Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

Point of View

Point of view is very important when we are trying to make sense of our life. We don’t see things the same way as we did when we were a child. Relationships and activity we thought were easy back then are much more difficult. Some things that were difficult then are easy now. If we are used to driving in a large city, we don’t like the traffic, but it doesn’t bother us. If we have never driven in a big city are completely overwhelmed by the cars, lights, exit ramps and one-way streets. Simply by living in a small town we become unable to drive in the big city. We can learn, but that will take some practice. From where we are now, we get nervous just thinking about it.
 
Sometimes we find ourselves in places that are difficult to overcome. We may have never intended to be where we are but because of an accident, a disease, a failure, or just not paying attention, we understand life in a different way. Some may find it difficult to walk but they still have the basic needs of living. They find a way to cope with the situation they are in. They will have limitations on what they are able to do but they can still live a good life. Those are just basic things about travel that make us see life in a different way. There are also spiritual things that change the way we see Jesus.
 
If we did not grow up in a Christian household, going to church may be completely unfamiliar. Things like prayer, communion and even the songs may all seem foreign. If we did grow up in a church it could go two directions. We may love worship and being with Christian people. We also might have had a bad experience with some other Christians and now we don’t trust many of them. The way we perceive our treatment in the past has a lot to do with the way we see Jesus. Even in Jesus time people had difficulty with God because of the way the Pharisees and scribes acted. They flocked to Jesus, but the Pharisees did not lead the people to be close to God.
 
We must overcome our past and the place where we are now. Life has a way of leaving marks that influence the way we think. The one talent man in Jesus parable was afraid of God. The man who was able able to walk in Acts 3 was so overjoyed that he couldn’t contain all his praise for God. So do we praise God or are we afraid? Do we think God will help or do we fall into anger or despair because he is not fast enough? The more we trust and worship God, the more we know him and understand him. Sometimes our world is so dark we aren’t sure he can still hear us. That usually comes from someone who hasn’t worshiped or connected with God in a long time. If we worship, pray, realize blessings, talk with other Christians openly about Jesus then we will keep a good relationship with him.
 
Terry
Friday, December 7, 2018

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In a Worship Relationship

We know sees everything we go though and there isn’t anywhere we can go that he doesn’t know. Even with God knowing everything there is a difference being aware of the facts and being in someone’s presence. The person on their cell phone knows what is happening in the room and most of what was said. However, they are distracted and not really engaged with the people in the room. It is much different than sitting down across the table from someone and them looking us in the eye while we talk. They not only know every word that was said, but the body language and expression on our face. Over half the people who get married will end in divorce.
 
Over half the young people who came to church will divorce God. That means married people who have spent time together, shared finances, lived together, and found some great attraction to each other are no longer willing to stay together. With that kind of example how could there not be a problem with keeping a connection with God? We should be surprised there is any worship at all that keeps people interested. If we can’t live together in the deepest most intimate relationships with each other, why would God be an exception? Are we really surprised if over half the people who begin with church leave church? It is an insight into us and our failure in intimate relationships. The usual cause they give is church isn’t relevant or keeping up with trends. That is like saying the divorce rate is high because the couple didn’t have enough channels on their TV. At the bottom of all these broken relationships is something wrong with us. We were not able to understand and stay in the conversation with enough intensity to work it out. We quit paying attention and we lose the relationship.
 
When we talk to God, what preparation do we take? If we can’t text while we are driving can we pray while we drive? Does most of our praying take place while we are doing something else? Maybe that is why when Jesus prays it is at times when he stopped to pay attention. He prayed before means when he had to wait to eat until he could give thanks to God. He prayed in the garden specifically. He went up several mountains to pray and spent much of the night praying instead of sleeping. Sometimes we stay up late talking to friends. Those are the best conversations.
 
Jesus gives the example of what happens. When he was praying in the garden, he took three disciples with him and told them of his distress. He asked them to pray. While the son of God was praying in agony a few steps away they were asleep. Completely unaware of the crisis he was going through. The did it three times. Why did the early church grow? Because those disciples never did take for granted God’s presence and the crisis around them. The answer isn’t more entertaining worship; it is staying in the conversation of worship with almighty God.
 
Terry
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Could Be Worse

When my children were younger, they had a book with the title, “Could be Worse”. Every day something bad would happen and the grandpa would say, “Could be worse”. And the next day sure enough something would happen that would be worse. Life today goes on and the best advice we can give is, “Could be worse”. It is what keeps us looking toward the future and not take this present moment so seriously. No matter how bad it is it always could be worse. When we see people who have it worse than we do we can be grateful that it isn’t us. There are some days when we are the example to someone else of how it is worse. Even on those days we know we have not reached the bottom of how bad it can possibly be.
 
Our relationships could be worse. No matter how strained they are now, they can always get worse. Be thankful for what they are now and work so that they are better. The kind word of encouragement goes a long way. We sometimes feel like we are the worst and it is good to hear that other people see good in us and value us. When we value them, it gives opportunity for things to be better.
 
Our church could be worse. We do have Jesus as our savior and he is building his church through us. The reason it could be worse is us or angry people in the world. With Jesus as the guide and shepherd we know he leads to glory and majesty even if suffering happens. He forgives sinners and changes relationships from hatred to love. It is who Jesus is. When we act and worship in a way that brings glory to him, we can handle the worst.
 
Our family could be worse. There are ways that we can respond to the situation right now that make it better. Our marriage could be better. Our kids could be worse. We can be thankful that today we can do something to make a difference. Difficult times can always come but they will not come because of neglect or a lack of effort. So we work and plan so that our family has a good example to follow. We speak and act in a way that God can bless because of us. When we seek his kingdom and his righteousness all other blessings can come to us. (Matt 6:33)
 
Terry Friday,
November 16, 2018

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Sharing Jesus

Watching the advertising on TV we can see an actor telling us what a great product they have and the sale that currently gives us a great deal. There are two reasons why this is effective. The first is we seem to like to have products that famous people are using. The second is that the actor appears to really get a lot out of using his favorite product that has changed his life. The truth may be that the actor doesn’t use the product and doesn’t like it at all, but because he is a good actor, sales are high. We tend to buy and believe what other people believe.
 
People will follow what someone else believes. Because Jesus’ disciples believe Jesus is the Son of God many people followed them. They were not acting or selling Jesus. They were explaining their faith. Jesus had an impact on their lives from the very first time they were called. They left everything to follow him and every day after proved that was the right decision. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it was up to them to share Jesus with the world. In each generation after that we struggle with the way to share Jesus. What works best is when we share what we believe regardless of the method we use to share it. The fact that we speak from what we believe and from personal experience allows other people to see what it looks like when Jesus is part of their life.
 
The first part of sharing Jesus is to check our own faith. We speak from what we believe, and we don’t want to convince people of our doubts. When we truly believe something, it is easy to talk about. It changes our life and we can talk about what God has done for us as experience, rather than a theory. Jesus redemption by his death on the cross is not just a theory or unrelated doctrine. It is what we believe and live as redeemed people. Our life is different because of Jesus.
 
We are sharing a person not a theory. Christianity is a way of life, but it is based on a person. His teaching becomes our learning. His passion becomes our goal. His humble attitude of service becomes our example. His way of looking at the world and helping people becomes our attitude. The more we share Jesus the more we realize who he is and what he has done. The more we learn of him the more we become Jesus to the world.
 
Terry
Friday, November 9, 2018

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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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