I am continuing the same theme as last week… a roadmap of Christian living. When you commit your life to Jesus, you are saying you desire your life to be different. A scripture like this is intended to ponder. E.g. one value is to not be greedy. We don’t need to be convinced that’s a noble pursuit … the question is HOW do we find contentment with what we have?
The character of your life should look different when you become a Christian. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, their your will never be the same. We are to conduct ourselves with the values of Christ… Eph. 4:22-24 explains the contrast. READ.
How we relate to others is an important part of our Christian walk. The 2nd half of Ephesians is like a Road Map of Christian living. Choose to build others up. Choose to take the high road. Choose to demonstrate the love of Christ as you have been loved.
This old world is hard. Christian communities don’t always get it right. This week a sad FB posting appeared on my wall. I won’t tell you the name, but it was posted for the public so I feel it’s fair game:
Jesus lies at the center of the nativity scene, surrounded by Mary and Joseph, shepherds, wisemen, angels. Off in the distant hills you can see great men such as Isaiah who shouted hundreds of years before Christ was born: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Is. 7:14). Standing beside Isaiah is Micah who saw clearly the coming savior: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." There are others who screamed from the mountain top that one chosen by God will come to save the world.
Then there is Ethan. He’s a man of unreasonable faith. You’ve probably never heard of him. If Isaiah and Micah are standing on the distant hill overlooking the stable, Ethan is out of sight beyond the horizon. Ethan points to the Christmas story; he speaks for many who have great faith, but they see problems that seems impossible to solve. Ethan has no idea how God will fulfill his promises, yet he believes.
Psalm 132 is a beautiful Psalm full of the promises of God. His promises are far greater than our attempts to earn God’s promises. On truth shines brighter than the rest: All God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Amen!
There are two parts to this Psalm divided by what I think of as an awkward dance in the middle (Ps. 132:10-12). The entire Psalm is addressing the problem stated in Ps. 132:1 READ. This Psalm is for those who are suffering from hardships…trying to make it through ~ and the only answer: God’s promises.
Beautiful words that testify to the amazing nature and character of God….
God is not just able to do beyond what we ask: “Now to Him/ who is able/ to do immeasurably more than all that we ask/ or imagine/, according to the power/ that works within us”….
A woman once approached the famous preacher, G. Campbell Morgan, after he spoke: “Do you think we should pray for even the little things in our lives, or just for the big things?” In his dignified British manner Morgan replied, “Madam, can you think of anything in your life that is big to God?”
1 Cor. 15:1-11 ~ Breaking Down Barriers (Stories from Port of Hope Ministries ~ Chaplain Phil DuFrene
Whoops, accidentally ended up sideways but very good message. No written notes available. Below is a video from one of the stories Chaplain Phil tells in the sermon about the Hindu that asked if Jesus was a Muslim or a Christian. Phil gives a thoughtful and gentle answer. The video begins after the question is asked and ends with an interruption. The answer continued a few minutes later but is not filmed.
[NOTE: FB Live Video did not come out smoothly this week, not sure if it will get posted later this week or not.]
What’s the difference between Ignorance and Apathy? [anyone know the answer? It’s a common joke] “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Overcoming apathy. I’m taking liberty in today’s message. In the last verse, Eph. 3:13, Paul says “do not be discouraged...” There is a difference between discouragement and apathy. Apathy is one more step of indifference beyond discouragement. Apathy is everything discouragement is except you add an element of not caring. Apathy literally means lack of emotions…
Ephesians 3:1-6 ~ "The Riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of men" (Chesterton Quote) ~ Carl Crouse
Do you ever feel inadequate trying to explain the grace of God? Grace is fundamental to faith, yet to fully grasp and receive grace is beyond our minds… The idea of pure grace is even more fleeting for those that don’t know Christ: surely there is something we need to do! It is common for people to not feel good enough to receive God’s love! To be accepted. To be forgiven.
In seminary I had a job at the front desk of registrar’s office. Every quarter a few students would come in to see me because they got a failing grade in a class they didn’t attend. When I looked up the record and showed them they signed up but forgot to drop it, more than one panicking student shouted, “you have to give me grace because you are a Christian School….” Newsflash: Forced grace is not grace, it’s law… Our minds have a tough time grasping pure grace…we excuse ourselves secretly thinking I’m not as bad as the person sitting next to me…
When we preach about the cross of Christ we normally focus on Jesus paying the price for our sins. If I ask “why did Jesus die?” most people, including me, will describe salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Today’s scripture describes another purpose ~ Reconciliation!!!!! Togetherness… This is a BIG PICTURE SCRIPTURE and the importance of seeing ourselves in unity with the World wide Church… This Big C Church is what motivates me as a pastor… often when I am critical of myself I think maybe I haven’t spent enough time on our local church… but that isn’t how I am wired, that isn’t what I saw in my father…But I know I’m right that if more pastors/churches looked beyond the local church and how to build our little Kingdom and see the Bigger Kingdom…
Today’s scripture: the Big C Church ~ all Christians present, past and future are members… As today’s scripture begins, the word PEACE speaks of oneness/togetherness … The purpose of Jesus death is to bring literal peace between people that are so different from one another …the 1st part of today’s Bible reading is to bring peace … the 2nd part is the result: Oneness. Unity. READ EPH. 2:14-22.
There are some things God wants us to forget: past offenses from others... turn the other cheek… life is much easier when we let God be the judge and not be vengeful… Some of you are experts on forgetting!... anyone have that spiritual gift?
Some things the Lord wants us to forget! But others he wants us to NEVER FORGET. In today’s scripture Paul twice uses the word, REMEMBER (Eph. 2:1 and 2). REMEMBER is Paul’s swift kick in the pants ~ don’t forget the appointment, it’s important! .
Paul kicks us in the pants to remember our past so that we will always thankfully rejoice for our salvation. “Therefore” in Eph. 2:11 refers to Eph. 2:1-10: you have been saved by grace therefore remember what you were like. God wants us to have awareness of the great contrast of before and after. One person noted the new identity that Ephesians describes ~ He compared it to a kitten looking in a mirror and seeing the reflection of a lion….I get it… but for me, the mirror needs to be like those old triple panel department store mirrors that I used to play in as a kid when I was shopping with my mother ~ three angles….the lion is definitely reflected in one of the panels, but in the other is still a kitten. Never forget you were once a weak, helpless, dependent kitten.
Carl Crouse, Pastor
At SACC we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every Sunday the worship service includes a message from the Bible. My words are an attempt to understand and apply the Bible to our daily living. I post weekly sermons and other biblical messages on this page. May you find meaning and hope as you read through each message and seek to hear God's voice. Leave a comment to ask questions or inspire others with your insights.