Chill Pill

Take A Chill Pill

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He goes on to tell his followers to invest in heavenly treasure instead of the treasure of the world. Included in this famous sermon is a portion of discussion on anxiety & worry, where Jesus calls his followers to live different than the world. As the world tells us that we should worry about tomorrow and always be anxious about providing health, fortune, and freedom, Jesus tells us the exact opposite. He says that we should simply place our trust in God.

Anxiety and worry is something that plague our world. Life is stressful. Bills have to be paid, salaries must be made, and all while our dependency on God fades. But we’re told to live different. Jesus says that we shouldn’t worry, and we should be anxiety free. Today, I wanted to share why it’s important that we remember to take a chill pill.

 

We’re Of More Value

The beautiful thing about living in a small town in Mid-Michigan is that there are plenty of animals. Whether it’s deer walking in the backyard, or geese flying overhead, there are animals everywhere. All of these animals are a great reminder of how God takes care of us. The deer don’t go around wasting time worrying about tomorrow, because God takes care of them. Jesus tells the crowd that gathers that the animals don’t have to worry, but we shouldn’t have to worry either. We’re of way more value than they are. We were made in the image of God. We are special. If God takes care of the animals how much more than does God take care of us!

 

God’s Proven He Has Our Best In Mind

We shouldn’t worry. We shouldn’t be anxious. Instead we should place our trust in God and have faith in Him. God has already proven that He has our best intentions in mind. The proof is shaped like a cross. Because of our sinful lives, there was a price that had to be paid. Jesus put on flesh and paid our price in full on the cross. He died so that we could live. He had our best intentions in mind then, and He does now. Don’t worry. Trust in God.

 

Worrying is a way of life, but it shouldn’t be. God takes care of the animals. We’re made in the image of God. We’re special. He can take care of us too. He’s proven that he already has. The proof is shaped like a cross. Whenever your stricken with worry or anxiety this week, just remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you! Don’t worry, just trust in God.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Alon)

Light

Let Your Light Shine

So, maybe you’ve heard of the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus walks up a mountainside, sits down, and after a crowd gathers he begins to teach. Jesus instructs his disciples and the crowd about many things. But there’s a little passage at the beginning of his famous sermon, that I’m interested in today.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus calls us the light of the world. He told the crowd, the disciples, and even his followers today that we must go out into the world and spread the light. But what does this mean exactly? How can we let our light shine in this dark world? Here’s a couple of ways…

 

Living as the light means living a Jesus-honoring life.

When we sin we don’t want others to see. We often disobey God in the shadows of life, intending to hide it from the world and even God. In the light however, we tend to put our best foot forward. What if your life were in the light all the time? Light exposes darkness, it exposes sin. That’s how Jesus wants us to live. He wants us to live lives that would glorify our Father, free from darkness and sin. Turn from what is evil, and cling to what is good. Live a life of light.

 

Living as the light means living a life of action.

Living as the light not only means living a Jesus-honoring life, but also living a life of action. Jesus says that when we live as the light, people will see our good works and give glory to God. Our good works are not done just because they’re fun. We don’t do good works to show people how good we are. We live a life of action for a purpose: to push people toward Jesus. The life that Jesus called us to live is a life of light and action. Go out and be the light.

 

This week, be the light. Live a life that honors God, and a life of action. Be purposeful this week in your interactions with others. Go out and spread the light. As always, don’t forget to comment below about your experience as the light.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: mccun934)

Selfie

I Took A Church Selfie

If you don’t know what a selfie is, I’m not sure where you’ve been the last 10 years. Probably under a rock somewhere in some far-off corner of the globe. In the slightest chance you haven’t heard of them, they’re pretty simple. You hold your phone up, aim it at your gorgeous face and say cheese! Estimates have shown that there are over 1 million selfies taken every day. That’s a lot of selfies.

Selfie1

Something as simple and as fun as a selfie can be a useful teaching tool. For example, to a lot of people’s surprise, I actually used the idea of a selfie in my previous sermon last Sunday. I told everyone to take out their phones and take one during service. I even took one myself while I was preaching. For all you doubters, I’ve even included proof in this post. The selfies were snapping on Sunday. Here’s why…

 

A snapshot of your life.

When we take a selfie we’re taking a snapshot of our lives. It’s something to remember a moment with. It’s a way to highlight a time or season. But it’s even more than that. A selfie is a snapshot of you. That one picture, in a way, captures who you are as a person. It’s a snapshot of our life that we show the world. The real question is what are you showing? What do people see when they see your selfie?

 

Selfie2What do people see when they see your selfie?

When the world sees your selfie, what do they see? I’m sure they see the best of the best, because it’s not very often you find someone snapping a selfie during the rougher times in life. Similarly, what do people see when they look at your social media presence as a whole? Are you giving an honest picture, or are you just highlighting the best of the best? When taking a selfie, how do you want people to see you? What do you want people to see when they look at that selfie? What’s important to you?

 

In your selfie, do people see Jesus?

Today, people will claim to see Jesus in weird places. Don’t be confused. I don’t mean that we should literally look for Jesus in selfies like they’re some sort of Where’s Waldo? book. People should see Jesus in your selfies in a different way though. Like I said in a prior post, we’re all called to be witnesses for Jesus. Moments before ascending into heaven, Jesus left us with a command to be his witnesses to the world. He told us to go out and share the gospel in order to make disciples. We’re called to represent Jesus to the world. The question is: are you? In your selfie, or your life snapshot, do people see someone that’s living for Jesus, or do they see someone that’s living for themselves? What do they see in your selfie?

 

This week, I have a challenge for each one of you. Go out and be witnesses for Christ like we’ve been called to be. Let this calling define who you are this week. While you’re at it, don’t forget to take a selfie to leave in the comments below.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: *Passenger*)

Called by Jesus

Called By Jesus

This past Sunday, I finished up the sermon series I was preaching through titled, “3 Words“. We explored the crucifixion, the resurrection, and finally the ascension of Jesus. In each sermon, we spent time looking at three simple words that changed the world. On Good Friday, we remembered how Jesus said, “It is finished”, as he was breathing his last breaths on the cross. For Easter Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection and how the angels proclaimed, “He has risen!”

In Acts 1:6-9 we see a similar three words. Minutes prior to ascending into heaven, Jesus gives his disciples a final charge. He tells them, and all his followers everywhere, to go out and be witnesses for him. Just like those disciples, we too are called by Jesus. Let’s take a look at exactly how we are called when Jesus said, “be my witnesses”.

 

Jesus called us to live witness lives.

Remember the old saying, actions speak louder than words? Part of being a witness for Jesus means living a witness life. In other words, Jesus called us to action. Jesus modeled a life of unconditional love, a life of service, and sacrifice. He put our own needs before his own. We should model our own lives after his. Our relationships need to be God-honoring. Everything we are and everything we do, must glorify God. Jesus has called us to live apart from the world. He’s called us to a higher standard. We’re called to live witness lives.

 

Jesus called us to speak witness words.

Jesus not only called us to walk the walk, but also to talk the talk. In order to effectively witness, words are needed. As Jesus said in the Great Commission, we must go out and share the gospel! But that’s not it. We also need to share our testimony. Share with people how you’re life is different because you know Jesus. Compare you’re life before you knew Christ, to the life you now live. Personally, I know that Jesus changed my life. I also know that he can change yours too, if you’ll let him. Share Jesus by sharing the gospel and sharing your testimony. Your story might be just what people need.

 

Jesus called us to have witness faith.

Before being an effective witness, we must first have faith. Today we throw around the phrase, blind faith. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what the disciples, and the church leaders around the time of Jesus had. They had certain, sure faith. Their faith was based on evidence. God has given every reason to have faith in him. Take the resurrection for example. As crazy as it sounds, believing Jesus beat death makes the most of sense. The disciples and first witnesses had real faith. We need that same faith in order to effectively act out on our calling.

 

As much as you don’t like to hear it, you have a calling. You were called by Jesus to be his witnesses. This means living a witness life, speaking witness words, and having witness faith. How have you acted out on your calling this week? Comment below!

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Willy D)

3 Words Resurrection

This Changes Everything

A few short days ago, I had the opportunity to preach Easter Sunday. Currently, we’re in a series I’ve titled “3 Words” where we explore, in each sermon, 3 words that changed history. For obvious reasons, Easter Sunday’s 3 words were a no brainer: He Has Risen!

The resurrection is a central belief to Christians around the globe, because it changes everything. The whole world changed because Jesus didn’t stay dead. On the third day, the stone was rolled away. Everything is different because Jesus defeated death. Don’t believe me? Take a look…

 

The resurrection changes everything about Jesus.

During Jesus’ time on earth, people had several guesses as to who Jesus really was. In Mark 8, in a conversation between Jesus and his disciples, we see that the general consensus about Jesus was that he was just a prophet sent from God. Peter had faith that Jesus was, in fact, the Christ (God in the flesh). If you’re familiar with the story at all, you might remember that as Jesus went to the cross, Peter’s faith was tested. He denied Christ 3 times. But the resurrection changed everything. After the resurrection, Peter’s faith was multiplied. He went on to be a leader in the church. Peter knew that the only one with power over death was the giver of life. With the resurrection in mind, there’s only one way to answer the question: Who is Jesus?

 

The resurrection changes everything about us.

Jesus defeated death. This changes a lot about us too. We’ve all screwed up at one point or another. God calls our screw-ups, “sin”. We’ve all committed them. Since all actions have consequences (especially negative actions), we had a price to pay. Jesus paid our price on the cross. By defeating death he’s proven to us that the cross was our receipt. Our debts have been paid in full. Now that the resurrection happened, we have purpose and we have power. God loves us enough that he was willing to die (and defeat death) for us! That alone should empower us.

 

The resurrection changes everything about life.

Because Jesus didn’t stay dead, life is different. The resurrection gives us hope that death is not an end but just a new beginning. It should push us to live a life that glorifies and honors the one who defeated death. We are His creation. It’s time we live this life for Him.

 

The resurrection truly does change everything. He has risen!