Remembrance Day

We have just passed Remembrance Day.  A day when we stop to remember all those who have given their lives so that we could experience the freedom that we have today.  We stop to remember the sacrifice and pray that we will learn how to live for peace.

As I was preaching yesterday, it hit me, not that others haven’t thought of this before but I realized it for myself that as much as people might complain about religion and faith, when we focus on God and live out the Gospel of peace, we wouldn’t have the wars and travesties that we have today.  Essentially all of the violence starts because we are self focused and not focused on God.  We might enter a war or a confrontation because we are trying to stand between oppression and innocence but the violence starts from being focused on ourselves in one form or another.  It might not be pride or racial superiority, greed or hate, it might be self preservation or trying to stand our ground as a sign of strength.  I know this is too simplistic but think about what would happen if we were all focused on Jesus instead of our worries, or whatever is going on inside of us.  As much as this sound to like self denial, it is actually self care because Jesus is the one who can handle it all, and in Him we can find the freedom and fulness of life that we are fighting for in one form or another.  Remember that it was Jesus who took time for the injured, marginalized, oppressed, rich, and forgotten, the intellectual, and the worker.  By focusing on Jesus we are opening up ourselves and the world to the healing that we all so desperately need.  But that would mean I would have to let go and look towards Jesus, we all would.  Maybe then we would understand and be consumed by the peace that we stand and remember and hope for.

Working towards the Kingdom

We are into a new message series entitled “Working towards the Kingdom”  We have walked through “Knowing God” and our previous series “The Kingdom”  and now we are looking at what it means to living out the grace and love that we have because of Jesus and sharing it with others as Jesus did.  We are trying to live out the hope that we have in Jesus and show people a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus is revealing to us and has revealed to us through the Bible.

Yesterday, we talked about living in forgiveness. It is incredible how life changing forgiveness is.  When we realize how important the forgiveness that Jesus brings into our lives we need to share it and show people grace.  We looked at what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:1-17 from the Message translation and saw how people can confuse the gospel but also how Jesus can take even the worst of sinners a man who had no problem with murder, whose heart was hardened and wanted to condemn, a man who was so focused on his hate that it took Jesus appearing before him and blinding him and Jesus transformed him into a witness and example of Jesus’ grace and love.

We all start out on the same level before God, we are all sinners.  We are no better than another person, we do have the love and grace of Jesus, not that this makes us more important, it makes Jesus more important.  We all start out as sinners but when we accept the forgiveness of Jesus, we are to bear witness to those around us of Jesus’ forgiveness.

Are you living as a witness to Jesus’ forgiveness and faithfulness?  Live it out.