Mesa Church Blog

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Rebellion Against Authority

There comes a time when all of us will rebel against authority. We think of the teenager with a purple mohawk with his jeans ripped and his shirt on backward. That has become such a normal sign of rebellion that we don’t even notice anymore. We recognize it in the two-year-old that stamps their foot and says no they don’t want to go. Rebellion seems almost as natural as breathing to some people. Not matter what anyone says they are going to disagree and claim there is something they don’t like.
 
How does it happen that some people are happy with everything and some are not? Some find fault with everything and feel like they are being mistreated. Some are happy and make the best of it. We see it in time of extreme poverty or loss that an attitude of thankfulness is over everything. They are thankful to all be alive. Their house burned or the plane crashed but they are lucky to be alive.
 
Authority is given for a reason. The first assumption is God has all authority. We understand that because God created everything. We belong to the one who created us. Jesus claims to have all authority after his resurrection because of this encounter with Satan. He has overcome all things, even death, and now has authority over all things. He makes a covenant with us and gives us his life as an example to follow. Some of his life was in rebellion to the rulers of his time for distorting the intent of the Law. Some of his teaching was to establish a way we could be more like God.
 
Even recognizing God’s authority as creator over everything we know we should obey him, but we just don’t feel like it. We don’t want to. We can’t get our feelings to fall in line with our logic and so we rebel and do what we want. Rebellion against God is called sin. Sometimes we are like the two-year-old stamping our foot and saying, “But I want to!”  Sometimes we can recognize and accept the authority of God and realize how much better life will be later, if we just take his authority for our life and do what he wants now. That may mean we rebel against the sinful world and adopt the authority of Christ. If rebellion is part of life, we should make sure we rebel against evil and live for what is good.
 
Terry
Friday, January 22, 2021

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God’s Mission

God wants a relationship with us. A relationship means the people involved in that relationship must be compatible. They will hold the same values and goals to make the relationship work well. God is holy and good. God is love and always responds in love. God is also just and must have justice fulfilled. Who God is determines the nature of the relationship. We will have a relationship based on love and goodness. We then, must also be people who are loving and holy.
 
We are not always good, and we make many mistakes. We do things that are not loving and we sin. God has a way for us to be forgiven of our sin through Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the sacrifice for our sin when we form a covenant with God. When we are baptized into Christ, he takes away all our sins and gives us the Holy Spirit to help with our attitude and behavior. We do not automatically become perfect and holy in our actions. We still struggle with our thinking and actions to be holy like God. The closer we are to being like God the better our relationship can be. When we are more like the world, we make God our enemy. (James 4:3,4) When we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our life we develop the fruit of the Spirit that is like God. We find the love, joy and peace that comes from the father.
 
Everything else is to protect, develop and guide that relationship. Jesus established his kingdom to be the king of all the people who are in this holy relationship with God. This kingdom describes all the people of God in every time and age. Today we understand that the church is the way the kingdom of God is shown on earth today. We draw more people into the church so that they might have this relationship with God. We teach and explain what it means to follow Jesus since he is the example of what it means to follow God while on this earth. We not only help people make a covenant with God, but we also help in developing the maturity necessary for a full relationship with God.
 
The beginning of our relationship with God is about the salvation and forgiveness of sins. It is often referred to as a birth. We know that the relationship with a baby is limited. We watch our children develop and grow until we are able to have a relationship with them as adults. We go through awkward teen years where they develop their own independence and grow into mature adults. We go through awkward years as a Christian when we question why we need the church, the holy Spirit or a relationship with God. We question the Bible, the leaders, and the way people around us treat us. We eventually learn to use the things God has set up to build our relationship with God. The relationship with God is our goal. Helping others build their relationship with God is our mission.
 
Terry
Friday, January 15, 2021

 


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Works of the Devil

We recognize that God made the world and declared it was good. It was not long after, that Adam sinned and therefore sin entered into the world. There was an evil presence, and we call him Satan or the devil. He is the opposite of God. While God is good and can create, Satan is evil and can only tear down what God creates. Evil does not create anything itself. It is important that both of these are spoken of as a person. Good and evil are not just forces in the world, but come from a personal being. Love and goodness exist because God is good. God is love. Since they come from a person then love and goodness are personal and not just actions that are done without any personal interaction.
 
When we do something good, we are good. It is a personal trait that a person is good or loving. We must recognize that the opposite is also true. When we do something evil or cruel we become those things. Cruelty is personal. We cannot be cruel and claim to be a good person as if our cruelty is not part of us. Jesus talks about the tree and the fruit. Either the tree is good, and the fruit is good, or the fruit is bad and so we know the tree is bad. (Matt 7:15-19)  
 
Jesus came to break the bondage of sin caused by the devil when we were tempted and gave ourselves to the temptation. When we did that sin became part of us. If good and evil are personal, then they are personal for us as well. We are not just good people who do bad things, but we become the things we do. If we follow the temptation to do evil, it entangles and begins to invade our life. We fall under its influence and control. When sin is full grown, we become a an evil person. (James 1:13-15) It is a process and not an immediate change, but the process might not take long.
 
Peter tells Cornelius that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and went about doing good and healing those who were under the power of the devil.  (Acts 10:38) The people may not have realized how serious their condition was until they saw it in the disease. John tells us Jesus appeared to destroy the works of the devil. (1John 3:8) He blames the evil on what we do. Forgiveness of sin is bigger than just saying, “Oops,” we should not have done that. It is not that our sins are forgiven, we are forgiven. It is taking the control of Satan out of our life. We destroy the work of the devil in our life when we are forgiven.
 
Terry
Friday, January 8, 2021

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Ready for a New Year

We talk about this past year as a bad year and we are looking forward to a new one. It is finally here! We have finished with 2020 and we are on to a better year in 2021. It is interesting how we can take a number and think it makes a whole new difference in our life. The sun set and rose again to a new day and a whole new year. We mark it as a new beginning and hope for better things in the new year. It is a choice to see it that way. It is good to make a change in our thinking and live in a better way.
 
When we pray and ask God to forgive us of sin we make a change in the way we think and live. We let go of our guilt and believe God has forgiven us by his grace. It is because of the sacrifice of Jesus as he died on the cross for our sins. We believe he can forgive and we have accepted him by our baptism into him. We believe that being buried in water makes a whole new life. We are given the Holy Spirit and cleansed of our sin. We are part of God’s people and we worship God with those people. We follow Jesus’ teaching and example and we change the way we interact with people. It all changed in a moment when we gave our heart to Jesus.
 
We meet new people and decide we would like to know them better. We are able to do things with them and talk with them. We share things in common and we become friends. We come to trust them with our very personal painful frustrations and difficulties. We turn to them in tragedy and they comfort us the same way we are there for them. We share the joys of success and good times as we cheer each other on. We believe in each other and we give grace when they make mistakes and cause us to be disappointed. They also don’t give up on us when we make even bigger mistakes. They force forgetting and choose to still see us as what we can be.  We share grace as if it was from God himself, because it is.
 
So this year is going to be better. I am actually writing this last year in the bad year but knowing that as we change from Thursday night to Friday morning it will all change. It did all change and now we are in the new year when everything will be better. It is an amazing gift of God that he allows us to take a moment, or an act, and our whole life will suddenly be better. We believe and God makes what we believe happen. He promised and we believe it into being. We believe and pray and he brings it into being. It is not a wish waiting for a fairy with a magic wand to grant. It comes from an almighty God of the universe who is creator and is the force of love and goodness in this world to work out his grace and mercy on people like us. Happy new year. This year is going to be great!
 
Terry
Monday, December 30, 2020

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A Child is Born

Of all the ways that God does to reach us, Jesus being born on earth may be the most unusual. We have all seen the new baby that is brought in the room by the proud parents with the grandparents right behind carrying all the bags. Smiles are everywhere as the new baby quickly becomes the center of attention without even trying. Everyone is drawn to the new baby with comments of how beautiful and small. Why does a baby command so much attention?
 
The parents are excited because they have a new child, someone to take care for, teach and watch grow. It is a big responsibility, and they look forward to the challenge. It seems that everyone has advice for them even if they have never had children. Everyone has stories of what happened when their child was born. Most of the ones we remember are now funny even if they were very stressful at the time. They want to be encouraging but it may be a little scary to realize how many things can go wrong.
 
It would be hard to imagine the setting if God were actually in their arms. Would the advice change? Who has actually helped God learn how to walk or talk? The God who said, “Let there be light,” is being taught to say the word light. Would we be more protective of the God of the universe than we would over another child? Does God need our protection in times when he seems vulnerable? If Jesus was born like us, he would be at risk as much as any other child. His life might be more at risk because of Herod trying to kill the babies around his birth. But this just shows how much trust God has in the young parents with children. The salvation of the world has always rested in the hands of young parents who will raise their children to believe in and follow God.
 
As we think about the birth of Christ this week, we realize why the angels rejoiced. We can rejoice with shepherds who may not have understood anything until the angels appeared. Today it is not the ignorance of the birth of Jesus but the overwhelming confusion of other things like bearded people, trees and presents that cloud our view. To keep our focus on God and what he has done is always difficult. Do we pray more sincerely with a pandemic or does our fear become extreme? The birth of Jesus shows that in the middle of all the chaos and hate of the world, God is still able to send a very fragile child in an extreme time to bring about the defeat of evil and the salvation of all people everywhere. It is time to rejoice at what God can do as we declare, “Glory to God in the highest”.
 
Terry
Friday, December 18, 2020

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Following the Leader

Who do we follow? There are a lot of trends that we see in our world. There are changes in information that require our attention. The things we could count on have changed, and now we must adopt other strategies of dealing with the future. Who knew we would be ordering our food from our car on our cell phone and wait for someone to bring it to a numbered space? If we think about it we realize it has happened several times in our lifetime. We can know that following Jesus is the right decision and the right person to follow.
 
How often do we change the person we follow? We have all had the experience of thinking someone had all the answers only to find out they are human. Yes, they have some answers, but they don’t know it all. We find answers in books or internet searches only to find different answers in the next search. We are not able to trust the answers that we found before because of different information now. They were right for the time but now they don’t seem like the correct idea. The way we thought about things when we were eighteen is completely different when we get older.
 
When we were first asked to follow Jesus, we responded to what we knew about Jesus at the time. We know much more now. Some will even question their conversion because they know more now than they did before. It seems like things have changed with this new knowledge and understanding, but it isn’t Jesus that changed. Jesus is still the same as when we first began to follow. However, our following may look different because are different. It isn’t that something was wrong with out first commitment, but our actions of following must be different.
 
We have all played the game of following the leader. The leader will go over, around and under obstacles to test the ability of his followers. It is as simple as that. Jesus is our leader, and we follow him. He shows us how to do it and we follow his example. We can be better followers now than in the beginning because we understand more. It is the easiest way. The more we learn the better we are able to follow. The more we learn the more important it is to follow. The more we follow the more God can give, bless, answer, and interact with our lives. If we think God isn’t answering or seems particularly quiet lately, maybe it is time to see how well we are following. The silence may not have started from his end, but from ours.
 
Terry
Friday, December 11, 2020

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Giving a Blessing

Pronouncing a blessing is a declaration of good things that will happen for that person. There is no guarantee with most of us when we bless. A blessing usually expresses something we believe, or a hope that we have for them. It may be as simple as, “I hope you have a great day”. It is our hope, but we don’t have any way to make that come true. It is our expression of a blessing on them. We may express what we want to happen by telling them what we see in the future for them. This a very effective way of telling a child what we believe they can do and what we see in them. Especially in doubtful times it is important to express our faith and it is most important that our children see that we believe in them and what God will do for them.
 
When God blesses it always comes true. There may be conditions in the blessing of being faithful to God or obeying his word and then the blessing will come true. Saul was promised that his line would continue to remain on the throne if he had remained faithful to God, but he acted foolishly and so the kingdom was taken away. (1Sam. 13:13) God does bless us at times whether we are obedient or not. Jesus teaches that God acts lovingly by blessing everyone. He makes the sun rise and sends rain on the evil and the good. (Matt. 5:45) We are to be a blessing to others when we act like God.
 
Jesus gives the Beatitudes by telling about the people who will be blessed. We would think the blessed are the rich and healthy, but Jesus claims it is the humble and those who have difficult circumstances that are blessed. Those who mourn are blessed with comfort. Those who hunger for righteousness will be satisfied. The pure in heart will see God and the peacemakers will be known as God’s children. Jesus thinks of blessing in a whole new sense.    
 
While our blessings may not always be true, they are a way to express faith and hope to other people. Paul often told of his confidence in his letters to the churches of his appreciation for their faith and love. He could see their development and he was encouraging to them. His blessing often took the form of a prayer about how he could see God would work in their life. He would pronounce the grace and peace of God on them as he began his letter. He would tell them how he gave thanks for their work of faith and their labor of love as he wrote to them. (1Thess. 1:3) With so much difficulty around us maybe it is time for us to bless others more than ever. May the Lord bless you and keep you. (Num. 6:24)
 
Terry
Friday, December 4, 2020

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When We Least Expect It

As we sat around the table last year at thanksgiving, we would never have expected that this year would bring warnings about being together, travel and spreading a virus. Were we thankful for our health back then? We probably mentioned health, but we could never have anticipated where we are now. What we think will be short and just a little time turns into something much more. Things change when we least expect it. We can either be afraid of the change or look forward to the opportunity it brings.
 
When Jesus came the world changed. Even though it had been planned from the beginning by God it was suddenly time for a baby to be born that would sit on the throne of David. They had anticipated it for many years. God had been silent for four hundred years without a prophet to speak for him. Suddenly it was time and a messenger named John came to clear the way. Jesus grew up and was baptized by John in the Jordan river. His ministry began with miracles and calling disciples to follow him. And just as quickly he had been crucified, risen from the dead and now those same disciples were beginning a church in Jerusalem. They had a choice to be afraid of the threats or take advantage of the opportunity.
 
The Bible is a story of change in people’s lives. When we look at Joseph, do we think of the coat, the time in slavery, the time in prison or the time as ruler of Egypt? It all changed for him suddenly when he least expected it. One day he was the favored son and the next he was on his way to Egypt as a slave. When we read the story it all seems so sudden and his fortune changed so drastically that we find faith in a God who was always with him. We can see how God was always there with him even in the darkest times. He could either be afraid of what was happening, or he could believe in the dream God gave him at the beginning.
 
We find ourselves in a whole different situation that we didn’t expect. It isn’t like it was before and it isn’t likely to go back to the way it was. We live by faith that God will do his will in our lives and we are ready to accept whatever that brings. We believe God is able to strengthen us in whatever happens next. We look forward with eager anticipation because God is at work in our times. It is not like the four hundred years when there was no message from God. God has spoken to us through his son and we proclaim him as Lord and King. We will not fear the condition of the world, but we will look forward to the glory of the promise of God.  
 
Terry
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
 

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Thankful for the Valuable

When things are too easy, we take them for granted. It isn’t worth much if it doesn’t cost much. The more difficult it is to get the more we value it. At least those things are generally true. But who sets the value standard? If other people set the value standard, then we will only have what is valuable to them. If God sets the standard, then we can have what is valuable to God. If God thinks worship is valuable, then why do we treat it as common?
 
We recognize the value of supply and demand with the recent toilet paper and cleaning products rush. Is toilet paper valuable? That may depend on if you have any and need it right now. When it disappears from the shelves it becomes more valuable. People are willing buy it, save it and make sure they don’t run out. It is the demand and lack of availability that makes it more important. Is there a point at which the lack of available Bible study and worship will make it valuable again?
 
When things are too difficult, we lose appreciation. We started out wanting something or being able to go somewhere but when it becomes too difficult or complicated, we want to just forget it. We thought we would try but to come to worship but if we have to wear masks and distance, we aren’t really sure it is worth that. It is difficult and we feel like we can’t breathe, or that we will get sick. Do we ever wonder if Jesus thought we were too hard to save and wanted to back out?
 
Salvation is valuable because of the high price it costs for us to be a Christian. Church has been willing to change the format of worship to accommodate both in person and online worship. People wear masks and awkwardly stand by not knowing whether to hug, shake or just avoid. It is valuable to focus while we worship and not just treat it like another TV show. It is valuable that such effort to have worship and reach God is still available. It is valuable that Jesus is the sacrifice for our forgiveness even now. For such valuable efforts we are most thankful.
 
Terry
Friday, November 20, 2020
 

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Following the Same Jesus

More than ever we question what God expects of us now. We know he said go make disciples of all nations, but we are having enough trouble deciding what following looks like for us. The things we knew to do before are much more difficult now. What does it mean to follow Jesus? We could live our life completely on our own if we don’t intentionally make it a point to let Jesus in. When we do choose Jesus, we find following Jesus is still the same in many ways.
 
By following Jesus, we find forgiveness and salvation. We are still to Repent of sins and be baptized into Christ to seal the covenant and receive the Holy Spirit. It is not a digital baptism or an online event, this one is done with real water to make a real change in our life. Forgiving sins and giving grace is done by God regardless of viruses or wars or any other kind of disaster. It always work because God is behind it.
 
When we follow Jesus we worship. The location may be different but that just means there is more opportunity for people to encounter Jesus. Come to church and you will see the same things as before even if you are behind a mask. But now people can visit and learn if they chose to watch and worship online. It is still us singing behind the mask of in our living room. If one doesn’t work for you than use the other.
 
We are able to learn about God and Study. We are more limited in our ability to hear from other people and to discuss. We don’t get discussion input as much unless it is on Zoom and we learn a new technology. There are more video instructions available than before, but we may miss our previous discussions. It is a different way to learn but we can still learn about God. Much of the learning in schools now is online. And just maybe it is easier to share a link in an email with someone than it is to knock on doors. Can this be what we need for our evangelism to be better than ever?
 
Terry
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

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Living in the Present

There is a lot of confusion in our world today. Things that seemed so easy and that we have done for years are now more difficult. It used to be easy but now we have to think about the restrictions we have. We get used to our advantages of being able to travel and instant communication with anyone around the world. When movements are restricted it seems like everything has changed. We must rethink our spiritual life and relationships.
 
As we try to open back up there may be some things that are important to realize. We were used to coming to church at a certain time, spending 90 minutes in worship and then going on our way. It was provided for us as different people taught and led worship. It was what was expected and if we showed up we could just take it in. With the changes we are now wearing masks and sitting apart if we are here. We are a little unsure how close we can get to people and we must be sure we got our own communion before we sat down. I we are at home we struggle with the connection issues and whether we are just going to miss some words or a whole section. Can we focus enough to get something out of worship when we are sitting in the same place we watched the last TV show?
 
Jesus read in synagogue on Sabbath and we involved in the worship there. He couldn’t do it from home, he had to show up. As Jesus taught disciples to follow him his teaching was no longer just in synagogue but out in a field or the wilderness. We are aware of the sermon on the mount and there is another on a plain. People had to find out where Jesus was and go to him. Worship and learning were mobile. When the church began, they met in the temple courts at first. They also met in homes, but the larger gatherings were in Solomon’s Portico. Some of the people with larger houses had times of prayer where a few would gather. They had to change where they got information and put in some effort to be in the right place where they could get instruction.
 
Paul was sent to establish a church in a city. When they only had a few members, he would move on to the next city and let them finish the work. They were responsible for their teaching and learning. It was not a guaranteed sermon every week. They read letters from each other sharing their faith. We have an abundance of information, but we may not be sharing our faith. All these changes may force us to think again about what is important. The way we go about worship and being Christian has changed with the time. We make the best of where we are at the time. Make the most of where we are now and realize it will change soon.   
 
Terry
Friday, November 6, 2020
 

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Message and Mission

When we look in scripture there are several people who are sent with a specific purpose or message. Angels and prophets are sent with messages of disaster or blessing. God usually had a way of receiving the blessing or averting the disaster. It is the way God communicates with people willing to listen. There were many messengers from God in the Old Testament that had his words and did his will. Their life didn’t always reflect the privilege God had given them.
 
We recognize Jesus as a messenger of God who was also able to be the example and become the sacrifice for us. The life he lived was an example of the message he brought. He did all the things he taught. He was passionate about his message and it showed in his life. He died on a cross to defeat death and become the final sacrifice for us. For the first time we see the message from God lived out in real time. Every situation and every conversation was in direct relation to God. He acted on God’s initiative.
 
When Jesus taught his disciples, it was so that they could also speak. They knew from the beginning they would be living a different life to speak to others. He would send them on a mission to reach others with the message of God. They would have the words of God and show the principles they were teaching. This did not come easy. They went through three years of training not just to learn the message, but to bring their lives in line with the message.
 
We cannot talk about a God of love in a hateful way. We cannot explain grace when we don’t show grace to others. The life must fit the message. After Jesus had trained his disciples, he sent them to the world to make disciples. We have the same message and mission. The strength of our message is in how we live it. If it works for us, then others will believe it. We are all about the mission of God.
 
Terry
Friday, October 30, 2020
 

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