August 27, 2010

Here are the verses for this week's message "Doing Good"

Galatians 5:13 (The Message)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

Galatians 6:9 (The Message)

So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

August 6, 2010

Summer Sabbath Devotional- Week 5

Summer Sabbath Devotional~ Week 5
So far these devotionals during our Summer Sabbath have focused on God’s promises, being still with God, the peace of Christ, and living in the grace of God. And as Summer Sabbath draws to a close, we look at the love of Christ. In 1st John 4 it says that God IS love. Christ is love perfected.
C.S. Lewis once said, “I need Christ, not something that resembles Him.”
I don’t know about you, but when I read that, my heart resonates with it something fierce. In me there is a big YES to that statement. Think back to the passage Mike brought up a few weeks back in a sermon, at the end of Luke’s gospel, when the two disciples, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, walked with Him unknowingly and later “they asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" I want that. There is just nothing like the real deal. There is nothing like hearing His voice, nothing like really being with Him, nothing like understanding His peace and living in His grace and love for us. Nothing compares. Nothing else can make such a difference in our lives.
I need Christ. We need Christ, The world needs Christ. We need His reality changing love and mercy. We need His grace that heals and reconciles. We need the eyes of our hearts opened to see what He is already at work doing in us. We need to grasp what His love for us means, and how His love changes us. And our response to such amazing, unconditional, free and perfect love? To be filled with gratitude. We need more than to know about Christ, we need Christ in our lives making us more like Him, for the sake of ourselves, for the sake of our loved ones, and for the good of the world. And how do we get this? We need only to ask.

Matthew 22:37 TNIV
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

1 John 4:16 TNIV
… we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 Corinthians 13:13 and 14:1 TNIV and TLB
… now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love…Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.

Galatians 5:6 TNIV
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Luke 24:32 TNIV
They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

1. How much has Christ influenced or changed you in the ways you relate to and live out your real life? (relationships? finances? your job? anxiety and fear about the future? self acceptance?....)
2. How would your life be different if you had Christ, not something that just resembles Christ (i.e., being a good person), more fully in your life?
3. Ask yourself how willing you are to let Christ rule / change / transform you into someone more like Himself? How can you do this? (Hint: think of the triangle… ☺)

So during Summer Sabbath, what has God said to you?
And what are you going to do about it?
Remember truth is easier to know and harder to actually do. We need time spent with our God (UP), and we need each other (IN) in prayer, support, encouragement and friendship if we are going to live more like Christ. And all of this is what the world (OUT) desperately needs – people who reflect the REAL Christ, His hope, His grace, His peace, His mercy, His love.

By His grace may you completely grasp His love for you and may you reflect that love and grace to yourself, to those you love and to the world! Amen.