Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

God as Father

The concept of God as father is hinted at throughout scripture but it is not seen as much in the Old Testament. God is the father of Israel because he has adopted Israel as his child. He is trying to raise his child even though the child is rebellious at times. Jesus is not called son of God until the New Testament because he is born on earth at the time. He calls God his father. We think of God as our father more from how Jesus relates to God rather the Old Testament. The gospel of John seems to especially use this concept of God as father and John pushes the idea that we are children of God. Children who act like their father. It is the best way to describe a relationship that goes deeper than obedience to law.
 
This special relationship with God as father is amazing when we think of the Creator of the universe being our father. The term has such a warm intimate feel that we are reluctant to think of God that way. We tend to remove him from us as someone to obey with a reason to fear. We focus on Old Testament punishment to enforce obedience rather than how Jesus talks about God as a loving father. If we took away the Old Testament stories how would our teaching about God be different?
 
Why did Jesus describe his relationship with God as a father? Father is the one who fixes things. He is the one who sees the mess you are in and helps you find a way out. He doesn’t always do it all for you. He leaves you room to learn and work so that you can figure it out. He praises you for doing it on your own. But we know we would not have been able to do it without his direction. But somehow, we feel a sense of accomplishment. God works in us through his Holy Spirit to do some amazing things.
 
The father sets the tone for the family. Jesus talks about doing the will of the father and acting on his initiative. Whatever he sees the father doing he is involved with also. The point is he sees the father doing things and he responds with his work also. We need to see what God is doing around us and be involved in that work. In that way we glorify God.
 
Terry
Friday June 11, 2019

Read more...

A Story with a Happy Ending

Who would believe they are not open to Jesus? Everyone would imagine they are open to Jesus and he is their friend. Who would believe that Jesus doesn’t want to be their friend? We imagine that Jesus likes everyone. He is kind to the worst of the worst. He is kind to lepers and those with horrible disease. He is kind to the blind and lame. He takes the sinful and forgives their sin. Even when they are caught in the middle of committing sin Jesus finds a way to forgive them. He also tells them to not do it anymore. Does that mean he would not be as friendly the next time? What about if it was 167 times of doing the exact same sin would he still be as nice? The Bible only talks about that first-time encounter. From there people change their ways and they do what Jesus says or they are not part of his story.
 
Maybe that would be the nice way to say it today. Jesus calls disciples to follow. He meets people in their sin but then expects them to change that behavior and follow him. If they don’t, they are no longer part of his story. They go on a different path and live their own story. Jesus does encounter all kinds of different people in his life and all of them are sinners. It is not sin that separates them from Jesus. Jesus came to save sinners. But when sinners walk away from Jesus to live their own story, they separate themselves from Jesus. It isn’t that Jesus left them, but they left Jesus. Whether it was intentional or just curiosity driven, they took a different path and they are no longer in the story of Jesus.
 
We do know the ending of the story of Jesus. After he forgave many be also lived out the reason why he could forgive them. He laid down his life by dying on a cross for the sins of the people he healed. He also did it for us and for all people who become part of his story. We follow him living it out with him even though there has been a lot of years since his death on a cross and assertion to heaven. His story does end with him in heaven and all those who are part of his story will be there with him. That means all those who live out his story now as part of their life know the end of their story. They will be with Jesus in the same place where Jesus is… heaven.
 
Most of us don’t know where our story will end. We see the conclusion of the story of many people and wonder if that is what they wanted. The good thing about the story of Jesus is we can come back at any time. We can decide we want to be in his story and live as one of his followers. That way we can be sure of the end of our story. We also have the best story to tell. It may include some times of sin and separation but it also includes our healing and the power of God at work in our life. It is always best to have a happy ending.
 
Terry

Friday June 7, 2019


Read more...

Acceptance and Shame

We want to be accepted by everyone and for them to think what we are cool. I’ll just call it that because some want to be thought of as intelligent, some want to be compassionate and some want to be feared. We don’t ever want to be disrespected by anyone. However, with the culture of criticism we have, we find people are rejected socially all the time. We hardly ever find someone that can set trends on a neighborhood scale much less a worldwide scale. That is because acceptance is not usually based on right or wrong. It is often the rebellious that are accepted and the ones who do right are not.
 
Jesus was accepted by many people because of his teaching and healing. His observations from the word of God were fresh and different than anything they had heard before. Jesus didn’t come to be rebellious, but the traditions had been taken and enforced as law. People were now guilty and wrong for the way they washed hands, for chewing on a stalk of wheat as they walked, or for not fasting with no reason. Jesus challenged the traditions, not the law of God. It didn’t matter whether he was accepted or not he stood for what was right and good. And that made him popular because he also stood against the imposed traditions that were not from God.
 
When we do wrong, we feel guilt. When we do wrong long enough it becomes a habit and part of our personality. It is who we are and then we feel shame. Shame does have a place when we realize who we have become. We can become something by else by just doing it enough to change our motives and thinking. It is not the first time we take drugs or drink that makes us an addict. If we continually do those things, they take over our thinking and our motivation. We develop addictive behavior and it controls our life. Then we feel both guilt and shame for what we have become.
 
Jesus can forgive us of both guilt and shame. Paul was completely wrapped up in the anger he felt against Christians. He wanted to destroy them all. He couldn’t listen to the message of grace. That was until Jesus confronted him about his behavior. It changed him. He was no longer angry about Christianity. He listened and understood for the first time. He had been a monster putting Christians in prison and even to death. He also believed the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. He changed so he was no longer ashamed of who he had become. Sometimes other people rejected him and tried to make him feel shame for who he had become. He rejected their shame and said it was the grace of God that made him who he was. That grace can do the same thing for us also.
 
Terry
Friday, May 31, 2019

Read more...

I Know What You Did

A scary movie came out in 1997 and the title was “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. Why would that be a scary movie? Since then, there have been a number of movies that start with, “I Know What You Did…”. Of course, those are connected to an accident or a situation where the person was not at their best. The knowing what you did soon leads to revenge and therefore the development of the horror. (No I didn’t see the Movie) Maybe that is why we are so reluctant for anyone to know any mistake we ever made. We assume there will be retribution and some form of punishment that comes from people knowing. It isn’t the fact that did something, it is that people would know. Our assumption is if no one knows, then there is no retribution.
 
Is there anything that God doesn’t know? Sometimes we want to treat him the same way. We assume if we didn’t tell him then he doesn’t know. If he doesn’t know he won’t punish us. Quite the opposite is true. The Bible talks about repentance and confession as a way to stop any retribution. It is the people who come to God and confess the wrong they have done that find forgiveness. God knows and finds a way to forgive. Our forgiveness comes from the sacrifice of Jesus who took our place by dying on a cross for sin. When we believe in Jesus and this sacrifice for us it can be personal about our sin. Jesus died a long time ago and it was for all people. However, unless we connect our faith, our sin and our repentance with that sacrifice it just remains a historical fact.
 
The problem becomes that we don’t want to have forgiveness, we want to have anonymity. We think that no one knowing would be better than being forgiven. We would still equate forgiveness with the possibility of retribution. We may have been “officially forgiven”, but we imagine they are still mad and withhold privilege. We imagine it would be better if they just didn’t know. That just isn’t true. When forgiveness is able to happen, both people move past the issue. We must not act like we are still guilty because forgiveness takes away and retribution and bad feeling or it isn’t forgiveness. Repentance is people coming back together and building a stronger bond than they had in the past. God blesses those who turn to him. God does not bless the anonymous. God has no relationship with the anonymous. Jesus sacrifice does not apply to the anonymous.
 
Christianity works much different than our fears. It is by letting God know that we are not perfect, and we have sinned that we can start the real relationship. That is true with each other as well. We would never believe the person who acts like they have never done anything wrong. We know better. We may not know what you did, but we are very sure there is something. That is why when Jesus comes preaching, his first message is that people should repent. He knows that if there is going to be a relationship, it starts there.
 
  Terry
Friday, May 24, 2019

Read more...

Further Development

There are times in life when everything changes. We can try to hold on to the past, but we usually recognize that we are better making progress from one thing to the next. We don’t want to still be in the same room we had when were a child. At some point we get through school, move out and go on to a bigger place. We won’t just have the same room but own our own house. All of these are important changes in our development. We leave what is behind us and we reach for something better.
 
For this to be beneficial we must believe that there is something better. There are better opportunities ahead and we are not planning to stay where we are. We may see our future and our development as providing more opportunities for us. We get through school and we can find better jobs than we could have had before. We get paid more and so we are able to afford more things. We can live in a new place that allow more activities for our involvement. As long as we believe there is something more and better we will look forward to further development.
 
Sometimes we can be short sighted when it comes to our spiritual development. We want to stay in the same place where we grew up and do the same things we did when we were a child. We pick a favorite pew, we pick favorite friends, we are involved about the same level we were when we were in fifth grade. In fact we may have been much more involved in fifth grade than we are currently. We can see opportunities in employment, economics and freedom. There is also room for development in our spiritual relationship with God.
 
There are gifts of grace that allow us to work with people. We become leaders and take on an area where God empowers us. Being filled with the Holy Spirit changes our relationship with God. We have an understanding of the love and depth of God because his Spirit is inside us. We can make different relationships and work with people as we share this spiritual bond in Christ. We find places to work for God as he opens new doors for our development. Ultimately it is not the person who stays the same and waits for life to accept give him new beginnings but the one who finds opportunities in school, jobs, career and family that moves ahead in his development. It is also the person who pursues God in faith and work of ministry that is able to realize the fullness of God in his life.
 
Terry
Friday, May 24, 2019

Read more...

Lifetime Relationships

There are a few relationships in our life that remain precious. They stay not because they are forced but because they develop. No matter where we meet people in our life we will always change the relationships over time. At some point we want the relationships to stop changing. We think husbands and wives should remain exactly the way they were on the wedding day. College friends should stay like they were in college. We want to hang on to the past and keep some memories that we important to us. We can keep the memory but understand that everyone changes, and that development is important for better relationships.
 
Mother’s Day is one of those where we can go back an remember the times as a child and give honor to our mother for a lifetime relationship. It is not just what they did when we were a child but also how we have developed and grown. The love that was shared with us as an infant has developed into much more as we matured through the years. It is not one day but a whole life of love that is honored. It is important that the relationship develop past the point where mom is telling us what to do to the adult sharing that can take place. Even though she will will worry about you and may continue to give suggestions, her joy is that at some point you don’t really need them anymore.
 
We continue to develop in our relationship with God as well. We started from different places. Some of us were children when we were introduced to God and his way. Some didn’t come along until much later. We all came to a point where the relationship with God was broken. We also realize this is one relationship that is most important in our life and we must do everything to keep. We responded to God and his forgiveness through Jesus as we realized we were the ones at fault, not him. Our promise and covenant to follow Jesus became a standard for our life to keep that relationship. It is not the same childhood one we had if we grew up in church. It is strong because it was broken and remade in the blood of Christ. We understand a deeper love of God than what we did before.
 
Relationships are often tested. They stay because they are worth the fight it takes to keep them. We change and develop a better relationship as we mature. We understand God more as his Spirit fills us and we can see his ways. His wisdom will guide us as we look for his direction. His peace can be found in the worst conflict as we understand the depths of his love. It may just help us understand the love of our mother also. They share a common unconditional love that can only be deepened with interaction.
 
Terry
Friday, May 10, 2019
 

Read more...

Making Peace

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) We think of peacemakers as the ones who calm every situation and promote compromise. They find the common ground among all the different opinions and get everyone to give in a little so we can all get along. That is called peace in our time. No one is really happy because they didn’t get what they thought was right but it is better than the constant fighting. That is not kind of peace Jesus came to bring.

Controversy followed Jesus wherever he went. He taught people to understand the law of God and the kingdom that was coming. He disagreed with much of the current thought not by condemning it but by presenting something new. He was not just critical of the current practice, because he was calling people to something more. He gave them a better idea and understanding of what God was doing in bringing in this new kingdom. He did not bring peace by negotiation and he did not compromise on what he thought was right.
 
When we think of Jesus making peace it was not just in his neighborhood or his nation. He was making peace with God for all people of all nations for all time. The division between Jew and Gentile was one that had been from God. Now Jesus was breaking it down to make peace between everyone. He made peace by violence, but it was violence to himself. He made peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:20)
 
It is such a radical kind of peace that people often reject it and go back to fighting. We are reluctant to give in and be the point at which people show their grievance. Jesus took everything that stood between man and God and became the solution for us all. He put together our sins and mistakes with God’s glory and grace and made a new person. A person who is clean and pure if they will accept the peace Jesus brings. Both good and evil are brought together in the person of Jesus. He was the holiness of God and took on the sins of the world in death to buy our freedom to life. He made peace between us and our past, our sins, our mistakes and our God. As people of such a peace, how should we get along in our everyday life?

 

Terry
Friday, April 26, 2019

Read more...

Living Resurrected

When we first start work no one wants to hire us because we don’t have experience.  We work whatever job we can get just to prove that we can show up on time, be nice to others and accomplish what we were assigned to do. We do one job to get to the next place. That may seem like a simple thing that we would need to prove to someone that we can actually work. It isn’t that work is complicated, it is that we are unprepared to do one thing in order to accomplish something else. No one starts at the top. We must do the lower jobs before we will be trusted with being a leader.

 
In the first hours before dawn on the day Jesus was resurrected, they had no clue what changes that day would bring. Sabbath was over and they could get back to the business of life. What would they do now that Jesus had died and was buried? It must have seemed like it was all over. What had the last three and a half years of training prepared them to do?  They had been hearing about the new kingdom but were they ready to part of this new kingdom of God?
 
They were not prepared unless they had passed out fish and bread to a huge crowd of people. Pentecost was no problem compared to trying to clean up after feeding so many. They had been caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee together. They had faced down demons and cast them out. They had seen the worst of disease and how bad leprosy can devastate a body and they had healed it. They had preached news of a coming kingdom that they knew little about. They had talked to people about the worst mistakes and sins of their life and seen them repent. They had guided people to a new relationship with God because of their words. Now their words would explain a new kingdom that would share the grace of God with the world. They had to believe that with twelve men they could change the world.  Now they were ready to be leaders in a church.
 
What are the beginning steps for us to be an active part of the new kingdom or church Jesus built? We must first have put to death our sins and desires to be able to live resurrected. We do it by the grace and redemption of God. We can’t live resurrected if we are not forgiven and are able to forgive others who sin against us. Relationships with God and others are key in this new kingdom. We must have faith that would let us wither a fig tree, move a mountain or walk on water. While it is not required to have done those, we must believe they are possible if the need arises. It is a way we see the world. We live resurrected in a lost world as we get ready for heavenly glory.
 
Terry
Friday, April 21, 2019

Read more...

How Will You End Up?

 
We consider where we started to be normal. We adjust our understanding of the rest of the world based on what we had when we began. Normal temperatures, normal relationships and even our expectations are compared to a point in our past. Whether we take care of things, or whether we use and toss, are all based on what we adopted as normal. When we are selfish and just out to have fun, we can make life difficult for everyone.
 
Some grew up going to church and that is, “normal” for a Sunday. If they don’t go to church on Sunday, the whole day seems off and it just isn’t right. For others who didn’t grow up going to church they can’t imagine going every week. They really can’t imagine going more than once a week. Relationships are often based on love but if we have not had loving relationships then we don’t even understand how to have them. If first relationships were based on selfishness, we think it is all about us and others should do everything for us. If we saw anger as a means of getting what we want, we will often resort to angry outbursts. If we watched people manipulate others, we will think that is perfectly fine to get someone to do something for us whether they wanted to give it or not. With so many different beginnings it is easy to see why we have difficulty in our relationships.
 
Jesus birth was not normal either. He already had trouble with government officials who tried to kill him by killing all children his age. His parents were godly people, but he didn’t have a normal home growing up. He was born in a stable and then had to travel to Egypt when he was about two. His parents still were afraid but came back and lived in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem where his family lived. It was not reported to be a good place where great men lived. Jesus was raised to believe in God and worship him because his family took him to temple every year and he had the custom of being in synagogue. Despite his humble beginnings and the violence around him, he was to bring peace for all of us.
 
He taught we live by what we believe rather than what has been done to us. We may have experienced many hard things, but we can act and speak about how we believe the world could be. We can be people of love because God loves us. We can believe and trust in God and follow him. Not just doing what the law said but allowing him to be the only guide in our life. We are not swayed by wants or desires but by how we understand God. When we live for someone outside of ourselves, we change the whole nature of our life. We can find peace, joy and love because we believe in a God who creates a world where those things exist. Jesus is the one who makes the world a better place.
 
 
Terry
 
Friday, April 12, 2019
 

Read more...

The Tenth Year

What does God expect of us? Jesus comes to present the gospel. The good news about the kingdom of God is his main focus. We are to get ourselves to God personally by repentance and submission to him. We are also to be part of his kingdom that has now come. If we are part of his kingdom now, we will also be part of his kingdom after this life. But all of that seems so separate from where we live. We are connected with other Christians through church. Jesus promised to build his church, but many people don’t really understand the connection between what we do every week and what God wants.

 
We have always struggled with the physical practical way we do things being an expression of the faith in Jesus and his gospel. What does sitting in church have to do with going to heaven? Is there a minimum requirement for going to heaven? Does that mean we are just marking time here and we are just waiting for some future event which looks like if will be death. Many times it may seem like that as we try to ignore the people talking around us or struggle to get our child to sit still. It seems like anything but spiritual or heavenly.
 
We struggle with feeling the love in a marriage after the honeymoon has been over for a few years. We wonder what happened to that promise to love and cherish when it looks like breakfast dishes, laundry and crazy schedules. That feeling of belonging and love are because we began the relationship in a vacuum. We were always put together every time we saw each other, and our place was always clean. We didn’t know how it happened, but the other person always looked perfect… until after the wedding.
 
The new job was perfect until we found out what all the work that was required. The new friends were perfect until we finally saw their flaws. Church is what you would do in the tenth year of marriage, friendship or a job. When we can say this is the practical and it is worth it. All those ideas of comfort, healing, understanding of other relationships functions even when life is messy. We should look at all our relationships and see they are going. We ask ourselves if we are the kind of person who finds love in the breakfast dishes, confidence in the one thousandth day of a job or as we sit in the middle of distractions and find a spiritual connection with God on a heavenly level.
 
 
Terry
Friday, March 31, 2019

Read more...

Proclaiming What Isn’t Yet

We are sold things by people guessing what will be coming out next. We don’t even have a promise from the company, but we believe the hype and the rumors. We look forward to what is going to be next. There is so much effort put into discovering clues of what will be coming. It isn’t here, it isn’t real, and no one has seen it yet, but people are writing reviews of products that don’t exist. We believe they will come, and we have our cards ready to make a purchase as soon as the product becomes available.

 
We believe in a product that doesn’t exist more than we do in a God that does exist. Both are unseen and yet we know the story. We have rumors and reports of people who are supposed to know the details. God has shown us his creation and yet many struggle to believe. They will believe more in a phone or a service they have not seen than in a God that is real. Both are invisible for the moment, but both will be revealed. No date is announced for the revealing, but we will still believe more in the new phone than we will in God who created everything. We cannot see the internet; an email or texts go from one place to another, yet we depend on it being there. We hold people responsible for getting the message in this unseen way and yet we struggle with concept that God has spoken to us and we have his word. When a phone doesn’t live up to what was promised we may be disappointed, but we still have a phone. When we feel God disappointed us, we declare he doesn’t exist.
 
What makes something real today? There is a proven track record of an event that happened before. Even if it is not announced if it occurs at the same time every year people will believe it is about to happen. We believe what people are excited about. In our time articles have a comment section underneath where people can agree or disagree, they will at least engage in the concept. They may never take initiative to write or proclaim anything, but they will give their comment.
 
Jesus taught and proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom for all people to hear. He was not just a comment but was the idea itself. He trained disciples to be the example of what he was teaching. He didn’t write a book because we don’t always believe what we read. We do believe someone who is living the life. We believe the blessing of God when someone tells about it. We believe the grace of God when someone lives above the guilt of the past and shows freedom from the past. It doesn’t happen immediately, but when we look at our own life and compare it to someone who has overcome because of what they believe, we all want that life.
 

Terry

Friday, March 22, 2019

Read more...

Getting Away with It

We know what is right to do and we know it is best for us. But we see a way that we might get ahead. We can gain advantage with some not so honest method that will just make it easier for us. Should we take it? Sometimes we do. And then things fall apart. We knew better, but now other things fall apart and we can’t go back. Why do we try to take short cuts and get away with things when we know what we should do? We think we will be the exception and we can get away with it.

 
 
Sometimes we do get away with it. We do carry a certain amount of guilt knowing we got away. We may also not have people trust us quite as much because they are suspicious of how it happened. We will be watched more closely now and not trusted as much. We don’t realize how much we lost. When we don’t trust people, or they don’t trust us we lose the relationship. They are no longer confident they can depend on us.
 
Following the core values and commands of God is critical to our relationship with God and others. When we decide to steal a little bit, nothing big, we compromise relationships. When we don’t honor family or have a few questionable morals we lose relationship. Even if we got away with the little bit of cheating, we have lost something so much more important. We have lost respect from our self and others. Relationships will not develop.
 
 

When we are forgiven by God and follow everything God said we are to cleanse out the sin and begin again. We also realize it is still us and the habits and tendencies are still going to be a struggle for us. Addiction is a horrible thing and we don’t get rid of the want simply by being forgiven. God gives grace to forgive and the Holy Spirit to allow us to battle the place we have put ourselves. The power is when we rely completely on God. No tricks, no shortcuts, we do what he wants and become pleasing to him. That is such a long way from feeling like we got away with something because no one knows. To gain the real power of God we ourselves and our ways to find the power of an indestructible life. (Heb. 7:16)

 
 
Terry
Friday, March 15, 2019

Read more...