After 40 years of wandering in the desert, you’d think that the Israelites would have learned their lesson. In the book of Numbers, we see the Israelites leaving Egypt behind, as they were challenged to obey God’s commands, have faith, and trust Him through what seemed like impossible circumstances. Miracles were performed before their very eyes, God Himself provided their daily needs, and the Promised Land was so very near. Yet, the Israelites complained and grumbled about their journey in the desert.
“Bad company corrupts good character.” We’ve all seen this play out again and again. A “good” kid gets in with the wrong crowd in high school and ends up addicted to drugs. An NFL player making millions of dollars gets arrested for robbery. His coach’s response: “He’s gotta get a new crew.” A high school student who is “on fire” for Jesus, goes off to college, makes new friends, and comes home no longer believing in or following Jesus. Why do stories like this happen?
As parents, how do we protect our kids’ hearts from being destroyed by the consequences of their choices? We all need to understand The Principle of Consequences. The Principle of Consequences is this: If we’re on path A, we will end up at destination A. We choose the positive and negative consequences we will experience later by the path we choose to be on today.
One of our greatest desires as Relevant Community Church is to be a difference-making church. There are some key differences between people who “go” to church (“churchy people”) and people who are the church (“difference makers”). If we really want to be difference makers and be a difference-making church, we need to take a long, hard look at our lives and consider whether we are living as churchy people or as difference makers.
We all screw up and sin…in relationships, with our families, at work, on the weekends, on weekdays, all the time, repeatedly. Sin causes us to be “unfaithful”. All throughout the Bible, sin is described as faithlessness toward or a breaking of faith with God. The posture of sin is the same posture unfaithfulness in any relationship…turning our back on. Sin is TURNING OUR BACK on God himself…thus separating ourselves from Him.
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”
Words are a powerful thing.
Words have the ability to BLESS another…to inject the LIFE of God. Words also have the ability to CURSE another…to inject hurt and ultimately DEATH. Words can literally change a person’s life. In some way or another, we can all attest to that. All of us have our own stories of words that have been said to us that have changed the trajectory of our lives.
Your family. Your job. Your husband or wife. The latest fashions. Your favorite sports team. TV series. Food. Sex. Money. Success. Yourself. These are things we place value in. These things we hold as “important”. We were all made to worship. It’s in our DNA. The question is…who or what will be the object of your worship?
This letter was sent to us during our inaugural year for Vacation Bible School (which we now call Summer Blast). Such a powerful story of how God transforms lives during this week for our children. Dear Relevant VBS Volunteers, I just had to write and tell you all thank you. I know this past week at VBS has meant many very late and stressful nights, busy days, time off work, time away from your children, and busy, hot, chaotic days with 100 young children!
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still SINNERS, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). In case you missed that, read it again. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners – literally, ENEMIES of God – Christ died for us. Have you thought about that?
What if I told you there is ONE THING that would… Transform you? Draw you closer to God? Lead you to experience His active presence in your life more? Improve your relationships? Proclaim the good news and love of Jesus in the world louder than anything else? Would you want to know what that one thing is? Would you do it?
Winning can be an exhilarating experience. Often, winning produces a physical action like shouting or jumping. No matter how big or small, whether it’s winning a game, a prize, or the lottery, we internally rejoice. But what happens when we lose? Losing also results in a physical reaction. Slumped shoulders, pouting, or a fake smile that covers up the angry emotions inside are just a few gestures we witness. While winning brings a sense of pride and joy, losing can make us feel jealous and ashamed.
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." – Mahatma Gandhi. How many times have you heard of people leaving the church or speaking against Christianity, not because of God but because of us, because we love so contrary to the Jesus we say we follow? We have made it hard for people to see Jesus because of how we love…or how we don't love. We must change this!
We all envision our lives going a certain way. We have so much hope that our lives will be great. But rarely does it go that way. In John 16:33, Jesus says: “In this world you WILL have trouble.” But He doesn’t stop there. He goes on to say “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Troubles in this life – even the worst imaginable type – are inevitable. Jesus promised that we would have troubles. When in the midst of our troubles, we have a choice how we will respond to them.
For us, change is inevitable. Time, people, past experiences, current circumstances, our environment, our education, even God Himself causes us to change. Sometimes we change in the blink of an eye, and sometimes we change gradually over years. Regardless, we are all changing—in good ways and not so good ways.
God appeared to Moses – an old murderer, liar, and coward who was doing the lowly job of a shepherd – in a burning bush. He told Moses about His big plan: freeing the Hebrew people from slavery and leading them to land He had promised them they would possess long before. AND then…God said something Moses never saw coming…