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Bulletin Blurbs

Have you ever stopped to consider how radical the teachings of Jesus are? If you want to have power and authority in heaven, humble yourself (Mt19:30). If you want to find your life, you must first lose it (Mt 16:25). If you want to be rich, give away all you have (Matt 19:21). But out of these radical teachings, one goes against our nature more than the rest: Jesus tries to refocus and change our eyes. He told us that the way we value and view people is incorrect, “Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

In John 8, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for their judgments of others saying, “You judge by human standards. I judge no one” (John 8:15). On the surface, this seems contradictory to the fact that Jesus does have a heavy role in judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). But Jesus is not referring to Judgment Day; rather, He is saying that He does not judge like we do. As people, we struggle with judging people for things that do not matter: the color of their skin, their wealth, where they live, their political standing, or even their age. Jesus did not. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. He befriended prostitutes. He went to, spoke with, and associated with the Samaritans. He had in his friend group a zealot and a government official. The eyes of Jesus Christ did not view skin color, background, politics, or wealth, rather the eyes of Jesus looked only to the soul.

In our country, race tensions are rising. Conflict is escalating. But if we as Christians are going to change the world, we need to stop viewing the world through human eyes, and instead see them through the eyes of Jesus. We are to “stop judging according to outward appearances”, and start viewing people with the same love and devotion that Christ did.


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Good morning!

Once again, I’m happy that all of you are here this morning! As you read this, I am likely in Henderson, Tennessee for the annual FHU Lectureship. I look forward to seeing you in person again this time next week! It’s always an encouraging thought to know that, though I’m 716 miles away, we’re both worshipping the same God on the same day. Though we’re apart, we’re all part of the same family.

It’s hard to believe we are already a month into this New Year. It seems like every February, I have that overwhelming feeling that time really goes by too quickly. I want to express what we discussed last Sunday at our youth devotional. Often in our New Year, we discuss new beginnings and how, if the last year was not our best, we can “turn over a new leaf” this New Year. Well, now we’re 1/12 into the year 2014, and my guess is we’ve all fallen to a sin or temptation at some point. We’ve all proved that we aren’t perfect. Luckily, God does not measure time in years, months, weeks, etc. like we do. We always have the opportunity to change for the better.

David, after being confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, wrote the 51st Psalm. In verses 10-12, he prays this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

We, like David, can and should pray this prayer. Unfortunately, we are imperfect. We have a Heavenly Father who understands that, and sent his perfect Son to die for us, so that we have a chance to come back to him, have our hearts made clean, and have our spirits renewed, not at the start of each new year, but whenever it is needed. Isn’t it a blessing to be a child of God?!