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Saturday, May 29, 2021

Memorials & Remembering

 God has big plans, but not just for "me", for us!

Yes, our religious convictions and our spiritual life is a deeply personal matter. The love we have or our God is real, full, and complete: “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:36, NKJV) – that doesn’t leave much out! Your love for God is reflected in all you have and all that you are.

Jesus wants a personal relationship with you: Revelation 3:20 declares “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Paul prays for us also to have this heart-to-heart relationship with Jesus: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:16-17).

BUT! This is only part of the story. It’s an incomplete picture we look that if we think that’s all there is. Just like we talked about last week, when we think this way, we’re “thinking small.” The challenge before us is not only to focus on the inside and ourselves, but to ask ourselves “how does Jesus living in me impact others?” There’s more to the story and that’s recognizing that God has big plans, but not just for me, for us!

The Lord says in Isaiah 49:6 “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Did you catch that? “It is too small” to have a little bit of salvation that is just for some – no the grace of God must reach to the ends of the earth!

Is Jesus in all of your world? Has He reached the ends of your earth? Or are the places in your life and the people you are with that Jesus hasn’t yet reached? It’s too small to keep Jesus to ourselves, to let Him in my heart and never let Him out! No! Let’s be asking ourselves “what do we need to be doing to help share God’s blessings of salvation to all?”

This morning, we’ll talk more about remembering that God has plans for me, but not only me, for us!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Preparing for the Future


Sometimes we think our past limits our future. We may have made some seriously bad choices or lived a way that left a mess in our wake and think that because of my past, I’m not “good enough for church”. You might think that you need to “get your life right” or “get right with God” before you can come and worship. The problem is, this line of thinking is just a little backwards.

If past sins kept us from coming to God, then no one would be here today. Paul tells us in the letter to the churches in Rome that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Earlier in the same chapter Paul will make reference to Ecclesiastes concerning each person’s status before God without Christ: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” (Rom 3:10-11).

No, instead what we find in Jesus is the clearing of our debts, the cancelling of what we owe, the payment for our past has been made through the cross of Christ. In Jesus, we are freed from our past, we are forgiven, and we are new. Again turning to Paul, this time to the letter to the church in Colossae, we learn:  “having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:14).

Don’t let the mistakes of your past keep you from allowing God to do something new with your future. Christ offers forgiveness. Christ offers a break from the past. Christ offers hope everlasting. Will you accept it?