Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

Feeling at Home

Sometimes we just don’t belong where we are. We are not used to the surroundings or the people and so it seems like we don’t belong. Belonging comes when we are familiar and we know the surroundings. Our house, “feels like home,” because we have spent a lot of time there and we are familiar with it. We know every chip in the paint and crack in the floor. It feels like home regardless of the things wrong. We accept all those things as just being part of where we live. We enjoy going places where they look for perfection, but it is not the same as home. We might even pay more to go to a place that has a bigger clean room, perfect swimming pool and room service, but it just isn’t home.
 
We value home because it is a place where we belong. We fit. They understand us. We don’t have to be perfect there. They know our struggle and even our failures. They are willing to allow us to be us. It is not just the place but the people at home accept us. They know our habits and they accommodate the quirks we have. They know how we like things and they will do extra just to be nice to us. We do extra for them also so they will feel like home is a special place.  
 
Some people don’t think of God as being in their home. They would feel uncomfortable if Jesus came to visit. They are not comfortable in church because they haven’t been there or been involved enough where it seems like home. To become familiar with a place and the people we have to share some memories. We need to understand the dreams and what they see in the future. There are core beliefs they hold, and we feel part when we share that common faith.
 
When God he adopts us as his children, we become part of the family of God.  We are not there just to visit but to be part of the plan and function of the family. To have a place means we are involved in the day to day things that happen. To be part of God’s family we listen to his word and learn about the people and opportunities where we can do things. It is the interaction of people and activities that make a place a home. When we are part of the family it is what we believe, think and do together.
 
Terry
Friday, October 11, 2019

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Trapped

We have all been stuck at some point with our car. It is either mud, snow, flat tire or being out of gas that holds us captive. We can’t get out. We didn’t intend to be stuck. We know how to drive, and we don’t intentionally drive into the ditch but somehow today we are in. It will take help to get us out. Somehow, we lost control and there is no way out.
 
An auto accident is not intentional but when we are caught in sin it is very intentional. Maybe we didn’t intend to be caught there but Satan does plan how to catch us. His efforts are to get us to the place where we can’t get out and we need help. He is counting on the fact that we either don’t know how to get help or we won’t ask. Asking would be admitting we were stuck. While it may not be entirely our fault, we did go there on our own. We lost control of our emotions, our actions and we said or did things we would never normally do. Sometimes people lied or we were accused, and we are stuck.
 
The good news is God already knew this was going to happen. It is like giving a teenager the keys to a car. At some point in their lifetime they will be involved in an accident. It may not be their fault, but they will be involved. They just have to know how to deal with it. The way we deal with sin is Jesus. Sin tries to make no way out, but Jesus has overcome sin and all that it has to bind us. Sin tries to make disaster, but Jesus has overcome the worst disaster of tortured innocent death. He offers to share his life and overcoming power with us.
 
With Jesus we can find freedom from sin and it’s hold on us. Jesus died to sin so that we would no longer live in it or be held by its power. (Rom. 6:2) More than that Jesus offers us a new life in him when we repent and are baptized to form a new covenant in him. We are brought into a relationship with God that is like being his adopted children. We can have freedom in that relationship. God is there to protect and care for us and we are no longer stuck.   
 
Terry
Friday, October 4, 2019

 


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Struggle is Good

The immediate facts are not the whole story. When we look at the facts of what happened whether it is long ago or recent events there are many other factors. The way we look at things changes what we think. When we realize evil is in the world it can be devastating. Actual evil is in the world around and we will encounter it. If we think it is in us and we are terrible and a horrible person, then we will not be in for a good day. If we think someone else is terrible, then the relationship we have with them will not be good. If we must deal with them every day it can affect our day as well.
 
If we realize there is evil in the world it can make everything dark. We can become afraid of what might happen and feel doom and disaster coming. If we understand God loves us and is in control of everything, we can believe that his love can overcome the evil in the world. It isn’t that the evil is gone but there is something so much bigger that allows us to deal with the evil. We trust God and believe he can handle everything better than if we were the ones telling him what to do. The fact that he loves us and demonstrates his love, brings a whole different outlook. God is able to set the limits and boundaries of what evil can do.
 
When we realize that God puts his Holy Spirit in us everything changes again. Not only is a good God able to deal with evil in the world, we are also. God has put his Spirit inside us so that we can deal with evil on a personal level. What happens is not just about the world around us, but also about the strength inside us. It is not just our own will, but the Spirit of God mixed with our spirit. It is the gifts of God and his power that allows us to have even more ability to deal with evil.
 
We teach our children to overcome the difficulties of the world. It would be worse for them if we took away all obstacles. They would have no strength or courage. We realize it is something they need to develop. We are there to help them through those things. We might wish that evil and bad things would just be removed and not exist. That has not happened yet but someday it will. For now, God wants us to deal with the evil around us. It is not going away, but God has provided strength for us to overcome the evil. He tells us to not be afraid but be strong and courageous in him. We are to overcome evil with good.
 
Terry
Friday, September 27, 2019
 

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Holy

What does it mean to be holy? There is only one divine being and we call him God. Holy exists because of God. Everything that is holy is because of him. He is complete goodness and love. He is purity and justice. He is described as light with no darkness at all. We have a hard time describing what that means to be that perfect, good, loving, and so we just call it holy. Because of that, holy also means to be set apart from all the lowly ordinary things.
 
There is a progression from most holy things that are in relation to God to ordinary and even to unholy. They are not holy like God, but they are holy because of God. God declares the Sabbath day holy at creation. It is holy because Holy God declared it. The firstborn is considered holy because he considers the firstborn devoted to him. He made the world and people so the first of everything belongs to him. Priests and prophets are holy because they serve a holy God. Israel was a holy nation because God had chosen them to be his. We keep his commandments and are to become like him and therefore we would be counted as holy.
 
Today we don’t see much recognition of what is holy. We are irreverent and don’t show respect for honor, glory or holy. Our lack of recognition does not diminish the holiness of God. It only makes it not appear in our circumstance. It is not just that God disappears if we don’t take him as holy. All holiness disappears in our life because it is all based on God. If the source of light, love and goodness is gone then so are those things.
 
When we do recognize and appreciate the holiness of God, it restores the order to everything. We recognize God as light, love, goodness and holy. That opens the possibility for all those things to exist in us because of our relationship with God. Worship is important because it proclaims a holy God in our life and opens us to holiness. Without God and his holiness, the best we can hope for is ordinary.
 
Terry
Friday, September 20, 2019

 


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Forgiveness Relationships

Jesus begins his ministry by asking people to repent because the kingdom of heaven is coming. He assumes they need forgiveness and asks for their repentance. The very first beginning message of Jesus was to talk about something intensely personal. Not only does he bring up their sins and mistakes he says they should be sorry for those and find forgiveness through redemption. He treats us all like we need forgiveness. We do. We could be embarrassed that Jesus knows, or we could us the strength of that relationship.
 
Why would God design our existence where forgiveness is such a big part of it? If everyone needs forgiveness doesn’t that sound like bad planning unless there is a reason why forgiveness would be important to everyone. Forgiveness is not correcting mistakes when there shouldn’t be any. Forgiveness is a relationship building experience that everyone should have. The same way that love or respect is part of developing relationships, forgiveness is important also.
 
What if we deny we need forgiveness? We have never done anything wrong. At least we have not done anything bad enough that forgiveness is necessary. How bad does it have to be before we need forgiveness? What God wants is for his people to be holy like he is. To be holy means to be without sin. It doesn’t mean to have never committed sin, but we no longer have sin. We have been forgiven. It is a way of living in relationship with God. He doesn’t want perfect, sinless, faultless, he wants forgiven. Will we accept a relationship based on forgiveness rather than perfection?
 
What are the closest relationships we have? Are they there because we are perfect? More likely they are the ones who know all our faults. They are not treated like company when they come over. We know we can trust them with our secrets. The relationship is close precisely because of the shared failures. We no longer have to pretend. They know our flaws and they love and accept us anyway. We can just be who we are. We don’t have to hide our thoughts and feelings even when they are not what they should be. Forgiveness and grace are immediate because the relationship is more important than perfection. God wants that kind of relationship.
 
Terry
Friday, September 13, 2019

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Sticky People

How do we get peanut butter off a spoon?  Lick it off. We can’t just wash it off. It seems easy but because it is sticky, we can’t quite get rid of it. The main question is why were we using a spoon with peanut butter? By the time a child has peanut butter all over their hands we don’t even want to touch them. We get ourselves in sticky situations. How do we get out? At first, we just try to brush it off and let it be gone but it doesn’t go. When the brushing doesn’t work, we try just pulling it off. If we can get hold of it, we can intentionally get rid of it and put it somewhere else. What if we can’t even pull it off? We can’t get hold of it or it would damage the place where it is stuck. Do we pull on it till it rips a hole or do we just leave it alone and learn to live with it?
 
Sins are sticky. They don’t seem to just fall off and go away. We must do something to purposefully get rid of them. We apologize to the person we offended and sometimes they will say, “Its all right” but we know it wasn’t. The relationship changes and we tend to avoid each other. That relationship goes the way so many others have gone. After awhile we can look around and we know why things don’t work. We can point to all the past problems people have had with each other and it is a wonder that church can even function.
 
How tightly does sin stick to us? We remember the mistakes we made, and they make us feel bad. We remember our sins a lot more than we remember our blessings. If someone else bring them up again, we are still to blame for them. Would we be ok if we didn’t think other people would remember it? It was big enough that other people knew and now we are sure when they look at us, they still remember. We are awkward and it don’t feel like God has been about to do anything among his people.
 
Forgiveness should take away any sin stuck to us if we would believe it. Even if someone did bring it up, we could just tell them we are forgiven. When Jesus died on a cross for our sins it took away all the sticky. We accept his blood and make covenant with him and it cleanses us from all sin. That means we are clean and free from anything sticky, but we must live like it. Now imagine a church that has had all sins forgiven. We don’t blame or remember any sins anymore. There is nothing to stand in the way of relationships. There is no awkwardness because people are sticky. What a joy it is to be around people who rejoice that their sins have been taken away.
 
Terry

Friday, September 6, 2019


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Stay Hungry

We have learned that we grow and develop. We started doing it before we even realized it. We came in as a baby, but we didn’t stay that way. We grew and before we realized it we were learning words and how to get around better. We would brag about being big and we wanted to be like all those people taller than us. Our favorite phrase came to be, “I do it myself.” We didn’t really decide to develop but parents would have been very concerned it we didn’t develop. It just came naturally because we are meant to grow and develop.
 
Kids go to school to develop even further. They learn important skills like reading, writing and math. They learn those things so they can live in the world on their own and take care of themselves. We go from living with parents to being able to have kids and provide for them.
 
Our Christianity develops also as a natural process. We learn first stories of God and the things Jesus taught. We learn why we are here and how God has made everything. We also learn about sin and part of development is how to fix what goes wrong. We first start with law as a child and with God. Do what is right and don’t do wrong only to realize we forgot to do some things and intentionally did some things forbidden. Part of growing is learning the best way to deal with our failure. We come to realize the grace of God and how different it is from the demands of rules.
 
All of these concepts and insights allow us to develop in a different way. We are no longer babies even we become bald and don’t have any teeth. It is this development that has made the difference. Each new thing we learn brings us to a new level. It brings more opportunities that were not there before. That is true in Christ. Our learning of what it will be like when we move on to new worlds was first learned here. We can grasp there is more. So, stay hungry for Christ. Learn all you can, and it will open new worlds.
 
Terry
Friday, August 30, 2019

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Surrounded by Love

When an enemy decided to capture a city, they would surround it. That way they could cut off supplies and trade going in or out of the city. They could control the food and water and essentially just wait for the city to become too weak to exist. By simply cutting off contact with other people and what they supply they could defeat any enemy. This is why it is important we do not find ourselves surround by an enemy but by friends.
 
The positive side is when we are surrounded by friends and good things we grow. It is not just survival, but we experience the love and joy that comes from so many others around us. We would all like to think of ourselves as being able to stand on our own and we may even expect that from ourselves. But the truth is we don’t do well when it is the lowest expectations of survival. What could we do if we had the love of God surrounding us?  He fills our life with joy and peace as he gives us a different view of ourselves than we usually have.
 
Surrounded by love is more an understanding and spiritual reality than it is a physical one. When there are many people who care about us and love us, we feel close to them. We focus on the good things God brings and how those things are expressed through others. The redemption we find in Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit so that love, joy and peace are produced in our life is an indication of God’s great power at work.
 
We can choose to be surrounded by our past and allow one situation to override all the goodness around us. We remember one fault or failure and that becomes our focus. We cannot believe the love of God, but we focus on the sin or fault we see in ourselves. When we focus on God and his love, we see ourselves with the grace and love that God supplies rather than our past performance. This is why God’s emphasis is we live by faith and not by sight. We live by faith in what God makes of us through Jesus and being filled with his Spirit. (2Cor. 5:7) When we see God working we should see him working in us most of all.
 
Terry
Friday, August 23, 2019

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Something Always Happens

Being with other people is fun. We enjoy the interaction and the shared interests. We can talk about a lot of things we enjoy doing together. Spending time together is one of our favorite things to do. We like it when it is fun and isn’t too hard to do. If it involves a lot of planning, that cuts some of us out. We don’t like all the getting ready.
 
When there is something to be done that has a lot of moving parts and takes planning, we can tell who is dependable. The people who will be there when there is actual work to do seem small compared to the ones who want to have fun. Jesus didn’t call the disciples to just come over and hang out. They understood from the very beginning they were to be, “fishers of men” and at the least they would be helping with the crowd and sometimes being the one who taught. Jesus did not ask them if they felt like passing out fish and bread or cleaning up after. They knew that came with being a disciple of Jesus. They would need to do whatever he needed.
 
The together time in the New Testament is usually a time of either work or worship. They came to the apostles teaching but that would also mean they were learning, not just watching. They spread the word because they had learned the story and were excited to share it. Most of what we see recorded is the working together. When Acts talks about the time they were just together, it says they were, “Devoted to fellowship.” (Acts 2:42) That seems a lot more intense than lemonade on the patio.
 
There is a time when Christians come together. We come together for worship but that is not to be a spectator of worship. That is to be involved in singing the songs and learning from the other people around. There is a time of service to other people when we do what they need. We are lifting people up and encouraging them in the struggle they are having this week. Prayer is more than just a list and saying, “God bless them.” When we come together it is powerful because we came follow Jesus and do what he wants done.
 
Terry
Friday, August 16, 2019

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Some One At the Other End

It is hard to get away from people. Roads are designed to connect people and places where people want to live and travel. We don’t usually build a road that goes nowhere. It may be that whatever was at the end of the road is gone. It may be the road just ended because there was no reason for it to go further. When I was growing up, I lived in a town where the road just ended. A favorite Sunday afternoon drive was to drive out to the end of the road. Not for any purpose, but just because there was a place of nowhere and then you could come back.
 
People are everywhere. We have more accessibility to each other with more connections than ever before, but it has not developed better relationships. We have handheld devices that travel with us that not only call but also text, face-time, tweet, and post. We sit next to other people with their devices texting people or just posting but not speaking to each other. Sometimes we are all in the same family.
 
We end up being alone with others and it has become perfectly normal. We can go to an event and experience it individually and personally but with out any connection to each other. It is like the road that goes nowhere. The text that is unanswered. The call that goes to voicemail. The post that may not get any likes. Maybe we are alone. We are here and we think we are talking, but the other end of the conversation is missing.
 
Sometimes with prayer we are not sure anyone is there because we can’t see God or hear his answer. We can’t see the person in a call, a text, a tweet or a post. We can see the like or the return text. We just need to see God’s answer with prayer. We need to know he is there and loving and leading us. We must pay attention to the little things that work out from prayer. They are generally bigger than a “thumbs up” symbol but our response is, “What a coincidence.”  It isn’t a coincidence at all. God answers much better than our ways of communicating. He is always there on the other side of the conversation.
 
Terry
Friday, August 9, 2019
 

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Being Alone

Being lonely can be one of the hardest things we face. We don’t feel like people care and we wonder if we even matter. When we move or there is a change in life it can seem like we are starting all over again. We are alone and that can feel lonely. But being alone does not always mean we are lonely. Lonely is when we don’t feel a connection with other people. We don’t feel like anyone cares about us and we feel invisible. We feel like it doesn’t matter if we do anything or not.
 
Being alone is not lonely. Being alone is the absence of people around us right now but we may have every confidence that people love us and care about us. We know that what we do matters but we are not doing anything with someone else at the moment. Alone is when all nine kids are gone, and we have the house to ourselves. Lonely is when all nine kids are running crazy and we feel like we have no help and no one cares.
 
Alone time is when we see how we like ourselves. If we don’t like ourselves, we will hate to be alone with just us. We will want others to distract us from what we think about ourselves. When we are alone, we can think about important things. We can plan and believe what God has for us. When we are alone is when God speaks. We can know God loves us when we are alone with him. God is always there so we are never lonely. God also lets us be alone and realize things about our self.
 
It is in those alone times that can evaluate who we are. We can look at all our relationships and see more clearly. We can especially examine our relationship with God and what he wants for us. Sometimes we are alone, and he surrounds us. Sometimes we are alone so we can be tested and learn. Alone time should make us better. When we are alone, we can have our closest connection with God.
 
Terry
Friday, August 2, 2019

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Getting a Break

At some point all of us feel like running away. Maybe not for the same reason but we wish we could get a break in the demands, the work and the people. Not that we don’t want any of those but sometimes it can just be too much to do. We don’t usually want to be gone forever but just for a little while would be nice. We call it vacation.
 
Jesus is head of his church and he calls us to follow him. Church is a collection of people and not a building or set of activities. When we gather to worship Jesus, we call it church. When we are following Jesus in everyday life, we call it discipleship. Sometimes we are really involved, and we need a break from the constant demands, but it isn’t really Jesus we are running from. It is the stress of activity and constant demands. It is like some moms or dads need a break from the two-year-old they have been taking care of all week. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to be parents or don’t love their child, but the demands are unending.
 
When it gets really bad, we run away from God. We think that will get us out of all the rules and expectations. We could forget ourselves and not be responsible for anyone or anything including ourselves, but it doesn’t really happen. It isn’t God that makes the bad situation. When we want to blame someone, he is an easy target. We will show him by not believing in him or doing things harmful to ourselves. That doesn’t really mean we get away with anything. God doesn’t make consequences; they just naturally occur from the choices we make. If we do well things go well. If we do horrible actions or attitude it will have an affect on what happens in our relationships. We want to claim it isn’t fair but the problem is, it is absolutely fair.
 
The only one who gives us a break from the consequences of what we have done is God. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, when we are horrible people, we can find forgiveness and grace with God. It is easier to find grace with God than it is with other or even ourselves. God is ready and wanting us to do well. We think we can run away, and God lets us run sometimes. Until we realize our efforts are futile and we are actually running from the very person we need the most. Someone who will forgive us, understand everything we are going through, and still love us.
 
Terry
Friday July 12, 2019

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