Archive for June, 2011

Cheap Grace

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 by nmpreach

Based upon what we read yesterday from Romans 3, I thought this was appropriate.  Watch this twice if you have to.  Blessings!

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Reality Check

Posted in Scripture on June 9, 2011 by nmpreach

“None is righteous, no, not one;

no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

“Their throat is an open grave;

they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

in their paths are ruin and misery,

and the way of peace they have not known.”

There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  (Romans 3:10-18 ESV)

No one.  Kind of makes you humble huh?  Thoughts?

Summer Priorities

Posted in Priorities on June 3, 2011 by nmpreach

Summertime is somewhat of a nuisance around here.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the warmer weather, more time outside, etc.  But the summer always presents new challenges.  Most everything in town revolves around the school calendar.  After all, regardless of what the gurus say, Summer starts the day school lets out.  And it concludes after the county fair and rodeo when school resumes.  It’s during those 2+ months that families take vacations.  Businesses work with “skeleton crews” in order to cover for those employees gone.  In fact, for those taking care of their jobs with the addition of others, there is even more stress.  Or what about those who don’t have others cover for them?  They return to much more work and spend weeks or months just catching up from their vacation.

Church attendance takes a slight drop during these months as well.  Sundays are used to pack, travel, or recover from the recent outing.  Our church actually plans for the Summer months by doing things different.  We’ll spend more time outside.  We’ll study various topics on a much more laid back level.  After all, it’s Summer.

Ecclesiastes points out there is a season for everything (3:1-8).  Time ebbs and flows.  Exercising at the gym 7 days a week isn’t only foolish.  It’s also not good for the body.  Our spiritual lives are somewhat similar.  One can read the Bible non-stop from cover to cover.  However, doing so without stopping to “chew on the meat” is not only foolish.  It’s also not good for the soul.

We all need vacations.  We need rest and relaxation from time to time – even within our spiritual lives.  But rest doesn’t mean ceasing to function.  Rest doesn’t mean to avoid progress altogether.  A vacation is to get away from it all and reassess priorities.  I hope you’ll join me this Summer by resting, relaxing, and asking God “What’s next?”  Allow Him to give you direction.  Set some goals.  And find the resources to help you accomplish those goals.

In the mean time, don’t forget about your discipleship.  Don’t get so busy with stuff that you put the importance of fellowship down on the priority list.  Hope to see you soon.  Lets see what God has in mind!

The Heathen

Posted in Community, Discipleship, Grace on June 1, 2011 by nmpreach

Often times, we in the western world think of heathen as being those who live in what is deemed “third world countries.”  Their society hasn’t progressed to where ours has.  They have limited resources.  And often times, crime is rampant due to survival instincts. 

For centuries, the Western world has sent missionaries to these people – in an effort to convert them to the Western way of life to include (but not limited to) government, economics, infrastructure, and religion.  Because of the lack of progress – at least in a Westerner’s mind – those they hope to convert are deemed “heathen”.  Synonyms might be uncultured, uneducated, or uncivilized.

But is it fair to deem one a “heathen” just because they don’t believe as I do?  carry an iPhone like mine? or have the luxury of a supermarket down the street?  In other words, maybe we should rethink our idea of what it means to be a heathen.

Paul writes to the Romans, For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things (1:21-23)

Our tendency is to look at the last phrase images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things and conclude Paul is speaking of those uncultured, uneducated, and uncivilized.  He’s not writing to people like me.  That thought is not only arrogant, it’s also completely wrong!  Notice the phrase in verse 21  For although they knew God.  That’s what we so often miss.  Paul is speaking of those who had a relationship with the Creator.  So why would they ever exchange truth for a lie?  The answer is three-fold.  1)  They didn’t honor God or give Him thanks;  2)  They became futile in their thinking; and 3) Their foolish hearts were darkened.  Summary:  Paul says their pride and arrogance was their downfall.

Thought:  It’s easy to recognize God when He comes through.  For example, when a prayer is answered the way I want it answered (and at the right time) or when it rains after a long drought.  But what about when God doesn’t answer prayer my way?  What if the rain comes slower and slower each year?  It’s a little harder to recognize God then.  In fact, often times we blame Him for our circumstances.  And slowly we line up with those whom Paul would describe as being futile in their thinking.  Our hearts will eventually be darkened, meaning the absence of God.  Who is the heathen now?