Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

From the Bottom Up

We hear in the news allegations of the misconduct of religious leaders. We are not surprised when these allegations are made. We may even assume they are guilty. The respect for religious leaders has gone because of this. If one is guilty we are suspicious of them all. The same corruption existed in the days of Jesus. With all the public opinion of corruption and mistrust, how was Jesus able to make such an impact on the world?
 
When we look back at the Old Testament we find the same things. Many of the kings did not follow God and led his people into idolatry. The country became bad simply because the leader was bad. Punishment was given by God until the people would cry out for relief. A new leader was appointed who would bring them back to God. The people followed exactly what the leader did. Some leaders did change from the influence of their father, but for the most part things became worse rather than better.
 
It is such a contrast in the New Testament when Jesus came.  His message was that all people could follow God regardless of what their leaders did. He did not reach first to the leaders but to the poor and outcasts who had been rejected. He called for the outcasts to follow him as much as the people in power. He was not trying to overthrow the religious leaders of his time as much as he was going around them. They were unimportant. He held everyone to be responsible to God for their faith rather than seeing them as a nation under a leader. He did not try to reform the Pharisees and Sadducees, he bypassed them.
 
When we think about how to change a nation and a culture that is far from God, we should consider the methods of Jesus. He started with the people. He did not go to the leaders or those with influence. He called himself the son of man. He called for faith among the regular people. He changed a nation from the ground up. He trained leaders from among the regular people who would follow what he taught. They were just people who believed God could do something in their life. They believed they could have a relationship with God directly. They didn’t need to follow corrupt leaders; they could follow the man who appeared to be God on earth. What if we all just followed God regardless of our position or influence? God would change the world through us.   Terry Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Suffering Solutions

We all deal with difficult things at one time or another. The difficulty of those things depends on our perception. Some will see any inconvenience as being extreme suffering while others only see suffering if the damage is extreme. The best way to diminish our feeling of suffering is to be around someone worse than we are. We feel fortunate that we don’t have it as bad as they do.
 
I can remember visiting a nursing facility where a lady had arthritis so bad that she had surgery on all the joints in her hand and had a wire loop sticking out of every knuckle and joint. Simple movement was difficult. She never complained. She was always happy for the visit and to talk. Whatever problems I thought I had melted away in the light of her suffering. She downplayed any pain she was in. It took away all my reason for complaining and I felt fortunate to be able to walk out of there and not be in pain. I still remember her as the standard for feeling like I deserve any pity.
 
It will be hard to complain to Noah about a flood in your neighborhood that came in your house. It will be hard to complain to Daniel about the dogs barking all night when he spent a night with lions. There is always someone with a worse story. What if God answered our prayers about our suffering by showing us someone worse? Would that make us realize that what we call suffering is in relation to what we think life should be? We feel cheated and deprived because we wanted something better and we expected God to give it to us.
 
The real way God deals with suffering is to send someone to pay for suffering we have caused. We caused the suffering of Jesus by our sin. His death on a cross and all the harsh treatment was because he chose to take on our suffering. When we go against God it can cause suffering. Most of our suffering is because of us. If we realized God would make someone else suffer to get us out of our situation, would it change the way we pray? Suffering is a shared experience and God is always there to allow solutions when we understand the solution may be us.
Terry
Friday, October 12, 2018

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God’s Promises

Promises are hard to keep when circumstances change. That is why we should not make promises lightly. Promises are for the long term. They are about the person we want to be and what our life is about. We make promises when we are young that will last a life time. We promise a spouse till death do us part. We promise 30 years to pay on a house. We promise years on an education to take the classes and then to pay for the classes we took. All of these look forward to the life we want to have later. We imagine our life will be good with one person in our own house with an education.
 
When God makes promises they are for eternity. His promises are about who he is and what will happen for the long term. His promises at the time are also about what he wants to see long term. God starts making promises with us very early. After the flood he promise not to destroy the earth with water and that seasons would continue to happen. We may not have considered that those things wouldn’t happen but since we have God’s promise we can be sure. Even if it seems summer will never end in Arizona there will come a time when it is cooler.
 
God’s promises are also best for us. They allow us to be where we want to be. They are secure, and we can depend on what he has promised. He planned to send his son from the beginning of the world, but we can see his promise carried in our time. Since we know his promises have proved true over so many years we can be sure about the next years we have. The future it is not a guess and left undecided if we take advantage of the promises of God.
 
God promised that his chosen people would be cared for and blessed. At times they chose not to be part of his promise. Promises must be followed. We must always be there for the spouse, make the payments on the house and complete all the classes to get the education. Even then, we have to use the education before it is of any benefit. The same is true of God’s promises. We live as people of faith with promises from God. We value and use his Holy Spirit. We take advantage of the salvation he offers. We pray to him before he answers. We worship him before we can have a close relationship with him. We can have a great life in the promises of God.
 
Terry Friday,
October 5, 2018

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Complete Failure

Sometimes we all feel like a complete failure. Nothing in life is going right and we have just broken some important relationships. It feels like the whole world is crashing in around us and life will never be the same. We can never recover. But, time goes on and we find we do recover. Life may not be the same, but we do find new ways to incorporate what we learned. Failure without learning is wasted. At least we should learn something from the experience and be able to avoid the disaster the next time.
 
We tend to avoid places of failure. If a job is not going well, we find a new job. If we are bad at sports, we watch it on TV and become the commentator. If we fail at personal relationships, we just do more on Facebook. Anyone can sound good on Facebook and there are seldom any failures there. We just don’t post those things. That leads some people to feel even worse about their life because it appears everyone has a better life than they do.
 
A few will go to church with their failure but not many. It is a place to face your failure and do something with it. God is all about forgiveness, grace and starting over. It is the reason Jesus came. When we fail in catastrophic ways Jesus has an even better failure. It was the failure of God’s people to even see their own messiah. They did not recognize him. Jesus was unable to call everyone to discipleship before he died. That possibility was so remote it wasn’t even part of the plan. Jesus plan involved failure to do righteousness the normal way. Jesus died to improve his failure. We learn that death is not fatal. Resurrection is God’s way of dealing with a catastrophe so severe that we can’t recover.
 
When Peter told the people they had killed their own messiah it had to be a day of failure. The asked what they should do. What do we do when we are such a failure that we killed our own God? Peter told them how failure was not fatal. Even fatal is not the end. The great and glorious God of heaven was bringing life to people who were willing to admit their failure. Admitting failure was essential to this new life. It meant they could live better than they were precisely because of their failure. So can we.
 
Terry
Friday, September 21, 2018

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Meeting God in our Need

What is the need in our lives? Some would classify the need as money. If we just had enough money, then everything would be fine. Some would say they need love or compassion. If they had someone to love them they would be happy. Others might think they need things to make them happy. It isn’t the money, but that money has bought them enough to make them comfortable.
 
When we tell God about our need what do we say? Do we ever tell God we don’t need anything? He can just stop blessing us now because we have enough to take care of ourselves? Maybe we recognize the need is not for stuff but something deeper inside us. We need a relationship that is like no other. It isn’t “What”, we need from God it is God that we need. We need to know him and to be known by him.
 
Whether or not we have enough depends on how much we expect. It is not the amount. We can be satisfied with enough if we have daily bread. In Jesus prayer just today’s bread, not a refrigerator full to feed 10 people for a week, is enough. Some of our thinking depends on having enough for a certain time. Do I have enough for the week or the month?  Enough becomes relative to the time we have and how much we are thinking of using to be comfortable. We rarely think of enough in terms of survival.
 
Do we have enough grace? Do we have enough love from other people or God? Did Jesus provide enough redemption for us? Have we been forgiven enough to be saved? We know God has given enough for salvation. We don’t doubt that God loves us and that his love is enough. His righteousness is enough to give us purpose in our living. His glory is enough to give us hope for the future. His redemption is big enough to cover every sin we have ever committed.
 
  Terry
Friday, September 14, 2018

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Accepted Sinners

When we know we have messed up and there is no excuse for our behavior who do we want around? Usually the answer is we want other people who are in the same condition. Those who have their own failures and will not look down on us. We won’t feel bad because they are just as bad as we are. We know that they can’t say anything bad about us without condemning themselves. Somehow that is comforting because we will not be blamed for being a failure. They will not help us become better, but we won’t feel as bad about ourselves by comparison.
 
When we look at the Bible we find people with great sin coming to Jesus. He is the perfect person who never sinned. Why would they come to Jesus if the comparison of their mistakes and his righteousness are so far apart? Those who come to him find themselves healed and forgiven rather than condemned. Jesus does expect them to correct their actions and live a better way. He believes it is possible no matter how their life has turned out or the damage done to them. He believes in God and he believes in them.
 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He doesn’t make it harder for them to come to him. We may have fears of being rejected for our past. Jesus is dealing with the past and is looking for sinners. He didn’t come to save the righteous, but he came to save sinners who recognize their sin and their need for forgiveness. He offers forgiveness and acceptance when people are willing to turn from their past and embrace the love of God.
 
It is his past that makes the difference not our past. His past is creator of all. His past is the love of God for a lost world. His past is enduring the anger and hatred of many people, so he could get to us. He knows all about sin and experienced it firsthand. How different we are from the angry crowd that wanted him crucified. We meet Jesus in our sin and surrender our mess of a life to him. He heals and makes an eternal covenant with us to match our past with his past. We bring our sin and he brings the sacrifice of blood for sin. It is a perfect union of grace and forgiveness in the bond of love.
 
Terry
Friday, September 7, 2018

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Puzzle and Song

Puzzles have lots of pieces that all link together to make one picture. Music has many notes on a page that must be played at the right time and pitch to make one melody. All the notes and pieces are important or the whole is not complete. The puzzle always looks incomplete without the one piece in the middle. The song is just missing 3 notes at the beginning but basically the song was good. Our perception is different because of the impact the mistake makes.

If our sins don’t make a big impact, we may not see the need to change. It didn’t change our whole life, it was just a few sins that most people won’t even remember. A few angry words, a lapse in faith, opportunities not taken but we still got to sleep at night and the next day we start over. Repentance is for when you got caught with big sins that everyone knows about. The little ones affect us just as much over time. We know we don’t measure up and are not what we think we should be. We can no longer be confident because we are not doing what we believe. There is a hole in the puzzle or a few missing notes.

If we don’t make a big impact in the family, we don’t see ourselves as important. We are there but we don’t make the food or clean up. We don’t take the kids and the family can run for days without us even being there. We can be gone for the week on business and they are all still there when we get back. We can even think we are no longer important just because they can survive without us. But they don’t survive very well. They don’t do as good without us and their confidence is missing because on piece or note in their life is missing for a while.

If we don’t make a big impact in the church, we don’t see ourselves as necessary. All we do is sit in a pew and mumble a song or two. When we have to miss people don’t really notice. We don’t feel like we are essential to God and his people. They seem to do fine without us. Actually, there holes left in the church where people of faith are needed, and it is a few holding it together. Jesus’ eternal kingdom that will stand against the gates of hell doesn’t seem as powerful. We can’t fix the whole puzzle, but we can make sure our piece is there. We can’t fix the song but our notes with be sung right and we will be part of the praise to God that makes heaven shine with his glory.

Terry

Friday, August 24, 2018

 


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Strong Families

In the Bible we see children develop into great leaders. Joseph, David and Moses are all great leaders. We know their parents some but not as well as we know the children. We don’t have stories of great leaders who developed other great leaders in their family. Most of the time when there were great servants for God we know little of their children and often what we do know is not good. Following a Biblical example of how to raise great children just isn’t in the book.

 

We are left with look at great leaders who overcame their childhood and the influence of those around them. That may be a better example for us to follow. Our world finds ways to blame everyone for what has happened to them without taking any responsibility on their own. Parents are blamed for the child’s failure to achieve great things. When we look at those who did achieve great things, they often had a difficult childhood. Moses was born in a time of violence toward babies and families. Joseph was hated by his brothers and even sold as a slave. David was not even considered when they were looking for a king because his brothers were favored.

 

The greatest leaders were when faith was taught, and they overcame obstacles to do something great. It is not because they had a great family and an easy life. We have lots of occasion to struggle outside the family without the struggle also being inside the family. Today we want strong families that can face the challenge of our world. That means everyone in the family working together to promote the image of Christ in that family.

 

Timothy’s father was not a Christian, but Paul trained Timothy. Jesus lost his father sometime before he was 30 and so grew up without a father for part of the time. Families are broken in different places for different reasons. God has made the family flexible and resilient enough to be his answer in every culture and in every time to take care of his people. Before there was church or a nation for God there was family. It is how God teaches us to live and love.

 

Terry

Friday, August 24, 2018

 


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Setting 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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