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Archive for April, 2015

Letting Go

Lying, cheating, dishonesty, deception, jealousy, malice, bitterness, revenge, anger, gossiping, evil, hate, greed, grief, ingratitude, entitlement, bad habits, stinginess, pessimism, lousy attitudes, laziness, immorality, godlessness, cynicism, gluttony, hedonism, bragging, arrogance, brutality, violence, unkindness, wasting, selfishness, carelessness, not caring, all forms of abuse, stealing, covetousness, ignorance, all sins, self-serving, hurtful speech, malingering, unforgiveness, drunkenness, addictions, disrespect, purposelessness, excuses, judgmentalism, destructive behaviors, betrayal, not taking responsibility, not being responsible, pride, ….

You hold onto any of the above you will end up twisted, or torn, or fake, or disliked, or hated, or distrusted, or broken, or …. Think about it, how much hurt is wrapped up in the list you just read? How much pain, despair, and darkness? Why in the world do we hang on to things on that list? Why do we have such a difficult time letting go of what is so obviously wrong, to what is no good, to what does not contribute to make us or our world better?

It is not for lack of trying, most of us have moments when we want to change for the better. Have you ever walked away after watching an inspiring movie, or after finishing an inspiring book, maybe even after hearing an inspiring sermon, and felt like you too could do something heroic, you too could rise above your hurts, your chains, your limitations. But then there comes the next morning and you awake to your daily grind, to your unchanged self, to the realization that this stuff is a whole lot easier in movies, books, and sermons than it is everyday life. How quickly euphoria, moments of tender conscience, flickers of hope fade. “I should,” “I want to,” does not easily translate into “I did.” Especially when it comes to addressing the things we should let go of and the root of why we have such a hard time letting go of what is sinful, destructive, and painful, and exchange it for what is godly, good, and blessing.

Why has humanity throughout all of its history hung on to the list on top of this pastor’s note? Why do you and hang on to items on that list when it is anything but in our best interest? The answer is not merely physiological or psychological, it is above all spiritual, theological. Unfortunately in the minds of many the spiritual/theological has been reduced to the subjective, the experiential, and the sociological. This has the effect of spiritual/theological having no real significance in regard to truth, to what is real. Well, what is real is that humanity, including you and me, is sinful at its core, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) is the clear revelation and verdict of word of God. We do not necessarily like that, but we cannot escape the truth. Nor do we like the truth that we cannot escape our sinfulness, our depravity on our own, we are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), meaning our very nature makes us objects of God’s judgment. The good news is that when the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesian believers he does not write “you are” but rather “you were by nature children of wrath.”

A sinner will hold on to all the wrong things. A sinner will be held onto by all the wrong things. We do not possess the righteousness and the power to change that, to let go of all we need to let go, for that we need the grace of God in Christ. If we are serious about letting go we have address the root so the grace of God can freely work in our lives, to save us from God’s wrath and to change us for God’s works. The grace of God is sufficient to both save and change a sinner, it is absolutely essential if we are serious about letting go.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:3-10 (NIV)

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

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How Many Nails in Easter?

The answer is five, Easter has five nails.

On what do hang your hopes? Good luck? Your wealth? Your health? Your family and friends? Your own intelligence? An experimental drug? …?

What nail does your future hang on? Your charisma? Some special ability? …?

I have seen my fair share of rusty, bent, and failed nails – in hospital rooms, hospice beds, at crash sites, in treatment centers, living rooms, jails, prisons, counseling sessions, and at gravesides. I have not only seen them I have experienced failed nails in my own life, the pain, the confusion, the grief, and disappointment that comes with hanging life on the wrong nails.

Those Easter nails are significant because they offer us our only shot at real hope, lasting life, getting it right before God. You hang your hopes and your life on anything else and you will in the end find it all broken on the floor like a picture that has fallen off the wall.

Five nails. Three made sure Jesus really died. They fastened his hands and feet to a cross until every ounce of his life was drained out. On those three nails hang the redemptive purposes of God. God sacrificed his own Son so that by his death we might have life. One nail held Pilate’s sign posted above Jesus’ head, declaring “the King of the Jews.” Pilate made a common mistake. He didn’t think Jesus had any significance for him. He didn’t post his complete title, “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” He, like you and I, should have hung his life on Jesus’ identity, but he relegated Jesus to only having significance for the Jews, good for someone else. He stuck with the rusty nails of his own beliefs. And there is the fifth nail, the one that nailed God’s indictment of each one of us to the cross of Christ, the one that lists our personal sins and transgressions, the one that renders each one of us guilty before God. Paul reminded the Colossians who had trusted in Christ, “He made you alive with Him (Christ) and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 (HCSB, parenthesis mine). It is the nail that spells hope and life for sinners.

This Easter examine the nails and make sure  your hopes, your future, your life hangs on the Easter nails.

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

 

 

 

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