Pastor's Blog

July 2018

Time for Compassion

Mark 6:34, "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, becuase they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."

In one of the churches I served at, we were rocked by a tragic motorcyle death that took the life of father and son. It was one of those tragic accidents that made us all cringe with pain. It was one of those tragic accidents that reminded us how fragile life is. It was one of those tragic accidents where our compassion went out to the family members and friends left behind. And those aren’t the only deaths we mourn. Some of you are mourning loved ones recently passed away. The need for compassion is great.

Compassion is really the only thing we can offer these people. We cannot promise to make things better for them. We cannot promise to bring loved ones back. We cannot promise them it won’t hurt. But we can share compassion.

If these tough and tragic deaths remind us of anything it is that the people in our lives need true compassion. There are people who don’t know their Savior, who walk around with a darkness, an emptiness, inside them that this world doesn’t fill. These are the people for whom Christ died; people like you and me, people we can share compassion with. And the kind of compassion that you and I can share is very different from the kind of compassion the world offers. Our compassion is the compassion of Christ. That selfless love of Christ, who loved us when we didn’t deserve it, is the source of our own compassion.

So when we raise our eyes and see the people in this world who don’t know Christ, then it is time to share Christ’s compassion. We do that when we share in Christ’s desire to love and when we share Christ’s message. Now more than ever, I think, it is time to share Christ’s compassion.

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Facing Rejection

When someone talks about prophets I usually think of Elijah. Elijah was a prophet during a very troubling period of Israel’s history. Ahab was the king and Ahab had forsaken the Lord by worshiping other gods. Elijah condemned him for this and you can imagine that didn’t make him very popular with Ahab.

But Elijah was determined to make his stand on the word of the Lord. So Elijah held a contest between himself and the priests of a false god named Baal whom Ahab worshiped. The contest was simple: whichever god answered their prayers that one was the true God. Well, of course, the Lord God is the only true God and he answered Elijah’s prayer. Baal is a piece of stone or wood—he can’t answer anything. So there, Elijah had it, proof that the Lord was the true God of Israel. Did that change Ahab’s heart, though? Nope. Elijah received a death threat from Ahab the next day. So he fled for his life. From the height of victory, to the pit of despair, Elijah faced the rejection of God’s people.

It’s actually the story of all of God’s prophets: from Isaiah to Jeremiah, to John the Baptist, to Jesus and, yes, to you and me. God’s prophets are the people who declare God’s message. In a way, that makes us all "prophets." And it also means that like Elijah, or John the Baptist or Jesus we get rejected.

So what do God’s prophets do in the face of rejection? They stay faithful. That’s what Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus did. And that is all the Lord ever asks of you and me: stay faithful. Yes, being a prophet of the Lord means you must endure rejection, but all the Lord asks is that you be faithful. 2 Timothy 4:5, "Do the work of an evangelist."

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he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. ~ TITUS 3:5