Pastor Ethan's Blog
Thursday, February 08 2018
Last Sunday I asked the question “do we really believe that how we live out the Love of Christ- in our daily lives- has the power to change things? Simply put, do we have the power to influence people in a way that makes their lives better? It’s not just a rhetorical question, because life often can lead us to be pessimistic about this… that few people really change, and that we really don’t have much ability to fight against the darkness in our culture, our own community, and sometimes in our own homes. Yesterday, this seeming power of darkness asserted itself again in the suicide death of a young person in our community. 2017 saw an almost record number of suicides in Eagle County, but this one hits closer to home, as the young person was well known to multiple people in our church family. Just weeks ago another member of our church family lost a life-long friend through still not fully known circumstances, again right here in our valley. If this valley is your permanent home, you almost certainly saw the news story about two weeks ago when a local resident- a believer who was an active member of one of our sister churches here in the valley- was murdered in her own home.
How do we fight against the darkness? Do we really have a chance to make a difference? Friends, there are two opposing answers to this question, and one is a lie straight from hell. This is the enemies accusatory lie that we can’t make a difference. C’mon. People don’t change. Get real. Who are you, and who are we as Christian hypocrites burdened with our own behavioral and emotional issues to make a difference in the lives of others? Church, this is a lie. We can make a difference, and the love of Christ- when really lived out in the lives of ordinary believers- changes lives every day. May we never doubt that this is true.
There’s another answer we hear, and this is the voice of what actually is. It’s the reality that while people can change, and the Love of Jesus is powerful to make a difference, that many people in fact don’t change, don’t forgive, and don’t emotionally and spiritually mature. While not as discouraging as Satan’s lie, this perspective offers little in the way of hope, it’s pessimistic by nature, and still part of the enemies desire to deceive us. Could things get better? Sure. Will they? Probably not.
Then there’s the Truth – not of what is, but of what may be. This is the answer of Hope, of optimism, and of scripture. It is the voice of the Spirit calling us to not just to know what is possible through God, but to base our lives-our choices and actions- upon what God has said He plans to do. And friends, what God has said He plans to do is nothing short of the redemption of the world. As we have explored through the past five weeks of our current message focus, God is working to reveal His Glory to His world through His Children. Through His Disciples. Through US. Christ one day WILL return, and in the words of N.T. Wright “put all things to rights.” AND until then, we- the Church- are called to be preparing the way, by how we live! Right now. We are agents of the future, called to bring about on earth (starting with our own little piece of earth) that which is already true in Heaven.
Church, may we never shirk back from our present Hope of Resurrection, and the Truth that through us God will continue His work of redeeming this world! And here’s the deal. If we DO believe this, it will get really practical, really quick. It will influence how we spend our time. Where we spend our money. It will make us people who really want to listen. It will open our eyes to the pain of those around us, and open our hearts to extend compassion. Wisdom in how to respond? Yes, of course. Willful blindness to people’s desperate need for real Hope? May it never be!
Friends, the Love of Christ we have been exploring will lead us to be patient, kind, humble, and to always push against the darkness of anger, pride, dis-honor, and grudges. It will lead us to be sharer’s of the Gospel of Forgiveness, Hope, Freedom, and New Life in Christ. It will lead us to grow in our own spiritual and emotional health. It will lead us into Freedom and Joy, and in all things, God’s Glory will be seen. Though you and I. Today.
Walking with you as we increasingly Love God, Love People, and Live Free,
The disciples… said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”