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Busy and Distracted

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

What if I were to ask you, “How are you doing?”  How would you answer?  Let me guess, you’re “busy,” right?  But I’m guessing you’re not just busy, you’re probably busy and distracted, like Martha in the account above.  According to Pew Research, 21% of Facebook users get off the social media platform because they’re too busy and it’s distracting. Distracted busyness is a problem for most of us and it’s killing our emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Martha was “distracted with much serving,” probably making sure her home was neat and tidy, and that Jesus was fed and treated with five-star hospitality.  But it wasn’t just Martha’s busyness in service to Jesus that she was called out for.  Martha was, according to Jesus, “anxious and troubled about many things.”  She was on the treadmill of life she’d created and afraid she’d fall off if she stopped running.  Jesus was right there, in her home, and Martha was too busy for Him.  In all her busyness, she totally missed out on the one who could help carry her burdens and give her true rest.

How about you?  Are you too busy for the Lord?  Yes, social media can definitely be a time sink and distracting, but there are many other things that sidetrack us from receiving what Jesus referred to as “the good portion.” The good portion is sitting at the Lord’s feet and receiving the means of God grace He’s given you to rest in:  His word, the worship of Christ’s church and the fellowship of the body.  Too often, we put the good portion at the bottom, rather than at the top of our to-do lists, and we do so to our own detriment.  Jesus called these things “necessary” above all else, which means we should schedule our calendars and to-do lists with the word, worship and fellowship within the body of Christ first, and then fill it with whatever else is necessary.  When we fail to do so, like Martha, our lives will be filled with anxiety and trouble, rather than peace and rest. “Choose the good portion, which will not be taken away from you.”

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

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“Judging Others” – Matthew 7:1-6


What drives more people from church than anything else?  Well, my own experience tells me it’s judgmentalism.  I’m sad to say, I’ve seen quite a few people leave the church because they were criticized by others or feared being criticized after something happened for which they felt they would be judged.  I’m not picking on any one particular church.  And, really, I’m not picking on just the church.  Humanity, in its brokenness, seems to beset with a critical spirit.

Often, it is our way of feeling better about ourselves.  John Stott said, “We have a fatal tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the gravity of our own.  We have a rosy view of ourselves and a jaundiced view of others.”  Isn’t it true that we are quick to find fault in everyone else except ourselves?  None of this is what Jesus wants from His disciples.  Christians need a discerning, not a critical spirit.  A discerning, not critical, spirit is what will preserve unity within the body of Christ, without sacrificing the integrity of the Christian faith.  This week, as we continue our journey through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us three instructions for cultivating a healthy spirit within the church.  They’re sure to fuel church growth, if not in numbers, certainly in depth.

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Hark the Herald Angels NEVER Sang at Christmas

shepherds and angels

“ And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:10–14)

Who doesn’t love the great Christmas carol, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing?”  There’s only one slight problem.  The angels never did sing!  The Bible never says the angels sang when Jesus came.  The angels came to the shepherds and spoke, but never sang.  It’s not that angels can’t sing.  They just didn’t.  The Bible tells us of angels singing only two times, and one of them wasn’t at Christ’s coming.

So when did angels sing?  Job 38:7 tells us that the angels first sang at God’s great and glorious act of creation.  The angels all “sang together” as “God laid the foundations of the earth.”  God created everything, including man and woman, and it was all just as God intended them.  God created them to glorify Himself and the angels sang at the sight of it all.  Everything was perfect.

But then, the man and woman deliberately turned away from God, and He responded by cursing the entire creation, including the human race.  The world, those in it, and their fellowship with God were broken.  There was nothing to sing about.  Mankind could not save the earth, their own brokenness or their relationship with God.  God’s perfect creation was now under His curse.

Revelation 5:8-10 is the second mention of angels singing.  Four angels and twenty-four elders fall before Jesus and sing, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.”  The angels are again singing!  They are singing because Jesus has removed the curse, and a new heaven and new earth are about to come down and God will once again dwell with His people.  The effects of sin: the brokenness of the world, of mankind and his relationship with God, and even sin itself, are all in the past.  God’s great and glorious creation is once again as He intended it.  God is glorified in it all and once again the angels can sing.

While the angels wait for Christ’s return to once again sing, you and I can’t help but sing.  Jesus has made a way, for all who believe, to attend that final concert of the angels.  Jesus was born to die and was raised to offer you a seat at God’s great and glorious recreation of heaven and earth.  By faith in Jesus, you are now a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), being made ready for that day of rejoicing.  Joy to the World, and to you and to me, the Lord is come!

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

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“Treasure Trove” – Matthew 6:19-24

treasure heart in heaven


How big a reserve fund does out church need?  How much do you need to have socked away for education, the unexpected or retirement?  These are not easy questions but how you answer may reveal a lot about your investment philosophy.

Jesus has an investment strategy for His disciples and we’re going to hear about it this Sunday.  I know you hear this all the time, but He has an investment strategy that’s unflappable.  It’s recession proof, inflation proof and secure.  It provides the greatest return and does it with zero risk.  Are you curious?  It’s a strategy, once you’re in, that Jesus says you will love and be devoted to.  Find out the details this Sunday at 10:30,as we journey through the The Sermon on the Mount and worship our Lord together in the body of Christ.

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“What are you Thinking?” – Matthew 5:17-20

thinking mind

So, what’s on your mind?  What’s going on in there?  Do you have an active imagination?  Jesus wants to talk to you about all that on Sunday, as we continue to travel through His Sermon on the Mount.

Last week we learned that your words are an indicator of your spiritual condition.  But this week, Jesus teaches that even your thought life is an indication of your spriritual condition.  It’s more than a little scary to know that God holds you accountable for your thought life and your imagination.  But there’s hope in Jesus Himself.  He can deliever you and fill your thoughts with a love that exceeds whatever else you are lusting for.  The whole Sermon on the Mount points you back to Him.

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“What Are You Saying?” – Matthew 5:21-26


Jesus told us, last week, that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if we’re to enter the kingdom of heaven.  What Jesus is referring to is not a super-righteousness of our own, but a heart-born, Spirit empowered righteousness that grows in us once we’re united with Him by faith.

This week, Jesus beings to show us, very practically, what that righteousness looks like with six interpretations of Old Testament commandments.  Jesus is not changing the commandments, merely demonstrating their intent.  He begins with the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder,” and explains that murder is far more comprehensive than physically killing another.  The words you use can kill with great precision.  In fact, your words are an indicator of your spiritual condition, which is one of the points Jesus is making this week.  He illustrates that with the sin of anger.  Oh yes, anger is a sin.  And Jesus reveals the character of your anger and your words gone amok and then proposes a cure and hope for progress.

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“Salt and Light” – Matthew 5:13-16

salt and light

We continue our second week in a new series on the greatest sermon ever, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Last week, in the Beatitudes, we discovered that those who are already following Jesus will demonstrate the character of Christ.  The Beatitides are the heart-attitude of those belonging to the kingdom of heaven.

This week, Jesus begins to reveal the outworking of that heart-attitude in the everyday life of the Christian.  He makes one of the most encouraging statements of the entire sermon in this Sunday’s passage.  As with the Beatitudes, it is a statement of who God has made His people to be and describes how He will use them in the world in which they now live.  Through them, God’s glory will be made known to the world.  The Christian’s confidence rests not in him or herself, but in their Father in heaven.  That is a great encouragement as we wade deeper into the ethics of this great sermon of Jesus.

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“Best Sermon Ever” – Matthew 5:1-12


This Sunday, we begin a new series through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, beginning with what’s known as the Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes are not a list of requirements for entering the kingdom of heaven, rather they represent the heart-attitude of those belonging to it.  Christ’s followers will exhibit some measure of all eight qualities listed in these Beatitudes.  How do you react to these eight heart-attitudes listed in Matthew 5:1-12?  Do you look at them and say, “Impossible; I can never be like this,” or do you look at them and say, “I long to be like this!”  How you respond will reveal what you know about Christ.  Come and see how it is that your heart can be melted and transformed to be like these Beatitudes.

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“Jesus Matters” – Exodus 20:17-21

Command 10

This Sunday, our journey through the Ten Commandments comes to an end as we arrive at commandment ten.  We’ve learned, as we’ve gone through the previous nine commandments, that they are not as easy to keep as you might think.  In fact, I suspect that most everyone has broken a number of them, myself included.  But, if for some reason, you think you’re unscathed thus far, commandment ten should disabuse you of that thought.  The great reformer, Martin Luther, said the tenth commandment is for those who “wish to be commended as honest and virtuous because they have not offended against the preceding commandments.”

But let’s not forget that God gave the Ten Commandments not only to show us our inability to keep them, but to lead us to the One who kept them on our behalf.  The Ten Commandments show you why Jesus matters and how satisfaction in Him will yield contentment with life.  That’s especially important, in our day, as we consider this last command.

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The Name – Exodus 20:7

Command 3

Do you ever wonder why God spoke and wrote the Ten Commandments?   You may be inclined to think He gave them to make Christians boring or make sure we don’t have too much fun.  Maybe you think God provided them to see who is in and who is out of the kingdom of God.  But neither of these are reasons God gave for issuing the Ten Commandments.

God gave His people the commandments AFTER He provided salvation from the Egyptians (Exodus 19).  God lovingly saved His covenant people and deemed them, of all the people of the earth, His treasured possessions.  The Lord is making His people into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  The Ten Commandments were given to establish and set apart the people of God’s affection, and when you keep those commandments, it testifies to your intimacy with God.

This Sunday we take a look at the third commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”  This commandment is about so much more than using the Lord’s name as an expletive or an exclamation.  Expressed positively, you might rephrase it, “The Lord’s people will honor His name.”  In what ways do those deemed God’s “treasured possessions” desire to honor His name?  That’s the question we’ll seek to answer together this week.

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