Shining in every arena

”You are the light of the world… You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus wasn’t making suggestions when He spoke these truths to His disciples. In this dark world, Christians must make their presence known through their love for each other, love for the world, and love for the truth. I’ve been guilty at times of only shining in the arenas that I’m comfortable shining in. It’s comfortable for me to shine in the church, at home, and with my neighbors and friends. The place I’ve struggled the most to shine is in the political arena (honest confession). Somehow many of our minds have been conditioned to believe that Christ’s Kingdom work is disconnected from the realm of politics.

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Our Gaps. God’s Grace.

The concept of grace is of the utmost importance, not only for the Christian, but for the human. Grace is paramount in understanding the gospel. The fact that grace is associated with God indicates that it is in His nature to extend supernatural favor to undeserving people. God predicated the incarnation of Christ, the cross, the hope of our salvation, and so much more on the concept of grace.  Grace imparts forgiveness where judgement was deserved, makes possible friendship with God where enmity once existed, and enables us to live, both physically and spiritually. God’s grace is at the core of everything you are.

So as the main theme of Paul’s writings, you would think that the subject of grace would be found everywhere in the gospels, scattered throughout the teachings of Jesus. A small  study quickly provides an intriguing insight… Jesus never uses the word grace. Not even once. Why is this? I believe the answer is found in John 1, the only place in the gospel we find the word grace used.

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

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Today Matters

Have you ever become discouraged while thinking about the future? You end up asking yourself questions like, “How will I ever amount to anything significant?” Or, “How I will I ever achieve goals that seem so far away and impossible?” If so, you’re not alone.

Many times we become so consumed about our future that we get stuck in our present. The enemy will seek to use our discouragement as a distraction to effectively hinder our forward progress. We will hear things like, “What’s the point of trying anyway?”

This is when we must remember that the future is not ours to manage, but the present is ours to steward. Jesus would not have us worry about tomorrow, but simply walk by faith in the moment. It takes a great weight off one’s shoulders when they are able to surrender their future to Jesus.

Jesus is the best manager of your future.

So take a load off.

Rest in the good intentions of Jesus.

Always remember, the best thing you can do for your tomorrow is follow Jesus today.

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Messy Cleaning

Today I started cleaning and organizing my garage. I had allowed it to get a bit out of control, and it needed be addressed whether I was in the mood or not (and I wasn’t). By the end of the day instead of neatly organized, it looked like a tornado came through… yet it is cleaner than it was. I’m convinced cleaning is a process.

Sometimes things get messier before they get better. Sometimes life gets messier, relationships get messier, decisions get messier. When things get messy, the temptation is to stop, turn off the light, close the door and pretend it’s not a mess… but nothing changes.

Sure, if we kept everything in life clean to begin with, it wouldn’t require the messy process of cleaning. Let’s face it, we’ve all made a mess of something at some point. Don’t turn off the light. Don’t close the door. Keep pressing on until whatever it is that has become messy starts to look clean again.

That’s what Jesus does for us. That what we should do for ourselves and others. Alas, my garage needs another day, but I’m confident the next day of cleaning will certainly be easier than today. Just keep at it.

Proverbs 14:4 – Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

You Need to be Challenged

Let’s be honest. There are times when it would be easier for us to live with “me, myself and I.” No one to question us, no relational conflict to deal with, just me agreeing with my wonderful self… ignorantlyfoolishly.

Let’s be honest again. If that was the case we would never grow and never become more than we currently are. We would be perpetually limited by our own self-potential… and that’s not very much.

“We would be perpetually limited by our own self-potential…”

Sometimes relationships hurt. Sometimes other people serve as a mirror, reflecting what is actually inside of us that we’ve been ignorantly blind of. We need that mirror if we care at all about becoming better. 

Challenging relationships force us to grow beyond ourselves. This is why God challenges us. This is why He puts people in our life that challenge us.

Let’s face it… we aren’t as great as we think we are. Embrace the challenge and experience growth.

Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Grace is Better

Gifts are good.

Success is good.

Life is good.

Grace is better.

Enjoy grace and everything else will fall into place. Grace doesn’t demand that you be THE best, it enables you to be YOUR best. Along with it comes contentment in who God created you to be, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Whatever is driving you today, just put the grace of God ahead of it.

-Pastor Josh

2 Timothy 2:1 – You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Breaking Fast

Have you ever been at that point where the bending turns into breaking?

I mean when God is ripping from you all of your self-dependance, all of your pride, and all of the things you were hoping in apart from Him.

Something tells you to avoid it, but the better something tells you that you can’t move forward without it.

Your breaking fast… but hang in there. Once you’re broken you’ll actually be free.

-Pastor Josh

Hosea 6:1-2 – “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence.”