I needed to be in church on Sunday. I had an odd week. It had no rhythm to it. It was long. I was frustrated with some things that went on, and I was battling through some heart issues. Then, the church service started. The lyrics from the songs began to re-speak the truth of the gospel to my soul. My eyes were lifted upward, and my heart began to settle down. When I got up to preach, I shared the story about ‘not doing more’ because ‘it is finished’ it was for my heart more than anyone else. I needed to hear those words spoken. I pray that it was helpful to you as well. What a joy to once again be at CLF. If I weren’t the pastor of our church, I’d be a member of it.
Abram and Lot
Here are a couple of lingering things from Sunday’s sermon:
- Sometimes, it’s ok to separate for the sake of peace. You’ll see this later with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15. But one caveat on this…separation should be after attempts to reconcile and after we have ‘owned’ our contribution to the problem. But sometimes, it’s ok to separate for the sake of peace. I’ve had this happen in my life. It’s hard, but looking back, it was totally necessary. By the grace of God, I have been able to reconcile with those brothers, but the separation was necessary.
- The offer of peace from Abram is an indicator that our message is a message of peace. The gospel will indeed offend people. It’s also true that the world will hate the disciples of Jesus. But, the gospel is a message of peace with God and the power to help us reconcile with others. It’s all about peace. Abram’s message to Lot was for peace. The gospel is the only message of peace between God and man. And it’s a message of reconciliation. So, we should allow the gospel to do the ‘offending’ and not try to create conflict with those around us. Further, it should be the gospel that offends, not our personality, delivery, or attitude. There is nothing wrong with being agreeable, kind, and gentle in your presentation of the gospel. You shouldn’t be a jerk. Further, you should share the gospel with others the way that you would want it shared with you.
- One of the things you’ll notice as we study Abram’s life in Genesis is the sanctification of his faith. I briefly mentioned this on Sunday, but I love the ‘realness’ of the Bible’s descriptions of our heroes. Abram didn’t seem to be at his best in Genesis 12. But in Genesis 13, he was. We’ll see later that he struggled again, and we’ll see moments of incredible faith (Genesis 22). I find this encouraging. Our heroes weren’t perfect. They sinned as I do. But they looked to God and trusted in His promises. I can do that.
What do you have?
I’ve been convicted lately of discontentment. Discontentment with the weather, with some obstacles we’re facing, with wanting more, etc. You name an area, and I think I’ve found a reason to be discontent lately. The Lord has been graciously testing this in my life as well. He’s allowed so many ‘little’ things to pop up: AC not working at Jacoby, spilling my coffee on my outdoor coffee table, car problems caused by mice, and surprise medical bills. I’ve been trying not to complain, but I fear it’s been more in my heart than coming out of my mouth. Ever been there?
I’ve been reminding myself of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you did not receive?” Everything in my life, from the air I breathe, the steps I take, the house I have, or the car I drive, has been given to me by the Lord. Yes, I paid for them, but He provided them. As I’ve repeated this phrase to myself, I’ve found gratitude, joy, and perspective.
Take some time this week to remind yourself of how God has provided for you. “What do you have that you did not receive?”
This Sunday, April 30th, we will study Genesis 14 and look at war, rescue, and blessing. We’ll get introduced to the famous Old Testament character, Melchizedek. Our service will be at 10:00 a.m. at Jacoby Auditorium on the campus of Umpqua Community College.
From the Cheap Seats
- The sun on Saturday was a tease. The rain on Saturday night reminded me of a Texas storm.
- Toby Luther sent me this: https://www.espn.com/video/clip/_/id/36262334. Unbelievable play.
- Ok, here we go, Arsenal at Man City on Wednesday. This match should decide the EPL. Biggie.
- A 17-year-old quarterback was possibly the best one at Oregon State’s Spring game. Check this out: https://www.johncanzano.com/p/canzano-aiden-chiles-is-pushing-the
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.
Have a great week!