Category Archives: Sin

Prayer and Conferssion

Today’s thoughts come in tandem with my last post.  I think that we often just think of confessing our sins to God, which is an absolute must.  However when there are certain issues (don’t have a list of them) that is affecting ones walk with God, Spouse, Family, Others there is some freedom, support and healing that can happen when we share the confession of that sin with others.  Take a look at this passage:

James 5:16 (New International Version)

16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 We forget often that we are a community of brothers and sisters and that we are called to pray for each other, to support and walk alongside.  When we speak of our sin and brokeness with other believers and allow them into our brokeness we are battling the devils grip and hold on is.  Things that are kept secret the devil attacks even harder and tries to bring us down.

This last semester in our couples group I have witnessed not only the power of prayer (its healing and encouraging affects) but also confession of sin, struggles, and strongholds.  I’ve been reminded so much about how we need to remeber to not just listen but to step and pray for the working of God in others lives.

Seek to be and live in community where prayer, conferssion, and accountability can grow. Give God the glory.


Broken and in Need of Healing

I love talking with my friends and acquintances about life and where they have been and looking forward to seeing where they are going. 

One common thread I have noticed is that we all are broken and in need of healing.   Healing that only God can provide. 

This past week I was brought back to feeling broken by anothers pain and suffering that occured due to choices in their past.  This discussion again reminded me of the impact of our actions and sins from the past and how they can still affect us even today year and years after the fact. 

The pains and things that have been left in the past still hit us from time to time and our enemy the devil tries to use these struggles, sins and bad decisions to affect us today.  To destroy beautiful marriages, friendships, lives and carrers.  A song from a band that I heard in high school that used 2 corinthians 4 as a bases of the lyrics keeps playing in my head (even though I haven’t heard it in years).   Focus on these key verses for a minte: 

2 Corinthians 4

Treasures in Jars of Clay

 1Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God……But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 

I know that I should take more time to study this passage especially verses 8-10.  But Right now this passage is speaking loudly to met about the battle that is going on around us.  The Devil is seeking to destroy those of us who are seeking to live a life devoted to God.  He seeks to use things from our past to destroy us.  To keep us from growing closer to God.  From having an amazing marriage.  

So my challenge to you.  When you look into the mirror don’t see the broken mirror of your past, but know that the mirror is made new.  That you are a new creation in Christ and that mirror is made new, no more cracks.  Know that God loves you as His child.  Put on the the full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).  Live on and in the Word, seek to know God.  Do not allow the Devil a foothold in your live, actions, thoughts or deeds! 


Self Esteem/Identity

Its been one of those weeks where this topic has been hitting me in many ways.  It started off in a small group conversation that boiled down to the fact that one of the area’s I have struggles with in allowing God full control is that of my self esteem and natural responses to the situations I’m in. Then it went from this conversation to a discussion with a mentor about it, to a sermon, and then talking with a good buddy.

Self esteem and my Identity were things that I was really conscious of during High School, but it is something that I have thought of less and less as an adult.  We all know that during High School years the battle is to fit in, to be accepted, to be “Cool”.  I know that I struggled greatly with this during my High School years and the years to follow.  Its something that for the most part I don’t think of day to day anymore.  However I have been reminded that this battle of my self esteem/identity makes up a large part of who I am.  It affects greatly how I relate to others, handle situations, and various other areas of life that I struggle with.  I know that it affects everyone differently, but we must remember that no matter how put together we appear, everyone has an issue of their self esteem and identity.

I was surprised when one person in the group discussion said they were surprised that I struggled with this.  They thought that I was more of the type that would say “If you don’t like me thats your problem, get lost”.  It just reminded me that we come off to others differently than we do to ourselves.  It was a good reminder as it also prompted me to remind myself and others that we all have hurts and need to be accepted.

God hit me on the head with this issue and what I need to do to continue to work on it this Sunday.  Jeff our Senior pastor preached from Ephesians 1:3-14.  Jeff preaches alot of great sermons, but this one in particular hit me on the head.  He spoke directly to the fact that we need to connect our Identity to our relationship with God and nothing else.  He used three images found in this passage.  They are that of being Adopted by God (vs. 5), Redemption (vs. 7), and Sealing (vs. 13). It was powerful to be reminded that I am adopted by God, that it is His pleasure to have me as His son.  Also that God was willing to buy me at a price, the price of his Son’s blood.  Just a great reminder that we are valuable.  And that we are sealed, like in the early days and times of Ephesus were things were sealed with a crest or emblem marking the ownership of the item.  We are marked as Children of God, and we are HIS>

Jeff finished the sermon with a great phrase:

“He adopted me, He bought me, I’m His!”

Remember that today and everyday.  Write it on your arm, your heart, your mind, your desk, your dashboard.  Remeber that you are a Child of God, you matter to Him.

Seek Him in every situation and know when the Devil hits you over the head that you can fight back and know that you are a child of God and are deeply loved.  Don’t fall for his lies!

Ask the Hard Questions

Its been a while, I know its my fault. So I guess as its been a while I should have a lot to say.

The thing hitting me right now is something that I probably have written alot about before, our lives, living in community and reaching out to each other. So lets dive in:
The body of Christ is meant to be a living breathing organism. An Organism that gives life, encourages life and draws people unto itself. A place that celebrates joy and happiness together, that greives and mourns death and suffering, a place where people can be who they are and work through the grim that living in a sinful world we are faced with (1 Cor. 12:225-26, Gal 6:1-2, James 5:16, 1 John 3:16-18, Matthew 22:37-39, John 13: 34-35, Acts 2: 42-47). I’m not sure if what I’m saying is true to people living in smaller churches but I can say at least from my view of the large church that I’m living in that the church often does not resemble this living breathing organism that it is meant to be.
I know that one must venture into the organism and seek to be involved and part of it. One must seek out connections to the community, they must seek to know and be known. But I think there is also a responsibility for the “organism” to seek out others and to be known. Its a two way street.
We as Christians are called to seek out those that are lost and share the gospel with them (Matthew 28: 18-20 and others). I may be taking this a step farther than its meant, but I think we also need to seek out those in the church that are around us and to care for them. The body so often just comes together for worship, teaching, parties, and food. I think the body forgets one of its key functions: To care for each other. I know that some of the distancing from care steams from in my opinion the dual nature of the individual (the public and private person). As a result there are only certain topics, issues and questions that seem to be “appropriate” to ask, discuss or reach out in care for. I think that we are afraid to lovingly reach into the lives of those around us in community and to ask some “harder” questions. (I do give the warning/disclaimer that you must have a relationship of more than the “hi there” type to do this, don’t just assume!) I think we too often don’t ask each other how we are doing in loving our family, spouses, how we are honoring God, getting into the Word. I think that we all assume that the other person has someone else in there lives that is filling that role. We never bother to ask them if they do, or to put out there that we are willing to be there for them.
I have regreatbly waited too long in some friendships, I’ve felt that nudge of God that I should reach out and I didn’t…. but now I’m sitting with my friends and trying to help them through some tough times, that if we had connected sooner may have been avoided. Some of those, “what do we do now?” situations. Times where asking the “hard” questions sooner possibly could have prevented some of the pain or at least helped make an impact (at least that’s what I pray).
Asking the “Hard questions” requires though somethings on both ends of the situation: 1) Honesty from both parties involved. 2) A Two sided relationship of questions going both ways. 3) Humility. 4) Desire to see both excell to the best of their God given abilities. 5) Strict confidence in what is being shared.
So what do I propose? What am I saying? Well first of all we need to be more intentional when it comes to our relationships with those we go to church with and do life with. If they are more than acquaintances, we need to treat them as brothers in Christ! We need to reach out in love to them and encourage them to grow. Not every brother/sister in Christ is necessarily a person that we will ask the truly tough questions too (and by no means do I encourage men and women to be asking each other really deep questions unless they are your spouse). We just need to be aware that just because someone is in your small group and you talk about the generalities of life, that they may not have someone who is making an impact on them and seeking to ask them the harder questions. Take it slow when you start to ask the harder questions. Don’t jump in with the deepest darkest or hardest question that you can think of. Build that relationship. Reach out with Christian Love, Compassion, and a true desire to challenge them to be who God is calling them to be.
Be the hands, the feet, the arms, and person of Christ to those you worship, fellowship, and encounter on a regular basis!

Behind the doors the same as in front……

Well, Yes the title is confusing or perplexing but well I think it should be. I have had thoughts for a while based on my struggles that well have been enlightened in someways by my Introduction to the New Testament course I’m in.
Christian have always battled with being in the world but not of it. God gave the Israelites the law as a direction and guidance for them on how to live so that they would be set apart for Him and not be part of the world. However the Israelites continually failed in following the laws and commands that God had set forth.
The church today I believe is in the same boat. Some people are living the lives that God has called them to, and there are others who aren’t. There also are those in between that aren’t living the way God wants us to but is living behind a mask. Having lived this way myself I wonder how we can address the sins in the church and help people to change, to grow, to be made new in Christ? How do we help the church realize that the same sins that are out in the “world” are in the pews next to them? How do we help the church to be more compasionate in their handlings of people who are battling sin? What do we do? How does God want us to do this?
Its a hard topic to address, and a hard one to live out.
The church is the same behind its closed doors as those who live outside of the church doors. there is sin and filth all the same. We need to make a difference. Where do we start? How do we start?
-Lord make me an instrument of your peace……..

Lumber……. A spiritually significant item…..

Last Sunday Pastor Jeff Manion reminded me greatly about the importance and theological significan of lumber…….. Well he may not have necessarily talked in depth on it, but well it struck me especially as I sat down to write this….

Jeff has been preaching on the Sermon on the Mount in a series entitled “Basic Jesus”. This weeks sermon was called “Self Examination”. The key part of this sermon was based on Matthew 7:1-5. Christ is talking about not judging others and to first of all look at the plank in our own eye before trying to help a brother with the speck of sawdust in their eye. I have been struck by this alot with the situations that are around me in the lives of family and friends. The photo in this posting is from Shiloh Ministries (at a church I went to in Detroit, MI). I believe its from one of their retreats, its something I have had a similar idea of doing when I’m in ministry, but moving back to the subject. We so often are quick to judge others when there are sins in our life. Often we are willing to judge someone who has a sin that is one that is something we consider unthinkable, yet if we examine ourselves we have a similar sin, though not the same, but in the same category of sins. We forget that we are alll flawed and messed up, no one’s perfect, but when someone elses sin is blatantly in our face we forget ours. Jeff said something along the lines of “we are often blinded to our sin, but if others do that sin to us we see it immediately”. We are desensitized to our own sins! We are blind, just like the man in Matthew 7:3-5 (NASB) which states:

3“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

The church is often so unloving and uncaring. I know of a situation where a man in the church is causing pain and life changing pain to another Christian because of a sin that they committed. The non-Christians in this person’s life are more loving, understanding, and caring than a fellow brother in Christ. We need to take the piece of timber out of eyes before we point the finger at others.

This passage uses references to lumber as what causes the block to our vision, in other terms, the sin in lives. But God has also used the greatest piece of lumber to save us. The Cross. The cross is the place where all of us can come and lay down our saw dust, our own planks. No matter how big or small, how ugly and shameful. It is a place of accetance, love, forgiveness, and the starting point for all true change!

Jeff ended his sermon with the comment that “The Biggest Blessing is exposure to our own sin!”

Its a starting point, a place where we can repent, recognize our brokeness, our need for the saviour, that we are just like everyone else, a sinner, a sinner loved by God. Take the time to look at yourself before pointing the finger, and when you have removed your own plank or saw dust, care for your brother and sister in Christ with love and care, don’t hate them and destroy them for their past sins and wrong doings. Love them and accept them as Christ would.

We are the hands and feet of Christ…….. He bore our sins on the Cross, the holy lumber!