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Thursday, July 30, 2020


Here's a few thoughts this week for our mid-week Bible study: Are you chasing something temporary, or something Eternal?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Kingdom is Like - Matthew 13

Patience, tolerance, and acceptance sometimes have confusing or overlapping meanings in our day and age. The Bible tells us time and again to "come out and be separate" (2 Cor 6:17) from sinful people, to "not even eat" with certain kinds of people (1 Cor 5:11), and to avoid conforming to sinful desires (1 Peter 1:14).  At the same time, we are also told that the Lord is patient (2 Peter 3:9), that we should be among the people (1 Cor 5:10), and we should adapt our approach so the message can be heard (1 Cor 9:22).

Sometimes, when we try to build relationships with folks we are accused of tolerating sin. While we try to preach to the lost we are accused of accepting sinful choices. While we plead with those on the outside over a lifetime we are accused of watering down the Gospel message. It's as if in trying to be loving, caring, and kind the church is accused of not being judgemental enough! 

But nothing had changed from the pronouncements of the prophets to the preaching of Jesus: sin separates us from God and God wants to bring us back (2 Cor 5:18). Sin is real. Sin is dangerous. Sin leads to death (Gen 2:17, Rom 6:23). 

To those that want to confuse acceptance of sin or tolerance of sin, with a hopeful patience we turn to the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds in Matthew 13. Some want to judge too quickly and in doing so Jesus says they will sweep away the children of God along with the evil they seek to destroy. No: we wait, we hope, and we plead with those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master. We wait, hope, and plead with the lost and sinful people, that their hearts may be changed, their eyes may be opened, and their ears may hear the call of Jesus, bringing us "out of darkness and into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9).

"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:12. Wrong is still wrong. Right is still right. There is one Judge and He will save those found in Christ. Our continuing plea then is that those on the outside finally repent so they can be found in Christ and be saved. We pray that the Word of the Lord will finally convict their hearts. And while we wait, we show them the love of God who "proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8). This isn't a kind of love that accepts sin, but one that hopes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Through Christ, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (Col 1:13).

Though we are in this new kingdom and under this new rule we are still slaves. We are not our own. We were bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20).

We are still slaves. Slaves though, not to sin, but slaves still. We are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:15-23). You have been set free! Freedom from sin, but slaves still: "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Rom 6:16-17).

How will your life reflect the glory of God, as His servant?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Kingdom-Minded Conflict

This week, we'll continue our series on citizenship. Since our citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20), our lives are going to look a little odd to the citizens of this world. The worldly point of view doesn't go the extra mile, it doesn't turn the other cheek, and it doesn't think of others before thinking of self.

As Christians, these are all ways that we try to be more Christ-like. We try to react to the situations we are in, in the same way Christ would react. We respond with kindness when people are cruel. We respond with love when people hate. We respond with patience when people attack us. We look to the cross as our guide, our example, and our Lord and Savior.

But kingdom-minded Christains don't only think about how to respond to the world. We also need to think about how to respond to one another with love, kindness, and patience. Past conflicts between Christians have very quickly turned very ugly. Knowing that conflicts will come in the future, we can ask ourselves now how it is that we should respond.

We will have a choice in how we react. This morning, we will look at three options Christians have when dealing with conflict. Whether that conflict is on the inside or coming from outsiders, we need to know when is the time for compromise, when we should submit, and when we should resist. In all these times, we always seek to be more like Jesus in the hope that we might win souls by our conduct (1 Peter 3:1).

I hope you can join us for worship this morning!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

A Kingdom-Minded People

Colossians 3:2 "Set your minds on things above"
Matthew 15:18 "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart"

There's an old adage: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." This is a good start, but not the full picture. We can't expect a cartoon rabbit to give us all that we need for life and godliness, but within the world there is a mix of good thinking and not as good thinking. We must be careful because the world has its own ideas about right and wrong, about how to be a good person, and about how to be successful. The world tries to influence us to control us and form us to its will. We must resist.

This saying, like many other good-sounding thoughts that are in the world, is a good start. What's better is for our hearts and minds to be changed so that instead of having to bite my tongue and hold my speech, I have something encouraging to bring to the conversation. So many ideas are out there. Many of them originate with well-meaning, good-intended people who have it in their mind a way to make things better. However, to really know if an idea is a good one or not we need to hold it up to the cross of Christ.

We need to listen, and hear, and think about these ideas but don't stop there. Ask questions. Does it go against God's law? Does it elevate human wants and needs above submission to God's will? Do we have to compromise the word of God if we want to see this idea come to pass?

We could also ask questions like: How does this glorify the church? How does this bring glory to God? How does this shine light on the cross?

If an idea can do that, it's probably a good start. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Matthew 18:12 “What do you think? . . " Jesus challenges us to think and not just blindly accept whatever we hear. "Test all things; hold fast what is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21

How can we know what is good? We can learn to be kingdom-minded people. Hope you can join us this morning!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Philippians 2:12-13

From the the Summer Series of lessons on "Christian Relationships" at the Highland church of Christ in Tecumseh: we ask what it means to be "God's Athlete" using the passage of Philippians 2:12-13 where we are all encouraged to "WORK OUT" -- What does a person need to be a successful athlete, or a successful Christian?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


The LORD is a jealous God. He wants to be our center of attention, center of focus, center of our very being. He doesn't want to compete with outside forces that take our focus away from Him. He wants our loyalty, all of it. He wants love, all of it. He wants our heart, all of it.

This is why the prophets use the illustration of marriage. The church is the bride of Christ and we are in an exclusive relationship with him.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ?

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Lord, come quickly and right these wrongs and wipe every tear.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jesus is Lord

The Gospel message is clear: Jesus saves. But is this the whole message? In our efforts to shorten things down ever smaller from pages to paragraphs and from phrases to Tweets (or bumper-stickers if you prefer), we run the risk of leaving something out. Yes, Jesus saves but what does that really mean?

The opposite problem is also prevalent. It's easy to go on and on about a topic that before you know it, you can forget what it even was we were talking about. There are libraries of books that have been written about Jesus, but unfortunately there are many that say a great deal without saying anything at all.

Our aim is to be somewhere in the middle. Phrases like "Jesus Saves!" or "Christ is Lord!" are jam-packed with meaning. We can risk cutting short the Gospel if we stop after confession, belief, or even baptism. Instead, we press on with the work of salvation. We confess not only that "Jesus is the Son of God" but also that we want Jesus to be the Lord of our life. The Gospel story doesn't end with Jesus's resurrection: Jesus ascends to the throne of God as king! Luke 22:69 reads, "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

Rome feared this teaching of Jesus. For Jesus to be "King of the Jews" (John 19:19) it meant that Jesus was a challenger to the authority and power of the Roman government. In their view, Jesus was a threat that needed to be dealt with permanently. The people should have no ruler but the one the Romans had placed over them. 

Jesus is a king and He says as much in John 18:36 -- "My kingdom is not of this world." It's not. But it is a real power within this world and His reign is a real threat to those who desire to rule in darkness, to oppress the poor, or to abuse people created in the image of God.

Jesus saves. Christ is king. Has the sovereign reign of Jesus broken into your life? Are you ruled by King Jesus? Or do you seek refuge, power, safety, and security in those that can harm your body but do nothing for your soul (Mat. 10:28)?