Pastor's Blog

January 2017

Copycats of Christ

If God were to come to me at night and tell me that I could ask him for anything I think I would ask God to be as good a preacher and teacher as Jesus Christ. When we go through his ministry in the season of Epiphany we see Jesus manifesting himself as God’s one and only Son. We see him perform miracles showing that he is the all-powerful God. But what we see him doing more often is preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God. And Jesus does it well, in fact, he does it perfectly.

When I look at how well I carry out my work of proclaiming the gospel, I see quite plainly that I fall way short of where I should be. I’m guessing you could probably same the same thing about yourself; we just aren’t the missionaries that Jesus wants us to be. We have all these other concerns in our life, we struggle against our sinful unwilling hearts and we give in to our weaknesses whatever they may be. And in the end, we see just what inadequate, weak missionaries we really are. That’s why if I had the chance, I would ask God to make me as good a teacher and preacher as Jesus.

That’s what makes God’s decision to use us to do his work so amazing and so humbling. We are very weak, yet God’s strength is worked through us. We don’t always know what to say or how to say it, but the Holy Spirit speaks through us. We don’t always know how to treat other people, but the love of Christ shines through us. In fact, because God is in control, we’re really just copycats of Christ.

I remember in grade school that it was not good to be called a copycat. Everyone wanted to do their own thing, to be unique in some way. Being a copycat meant that you weren’t unique; even worse, it meant you were trying look unique by copying what someone else did. Actually, there was something else at work that we weren’t mature enough to realize: admiration. When someone would copycat, it meant they admired what the other person was doing so much that they abandoned their own ideas for this better idea. That’s really the whole point of being a copycat of Christ. We abandon our own ideas and stick with what Christ did, his mission of saving people from sin and death is our mission and his message of free and full forgiveness through his work is our message. All we do is copy it.



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The Pursuit of Life

Henry David Thoreau, a philosopher of the 19th century, described getting the most out of life as “sucking the marrow” from life. Like a dog gnawing on a bone relentlessly to get at the marrow inside, he said our pursuit of life should be just as relentless. Get everything you can out of life.

I don’t think any of us would argue that pursuing goals is a bad idea. But what’s the point if none of those goals come from a life that is centered on Christ? What’s the point if all our activities lead us away from the Lamb of God? God created man to have a relationship with him. And make no mistake everyone in this world has a relationship with God. It is either a relationship of love or a relationship of fear. Either your life is a pursuit of Christ, or it is a fearful running away.

The pursuit of Christ is really what makes life worth living. It’s really what gives meaning to all the goals, activities and responsibilities we have in life. And the pursuit of Christ happens when we have time well-spent with the Lamb of God. "Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

This isn’t the secret of success. This isn’t the secret of happiness, even. This is the meaning of life.



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Beautiful Names

Jesus.

God.

Bread from Heaven.

Light of the World.

The Way. The Truth. The Light.

Alpha and Omega.

The Lamb of God.

Immanuel.

I could go on.

I remember once being asked to write a paper and make a list of all the names of God I could think of. I didn't have to think too hard: we had a poster in the classroom filled with the names of God.

God has given us so many differnet names to call him. Why?

To answer that question we have to ponder the immensity of God. God's proper name is "Yahweh" which is probably related to the Hebrew word that means "to be." So God's name is "to be" or "I am." In fact, in our NIV Bibles when God is speaking to Moses at the burning bush that's exactly how they translate it, "Tell them 'I AM' has sent you."

That name, Yahweh, communicates the immensity of God. Before time began, he was there. When this world has spun its last revolution, he will still be there. He is everywhere all at once, filling the heavens and the earth. And yet, he is present with all his attention when you pray to him. He IS. He is not manipulated. He is not tricked. He is not unaware. He knows all, perceives all, understands all. Yahweh. He is.

And when you stop and think at what an immense God there is, it's no wonder he has given us so many names. Each of those names communicates a different aspect of God. Take, for instance, the name of God the Son, Jesus. Jesus means "Yahweh saves." It's what God the Son came to do. It's why he took on human flesh (Immanuel: God with us) so that he could take our place and pay for our sins (Redeemer: one who pays the ransom price for another). He has rescued us (Savior) from sin, death and hell so that we could be with him for all eternity. He began our salvation and he completed our salvation (Jesus called himself the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet).

All of those names (Immanuel, Redeemer, Savior, Alpha and Omega) communicate the richness of God's love for you. His love for you is as boundless as the universe, and as big as his name. His love for you just "is" and always will be. Yahweh - one of God's most beautiful names. So get to know God better. Read his word and discover what all of those beautiful names mean.



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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. ~ 2 TIMOTHY 3:16