Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Status

Click here to listen to Sunday Sermon from 08/29/2010 by Pastor Chip

Scripture Reference:  1Peter 2:4-12

“But you are:

a chosen people,

a royal priesthood,

a holy nation,

a people belonging to God.”
1 Peter 2:9

The “you” in the first line of this verse is “you who follow Christ.” Peter is trying to help his readers understand that their status with God is that of the status of Israel his Chosen. In fact, Paul the Apostle helps us understand our relationship to God by explaining that God hasn’t chosen a new people in the form of the church. Rather, Gentiles who live by faith in Christ, have been, to use an agricultural analogy, “grafted in” to the remnant of Israel that is faithful to God.

By using the phrases above to describe the church, Peter is helping his readers see that they are as much the “chosen people” as anyone has ever been. But being part of the chosen people is not always easy. In fact, the chosen people of God get “special attention.” Hmmm, I’m not sure that sounds so good.

This special attention is God’s willingness to send his hand of discipline against his people when they are straying into disobedience and rebellion. Don’t misunderstand. The purpose of his discipline is to lead us to repentance for our wrongdoing so that God can lavish his mercy on us. Yes, you read that right. God disciplines so that we will be drawn to his grace.

God does not necessarily treat those who do not worship him in the same way. He may let them get away with more! But his covenant people are like children to him, and while a parent won’t offhandedly discipline another couple’s child, you can bet they will discipline their own child. Why? Because they sense not only an obligation to raise a child right, they also know that their discipline is ultimately an act of love that they hope will cause their child to return to right living.

Hebrews 12:5-6 reads: "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; for those whom the lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives." This in a nutshell is the wisdom of God to guide his wayward children (that’s us, incidentally).

So our new status as disciples of Jesus is the status of “chosen one.” Revel in God’s mercy! And rest knowing he is a faithful Father who will guide his children with his intervention in our life for our good. For God only wants the good for us. You can trust him on that.

Some questions to ponder as you think on Sunday’s sermon and our passage from 1 Peter 2:4-12—

  1. Do I always interpret negative things in my life as God’s discipline? (They may be. But them don’t blame on God the negative things we have brought on our own self.)
  2. If I am first and foremost a citizen of God’s kingdom, what does this say about my citizenship as an American? Obviously, it makes our nationalism not nearly as important. But it also means asking, “Why do I get so passionate about earthly politics, but not so passionate about my ultimate citizenship?”
  3. If I am part of a royal priesthood, what kind of priestly acts is God calling on me to do? (Hint: Romans 12: 1; 1 Peter 2:5)

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Does a Christian Look Like?

Click here to listen to the Sunday Sermon
by Pastor Rodger

Scripture Reference:  1Peter 4:7-11

What does a Christian look like?
That’s the long and short of it…   Love.
Jesus says in John 13:34-35 that those who follow him will be indentified by their love.
Love for each other, love for family, love for their enemies, and love for the unlovable, that’s supposed to be our identifying feature. Skin color doesn’t matter, language doesn’t matter, age doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter; followers of Jesus are to be known by their love.
Love is not a passive verb, but an active one.  In America, we like to talk about love from a distance, but that’s not love.  It may be smooshy-gooshy feelings that make for a good chick movie, but real love involves work.
Love costs something.  Love requires sacrifice. 
Love means giving your enemy food if he is hungry and drink if he is thirsty. 
Love means feeding the smelly homeless person.
Love means spending time with the doddering old woman who tells long pointless stories.
Love means forgiving someone who hurt you deeply.

Love means going to someone that you have hurt and begging their forgiveness.
Love means forgoing that vacation so you can support your aging parents.
Love means cleaning out that extra room and providing a place for a struggling friend to stay.
Love means not playing golf this Saturday so you can help disadvantaged kids.
Love means caring enough to share your faith with those who need Christ even if you think they might mock you.
Love costs something.  Love requires sacrifice.  But it’s worth it.
Look at yourself in the mirror.  Do you look like a follower of Christ?  Do you reflect love to others?
Spend some time in prayer and ask God to show you how to love others this week. 
  1. What are you going to do to demonstrate God’s love this week?
  2. Hospitality is a demonstration of love?  How can you show hospitality this week?  Perhaps you could make it a goal to invite someone new to dinner this week.  Or, you could invite someone from church out to coffee and listen to their life story?  What else might you do?
  3. Serving others is another form of love.  Mountain View Christian Church has released our Season of Service schedule this week.  Look through the schedule.  Which one of these projects will you take part in?

I challenge you to do something hard, to get your hands dirty, to test your faith this week by loving someone else, showing hospitality to another, and serving others. 
God Bless you in these endeavors,
Pastor Rodger

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday Morning Bible Blog Begins

Stained Glass Window
at Mountain View
Welcome to the Monday Morning Bible Blog.  Yes, I do know it's Tuesday, but you have to start sometime.  The purpose of this Blog is for members of Mountain View Christian Church in Phoenix to have a chance to expand on the Sunday morning sermon during the week.  Non-members and out-of-state friends are welcome to participate too.  We are open to all.

Each week, it is our intent to publish a podcast or (God-forbid) video of the Sunday sermon.  We will then post some questions, personal challenges, devotional, or information to go along with the lesson.  The goal of this is personal application, taking your faith from Sunday morning, sitting in the pew to living it out in your Monday through Saturday world. 

You are welcome to comment, to share these on Facebook or other social media, or to pass them on to friends, neighbors, and relatives.  Get involved, have an active faith, serve others, share with others and remember James 1:22 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

May God Bless you and may your life be enriched by God's word.

Pastor Rodger S. Loar