One of the fun parts of international travel is that sometimes exchanging currency can make you feel richer than you really are. I remember going to West Africa and exchanging the money for our team of approximately $1250 and walking out of the bank with nearly half a million in the local currency. I felt like a gangster shoving the stacks of money into my backpack.
I felt richer, but the reality was that I wasn't. All that changed was the standard that I judged richness. Something similar happens when we consider goodness. We feel like we are pretty good people compared to the world around us, but compared to the only standard that matters - God - we are in pretty bad shape.
I hope you will join us this weekend as we continue to look at the Signs of a Christian Life by exploring the need we have to deal with our sin. We'll see you Sunday and I really do hope you'll bring a friend. See you at 10 am!
A week or so ago, a group of pastors and I went to the state house to pray for our legislators. I personally prayed with a handful of our lawmakers here in the state, Democrats and Republicans alike. I asked God to bless them, to give them wisdom to make good and just laws and to protect them as they travel. Republicans and Democrats alike appreciated the gesture. It wasn’t political at all. While we did discuss some matters with a couple of representatives, it was at their request, not ours. When I asked to see my representative I simply said, “Hi, I pastor a church in your district. I am praying for our legislators today. Is it alright if I pray for you right now?”
I don't share this to say that I'm great. I share this to ask everyone that rather than play this incessant game of "gotcha", this game of tearing down the other side of the political aisle to make yourself feel good, maybe, just maybe, we could figure out how best to move forward. Russell Moore, the head of the ERLC for the Southern Baptists had profound and well known differences with former President Obama and yet almost every time they met, Dr. Moore shares that President Obama would ask him to pray for him. He shares that it helped him to remember that before he is President Obama, he is still Barack Obama – a human being with hopes and fears just like you and me. Different fears and hopes, perhaps, but he is human like the rest of us.
So, here's my challenge. The next time you feel like posting that "Haha" gotcha on social media, instead take that time and send an email to your representative. Pray for them and then let them know you are praying for them. If you don’t know what to pray for them, pray this prayer:
Father God, today I ask that You bless Representative Smith. Give him wisdom as he makes decisions for this land and these people. Help him to understand the consequences of his decisions and open his eyes and heart to your perfect wisdom and grace. Keep him safe as he travels, keep his family safe as well. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
You may say, “But my representative is a godless (insert name of the other party here)! I can’t pray that God would bless him! We must defeat him and his godless agenda!” Well, consider the words of Jesus Christ, if you truly feel that they are your enemy:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)
Jesus didn’t say that you should support them, but we are called to love those who persecute us and to pray for them. And I don’t believe we should pray that a flower pot would fall from a window sill and knock them in the head. We should pray that God would change their heart and mind so that they make the best decisions for everyone. This goes doubly so for people with whom you have passionate disagreements with.
If you have been around the church for any length of time, someone has probably said that you need to follow Jesus. In fact, I have been known to say that from time to time. But what does that mean? Does it simply mean that we play "follow the leader" or "Simon Says"? Or, is there something more to following Jesus?
This Sunday, we will start a four part series as we return to Luke's Gospel and consider just how we are to be followers of Jesus. And it is my goal to take us deep into the text and see what the passage says not just to obey with our actions but to truly follow Jesus with all our heart. See you Sunday at 10 am and invite a friend!
This Sunday we bring our series Jesus: Greater Than to a close as we prepare to take a little break from Luke's Gospel for the Summer. Since Easter, we've explored how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything by proving that Jesus is greater than the greatest problems and issues we face today. This week, we are back where we started - Jesus is greater than sickness, disease and even death. But more importantly, because Jesus is greater than these things, we have no reason to fear and every reason to trust.
My name is Thomas Cackler and I’m the Pastor here at Harvest Church Cumming. I’m really glad that you stopped by to check out our home on the world wide web, but I’d really like it if you would join us this Sunday for worship! You can find all about that by clicking above on the “Visit” tab.
Followers of Jesus have gathered each Sunday in this location since the late 1800’s to celebrate what God has done in our lives and to hear how He wants us to follow Him. I can promise you that everyone here is not perfect, but we want to continue to deepen our relationship with Jesus. At Harvest, it’s not about a religion, it’s all about a relationship with Jesus!
One of my goals as a pastor is to, in the words of John Piper, “help people fall out of love with this world and into love with Jesus.” I can’t think of a better thing to help people do. Jesus is the treasure that we seek and my job as Pastor is to help people seek and follow Him. I hope you will join us this Sunday in worship.