YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

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Recap

Jesus gives us a list of blessings known as the beatitudes.  He quickly transitions from these blessing to challenging us to change the world around us.  In essence he is telling us to go into the world and be those kinds of people so that we can saturate the communities and societies around us with a Godly presence.

He does this by correlating spiritual influence with the kind of change salt makes as it is added to food.  In the same way salt enhances the flavor of food, we as followers of Christ should enhance the people around us.

The Analogy Of Light

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

– Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus makes the leap from telling us we should be changing and shaping the culture around us to telling us that as a group, those that are followers of Christ, we have been set apart.  We are meant to live with our lives on display for the whole world to see.  Continue reading

YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH

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Given the volatile state of affairs across the nation, I want to remind those in the Church of something that Jesus taught the disciples.

In Matthew chapter five, We have recorded for us what we know as the sermon on the mount.  Matthew records this message beginning with what we call the beatitudes.  Jesus highlights a few types of people that are blessed.  He mentions the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and those who are falsely persecuted.  In the progression that Matthew gives us, Jesus, then makes a couple statements that are beneficial for us to hear.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men

– Matthew 5:13 (NASB)

Jesus began by describing the character qualities that invite God’s blessings.  The inference to the disciples is that they should strive to be those kinds of people.  As they became these kinds of people, they would have the best opportunity to affect change in the culture around them.  Jesus wanted them to take these admirable qualities and saturate the culture around them.  Continue reading

THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBLITY | THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

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Last week we looked at The Parable of the Ten Virgins.  That parable and the one we are looking at today was told in the midst of a discussion concerning the return of Jesus Christ.  The disciples specifically asked him the following question, “Tell us, when this will happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”

Just as Jesus begins telling the first parable, He gives this response, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Jesus simple answer was, I do not know.

He then began to share a couple of parables to discuss what He considered to be more important than knowing the time of His coming.  In the first parable, Jesus communicated the importance of being ready.  Given that no one knows the day and time that Jesus will return, we should live each day as if today is that day.  We should be ready at all times.  If we do not, we will surely be caught off guard one day.

He then shares the following parable to help us understand that we are expected to do more than sit back and relax.

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

– Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB)

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BE READY | THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS

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Context

Prior to telling this parable Jesus was discussing his eventual return. We refer to this as the second coming of Christ.  It was important that the disciples began to understand that His death on the cross would not be the end. This was a reality that they would not begin to grasp until He would appear to them after His resurrection.

Jesus offered a a nugget of truth about His return before He moved into the parables He had chosen to tell.  It is important that we do not miss this.

This conversation began when the disciples approached Him and asked, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  In response to that question Jesus says that He does not know when this will happen.  Not even the angels are wise to such information.  The only one that knows is the Father.

This says to us that our wait could be another ten years, or it could be another two thousand years.  This is important because Jesus uses this information to lead into a parable where a group of women are waiting for the return of a bridegroom with an unspecified time of return.

Jesus also told a short story about a servant that was caught off guard.  A servant was put in charge of his master’s household.  Then a comparison is drawn between the consequences for a faithful servant and an unfaithful servant.  The unfaithful servant is said to have done evil things and kept vile company, because he believed his master would not return for a long time.  Jesus explains that the master will return on a day he is not expected and at an unknown hour.

Jesus then begins telling the following story.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent [or wise]. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

– Matthew 25:1-13 (NASB)

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PRAYING FOR YOUR PASTOR | VOLUME 1

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Many do not understand it, but the burden of leadership is always a heavy one.  Therefore, there is no greater gift that any parishioner can give their pastor than the gift of prayer.  If you have wondered how to pray for your pastor let us share with you a few ideas.

Pray that he will:

Put God First

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment.

– Matthew 22:36-38

Your pastor is just like you.  He has a plethora of things that push against his priorities every single day.  He will be tempted to give into many of those competing agendas.

Pray specifically that your pastor will nurture his relationship with his Heavenly Father.  That it will be a relationship filled with intimacy and consistency.  That he will work to know the heart of God and he will strive to be transparent in the presence of God.  Seeking to confess and repent of his sins and seeking wise counsel to be a better man. Continue reading