Mesa Church Blog

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Worth the Price

How much does it cost? The chief priests must have discussed it at some point. Jesus had become such a problem to them. They could not take away his popularity with insults or traps. They had tried. They had sent their best lawyers and scholars to trap Jesus in his words. Jesus had always had an answer and their people had looked foolish. How would they remove Jesus? Since no legal or easy way was possible, they considered the cost of violence. It is usually a last resort, but it can be very effective.
 
Judas knew they were wanting an opportunity to deal with Jesus in private. They couldn’t find a time where he was not in front of the crowd and they certainly didn’t want witnesses for what they planned. Judas was with him all the time and could provide that information. It wasn’t like he would be part of the violence; he was simply offering access. Is it a sin just to let them know where they can find someone? They would figure it out eventually. He was given thirty pieces of silver before the event even happened. It was the only money that changed hands.
 
Thirty pieces of silver for a kiss. Judas would lead the solders into Jesus place of prayer. It cost the conscience of the chief priests and scribes. It cost the salvation of Judas and the condemnation of Pilate. The conscience and reason of the people disappeared as they shouted to crucify Jesus. They could not claim innocence or ignorance of the death of Jesus.
 
What is the cost of a relationship? It is not in the money that changes hands. It is more about the trust that develops and the honesty between people. The price is measured in time and attention invested. The price for Jesus was his death on a cross for the sins of the people. Jesus called disciples to follow him. They left their homes, and jobs in order to follow him. They would become Christians that told the world about the price of redemption. It is not thirty pieces of silver. It costs all you have and gives you redemption, adoption, forgiveness, grace and eternal life in heaven with God. Is it worth the price?   
 
Terry
Friday, August 7, 2020

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Somewhere We Have Never Been

It is always exciting to go somewhere we have never been. We get tired of the same old scenes around us. It seems ordinary. We get tired of each other. We need something new or a new adventure to do together. The same things done the same way at the same time everyday can be tedious after a while. We were so excited at first because it was new, but now it has become ordinary.
 
One answer is to always go after the next big adventure or to move on to the next exciting person, but that leaves us empty. A better way is to appreciate what we have. To look at the bigger picture to know what we like. There is a reason we are here, and that is we chose it. We wanted it. If we think about it, we may recognize it is exactly where we should be doing something very important, but aware of what is next.
 
Each new day brings the same challenges and a few possibilities. If we just do what we have to, then we will do the same things or maybe a little less. If we meet the daily challenges and act on possibilities, we will always have something new. The gospel includes the teaching of Jesus but also the people he met along the way. Each one is different. Each one has a unique story. One more person is added to his kingdom.
 
Leaders are looking for the next thing. All the challenges need to be met but there is always one thing new. God made a world that always changes. He made people that are always meeting new challenges. His church is made up of new people working together to grow his kingdom. We live in a different world as we become better people. We are never looking to be the same thing we have been, but to see where Jesus is leading as we follow him. John talks about walking in the light as he (Jesus) is in the light. (1John 1:7) It is not sitting or staying… but the idea of a journey. We are all moving toward somewhere we have never been.
 
Terry
Friday, July 31, 2020

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Focused Leadership

Good leaders are hard to find. Especially when we are the ones asking to be led. We are trying to find someone smarter than we are who can lead us where we need to be. We hope they don’t get distracted if we complain and want something not good for us. We want them to believe in God and put God first. We want them to insist on doing what God wants and know how to convince us to go there.
 
Jesus is our king. We follow him in all that he says. We try to live up to his example by living and reacting the way he did. We submit to his authority and we take on his mission. Jesus lived among people who either worshiped him or wanted to kill him. He understood there would be opposition. He knew there would be difficulties because of the change he was bringing. He was acting on God’s initiative in what he taught and what he did.
 
There are so many distractions in our world right now. There are many opinions, and everyone seems to have one different from ours. God wants the same things he has always wanted. Christianity is not different from the days of the disciples. We all follow Jesus and obey his words. We are tempted to let the situation influence our core beliefs. Jesus is still the one we follow regardless of the issues that swirl around us.
 
A leader in Christ will call us to focus on the mission of Jesus. We will be in the Father’s house and about the father’s work. Even when it doesn’t fit the normal activity we have done in the past. (Luke 2:49) We will know we must obey God rather than men. No matter what others tell us we will always look to the mission of God. (Acts 5:29)  We will believe and know that God can do all things, but realize we need help with our unbelief at the same time. (Mark 9:24) We will admit things are confusing and we don’t understand all that God does. We will know that Jesus is going somewhere dangerous, and we will go with him even if it means we die also. (John 11:16)  Jesus calls us to follow him. We could use others to help us get there. People who have a clear vision of what God wants. May we be focused in our faith on the cross of Jesus.
 
Terry
Friday, July 17, 2020

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Asking a Favor

What would we ask of someone else? Would we ask them to get us a drink since they are up already? It seems like a normal request without much complication. It might be as simple as getting a can out of the refrigerator when they already have the door open. The more personal the request, the harder time we have. Would you give me your drink,” is a different question than just getting a drink. “Can I stay for dinner,” is different than, “Would you give me your dinner”. The first one is just setting another plate, but the second means you will go without.
 
It is easier to give away what belongs to someone else than when it is really precious to us. There are many times when we pool our resources and give away things that come from all of us. We all contributed and now we are able to help. We have much more when we gather it all and people can donate to help others. We give what we feel comfortable giving.
 
When Jesus calls disciples it is personal. One time they are mending or washing nets and they leave everything to follow him. The nets still need to be washed and mended but we don’t like doing things like that. Another time is when the nets are full of fish and he calls them to walk away from a catch. When they follow Jesus, they will give up time with family and jobs to do something Jesus wants. We see the interaction Jesus has with people is personal. If the blessings are personal wouldn’t the obedience to God be personal also?
 
When Jesus heals, we assume there is a great unlimited power he has that allows him to heal without personal cost. It isn’t that it hurts God in any way or diminishes his power. When Jesus is crucified it is different. It is not some great power of grace that has an endless depth. It is personal. His gift comes from his pain and suffering for us. He faces death and pays the price for us in his death so he can give us eternal life. Our response can be no less personal. What would you give up for someone who has given us so great a gift? When we give grace to someone else it is going to cost us. It is not comfortable. When we think of what God has given us how could we do anything different.
 
Terry
Friday, July 10, 2020

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Serve Like Jesus

Some people will do whatever they are asked to do. They are always willing to help and make life easier for someone else. Others will help if you give them a good reason to help. We can ask them to help but we will need to explain the need and why it is important. Some are willing to help for a reason and they also need to know that it is specific to them and not just because no one else is willing. Some are willing to do their fair share. Their fair share means just a little bit less than everyone else. They are willing to help but they don’t want to be stuck with more than everyone else. Some are only willing to help if we can’t find anyone else. They would rather someone else do it but if there is no one else, then they will help. Some will serve even when they don’t want to and will let everyone know how much they don’t want to do it.
 
Which one of those is the servant Jesus was talking about? Jesus claimed he came not to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) Jesus is a servant because he does something for others at his expense. He teaches his disciples to be servants. Their initial serving is for their advantage. If they can gain some power or influence, then they are willing to serve.
 
Jesus answer about being a servant is in response to them asking about places of honor. Can they sit in positions of prestige and power in the new kingdom? When Jesus asks them what they are willing to do to gain such an advantage they insist they are able to do anything required. Doesn’t that seem a little bit backward? A servant then is someone who will act on behalf of others if he gets a reward for it? He is serving others, but it is in order to gain advantage for himself.
 
Jesus comes to give advantage to us. He knows that it will take suffering on his part to give us grace. We have defined who is a servant in terms of the task rather than the people. Who ever is willing to do anything is considered a servant because they did something. When we define a servant as doing anything even for our own benefit, we have lost the concept Jesus was teaching. Only when we serve like Jesus can we be his disciples.
 
Terry
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

 


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May I Call You Father?

Most of us have good memories of our father. He was the one you went to when mom wouldn’t let you. Dad was also the on who didn’t let you get away with things. When he made the rule, it was to be followed and we knew we had to do it. He was the one who put together what came in the mail or was bought at the store that, “Required Assembly.” He was the one who made the trips happen whether a vacation or a camping trip. Mom might have planned most of it but it was usually dad who made it all happen. He was also the one who did the talking when a serious conversation was required. It usually started from something we did wrong but sometimes it was just good life advice. The kind that happens when something is broken, like a bicycle or a heart and he can give you a different perspective.
 
One of the best blessings is we can be children of God. Not just acting like children who don’t appreciate, but that we can be children with a father who cares. How would we be children to a heavenly father? First is to recognize that he has authority and say in our life. We are not someone else’s children; we are children of God by choice. We choose him to be our father, to take care of us, to be there when things fall apart and to give us direction. Life can be confusing sometimes, and we need to know how to handle it. God has given us the way to handle our life and he is an example of how to deal with others.
 
Jesus calls himself the son of God. He is actually God himself but when he is born on earth, he assumes the role of being son of the Father in heaven. He is the example of doing the will of the Father. He is about the agenda of God and he uses the gifts of God to carry out his purpose. He accepts the role of son of God even though he had every right to be the God of heaven and earth. Isaiah even calls Jesus eternal father. (Isa. 9:6)
 
It means Jesus will be like his father. He is more than a servant or prophet of God; he is all the characteristics of a loving God who will spread is love to the neighborhood so he might bless his children. Even if that means he will act like his father and love enemies that he might bless those who believe. We also ask God if we can call him Father and be his child. To people who believe he gives us the right to become children of God. (John 1:12) God’s children will act like him and love others because God loves them.
 
Terry
Friday, June 12, 2020

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Milestones

It is important to mark our progress along the way. We don’t do as well if we don’t have any marks to determine progress. When the goal is too far away, we tend to lose sight and become discouraged. Education has several graduations including kindergarten. Each advancement is an accomplishment. Highschool or college graduation is an important step. Education is important but life is not measured by the number of degrees we hold. We collect many things in our life such as trophies and relationships. Important times include a trophy for little league, our first job, a wedding, children and even retirement. We don’t think of the last milestone as much as we do the next one.
 
What are the milestones with God? The Bible talks about children who were raised from birth as people dedicated to God. The first real milestone is our baptism into Christ to form a covenant with God. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sin, and we participate in the cleansing by our burial in water to join ourselves to Jesus in his death. We are raised from that burial to a new life. It is a milestone that marks the before and after relationship with God. It changes us from outside to in Christ. We go from darkness to light, from people of the flesh to being people of the Spirit.
 
After we have become a Christian, we seem to lose sight of the next goal. What else are we to accomplish? Jesus told his disciples he would make them fishers of men. He first calls them to be his disciples They would be able to tell others about Jesus to allow them to be disciples. He tells his disciples that they are to become like their master. They are to be servants of God in the same way Jesus serves him. They are to put first the kingdom of God and make God’s righteousness first priority in their lives. As we read the scriptures, we see many other things. Do we have to meet every milestone along the way? No, not all of them, only the next one.  
 
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13–14
 
Terry
Friday, June 12, 2020

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Worship Together

How do you express joy when you see someone you like? Not romantic but just someone you are glad to see? Sometimes it is a handshake. In Alaska it was a big hug. In Miami all women received a kiss on the cheek and men a handshake or hug. Sometimes close friends give an insult to show they care. These are all done when we meet someone in person. Stores hire friendly people to show you products that are already on display. Restaurants have people to take your order and make recommendations for food prepared just right. Can we even remember the last time someone came out and offered to pump our gas, so we didn’t have to get out of the car? We have had a personal way to connect in every area of life, but it is changing.
 
A few years ago, we went into a fast food restaurant and rather than a teenager behind the cash register, we were greeted with a kiosk to put in our order. At the airport we now go to the kiosk to check in and print our luggage tags and boarding pass if we haven’t already done it online. We can still get food at a restaurant but there is more drive by and curbside pickup than before.
 
For the last several weeks we have only been able to offer online worship led services. We are confident you have been able to worship in your home and make the connection with God. It may even be less distracting unless you are the one with the babies or small children. Just because it is not the way it has been in the past, does not mean we are unable to worship. Worship happens where we are, in our heart, as a connect with God and his people. If it is not an automatic habit to go to the same building and sit in the same pew, then we have to put more effort into our worship.
 
God has not moved or gone anywhere. God is not quarantined and doesn’t need a mask. God is not closed. However, we need to try to keep each other safe. As we open today and offer worship together, we ask that we all be considerate of others. If our method of opening does not feel safe please continue to worship with us online. God sees our hearts and knows that we have come to praise him. “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.“  1 Timothy 1:17
 
Terry
Friday, June 5, 2020

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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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