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“Continually . . . Constantly . . .” May 28, 2014

What a beautiful morning!  We had some much, much needed rain this past weekend and I so look forward to seeing the world around us start to green up more – please continue to pray for rain and for God to continue to protect our area from fires.

I want you to read these words from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, chapter 5 verses 1-2:  “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Now read it in a new translation, the One New Man Bible:  “Therefore you must continually be imitators of God as beloved children and you must walk constantly in love, just as also the Messiah loved us and gave Himself over on our behalf, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma.”

The thing that I am enjoying about the One New Man Bible (ONMB) translation is that it attempts to take not only the translation, but the meanings from the original language and incorporate that into the translation.  With that in mind, the two verses translated above bring into more clarity the meaning of Paul’s challenge to the church; in essence, to you and me.

I want you to notice the emphasis that Paul puts on “continually . . . constantly . . .”  I have told you many times that when the original readers of the Word of God read the book or the letters in the NT, they would have understood the nuances that the writers had put into it.  We read the English translations and we see a word there but many times we don’t catch the tense of the original language, or sometimes a word is used in the translation that just comes up a little short.  For example, the word “love.”  We have one word that we use for love and it can mean so many different things: “I love pizza” or “I love my wife.”  Now we know, I hope, that I don’t love pizza and my wife in the same way.  But in the Greek there are at least four different words for love and when the writes used those words the readers would have understood immediately the force of that word.

Paul says here that we are to imitate God – but in the ONMB we see that his emphasis is that we are to be continually imitating God.  This isn’t just supposed to happen every once in awhile; it doesn’t just take place on Sunday when we “come to church;” we continually imitate Him as “beloved children and you must walk constantly in love . . .”  Here is where that word “love” comes into play.  The root of “beloved . . . love” is agape – which is the highest form of love that there is.  This is God’s love.  Also, we are to “walk constantly in love, just also as the Messiah loved us . . .” (emphasis mine)

Perhaps you have wondered from time to time what God would have you do.  I have heard people say, and in fact I have said it too, “If God would just tell me what I’m supposed to do then I’d do it!”  Well, this makes it pretty clear to me that we already know what we should be doing.  Before you tell me that what you were talking about in that “situation” was something specific, let me tell you that everything that we do is supposed to be an imitation of God and that the way to imitate God is to constantly walk in love with Jesus Christ’s love for us as the example that we are supposed to follow. 

So then, when you’re wondering what you should be doing and you want to know what God would have you do, look at Christ because He said that when we saw Him, we saw the Father – we saw God.

Another part of this has to do with sacrifices.  Again, the readers from Ephesus would have understood sacrifices, where we just don’t.  When God called the children of Israel and gave them the sacrificial system, part of the beauty of the sacrifice was the aroma that came from that sacrifice.  When they sacrificed, they were to sacrifice the very best that they had.  When that sacrifice was burned the aroma from it would have been so incredibly beautiful and pleasing to olfactory senses.  Think about this even though it is a poor example – when you put something on the grill and you begin to cook it, the aroma is incredible.  One time when we lived in Phoenix we had our family send us a couple of sacks of green chile that were unroasted.  It was incredibly hot in Phoenix and so instead of roasting them in the oven in the house and making it that much hotter, we decided to roast them on the grill outside.  We hadn’t been grilling but just a few minutes when our neighbor next door came out his back door wanting to know what that incredible aroma was.  Needless to say, the family of green chile lovers grew that day by at least one.

Paul says to us that when we imitate God, which we have learned how to do by watching Jesus, when we constantly imitate God, walking constantly in love just like we saw Jesus do when He literally sacrificed Himself for us, then that will be a fragrant aroma to God – in other words, like when God gave them the sacrificial system and He talked to them about the pleasing aroma of the sacrifice, which in effect was obedience – when we do this, it is once again that fragrant aroma to God that shows our obedience.

What do you smell like today? 

Come one, keep it in context . . . is your life constantly a pleasing aroma to God?  Please don’t misunderstand, we don’t always do things perfectly, we are human.  But what is your intention when you begin each day?  If you intention is to “continually be imitators of God . . .” then you are being obedient to Him and  you are walking “constantly in love, just as also the Messiah loved us and gave Himself over on our behalf . . .”  You see, Jesus’ intention was to do whatever He had to do to show us agape love, God’s love.  So are you intentionally starting your day with the idea that you are going to do whatever you have to do to show God’s love, even to the point of sacrificing what you want to do so that whoever you come in contact with will see God’s love

What is your intention today?  Come on now, own up . . . what is your intention today?  It may not come out perfectly, but what is your intention?  “Continually . . . constantly . . .”  As if you need motivation for that let me remind you of the context of the two verses that we are looking at this morning.  If you go one verse back, chapter 4 verse 32, you’ll see that the reason that we would do this (intention) is that God has granted you and me forgiveness in Messiah, in Christ!  And this of course would lead us directly back to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:15 where Jesus said, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (emphasis mine)Context, context, context . . . it is really the whole book, the entire Word that we need to see.

What do you smell like today?


Upcoming Activities


Sunday June 1 – We hope that you will join us as we worship together this morning at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.  We have an incredible day planned because we are going to be looking at God’s Word to us from Colossians 2:6-12 and I want to challenge you to come expecting that God will be here and that He is coming to meet you!  He will be and He is!  Of course we also have our Hispanic service at 4:00.

Our District Assembly and Conventions are coming up June 26-28 in Clovis NM.  Please be in prayer for our District, our Superintendent and the Church as we come together from across the NM District.  On Friday evening June 27th one of our own, Korey Frazier, will be ordained.  We invited all who can to come and be a part of this incredible celebration!

“Christ in You, the Hope of Glory” Collossians 1:24-29

Listen in this week as we continue to look at the book of Collossians.

Let the Church BE the Church 4/23/14

Good Morning,

I had my Wednesday email all ready to go this morning and got into my office and began to read my email and came across this one.

BreakPoint began several years ago with Chuck Colson.  He began it with a radio broadcast 5 days a week, which they still do, and eventually added the email version which I have subscribed to ever since.  Each day there are some incredible resources and items.

I read this one this morning and immediately knew that I wanted to share it.  If you are so inclined, you can also subscribe to it and you’ll find that information near the bottom, but my purpose today was simply to share this because it tells the story of the church being the church.  As you read it I hope it brings a smile to your face, but most importantly I hope it prompts you and me to ask ourselves the question, “What do we need to do to let the church be the church through us?”

Finally, you might have to search, but if you are one who looks at the Upcoming Events at the bottom of my weekly email, you’ll find it, again, at the bottom, of the BreakPoint stuff.

I love you


Movies with Max

The Church Steps Up and Steps Out
Eric Metaxas
I recently heard a story involving Chuck Colson’s grandson, Max, that made me want to cry—and then, sing for joy.         

As many BreakPoint listeners know, Chuck Colson’s twenty-three-year-old grandson Max is autistic. A few months ago Max’s mother, Emily, and Patty Colson took Max to see “Muppets Most Wanted” at a Boston-area theater. After settling themselves into their seats, the previews began. And that’s when things went south.

Normally, Max gets a bit excited at the beginning of a film, and then he calms down. But life with autism is unpredictable, as Emily wrote on a special needs parenting site. When the first preview exploded loudly onto the screen, Max covered his ears and shrieked, “I want to go home!” Emily tried to calm him, but as soon as Kermit the Frog appeared on the screen, Max shouted “The Muppet movie!”

When the volume spiked again, Max shouted once more “I want to go home!” That’s when other movie-goers let Emily know in painful and no-uncertain terms that Max was not welcome.

As Emily and Patty escorted Max out, the audience began to applaud. “It was the sound of an angry mob chasing us away with their jeers and taunts,” Emily writes.

It’s hard to recover from experiences like that. But God used it to offer a mighty blessing, not only to Max and Emily, but to hundreds of other special needs children.

Not long after Emily wrote about unexpectedly becoming the entertainment at the theater, a woman named Renee came up to Emily after church. “Do you think Max would like it if we rented a theater?” she asked.

The following Sunday, Pastor Paul told the congregation what had happened to Max, and announced Renee’s great idea: “She rented out an entire theater so that friends of Max can watch the Muppet movie with Max.” Pastor Paul declared, “If you’re a friend of Max, you’re going to the movies, whether you like Muppets or not!”

“Everyone laughed. And everyone bought tickets,” Emily writes.

A local newspaper picked up the story. Hearing of the event, called “Love to the Max,” a limousine company owner offered to take Max and his friends to the theater in style in a 37-foot limousine. The employees fought over who was going to have the honor of driving Max. The winner? A man whose own grandson was autistic.

The CEO of a local Friendly’s Restaurant offered gift certificates for ice cream or meals. People volunteered to help out at the theater, doing everything from taking kids to the bathroom to bringing them popcorn.

So many people bought tickets that the Regal Cinema had to expand the event to two theaters. In the end, 500 children, with their families and friends, went to see “Muppets Most Wanted.”

This time, when the Muppets began singing their first number, “the music catapulted Max right out of his seat,” Emily recalls. He began dancing in the aisle. The audience began to applaud as Max danced his way down the aisle, “grabbing hands and pulling others into his dance.”

The children enjoyed the film, and as it ended with a final Muppet song, nobody wanted to leave. “Suddenly, people flooded into the aisles [and] began to dance. Everyone free. No armor. No barriers between us,” Emily writes. “I looked around and wondered if this is what Jesus envisioned when he said, “Love one another . . . The joy was contagious.”

As Chuck would have said, this was the Church being the Church. People came to love on these kids, “the least of these” and their families. And they were living out 1 Cor. 12, which reminds us that all parts of the body of Christ should be valued and honored.

As Max danced for joy that day, I imagine Chuck was probably smiling down from Heaven on him and on this marvelous scene.

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday April 23 – Join us for dinner tonight here in the gym at 5:00.  Regular activities for teens and children as well as our Hispanic Bible Study, Prayer group at 6 in the sanctuary and Men’s study at 7:00.

Friday April 25-Sunday April 27 – Man Camp over at Bonita Park.  If there are any men who haven’t signed up and would still like to go or need more information please contact Jerry Wright @ the following email address:  deb.and.jerry.wright@gmail.com

Sunday April 27 – We will have our regular worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. as well as the Hispanic service at 4:00 p.m.

Thursday May 1 – The National Day of Prayer Breakfast at the Convention Center begins at 6:15 a.m.  We have four tables that we have reserved and Donnie & Julia Glover have the tickets – the cost is only $10 and we would love for you to come and be a part of this very special event!

Friday May 2-Saturday May 3 – Feed My Starving Children Mobilepack event here in our gym.  Go to the following website and sign up to pack meals  www.FMSC.org/mobilepack/events  When you get there go to New Mexico, then click on the Ruidoso event and then pick a time to pack on either Friday evening or Saturday.  If you have never done this it will ask you to “Create a New Account.”  You will then put your email address in, choose a password, give your address and accept their conditions and YOU ARE IN!  We hope there are a GREAT number of Angus folks who sign up!