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The Deposit

May 27, 2010

Many years ago I started my first checking account. How cool was that, I had a checking account, you can tell I was a very young man at the time. I placed my money in the account that the bank created for me, they sent me checks (even with my name on them). Then after the first monthly statement I received, there is was a fee for not maintaining a $50.00 balance. It was my money though!

In 2nd Timothy 1:11-18 “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.”

Paul writes to remind Timothy that all that has been presented to him over all their times together, Paul had deposited the truth and sound teaching in him. This deposit had a minimum but no maximum. So often I feel that so many have invested into me over the years that prepared me to be able to stand even when all I have around me is my relationship with Him. It is that relationship with our Savior that keeps us along the journey that lies ahead. We need to rely on Him and understand that the Holy Spirit is there to help along the way. Today see what has been deposited into you and understand that there is a lot more that needs to be deposited. Keep living for Him!

Love ya,
Mark



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May 27, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

The Christian’s Continual Boxing Match – Round 3 of 10

May 26th, 2010

Gospel vs. Religion

I’m a good Christian. I hear that a lot. What they’re really saying is, I follow the rules. I worship the rules. Too many Christians have turned religion into an idol. The reason that idolatry is so alluring is that idols promise to make life worth living, bring us happiness, and provide for us and sense of being good. All of these desires are fine, but they become evil when they become our focus, rather than Jesus, who alone makes life worth living[1]. For many, it seems that control, comfort, and quiet are the idols many people are devoted to worshipping. We have elevated many things to a god-like status that aren’t really God-like at all. Over the next 10 weeks, I’d like to make aware the 10 differences between God’s truth (gospel) and the Christian’s idol (religion).

Round 3 of 10

Religion says, It’s all about what you DO.

Because of this infectious belief, religious people like to gauge right living on a measurable scale.

Gospel says, It’s all about what Jesus has DONE.

Such things as love, kindness, patience and other fruits of the Spirit listed here:

Galatians 5:22-23 are difficult to check off on a Christian ‘to-do’ list. The religious person likes to pursue things they can check off, things like regular church attendance, a clean house, acts of service, Bible-reading for 15 minutes a day and so on.

Conversely, the Gospel is not about what you can do, it’s about what Jesus has D-O-N-E, silly goose. It’s about what He’s done in you and for you and through you.

Gospel wins Round 3, I smell a winning streak.

Zach


[1] Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love, pg. 95

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment

Fire

May 20, 2010

A fire (in a technical sense) needs four attributes, a fuel source, oxygen, heat, and a chemical reaction. As you read 2nd Timothy 1:6-10 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” We are challenged to fan the flame, the gift of God. So what makes up the fire in you? How does He light the fire and keep it burning? He provides all that is needed to get it going but we have to provide the rest. He is the source (fuel) and the oxygen (life). We are the chemical reaction, not that we provide it, but when we let go and let Him bless His gifts on us. We create a reaction (our choice) and together we create Heat (light).

Our timidity, our being ashamed about Him, stops the reaction. He has provided us with so much; He even gave us life by death on the cross. He expects us to live for Him, a life that is eternal which creates a light for others to see. When He is shown, others see the Savior-especially as we make a stand to live our life for Him. Ask Him today to create a fire in you that others will see and you can lead them to His presence.

Blessings,
Mark

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

The Christian’s Continual Boxing Match – Round 2 of 10

May 19th, 2010

Gospel vs. Religion

I’m a good Christian. I hear that a lot. What they’re really saying is, I follow the rules. I worship the rules. Too many Christians have turned religion into an idol. The reason that idolatry is so alluring is that idols promise to make life worth living, bring us happiness, and provide for us and sense of being good. All of these desires are fine, but they become evil when they become our focus, rather than Jesus, who alone makes life worth living[1]. For many, it seems that control, comfort, and quiet are the idols many people are devoted to worshipping. We have elevated many things to a god-like status that aren’t really God-like at all. Over the next 10 weeks, I’d like to make aware the 10 differences between God’s truth (gospel) and the Christian’s idol (religion).

Round 2 of 10

Religion says, The world is full of good people and bad people.

Religious people make checklists, like Santa Claus, on a judgmental scale that determines whether people are good or bad. Generally, the religious crowd condemns as bad people unlike them, and they condone people as good who are like them. This has seeped into the church because of the political scene in our country. If I listen to a liberal talk radio show, the conservatives are the bad people, and the liberals are the heroes. If I listen to a conservative talk radio show, the liberals are the villains.

Gospel says, Everyone is bad except for Jesus. Everyone.

Check out Isaiah 53:6; Romans 2:23; and Hebrews 4:15.

If you read the verses above, the Bible teaches us that the world is not full of good and bad people. The world is full of sinners who are either repentant, or sinners who are unrepentant. I’m a repentant sinner, you? The world is full of either sinners who trust in Jesus’ death for their life, or sinners who remain separated from God under His wrath. I trust in Jesus’ death for my life, you?

Practically, this means that you too are a sinner who needs to continually repent of sin and trust in Jesus. Maybe it’s time you took some time to do that today, right now. Gospel wins Round 2.

Zach


[1] Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love, pgs 94-5

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment

Help, I’m stressed out! (Part 7)

May 18, 2010

I just don’t have peace!

Little Elsie Grace Whitney came into this world on May 5th, 2010 my wife and I became grandparents of our 4th granddaughter.  While we were celebrating the birth of our 4th granddaughter, bringing her home from the hospital and enjoying all the newness of life, our other son-in-law called us from Indiana.  One of our 1 year old twins was rushed  to the emergency room with a severe allergic reaction to something she ate.   She was “blood” red, covered with blisters and vomiting.  They gave her Benadryl, she got sicker and the vomiting continued.  They shot her with a dose of Epinephrine!   Symptoms began to subside.  At the hospitals recommendation, they then took her by ambulance to one of the large hospitals in Indianapolis that was better equipped to deal with her symptoms.  They put her on steroids for a few days.   She is now recovering!  They now are in the process of running allergy tests to see what she and her twin sister might be allergic too.  She is fine! Thank you for your prayers and concerns.

This is the same daughter that has had one major incident after another in the last two years.  The very day she found out she was pregnant with twins,  she hit a patch of ice and wrecked her vehicle!  Their house was destroyed in a storm. We are so thankful they weren’t home at the time.  They very likely could have been killed as it totally demolished the children’s bedrooms.   They had to live in a “cracker-box” house for the next 6 months with 3 little babies while their house was being re-built. The twins came down with Pneumonia.  Her husband experienced chest pains and was put in the hospital twice to monitor his heart.  The list goes on….

Yeah, life comes at you fast! Sometimes, we just want to say “ENOUGH, ALREADY!” How much can one family take?  In the midst of this roller coaster ride for months our oldest daughter’s family has had a sense of peace and calm through these multiple ordeals!     How do you have that sustaining peace when things in this world just don’t seem to go as planned?  Isn’t that what we would all like to know? We’re going to be looking at that this week as we conclude our series “Help, I’m Stressed Out!”

Here’s a hint:

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Robin

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | 3 Comments

Who’s on your List?

May 13, 2010

2 Timothy 1:1-3 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

I was reading through 2 Timothy and my thought went to if I was Timothy and Paul wrote this to me? This complete man of God wrote this letter to share his praises and encouragement to Timothy. So who do you think prayers for you constantly? Who do you pray for constantly? So my quick thought of the people that I pray for, oh those are easy, my bride, my children (by name). There I am done, not really. I started to go through the people that I think of often to pray for and saw that frequent prayers from me can be narrowed down to: Robin, Ernie, Zach, Ray, Ben, Sean, Ben, Bob, Pete, Terry, Bill, Ken, Marty, Mike, Chris, Stephen, Jim, Kathy, Jen, Scott, Holly, Don, Karen, Helen, Brian, and the list continues. So how many did Paul feel passionately enough about to warrant a consistent thought during his prayers.

I have no idea whose list that I have made it on. My list is longer than listed, but it is not long enough to cover everyone I know. So if Paul is writing to you think about what he would say about you, would you make an impact in his life to make the list? This is the time that we have to understand that the legacy Paul was left to live a life of service as his forefathers lead before. We need to find a way make sure that if the New Testament was being written today, you would be in it.

God Bless and Live your life out LOUD!

Mark

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

The Christian’s Continual Boxing Match – Round 1 of 10

Gospel vs. Religion

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

I’m a good Christian. I hear that a lot. What they’re really saying is, I follow the rules. I worship the rules. Too many Christians have turned religion into an idol. The reason that idolatry is so alluring is that idols promise to make life worth living, bring us happiness, and provide for us and sense of being good. All of these desires are fine, but they turn into evil when they become our focus, rather than Jesus, who alone makes life worth living[1]. For many, it seems that control, comfort, and quiet are the idols many people are devoted to worshipping. We have elevated many things to a god-like status that aren’t really God-like at all. Over the next 10 weeks, I’d like to make aware the 10 differences between God’s truth (gospel) and the Christian’s idol (religion).

Round 1 of 10

Religion says, God will not love me until I obey his rules long enough to earn His love.

This view is like a father telling his children, If you obey all my rules for the next year, then I’ll be your daddy. I would’ve never had a dad if this were the case.

Gospel says, Because God has already loved me, and expressed His love through the work of Jesus on the cross, I am now free from sin to live a new obedient life by the power of His love give to me as a FREE gift.

Check out these verses here: 1 John 4:7-11

Jesus loved us through the cross before we ever loved Him. It is His love that transforms you and inspires you to love Him and the people in your life, and love them more each day. This obedient act (to love Him and love others) is not what we have to do because of duty, but it’s what we get to do in delight. Unlike with religion, Jesus loves us so that we might obey Him rather than demanding that we obey Him so that He, in turn, can love us. If God chose to love me based on what I’ve done for Him lately, one – He wouldn’t love me that much some days, and two – our relationship would be dysfunctional. Round 1 goes to Gospel.

Zach


[1] Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love, pgs 93-94

May 12, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment

Help, I’m stressed out! (Part 6)

May 11, 2020

I feel like a failure!

We have been talking a lot about “stress” lately!  We all get stressed from time to time.  We have dealt with several different specific things that bring stress into your life and how to deal with that biblically.  This coming week, Zach will preach about the stress of “failure”  Of course, if the truth be known, Zach takes a great deal of stress off of me when he preaches.  It gives you and me both a break!   It also frees me up to do other necessary duties related to my calling, while at the same time allowing Zach to use one of his gifts.

Many of the stresses we have talked about lead us to feeling a sense of failure.  What do you do when you are overwhelmed with this sense of failure?  These should get you off to a great start!

Try this:

  1. Don’t let it over-whelm you! Understand that to succeed in life you will need to fail occasionally. Even the most accomplished people haven’t done everything perfectly in their lives. Everyone fails from time to time. None of us are perfect.  If we never fail, then we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  Don’t think you’re the only one who has ever failed. If others have gotten through it, so will you.
  2. Don’t take your anger out on other people! Sure you might feel lousy and “hurting” people “hurt” people, but it not only does you no good, they may be some of the very people that can help you! No one succeeds or fails alone.
  3. Learn from your Mistakes! Don’t make it seem like the end of the world–it’s not! Get over it and move on with your life. Sometimes failure is a way to learn valuable lessons that steer a person in a better more positive direction.  Try to analyze the problem, so you can fix it. Pledge to do better. Fix what you did wrong!
  4. Look at things from God’s perspective. The Apostle Paul addressed this in his letter to the church in Thessalonica.  Evidently there were people that thought his visit was a failure, but he knew according to God’s principles, it was not a failure.  He says You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure” (1 Thes 2:1)  btw – “Faithfulness” is more important in God’s eyes than “success”!
  5. Write down your personal goals! The man who aims at nothing usually hits it!  Do you know where you want to do and who you want to be? Better yet, do you know what God wants you to do and what He wants you to be?
  6. Don’t quit! Be persistent! ! Don’t expect miracles to occur overnight. It takes time to turn things around!
  7. Rely on God’s Strength! Enough said?  I think so, because greater is He that is within me than He that is in the world!

Phil 4:13 (NIV) I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Robin

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | Leave a comment

Wise?

Wisdom and understanding, oh that would be so amazing. I have looked over the years to determine how to gain wisdom. I want to gain wisdom and understanding in God, parenting, leadership, firefighting, many other everyday things. I always destroyed things growing up to gain understanding on how they work. If it is trash, I take it apart. Two years ago, my oldest child’s ipod stopped working after three years. She was looking into purchasing another, the old one was about to be tossed. Cool I want to see how this works and maybe change the battery. Opened it up, changed the battery, changed the logic board and viola it worked (and still does). I love to understand how it works, I enjoy watching the show “How it Works” on Discovery Channel.
Over the years I have prayed for wisdom and understanding, until I understood that God will give it to me freely. Though He wants me to yearn for it and go to the depths of my need to understand and desire it.

Read Proverbs 2:3-6 
and if you call out for insight
      and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
      and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
      and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom,
      and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

I need to search for it, cry out for it, look for it to really find the knowledge and understanding of who He really is. So to gain it, you must open it up, dig through it and find the wisdom and understanding that He wants you to have. God has given it, you must want it and passionately dig for it.
Have an amazing weekend, love ya bunch

Mark

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 1 Comment

Quirky, Good Questions (4 of 4)

May 5th, 2010

From: Chuck

Hi Zach–I had another question about my reading. I have heard this Scripture a lot but am a little unsure about what “take up your cross” actually means? What does that mean for us?

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

This is something we will be dealing with on Sunday mornings, no matter what the sermon text is. It’s that important. To truly follow Jesus means that we need to die to ourselves and live completely for Him. It is a call for total commitment no matter what the cost. It is putting His will and His ways first. To the Apostles and the people of that day, the cross was the cruelest and most humiliating form of punishment. To them the picture “carrying their cross” would have been very clear. They would not have missed that this was a call of total, all out commitment.

For me, it’s letting someone in front of me at Giant Eagle who seems to be in a rush. It’s being approachable to anyone during the week. It’s seeing people with the eyes of Jesus. It’s helping the elderly. It’s loving the single parents. It’s having those hard conversations with the kids. It’s prioritizing my schedule around spending time with God. Carrying our cross for Jesus is endless because it’s constantly something we do – we are His cross carriers!

Zach

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | 4 Comments

Help, I’m stressed out! (Part 5)

May 4, 2010

I’m depressed!

Here’s a Depressing thought!  More Americans are depressed than you could possibly imagine.

Here’s some Depressing fact and figures:  compiled by Bob Murray, PhD and Alicia Fortinberry, MS

Found at: http://www.upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html

  • Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
  • Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression — their own or someone else’s, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)
  • Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers — over a million — are clinically depressed.
  • The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% p.a.
  • 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
  • 30% of women are depressed. Men’s figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
  • 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
  • 92% of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment.
  • 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
  • Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 — and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.

Depressing isn’t it?   It doesn’t have to be that way!!!  God doesn’t want you to have to live that way!  That’s why we’re dealing with these topics.  This Sunday, we’ll look at some very practical things that God did for Elijah that helped him with his depression.  Maybe those things will help you too.  Here’s some good scripture in the mean time.

2 Chronicles 20:15&17 (NIV) 15 ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. ……... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “

John 16:33 (NIV) I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 TLB “But remember this-the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.”

Robin

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Robin | , | Leave a comment