Pastor’s Corner 1/17/2022 “Strength in Weakness”

Pastor’s Corner

“STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS”

Weakness. It’s a big deal to Jesus. Even in His birth story, we easily find God’s teaching moment. He sent a baby. Think about that. Nothing weaker physically than a newborn. We have seen so many manger-scene Christmas cards that we have become numb to it. Jesus came to us through ultimate weakness. Think about it, Mary would have been talked about and didn’t have some big job in town. She would have been a “nobody” in a “somebody” town. Mary and Joseph couldn’t even pay for a sacrificial lamb at their child’s birth as required by Levitical law. So really our Prince checked into the world as a pauper and proceeded to grow up in “nothing” land called Nazareth. We love the manger scene, but let’s be real about it, it was a feeding trough for livestock. WEAKNESS. I want to remind you that Good chooses our weaknesses to display his full strength. God never wastes a pain. So, you have had your share of weak moments in your life. Smile because He raises us from such. Just as Mary and Joseph raised a Son who became strong, God is doing this in you now. A friend called and asked about Lakeview, he wanted to know how it was going here. My view is that through God we are becoming strong. After worship, just listen to our people talking and caring about one another. On Wednesday nights, listen to the laughter. The hurting gather and are treasured. Just look at Grief Share. We are family, we are strong, we each have had times of great trials and even weakness, but I believe God has shown us a new day, with new love, new friendships, and new hope. We are becoming strong.

To God be the Glory!

 

Until the nets are full,

Chris

Pastor’s Corner 1/12/2022 “The Beauty of Free Will”

Pastor’s Corner

“The Beauty of Free Will”

I was counseling a guy once and he said, “I feel like God has always been angry towards me.” My first thought, I can’t imagine life with that view and even felt sorry for him.

I thoughtfully told him that I felt like his view was off. I went on to explain that in my view, God longs to never be angry with us. The Lord’s anger, which is revealed in scripture, is after we have messed up, not before. I have never viewed God as one who walks around heaven with a big stick.

The problem is that we abuse our free will. C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain wrote “enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded.” When we demand our own way on things instead of seeking out God’s will and His purity in our lives, pain is often the result or as I shared with Nancy in a different conversation recently, decisions have consequences. God is never just angry, if He is angered, it is always the result of something else.

Three times Paul says in Romans 1 that wickedness is not the cause of God’s anger but the consequence of it. In other words, if you want to be bad, ok, I’ll let you be bad, but you will answer for it. Or better said, God’s wrath in its purest form is God turning us over to our own wickedness, our own desires.  So, He doesn’t force his will on us.

He might guide you to His life for you and send signs to “get it” but never forces them on us, because you cannot force love. So, if you messed up, got out of His will and you know it, forced your own way on something or someone, the good news is that you can repent and be forgiven. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s simpler than people think!

It’s all “good news” because God does not force people. It’s love’s purest law. Thanks be to God! We are free! So, we don’t do bad things. Why? Because of His love, and His freedom. If you think about it, Christians should be the least “demanding” people on the face of the earth. They should seek purity in life, thought, and action. Not the common view of it’s my life, I will do what I darn well please. This view is our simple problem, because it is often as simple as, we just mess it up sometimes….not God. He just keeps His promises of consequences, but He is not mad at you, in fact He made a way for you to live fully.

The way has a name, Jesus.  Remember, He is the guy in sandals who promised us abundant life if we do our best to follow Him. That’s the way for you, me, and they guy who thought God was always mad at him.  Thanks Be to God! He’s not.

Until the nets are full,

Chris