Friday, December 21, 2012

The Solution

Over the past seven days, the perspective of what is really important has changed for many people.  One week ago today, a terrible tragedy happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Because of that tragedy, many of us have supported one cause or another. We speak with outrage and anger that something must be done. Some of us are performing acts of kindness for the victims of the shooting. Some people have declared to arm themselves, while others are fighting against allowing people to own certain guns. People have become more aware of mental illnesses and vowed that we must solve that problem. There have been millions of Facebook status updates and posts stating that they know the solution to the problem.  There is no doubt that most everyone’s voice, cause, or actions have the intent to make sure something like this never happens again. Even the leader of our country has vowed to create change for that very purpose. 

So what has gripped me as a Christ follower is this: “What is my responsibility?”

I have been part of the masses of people that have said this or that, and hugged my kids tighter. In the wake of something like this, these are natural reactions. We have to do something. We do that because we think we need to take action to make this better. We want to defend a cause, or create acts of kindness projects, etc. However, as Christ followers, we miss the real solution to every evil that lives in this world and even inside of us sometimes. In Matthew 22: 34-40 we see what this very solution is:

"But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?'And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'" - Matthew 22:34-40
Jesus fulfilled each of these commandments. He loved God with his very life. He willingly gave up his life for the very purpose of making much of God. He also showed love to those around him in dramatic ways. Then Jesus tells us in John 13:15: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” and in 1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” and finally in 1 John 2:6: “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
So I say this to you and myself in the wake of such an awful tragedy: Let us fight the urge to just go and do something or say something. Let us love God with our lives, not by task, but with our whole heart. Let us love God because He is worthy to be loved. Let us love those who have no hope. Let us love with our whole lives those who are wrecked with sin. Let us love who we don’t think deserve it. Let us hug our kids tighter, but more importantly let us live the example of JESUS CHRIST in front of them so they see Jesus. Living like this is so much more powerful that adopting a cause or performing random acts of kindness. Our passion for that cause or the acts of kindnesses will end, but our Love for God should burn inside of us like a never ending fire that lights up the world and points all to the Solution:   JESUS CHRIST!!!

May God bless you and renew the fire inside of you this next year! 

-Marty Burgess
BCC College Pastor

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Role of the Word

I have a question for you today: How important is God’s word in your life?

If you are anything like me, with little hesitation you would answer that God’s word is very important to you. But I wonder if that is actually true or if its something we say because we know that’s what we should say or that is how it should be? I guess what I am trying to get at is this: Is God’s word really that important to us if we are not willing to sacrifice to read it? Is God’s word really that important to you if you are constantly turning to everyone and everything else besides His word for answers to your problems? Is it really that important to you if we don’t even notice if we have gone a day, a week, or a month with out opening up His word?

One thing God has been challenging me in is how desperate am I for His Word. Recently I started reading a book entitled Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler. Chandler says something at the beginning of the book that has been stuck in my head that I want to share with you.  He says, “There is a major difference in knowing the word and agreeing with it and actually being consumed by it, being defined by Gods word and the gospel, being driven by it. Its one thing to see God’s word as important facts of ones life and ministry but it’s quite another thing to hold firmly to it as the centerpiece for your life and all you do; To completely orbit around it.”

So as you read that statement, I wonder which description of how we view God’s word you relate to? Is the Word something you believe in and agree with or is it something that is constantly shaping who you are; what drives you? God’s word must be what everything in our life flows from. If not scripture, then where is your power and knowledge coming from? The answer most often is you. If my power and understanding of life and how I should live is coming from me that is a very scary thing. I have very little to offer and I fail more often than I succeed but for some reason I constantly depend on myself to lead more than I follow after God. My prayer for you and me today is that we will begin to rely less on who we are and what we can do and begin to rely more on God and what He has already done. God has given us His word now it is up to us to decide what we are going to do with it. Again I ask you, how important is God’s word in your life? 

- Brad Snipes
Middle School Pastor, BCC