where determine our priorities, what we deem important and what we don’t. Every action we take is base on the thought that precedes it. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions, and the opposite is also true. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

And Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our goal, then, is to fill our hearts and our minds with thoughts that nurture the Spirit of God working in and through our lives.

Unless we’re unconscious, we can’t stop thoughts that move us away from God from creeping in. But we must guard against them taking root and choking out all of the good. Most of the time we can easily determine which thoughts are beneficial and which are harmful. Sometimes, however, instead of trying to eradicate the negative, we might need to contemplate the thoughts and make determinations as to which ones are beneficial and which to discard. Spiritually, Jesus draws this parallel in his parable found in Matthew 13:24-30: “…The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares  among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had spouted and produced a crop then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?” He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” The servants said to him, “Do you want us then to go and gather them up?” But he said, “No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.””

Regardless, we always have a choice as to where we will focus our attention and how we respond to our thoughts. Do our thoughts and subsequent actions bring us closer to God? Do they demonstrate the Spirit of Jesus living in and through us? Or, do they move us away from our relationship with God? Remember, our thoughts are the reflection of our inner selves, our true selves. And, God knows our inner selves – not just what we show the world outwardly, but every deep, dark, hidden thought and secret. Psalm 139:23 reminds us, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” Proverbs 15:3 tells us, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” And Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Fortunately, for those of us who identify as Christian, Scripture provides us with weed control – it’s like our own little bottle of Round-up. (I know…just go with the metaphor.)

Psalm 119:9-16 gives us direction in cleansing our hearts and minds by focusing on God’s word – “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments. Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways, I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

And, of course, Philippians 4:8 reminds us, “…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.”

Closing Thoughts

Each and every one of us is no greater, no holier, no closer to God than our thoughts. In the gardens of our minds, we must cultivate thoughts of love, caring, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, hope, prosperity, beauty, and joy in order that they may be made manifest in our lives. Although we can’t help having momentary negative or detracting thoughts sprout up like weeds, we can choose not to dwell on them so that they don’t choke out the good. If our thoughts are rooted in good soil, Scripture, they will flourish whereas the weeds, to which we choose not to give our attention, will wither and die.

As a result, our words and our actions will reflect the thoughts we have allowed to flourish. Just as Matthew 12:34-35 informs us, “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

In closing, I’d like to share the passage from Thursday’s “The Daily Word.” In a week of both internal and external conflict, it was exactly the message I needed:

I Welcome Harmony In My Life

In music, dissonance is resolved by moving to a consonant chord. I sometimes may experience dissonance or conflict in my relationships. In the same way that I move my fingers to different keys on the piano, I can shift my words or actions or change my perspective to invoke harmony.

If I believe I lack the tools to resolve the issue, I open my heart to God and pray: Here is the situation. how can I see it differently? What can I learn? I surrender it all to the presence of God within me and listen for inner guidance and direction.

As I let go of conflict, I learn that every situation is a lesson in love. I learn how to respond mindfully, and my relationships are restored to peace and harmony.

And the Scripture for the day…Colossians 3:14: “Clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Scripture

  • Proverbs 4:23
  • Proverbs 23:7
  • Mark 4:7
  • Matthew 13:24-30
  • Psalm 139:23
  • Proverbs 15:3
  • Hebrews 4:13
  • Psalm 119:15-16
  • Romans 8:6
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Matthew 12:34-35
  • Colossians 3:1

Join the Discussion

If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to respectfully comment. And, if this message resonates with you, please fee free to share it.

Support Our Ministry

We are a very small church doing wonderful things within our community. In order to continue doing the work God has put before us, we need your help. Please consider making a donation, or sign up as a monthly pledge donor. All gifts large and small are greatly appreciated. Simply click the Donate link in the upper menu. Thank you, and may God bless your generosity.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!