PASTOR PAT’S BLOG

 
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Embracing the Old Testament

My Bible reading the last few days has covered the resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the church as recorded in the first chapters of Acts. The one thing that I took away from those passages is the relevance of the Old Testament Scriptures.


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Judging the sins of others

In Luke 13:1-5, Jesus uses two current events to teach His followers that we need to be really careful about determining that some sins (usually the ones we don’t struggle with) are more grievous than others.
 
The first event mentioned was that a group of Galileans had been killed by Pilate and their blood mixed with that of their own sacrifices. More than likely these men had caused some kind of disturbance and Pilate wanted to make an example of them. The second event was a tower in Siloam that had fallen and killed 18 people.
 
Jesus made it clear than these people did not die because they were any worse sinners than the rest of those to whom He was speaking. They did not die because they deserved that more than anyone else. Since each of us is a sinner, we all deserve death and without faith in Jesus we will not only die physically, but also spiritually. Therefore, rather than focusing on the sins of others, we need to recognize our own sin and repent.
 
This reinforces one of the main ideas from my sermon this week – that if we’re going to be effective witnesses for Jesus, Christians need to treat non-Christians with compassion and not condemnation. One of the ways we tend to condemn those who are not yet disciples of Jesus is to treat certain sins that we see in others as worse than whatever sins we struggle with in our lives. Without Jesus, we will die in our sins, too – no matter how benign they might seem to us.

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Who is Jesus to You?

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been regularly posting thoughts from my Bible readings like I was earlier in the year. In part, that is because I had gotten behind on my chronological reading plan, but now that I’m caught up, I’m going to try and finish the year strong and keep on track.
 
Today’s reading was John 9:1-10:21. A couple thoughts from that passage:
 
First, we need to be very careful about making claims about how God is working in the lives of others. Both Jesus’ disciples and the Jewish religious leaders were wrong about the man who had been born blind. They wrongly assumed that he was blind because either he or his parents had sinned. But Jesus revealed that it was not because of their sin but rather so that the works of God might be displayed in him. This fits with what I’ve been learning as I preach through Romans 8. God can use even the painful and difficult things in our life for the good of making us more like Jesus and bringing glory to Himself.
 
We are prone to make the same mistake that the disciples and the religious leaders made when we see suffering in the lives of others and assume that God is “punishing” them for some sin. While it is true that God does discipline His children because He loves them, most of the trials in life are not because God is judging some sin.
 
The second thing that is apparent in this passage is that Jesus is always going to cause division. Some of the Jews looked at the works that Jesus did and listened to the words He spoke and claimed that He was a demon or insane. Others observed those same things and understood that only someone “from God” could do those things. The world is still divided along those lines today. There are only two options. Either you believe that Jesus is God in the flesh and put your faith in Him and receive eternal life. Or you do not believe that and you do not receive eternal life.
 
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-2 ESV)

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Invite Someone to Church

This week I listened to a podcast by Thom Rainer titled “Why People Don’t Invite Others to Church”. The six reasons that were given in the podcast are based on a study done by Lifeway Research.
 

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The danger of preconceived ideas about God

Today in 2 Kings 5, I read the account of Naaman. Naaman, a commander of the Syrian army had leprosy and he traveled to Israel because a young girl told him about a prophet in Samaria.

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Praying for our Country

In 1 Kings 20-21, we find the continuation of the account of King Ahab of Israel. Earlier, in chapter 16, Ahab is described as the most evil king yet to rule over Israel. He did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings before him. And yet in 1 Kings 20, we find that God gives Israel a great victory over the king of Syria and 32 other kings who had much larger and better equipped armies.

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Overcoming Discouragement

I read the account of Elijah in 1 Kings 17-19 this morning. A lot of things to take away from that passage, but the one that really spoke to me today was in chapter 19 where Elijah runs away from Jezebel and sits down under a broom tree and asks to die. But God, in his mercy sends the angel of the Lord (likely Jesus Himself) to provide food and drink to give him strength for the journey ahead.

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An Encouragement and a Warning

The last couple of days I’ve been reading about King Rehoboam – first in in 1 Kings and then in 2 Chronicles. Both accounts are quite similar and they both got me thinking about a lot of potential parallels with many of our political leaders today.
 

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Delighting in God’s Word

Been a while since I’ve posted my thoughts from my Bible reading, but I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with my Bible reading plan.
 
Today’s reading was the second half of Psalm 119. That is undoubtedly one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it expresses what I want my attitude to be toward God’s Word. While I think it’s important to have a plan to read the Bible systematically, I don’t ever want reading the Bible to become an obligation or duty.

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A costly offering

Both 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 record the account of David building an altar to the Lord in response to God’s mercy in cutting short the punishment that resulted from David’s sin of taking a census. And in both accounts, the owner of the threshing floor offers to give David the property and the oxen for the sacrifice. But David replies that he will not offer to God an offering that costs him nothing.
 

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