September 14th, 2014

Temporary Pleasure or Eternal Treasure?

Desert's End Church Community

A guest post by Isaac Lucero.

“Too many. Way too many.” I say this as I look at the box of supplements in the fridge. Yikes. It looks like a supplement warehouse in there. To be clear-these were not my spouses’. They were mine. And they were out of control. How did it get this out of hand?

As I look at my own sinful indulgences, I find it extremely difficult to avoid the word hypocrite. There is no real need for it to have gotten so extreme. How can I justify so much time and money spent on something for superficial reasons? 

I obviously cannot, and it had spiraled out of control. Earlier in life, I believe the supplement use was reasonable and did not consume my heart. But it had now become an idol in my life, stood in the way of my walk with God, and hypocrite was the word I was now facing. I indulged my appetite for athletic supplements and what they did for my body while following and sacrificing for Christ took a backseat.

Taking an honest look at yourself can be frightening. Challenge yourself with some basic, possibly painful questions. What do I spend my money on, what do I do with my time, and what things do I think about the most? You can probably find the answers to all of these questions without doing too much homework. 

Jesus exposed the rich young ruler and uncovered his true heart when he was asked to give up what he valued most (his possessions) for God’s Kingdom. Jesus chose to cut right down to the core of the problem and asked him to give up what he valued most for what matters forever.

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

(Matthew 19:16-22 ESV)

The young man went away sorrowful, because he could see what the true cost of following Jesus would be. Giving up what he truly loved was simply more than he could bear.  The story could have had a different ending had the rich man repented for his sin and began to obey in faith. But this was asking too much. 

If you feel like God is asking too much from you, don’t just feel sorry and walk away. Repent, continually pray for strength to let go of this sin, and do what is right in God’s eyes. Following Christ can involve hard decisions, but considering the eternal good that we gain by following him can help us to leave behind our idols.

What would you think if on the opening kickoff of the Cardinals’ season, with the Cardinals set to receive the ball, four of their players just sat down on the field instead of playing?  Would the ball advance?  Would the Cardinals have any hope of running the ball back for a touchdown?  No way.  Eleven on seven is not very good odds.   Why would a player do this?  Maybe they didn’t like what the coach was doing?  Maybe they didn’t like the play that was called?  Maybe they wanted to be the one that caught the ball? 

In Matthew 12:25 Jesus says this in the NLT; “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.  A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” 

The principle is that any football team, church, organization, family or nation that has people taking sides or not falling in line, or not pulling together is doomed.  It doesn’t say that organization is having a rough day; it is saying they are doomed. 

What does Satan want for our church?  He intensely wants division.  We all need to recognize that and be alerted to it.  Unity is of God and division is of Satan.  

 

Share a verse about unity in the comments section!

August 12th, 2014

What Does it Mean to Live Worthy?

Brandon Pullen

One of my favorite passages about unity is Ephesians 4:1 “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

God is imploring us in this passage.  God is imploring, urging, begging us to live worthy of our calling.  Well that all sounds high and grand and great but how exactly do I live in a worthy way?  What exactly are you imploring me to do?  Check out the next five verses because they give the specifics. 

“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

God calls us to live in a worthy way by being humble and teachable and by being gentle in dealing with others.  It is so easy to be harsh, or overbearing or to judge people’s motives.  Is there anything more painful than having others judge what’s inside your heart when they can’t even see it and they don’t know? 

It takes effort to honor the church’s good more than my good.  It’s hard to care more about the team winning than about me.   Yet, here is my commitment.  I am committed to living in harmony with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  There are always things that the devil is trying to do to drive a wedge between shepherd and shepherd, or sheep and shepherd, or between sheep and sheep.  I resolve not to get caught in this trap.  I yearn to live a life worthy of the calling I have received. 

Have you resolved to live worthy? 

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