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Showing posts from December, 2014

Lord Heal Your Church

Lord Heal Your Church

We have picked up our cultural norms (adapted from Heather Webb: Small Group Leadership)—-LORD have mercy we are consumerist we are competitivewe are fragmented Lord have mercy on us Christ have mercy on us Lord have mercy on us Heal us… from consumerism… and cause us to love and serve each other.  Deliver us from the mind-set—‘what’s in it for me?’ Heal us ….from having a competitive edge… and cause us to lay down our lives for each other. Heal us from… being fragmented… and cause us to live as a community of merciful, gracious, giving, loving people.  To live holistically, loving God with all our minds, hearts souls, and our strength—and loving our neighbours as ourselves.  

P W Cusick   30 Dec 2014

Do I have to go to church?

Okay... question time.

What is more important?

To GO to church?...............orTo BE the church?
You will answer that question depending on your tradition, culture, and background.  I am a third generation church person.  I grew up eating, breathing, and living church.  If there were ANY church activity of ANY description--my family canceled breathing if necessary and go to the church building.          Church equaled Jesus to me--in my informative years.  As long as church was primary and focused--my 'religious' life would be in tact.  To be fair to me--if you would have asked this question to me anytime during the first 18 years of my life I would have responded: "Huh?  What are you talking about?"
How about you?
As we enter 2015 I suspect that church attendance statistics (average family attends one service twice a month) would tell us that most church people would answer this way:  "Well, it's more important to BE the church."
Here are some observat…

Shut up!

Image
Will Rogers:  Never miss a chance  to shut up!
Why do most of us have the tendency to:
Be verboseTo pontificateTo spout offTo engage mouth prior to brain activity
1.  Goal:  Practice shutting up!
2.  Goal:  Practice listening:

“Truly, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me.”” John 13:20, NLT.
There are messengers that represent Jesus —who represents Father.  Let's not close the door on revelation, help, direction, advise  …..because we are too arrogant, shooting off our own my mouths!
LORD: He who won’t stop talking cannot listen!Help us to be  listenersHelp us to be  learnersHelp us to just shut up…Will Rogers:Never miss a chanceto shut up

Getting everyone on the same page

John11: 49* And one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “How can you be so stupid? 50* Why should the whole nation be destroyed? Let this one man die for the people.” 51* This prophecy that Jesus should die for the entire nation came from Caiaphas in his position as high priest. He didn’t think of it himself; he was inspired to say it.
52* It was a prediction that Jesus’ death would be not for Israel only, but for the gathering together of all the children of God scattered around the world.
Are we missing the obvious? There is only ONE way to get everyone on the same page! Regardless of:
Ethnicity Culture Preference Strengths Weaknesses Likes Dislikes Wants Needs

"The ONE thing" you ask?  It is the death of Jesus.   The death of Jesus was/is for the "gathering together of all the children of God scattered around the world."
That is the one unifying action--the one unifying story.  No wonder Jesus said: Joh 12:32* And when I am lifted up on the cross, I will dra…

Appropriating what Christ has done for me!

What is the LORD saying today?
Your life is not about striving.. it is about appropriating.  You approach those two things differently. Striving is what I do FOR myself.Appropriating is what Christ does FOR me. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3, NIV.
When you come to Christ you die.  Dead to sin. Dead to lust. Dead to envy. Dead to sickness. Dead to coveting. Dead to the applause of men Dead to bullying. Dead. Dead. Dead. You did not kind of die—you DIED.  Enter into the death of Christ. (Read: Romans 6-7-8) “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” Romans 6:5, NIV.
Union with Christ in HIS death It is not about striving… it is about appropriating what HAS been accomplished through …

Don't succumb to the pressure

“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” John 6:15, NIV.
Many years ago, we used to preach and teach against peer pressure.  Stuff like:
Don't follow the crowdBe your own personDon't let the world squeeze you into its mould (see Romans 12:1-2  Phillips paraphrase)Be tough!  Stand up for Jesus!
Jesus' peer pressure was really quite different in this story.  The crowd loved Jesus.  They imagined him as the ruling and reigning king.  Jesus was capable.  He was a charismatic ruler/ leader and He was attracting large crowds.  He has just fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, with five barley loaves and two fishes.  That's the kind of political leader that could take the Jewish nation back from Rome.
But, Jesus would not succumb to the pressure.  John tells us that Jesus withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Jesus withdrew again.  This tells me that this wasn't the first time Jesus did this kind …

Opportunity to listen: Do you hear what I hear?

There is presented to us two opportunities to listen:
Opportunity # 1:
"Do you hear what I hear?"
John 5:25* I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26* For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
Here, it is:  Jesus is calling NOW, today--He is calling me.  He is calling you.  Can you hear Him?  What is interesting here is--your choice.  This opportunity to listen has within it--choice.  You/ I can choose to ignore the voice.  We can shut that voice off--we can ignore that voice--tune it out.  
It all comes down to listening.  It all comes down to realizing God's call--and accepting that call!

Opportunity # 2:
This actually is NOT an opportunity....but here it is:
John 5: 28* “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29* and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, an…

God is after you! And... for a different reason than you think!

Have you ever been pursued by a suitor—a lover—someone who is very interested in you?
Was it pleasant to be liked?  Was it pleasant to be wanted?  Well, yeah—for sure.  Who doesn’t want to be loved? Who doesn’t want to be sought after?  Who doesn’t want to be appreciated?
I do!  I am sure you do too!
Did you know that is actually the message of Christmas—and the actual ‘story’ of the Bible?  It’s a story about God pursuing humanity. Too often when we think of God, or church, or the Bible—we think of behaving ourselves enough to get God’s attention.  Or, we think of trying hard to impress God—so that God would appreciate the hard work we are doing down here and give us His nod.
Well, actually that is not true.  That is not the message of the Bible—nor the core message of Christmas.  It is actually the total opposite.  The core message of Christmas is not our chasing God—it is God chasing us!
God is so in love with us—and wants so much for us to be with Him—and walk in His presence—HE …