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Our Identity

{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.

 I attended Ne…
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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.

You ma…

Follow Jesus Even When it is Difficult

It is easy to follow Jesus when we agree with what he says.

I feel more inclined to give when I have extra money in the bank, but it is a little harder to be generous when I am worried about paying the bills.

I am okay with loving people people who are like me, but it is more difficult to love someone who thinks and acts differently than I do.

I love to preach about risk taking and stepping out of our comfort zone, but it is next to impossible to get me to do something that I am not comfortable with doing.

A true follower of Jesus doesn't get to pick and choose what commandments or teachings he is going to obey. A disciple of Jesus spends his life trying to be like Jesus in every way he possibly can.

To be a Christ Follower means that we have submitted our entire lives to the will and teaching of Jesus.

To actually follow Jesus moves us beyond agreeing with the teachings of Jesus to actually changing the way we live based on who Jesus is and what he taught.

Faith is not demonstrated …

Live as Free People

You and I have certain rights simply because we are people.

In the Christian tradition we believe that these rights are a gift from God. These inalienable rights declare that people are equal.

We are not equal in talent, intelligence, beauty, strength, wealth, privilege, or a number of other variables that set people apart from one another. We are equal in that we have the same right to life, self-determination, and responsibility as everyone else has.

The way this equality should be seen is in how people are treated under the law. It shouldn't matter who you are, equal protection should be given to everyone.

You and I are free people, but that doesn't mean that we are able to whatever we want to do. To protect the liberty given to us by God requires living in a certain manner.

Consider the following quote attributed to Samuel Adams:

He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence…

The Way of Jesus

We are told that we are living in a divided nation.

All the various media outlets are telling us about protests and vandalism and how the United States is no longer a safe place for minorities.

One group of Americans is telling another group that they are racist and sexist because of the way they voted. The other group of Americans responds by saying they rejected a candidate who was corrupt and would further destroy the foundations of the country.

The deep divisions that make up the very soul of American political life are on full display. There is no getting around the reality that there are two vastly different visions for the United States.

On the one hand you have people on the left who declare that equality is the value that must guide us into the future.

On the other hand you have people on the right who declare that we must remain true to the principles and traditions that the United States was founded on.

Each side views the other with skepticism, derision, and intolerance.


The Most Amazing Truth

Here is the most amazing truth that I know: God loves you!

Take moment and reflect on the reality that the Creator of the universe desires to have a relationship with you.

Not only does God love you, but He is willing to do whatever it takes to be in relationship with you. We can be confident of this fact because of the life and death of Jesus.

I know for some people the truth of God's love seems too good to be true. They don’t “feel” God’s love in their lives. Instead their lives are full of hassles and problems. In their minds, the presence of difficulties are evidence that God's doesn't exist.

I wish I could help them see that this is not true!

God loves us, and His love is all around us.

Now you may wonder how I can write about God’s love as if it were right out there within our reach.

That is because it is.

Rebecca St. James once wrote, “I really believe so many times God ‘calls out’ to us through everyday things and through His creation, and yet we don’t hear because…

Being Truly Religious – Paul's Ponderings

Do you consider yourself to be a religious person?

I know I do, in spite of the fact that I am told that Christianity is a “relationship not a religion.”

Religion is not a bad thing. Religion is the system of practices that guide people in worship and grow in their knowledge of God. In other words, religion is how we have a relationship with God.

We are not to avoid religion, but the religious spirit. This is what Jesus condemned in the religious leaders of his day. These leaders put a greater emphasis on following the regulations and rituals of their religion than truly having faith in God.

Continue reading Being Truly Religious – Paul's Ponderings.

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