The REAL Solution

There are a lot of difficult things going on in our world.

Baltimore: Protests, Riots, Accusations of Police Brutality and ‘Thuggery’.

Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court decisions re: Marriage; Corruption in politics at the highest levels.

Middle East and Africa: The ‘Islamic State’ and it’s partners taking a ‘convert or die’ message out to the masses.

 

These things cry out for a solution!

They are complex, difficult issues, however…how can we begin to ‘solve’ them?

It can seem so overwhelming that we simply give up and hope for Jesus to come back and take us away.

He may do that, and it may be soon.

But what if it’s not?

Are we to bury our heads in the sand, or to isolate ourselves hoping to be kept ‘immune’ from the issues or threats?

No!

In fact, I would say that we are not only called to be actively engaged, but we are increasingly being FORCED to do so!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

In the Old Testament, the book of Esther records the story of a young woman who was thrust into a situation that was overwhelming. She was suddenly chosen to be Queen of Persia, just at a time when a threat to the very existence of her own people–the Jews–was growing. Would she try to keep her head down, hide her ethnicity, and hope for the best, or would she engage in the battle?

Her uncle, Mordecai, reminds her that all of these events–including her in the position she was in–were in God’s hands.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

In other words, ‘Don’t be fooled, Esther–you can’t remain silent and aloof. You WILL be part of this situation, no matter what you do…but God has put you where you are for this very moment, this very situation.’

I believe that God had put us–His children–in this world at this time for this specific situation.

Whereas each one of these situations listed is complex, the answer is really quite simple: A Return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, allegiance to His Word and being led by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the Church Being The Church–loving, gracious, but uncompromising.

The Church leading Dads and Moms into leading their families again–setting examples of hard work, integrity, and family structure and reaping the relational, educational and economic benefits of doing so.

The Church leading those in authority to stand on Biblical principles, committing themselves to leading with integrity and honesty, using their authority for good, not for evil. Putting the good of the people before their own ambitions.

The Church leading marriages by God’s design–Husbands and Wives committing to each other for life, living out their faith in front of their kids (and society), training the next generation in the way they should go. Not redefining ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ because of society’s desires, but recommitting to living these things out according to God’s plan.

The Church leading its people–God’s children, by faith in Jesus–to overcome any and all obstacles by firm conviction, confidence in God’s power, boldness in the face of threats, and demonstrations of radical love and grace in the midst of persecution.

It is the same Solution that Paul spoke of when he said, For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Romans 1:16-17)

The Gospel…the Good News about Jesus.

He still offers us The REAL Solution.

CHURCH, let’s embrace it fully, share it lovingly, and proclaim it boldly!

It is THE solution!

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Worshiping at the Wrong Altar

Worship: ” (N): reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred; (V): to render religious reverence and homage to, to feel an adoring reverence or regard for”. (Dictionary.com)

Who, or What, do you worship?
Everyone ‘worships’ something or someone.
Many ‘worship’ God. Some ‘worship’ and pay homage to some one or some thing much less worthy than God.
Who, or What, do you worship?
To worship someone or something means that I give them my allegiance, my attention, my devotion.
It means I lay something down as an offering to them–my time, my money, my life.
Again, we all ‘worship’ something. What or Who do you worship?
Unfortunately in our society there are many people who are worshiping at the wrong altar, worshiping an unworthy object. You can probably come up with a list of what is ‘worshiped’ in our culture–anything that is the object of devotion, attention, and allegiance; anything that people sacrifice for, anything that people passionately serve.
What would you put on that list for our culture?
Technology, popularity, money, sex, power, acceptance, material wealth, political power…sports clubs, movie stars,
Out of that list, which one comes closest for you, personally? Are there any things on there that you ‘worship’?
Here’s the thing: I think there’s something that’s much more insidious than any of those things, and it shows up in all of them. It shows up in us.
It shows up in many, many ways: Addictions, Debt, Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Lies, Weight Issues and health problems; Sexual and relational dysfunction…
It is an object-of-our-worship that gets us all at one time or another, any time we sin; any time we put something before the One True God.
What is this ‘false god’ of our worship?
Self.
It’s me. It’s you.
It’s each of us, focusing on ‘me’, demanding our rights to have what we want, when we want it, however we want it–and to NOT be ‘judged’ in doing so.
It is the basest, most carnal form of sin: Self.
Self-ishness; Self-centeredness; Self-focus. SELF!
The Scripture says “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23)
‘Claiming to be wise, they instead became fools’…yeah, pretty much Spot-On!
Sort of sounds like our society, where all the ‘enlightened’ progressives keep pushing the envelope of ‘self’ so that there is NOTHING out-of-bounds, NO limits. This ‘enlightenment’ is nothing new–Paul saw it more than 2000 years ago, and the truth is, it’s been part of our spiritual dna since our first ancestors thumbed their noses at God and said ‘Thanks, but we’re going to do it our way.’
This ‘god of self’ leads to ‘false worship at a false altar’, and vehement opposition to anyone who tries to point it out.
And it doesn’t stop there.
With no ‘archaic limits’, this god-of-self puts the pedal to the metal of sin and goes for it…right off a cliff!
“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.” (Romans 1:25-27)
Followed to its natural conclusion, it can lead nowhere but destruction.
A civilization bent on ‘Self’ and ‘Self-fulfillment’ above all else will ‘Self-Destruct’.
It is inevitable.
That’s part of the reason John Adams said “Our Constitution is meant for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other kind”. 
He and the founders knew that IF we abandoned God and the Judeo-Christian principles our Constitution was written on, it would inevitably lead to a people who DEMAND Self-expression, Self-fulfillment, and who do so SELFISHLY.
…and that, not surprisingly, is increasingly what we see in our nation.
Again, that’s not a shock: Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.  They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” (Romans 1:28-32)
Let me be blunt.
If we, as a people, continue to ‘worship’ at the ‘Altar of Self’, we are destined for doom.
God, Who has actively blessed our nation, will follow the pattern He always has–the pattern He described in the Scriptures: He will remove His hand of blessing, then He will send chastisement, then, if we do not repent, He will send catastrophe.
If we turn, however, and repent–beginning with Christians and Christian churches–He may relent.
In this case, the words written in 2 Chronicles 7:14 ring true: “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”. 
Let us repent of our selfishness! Let turn from our wicked ways and our compromise! Let us turn back to Him in real worship and devotion and seek His face!
Maybe He will move on us and bless us.
If we refuse (as it seems we are doing), then get ready…it’s gonna get ugly!

Brain Change?

Is it possible to have a ‘brain change’?

I know that some people might think at times that others have had a ‘lobotomy’,  but they usually say that in jest, and that’s not the ‘brain change’ that I’m talking about.

 

In all seriousness, I’m wondering whether or not God can change my brain.

Can He change my thoughts?

Can the Creator of the universe do anything to change how I choose to think?

I think the answer is Yes….and No!

 

The Lord gives those of us have a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus lots of potential to change our thinking.

He certainly gives us new teachings and mindsets to adopt from His Word.

Yet, it’s up to us to actively engage in ridding ourselves of the lies with those truths.

 

Many of us grew up with the lies constantly in our minds–‘You’re no good’, ‘You’ll never succeed’, ‘You’re worthless’.

Our enemy the devil certainly adds to those: ‘You’re not forgivable’, ‘You’re too far gone’, ‘Jesus rejects you’, ‘God is against you’.

Oftentimes those kinds of thoughts are present in our minds, and we are quite unaware of them. These thought sabotage a lot of God’s work in our lives, and the enemy smiles in delight. Remember, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy…” (John 10:10)

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:11 “We are not ignorant of his wicked schemes”.

We know how he works, and a lot of his work is in our minds–the stuff we think.

Sure, there’s the standard ‘temptation’, and we can defeat that with the Spirit’s guidance (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), but I’m talking about the lies he gets us to believe about ourselves…and the ‘destruction’ that satan accomplishes by keeping us believing those lies!

We need to learn to judge (critique) our own thoughts:

‘Where does that thought come from: The Lord, the enemy, this world, or the flesh’?

If it’s not from the Lord, don’t waste your time with it. If it is from the enemy, come against it, in the name of Jesus!

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

We need to engage, by faith, with God in this. We need to be actively involved in ‘taking every thought captive’ and running it through the grid of Scripture.

We need to learn to stand on His Word, and affirm the truths–for others, yes; but for ourselves too!

Those kinds of Truths are everywhere in the Scriptures: Truths about His Love for us; His will for us; His grace and mercy toward us; His power to use us for His purposes….they jump from the Scriptures!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

Now it’s up to us to live differently by standing on those truths!

We need a ‘brain change’…and God graciously and powerfully give it, if we walk with Him and stand on His Word!

 

Let’s DO This!

Dave

Let’s Go! The Journey begins…

There’s something about a countdown…

One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13…and there’s a great countdown here:

Pretty intense!

But it’s not just in Spaceships…there’s Nascar, there’s anticipation of the first pitch in baseball, the opening kickoff in football, the anticipation of the initial faceoff in hockey.

At those moments, you’re almost holding your breath, awaiting what comes next.

Sometimes ‘what comes next’ is catastrophic–an embarrassing defeat by the other team, or (much more significantly) a terrible, tragic accident like happened on Apollo 1, or the Space Shuttle.

Yet, the anticipation of something new is still exciting. The new direction could take you to another stage, another level…and Victory!

In some ways, as a church, we are anticipating something new.

At KCC we are daring to ask, ‘What does God really want from me?’  ‘What does He really have for me?’

We’ve been daring to consider Jesus words in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have LIFE, more abundantly.” 

What does that ‘abundant’ life look like? Is it that ‘God wants to make me rich’? I don’t think so.

I do think, however, that God wants to bless us as we follow His Word, and that the Holy Spirit does want to ‘show Himself’ more in our lives.

This week we start a new series called “The Journey: An Invitation to a Life of Faith”.

We are daring to challenge our preconceived notions of how much God wants to ‘show Himself’ in our lives. We are daring to ask, IF Jesus really did come to give His followers “Life more abundantly”, WHY AM I NOT EXPERIENCING THAT?

One thing we do know: It’s not because His power, His love and His will has been changed…so it must be us.

And we want to change that!

This week we start a new journey together…the countdown has started….Let’s Go!

Why do we call THIS ‘Good’?

You can picture it.

Three Crosses

Three crosses on a hillside, the middle one holding Jesus the Nazarene, son of Joseph and Mary.

He’d been beaten beyond recognition, whipped. A ‘crown’ made of thorns had been thrust onto His head, and He’d been marched through the streets, outside the city, and up the hill. Then He’d been nailed–NAILED–to the cross. It had been raised and dropped into the ground with a thud, and the long, tortuous hours of torture and death had begun.

Occasionally, he would push up on the feet–pierced with a nail–so that He could fill His lungs with air.

Then, due to the pain, He’d let some of the pressure off those pierced feet by hanging from His pierced hands.

This torture could have gone on for hours.

Why do we call THIS ‘Good’?

Because it was necessary. It was crucial. It was what He came to do.

“…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

He knew why He came…He came to die! It was ‘good’, because He did it out of love. He did it for us. He did it to pay our debt–ours!

He willingly gave His life for us–for all who will call upon Him as Savior and Lord.

And in so doing, He made LIFE available for us, while He fulfilled the prophecies.

Isaiah 53:3-9:

“He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
    yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
    And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
    he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
    he was led away.[b]
No one cared that he died without descendants,
    that his life was cut short in midstream.[c]
But he was struck down
    for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
    and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
    he was put in a rich man’s grave.”

Jesus paid the debt He did not owe so that we could have a life we did not deserve–all because of the grace and mercy of God.

“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world, through Him, could be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

Why do we call ‘Good Friday’ Good?

Because by sacrificing Himself in our place, He earned our forgiveness and redemption.

He made LIFE available for us!

“When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11)

Make no mistake: Jesus IS Savior and Lord. At His name, every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He IS Lord!

In the meantime, it was His LOVE that made “Good Friday” good…because at the cross is where He showed it most!

The Calm Before the Storm

A nice spring day…warm breezes, birds chirping, plants that have appeared as dead seemingly coming back to life. All is nice, all is serene, all is calm. So nice, in fact, that you decide to eat outdoors…then you lay down in the sunshine and doze, ‘just for a minute’.

Suddenly BOOM! Thunder wakes you up!

Unbeknownst to you, while you were napping, some small clouds started gathering in the west. They grew and formed a thunderhead and now–BOOM again!

You’re in the midst of a storm!

I can’t help thinking that this must have been something like the Disciples went through during what we now call ‘Holy Week’. After all, that Sunday they had been welcomed in to Jerusalem like heroes–the Master, Jesus that is–and the people seemed to want to be around Him and hang on His every word! You felt really privileged to be in the ‘inner circle’–those He let close. You’d been with Him for 3 years, and now it seemed to be just about perfectly timed…He was about to take the next step to lead the people.

Sure, there was some friction with the Jewish authorities, but what else was new? With just a few exceptions, they never liked Him!

There were those things that He had said…things that sort of creeped them out and had them wondering…

“The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (Luke (9:22)

This seemed so out of place for what was going on right now that they must’ve written it off as Jesus having a bad day.

Surely He was wrong…everything seemed to be going well!

Here they were, Wednesday evening, Thursday morning…they were starting to get ready for the Passover meal–one of their favorite traditions. They couldn’t wait to celebrate it with Jesus again–He seemed to bring something so special to it!

It’s almost as though He took it personally somehow!

The Disciples, as we know, were virtually oblivious to the events swirling around them.

They didn’t know of the conversations the Jewish Leaders were having in the Sanhedrin–the Jewish Leadership Council. They didn’t know that Pilate–the Roman Governor–was being brought into the circle. The unholy alliance between Jerusalem and Rome was being forged specifically to target Jesus…but they had no clue!

It was truly ‘the calm before the storm’.

The storm clouds were gathering. The thunder was starting to roll in the distance. The  wind was building.

Soon…BOOM! It would hit!

And then they’d just be happy to survive.

They had no clue.

But Jesus did.

He knew what was coming. He knew, as difficult as it would be, this was what He came for!

Earlier in the week, He’d said to them, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

Later that night, they’d hear Him say…

“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying,“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:38-39)

Jesus knew. He knew the storm was coming.

He also knew what would come afterward.

He was ready!

Join us this weekend as we remember what Jesus did, and why it’s so important for us.

Good Friday evening from 6-6:30 we’ll have worship, then watch The Passion Of The Christ from 6:30–8:30, after which we’ll celebrate communion together.

To celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday, we’ll have services at 9:30 and 11:30. These are great opportunities to ask friends, coworkers and neighbors!