Thoughts for the Week

Living in the Power of Prayer

It has been a while since my last blog. We are still in our sermon series “Walking the Walk” If you are interested, you can listen to our sermons on this site. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught Kingdom principles that we need to live by. The Sunday we will study Matthew 7:7-11 and we will talk about prayer. What does your prayer life look like? How active is your prayer life? The truth is that our prayer life can always improve. Our prayer life is essential to the vitality of our spiritual life. As James indicates our prayer life can be powerful and effective! We truly need to understand that our prayer life is the key to our spiritual walk. As we look at prayer we can say that prayer has two components. The first is God’s part and the second is our part. What is it about prayer that can be sometimes   challenging? Sometimes we know we should be praying but either the words don’t come or we are hesitant to pray. The real question is do you pray? Why and or why not? How consistent is you prayer life? Prayer can be a misunderstood thing, even by Christians. We should not treat God as a prayer vending machine, nor should we think of prayer as somehow bending God to our will. When we pray, our attitudes and motives need to be in check,  as well as our prayer should be directed to the will of God. Truly, if we desire a deeper prayer life we should follow the example of Jesus. Please look up the scriptures for further study. The Example of Jesus:

  • Prayerful consistency – Mark 1:35 (ESV)
  • Prayerful dependence – Mark 9:26–29 (ESV)
  • Prayerful Surrender – Luke 22:41–42 (ESV)
  • Prayerful intercession – John 17:11–21 (ESV)

We are in this together! Pastor Mike


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Your Thought Life Counts

In the evolution of this social media age we are bombarded mentally and visually like never before. Media uses sex appeal to sell everything from cars to breath mints. The internet gives easy access to things that should not be seen, which means that we need to protect ourselves. In our passage for this week, Matthew 5:21-30, Jesus confronts two areas that are definite issues for our Righteous walk: anger and lust.

It is necessary, then, to examine our lives and clearly understand what it means to live a righteous life. We should think and live righteously. Righteousness is more than a set of actions. It’s a mindset of character that affects our actions. Like love, it is an attribute of God. Think of righteousness as love in action.

Think of righteousness from the perspective of Galatians 5:22-24…

Galatians 5:22–24 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So, we can say that righteousness is a relational characteristic. Which brings us back to the law of love that Christ put forward in:

Matthew 22:35–40 (ESV)

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This Law stands for us today as believers. Loving God and loving people is the standard for the Christian life. Putting God first in everything and then the needs of people. However, this is a difficult task for us as people because of our sinful nature. In the next few passages Jesus is going to get the heart of some issues that affect our love for God and others. Our nature is the polar opposite of the things of God. Two issues that hinder our love for people…

Guard against anger and Guard against lust!

This really boils down to the fact that these things are a matters of the heart.

Big Idea: Where is your heart at?

Matthew 12:35–37 (ESV)

35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Tune in this Sunday or, if you cannot be here, the sermon will be posted next week on this website!

We are in this together!

Pastor Mike


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Living Biblically

Living Biblically:

The question before us is, “How do we live biblically in this culture?.” If we look at ourselves, what we believe guides what we do and our internal belief’s affect our outward actions.

When we look at the Sermon on the Mount some people would say that these are outdated standards that are impossible to live up to. Here is the truth: on our own initiative, yes it is impossible. We cannot do it without the help of the Holy Spirit. We will fail at times, however, but we should keep striving to live the holy lives God has called us to.

What can bring this type of change into our lives? The quick answer is the Holy Spirit using the Word of God to teach us. Those Words of God that spoke into the void and created life. Those same Words that come to us in the Word of God that speak to our attitudes and behaviors. Those Words that speak peace and hope in the midst of the troubles of life. Those Words of comfort that come to us at the precise time when we need to hear them the most.

How precious is the Word of God for you? How do you view the Word of God?

LBC Statements of belief…

“We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the only inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God—breathed.”

Hmm…God speaking to us! Do we respond with a sense that, “Wow, God is speaking to us?”

Big picture: The way you view the Word of God matters because it can change you!

My heart for us today is that we would find a newfound or renewed appreciation for the Word, and that we would have a hunger and desire to study it more.

Also, that we would understand that:

  • Jesus fulfilled the Law
  • Jesus instills His righteousness in us

The Word of God is vital to our spiritual life and sustained revival. It is key to keeping our motives and attitudes in check. It also guides us in our relationships with God and with one another…

Scripture of the Week:

Matthew 5:17–20 (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


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Character

Character that Changes things…

Jesus calls us to live the impossible. The true Christian life cannot be lived outside of relationship with Jesus Christ. It is one lived in obedience to the word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. The outcome in living this way is a life of peace, love, and joy. It is a life that revolves around loving God and loving people. It is a life that is lived in contrast to the values of the world.

 

Big Picture: Live your life in such a way that it affects the world around you.

As a Christian:

  • Embrace your uniqueness!
  • Reflect the light and love of the Savior!

It’s easy to live life in the shadows, but that is not where Christ calls us to live.

1 Peter 2:9–10 (ESV)

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Look at these verses and think about it: a chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for His own possession… What do those images speak to you?  Here is the awesome thing about God… He takes a people who are marred and stained by sin and through faith in Jesus Christ, He redeems, restores and sets them apart. His grace, mercy and love extends to us. His righteousness, holiness and love are planted in our hearts. He even gives the Holy Spirit as a promise and commitment to that change. We are talking about an internal change that brings about outward change. This is really about becoming who God intended us to be in order to bring about the change that He desires in the world. It’s something I referred to a couple weeks ago: the plan of God’s redemption for the world. It’s the plan to change and affect the world from the inside through His people on the ground.

Many times today Christians are either failing to embrace totally who God desires them to be and/or are concerned with standing in the middle of the river that is our culture today. My hope and desire for us as a church is that we would fully embrace our uniqueness as believers and reflect the light and love of our Savior Jesus Christ to our community and world.

Scripture for the week – Matthew 5:13–16 (ESV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We are in this together!

Pastor Mike


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Walking the Walk

We just finished up a series on Revival. If you are interested, you can click on our sermon page and they are there for you. One of the verses which really spoke to me during the series is found in 2 Chronicles 6:27. In this passage King Solomon is dedicating the temple and praying a prayer for his people. He prays…

2 Chronicles 6:27 (ESV)      

27 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant rain upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.

For us today, I believe the answer to Solomon’s prayer is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perfect example of how to live the Christian life. In our new series starting this Sunday… join us for: “Walk the Walk: A Journey through the Sermon on the Mount.” We start the series by focusing on Matthew 5:1-12 “The Beatitudes

The path to spiritual maturity begins when we acknowledge that by ourselves we are our morally and spiritually destitute. The keys to the Christian life hinge upon our spiritual growth and our dedication to spiritual disciplines, spiritual growth, and emotional and physical responses that demonstrate godly principles. Of course this pursuit is in vain unless we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

We are in this together!

PM


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