Infectious Love

When Jesus had finished this sermon, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, because He was teaching them like one who had authority, and not life their scribes.  Matthew 7:29

Obviously, there were other good teachers during Jesus’ day. But there was something different about Jesus’ teaching. The Bible describes it as the fact that He taught them as one who had authority. Jesus taught them as one having authority? What does that mean? It doesn’t mean that when He spoke, there was a thunderous echo in His voice. It doesn’t mean that when He spoke, a heavenly dove descended over the crowd. It doesn’t even mean that when He spoke, the people thought He was God. What it does mean is that His life was the very embodiment of everything He taught. It wasn’t just words from His mouth. His life backed up everything that came out of His mouth. He could talk with authority about loving the unlovable because He had touched and healed a leper. He could talk with authority about forgiveness because He had forgiven a sinful woman that the crowd wanted to stone. He could talk with authority about loving your enemies because He had allowed Judas to walk with Him for three years. He could talk with authority about giving life because He had raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of time and time again loving others and meeting them at the point of their human need in order to get them to see how much God loves them and is the only One who can meet their greater spiritual need.

His teaching was tough.

His way was difficult.

But His love was infectious.

And people followed Him and they are still following Him today. We are the body of Christ–the church. May our love be infectious. May people want to follow Jesus because of the way that we follow Him and love Him by loving others.

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Be An Encourager Today

Last night I heard a friend of mine teach that hurting people hurt people.  That is a sad truth.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I want to be one who  encourages others.  One of my favorite people in the Bible was a great encourager.  In fact, his name means “encourager.”  In the past, we’ve had nameplates given to us with the meaning of our kid’s names on them and Susan and I have always thought that the meanings were actually pretty true of each of our kids.  The meaning of Barnabas’s name certainly fit him as well.  He was drawn to people that he could encourage and he was a great help to those around him.  Acts 11:24 gives a great testimony of Barnabas.  It says, “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith–and large numbers of people were added to the Lord.”  One thing that was true of Barnabas that I pray would be true of me is this:  everywhere Barnabas encouraged believers in Christ, non-believers flocked to become believers.  Why?  Because everyone could use a Barnabas in their life and people want to be around people who are an encouragement to them.  Who is a Barnabas in your life that you need to thank today?  Who are you a Barnabas to in your life that you could send a note or an email of appreciation, recognition, or encouragement?  You never know what your encouragement may do for someone or what that person may then do for the kingdom of God.  Barnabas was crucial to the lives of Paul and Mark.  In a sense, we can thank Barnabas for most of the New Testament and perhaps for our very own salvation.  Who knows what his encouragement did for Paul to keep Paul pressing on to spread the Gospel.  Be an encouragement to someone today.

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Moved With Compassion

This past Sunday morning at The Station, I had the opportunity to preach a message in our Christmas at the Movies series.  The particular movie we looked at this past Sunday was The Grinch.  If you’d like to listen to this message, click here. The Grinch was a mean one, for sure!  After all, his heart was tw0 sizes too small.  But when he realized that Christmas was much more than getting gifts, his heart actually grew three times larger!  That gave him a heart that was bigger than normal!  I believe that should be true of believers in Christ as well.  We ought to have the biggest hearts of all.  After preaching this message on having a compassionate heart, I received this blog from one of our ladies, Angel Moore.  Angel is a wonderful leader and we are blessed to have her and her family at The Station Church.  I asked her if it was okay if I share her words with you through my blog.  I appreciate her allowing me to share this incredibly insightful blog post and I pray it blesses and challenges you like it did me and I pray that God grows each of our hearts three sizes!

Jesus was MOVED with compassion because He was accessible and close to the people and their situations. What about us? Are we accessible to those hurting or needing help? Are we MOVED with compassion or are we RE-moved by our walls and pre-existing plans? I read about Christ and how He was among the people. He didn’t wall Himself in a church or temple, but He WENT to where the people were. The first word of the great commission is GO but in our American Christian culture, we have changed that word to COME. We want those who are lost or hurting to come to us, but the Bible says to go to them – where they are! We should go to where they live, work, play, eat, drink…Jesus did! But we don’t want to ruin our own “spotless” or “righteous” reputations by being seen in a bar or or other places where “sinners” might be found. No, we think it is safer for us to stay in our church bubble and “invite” sinners to come to us. How arrogant of us! Let’s step outside of ourselves for a moment and think about how we would feel in the reverse situation. What if someone would only connect with you if you did or went to them, not the other way around. From the get-go it seems like they think they are better than you. Jesus didn’t do that! And He IS better than you…and me, and any of us! But He didn’t require others to come to Him, He WENT to them! As we are commanded to do. And what about His reputation? Well, He had a pretty bad one among the church leaders of His day! They called Him a friend of sinners! How could He allow His reputation to be soiled like that? Well, because He was not looking for the approval of man, but the approval of His Father!

I watched the new Star Wars movie (huge Star Wars fan here) recently and watched in amazement at how Princess Leia, (now General Leia) is so accessible to her people. It is so different from what we see in our culture- politicians, celebrities, pro-athletes….we hold them on such a high pedestal that they are removed from people. Their people! The people they claim to serve or perform for. So as I watched Princess Leia be among and accessible to her people, I watched in awe! It was so cool to see her listen to their ideas! It was amazing to see her not reject anyone coming near her because of her title verses theirs. And she didn’t demand anything from them – not a bow or curtsy. She led them because she cared for them, not because she cared for herself and how high she could be elevated. Remind you of anyone? Watching her immediately made me picture Jesus. I pictured Him with the little children. The disciples wanted Him to be like ancient day leaders or our modern day politicians and celebrities – where He would be unapproachable for certain people, but Jesus quickly rebuked them saying, Let the children come to me! In saying this, He was saying let the least of these come to me! In Biblical times, there was a distinct hierarchy among men, women, and children of which children were considered of least important to the point where they weren’t even counted at events or addressed in public, but Jesus said, LET THEM COME! He wanted to be among them. He was accessible to them. The Creator of the Universe in human form, made Himself accessible to ALL! Yet – how many of our own Church Leaders aren’t even accessible? How many of us – church goers aren’t accessible to anyone we deem less important than ourselves? In our culture it’s all we know – through watching politicians, celebrities, and all powerful people (CEOS, COMPANY PRESIDENTS, etc), it’s the common model – to rise above. Once you’ve become important enough you don’t have to be accessible to those who got you where you are! And sure, they make themselves accessible for photo opps, or special meetings, but not as a daily way of life. In their daily lives they are much too important to be bothered by unimportant people or matters. They only take calls from those who are “important” or make plans to do things that are “important.” I mean it’s only human! But Jesus wasn’t just human, He was God too! He had more of a reason than anyone to only be interested in “important” people or things, but instead of elevating Himself, He humbled Himself! Unfortunately we see leaders in our culture take a different path – to exalt themselves. Even in church – the very ones who are trying to draw people to Christ! They teach a Christ who was accessible to all, yet they themselves are only accessible to the select few (those whose names or titles have previously been given to their assistants to allow them to talk to).

I am not trying to pick on anyone or condemn anyone. Unfortunately, it’s our human nature and its natural in our world to get to this place when other people think you are important. The problem is that we shouldn’t look like the world! We shouldn’t be ok with natural or the norm. The problem with being removed from people is that we let our focus become about an event or an organization. We may be doing a lot of “good” reaching masses, and helping large organizations with big buildings or big checks, but are we touching the one? Are we moved with compassion? The sad thing about the masses is that they become faceless to us. Even though we may be helping many (on the surface), our hearts become removed from the individual (and their deeper needs). Maybe we’re not MOVED with compassion because we’re RE-moved from those who need compassion. Jesus looked into the eyes of the woman at the well and into the eyes of the lame man who couldn’t walk. He not only looked into the eyes, but also wept with the sister of the man He raised from the dead and He rejoiced with the father of the boy of whom He cast out demons. One by one, He touched them because He WENT to them, He was AMONG them, and He was MOVED by compassion!

Let us GO, let us be ACCESSIBLE as a FRIEND of sinners, and let us be MOVED to do something BIG in the life of ONE – just one who needs compassion, so that they can see through us into the eyes of Jesus!–Angel Moore

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God’s Watchful Eye

Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with My eye on you, I will give you counsel.”

One of the great promises of God’s Word is that He will guide our lives if we will let Him. Our job is to let Him. It is sometimes tempting to do otherwise. It is tempting to do things our own way rather than His way. Even though we know that He knows best. When we are faced with this temptation, we must remember that God has provided the way of escape. We must remember that God has our best interest at heart. Look at Psalm 32:8 again. I love the imagery that it gives us. It is a great comfort to know that God is keeping His eye on you. It is not a judgmental eye watching for you to mess up. Rather, it is a protective eye guarding your life. God sees all things even when you can’t. He sees your tomorrow. He sees your next decision. He already sees your next step. That is why it is so important to allow Him to show you which direction to take. We don’t always know what is up ahead. We don’t always see the danger that it lurking around the corner in our lives. But God sees it all and if we listen to Him through His Word, He will give us wise counsel. He will show us the way to go. Remember, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Let Him direct your path today.

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Good Friday Indeed!

Good Friday!  Today is a really special day as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross of Calvary.  Read the entire story here in John 19.  It’s hard to think about the fact that God sent His perfect Son to die in our place.  Imagine that one day before time even began, God and Jesus were talking about you.  God was telling Jesus all about you.  He was telling Him when and where you were going to be born and who your parents were going to be.  He told Jesus what color your hair and eyes would be, how tall you would grow, about every little freckle that would mark your face as a child.  He told Jesus of how you would play as a child and how you would be a good friend to others.  Every little detail that makes you you…God held nothing back and Jesus smiled hearing all about this wonderful creation.  Then God said, “But Jesus, there’s going to be a problem.  As wonderful as this person is going to be, they are going to have sin in their life and because of that, they will never be able to be here with You and Me.”  Jesus responded, “Oh Father, I love them so much already.  Isn’t there something that can be done?”  The Father replied, “No, Son, there’s nothing that can be done.  Because of their sin, they will have to pay the price.  They will have to die and be forever separated from Us.”  Jesus asked, “But Father, surely something can be done to make them right.”  God confirmed, “The price that would have to be paid would require a perfect sacrifice and humans are unable to pay this price themselves.”  Jesus pondered for a moment and said, “A perfect sacrifice?  If it requires a perfect sacrifice, then I’ll go.  I’ll die in their place.  I love them so much already and I want them to be here with Us forever.  I’ll go to earth and I’ll suffer and bleed and die.  I’ll pay the price for their sins that they could never pay.”  And so God sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Good Friday?  Good Friday, indeed.

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Quit Trying Out

One of the great privileges in my life is getting to coach Little League baseball.  I coached Timothy for several years until he turned thirteen years old.  At that time, I dropped back and started coaching John Mark’s team.  John Mark is a good little ballplayer.  He has an amazing glove, a strong arm, and a beautiful, aggressive swing.  Each year before the season starts, we have to go through tryouts.  This past year, I was unable to attend the tryouts so John Mark was going to go with some friends to do the normal hitting, throwing, catching, and running drills.  In my mind, I thought, “He’s got this.”  However, I could tell before he left the house that he was a little bit nervous.  This was very unlike him.  I finally asked him what was wrong?  He said, “I’m just nervous about the tryout.  What if I don’t do too good?”  I smiled and got down in front of him.  I said, “John Mark, this tryout doesn’t mean a thing.  No matter how you throw or catch or run or hit, it doesn’t matter.  If you do great, so what?  If you do poorly, so what?  It doesn’t matter one bit!  And do you know why?  Because I am your daddy and you are my son no matter how you perform today.  I am also the coach of the team.  Regardless of what you do today, you are going to be on my team.  In fact, you are going to be my first pick!”  A big smile came across his face as he realized that I was right.  In fact I didn’t even make John Mark go to the tryouts.  He was on my team already.  Why did he need to go and tryout?

Why do you feel the need to tryout?  If you are a child of God, you are already on His team.  Quit trying out for a spot on the team that you already have!  This is a great lesson we learn from the calling of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1.  God said to Jeremiah, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb.  I set you apart before you were born.  I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  Did you catch that?  God chose Jeremiah before he was even born!  Jeremiah didn’t have to tryout.  He already had the part!

You already have the part as well.  Follower of Jesus, remember today that your Father is your coach.  You are already on His team.  You don’t have to tryout.

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Seven Things I Want To Share With Everyone at The Station

  1. I want to thank everyone who helped make Trunk or Treat a huge success. We registered 48 families not affiliated with The Station Church.  Of those 48 families, 18 of them were not members of any church and requested more information about The Station!  We are in the process of following up with each of them!

2. Our current series “Connected” is a very important series dealing with your relationship to the universal Church as well as your relationship to The Station Church. So far, we have looked at how we are connected in Christ and how we are connected in unity.  This Sunday we will look at how we are connected in growth.  We need each other in order to grow.  Plus, if we are connected in Christ and in unity, growth should be our natural, or supernatural, outcome!

  1. We are only 6 Sundays away from the start of our Christmas series entitled, “All I Want For Christmas.” I need your help in developing the messages that you will hear.  This Sunday is the deadline to turn in your answer to the question…”If I could ask God for one thing for Christmas that isn’t materialistic, I would ask for…”  You can email your answer to randy@thestationchurch.org.
  1. Our Bylaws have finally gotten back to us from the lawyer (actually our 3rd lawyer in this crazy process). We will be presenting them to you in the next few days and looking forward to voting on their approval on Sunday, November 9th.
  1. The Finance Team is hard at work on the budget for 2015. I am greatly encouraged by their love for Jesus and for the mission of church.
  1. Our children’s Christmas musical is going to be awesome, as always! The kids are working so hard and they are going to be presenting their musical on Sunday evening, December 7th.  They are practicing each Sunday morning and Wednesday night.  Make sure your kids are here!
  1. I am more excited about what God is doing this very moment in the life of The Station Church than I ever have been!  So many of you have expressed a desire to serve on one of our Serve Teams.

Greater things are yet to come! 

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