Loving Like Jesus (2/25/2018)

How do we respond to people when their actions inconvenience us or are just plain wrong? When someone cuts us off in traffic, is our first thought, “I wonder why she’s in such a hurry? I’m happy to let her in front of me.” When we see the co-worker who is always in a bad mood, do we wonder, “What is going on in his life that makes him this way? I want to keep having lunch with him until I find out.” When we see all the people around us who never grace the inside of a church building with their presence, do we think, “I wonder how I could get to know them better so that I could show them Christ’s love?” Or, do we judge them for their “sinful ways” and thank God that we’re not like them?

As we go through the Lenten season, we’re going with Jesus as he journeys towards the cross in Jerusalem. Last week, we looked at his conversation with the Jews where he told them not to automatically expect that they had salvation simply because they were God’s chosen people. (more…)

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Starting Towards Jerusalem (2/18/2018)

Please wrestle with these questions: If there are areas in my life that are out of God’s will, do I want to know what they are? Once I know what they are, am I willing to change in these areas?

Allowing God to show us our sins and then change us is hard. We struggle with giving God this much access and control in our lives. There are several reasons we don’t want God to do this.

The first one is we get comfortable with our sins. Pornography releases chemicals in the brain which excites as well as relaxes those who view it. Drinking, smoking and overeating brings pleasure to our bodies even though the aftereffects can kill us. Being mad allows us to keep control because others usually back down during an argument if we respond in anger. Having sexual relationships outside of marriage allows us to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh without having to make emotional or spiritual commitments to each other.

What does Jesus say about this? (more…)

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Released From Bondage (2/11/2018)

Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t easy. He calls us to let go of the things we have in our lives that are preventing us from being the people he wants us to be. We all know from experience that letting go of deep-seated ideas and emotions is difficult.

One area where we have to be mature as disciples is in the area of trusting other people. That’s difficult for anyone who has experienced painful rejection or been hurt by others in the past. If we want to continue on the path of being a disciple of Jesus, we have to let go of past hurts and learn to trust. Most people who have been sexually abused have trouble trusting other people. For example, one lady who experienced this kept asking me, “Can I trust you?” over and over again because her pain and feelings of betrayal was affecting everything she did.

I realize this is an issue that’s uncomfortable to all of us and very painful to some. Let me start off by saying that I was never molested or abused. I don’t know what it’s like to experience it firsthand. All I know is what it’s like to work with those who have.

I’m not preaching on this subject because it’s the “in” thing to discuss in culture right now. I’m doing it because throughout my ministry, I’ve dealt with many people who still carry the scars of being sexual abused. Another reason is that in talking with other pastors, I’ve come to realize sexual abuse is a much bigger problem in this area than many people want to admit. (more…)

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