Sunday, September 23, 2018

Slave to Child

The Third Message in the Series, "Soul Shift."

The Scripture lesson is a continuation of the conversation Jesus had with His disciples, as recorded in the ninth chapter of Mark's Gospel.

--Some have forgotten who they are--
      They conflate their identity with what they do.

--Some have forgotten whose they are--
      Their spiritual experience is based on religious practices; trying to make God proud of them
You are unimpressive
if your religion is base on performance.  There is nothing you can do to earn God's approbation.

"Some are good at being childish, but really bad at being children of God."

Could it be that some of the most devout people among us still need to change?  Are we living up to the true potential that Jesus expects?  "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” --Mark 10:15 

--The expectation:  "Just be with Me!"

"The older we get the more chains and shackles we carry around."

God is a Father, a father who knows his children.  God is not a reflection of your earthly father, He is the original Father.

 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. --Galatians 4:4-7

 The Father is not stuck with us, he chose us!
He is Daddy; we are his children.

 Enslaved:

1.  In bondage to rules.  He did not choose us to exchange one form of slavery for another.   He sets us free!

2.  In bondage to what people think of us. If you are living to please others you are an imposter.

3.  In bondage to addictions.  (We wouldn't recognize ourselves without them.)  Christ wants to set us free!

Solution:
It's all in the conversation!

Be attuned to the small whisper of His voice.  Read the Word.  Meditate on it.  Slowly, no hurry; let the Word penetrate.
Your Heavenly Father wants to communicate with you.
 "If you aren't hearing Him, it is not because He's not talking, it's because you aren't listening."  

Drop little notes of love and appreciation to God.  Acknowledge that you have heard His voice!

It's in the conversation!
 
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Prudence

My physical therapist often told me, "Listen to your body!"

Today I was worrying a stump with an axe, ninety degrees, sunny.  After a time, not specified, my body clearly said, "One more whack with that axe and I WiLL kill you!"

The rest of the stump will still be there another day.

(I used to work eight+ hours on the job, go home and split wood for two hours before dinner.  "Used to" was a  wonderful stage in life, was it not?)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Genetics


Sarah, noting the craze for designer dogs, had her golden retriever  bred to a poodle, what with the popularity of the golden doodle.  The dog had five beautiful pups, but Sarah's disappointment grew as the pups grew, for she realized that they were not golden doodles, but poo retrievers.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Me to You

The lesson is drawn from chapter nine of the Gospel of Mark beginning with verse thirty.  The disciples with Jesus on the road to Capernaum are arguing amongst themselves when Jesus tells them (for the second time) that he will die that they might live.  The men are so self-absorbed that the message eludes them.

Arguing, for these disciples, is within their natures.  Ours. too?
When they come into the house, Jesus asks them what they were talking about on the road.  Silence.  Why?  Guilt.

Self-absorption kills empathy, let alone compassion.
Those preoccupied with their own selfish desires spend their time trying to achieve position and power.
"He who would be first must be last."  --Jesus

He who would be first must be servant to all (even as Christ gave himself for all).

In our sinful nature we have a propensity to look out for #1 first.  We are competitive; losing is insufferable.

Crucify self.   Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow me."  When Christ took up his cross, where did he go?  To death.  So must we die to self.

If people shift from a me-focus to a you-focus it would change everything.

Become Selfish-Aware
Take an Interest in Others
Become a Servant 
(because we want to serve)
Carry each other's burdens.  In this we are never more Christ-like.

God does help those who cannot help themselves.  We serve through acts of humility, compassion, and justice.

Christ is the most important person in any room!

1.  How much do you think of the needs of others?
2.  What have you done for some one other than yourself this week?
3.  What would others say about your concern for others?


Do you truly care for others, or are you the most important person in the room?

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Exceedingly

Mrs. Warr:  I have often heard that old men are exceedingly stubborn.  I think you exceed them all.

(Bob may be stubborn, but he is bright, too.  He made no response, spoke not a mumbling word.)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Soul Shift --1

The scripture lesson is Mark 8:27-38 in which Jesus and his disciples are on a journey.  Upon Peter's testimony that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus begins to explain to His followers that he must die and be raised from  the dead.  Peter pulls Jesus aside and chastises Him for His declaration of death.  Jesus turns back to face the other disciples, putting Peter at His back, and says, "Get behind me Satan."  The key verse is Mark 8:34, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

What is a disciple, a true follower of Jesus Christ? 

      We may know who we want to be, yet not be clear on who we are meant to be.

Discipleship is not running from who we don't want to be, but rather it is running toward someone we love. 

Soul:  The life principle where our truest nature lies.

Don't sell yourself short; less than Christ-likeness is not acceptable.


Stop expecting less, and start expecting more!

 The cost of discipleship is great, more than any of us can imagine, (vv 34, 35)

"To be minded like God is not just the think like Him, it is to be wired like Him, to have our nature changed to be just like Christ."

True discipleshiip is rewiring of our nature, a shift in our soul.
We will stop doing things our way and do things as Christ would do them.
We will react like Christ not because we think about how to react, but rather because Christ's nature is natural for us!

     1.  Learn to value the interests of others above and before the self.
     2.  Discover new identity in Christ.
     3.  Will begin to see the eternal realities.
     4.  Understand the role of the disciple.
     5,  Will stop seeking to be heard and learn to hear.
     6,  Take ownership and responsibility for others on the journey.
     7.  Will appreciate the power of the journey as we follow Christ.

"Take up your cross and follow me."
  
Stop running from the person you hate and run toward the Person you love 
     

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Scripture as Sacrament

Must find a sense of balance amidst the chaos.

Does your devotional life suffer when you "get out of balance"?
Are you so out of alignment that you are going through life sideways?

To find peace and contentment we must align ourselves with God's will.
You will find God's will on the pages of His Word:  The Bible.
Approach the scriptures as a sacrament of God.

We believe the Bible is infallible, doctrine intact; it contains all things necessary for life and salvation.  It is impossible to develop a Christ-like life without steady input and understanding of His Word. 

A natural drift will occur, one will find that  he is out of alignment, going through life sideways.
Signs that we need a spiritual alignment.
     1.  Weariness.  
          "The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul." --Psalm 19:7a
     2.  Confusion.
          The world is riddled with miscommunication, misinformation.
          Lord, make me wiser than I am.
          "The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple." --Psalm 19:7b
     3.  Discouragement
          Stress, anxiety
          "The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart." --Psalm 19:8a
     4.  Worry
           Learn to fear God, place your trust in Him
           "The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever." --Psalm 19:9a
           Have a healthy fear of the Lord and there is nothing else to fear.
     5,  Guilt
          "There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  --Romans 8:1
          Mercy and grace flow from the pages of God's Word.

Approach God's Word as a sacrament.
     1.  Read; there is no excuse not to.
     2.  Reflect; meditate, think about what you read.
     3.  Remember; memorize, hide His Word in your heart where it cannot be taken from you.
     4.  Recount; tell others what God shares.
     5.  Respond; "But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only."  --James 1:22


 You will begin to align your life to the will of God, found in the pages of His Holy Word!

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 
--Psalm 19:14
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A thing or two

TV commercial, guy says, "I know a thing or two about chickens."

I do, too.  They are lice-infested, they crap all over everything, and they stink.*

Then realizing I've lost my mind, I break into cackling laughter.  (See what I did there?)

*Said the guy whose job it was to clean the hen house.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tarry Fails


Frog:  Kiss me, I'm a prince.

Maiden: (kisses frog)

Prince:  Yikes!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Mondays are for Mission

Romans 12:1-3, 21

To quarantine our faith, that is to keep our religious life separate from other activities, is to miss our calling. We are called to be missionaries.

People are looking for a faith that is relevant, a faith that is authentic. They are looking for a real Faith lived out in a real way. Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount tells us that we are to be salt and light.  People of that day understood that salt had extreme value, that it was actually crucial to life in that time.

We must exhibit the presence of God in our lives even in the most mundane situations. Everyday should be Take Jesus to Work Day. Jesus speaks to whom?  He speaks to Everyday People in everyday situations.

Letting the Light of Christ shine is not as difficult as you think.

1. Don't be critical;  2. Treat people kindly.
These are the ways Jesus will show through your life.
 We may not have all the answers but we have the right answers. 
Jesus is the right answer to whatever is wrong.

1.  What is the place that should be considered your mission field?
2.  What are some things you can change to amplify your mission?
3.  How can you encourage someone to shine brighter?
4.  What could you do at work, at home, to bring glory to God?
5.  What can you do to be more consistent in sharing your faith?

Be diligent; be bright; be consistent.

Let your walk align with your faith.

You got this!

You were made for Mondays!

You are the salt, the light! 

" Invite Jesus into each and every conversation and interaction."

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning