The Monday after Sunday – Lean In To

mary-anoints-the-feet-of-jesusWhat a great Sunday to spend at church! The sun was shining, it wasn’t freezing, and Pastor John Orr brought a strong message to the table.  If you didn’t know I have the great pleasure of serving at our church, I am one of the slide guys. Well this weekend was my weekend off and I got to make this most of it. Let me say this to everyone reading this, if you don’t serve at your church, then offer to do so. Just walk up to the pastor or church leader, say “Hi I would like to serve.” But what if they ask me to do something I am not accustomed to doing?! I promise you that you will get more joy from doing something you’re not accustomed to then you would just sitting in a seat. Have you walked into a church, sat down, looked around at empty seats, and got that feeling of uncomfort? I have! I hated that feeling and serving has helped me break down those walls. Now when I walk in I feel at home, I feel like I know the place, and I know the people. Please don’t take my word for it, volunteer one Sunday of a month and see how it changes your view of your church and the works of the body.

Back to the message John shared! A couple weeks ago we started reviewing the last week of Jesus’ life in the body of man, each Sunday taking on a day or two. This past Sunday we jumped into the Wednesday and one event particularly; the acts of Mary. In Mark 14:1-9/John 12:1-10 we find the story of Mary pouring the expensive oils onto Jesus and Judas stating it was a waste of expensive oils that could’ve been sold.

So what did it matter that Mary poured these expensive oil onto Jesus? What did Mary know that everyone else didn’t catch on too?

Mary knew that Jesus was going to die; she knew that Jesus wouldn’t be among them soon and that there would be no preparation of his body. She knew this and she made the most of it. Mary could be almost always be found at the feet of Jesus and in these verses she showed her love by pouring a years’ wage of oil onto Jesus and using her own hair to apply it.

What a crazy scene that must have been, to be standing there watch her pour the oils and smell of the fragrant oil just overtaking the room. I am people watcher and I have watched as people served with their hearts before and that is the closet I could imagine the feeling of being in that room. Mary was serving with all her heart and loving on Jesus with all her soul; Mary leaned to Jesus.

“Earth has no words that can convey the holy calm of a soul leaning on Jesus” – C.H. Spurgeon

That is the message I got this Sunday; Mary leaned to Jesus with all she had and was. Like Mary we also should lean to Jesus, with our faith, our relationships, and future. When we lean towards Jesus with our lives we put our trust in him and he responds. Do you hesitate to lean towards Jesus with your life? Lean on Jesus and find rest; he has promised that his yoke is light and he will handle the burden.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast @ TheStoneChurch.TV and get the whole message. I enjoy sharing what I got from it, but there was so much more that I only started to scratch.

 

The Monday after Sunday – Fruitful and Faithful

imagesDLZE97UCRecap of Sunday morning – Leading up to Easter we’re reviewing the last week of Jesus’ life. This Sunday we discussed the Monday and Tuesday of Jesus’ life that week.  We looked at the world through the eyes of Mark and how it would’ve been seen if we were Mark watching the events unfold before his eyes. John Orr took us through the thoughts and feelings of the disciple as he watched Jesus clean up the temple and curse a fig tree.

Now if you would like to hear it all from John Orr please go check out the PODCAST at the TheStoneChurch.TV – You will enjoy this one.

Have you ever met a Christian that looked the part of a Christian but acted completely un-Christian? Have you ever been a Christian failing to do Christian things? Listening to John preach this Sunday these were the thoughts bouncing in my head.

See Jesus curses a tree because it looked like a fruit tree, but it had no fruit. Like the fruit tree a Christian can look the part but bear not fruit. Also like the fig tree in the verse, a Christian that bears no fruit will be cursed.

Hearing all of this I started thinking about my life and what do I bear? It’s a rough question for me to be honest. I can say “well I work at the church” or “I raise my children to praise God” but still doesn’t fill like I answered if I bear fruit. But as I look at the question I don’t think I can answer with those alone. A fruit tree doesn’t produce only one or two pieces of fruit. The question really doesn’t require an answer, it requires obedience and action. It requires me to live my life and set the example for my children. To continuously bear fruits by my life and its impact on this world, to continue to grow with Christ and to extend my roots deep into the word. Lastly it requires me to be faithful.

Peter asked why Jesus had cursed that fig tree. (Mark 11:20) When Jesus replied he did so in a way that didn’t simply answer the question. In fact, as John read the answer yesterday I understood none of it. It went right over my head like a kite. I had to read the section six times before I really began to understand the meaning. This morning I wrote 500 plus words on being a tree with leaves and no fruit, but it had no point when it was placed next to the word of God. As I read what I wrote and then the verse I started to see that the point wasn’t having fruit but the faithfulness and belief.

Doubt is a powerful weapon. A drop of doubt can poison a family, church, a person. The world throws so much at faith and uses doubt as its strongest weapon. As an educated (somewhat) adult doubt is my biggest struggle. I doubt myself, my faith, my family, and my worth. What makes doubt so powerful is it doesn’t always come when the chips are down. Sometimes it comes when I am sitting at lunch and pondering about raising my children or when I sitting across from my wife wondering how happy she is.

 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Listening to John I heard one line that cut through everything. If you doubt, bring your doubt to God fully believing he will resolve. I wish I had that line for my son about two weeks ago. So today I bring my doubt to God. I bring it to him and place it at his feet and believe that he will truly resolve my doubts and cast away my fears and with my doubts at his feet I look to him for the answers.

What a crazy huge message in such a little group of nine verses. Live fruitfully, in belief, and God shall provide.

The Monday after Sunday

The Monday after Sunday is going to be my title for my Sunday morning follow ups. So that everyone knows, I am a born again Christian. I have been following God and his path for my life for about 5 years now and still consider myself extremely young in faith.

But with that all being said, I have found many share the same trials and tribulations. So if we can learn from one another and connect as a body maybe we might even be able to avoid some of those trials. So please know I write about my experience not as an expert but as a believer.

This Sunday we began a study of the last week in the life of Jesus. With Easter right around the corner it just seems right. Really how can we go through Easter without a fresh reminder of what it really means? I know a handful of people that every year before Easter or even on Easter that sit down and watch the movie “Passion of Christ.” I can only imagine what it does to their hearts to watch the pain and suffering that Jesus went through right before the day we stop in remembrance. It took me ten years to watch that movie. I wasn’t a believer when the movie came out, but even after becoming a believer it scared me to watch that movie.

But one day my wife and I bought the movie, sat down that night and began watching the movie. I am not the most emotional person but this movie pushed my emotional boundaries. There was something about visually seeing the torment and the suffering that made the entire event very human and very personal to me.

So what does Easter mean to you?

Becoming a father of a young boy changed how I approached Easter and God in general. Faith has always been a personal thing, about me, something I had to do for me.  But having a boy coming into the age where he is asking questions changes everything about how I focus my faith. I no longer get to worry about whether or not I am saved and whether my heart is in the place it needs to be. But I have to worry about my son’s heart and what I am passing down to him. This is the same as all fathers regardless of faith or belief. Every father must worry about the person their son will become and what he will do with his life.

If we look back at the life of Jesus though I think we get to see that same argument for all of us. Jesus said that the house built on a firm foundation would not be washed away. But a house built on a sandy foundation would surely be washed away. Jesus laid out our foundation and told us to build upon him, and we have the responsibility to lay out that foundation for our sons. In the end our sons will lay out a foundation someday that their family will build upon, and that foundation will look very similar to their fathers.

So today I stop and look at my foundation. Is it strong? Is it stable? Will it with stand a storm or will it be washed away? Is it built on Jesus?

Yes. Is yours?

If you have question about Christianity or walking with God, I am not a pastor, but I will be happy to seek the answer with you. Or feel free to go to TheStoneChurch.TV and click the contact button.