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ENGAGE: Matthew 23:27-28

Discovering and engaging in the God-given purposes for your life. This includes understanding gifts, understanding passions, recognizing needs, and engaging in ministry purposefully based on these foundations. 
Wow! Today's Day by Day for Emotionally Healthy Relationships is spot on and uncovers cringe-worthy areas in my life - areas where I've slipped into the "elder son" area of the prodigal son story.
The elder son is literally a picture of the Pharisees in many ways. Nenri Nouwen describes it this way:
"I recognize the elder son in me. Often I catch myself complaining about little rejections, little impolitenesses, little negligences. Time and again I discover within me that murmering, whining, grumbling, lamenting, and griping that go on and on even against my will."
How can we engage the world with purpose when we are struggling with our own sin and pharisaical attitudes? The answer is … by God's grace, and by more and more self-awareness. We beco…
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CONNECT - Matthew 23:27-28 (Mental Health and the Church)

To truly CONNECT, a disciple of Jesus must live out an authenticity that is counter-cultural. The connection that we refer to includes an openness to the input of others and their discernment, an authenticity based on our willingness to be our “true self” in the relationship and finally a genuine love for one each other that comes from a deep awareness of how loved we are by God himself. 
We were made for connection! God created us in His image. An image that includes a constant connection (Father, Son, Spirit).
Search the web for "more connected than ever" and you will find pages and pages of articles explaining how our "connectedness" of today is actually leading to more loneliness than ever.
After looking at Jesus' words about Pharisees and whitewashed tombs on Sunday, I discussed the need for each of us to:
Spend time on the inside.Tone down the "outside".
It seems to me that one of the great lacks of the church today is the ability to be self-aware…

LIVE IN JESUS FULLY - Matthew 23:27-28

LIVE IN JESUS FULLY - Matthew 23:27-28
When we say, "Live," we are talking about the life in Jesus that is full. Life with Jesus is vibrant, authentic, genuine, and characterized by a life of prayer, worship, discipline, maturity, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, what does it look like to LIVE fully in Jesus? How does it relate to Jesus' "Uh Oh" message to the Pharisees?
On Sunday, I referred to Jesus words in Matthew 23:27-28 when he says,
"How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins. 
As some would say, "Big oof!"
As people who are pursuing a full life in Jesus, what is our response to those words? I'd suggest these words stir us toward more and authentic self-awareness. As followers of J…

ENGAGE the World Purposefully (James 4:11-12)

Discovering and engaging in the God-given purposes for your life. This includes understanding gifts, understanding passions, recognizing needs, and engaging in ministry purposefully based on these foundations. 
So, how does James 4:11-12 inform us as it relates to engaging the world? As followers of Jesus, we have a clear mandate - Love God, Love Others! Let's read James 4:11-12 again. 11 Do not criticize one another, my brothers and sisters. If you criticize fellow-Christians or judge them, you criticize the Law and judge it. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else?  Carey Nieuwhof recently posted the following recently:

And that about sums it up. Let's take a close look at our own attitudes and ask God to show us where we need His grace to love more freely and extend grace more fully. His love is greater! To Co…

CONNECT with Others Authentically - James 4:11-12

To truly CONNECT, a disciple of Jesus must live out an authenticity that is counter-cultural. The connection that we refer to includes an openness to the input of others and their discernment, an authenticity based on our willingness to be our “true self” in the relationship and finally a genuine love for one each other that comes from a deep awareness of how loved we are by God himself. 
Reflecting on Sunday's Message:Referring back to the main text (James 4:11-12) from Pastor Tim Martin's message this weekend, we find keys which are helpful to become "Authentic Connectors": 11 Do not criticize one another, my brothers and sisters. If you criticize fellow-Christians or judge them, you criticize the Law and judge it. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else? 
Last evening I had a great crew (Bobby McFarlan…

LIVE in Jesus Fully - (James 4:11-12)

LIVE IN JESUS FULLY - James 4:11-12
One of the characteristics of a mature follower of Jesus is that he/she is regularly praying for others. Caring for, and looking out for others, loving them as we love ourselves is the second of the "greatest commandments" mentioned by Jesus. And, as we pray, we want our prayers to be a blessing and to make a difference!
Praying for others, however, may not be effective in many cases. What do I mean by that? The Bible is clear that our attitudes and awareness has much to do with our productive prayer life. In other words, how am I viewing the one for whom I am praying? Have I turned to judgment? Am I judging where only God truly has the right to decide?
On Sunday, Pastor Tim Martin turned our attention to James 4:11-12: 11 Do not criticize one another, my brothers and sisters. If you criticize fellow-Christians or judge them, you criticize the Law and judge it. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who jud…

Pentecost and Your Soul

This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost. Why does that matter? Because in the history of the church, this day, Pentecost, became the day when God fulfilled the promise Jesus left his disciples with.

On the day when Jesus ascended to Heaven, he said this to his disciples. (Acts 1:8)
But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” On the day of Pentecost, we see this: (Acts 2:1-4)
When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.   As we have been discovering the truths of God in re…