Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

Choosing Authority

Who has authority in your life? We hear a lot of statements that people want us to do. We have rules, guidelines, mandates, laws, suggestions, and advice all as a way of telling us what we are to do. We choose whether we are going to follow those, and we understand the consequences that comes with either doing them or not doing them. Some things we may ignore. Some things we do under protest, but we recognize that they are over us.
 
We are told we must stay in and not be around people or places where we could be infected with a virus. Now we are being told those places are safe and we can be out some if we protect ourselves from the virus. It is hard to know what is safe and what is not. The rules have changed but the danger is still there. The threat is a threat of death. Do we always take threats seriously?
 
The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the free git of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That statement has been around for centuries and carries the authority of scripture from God and the penalty of death. We choose whether we will listen to that and accept it as true. Will it change our behavior? Most people accept that it is true, but they do not allow the free gift of God to give them eternal life in Jesus. We choose to sin even when we know the authority. Understanding the authority God has and accepting it is far different from obeying that authority.
 
What if God told us not to, and we did not do it. Do not lie. We will never tell an untruth or any kind or shade, black, white, or gray. God said to love. We loved every person we meet. We are told to have self-control and patience even in virus times. Is that what it means to have Jesus as Lord and King? Jesus as king of our life. We put Jesus on the throne by letting him have authority to say and we are willing to serve him in every way.
 
Terry
Friday, May 15, 2020

 


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Making the Difference

It is always difficult to tell the story of a woman from a man’s point of view. It always feels like something is missing. We can never quite fully understand or appreciate what they go through. This is especially true of mothers. There is something in that bond that is just unexplainable. We know that Eve is essential to Adam and to his well-being. That seems small in comparison to what mothers do in raising children.
 
There are many great mothers, and they are usually judged in how their child turns out. That is not a good assessment of what they have done. We can certainly give credit to mother when we turn out well. We cannot blame a mother when children don’t turn out well.  We see some with one good and another not so good. There is a Cain but also an Abel. Some of it may be in how they were raised but a lot of it is being a parent to different personalities. Eve raised both children and mother to both. No two children are alike and each one responds to their mother’s care.
 
Mothers are to be given honor by those who know her best. She is respected and praised by her husband and her children. All of the work and effort she put in to raising her children should come back to her. Even if we can see all the activity she does in being a mother we cannot understand the care and concern she has for her family. She will protect them when her own life is at risk. She will do what is best for them instead of herself.
 
One of the best things mothers do is share their faith. They are able to teach their children about God and keep him in their home. Mothers set the tone for how much God will be part of the family. Paul even indicates that Timothy’s faith came from his grandmother and mother. We learn faith at an early age from our mother first. Great men of faith always had great women of faith in their life. The reason we have done well is because there was a woman in our life who made the difference.
 
Terry
Friday, May 8, 2020

 

 


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Being on Restriction

Why does it seem like we can’t do anything? The only thing we can’t do is be together, but for some reason it seems we have to just sit. Many people are not working at their job, but we are also not working at our house. We can’t sweep the floor… there’s a virus. We can’t mow the lawn… there’s a virus. When we are restricted on one thing, we carry it to everything. We are not restricted in everything.
 
Being on restriction is the worst. We always hate being on restriction. We can’t go around other people and have fun with them. It is like having to sit in a corner in a time out. The reason for the restriction is health. Not just our health but the health and wellbeing of others. We may not be sick and there is nothing to share, but because people are afraid, we must respect their wellbeing. There is no sense making them anxious just because we don’t have anything. Restrictions are not just because of health but also because of fear.
 
So where are we not restricted? We are not restricted in loving people; it is just more challenging to show it when we can’t give a hug. We are not restricted in prayer or study. We are not restricted in our relationship with God. We can associate freely with him and not worry about catching anything but the Spirit.
 
We are not restricted in forgiving other people. It may even be easier now because we are not around them all the time. We can let go of hard feelings and be more gracious. We can make more decisions because we are not confused with more activity. We can decide to follow Jesus now even if we are restricted in activity. We can make a plan for our life when activities are open. We often have the restriction of tiredness. We can’t do it because we are too tired. This may be the time of rest before we get started on new things.  
 
Terry
Friday, May 1, 2020

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Waiting

Waiting has become a major part of our life. We have so many tools to make life faster, but we still end up waiting in line. We can scan products at the grocery store, so numbers don’t even need to be entered. We can do so many things online now. We can even order groceries online. We have had drive through “fast” food for a long time also. We still end up waiting in line at the drive up “fast” food place. It almost seems that the faster we can get at connecting, wireless, computer, drive through, the more we wait in line.
 
If God is the ultimate in Power and goodness why would anyone ever have to wait? God runs at better than gigabit speed with no wires or slow down or lack of power. If there are no bottlenecks in the transmission of prayers that could all be heard instantaneously by God, who could hear every conversation at once with no loss of understanding, why would we need to wait at any time ever with God? God goes from void to universe in seven statements, not seven days. In Genesis he only gives one statement a day so we can grasp the magnitude.  
 
Since we trust God to know what is best, we must need to wait because we need it. It isn’t that God can’t hear or doesn’t know. It isn’t an issue of faulty equipment like we have with our technical difficulties. Are there benefits in having to wait? Rushing into things can lead to the wrong decision. We may not know all the options at the time. We learn more when we see things clearly. Fasting is a way of waiting without food for an answer from God. Prayer is telling a God who knows everything what we see around us and forming a request. Study is looking intently into the word of God and life and understanding something we didn’t know before.
 
God is waiting on us. He is waiting for us to get quiet enough to hear him. We get too much noise and distraction until we can’t hear God. Would we make the right connection to God with an instantaneous answer? Would we appreciate the solution if we never experienced the problem because God intervened? Anytime we have to wait, we should ask, what are we supposed to learn or understand. We aren’t waiting on God. Use the time between to comprehend what an all-powerful instantaneous God is allowing us to see.
 
Terry
Friday, April 24, 2020

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Ready for the Fight

Our books, movies, and other entertainment is filled with struggle and the fight. We fight over many things. We fight for respect, for land, for money, and for progress. We fight an enemy across a valley or sometimes within ourselves. A lot of the struggle we see between people is about selfishness. We want something and another person has it. We struggle with the feelings while another person is jealous of us. The cycle keeps going and fights break out.
 
We look at the fights that occur in the Bible and many of them are about what is righteous. God may be blessing his people and so he helps them win the battle. It could also be that his people have abandoned God and he is raising up someone else to teach them a lesson. When they realize their mistake, it takes another fight to bring them back to the place God gave them. God is always involved in the struggle for his people to be righteous.
 
Our fight against evil may take many forms. It is not so clear as finding the person dressed in black wearing a black hat. Most of the time the enemy is not so obvious. The place where the fight occurs may be in the world or it may have come inside us. The fight is with our passion and desire. Ephesians 2 describes it as with the prince of the power of the air who is at work in disobedient people. That makes a huge enemy. There was a time we didn’t have God. Jesus has given us opportunity to be his children.
 
We fight to keep our own nature like the nature of Jesus. It is so easy to look out for ourselves and for what we want. When we surrender to God, we give up the desire for selfish things. We look for the things God wants. We fight for his righteousness and his kingdom. The battle takes place in the hearts of people as they turn from darkness to light. It is a battle worth fighting, but we must be careful to fight like Jesus. He is the one who has won the victory.
 
Terry
Friday, April 17, 2020

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Going Through the Void

Why would we do anything difficult if we already know it is going to be hard? The only reason is we believe it will be worth it. Why do athletes train and work hard to be at the top of their game, and the rest of buy gym memberships and never go? We thought we would go the first day we signed up and we felt like we would be strong. We were resolved to be stronger. Then it seemed like we went through a void. Three months later we drive by the gym and feel guilty because we haven’t been back. There is a difference when we do something because we believe in it, and when we just wish it was already done.
 
When Jesus began teaching and healing everyone though he was great. It wasn’t long till he found opposition from the Jewish leaders. Eventually some of his disciples didn’t understand his teaching and they left. The harder it was the more people left. Jesus knew the end of his life would be most painful and difficult. He didn’t try to get out of it. He went through it to become the redeemer of us all. What was the difference in the twelve? Judas finally acted on what he could get out of it and the others went through to what God could do with it. They finally realized it was never about them.
 
We begin the Christian life surrounded by people who have studied with us and care about us. We even go to church a few times. It isn’t long before the excitement wears off and we are lost in the void. We reach a decision point of going through or taking the easy way and doing what we want. We keep going and even become involved. We taught class or become active in a ministry. God seems to fill us more because of our efforts. We don’t worship just because someone would call if we didn’t show up. We come because we talked to God that week and talked to other people about God. We could see things God was doing around us in people we met. We had a different attitude because we believed we were loved by God. We saw people who were struggling, and being the giver of a little grace changed our outlook. We thought about how God had given us grace and so we wanted to find someone else to gift with grace. We gave it to our children and friends. The more people we found to forgive and help the more it changed us, and we understood we were doing the work of God. We found Jesus in our life, not just trying to follow a list of rules. The people of God became our people. The work of God became our work. We are most blessed because we came through.
 
Terry
Friday, April 10, 2020

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Relative Danger

There are dangers around us. Sometimes it is a virus keeps us indoors. Danger is always relative. When we were children, we were not allowed to cross the street. There are all kinds of bad things that can happen if we cross the street. We might be lost, and no one can find us. We might get hit by a car. Someone might kidnap us. We might get injured when there is no one around to help. Moms were concerned and the list grew if they knew we were contemplating such dangers.
 
One of the unnecessary dangers from childhood is the roller coaster. It makes no sense to put your life in such danger. The first thing they do is climb a very steep hill much higher than any place we should be allowed to go. The next step is to drop you off the edge of this steep climb that sends you hurtling toward the ground at 65 miles per hour. Just in the nick of time the track bends and you go flying up again. This is called fun. It makes some of us sick. For some reason this is allowed if we are strapped into a little car connected with other little cars on a track.
 
Danger is part of life. We use danger. Sometimes we are afraid of danger and sometimes we enjoy it. We like being scared some of the time but not other times. When we have the illusion of control, we enjoy the danger. When something seems beyond our control, we are afraid and avoid it. When we let God have control the danger is there but there is no reason to fear.
 
When Jesus called his disciples, he was calling them into danger. He knew he would end with a cross. There were too many prophecies to think otherwise. If he was crucified there was the danger that his disciples would be also. Some of them were. When Jesus calls us to follow it is a danger. Danger is relative. The most dangerous time is to face life without Jesus. Make sure when you stay at home Jesus is there. Let God have control of your life. If we are told to stay in, then stay in. We have made a way to worship God together in a safe place. Take advantage of the times when you can honor God in your life.
 
Terry
Friday, April 3, 2020

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God is Not Quarantined

Does it feel like you are a prisoner in your own home? Before all this we would be trying to find a way to stay home and not have to run so much. Now we are trying to think of places to go just so we can get out. It is odd how we react to the same set of circumstances at different times. We might like to take a nap in the afternoon but if we are quarantined, we are too anxious to nap.
 
God can be everywhere in any time or place. He can be with us whether we are at home, at the church building or anywhere between. God can be everywhere and interact with everyone all at the same time. It is hard for us to imagine that he can do that when we face issues of internet slowdown and being able to stream and find ways to connect with people. God is always connected. God is always with us and it doesn’t take microseconds for him to connect. God is not quarantined, and he does not experience technical difficulties.
 
As we adapt to changes it is important to know that God is the one constant. He has not changed his mind in what he wants. He has not changed who he loves. He does not change what he has scheduled. He can go anywhere, and he can still be close with anyone. There is not a social distance needed with God. He comes to interact with all of us in a very personal way.
 
With all the ways we have of connecting today we are doing fairly well for being isolated. We are alone but we still have communication with other people. It is not the same as being with them, but we are able to interact with them. We are able to be in quarantine, but it isn’t like time out facing the corner. We can talk to God through prayer. We are able to call, text and email each other. We are not without connection. We should be closer to God than ever as we face difficulties. We may be limited in some ways of touching or being close to each other, but those don’t apply to God. God is able to be with us wherever we are.
 
Terry
Friday, March 27, 2020

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Getting a Call

We get a call from our kids that they want us to come babysit. We are glad to do that, and we look forward to the time with the grandchildren. The call was an opportunity to be answered. If we had ignored the call nothing would have happened. The call had to be answered and arrangements made for us to enjoy time with the grandchildren. We see when kids are calling, and it makes us want to answer. If we get an unknown number, we might answer and might not. We don’t want to be stuck trying to tell someone why we don’t want to participate in another survey.
 
The call us usually specific. They want to know something or arrange for time to be spent. Sometimes people will call just to see how we are but most of the time it is specific. If we ask the telemarketer about their children or where they spent their last vacation they don’t want to talk. Jesus’ call is to follow him. He will make us fishers of men. He doesn’t ask about our last vacation or how we feel that day. He has some specific things he wants us to do when we answer his call. He is concerned about our life but there is more to life than how we feel. He calls us to something better and bigger than ourselves. It is our choice to answer the call.
 
God calls us to be better than who we are. He created us with a huge capacity, but we often filled ourselves from our selfish wants until we no longer resemble what God had in mind. God calls us to be holy. He calls us to be like him. It is not that we were unholy at the beginning, but we simply were innocent and inexperienced. We had no background and no history. When we pray over time for something important, we will have a story to tell. When we teach, we will have a story.
 
The fisherman who never went near the water has no stories of the big one that got away. A story of failure is better than no story at all. Our fishing stories with Jesus are about the ones who answered the call. The ones that got away didn’t really escape anything. They left without blessing or promise. They continue without relationship or guidance from God.  It is only when we answer Jesus’ call to follow that we can fulfill who God created us to be.
 
Terry
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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Home of the Brave

The danger associated with faith was in the Bible stories that we read. We heard about the suffering of the early church when the Jews rulers tried to stop their teaching. We heard about the suffering of Christians in past times and far away in mission fields. We never thought about suffering for Christ being a part of our life. We lived in America, the land of the free and home of the brave. Freedom of religion was part of living in America and we often thanked God we had such freedom to worship God the way we wanted.
 
Church has never seemed dangerous in the past. The worst that could happen is someone would be bored to death. It is a little more concerning today with the news of shooters choosing churches as a target. Shootings also occur at concerts, schools and other occasions where crowds gather. It is not more dangerous in church than it is in any other gathering of people. When we hear of it happening in a church, we do think about it a little more. It used to be there was respect for God and a church would never have been a target, but that is not true today.
 
When we look at the ministry of Jesus, we see he was in danger. There were threats from the Jewish rulers, and they plotted against him. What did Jesus do about this? He expected it. He even challenged them at times when they came to him. He did not attack them, but he did not back down from confrontation with them either. There were times when violence was attempted against him, but it was avoided until he was ready. Jesus intent was not to live forever and heal as many as possible. He came to be the sacrifice for their sin. There is no sacrifice without violence.
 
When Jesus was arrested his disciples ran away. John and Peter later appear at this trial and that risk causes Peter to deny he knows Jesus. He regretted it immediately. The conflict between Jewish leaders and Christians would continue. They healed, preached and spoke up in court. Sometimes the results were violent. They wore it as a badge of courage that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. To follow Jesus means we accept the danger of knowing him. Church is not to be a place of safety. We are on the front line living out the faith that calls us to follow Jesus. This is still the home of the brave.
 
Terry
Friday, March 6, 2020

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What Did You Do with Your Extra Day?

Yesterday was the official extra day. It even came on a Saturday. There are 366 days this year because it is leap year, not 365, and we should not just let the day go without notice. So, what grand exciting thing happened on your extra day?
 
The trouble with time is how you count it. There were still only 7 days last week. We didn’t get an extra Saturday, there was only one. So what day was extra? There were still 168 hours in the week. Did we even get one extra hour? In Arizona we don’t even get and extra hour because we don’t have daylight savings time. How can we get no more days in the week or hours in a day, but end up with an extra day in the year?
 
The bigger question is what we do with, “extra” time. We hear people say, “If I get time,” there are things they will do. Where are they going to get this extra time? What we really mean is we will finish other priority items and then have time for the one in question. Time is more about priority and choosing what we want to do with the same amount of time as everyone else. Some people work faster than others and so we say they have, “More time”.
 
When do we have time for God? It is when we make God a priority. Human nature is we will do whatever we want to do. Our biggest priority will be the things that are most important to us. When we worship, how often we pray, how much we study are all questions that are about the priority of God in our life. We may think we don’t have time, but doesn’t God make everything work together? We can’t hope to accomplish anything unless we have talked to God and have his blessing. Time spent with God gives us more clarity to make the most of our life.   
 
Terry
Friday, February 28, 2020

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Becoming Better People

In the Bible there are expectations from God of a better life. It almost doesn’t matter where we are now, there are more things that can be done. When Jesus first calls his disciples, he tells them not to be afraid, that he would train them to catch men. It is something they didn’t know how to do. Since they had been fishermen, Jesus would show them how to catch men. Jesus does this by having them follow him. Not just for an hour a week, but they would live with him full time.   
 
We look forward to the days when we can stop doing what we must do now. If we are in school, we look forward to being out of school and not having to learn anything. If we are working, we look forward to retirement when we will never have to work again. Actually, we always have to learn something, and we always have work, so we really never get out of those things. It just means we no longer get credit for learning and we no longer get paid for working. If we had realized that earlier, maybe we would have approached learning and work in a different way. If we no longer learn or work, we are setting limits on what we have available to us.
 
How do we get to be better people? Jesus says one person teaches another. In fact, the whole commission he gives his disciples is to go share the message of the gospel with others. If they don’t learn it, they don’t get the blessings. It is one person teaching another person how to follow God. We all start from different places, but we must learn and do what pleases God.
 
Sometimes we need to be encouraged. We get tired and we no longer feel that what we are doing is worthwhile. Do we just need to be encouraged to keep doing what we have been doing? Many times the encouragement needed is to do something better. We need to become a better person. We need to develop some different qualities. We need the encouragement for the challenge. It is not enough to do what we have always done. God is calling us to do something better. May we always be receptive to prayers and the call of God to be better people for him.
 
Terry
Friday, February 21, 2020

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