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Pleasing God, Pleasing Others

I have been thinking, musing if you will, about how to live in the balance of what it means to "Please God" and how it intersects, or doesn't intersect, with pleasing others.  As a Christian I want my life to be ordered around doing things that will please God.  After all, it's scripture itself that reminds us of the necessity of ordering our private and public worlds to be lived in such a way that God is pleased with our lives.

For example, Paul in writing to the Corinthians sums up the goal of our lives in a simple sentence.

2 Corinthians 5:9
 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 

Later as he writes to the Galatians, he reminds them that there is no other Gospel other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is by grace through faith.  In defense of that Gospel, he writes:

Galatians 1:10
 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of …
Recent posts

My Son-in-law explains Why he teaches Children the Gospel

I have two great son-in-laws.  My daughters married excellent men and I'm grateful for both of them. My son-in-law Greg (married to Kelly) is doing his Post-Doctoral work at UW Madison Hospital.  He's not a doctor, but a researcher with a Doctorate in his area of expertise.  He also is a mentor, teacher and youth leader in his church.  He wrote this article to explain to his own church family why he teaches the kids who come to his youth group.  Greg is not a theologian or a Pastor, but he has a pastor's heart and a mind that thinks, and that is a good starting point in serving God wherever he calls us.  Here it is:

Why I teach children the gospel, (Greg Barton)
It is sufficient to say that everyone here would agree that we want all of the children in the church to reach their potential in life. To reach one’s potential, it will require answering the question; “What is the reason for life?” Christian doctrine tells us the entire reason for life is to be “In Christ”. Jesus sa…

He Cleanses Completely

He Cleanses Completely by C.H. Spurgeon (from Truth for Life Daily)
The blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

"Cleanses," says the text—not "shall cleanse." There are multitudes who think that as a dying hope they may look forward to pardon. Oh, how infinitely better to have cleansing now than to depend on the bare possibility of forgiveness when I come to die.
Some imagine that a sense of pardon is an attainment only obtainable after many years of Christian experience. But forgiveness of sin is a present reality—a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus he is fully forgiven. 
The text, being written in the present tense, also indicates continuance; it was "cleanses" yesterday, it is "cleanses" today, it will be "cleanses" tomorrow.  This is the way it will always be with you, Christian, until you cross the river; every hour you may come to this fountain, for it cleanses s…

Is Believer's Baptism necessary

I have been a Pastor for over 40 years but more importantly have been a committed follower of Jesus - one that I hope can be described as a disciple of Jesus - for over 47 years.  In my early days of following Christ I ran across the issue of baptism.  It was a moment of crisis because I had been baptized as an infant and now was confronted by the Scripture about believer's baptism.

The Scripture reminds us that Salvation is by Grace through Faith, not of works, it is a Gift of God.  So Baptism by no means is a work of Salvation.  Yet, Baptism is introduced in Scripture by Jesus himself and along with the Lord's Supper is given to the Church as a matter of confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Baptism - as Peter points out in his letter - does not save, but instead it makes a confession of salvation already done.

Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptism as a way of identifying with the need for repentance and salvation - even though he did not need to repent, and was in …

Faithful to God's Message and Ways

I'm sorry for the lapse of writing...blame it on moving.  We have moved to a different place and it has taken a bit of time to get settled.  Still I've continued to teach weekly and continue to work through this series that covers the entire scope of the Bible's story.
The story is rich because it is a story of God's unrelenting love.  When God the Father sent his Son into the world it was the highest form of love - Sacrifice.  Jesus walked through Israel from North to South, East to West proclaiming "the Kingdom of God is at hand...enter..." and many did.  But it was one experience in John's Gospel that highlights for me - through a narrative - what His coming was to accomplish.
In John 12, the Apostle tells us that it was six days before the Passover, which means six days before Jesus would be hung on the cross, that Jesus came to Bethany where his close friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived.  Mary anoints him with expensive oil which turns out to be …

Walking that Fine Line

Our Church has persevered in this LONG series entitled, "From Garden to Glory".  It was/is an attempt to tell the whole story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  It has been a desire on my part for several years; but I do admit, it's outside of my comfort zone in terms of teaching, and it is almost like remodeling: "It will take longer than you thought, and cost more than you hoped".

We are in the Epistles right now...trying to understand the way in which the early church saw the unfolding revelation of God's redemption - which they had just seen up close in Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension.  The book of Acts serves as a historical picture of what they went through.  That is one reason I'm including the two videos of Acts at the end of this blog.

What is absolutely clear in reading both Acts and the Epistles is that the GOSPEL of Jesus was, and therefore is, the message the Church proclaimed, and therefore must Proclaim today.  I…

The Gospel as Our Foundation

The Foundation of Our Faith is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote to his young son in the Lord - Timothy and reminded him of this too:

2 Timothy 2:19
 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

"God's firm foundation stands...."  Musing on Spurgeon's words, I rewrote this:
The foundation upon which our faith rests is this, that "in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them."(2 cor. 5:19).   The great fact on which genuine faith relies is that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,"(John 1:14) and that "Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God"; (1 Peter 3:18)  "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree"; (1 Peter 2:24) "Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with…