Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

Stting the Temperature

It should be easy to decide what we believe but sometimes there are several factors to consider. Is it hot or cold in here? We may think it is just right but that wasn’t one of the choices given. Other people may not feel the same way because of age, clothing or other factors. In fact, there isn’t a truth of fact about the temperature in any room. It is completely left to the individual. But there is a thermostat and it demands a number. It doesn’t consider the pregnant girl with the red sweater or the old man in short sleeves. It just wants the number that is comfortable. If the temperature outside is 110 degrees, then 72 seems cold. If the temp outside is -20 degrees, then 72 seems hot. What is the right number for everyone to feel comfortable? Only one number can be put in. It is the right number because we are looking for the right temperature. Anything other than the right temperature is wrong. The answer? Set it where some people are too hot, and some are too cold and everyone is uncomfortable.

 

There isn’t an answer, but the Thermostat demands an answer. It demands the right temperature. It is like making the temperature a law of right and wrong. We would rename it and say we will set it at the best temperature for everyone. That usually means the women are too hot and the men are cold. Best is a principle of what can be provided without saying it is right or wrong.

 

Sometimes we do this with religious thinking as well. No matter what the issues people will be divided. For the individual right is where they are comfortable. Anything that makes them uncomfortable must be wrong. We often define a specific set of actions that will determine whether something is right or wrong. By right, we mean the most comfortable and where most people agree. It is most difficult if we look at something and there is not a specific right or wrong answer. When we turn things into law or a specific decision is demanded in a matter where there is no specific given, then we go with what is most comfortable. Jesus was comfortable with grace and not law. Grace and truth come through Jesus (John 1:16,17) because law and truth did not lead people to God. Truth is more understood by grace than it is by law and from Jesus we have all received grace upon grace.   

 

Terry

Friday, August 17, 2018


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Imagining God

God is so big it is hard for us to imagine him. When we do think bigger we find it hard to believe our imagination. We tend to think of God in the way he has been presented to us. God created the world in the beginning, so we think of him as creator. It solves our questions of where we came from and answers the meaning of life. We are not accidents of biological development but here because we reflect the one who created us for his purpose.

God is love. Because God is love we understand certain qualities to God about the way he loves. When we really understand how big the love of God is we are completely overwhelmed that anyone could love like that. But love also means we don’t let people hurt themselves or do things that would cause them harm. God knows the harm the could come and so his warnings are to protect us from the hurt that we would cause ourselves and others.

The peace of God we imagine is about green pastures and quiet waters and the protection of a shepherd to watch over us. Jesus talks about giving his peace to his disciples and it is far from that picture. Jesus lived in the middle of hatred and criticism and still managed to find the peace of God. Peace was not about God solving our difficult circumstance but more about finding peace within. Conflict and evil will always be part of this world, but Jesus has overcome the world. We imagine living the peace of God even in our difficult situation.

God has many different dimensions that we can understand. We don’t understand how God deals with pain, anger, hurt, or loss. We just need to know that God is bigger, and we have not yet been able to imagine him in that way. The dog that died or the favorite “Blankie” that needs to be washed all may be tragedies to a child. We can handle those, but we still have questions with our own things. We need to see God as bigger than we imagine right now. The next step is always to see God like he really is and be in his presence. It is then that we realize the meaning, love and peace of God.

Terry

Friday, August 3, 2018

 


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Our Opinion of Judgment

We don’t like it when we are judged by other people. Even if they are right it is never a pleasant experience. They may think we need that judgment because we are doing it wrong. We don’t think we need to be judged because we already knew we weren’t doing it all that well in the first place. We don’t want to expend the energy it would take to do it as well as we know how.

Does being judged help people? We think it does when we give our opinion because they could do it a better way. We think of it as sharing insight and they see it as pronouncing judgment. If they listened to us, a product could be better because of the input given by the users. Manufacturers spend huge amounts of money doing consumer research to find out how people judge their product. We ask people’s opinion all the time. Does this make me look fat? We want a judgment before we buy it and we don’t want to hear it after we have already paid for it.

There are many surveys sent out to gauge what people like. They guess at trends of what people will like next, so they can create a product people will buy. We would be very successful if we just knew what people would want next. God does not take this approach. He isn’t polling to find popular opinion or even concerned about the judgment people make of him. He has no intention of changing anything based on judgements people might make. It is people who need to respect his judgment, because his is perfect.

We don’t like judgment when it is bad. Some judgment is unjust and critical for no reason. We may assume God’s judgment is always bad, but it is not. He judges what we have done to give us the reward that is due us. (2Cor. 5:10) God judged Abraham as righteous because he believed. We should not fear his judgment because he will only give us what we deserve. If that makes us afraid then maybe we should change our actions so that his judgment will be a blessing to us.

Terry

Friday, July 20, 2018

 


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How Do You See God?

We don’t all see God alike. Some see God as an old man completely outdated and unable to keep up with his creation, so he is absent most of the time. Others may see God as kind and loving and in complete control of this world. Others may see him as a higher power or not believe there even is a God. How do we get such different ideas about God? The main reason is because of a distorted view of God.  

It is always amazing to look back and remember things that happened when we were children only to have someone who was there at the time share a complete different memory. We remember it clearly, but they do not remember the same experience. We may have thought it was fun to go the amusement park and they thought it was terrifying. We remember great family dinners, but they hated the peas that they had to eat. Does it mean one had a bad childhood and one did not? It means in the same event the experience was different.

We may not see God the same way because we follow our perception of God rather than the actual facts. Putting all our experiences and information together allows us to have our own picture of God. Our understanding of God may be very different and therefore our faith and response to him will be different. How are we ever able to teach the world and come to faith if everything is subjective experiences?

It is important for us to know the Bible because it is not someone else’s experience of God. The Bible is God allowing men to explain him accurately. It reveals many who did not understand him and reacted in unbelief and rebellion just like today. It also shows who God really is and we can have an understanding of God. We can correct our misunderstanding of him because we believe God inspired men to write what God showed them. Whatever our experience we should learn what the Bible says about God. Then we can look at our relationship with him in a much bigger setting than just our current culture.

Terry

Friday, July 13, 2018

 

 


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Finding Peace

Peace is one of the things we want most in this world. We schedule more activities on our phones and tablets to help us get more done. We set reminders and check off boxes in a never-ending list that grows longer rather than shorter every day. We long for a time when peace would rule our life. We want that peace that lets us sit around and do nothing with no agenda and no check list. Nothing to be done and nowhere to go. No worries and no anxiety to upset us. Our peace sounds very boring.

When we do nothing, we don’t find peace. We may relax for a while, but we will notice things left undone in our life. We may even feel guilty for just sitting around while other people work. We wonder why the dishes aren’t done and the house is a mess. Doesn’t peace mean not having to clean up? Relationships are left undone. Goodness and love are not given because we aren’t giving any. Is the point of peace being ignored and having nothing meaningful to do? Jesus did not say watch all the world on TV while we sit in our recliner.

Peace is found in the middle of our struggle when we know we have done everything we could to be who God made us to be. Our enemy tries to get us to do wrong or at least ignore the right things we could do. Can we ignore things like worship, prayer, study and relationships because our time is valuable to us? We also find our value in who we worship and how we talk to him the relationship we have with him. Peace is not found in doing nothing but in winning the battles of our life.

Jesus battled against the injustice, evil and disease of the world. He lived for God in doing what was right and helping the broken. He trained disciples and dealt with training teachers for the whole world. He was at peace with who he was and his relationship with God. Peace means doing what God intended and fulfilling his purpose. At the end of his life he could say, “It is finished”. Peace is knowing we are aligned with God, his will and accomplishing his purpose.   

Terry

Friday, July 6, 2018

 

 


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Privileged Sheep

Some people want to be in charge. They want to have the say and make the decisions of where we will go and what we will do. They want to have the remote, so they can choose the channel. They want to pick the restaurant, so they can have their favorite food. It isn’t that they don’t care about anyone else, but other people don’t make good decisions. At least it doesn’t always turn out good for them.

The concept of shepherd and sheep has been around literally since the beginning. Abel was a Shepherd. (Gen 4) Abraham and his family were shepherds as well as most of the families in the lineage of Christ. The people were often nomadic and having a flock of sheep provided for them well. It is always easier to move if your business has legs and can follow you. Even long distances from Ur or Egypt to Canaan they had much of their provision because the sheep could follow. It is easy to see why Jesus chose such a familiar way to talk about leadership and his people.

In Jesus teaching the sheep are privileged. The sheep don’t have to fight the wolf. The shepherd is there to protect the flock from the wolf and the robber. They are his sheep and they know his voice and follow him. They expect him to know the good place for them and they willingly follow. The sheep that don’t follow are called lost sheep. Even then the shepherd goes and finds them. They are not expected to find their own way back and they are not expected to all turn into shepherds. They are just to be sheep with one task… follow.

 Jesus has gifted some to be shepherds. (Eph. 4:8,11) They are to watch over the church and equip the people for work to build up the body of Christ. They are to bring maturity and unity as the people grow together into one body of Christ. When we all come together each one has a part. We are to grow together in love to form one flock, not 400 individual sheep. We are one church united in Christ as he provides for us. What a great privilege we have in him. (Eph. 4:11-16)

Terry

Friday, June 29, 2018
 

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Being Loved

The scripture tells us love is patient and kind. Love doesn’t look out for its own interest but for the interest of others. (1Cor. 13) Love will put up with a lot and it always responds to everything in a good way. Love always looks for good in the world and does not allow evil to gain control. Love is always about what is good, right and pure and does not let the negative or evil take away the good even if it is at its own expense.

Many people don’t know how to love. They haven’t experienced it themselves and they don’t know how to put someone else’s interest above their own. It isn’t natural for them. If their world is, “Survival of the fittest,” then they must all look out for themselves. They are taught to take care of #1. No one else will take care of them if they don’t look out for themselves. Basically, they are saying no one loves them and they don’t expect it.

We can also tell people who are loved conditionally. They are loved if they behave or obey. They have met certain criteria before they are loved. They must be pretty or do favors before they are acceptable.  They must laugh at the right jokes and stroke the ego of the right people before they are allowed into the circle of conditional love. If they ever mess up or need too much, then they are out of the circle.

God loves first. He risks doing good and being rejected first. He shows his love when he creates us. He continues his love when he sacrifices for our good even when we are bad. We can refuse to do what he wants and rebel against his authority, but he knows we need him and can’t find real life on our own. He makes a way for us to be right with him. When we finally understand and respond to God’s love, it is unlimited. He loves and acts for what is best for us in every circumstance and in every way. We can never earn or deserve the love God has for us. We can only respond to the love God has by loving him back and loving other people like he loves us. 

Terry

Friday, June 22, 2018

 


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Father God

God must have known about the relationship of father before creation. He intentionally took on the role of father. He creates man and then woman from man. When Adam saw Eve, he said she was created for him because she was taken from him. (Gen. 2:23)  He creates the capability for children to come from both parents. We know the children are ours because they came from us.

It was intentional that children develop attributes like their parents. God was counting on that with creation. Everything God created was good including the man and woman he created. God was holy, and he put good people in a good place with every advantage to continue being good. He even was there to talk with them if they had questions or didn’t understand. He was their father and that distinction for God continued. He was seen as the father even in Jesus time and Jesus referred to him as father.

It is an awesome responsibility to be in the place of God in our relationships. We are father to our children and are to raise them the best way we can. We know they were good when they were born, and we provided a good place for them. We made sure they had what they needed. We wanted so much more for them than just to be babies. That is why we got them the football as soon as they started walking. We knew they were going to be someone important some day and we told them so.

Father God is holy and expects his children to be holy. He wants them to develop the family trait of holiness. Sometimes a stray ball breaks a window and we have a mistake that is our fault even if we didn’t intend it. He doesn’t expect perfection, so he has given mercy and made grace possible. He teaches repentance, redemption and forgiveness to be the correct response to many things that go wrong. Not only does God give that to us but we give grace to others. It is so great to have such a wonderful father.

Terry

Friday, June 15, 2018


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His Grace Reaches Me

One of the songs we sing contains the line, “His grace reaches me.” The great
realization about grace is that it is not just a theory out there somewhere. This
grace really does reach us. We can live in his grace as people who have moved
to a new level.
The first thought about grace is that grace is for our sin. The price of sin is death.
We cannot pay that high a price for our mistakes and things we have done wrong
on purpose or by accident. God sent his son to die on a cross so the price for
our sin could be paid. Jesus gave up the glory of heaven and came to be born
on earth knowing he would lay down his perfect life for our sin. In this way Jesus
redeems us by paying the price for our sin. Jesus would live his life to teach
us how to live and believe in God. His healing and example display how to live
eternal life in a physical earth. Both were involved in the process. It is this grace
that is found in the covenant we make with God. The price has been paid but the
reality of that grace is only found in the covenant with God. We deal with our sin
by deciding never to do it again and turning our life around in such a way that we
will not engage in that behavior anymore. It is called repentance. We then put that
old self to death and are buried in water called baptism we no longer have sin
or shame. Jesus has promised that people who believe in him and his sacrifice
and who choose to enter the covenant through repentance and baptism will be
reached by his grace.
This grace also brings eternal life. Not that we live longer than anyone else, but
we live on an eternal spiritual level that we didn’t have access to with no covenant.
God lives in the eternal realm. With this grace we enter the eternal realm of God
by being given his Holy Spirit to live in us. The result of our life is defined by the
goodness of God rather than by the disaster of circumstance. His grace does
reach us and allows us to live an abundant life because of his abundant grace.
Terry

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