Monday, May 26, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #19

Memorial Day Reflection

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
His love for humanity was so great that He also
laid down His life for His enemies (Romans 5:6-8).
As we Remember the sacrifice of all who safe-guard America,
we thank God for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all (even our enemies).
With humility we Remember that the graves of American Heroes
are marked by the Cross of Humanity’s Hero and Savior Jesus Christ.
The link that follows was shared with me by a Retired Marine Captain
who is a member of our church. Watch and Remember.
God's Peace,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #18

Hi Friends!

As most of you know the primary focus of Connections Christian Church is to take our cues from Christ and to look to the examples of the 1st century church as recorded in the Scriptures of what it looks like to flesh out our fellowship with Him and with others.

To that end, what follows might appear to be some really difficult, perhaps unanticipated applications of the Christian life. But notice if you would that all of these applications were first voiced and lived out as truth with unconditional love by our Savior and Lord Jesus.

Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Mark 11:25: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins."

Luke 6:37: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven."

According to Jesus, forgiveness is something that frees us to have right relationship with God and others: it is both an act of obedience and will and it is not the easiest or the most natural thing to do. Forgiveness is what Jesus did for us and is what He asks us to choose to freely "give away" to others.

Luke 23:34: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Those words were spoken by Jesus from the cross of Calvary for me and for you and for all humanity. My hope is that the blessings God bestowed upon Jesus for speaking and living those words would inspire you to speak and live those words with others in need of your forgiveness.

If you hold anything against anyone, don't condemn them, but forgive them and know the forgiveness of God for having done so. This is not an easy teaching but it is what we see fleshed out in Christ and the 1st century church that we choose to model.

Recall a time (see Acts 16) when Paul and his companions were jailed for preaching Jesus in a culture that sought to eliminate His name from the mainstream. As you consider the opposition Christians face for mentioning the name of Jesus in culture today, consider this example.

When Paul and his companions were miraculously freed by God from prison, the jailor in Philippi antcipated condemnation. Instead, Paul and his companions afforded forgiveness and led the jailor and his entire household to the saving truth and grace of Jesus.

This is the example we seek to model at Connections Christian Church: that of Christ and the 1st century church. We're not looking to get even with people in the world who wrong Christ and His Church. We are looking to forgive people and lead them to the One who forgives all of us.

Do you hold anything against anyone?

Will you forgive that person as Christ forgives you and show them your Savior?

God's Peace,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #17

Hi Friends!

We're a couple of weeks into the series "Give Yourself Away" at Connections Christian Church and I'm grateful for your renewed desire and commitment (individually and collectively) to fulfill the commission of Christ Jesus.

As we have observed with increasing frequency over the past few weeks, there are many challenges in culture where healing can only be found in the saving truth and grace of our Savior and Lord. Our responsibility is to sacrificially share that truth and grace with a world in desperate need of peace.

To that end, the link below from Ravi Zacharias serves to address some of the challenges we face in our culture and I believe it will assist you in bringing the peace of Christ into the world in which we live. Please read it and reflect upon it and pray about how God would have you live in response to it.

Our son will have the opportunity to study with Ravi and other Christian Apologists for a week at Wheaton College later this summer. Please lift these spiritual leaders up in prayer as the world needs to experience peace and healing that is only found in Jesus and His teachings.

God's Peace,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Focus '14-Modeling Jesus-Entry #16

Hi Friends!

In the passage below, the Apostle Paul confirmed his commitment and that of his partners in ministry, to live and model the life goal of Jesus to others.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

My prayer is that like Paul and his partners in ministry, we will refuse to live for ourselves and choose to live for Christ who gave His all that that we might be saved from sin and death.

Remember that the love of Christ which compels you to "give yourself away" is the only love that never fails. Be blessed and be a blessing.

God's Peace,