Praying takes work. It doesn’t come by us naturally. How goes your prayer life? Do you incorporate prayer into everything you do? As people who follow Jesus, we are called to grow up in our faith, and one of the strongest faith components includes prayer in conversation with God. Pastor Reid preaches on one of his favorite scriptures in the Epistles (click here for the video).
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Philemon was a guy who wanted to seek revenge on a former slave, for some crime done against him. The Apostle Paul sent Philemon a letter, along with the former slave, Onesimus, himself. Paul was asking Philemon to extend the kind of forgiveness to Onesimus that Jesus Christ himself had extended to Philemon (are you still following?). And on top of all this, Paul himself is the one who brought Philemon to faith in God, and brought Omesimus to faith in God also. So Paul is asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus based on the debt he owes back to Paul, “his very life”. I don’t know if we know how to forgive in our western culture, like Paul is asking Philemon to forgive. And even beyond this little book, Paul is asking you and I to learn to forgive like this, so that our witness to the world is like that of Jesus Christ. (click here for video).
Nearing the end of his life, the Apostle Paul is thanking friends for walking with him in faith while in prison for sharing the gospel. The gospel is many things. It is sharing the love of Jesus with the world. The word evangelism is getting a bad rap these days. Maybe it’s the word evangelical, which is diving the country, depending on which way you’re looking at it. But the Apostle Paul still wants you to share your faith in Jesus with others. So, the gospel is relational, the gospel is tenacious, and the gospel includes suffering. We don’t like to embrace suffering, as much as we can help it, but even Jesus himself suffered for representing God. How are you representing God through your life today? Does it align with how people in the Bible shared the gospel? If so, good. If not, why not? (click here to view the video)
Paul the Apostle is writing a letter to the churches near Collosae and wants them to know how much he is personally suffering for their sake. He has committed his life to serving them, no matter the cost, so that they might mature in their faith in Christ. What does mature faith in Christ look like to you? Does it mean that God answers your prayers? Does it mean that you receive healing when you’re sick? Does maturity even have anything to do with the blessings you receive, or does maturity mean we look to bring God’s blessing to others? God is always pouring out his blessings, but are we submissive enough to receive blessings in obedience to Jesus?
Now the spirit of fear is real, but it’s false, in the sense that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God did not give us that spirit of fear, or timidity. Young Timothy was pastor of a church and needed encouragement to be bold in his faith. Where do you need to be more bold in your faith in God, rather than being defeated by a spirit of fear? Is your mind captured by fear of something, someone, some loss, or rejection? God hasn’t given you that fear. You can overcome fear by naming it, acknowledge it, take away its power by claiming it for God, and then trust God for the results. You live in a world where fear runs rampant around you, but fear is a liar. You can claim your life for God and give your fear to Jesus.
When we compare our lives to someone else, or compare our things to other things, or when we compare our skills to other people, we often come out on the short end of the deal, and feel awful. We might also compare to others, and come out ahead, which is pride. So, either way, we lose. God didn’t design comparison. It came from the devil’s mouth. He compared the first humans to God himself. “You can be like him”, he said. How has comparison slithered into your life, and how does it wreak havoc?
We forget that Jesus appeared to women first, at the empty tomb, not to the men. We forget that the first evangelists of the resurrection of Jesus were women, not men. We come to this scene in the Bible and we bring our expectations to it, since we’re removed from it by 2000 years, but if we put ourselves in the scene, our expectations wouldn’t match what really happened. Join us as we visit the scene of Jesus’ resurrection and see that God does so much more than we could expect or even imagine. HAPPY EASTER 2019.