Monday, May 02, 2016

A Deeper Relationship » Paul's Ponderings

Like all relationships, our relationship with God is strengthened through experience. The shared experiences that we have with friends and family provide memories and creates a bond that is essential to long lasting relationships.

Our shared experiences with God will look different, but that doesn’t mean they are any less valuable. We are able to experience God in our lives as we live in obedience to His Word.

The reason many American Christians are frustrated with their relationship with God has little to do with their passion for ministry, their commitment to worship, or their love for God. Rather, the problem lies in their obedience. If you are not willing to obey God then you will miss out on God working in and through your life. In short, you will not experience God in your life.

Finish reading at A Deeper Relationship » Paul's Ponderings.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

God Will Forgive » Paul's Ponderings

No one likes to admit that they have made a mistake. The bigger the mistake the more motivation we have to try to cover it up and act like nothing ever happened.

Since that is how many of us respond to making a mistake, it is no wonder that we have a difficult time confessing our sin, even to God. The result is that many of us carry around the baggage of guilt for past sins, and the chains of habit for present sins. This dual threat of guilt and addiction makes life complicated as we try to keep the masks we have created in place, so no one can see untidy parts of our lives.

One of the reasons I find it hard to confess my sins to God is because I am embarrassed about the weakness that I have in my life. “After all,” I think, “I should know better! If I truly had faith I wouldn’t do such things.” Like Adam and Eve, I try to hide from God because I don’t want admit my foolish choice.

There are other reasons why people hide from God, rather than confessing their sins to Him. I think another big one is fear. You know God is the law-giver, and fear tells you that if you confess your sin, then He will punish you. “After all God is holy,” fear has you rationalize, “and that means He has to punish those who break His law.” With a thought like this, it is easy to understand why people have a difficult time confessing sin.

Finish reading at God Will Forgive » Paul's Ponderings:

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Sermon: Hope Lives » Paul's Ponderings

Easter is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar because the resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental truth of Christianity. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith means nothing.

On Easter Sunday I focused on the hope that we have as Christians. Hope is crucial to life because we are faced with trials, tribulations, and tragedies that rob us of life. In 1 Peter 1:3-5 the Apostle Peter described this hope as a “living hope.” It is living because it brings us life and it grows and matures.

This living hope is rooted in history (the resurrection of Jesus), is made of eternal things, and is protected for us by God. It is a hope that can’t be taken away from us and will sustain us through all that life throws at us.

Big Idea: Easter declares that hope lives! 

Challenge: Repent of your dead hopes: 1) Ask God to reveal the hopes you holding on to, 2) Declare that your supreme hope is in Jesus. 

Listen: Hope Lives 

Sermon: Hope Lives » Paul's Ponderings:

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Who are We?

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}
This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

For many people living in the United States if you asked them; “Who are you?”, they would tell you that they are an American, that they are from a certain state, that they do a certain job, that they play a certain instrument or play a certain sport, that they are in certain relationship, or practice a certain religion. These are the type of things that we usually use to define our identity.

There is nothing immoral about having these things as part of our identity, but for us who follow Jesus they do not tell the full story. In order to faithfully follow Jesus we need to understand who we are. Knowing our identity helps us understand the role that we are to play in God’s Kingdom.

Finish reading at Paul's Ponderings | Who are We?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Commitment of Our Hearts

One of the amazing promises of the Gospel is that new life is available in Jesus Christ.

This is the life that God created us to live. In John 10:10, the very passage Jesus declared his purpose to give people abundant life, Jesus called Satan a thief who steals, kills, and destroys the life God has given to people. Through Jesus, God gives life, but Satan is out there to make sure that life is not enjoyed.

 One of the ways Satan robs us of life is to convince us of lies about who we are. When we believe these lies we are prevented from taking the next step forward, we are held down with oppressive guilt, and we are impeded from developing relationships that bring accountability and encouragement into our lives. It is hard to step out in faith when you believe that you are fatally flawed in your character.

 The reason these lies are believable is because we know our weaknesses. Each one of us have sin in our lives that we have struggled with for years, and yet have not overcome.

Finish reading at Paul's Ponderings | The Commitment of Our Hearts