Who is Welcome?

I posted on Facebook yesterday what I thought was a pretty innocuous thought about unity in the church. Wow I was dismayed and surprised to see the “controversy this stirred up! My hope is that if we each ask ourselves this one simple question and be willing to take personal responsibility to reach out that each of our churches will be the better. Have a blessed day!

“Will folks who think or look differently than we do feel welcome at our church? If God wanted us all the same He would have used plastic and not dust when He was forming man.”

 

All kinds of folks

WWJCA (What would Jesus Care About)

With all the emotions running wild after this election I paused today to ask myself, “What would Jesus care about?”

Here are my favorite four. Let me know if you have any other ideas!

A) Love God with all your heart,mind  soul and strength Mark 12:30

When God becomes the center of who we are we stay in the exact orbit that He has designed. Hurtling aimlessly through space is not freedom it is just wandering alone or as Bob Dylan said, “no direction home.”

B) Love your neighbor Luke 10:27

Once God replaces us on the throne of our life then loving our neighbors gets a lot easier to do. Love is much more than a reasonable action, it becomes a part of our life in Christ. Jesus never had to stop and decide if He could love someone. Jesus Christ simply was moved with compassion because of who He was, not because of who He was with.

C) Take up the Cross and follow Christ

Matthew 10:38 As disciples of Jesus taking our cross was never presented as an option. It is not like in the car showroom where only some things come standard. Following Jesus means going where He went. Our true life is hidden with Christ in God. To discover life’s design means an intimate relationship with the designer: “the fellowship of His suffering”

D) Go and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:19

When we focus on what Jesus has called us to do we will find that we have a lot less time to fuss about what others are not doing. We can do all things through He who strengthens me, but without Him we can do nothing. So let’s patiently, determinedly and lovingly run the race that God has chosen. The days ahead will be hard and sometimes confusing but He has promised to be with us even to the end of the world. Now is the time for genuinely sharing the love of God.

More about Jesus would I know

More of His love to others show

More of His saving fullness see

More of His love who died for me!

 Eliza Hewitt

Memories and Mountains

As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 125:2

Because it is so easy for us to forget his faithfulness God puts His reminders all around us. He sees we are quick to remember our difficulties and slow to count our blessings. So in His wisdom He chooses to create a mountain of memories so great that we can not possibly forget. He writes on His creation a love note. ” Trust me, I am working everything out for your good. Be back soon! Love God”

Grace Truth and Bicycles

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Truth without grace is having a bicycle but having no idea how to ride it. Grace without truth is knowing how to ride well but discovering that someone has stolen your bike!

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hope Blossoms

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Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations just as it had been said, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18
Abraham’s hope only could unfold its blossom when it seemed there was no longer any hope. Whatever that we face we know one thing for sure.
… If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

What does God think about it?

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Last night during the Republican debate the commentators constantly referred to the polls saying things like, “What do Iowa voters think about immigration reform”  or ” how will the New Hampshire vote be swayed by what Ted Cruz or Rand Paul says?” One day it may be that one of those on the stage last night will be elected president of the United States. In another year we may be hearing, “What will the world think about what the president said from the Rose Garden today?” But with all the hub-bub and political maneuvering going on, who has stopped to ask, “What does God think about this?”

A long time ago the prophet Isaiah was having a personal encounter with God like no one else had up to his time. He prophetically saw the coming judgement of Israel then later her return to the land. He saw the Prince of Peace, the seraphim, and the very throne room of God.  Later Isaiah is even shown the sufferings of Christ for His people. He probably wondered, just like we would have, how  God would work everything out and how He would ultimately redeem His people. Then God comes and almost as if putting his arms around Isaiah’s quaking shoulders says, “Relax, I’ve got this! It doesn’t matter what everyone thinks because I have everything completely under control!

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

Maybe you have caught just a glimpse of God’s awesome plan or are struggling with the despair of present failure or sin. Listen again to what God told Isaiah that day, because He still has everything under control and He will make a way no matter what anyone thinks-even you!

Leaving the Light On

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh                  Matthew 2:11 NKJV

Motel Six has used the expression “We’ll leave the light on for you” in their advertising for as long as I can remember. “Leaving the light on”, represents at least three things that will help us no matter what our service to God.

Joseph and Mary certainly didn’t expect three foreign dignitaries that night in Bethlehem, but they opened the door when they heard the knock.   “Leaving the light on”, means having a welcoming attitude towards anyone who wants to help, no matter whom.

Secondly, “Leaving the Light on”, means giving space for them in our world. The cramped quarters of the place where Joseph and Mary were probably didn’t afford much room for three wise men, with their camels, servants and supplies. But what space was on hand was made available for their unexpected guests. In the same way, we need to be willing to share whatever time we have with people who haven’t been included in our plans.

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Last, “Leaving the light on”, means being ready for God’s unexpected gifts. It is unlikely that Mary had gotten any gold, frankincense or myrrh in her lifetime. It may even be that neither she nor Joseph had even ever seen any of those three gifts presented to Jesus that night.

If we are ready for God’s action plan, He will send us people we don’t know at times we don’t expect to bring blessings we couldn’t imagine. When God’s action plan has an opportunity to be put into motion, doors will be opened, Jesus will be worshiped and gifts will be given. God is still sending wise men to the Bethlehem. Let’s “leave the light on” for them!