Pastor’s Pen

What does your heart hear? With a hardness, shallowness, thorniness or goodness?

Hey Church Family: This week’s passage in Luke is a weighty one that must lead us to our own self-evaluation. How do you hear the Word of God? How you hear God’s Word is a really big deal. Jesus tells us very clearly through the Parable of the Sower that how we hear God’s Word determines if we have a place in the Kingdom of God (Luke 8:1-18). Let the weight of that teaching sink in. Or better yet, pause and go read that parable.
 
How we hear Jesus determines if we understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God (Luke 8:10). There are two type of hearing in which we engage every moment of every day. We can hear with just our physical ears – tones, sounds, words, vibrations. This type of hearing, as we say, can go in one ear and out the other or maybe at least our mind processes some of the information gathered by this type of hearing. There is a second type of hearing. This is the hearing that Jesus is really concerned with as He shows us in this parable. Jesus is teaching the crowd and us about the type of hearing that we do with our heart. Heart-hearing is crucial to salvation as Jesus teaches. Heart-hearing is the type of hearing that determines if the seed of the Word of God takes root within us to bring forth sustaining fruit of salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of God. In Luke 8:8, Jesus declares, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He is referring to our heart ears.

Read more...

Know Your Sins – Know His Forgiveness

Hey Church Family:
Wow! The world is moving more and more to a place where nothing seems to be a sin any longer. Our society struggles to see many of its immoral, unethical actions or thoughts or its heart’s desires as an offense to our Holy God. This is a dangerous place to be. Church, we do not want to be unaware of our sin. Not knowing our sin results in not needing a Savior. Not knowing our sin results in a frail, feeble love for our Savior because we think that we really are not all that bad.
 
This week in Luke 7:36-50, we see a religious man, Simon, who was unaware of his own sin. He lived a rigorously religious life known by everybody as a man of position and power. Simon believed that his own moral goodness saved him from any debt of sin he might incur. In fact, he could not rightly remember what those sins might be. Which means Simon does not see his need for a Savior. The Savior, Jesus, who is eating dinner with him. And then there was the woman in this story. She was the opposite of Simon. The woman was known by everybody in town by her sin. She had no position or power. The religious community had her sins listed and memorized. She was a professional sinner, a prostitute. Simon and friends looked at her with scorn as they overlooked their own personal sin.

Read more...

Doubt your doubts… not Jesus.

Hey church family!
Do you ever doubt this whole “Jesus is Lord” thing we are banking eternity on? Every believer that has ever walked this earth has endured times of doubting this faith that we call Christianity. Maybe you have recently come across some compelling atheist philosopher, or NatGeo documentary that you thought was persuasive, or maybe you just attended your local biology class that declares endlessly an anti-creation science, or maybe it is just the day to day drain of life on this earth where there is endless suffering and evil that seems to always be winning. Whatever it is that may create some doubt, you are not alone. Every believer has struggled with doubt at one point or another in their marathon of faith.

Read more...

Compassion Costs Us Something – Invest Your Compassion

Hey Church Family: What is compassion?
 
And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her (Luke 7:13). So… what is this compassion that Jesus experienced?
Compassion is simply taking the pain of other people into your own heart and letting it move you to do something about their pain. Making their pain your pain. Making your neighbor’s pain your pain.
 
We are recipients of this compassion from Jesus Christ. Jesus has compassion for us. Jesus makes our pain His pain. Jesus’ compassion is rooted in His love for us. He deeply, passionately and profoundly cares for us. When we hurt – He hurts. When we grieve – He grieves. During Jesus’ life on this earth He healed people simply because of His compassionate love for them in their affliction. Their pain became His pain. Page after page throughout the New Testament we see Jesus’ compassion moving Him to action. His compassion moved Him to do things. His compassion is always seen resulting in ministering to people in their time of need. He continues to live with compassion towards us. We know and are promised that Jesus Christ never changes. He is in no less compassionate today than He was in the first century. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Just because Jesus is now glorified at the right hand of the Father does not mean that He has changed His heart or attitude about you and me. Jesus still remains steadfastly compassionate towards all of our hardships, weaknesses, and sufferings.

Read more...

Wonder twin powers – activate! Faith and The Word of God

Hey Church Family:
I recently had the incredible opportunity to go on a trip across Italy. In order for me to get to my destination I had to travel on the Trenitalia, the high speed Italian train service. It was an awesome ride! The only way for me to get on the train and enjoy Italy was to have a ticket that was acquired at the ticket booth by paying some Euros. The conductor checks your ticket and then gives you a friendly, “Ciao!” if you have the correct ticket. You must have the ticket or there would not be full acceptance of you as a passenger on the train. You would be left at the station.

Read more...

Holiness is something we are to do because of what we already are – Holy

Hey Church Family:
What do you find yourself striving for? Do you strive to be living a life of greater holiness or greater sinfulness? Do you ever ask the question to yourself, “what am I doing that is not holy?” What am I doing or how am I acting that is not pleasing to God – what is not holy in my life? Hebrews 12:14 tells us to strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Wait a minute, I thought that we were already declared “ Holy” by a Holy God through the work of Jesus Christ? Let us take a moment to figure this call to strive for holiness.

Read more...