Hey there Church…
We are not to ignore the world but neither are we to conform to it. (Romans 12:1-2)
We are to pray for our leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
We are not forbidden from serving in public office but rather we are to serve Chirst in the vocation to which we are called.
We are to submit to our government authorities. (Romans 13:1-7)
Our government does not bear the sword in vain. (Romans 13:4)
…but I am concerned about something. What Gospel are you preaching? I am seeing way too many Christians on social media too focused on politics and politicians. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not trying to pass judgment but rather wondering.
~ Is this really our call as Christians?
~ Is political rhetoric going to save souls?
~ Is complaining about politicians going to give people hope?
~ Is bashing our government going to encourage people?
I am not throwing my support behind any political party here but rather I want the Church to focus. There are greater issues in the world than who’s boycotting what political party or who is in office. Don’t ignore politics but also don’t make politics the Gospel you preach. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, that we may have the hope of everlasting life. That should be our core message and that is what people should be hearing from the Church. I know I need to hear that on a daily basis.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball and remember what our mission is. Jesus saves not politics.
The Pastor -|—
This here is the Easter hope:
Dwelling in the house of the Lord
Gazing upon the beauty of Lord
Inquiring in his temple
I mean, really, this is the Good News and our hope. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave that we might dwell with him. He didn’t die and rise that we might have a good life now. It really bugs me and worries me when preachers try to sell this message of hope in this life. Scripture says that if in this life we have hope in Christ only then we are most to be pitied. Jesus didn’t die that we may have a temporary hope; a limited hope; a shortsighted hope. Jesus died that we may have eternal life; dwelling in his temple and worshiping him forever.
But something else to think about. Not only will you, through faith in Jesus, dwell in his temple, but you will gaze upon a beauty that is absolutely mind blowing. There is nothing in this universe that can compare. If someone tries to sell you a worldly hope you need to respond:
That’s not good enough. I want more.
And Jesus gives you more.
Praise be to God that our hope is more and better and wonderful and beautiful.
Holy Father, I praise you that death has been defeated and that I can live this life with hope of something more. And I look forward to that day when I am dwelling and gazing on your beauty and inquiring in your temple. All praise and worship be to you, oh God. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Pastor -|—
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. [Romans 8:6-8]
The prosperity gospel…
[Oh no, here goes the Pastor again :-)]
…tries to convince people that peace is found in this life; through the flesh. It says that in order to “have your best life now” all you need to do is get your flesh in order. Meaning ~ thinking right, believing right, dreaming right, saying the right things and doing the right things. All of this, they claim, will curry God’s favor and therefore you will live “your best life now“. In essence, the prosperity gospel is trying to sell peace when it is actually bringing the wrath of God.
Those trying to sell this crap (excuse my language but this is what it is) have their minds set on the flesh and not on the Spirit and therefore they themselves are really not at peace. But when you are in the midst of what you believe is “your best life now” you don’t know you’re really not at peace. The flesh has a way of shielding one’s eyes from the truth.
So what is true peace if it is not found in this life? That answer seems pretty simple: By keeping your mind set on the Spirit which is faith in God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ A mind set on the flesh thinks only of this life; but a mind set on the Spirit thinks of the promised life to come through Jesus.
~ A mind set on the flesh can only achieve a temporary peace; but a mind set on the Spirit receives true, everlasting peace from the only true peace-giver: Jesus Christ
~ A mind set on the flesh can only achieve a fleeting happiness, that comes and goes and comes and goes; but a mind set on the Spirit has a joy that is not fleeting.
~ A mind set on the flesh CAN NOT please God; but a mind set on the Spirit has salvation.
~ A mind set on the flesh lives in death; but a mind set on the Spirit lives in Life.
And you probably get the point. When you have true faith in God through Jesus Christ then you submit to God’s Law and follow him in complete joy, for God is worthy. Your focus is on pleasing God, not the flesh. The prosperity gospel does not get this and therefore will never preach this. The true Gospel is understanding we can do nothing to achieve peace in this life but rather its submitting to God who is the only peace giver. It’s placing your faith in Jesus and believing your best life is yet to come, not now.
So set your mind on the Spirit and be at peace.
May God grant you a peace that totally blows your mind so that you may see and experience true peace in Him. Amen.
The Pastor -|—
In a couple previous posts (shortly before Christmas) I wrote about a parishioner named Lyle; a saint of this congregation that went to meet Jesus. I won’t talk about him here but I do want to show you something; Lyle’s cross. I talked about these crosses before; that he made dozens of them (They are 5 inches by 3 1/2 inches). He made a number for the nursing home and the hospital. He made a bunch for the people at Salem and Belmont. And of course he made them for his family. The one pictured above is one of three that I have. This one serves as a pectoral cross that I wear in worship from time to time.
I have other pectoral crosses that I wear as well: I have a pectoral cross that my parents gave me for my ordination that is silver. I like that one because is very beautiful and reminds me of the faith my parents passed down to me and the support they gave me as I went through seminary. I have a old wooden cross necklace that I got from my grandma (who died last Feb.) that wear I from time to time. That one, of course, reminds me of grandma and the faith that she passed down to me. I have two cross necklaces made of olive wood that were made in Jerusalem. These remind me of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world; that the church is not just located in Jackson, MN. And then I have Lyle’s cross. This one, of course, reminds me of Lyle and the faith that he passed down to me.
All of the crosses I wear are special to me and remind me of various people in my life that have paved the way for me. But one thing that I did not say (but I hope was understood) is that the cross, of course, reminds me of what Jesus did FOR YOU and FOR ME. Formerly a symbol of death; it is now a symbol of hope. I wear these crosses as a reminder to me and others who see them of why we truly gather together on Sunday morning to worship. I wear my other (smaller) cross necklaces to proclaim that same message out in the world from Monday to Saturday. Some people wear cross necklaces because they are a fashion statement. But whatever the motivation for a particular person, when I see that cross, I am reminded of the life we have in Christ.
So I thank those who have paved the way for me and most of all, I give thanks and praise to God our Father through Jesus Christ, for paving the way to eternal life; carrying us across the Great Divide.