Christ Is All That Matters

colossians32Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 13 (18) (July 31, 2016)


Colossians 3:1-11 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.


We continue our readings through Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse.  Last week we looked at how some were trying to add extra rules to this new life in Christ. Paul reminded us to grow our roots deep in Christ.  He reminded us that we who were dead in our sins were forgiven those sins by Christ’s death on the cross.  In chapter 2:20 Paul writes, “You have died with Christ and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world…Such rules are mere human teaching about things that deteriorate as we use them….But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.”

It’s at this point that we pick up the solution to putting off the old self – or as we used to say it the carnal (or sinful) nature.  Paul writes, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ…” We see this picture in baptism.  Our old lives are buried with Christ when we go down into the water…and we are raised to a new creation – we are made new – when we come out of the water.  Baptism is a wonderful symbol of what happens when Christ makes us new by saving us from our sins by his blood on the cross and then raising us to new life.  Since we are raised to new life…we should have a new attitude — we are made new — and Paul says that we should set our sights on heaven.  Think about the things of heaven – not the things of earth.  I think we could say it this way.  Think about advancing the Kingdom of heaven and not the kingdom of earth.  This earth will pass away — it is only temporary.  When Christ raised us from the dead, we died to this life.  We have many “believers” who are so earthly minded, they are no good to the Kingdom of heaven.  Our real life is with Christ.

Because of this, Paul gives us quite a list of things we need to put away.  This list is interesting because many times we think about the outright sins – the things that are black and white and yet Paul mentions things such as anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, lying.  We are used to hearing about sexual sin and other “big” sins.  But Paul reminds us that there are plenty of things that are of the old, sinful nature that we need to jettison.  Paul reminds us of greed and idolatry.  We often think of idolatry and think of other cultures, but idolatry is any thing that becomes more important than our relationship with Christ — ANYTHING!  We need to put off these things and put on the new nature.

Paul reminds us that we were created in the image of God – imago dei. God wants us to be like Him. He wants us to be in the image of His son, Jesus…there are things in this life that just don’t matter..Paul took it one step further.  In Christ, it doesn’t matter if you are are Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free…Christ is all that matters…Christ is enough…Christ lives in us.

Since we are going to jump to a new scripture, I want to move beyond the listed scripture…Listen to how we put on the new self

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Sounds like the fruits of the Spirit.) Make allowances for each other’s faults. and forgive anyone who offends you…Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Christ is all that matters!

Grieving Parent’s Month

[From Dale: Due to us moving, everything has been kind behind on the blog.  This should have went up a few weeks ago.  I do apologize.]

A couple of days ago Dale was on Facebook and saw  one of his co-workers status. It was about a son who died four years ago. We learned that July is Grieving Parents’ Awareness month. I want to bring this to everyone attention because Dale and I know a couple of parents who have lost their children. We have seen them all live with the loss of child in different ways.

When I had our oldest daughter my mother started to talk about my sister who died hours after birth. It was long time before parents would take the time and money to bury the baby. Instead my parents gave the body to science to help others’ children. My parents did not talk about Rebecca as far as I know till I our oldest daughter was born.

Just a couple of years ago, one of the couples in our church’s 17 month old girl was hit by a 16 year old behind the wheel of a SUV. It was hard as a pastor to help not only grieving parents but a church who were hit hard with grief.  We had to tell people we had no answers and are struggling to understand why God would let this happen. It has been a couple of years since we have seen the parents.  I am friends with the mother on Facebook and she shares the grief sometime.

I have a niece who has lost her son who was six months old from SIDS. Once again we sat at a funeral at a loss for answers. My niece has taken her grief to the internet with a blog. Not only that but her and husband has started a 5K to raise money for research for SIDS. I know the family is still hurting.

The past year Dale and I have been helping a church while we looked for a church. God called to this church because he knew that the pastor and his wife would lose their 32 year old son. They have been a great witness to God in this time of grieving.  I know that they have leaned on God for strength.  One of the people who have giving them hope is their grandson.

If you know a grieving parents and feel helpless. The best thing you can do is just be there.  Just knowing that someone is there just listen is a really big thing.

All To Us

I shared this song yesterday with our congregation at McCrea Brook.  It is a great prayer for the church.

Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the church

Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns

Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives

We believe you’re all to us.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts

This is my first Sunday Night Thoughts post from Eldred, PA.  Today was our first Sunday at McCrea Brook Wesleyan Church.  We had a great service on our first Sunday here.  It has been an action packed few days. It seems we have been doing nothing but packing and unpacking boxes and loading and unloading the truck since Monday.  It was good to get in a Sabbath’s days rest.  We have been using some of our time to explore our new home and its surroundings and I have even gotten in my first run here. We even started all those things that make us official residents of the state. I have been posting regular video updates on Facebook.  That’s about all I have for tonight. We are planning on heading up to Houghton College this week to attend at least one day of Refresh (our district’s campmeeting.) It will be good to meet some of our district family.  Other than that I need to explore a bi-vocational position and continue unpacking.   It’s been a good day!

Prayer for the Week

Prayer_Banner_22-760x176O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Running Update

13700124_10153597833851987_663000478275603536_nToday I went for my first run in our new digs.  It has been tough to get out recently and it showed in my total mileage for the month, which at the moment is just over 30 miles.  I hope to get consistent this week with walking and running.  It was a good run considering I haven’t been out in over a week.  The time spent in Staunton will help me with the hills here.  We live at about the midpoint in a hollow.  If I turn to the left, I go downhill toward the end of the hollow.  If I turn right, I head uphill to the head of the hollow.  If I go for a long run, I am going to have to go uphill first, because the hill going the other way around, will be quite the challenge.  But I am glad we are settling in and I am able to get back to a normal running routine – Pressing On!