Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jesus and the O.T. Law


The Old Testament Law. It's the subject of this week's sermon (taken from Matt. 5:17-20).

It's not a simple subject. Actually, there are massive rabbinical commentaries written about even the most subtle of commands.

And one of the Law's greatest commander-zealot, before he met Jesus, was the apostle Paul--aka Saul the Pharisee.

However, once he was changed by Jesus, Paul changed his mind about his radical devotion to obeying the law. He didn't throw it out; instead he followed it by seeing it through a Christian lens.

Put simply: he stopped inviting people to "do" or "obey" the law. Instead, he called people to "fulfill" it by following Jesus.

Here are some of the texts he wrote in reference to the O.T. Law:

"Doing" the Law (Gal. 3:10, 12; 5:3; Rom 10:5)
"Fulfilling" the Law (Gal. 5:14; Rom. 8:4; 13:8, 10)

So, how about you? Are you more of a "doer" or a "fulfiller" of the law?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit



Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.  Matthew 5:3  (NIV)

You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule.  (The Message)

In Matthew 13:44 Jesus tells this parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field."

I think it is by realizing that nothing we have on this earth is worth more than God's Kingdom that we become the poor in spirit.  We are to live with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favour and salvation, regardless of our outward conditions and dwell in the knowledge that nothing we may have is worth more than the kingdom of God.

When we think of possessions, undoubtably we think of things like our homes and cars, or our televisions and computers.  But what about our families?  Our health?  Our careers and reputations?  Our possessions are anything and everything we hold valuable and it is only by faith that we can put that into the hands of God and trust him to manage our accounts.

We are selfish creatures.  Media and peers bombard us with messages contrary to the will of God: buy, expand, bigger is better.  But a preoccupation with hoarding up earthly treasures makes little practical sense.  Making eternal investments are much more profitable.  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) so, "do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal."  (Matthew 6:19-20)

This is not to say that God doesn't celebrate our good fortune along with us.  I believe He does.  I believe He wants us to succeed, to strive, and to be "good stewards" of our money without loving it.  And this may be the hardest thing he asks of us.




A rich man was near death, and was saddened because he had worked so hard for his money, and he wanted to take it with him to heaven. So, he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth along. An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. "Sorry," the angel said, "but you can't take your wealth with you."

The man implored the angel to speak to God to see if He might make an allowance. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him.

The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one small case with him. Overjoyed, the man fetched his small executive attache case, filled it with pure gold bars, and placed it beside his bed. Soon afterward he died and showed up at the gates of heaven to be greeted by St. Peter.

But St. Peter, seeing the attache case, said, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"

The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission, and asked him to verify his story with God.

St. Peter checked and came back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one item of hand-luggage, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through."

He opened the attache case and stared at the amount of gold bars in shock. After a moment, St. Peter looked up and said,

"Of all the things you had to bring ...why did you bring pavement?  (churchforchrist.com


I like my home.  I like my car.  I like my toys.  I like the job security both my husband and I have.  But what if it was taken?  Would I remain strong like Job or crumple in my own despair?  Would I blame God and shake my fist in anger or would I have a servants heart and pray, "Thy will be done"?  Would I scramble to rebuild my shattered life or would I dwell in God's presence free from all those physical distractions, trusting Him to provide?  The truth is, I don't know.  I've lived a comfortable, blessed, untested life and for that I'm incredibly thankful.  I hope, that if the time ever comes, I will be one who is blessed in poor spirit, and finds joy in the knowledge of God's salvation for with less of me there is more of God.




Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she's trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Inside Out

"Listen, and take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up." (Matt. 15:11 - The Message)

My mentor said it like this: "Garbage in; garbage out". It was his way of reminding me: what I consume, I will produce.

This Sunday we begin a sermon series looking at Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount. We're calling it Inside Out: Kingdom Anatomy Lessons. It's an up close and personal look at who's who in God's world, the radical expectations that Jesus has for his followers, and the harsh reality of what people's lives are producing--or vomiting up.

We'll explore Jesus' teachings about the Old Testament, salt, light, anger, lust, and divorce.

So, if you're interested in seeing what life looks like from the inside out, why not join us some Sunday between January 16th and February 27th.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Sermon Response

are they listening?


Ever wonder what the youth are getting out of a Sunday morning service?  Aidan Hennebry, an active member of HMC's Senior Youth Group has shared his thoughts from one of Pastor Jason's December sermons.  Click here to read his reflections.