Two Lenses

This Sunday we will look at what the good news means for us and what it means for the world!

The gospel is not just about my individual happiness or God’s plan for my life; It is about God’s plan for the world! In other words:

Jesus is too amazing to keep to ourselves…

“I thank God for all who made this Holy Week and Easter a tribute to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The thoughtfulness of using your gifts and generosity for preparation, cleaning, serving, assisting at worship, and being models of a joyful people is much appreciated. Be blessed as we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord!”

With Joy,

Pastor Dana

Enjoy some photos from the week!

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A big thanks to Buzz and Donnice Brown, Tim and Cammy Mahoney, and Dale Layfield for creating a new planter at the front entrance!

The new low water succulents and a rock garden motif with the LIFEhouse logo is awesome!

Adding to Jesus

11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.

12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.    

First, a brief history lesson. The earliest Christians are Jews who trust in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is the King. Jesus fulfills God’s call for Israel to become a blessing for the whole world, not just Jews. Sure enough, Paul is called by God to share the good news of King Jesus to the non-Jews of the world. The Gentiles.

But, there is a problem. Back at Church headquarters all the leaders are Jewish, because all the first Christians are Jewish. So, there is the temptation to keep practicing the Jewish rituals while following Jesus. If you don’t follow the Jewish way to being a Christian you don’t have the approval of the “Mother Ship.” This is adding to Jesus. Jesus plus…you might call it

Yet, Jesus himself, rebelled against following rituals in order to be right with God. It is trust in God that counts, not human rituals. But the Jewish Christians didn’t want to give up their human rituals. The most important human ritual for Jewish males is the initiation ceremony of circumcision. Cutting off the foreskin.

This is a problem for two reasons.

  1. You are making a human action a condition for being a Christian.
  2. This action is cutting off the foreskin of a man’s penis. The Jewish tradition is you do this when a baby is 8 days old. But, what if you are an adult Gentile? Hey, do you want to become a Christian? Well, do I have a deal for you.

Do you see the challenge Paul is facing?

The early church leaders are adding to what it means to be a Christian. They will only give their approval if the Gentiles follow the Jewish ways, along with following Jesus. Yet, Jesus himself specifically said we are no longer to follow these rituals. So, basically the early church leaders are saying if you want their approval you have to go against the teachings of Jesus.

Paul will have none of this nonsense. He says it is not cutting away the foreskin that makes you right with God. It is surrendering your whole body, your whole life, to Jesus that makes you right with God. Joining Jesus in his mission to transform the world. And when you are transformed by Jesus, it is his power working through you. Trusting in God has nothing to do with man’s approval.

ME

What are examples of human rituals you have seen made into something added to what it means to be a Christian?

The Positive Filter

…not the king. 9 In him, you see, all the full measure of divinity has taken up bodily residence. 10 What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.

The only one who has right thinking all of the time is God. And we can begin to know what God knows and think like God thinks because of Jesus. In Jesus, God becomes human, and Jesus takes on all of God’s way of thinking. So, like Jesus, we just have to live close to God all the time.

Well, how do we find God? We don’t have to find God because he is already there with us wherever we are. Through Jesus, the Kingdom of God is here. Put it this way.

People are seeking all different ways to get ahead in life. Negative ways like trying to manipulate or attack other people. Positive ways like trying to be kind and mindful.

But, none of this works if it is human-powered.

The negative is human beings allowing themselves to be Satan-influenced and using manipulation and evil thinking as a result. This isn’t going to work because God is stronger and defeats this way of thinking in the long run.

And the positive, without God, isn’t enough. You can try to be as kind and mindful as possible, but if this is under your own power you will fail. You will be overwhelmed in the long run. No one is strong enough to save themselves.

But not if we are living with God. God is always where we are. We need the supernatural power of God to live a good life where our thinking is in line with God’s thinking. Where we have the “mind of Christ” as the Bible says. Well, we can have all of this because where we are is the doorway to heaven. We just need to be mindful of this. We need to pay attention. Watch out! In a good way, keeping our mind on Jesus. Like the old song. “I woke up this morning with my mind set on Jesus…”

That’s what this means. What’s more, you are fulfilled in him, since he’s the head of all rule and authority.

To be fulfilled in him means we are full of him. Nowhere is this more important than our thinking! When our thinking matches the thinking of those who dwell with God in the heavens, starting with Jesus, then we know everything is going to be just fine for us here on earth. Then we know we lack nothing because we have access to the heavenly blessings now. Then we know we need not fear evil. No human being, not Satan himself has the power we have because Jesus is the head and we are fulfilled in him.

This is the life available to us right now. God is where we are.

ME

What does it mean to you to be “full of God?”

God is Good… is a new series on the good news of Jesus from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is interesting how much we have in common with the Colossians. As Paul shares the gospel with them, we too are invited into the same good news. And who doesn’t need good news?

This week we see how God saves us from too much separation and too much striving in our lives. It’s about receiving grace and peace…Colossians 1:1-2

(With some key insights from my friend, David Housholder)

God Time for Colossians 1:1-2