Love Lived Out

Last week we began taking a look at what I promised would be some of the most important, but also the most challenging words on marriage we can find in the Scriptures. Paul’s counsel on how to get marriage right for the Ephesian believers starts with the command for wives to submit to their husbands and doesn’t get any easier from there. Without context, it just sounds like an ugly mess we rightly want to avoid. So, we started out this look last week with context. We explored the larger purpose and theme of the entire letter and came to the conclusion that something entirely different from what the world sees in these words is what Paul actually meant. This week, we are exploring Paul’s counsel itself and seeing what kind of sense we can make from it in light of the proper context. Keep reading to see how we did.

Love Lived Out

Have you ever done one of those hidden image pictures where you have to essentially color-by-number in order to discover what the image is? If you just look at it without doing any work on it at all, it looks basically like a bunch of random shapes all jammed together. At least, that’s the case if they’re done right. Until you begin filling in blanks, you aren’t able to really understand what you are seeing. If they’re created really well, you have to get several blanks filled in before you begin to get a clue. But at some point a picture starts to emerge. Once you’ve gotten a sense of where you’re going, then, the energy and intensity to work on it begin to increase. As you have a clearer and clearer sense of the end toward which you are working, you can move in that direction with greater diligence and speed. 

This is all a little like what we are going to be doing today. 

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Minding Your Means

As we continue in our series, Live Big, this week we are talking about how to live our lives in such a way that we can be generous and save wisely and thus use the resources God has given us in a way that is consistent with His own plans for them. Doing this will unlock the abundance He desires for us to enjoy. And how is it that we must live? Within our means. But you already knew that. What we are talking about here will take us to the heart of that challenge so that we can understand what has to be in place first if we are to do it at all. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Minding Your Means

Have you ever met the Joneses? That’s not really a terribly common name around these parts, so you may not have. I grew up with some Jonases (not the brothers), but I haven’t known many Joneses over the years. But they must be doing pretty well because a lot of people live their lives trying to keep up with them. Or, at least, that’s what we’re told. We hear often about keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses always seem to have just a little bit more than you do. You have a big screen TV. Theirs is bigger. You have a new house. Theirs is newer. They bought their boat just before you did. They showed off their new golf cart to the neighborhood a few weeks before yours arrived. Their kids do more activities than yours do and they’re better at them too. Of course, that’s because they can afford the extra private coaching sessions with the local former-pro. You try to do some exercise occasionally so you can maintain roughly the same shape as your current wardrobe. They run marathons four times a year. You aim to eat and feed your kids somewhere in the region of healthy at least a couple of meals during the week. All you ever hear about from them is how they are enjoying whatever the latest health food craze happens to be for dinner each night. And to top it all off, their kids eat all their vegetables without an argument. The Joneses are just hard to keep up with.

And yet…

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Distracted

This past Sunday was a special one for us to celebrate our great men and the work they are doing to advance God’s kingdom. With this in mind, here is a special reflection on how we can stay focused on the mission God has given us to accomplish. This reflection comes from the life of Nehemiah. Enjoy.

Distracted

I want to try something with you this morning. I want for us to do a little prayer exercise together. It’s going to require that we all be really quiet and focus our attention entirely in one direction for a few moments. Think we can do it? It’s at least worth a try, right? Okay, let’s see if we can do this for one minute. I’ll keep tabs on the time for us. For one minute I want all of us to pray together, and seek what God has to share with us this morning. Are you ready? Let’s go. 

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All Fired Up

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series called, A Heavy Load. So often, as we go through this life, we seek to do it on our own. We try and solve our own problems. We overcome our own challenges. We bear our own burdens. And at least in this culture, we’re taught to do just that. If you can’t manage your own stuff, what good are you anyway? But doing life on our own gets heavy after all. The weight of it all can begin to drag on our lives in all kinds of ways that add up and have an impact over time. The better approach is to quit trying to do life on our own and start doing it with Jesus. Over the next five weeks we are going to look at four specific loads we try and bear on our own, why that doesn’t work, and why doing life with Jesus is better. Then, in the final part, we’ll explore just why exactly life is so much better with Jesus. You won’t want to miss a single part of this conversation. Thanks for reading and sharing.

All Fired Up

I want you to do some remembering with me for just a minute this morning. I want you to think back to the last time you were genuinely angry about something that did not impact you directly and over which you had no control. If that seems oddly specific, there’s a reason for it which we’ll get to in a little bit. I’m not thinking about that time you saw something that was mildly irritating on one social media platform or another. I’m talking about the time you were angry – really and truly angry – but the object of your ire was not something that was having any sort of a direct impact on your life, and you weren’t really able to meaningfully do anything about it anyway. 

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A Note on Being the Church

We’ve talked about connecting and we’ve talked about growing in Christ. But those two cannot be the end of our journey as followers of Jesus. They certainly weren’t the end of His. And they aren’t the end of who we were created to be as a church. This week we talked about one last, but critically important, part of our God-given identity: Reaching. Why do we reach out and what can that look like here? Read on to find out.

A Note on Being the Church

Have you ever played capture the flag? When we had P.E. in grade school, that was always one of my favorite games. We consistently played it in the gym. The P.E. teacher, Mr. Wilson, put a line of cones down the middle of the floor and split the class into two teams. On each side there was a zone of cones that was the jail and a zone that was where the flag stayed. The goal, of course, was to get the other team’s flag and make it back across the line to your side without getting tagged. The slowest people in the class always got stuck guarding the jail and the flag itself. The fastest group was tasked with getting the other team’s flag. We would line up along the halfway line in various places, trying to spread the other team’s defense as thinly as we could. Some of the group would be sent as decoys – guys we knew were going to get caught in order to distract the flag watchers and jail keepers which in turn created an opening around the flag. Once you made it into the flag box you were safe for the moment. The next trick was figuring out how to escape back to your side. I don’t know that we ever put that much strategy into things. We just ran around until the game was over. 

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