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A Sears Marketing Approach and the Christian Walk

    Sears stores use a technique which gently move you to the higher end products.  They will grade some of the appliances as “Good” which are lower-middle of the line, “Better” which move up in features and cost, and “Best” which are the “top-of-the-line”.    One could apply these categories to the response in Ezra 10.  
    It says that a large number of the people “wept bitterly” over their sin.  This is “Good”.  Biblical repentance must start with a sorrow or true broken heartedness over our sin.  They confessed the sin of marrying unbelieving (not Jewish) women.  They repented and the action of the repentance was to “divorce” or put away the foreign wives and their children.  The is the “Better”.  Reformation from sinful actions is always better, and in Christ, we can do it.  But the “Best”, the “top-of-the-line” of Christian living is obedience!  To have obeyed God in the first place, would have avoided all of the pain, sorrow and hardships that their sin produced.  So, which have you chosen?  The “good” - weeping over your sins?  The “better” - reform, turning from your sins?  Or the “best” - obedience in the first place (which we can choose in Christ)?  
Taken from "A Picture of Biblical Repentance", June, 17, 2007.

Posted 06/18 05:32 PM
Pastoral NotesPermalink

Transplanting Roses

This last week my intern and I, set about transplanting 7 rose bushes.  I had placed them on a slope in my front yard, with partial shade from a camphor tree.  When I planted them, I really did not know much about their needs.  These roses had been struggling for 3 years and were not thriving well.  There were several problems:

  1. The tree roots were pervasive and choking them out,  they were in a kind of "bondage" to the tree roots, which limited them and was gradually killing them. 
  2. They were in "darkness", getting very little direct sunlight. 
  3. The tree took most of the water and nourishment. 
  4. The tree dropped all kinds of dead trash on them. 

Just Like These Roses

In their new soil, they have open sunlight, no tree roots to choke and compete with them, and no trash dropping on them.  Now they can grow, produce blooms as they were designed and give glory to their Creator…just like us, in Christ.  Our natural environment is like those roses, in bondage to sin, choked by it, dying, in darkness with no light.  We can't do anything about the tree, and we can't transplant ourselves. All that we can do is die under the domination of the "tree/our sin".  God in Christ, sets us free, transplanting us as it were, and the bondage of sin is broken. 

Live In The Will of God

Peter, in his epistle, ch. 4:2, tells the dispersed believers, that they should "no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God."  As I used this as an illustration in my evening sermon, my point was that we should live in our new "soil"/circumstances, not in the old bondage, because we have been set free in Christ.  And then we can "bloom" as our Creator designed us, and give Him all of the glory.  ref. - June 3, 2007, "Armed with an Attitude".  

Posted 06/06 10:17 AM
Pastoral NotesPermalink

A Study on the Definite Atonement of Christ.

I received a story about a teacher who wanted to get the message of Christ’s death across to his students, who seemed disinterested.  He offered then each a donut, but had a student with perfect grades, do 10 push-ups for each one, whether or not they wanted the donut.  It paralleled the free offer of the gospel, Christ dying for everyone, whether they accepted it or not.  This is a flawed view of the substitutionary atonement.  So, here is a short Bible study on the atonement.   

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Posted 04/02 02:53 PM
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