Insights: Hunger for Truth

This morning we were awakened to a couple deer eating the bird seed out of a newly placed bird feeder in the back yard. The purpose of the bird feeder was to attract the four flickers that had consumed most of the cherries from the tree. If the bird feeder was placed close to the same tree, hopefully the flickers would find the feeder and then the feeder could be slowly moved to a better location for observing the birds from upstairs and downstairs.

To our amazement and joy, two fawns had consumed all the bird seed. We found them just as they were licking the last bits of seed and looking toward our windows at “those people stuck in some kind of building”! They also found the pretzels the girls had hung in the branches, which they made at the library in town. They had been smeared with crunchy peanut butter and other various kinds of bird seeds that were hung on the branches.  While we thought the birds missed out, the deer were a beautiful sight. Normally the deer would probably have preferred other food than bird seed and pretzels, food is food in the winter time, especially when the first big snow fall was on its way.

It reminds me of a favorite verse of Scripture, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. (Pro 27:7 NKJ) When you are hungry, you are ready to eat just about anything! Whey you are satisfied with the presence of the Lord, life in Him is sweet.

When people are hungry for the Lord, ANY Scripture is sweet. When people complain, because the pastor is not preaching their favorite subject, they just are not very hungry for the Lord and need to wait on Him. How hungry are you after the abundance of Christmas?

 

How can I be like him (her)?

Most people try to copy, imitate and be like someone else.  There is something about his voice, his looks, his ability, his humor, his…whatever, that makes one person want to be like the other person. The challenge is that parents will point their children to role-models early in life, but then forget to train their children to the real issue. Continue reading

Beware of Empty Deception

The miraculous life we saw in Colossians 2:8-10 is a reality for those who humble themselves to God’s will and His power. God is the potter and we are the clay; He will mold and make us while we are waiting, yielded and still. It’s better than any television entertainment or concert, because there is no explanation besides “it’s the Lord doing it.” I’ve seen it many times again and again.So we need to: Beware of empty deception. The key is we can’t fall back to the philosophies, empty deceit of the world or the traditions of men. They ruin any adventure with the Lord. And we need to: Let His fullness lead you against worldly powers. Jesus is fully God and true humanity in one person! God wants you to press forward in the completeness you have in Jesus Christ. Don’t let anyone tell you, if you are a Christian, that you don’t fit in the Body at Grace, or match up to His grace, or will ever get it right! You are complete in Christ and through God’s work of sanctification, you can experience that completeness on a daily basis. If you are a believer, you are complete in Christ and God fully indwells you to live a miraculous life!

This Sunday, Paul addresses the basis for how to deal with legalism. Legalism isn’t something that is as obvious today as it was 40 years ago, but it still exists. So how do we ensure legalism doesn’t press the wind out of you? How do you press forward with joy and anticipation of God’s work in your lives? I’ll tell you Sunday morning from Colossians 2:11-15! Can’t wait to see you. It’ll be a great morning!

Our Treasure in Christ

We had a wonderful outpouring of worship yesterday.  In brief summary of the message: First, all treasure is found in Jesus Christ.  We can search for and acquire many things (and God gives richly for us to enjoy 1 Tim. 6:17), but the greatest riches are found in what you acquire in Jesus Christ.  Nothing else compares.  Secondly, the normal Christian way of life is a struggle to help others experience that treasure.

We should look for opportunities to help people understand and live the treasure of Jesus Christ.  It may often be a struggle, but that’s when you see God’s glory working through you.  You could serve in the Children’s Ministry, for there are still a few opportunities to be assistants (contact Pat Hillebrand). You could serve in the Youth Ministry helping our youth find treasure in Jesus Christ.  There’s usually several opportunities every quarter to be involved without a huge commitment  (contact Justin Williams).  There are eternal rewards for helping others find the treasure.  There’s also opportunity to join us Saturday morning at 8:30 am for the evangelism seminar Pastor Gary will lead.  He’ll be done around noon.  It’ll be a great opportunity to sharpen your sharing skills or learn a new tool.

Many things give temporary happiness, but nothing compares with living out His salvation and helping others find Him as their treasure.  It is God’s blessing as we give away the treasure, because we gain many-fold more in blessing. It’s often a struggle, but what treasure isn’t worth the effort?

Pray for Becky Gluff as she flies out Friday to Ukraine to minister to women and pastors.  She’ll be teaching, training and giving her testimony of God’s grace. 

Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead one hour Saturday night for Daylight Savings Time.  Spring forward on your clock and you’ll not miss the great tribute service for Pastor Dick!

Christ in You

Last Sunday, we looked at “Christ in you, the hope of glory” from Colossians 1 and the privilege each of us has to “warn every man and teach every man that we present every man complete in Christ.”  We just scratched the surface, so let me add a few more comments.
If Christ is in me, if Christ is in you, then He directs our thoughts, our words and our actions.  We will seek the holiness of God for the sake of the Body of Christ – His Bride.  We will see our part in helping each other get to living out God’s glory in our lives.  Let me give you three areas for additional application.  First, our attitude toward morality is sliding.  We Christians, maybe some at Grace, think it’s okay to try out the merchandise before marriage.  At least if someone is over 18 and they’re an adult, we think, “What can we do about it?”  That’s what Eli said about his sons in 1 Samuel.  God rebuked him and took his life.  Eli warned his sons, but he didn’t ensure they lived godly.  God took him (1 Samuel 3:13,14; 4:13-18).  If Christ is in you, you’ll do what is godly to ensure your family and the Bride of Christ is godly.  His glory says, I will not allow immorality to exist in my family.
Secondly, if you’re living “Christ in you” your words will be God-honoring, not earth-tolerated.  I’ve heard Christians talk the same talk as the world talks.  We hear trash so often in the media and around the world that we let our guard down. I used to be in the infantry, I accept how people talk, but I don’t want to use casual talk that I wouldn’t use from the pulpit.  If I wouldn’t there, why do it somewhere else?  If “Christ is in you,’ He rules my tongue to not allow careless or idle words come from my mouth (Matt. 12:36,37). 
And thirdly, care for the Body at Grace.  If Christ is in you, you’ll see the need Justin Williams has for the youth and maybe say, “Justin, I can help.”  There are simple, easy opportunities to serve as chaperones, transportation drivers and discipleship group leaders.  Justin has a great heart to love our young people, but he needs your help.  ‘Christ in you” means you can put aside some desires, time and even hobbies to help Justin reach the hearts of our young people who are in a spiritual battle most of us didn’t face in high school.  ALSO, over seeing our Children’s ministry, Pat Hillebrand needs your help to volunteer to serve in Sunday School and the nursery.  We have a boat load of people already involved and I’m grateful for their ministry to the children and parents of the children.  What we need is for more older people to ensure their name is on the nursery list and helper list for the Sunday School options.  These children are worth it!  “Christ in you,” the hope of glory says, “I can do this several times a quarter” to help my brothers and sisters who have children!  There are just a few ways to apply “Christ in you” the hope of glory!  THANK YOU to all who are helping to present every man complete in Christ!

The Preeminent Christ

Jesus is Preeminent!  He is preeminent as God, Creator, Sustainer and Head of the Body!

I love how Grace is responding to that preeminence by looking for ways to connect to worship Jesus.  Grace has many opportunities to equip growing believers to become more like Jesus Christ and minister in the stature we have in Christ.  We need to multiply ourselves in order to reach the world.  There is little time to waste, because the seeds of darkness look for any crack to root down, sprout up and smother our desire to honor the Lord Jesus!

We had a full day with the commissioning of deacons and elders.  What a joy to see new men rise up and serve at Grace.

I should have mentioned a handout on the information counter on Sunday.  Many religions don’t view Jesus the way we do.  I’ve listed nine different religions and compared what they believe about salvation and about Jesus to what we believe.  Hopefully you can use that list to worship Jesus by your words and life.

Thanks for your great support and prayers as I leave to my dad’s funeral.