For the Love of God 3/25

Often we will hear that expression uttered out of some frustrating event, “Oh for the love of God!”  When in truth…our lives are to be all about the love of God, always!

Jesus reduced the entirety of 39 books comprising the Old Covenant, to two simple abbreviated commands: the first and most important is to love God with all our being and the second is love our neighbor as ourselves.  All the law and the prophets hang on these two commands (Matthew 22:37-40). We are made for love!

But the greatest love to be lived out is the love of and the love for God Himself. This is not a love for God that is necessitated by some deranged, compulsive, insecurity, within the Godhead. Understand that God is an eternal being, existing forever in what we call the past before anything existed. God did not create human beings because he was lonely or needy.

As best we know God now, there are two defining elements of His Being: Holy, which we don’t talk much about (Psalm 99:9; Rev. 3:7); and Love (Jer. 31:3; 1 John 4:8). Here is the big picture…since God made us in His image according to His likeness, then holiness and lovingness, is the core of our being as well. When we are in a far-away country from God, that which is holy and that which is love, will be conspicuously missing in our lives.

When our created “in His likeness” is off, we are off humanness…and need to find our way back to God. I will end with this: “…the love of Christ constraineth us…” (2nd Corinthians 5:14).  Other translations say that the love of Christ is that which “compels, controls, and rules us” NKJV, NLT, TEV.

Let’s get all the way back to God!

Pastor Mike

Awakening to Love 3/18

Love. Such a powerful little word. It can cause completely sane people to do pretty drastic things. Countless songs have been written about it, wars have been fought over it, books have been written about how to obtain it, and there are classes to teach you how to express it. Love is something people have lived for while others have died for. It can bring you to the highest of highs and then drop you to the lowest of lows. People fall in and out of love more often then they change the oil in their car. Love is powerful, but also can be so temperamental.

What if I told you there is a love that does not change, does not waver, remains constant in all circumstances and will never let you down or let you go? Of course, I’m talking about the love that only come from God.

In Jeremiah 31:3 God tells us “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”

Lamentations 3:22 lets us know “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”

In our relationship with God, His love will never change. The problem is we do. Much like the younger son in the parable of the Prodigal Son, we are prone to wander and stray from the path our Father has lovingly laid out for us. As we realize how far we strayed, something amazing happens. We have an awakening to His love. We realize how good it is, how perfect it is, and how much we need it in our lives.

But have we wandered too far? Have we crossed too many lines? Think about the things we’ve done. The people we’ve hurt. The lies we’ve lived. The words we’ve said. Is it too late? Is it too much?

This week we are going to learn in our series, Finding Your Way Back to God, about a love that looks past our past and shows us our future. It’s a love that is so deep and so wide and so great that we overwhelmed by it. It’s a love that finds us when we are lost, picks us up when we fall, and casts out our deepest fears. It’s the love that only God can have for us. It is His perfect love.

I’m excited to share the Word with you today!

Pastor Matt

The Process of Becoming 3/11

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

We have been created by Him and for Him, but for a great many people it is a significant journey to find their way to this God. A large number of people would check the box indicating they are Christians on a survey, probably because they were born into a Christian family, just as they would check the box Caucasian, Native American, or Latino.

Those found in this crowd, (the box checkers) as I was, born a Catholic, need this process of finding their way back to God, if any of us ever knew Him in the first place. I think a great many of us would say, we have awakenings to longing. We have to believe there is more, so like the prodigal in the parable, we leave home not always on the best terms looking for good, better, and best, and without intending so…we wind up with pigs.

This leads to another awakening to regret. This happens when pig food is actually looking like something eatable to us, but no one offers us the pig pods. At this point, being one of Dad’s servants back home doesn’t look so bad at all. This awakening to regret, brings us to getting “help.” The boy heads home to father with the realization what he was longing and yearning for all these years was under his nose all the time…his father!

The first two awakenings are purposed to the “awakening to help.” But here’s where wisdom is required as there are many things claiming to be helpful in our world. So the question is not do we need help…it is who and where is this help to be found!

The process continues!

Pastor Mike    

What Are You Seeking? 2/25

If you were taking a break at work and someone asked you what are you seeking out of your life or what do you want out of life…what would you say?

It is kind of a loaded question, when asking that same thing in our setting…“a congregation of Christ followers in a worship service.” Of course the spiritual thing, the right and biblical thing to say, is I want more of God. I want to know Him and commune with Him. But do we? If not, why not? Do we slide or drift in our relationship with God? Do we have days, weeks, or even _______, where we are so caught up in the stuff of daily living that we forget Him altogether?    

This Sunday morning, February 25th, launches a 5-week series entitled “Finding Our Way Back to God.” In this first of five “awakenings” we will be examining the “Awakening to Longing!” I would hazard a guess and say it is normal and right for every human to have longings, yearnings, desires, or hopes for something. Awakening to longing is a motivational gift from God.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son will be our springboard. All five awakenings will be demonstrated by the Prodigal…and this series comes with a 30-day challenge for all of us! A 30-day challenge that if we engage, will help us find our way back to God with renewed passion.

Pastor Mike