Death, Grief, and God

Hello Church! 

I wanted to share a bit of faith with you, but I’m not sure I am up to speaking in front of the congregation quite yet.  So I hope you take a moment to read this and find something applicable for your life from it.

First – a huge thank you for being the church in prayer and support during our family’s difficult time.  Rhys thanks everyone who brought us brownies – he’s still working on them out of the freezer, 🙂 and I know Geoff was delighted to see so much delicious food brought in for us.  And your prayers of healing are immeasurably valuable.

Talk About Your Faith

Last Sunday we talked about the importance of being able to give an account of the hope that it is within us (…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15.)  At Big Life C.C. we believe sharing Jesus is our high calling as Jesus followers.  Bringing together the clarity of our own personal faith story with respect and gentleness towards those who do not believe yet is a pathway forward for Christianity in our culture just as it was thousands of years ago when those words were written.  Read more…

What Is Spiritual Maturity & Why Strive For It?

The converted aim of every Christ-follower is “spiritual maturity.”  But what is it and how do we live it?

Hebrews 12:1-3New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Read more…

Moving On From Easter

What a great Easter!  I hope you were blessed by the time with God you invested.  I hope your faith was encouraged. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the center of our faith and the center of our celebration each year. We saw more people than we ever have before in the history of our congregation. It took each and everyone of us being willing to pray, serve, invite, and worship to make this happen! 

This week we are starting a new series that I hope will take your faith to the next level.  We are going to be diving into some of the richest scriptures in the Bible, challenging one another to learn them, commit them to memory, and apply them to our daily lives.  If you have ever wanted to know how to take simple truth from the Bible and put them into action in your life you will not want to miss these next several weeks. Read more…

The End of Winter is Hard

Late winter malaise is tough.  Of course we know that any minute spring is going to come soon.  We know we are about to store our winter jackets and enjoy warm weather.  But it is easy for us to turn our anticipation into frustration in these long in- between times.  

Living a life of faith is the same. Sometimes faith moves quicker – when growth is evident, and we are able to see signs and works of God’s power in our lives.  But other times our faith seems to slow to a crawl through dry seasons of suffering or frustration.  We move slow, dry out, and we wonder if we are still moving in the right direction. Read more…

Full of Grace and Truth

“Jesus stands as a towering figure in history because all across time, he has forced history’s view of true character to bend to his own character rather than vice versa. He showed how love could be far more just, true, sacrificial, and by the way more interesting and complex than mere approval. It took a God-man to be able to do that.” -Tom Gilson Read more…

The Nicest Person You Know

I bet you have known someone pretty incredible.

Maybe they were humble in a way that was inspiring.  Maybe they were brilliant. Maybe they came to your defense, or made you a supper when you were feeling low.  Maybe they just have the kind of sense of humor that makes you chuckle regardless of your mood.

We have all felt the extraordinary experience of knowing someone awesome.  Well that warmth and care you saw is just the tip of the iceberg of knowing God and being known by God.  Those good traits we see in someone extraordinary are God traits!  Care, counsel, warmth, love, even joy… those are God descriptions!  When we are around them on earth, they light us up… now imagine how much more it is with the One who is the source of those things!

Sometimes God’s own character gets put down by (sometimes even) well-intended folks.  When we endure hardship, we can get hardened towards life… and transfer that to God.  When we experience the ways of the world, we can feel lost and uncertain… and apply our personal wavering and wandering to God.  

That is why Christianity is a faith that requires conversion.  It requires work and intention to get to know who God REALLY is.  Our hearts are hardened.  We have to choose to soften them and seek friendship with God.  

Nobody falls in love without effort.  Nobody has a deep friendship without investing time and attention.  But everyone who seeks God will find God.  And what an incredible, good, and loving God to spend time and effort getting to know! 

Don’t Be Alone

Loneliness hits hard.  It is the plague of our times.  Drifting away from people who care can come easily, while social effort is sometimes hard.  Our technology can be a poisonous surrogate for real interaction and connection.

But no one is an island.  Humans are wired for caring and receiving care.  God made us into community, refusing to leave Adam alone in His creation.  Without others, we are only partially created… we cannot live out God’s mandate of love alone.

But the flip side is that vulnerability can feel impossible.  We grow up protecting our hurts, managing our personalities to limit exposure to bad feelings.  What we end up doing is learning to be on guard against others who might be threats.  And we pull those who appear similar close to feel safe.  We learn about bad feelings, about hurt, about gossip… and we try to avoid it all as we grow up.

But God designed up to be a collective Body.  The Church is one, with many unique people working together.  We are each different parts, pressing towards the same goal of love.  

Healthy body parts contribute.  Healthy parts work together in different ways.  Healthy humans share care and compassion for one another.  Sameness is never needed, but the basics are shared. Our leader is Jesus.  Our Life is Serving.  Our goal is Love.  

You might be uniquely gifted to make food.  You might be uniquely gifted to be handy.  You might be uniquely gifted to thoughtful conversation.  You might be uniquely gifted as a studious learner.  Come and be a part of God’s Body on earth.  Give of yourself, and receive benefits of the gifts of others serving around you.  Come alongside those who also are created and serve similarly to you.  Be appreciated for who God created you to be, and offer appreciation for others who are similar AND different.  And in doing so know you are already a part of the most important mission on earth.  

We are agents on a mission from God.  We can’t succeed alone.  We need one another.  And God has beautiful plans for us each… together.

The God We Serve Is Big

The God We Serve is BIG
It is so easy to slip into bad habits – even as believers.  I have recently found myself tied up with worry and really struggling to live IN faith.
Faith is slippery for us mortals.  Faith is confident, certain hope in what we CAN’T see. (Hebrews 11:1)  I don’t know about you, but I am often FAR more confident in what I CAN see.  And that is not faith.
But the Lord is bigger.  The Lord is bigger than my lack of faith, or yours.  The Lord is patiently waiting for us to trust Him with our sources of concern.  The Lord is always inviting us into a life that is built on asking, receiving, believing, trust, and hope.
It takes some doing to retrain our skeptical minds.  It takes flexibility and humility to repent… a lot … for all the ways that we miss the mark.  It takes open hearts to center our lives on gratitude, gathering all the pieces of beauty and even correction we receive and identifying it as holy and good.  It takes active minds that seek God’s person, promises, and teachings – to start to live on them as much as we live on food.  And it takes a soul that recognizes it is starving without God’s holy goodness and care-filled leadership.
This life built on Jesus faith is described as ABUNDANT… we call it BIG.  When yours starts to feel cramped with worry and fear and lack of beauty, get on your knees.  Make a list of gratitude.  Pick up your Bible… or your Bible App on your phone.  Worship.  And give.
Believing is a choice, a cultivated life of trust that no one inherits and each must choose.  Faith is confidence in what we hope for, assurance in what is not seen. (Heb 11:1)  Invest in your faith in God.

It’s a Beautiful Day to Be a Jesus Follower

The beauty and burden of Christian faith is that every believer shares the same responsibilities.  There is no hierarchy of who does and does not live the Gospel.  In our lives, during the week, as well as on a Sunday morning, each one of us are commissioned by Jesus Christ to welcome, serve, worship, and give.  Through simple acts of intentional warmth, we make Love real whether it is at the office park, or the parking lot at church.  And the paradox of Christian faith, is that we fill up by pouring out.  So when our faith begins to run dry, the first thing we must turn to is what I can do to share and show the love of Jesus to the people around me whether is at worship on Sunday or walking the dog on Tuesday.  

My prayer for you over the next few days is that you will have found some closer connection to God in your everyday chaos, and that your life can be lived victoriously even if the size of the storms in your life is not reduced.  Not to be totally cliche, but it really ISN’T the size of the storm that matters – it’s the size of our faith in God that changes everything.  See you Sunday at 9:15 or 10:45 AM as we come together to remind ourselves, refill ourselves, and pour out God’s goodness to one another!