Do You Want To Be A Part of God’s Family?

Posted by on February 20, 2011 under Bulletin Articles

“For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50 (NASB)

We love to be exclusive! When we belong and others do not belong, it somehow appeals to our sense of self-respect and self-worth. It seems to declare, “I may not be as important as they are, but I am more important than you are.” Why is being more important than someone else considered by some as essential?

Biblical Christianity differs from most other religions and most human organizations in the way it includes rather than excludes. Its focus is on serving rather than bragging. It focuses on giving all in Christ the same sense of worth because all in Christ are members of God’s family. My approval means nothing. God’s acceptance means everything.

Once groups of Christians in Corinth felt quite superior to other Christians for numbers of reasons. One of the number of ways Paul addressed the problem was by asking these questions: “What do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Does the Holy God provide us gifts through Jesus Christ? Does that include forgiveness? redemption? sanctification? righteousness before God? hope? If God gave it to us through Jesus Christ, why do we act like we are special instead of rightfully acting like God is special?

To whom does God make these incredible gifts available? Paul said of all and of himself: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)

Nobody grants equal opportunity as does God. Everyone can be a part of God’s family!

Lifting the Burden

Posted by on February 6, 2011 under Bulletin Articles, Front Page Posts

And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were much afraid. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:6, 7 (NASB)

Physical life is filled with burdens. The gift of living in this country removes some of them. However, as beneficial as living in this country is, those benefits do not remove our biggest burden. In fact, those benefits at best can only temporarily distract us from the biggest burden we all carry from time to time.

What is this burden? It is the burden of terrorizing fear. Accidents terrorize us! The passing of time terrorizes us! Serious sickness terrorizes us! Unexpected, uncontrollable forces terrorize us! The shocks of bad surprises terrorize us! Those do not begin to approach the terrors of personal phobias. Despite our claims, we all fear something.

In the above reading, Jesus took three disciples to the summit of “the mountain of transfiguration.” These men came face to face with (1) pure holiness–which always terrorizes people because we all have evil in us, (2) God’s power–which scares powerless humanity silly, and (3) Jesus’ identity–he was more than a man, more than just a righteous friend. To say he is God’s Son is one thing; to see it is quite another.

Peter, James and John’s reaction: In overwhelming fear, they fell on their faces — too scared to look.

Note Jesus’ response to their fear. He did NOT say, “I thought you were godly men!” or “Where is your courage?” or “What are you afraid of?” or “I am so disappointed in you men!” or “Can you lead others if you are terrorized by God’s presence?”

Instead, Jesus touched them, told me it was okay to get up, and encouraged them not to be afraid. Jesus understood their reaction, cared about them, and encouraged them. Jesus was not ashamed of them for being afraid. Instead he helped them in their weakness. Jesus lifted the burden of their fear! Jesus’ mission to you: to be your burden-lifter.

Never be ashamed of Jesus. He is never ashamed of you. Let him lift YOUR fears.