Monday, August 15, 2011

Freedom to Serve

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Galatians 5:13-15

Paul tells us our purpose is freedom. God has set us free to serve one another instead of trying to fill the emptiness of our selfish pursuits. Let that truth sink in for a moment - God has set us free by filling our desires with Him so that we freely serve others out of the overflow of joy in our lives. Our culture indoctrinates our thinking with an unbiblical principle of entitlement. The evidence is all over the interstate on billboards advertising lawyers who will fight for your rights. One lawyer's slogan is pictured beside him rolling up his suit sleeve saying, "You hurt, we fight!"

God hasn't called us to a life of entitlement. He's called us to freedom to serve others. Paul's letter to the Galatians has been filled with the content of the Gospel. Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins, gives you His righteousness, and saves you into His family? Now Paul carries out our beliefs into action. Your response to conflict gives you a great indicator how your faith works in action. Let's be a church that response with grace and acts in service toward others. Consider your heart's attitude toward others in the church, those that have left the church, and others in your life. Are you willing to serve them? I'm praying for you, Gracepointe Church that God makes you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power (2 Thess. 1:11)

Friday, August 12, 2011


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22

The natural human response to kindness is an attempt to provide some sort of payment. When a person truly acts out of kindness he isn't acting for repayment. Yesterday Phil and Major Markham spent an hour repairing my dryer. We won't get into the details of why the dryer needed repairing. Nonetheless they labored in the stagnant heat of my garage to get our household up and running again. Once they were finished, everything inside of me wanted to give them something as thanks for their hard work, but they didn't work to be paid. They worked out of kindness for my family and me. I'm blessed beyond measure to have such kind brothers to help me. I praise God for them and everyone at Gracepointe. May God continue to be glorified as our church family shows kindness to one another and our community.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Let's Pray

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Colossians 1:9-10a

I don't have the same apprehension I once did when I traveled. When I try to remember how I obtained travel information of how to get from point A to point B, it's like I jump back in time when people navigated by the stars. Instead of feeling uneasy trying to drive at the same time while looking for strange landmarks to guide me to my destination, I can comfortably rely on my printed directions from Google. Printing directions may seem antiquated to those of you that have iPhones or Garmins to escort you on your way. The point is that for me to know where I'm going and how to get there I have to have the correct knowledge. Directions provide just what I need. I simply type in where I begin and where I want to go. Voila! I have my directions. The only thing holding me back is my inability to follow.

Looking through Paul's letters, he begins most of his letters to churches by telling them what his prayers are for them. One of the common themes in Paul's prayer is being filled with knowledge. It is important to know the content of the Gospel, the glory of God's grace, what God has accomplished, His faithfulness to the covenant. This list goes on and on which further points to the necessity of dwelling on whom God is and what He has done. Without meditation on Scripture, it's like driving to a new city without a clue how to get there. We don't have a close relationship with God without knowing how He has acted and how He will continue to bring about His redemption plan.

I am prayer for you Gracepointe Baptist Church specifically to be filled with the knowledge of God so you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. You are on my mind continually before the Lord. We aren't called to win the world or even St. Augustine for Jesus, but we called to be faithful and walk worthy of our Lord. Spend some time meditation on this prayer from Colossians today and focus on your walk with the Lord.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Waiting in Hope

". . . so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

The summer is nearly over. All of those vacations and weekend getaways that you were looking forward to have come and gone (or presently enjoying your vacation!) . Whether it's a vacation or something smaller, we get excited about upcoming events. I'm excited to use my birthday present from my sister soon - a gift certificate for Outback! Our anticipation for our desires to be realized help us trudge through the daily grind. We think to ourselves, "I know this is hard, but I've only got a few more days until . . . "

In Scripture we are comforted over and over with promises from God while we wait our King's return. Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians with a prayer of thanksgiving for them acknowledging that they don't lack any gift while they wait for Jesus. This promise is true for believers today. During our anticipation for our King's return, we don't lack any spiritual gift. Yes, life is hard, but during while we wait God has provided for us. Waiting is difficult for us, from the time we were little and thought Christmas Day would never get here. During this time we wait for Jesus, we have been given gifts to open and use for God's glory.

God does give us what we need to sustain us until Jesus' return. It's no secret that waiting is hard, but it's important to focus on our anticipation of our Lord's return. Paul calls our attention to wait for our hope realized:

". . . as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. . . But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:23c, 25

"For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness." Galatians 5:5

"and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10

The greatest expectation that we as believers have is not our dream vacation or ideal all-you-can-eat restaurant. It's the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reflect on our hope in the Lord today. Turn to the Scriptures listed about and read the surrounding verses.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

He Never Said a Mumblin' Word

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Proverbs 10:19

I love listening to sports talk radio show hosts like Colin Cowherd, Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic, & Scott Van Pelt. We live in a 24 hour news cycle that analyzes every detail possible. I'm amazed at these sports commentators and even political commentators at their ability to talk every day for one to three hours about their respective field. I remember sitting in church as a child wondering how the preacher always had so much to say every time we met for worship.

Even if we're not in a specific venue for people to listen to our words, each of us has opinions and ideas that we want to share with others. Our words and ideas are important to us and we naturally think that our words are worth others consideration. What we find in Scripture especially in Proverbs is to use our words cautiously. In a digital age that we can share what we're doing every second of the day, we need to pause and consider our words before we broadcast them to the world around us. Jesus said it's not what goes into a person that defiles a person. Rather, what comes out of a person's mouth proceeds from the heart (Matt 15:17-20). Today when you talking with friends, family, co-workers or commenting on Facebook, reflect on your words. Are they filled with grace and kindness or are they filled with gossip, slander, and lies?

Let's look to Jesus for our example on restraining our lips. Listen to the song below.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Waiting in Hope

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal. 5:5.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we put our faith in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. Rather than seeing ourselves as inherently good or able to measure up to God's perfect righteous standard, we trust in Jesus for His righteousness. Right now we are waiting to be declared righteous before God, our Father, and before all of our brothers and sisters. We see in Galatians continually that we don't rely on our ability or merits to stand before God. It's only by hearing with faith through the Spirit that brings righteousness. It's true that right now we are united with Christ and God credits us as righteous. However, those outside of Christ do not see us as perfectly righteous. Although we maybe viewed as good, decent people who try to live right. This view is vastly different from the perfect righteousness that God gives us.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edmund is a despicable brother. He lies to his brother and sisters throughout the beginning of the story. His lies cause great problems and heartache for his family and for the entire country of Narnia. His lies lead to what seems to be the greatest catastrophe Narnia has ever known. Aslan, the King is killed by the White Witch who has held Narnia under her power for ages previously. Now that she killed Aslan, she will never be stopped. But death could not hold Aslan because of his great sacrifice of love. Edmund doesn't stay the loathsome character we first knew either. He repents and fights for his king, Aslan. At the end of the story the Pevensie family is crowned kings and queens of Narnia. When Aslan comes to Edmund, he crowns him king and declares him, not Edmund the Liar, but Edmund the Just. No matter how the world views you as that nasty liar you once were. You Father views you has righteous, and in the assembly of all you will be declared righteous. One day each of us will see our hope fulfilled.