Grace That Changes People

We need to allow God’s truth to be activated in our lives. Spend time with people because they’re people, not because you’re trying to convert them. When God puts somebody on your heart, you won’t forget them.

Luke 19:1-8, 10-9 MSG

Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by. When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?” Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.” Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

Don’t turn relationships with people into religion. Our faith is evident in how we treat people.

Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables you to become the person he sees when he looks at you. Grace is a way of living and thinking.

Wisdom Avoids the World’s Current

A few weeks ago, we shared on New Year’s spiritual resolutions. We encouraged you to ask the Lord to reveal something to you that could be a focus for this year. Start by asking yourself if you are satisfied with your relationship with God. Is there something keeping you from experiencing greater joy and peace?

It’s time to grow upwards in Him. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what you can trust Him to let go of. He took everything we deserve, and He  gave everything He deserves.

We schedule everything into our lives – why not make a daily appointment with Jesus? Before Jesus, the commandments – a holy life – was focused on do, do, do. But Jesus declared “It is finished.” Done, done, done. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment – the best thing you can do – is to love the Lord with all your being.

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you  to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,  holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.   Do not be conformed  to this age,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,  so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will  of God.

2 Corinthians 3:18

Ephesians

2 Timothy 3:16

God’s Word is not just words on paper. It is living!

Paul, who authored several books in the Bible, was a Pharisee. He was on a mission to stop Christianity when Jesus intercepted him on the road to Damascus.

Ephesians 5:15-21 HCSB

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time,   because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand  what the Lord’s will  is. And don’t get drunk  with wine,  which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.

What are you walking on? Where are you about to walk into? At all times, you have a choice. Really see where you are going. Paul is telling us to be wise in determining our course. The days were evil then, and they’re still evil today.

If our feet are not on The Rock, we get swept away by all the currents swirling around us in the world. If you’re standing in a river, and you lift your feet, it will carry you wherever it’s going. Paul says we must be wise – we can’t afford to be foolish.

Do you go out of your way to do things your way? Paul says “do not be foolish (unwise), but understand…” There are 2 versions of “but” in Greek; this one is the one with the most emphasis. Are you hearing Him? What are you doing with what He says? No more excuses.

Do not pretend that the wrong way will lead you to the right way. Don’t say “I’ll get there, eventually…” Satan is a pro at deception. What are you leaning on more than Jesus? You’re basically saying you trust that thing more than Him.

It’s not what you’ve done in the past. It’s not what everyone else is doing. Look for God’s desires in your life. He gives “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.” Who doesn’t want that?

Transformation

DeErica baptism Centralia Open Bible ChurchWe’ve baptised people of all ages in just about anything holding water, but nothing beats an old fashioned river baptism. The same rivers that sometimes floods our towns becomes a place for the church to gather, witnessing a moment of change symbolizing the beginning of a life-long process of spiritual transformation.

In 2015, we’re focusing on transformation: becoming more like Jesus by the renewing of our minds as a result of constant relationship with Him.

“Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” – John 15:2

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. –  Romans 12:2

Campout 2015

Fishing at Riffe Lake church campout 2014Last year’s camp at Taidnapam was a blast! This year, we’re headed to the coast for a weekend at Grayland Beach State Park. Our goals for church campout are simple: relax, eat well, and hang out with friends.

This year marks the 3rd annual campout. In 2013, we camped at Mayfield Lake, enjoying swimming, canoeing, campfires and card games. Last year’s stay on Riffe Lake brought out the fisherman/woman in young and old alike. We boated or floated the lake, taking in the amazing scenery we’re blessed with here in the Pacific Northwest.

Mark your calendars for the last weekend in August, and contact the church office to reserve yourselves a spot for this not-to-be-missed event!

The Edge

Centralia Open Bible young adultsThe Edge was born out of a large youth group of high schoolers who graduated high school and still wanted to fellowship together! This group is for young adults ages 18-29 and includes students from Centralia College, located a few blocks northeast of the church.

The Edge currently meets every other week on Monday nights. Group members have also attended concerts and the annual church campout. Many Edge members are dancers, musicians or singers, and enjoy jamming together.

Spiritual Resolutions

Think of all the resolutions we make. So often, they revolve around our physical lives. But what about spiritual resolutions?

2 Corinthians 4:18

Psalm 90:2

God is first and last, beginning and end. Jesus is king of all ages. This is in contrast to our lives, which have a birth and death, and a limited time in between. The Bible compares our lives to a vapor, which dissipates quickly.

Jesus gave us what He deserved, and took what we deserved.

Romans 12:2

When should this happen?

2 Corinthian 6:1-2

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day!

The word January comes from the Roman word Janus, who was a two-faced statue, believed to close the for to the past and open the door to the future. When Christianity was established as the state religion, the tradition turned to prayer and fasting for the new year.

Let prayer be the beginning of everything this year. Every day, every activity, every decision. The Bible actually says that the Lord can restore wasted years. Do you carry regrets? Bring them to Jesus.

Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” Who wouldn’t want that?

Are you really satisfied with your relationship with God? He never changes, but we must. What is holding you back? Possibilities: laziness, rebellion, excuses, fear, doubt… You must be willing to ask God for help taking the first step, and every step.

Galatians 5:22-23

It’s not about doing more things, more “works.” It’s about abiding in Jesus. Everything we are stems from this relationship, or lack of it. The fruit of the Spirit is eternal – you can give it away! But you can only get it by being a branch grafted into Jesus, the Vine.

Hebrews 2:8

All things have been put under His feet, even though we don’t yet see it. God wants to put things that have been holding you back under your feet. He wants you to have hold of His peace regardless of your circumstances.

As you make spiritual resolutions, you may think in terms of what behaviors you want to change. That’s a start, but now think of what spiritual practices will produce those things. Reading God’s word more often? Praying in all things? Worship? Ask yourself how you can know Him even more closely.