Mesa Church Blog

Articles from our Ministers and Teachersdividerbar 

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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Ready for the Fight

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

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Going Through the Void

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

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Relative Danger

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

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