Where's the Line?

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Most of us have a moral compass of sorts, or at least I hope so. What’s ‘crossing the line’ with you may not be ‘crossing the line’ for others. I have found that the more I had ‘crossed the line’ in my life, the less I saw it anymore. 

What is this line? Well, to me it’s a decision you make that deep down, you know better. It’s the movie that you watched where you felt rotten afterwards. It’s the flirty comment you made to a co-worker even though you’re married. It’s talking about your friend to another friend and acting as though it’s not gossip. It’s telling your boss you’ll “work” from home as you catch up on laundry, mowing the lawn and to-do lists instead. We all have a ‘line’ and most of us at some point have crossed it. 

Although as Romans 3:23 says,everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard’, I do believe there is hope. I’ve learned along the way as I pursued God more and more and studied His Word (the Bible) that there are many ways to combat this. I’ve learned that in order to avoid crossing these ‘lines’, we need to set some boundariesor as Andy Stanley, a Pastor down in Atlanta called it, a guardrail. Yes, a guardrail is damaging to a vehicle but it keeps the vehicle from worse or even catastrophic consequences. 

Here are some examples of boundaries or guardrails:

  • One who has a tendency to drink too much should not be in an atmosphere where they specialize in serving drinks (a bar or liquor store)
  • One who has a tendency to look at inappropriate images (a porn problem) should never have access to a computer behind closed doors. A computer in the most occupied room works. There are also programs like Covenant Eyes that can help here. 
  • One who tends to talk about others (gossip) should have a close friend in their life who calls them out on this and helps them along.

All of these guardrails or boundaries work best with an accountability partner. One who you can talk openly to and one who will pray for you consistently. James 5:15 says “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”Some of us who follow Christ see Him as an ‘invisible god’ who we feel is not really paying attention to our failures or lapses in judgment. This is why it is so beneficial to have an an actual accountability personin our life that will check on us and ask the tougher questions. 

Here’s the thing, all of this is not easy. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, who was absolutely sold out for Christ, and who knew more than most struggled with sin. Paul says in Romans 7:18-21And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” 

We are all born into sin. If you have any children, you see this right from the start. “Mine, mine…!” We didn’t teach them that…they were born with that. Our job is to help them get away from that! That is what scripture is all about. There is this wonderful Book, The Bible, that is full of practical ways of living a life more fulfilling, more relational, more purposeful, and more loving. This book has changed my life. I know who I once was and I know what Christ has done to me through His Word and I’m so thankful. Yes, I have a lot to work on but as I lean into Him daily, He’s lessening the load.

I encourage you all today to draw the line. Become aware of that line. Commit to not crossing it, and I promise you, it will change your life.   

Believing Without Seeing

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GUEST BLOGGER : RANDY SARNO

Everyone believes in something. Even atheists have to have a belief in their disbelief of religion. Many religions are guidelines to how you need to act or think or even worship in this world. Christianity is the belief that we are loved no matter how hard we fall and have been cleansed of our past and future sins because God sent Jesus who had to die on the cross. "This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins"(1 John 4:10). That verse can overwhelm the mind thinking about how much we as Christians are loved no matter what we think of ourselves. 

     Unfortunately we are surrounded by a 'see it to believe it' mentality by others as soon as we enter this world. Even the apostles were subject to these thoughts. Thomas, known as the twin, was very loyal to Jesus while in his company. When Jesus was setting out to resurrect Lazarus in Judea a few of the other apostles complained about almost being stoned the last time they were there but Thomas replied "Let's go too-and die with Jesus" (John 11:16). Thomas was ready to die for the cause he believed in at that time. Thomas was always a little worried about the future and would question Jesus about following him when he left even after Jesus would repeatedly ask to trust him. "We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?"(John 14:5). Not to long after though Jesus would be crucified, resurrected, and then seen by his followers without Thomas being present and his disbelief gave him the nickname Doubting Thomas.  

     On the evening of the resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples. However, Thomas was not present at the time. Even though Jesus foretold the event and Thomas was present for many miracles he refused to believe. Thomas stated "I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side"(John 20:25). Thomas would not even accept a visit from Jesus as genuine unless he looked and touched the result of the crucifixion on the body. For his doubts and unbelief Jesus waited eight days to let worry and wonder fill Thomas's heart. When the time was right Jesus appeared, showed him the wounds, and told Thomas "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me"(John 20:29). Jesus never had to show himself to Thomas, but he did to prove the everlasting love God has for all his children no matter how much doubt they have. It has been reported that Thomas did keep his faith and traveled to India where he had success preaching the Good News but was also martyred there for his faith.  

     Today we have the choice to believe without seeing. We can put on the armor of God towards the world. We can live in joy knowing that whatever happens if we follow Jesus there is a better life ahead. Faith is the base of things we hope for, the product of the things yet to be seen. The world will say you need to see it to believe it but God's word reminds us if you believe it you can see it come to pass. We need to look through the eyes of faith not just what is right in front of us.Instead of thinking I can not believe a miracle is here unless I see it or touch it,  if you believe in the miracle first then you will see it. That is the evidence that you are in faith. 

 

 

Flip Flops

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Sunday I shared a message about the importance of serving called, Flip Flops.  My desire was to convey that we as followers of Jesus were saved to serve.  That in order to live and love like Jesus, we need to engage in serving. 

I’m so thrilled at the response of so many at Fellowship who decided to take a step in service!  I know that your lives will be different because you did.

One of the the mindsets we battle most when it comes to stepping into service is our own feeling of inadequacy.  Can I really make a difference?  After all, we deeply know our weaknesses and shortcomings better than anyone.  We can see others who appear more talented and outgoing stepping up, but maybe not ourselves.  

What if God wants to shape your significance through your service? I want to encourage you to trust God to step into service here at Fellowship.  God knows and understands your potential more than you do.  He loves you and believes in you and has placed you in this local church for a reason.  

So if you don’t trust yourself, trust God and see where He can take you. How He wants to write your story, and uncover gifts and talents you never knew you had.  

You can do this!  Check out the opportunities we have HERE and join the team today! We also have many opportunities to serve at our LAST BLAST. You can click HERE to sign up that.