Quiet Suffering – July 26, 2019

I was asked to post a little piece I read last Sunday (July 21), here’s the set up:

I preached on what I called “Paul’s Creds” in Colossians 1:24-2:5.  It starts in verse 24 with this interesting statement about his suffering:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.”

Which led to a discussion about suffering in the church age being the “birth pangs” of the next age (Romans 8:18-25) and while Paul was “taking a bullet” for the believers at Colossae in the form of persecution, suffering takes many forms…

Finally, we would be wrong to think of suffering only in terms of the direct outward persecution that professing Christians sometimes undergo because of their faith. The church must, it is true, always be ready for such persecution, and must support, in prayer and practical help, those who face it. But all Christians will suffer for their faith in one way or another: if not outwardly, then inwardly, through the long, slow battle with temptation or sickness, the agonizing anxieties of Christian responsibilities for a family or a church (Paul knew these, too: see 2 Cor. 1 and 2; 1 Thess. 2:17 – 3:1), the constant doubts and uncertainties which accompany the obedience of faith, and ‘the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to,’ taken up as they are within the call to follow Christ. All of these, properly understood, are things to rejoice in – not casually, flippantly or superficially, but because they are signs that the present age is passing away, that the people of Jesus, the Messiah, are the children of the new age, and that the birthpangs of this new age are being worked out in them. This knowledge about the two ages, as we shall see, forms the basis of Paul’s later appeal in 2:20 – 3:4.  (N.T Wright, Colossians and Philemon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, p. 90)

Hope it encourages you even as it encouraged me,

Pastor Scott


Bone Weary – July 19, 2019

Psalm 126

“He guards the buried seed, and stands sponsor for the harvest. No sigh, no tear, no prayer, inspired by the Spirit of God, can positively be lost or unproductive …you shall yet see the travail of your soul, and be satisfied.” F.B. Meyer

 Truth for when it hurts.  For when you’ve poured out more than you ever thought you could and the little seed of faith that you have left doesn’t seem like enough for you to keep moving forward. For the places in our lives where we know our pursuit is sacred and we don’t want to get it wrong, but at times the striving takes so much effort it hurts a thousand-fold.

What holy pursuit are you sowing right now that is just plain hard? That all but knocks you to your knees with the effort of it? Is it a difficult marriage that you keep tending with love and kindness the best you can, a physical illness that isolates you and yet you want to bear it well, or loving your challenging child completely even though it about kills you some days?

Every step forward, every seed planted, every time you show up and hold space in the hard places you will return with sheaves of blessings in your arms and songs of joy dripping from your mouth. Holy effort is never in vain, friends. It never goes unnoticed.  ~ Kristy Gearhart, Mission Hills Church  

 I found the little piece above on a friend’s blog.  It just made me think about how the evidence of the spiritual warfare Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6 is becoming more and more clear.  Remember what he also wrote? Take God’s armor and, in God’s power, STAND! Wherever God has me, in whatever gap He’s placed me, my job is to STAND.

 Stand strong, my brothers and sisters; He notices!

 Pastor Scott 

Is God getting my leftovers? – July 12, 2019

Cain & Abel

As New Testament believers who also happen to be of the “free grace” persuasion (I hate having to describe myself using an oxymoron), we might tend to undervalue the truths that apply to us as His kids.  He did save us by grace, but He expects us to live in a way that brings glory to Him not just for our own pleasure.  Along with that we see, from one of the very first stories in the OT to one of that last stories in the OT, that He is concerned that we bring Him our best.

Consider Cain.  It’s a favored interpretation of modern scholars to say that God rejected Cain’s sacrifice and accepted Abel’s because Cain’s was bloodless; but we only see that because of Leviticus which hadn’t been written yet.  The text, aided by the Hebrews 11 interpretation, would seem to indicate that Able gave his best and Cain simply gave…. something.

Jump to the Priests of Malachi’s day (Malachi 1:6-14) – God says of the blind lamb they lay on the altar, “Why not offer it to your governor?”  Again, God is displeased with our second best in worship.

Permit me one last example.  In 1 Corinthians 11, we read that when the church gathered for the Lord’s Supper they went about it in the wrong way.  Instead of sharing a meal, those who brought the food and wine early ate and drank their fill, and those who came late (presumably the poorer day-workers in the body) went hungry.  For that offense God did indeed discipline most severely.

What’s my point?  He wants my best! Not my second best.  Not my left overs! Not my afterthought!  My VERY BEST! After all, He gave me His very life!

Pastor Scott

(The idea for this piece came from discussion in Discipleship 101 this past Sunday morning – I hope if you aren’t already involved in a class, you’ll consider coming to ours!)

Surely He Bore my Sin! – July 5, 2019

I read about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing. At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father’s full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed.

The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy’s plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew to be a man, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.”

  1. 1 Peter 2:24 : Is 53:4, 11; 1 Cor 15:3; Heb 9:28

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