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struggle to measure up banner5 Ways to Tell if You Struggle to Measure Up

Did you know I once fell 50 feet while pounding in a piton on a previously unclimbed ice pitch while rescuing my CO while training for the Rangers in the Grand Tetons? That may be a bit of a stretch. Actually, a friend fell maybe 30 feet while on my belay at Enchanted Rock in the mostly flat state of Texas. But, I’d rather tell the first story.

I want to measure up, to be liked—admired even. However, that can make lying easy, and living expensive. It seems we all have this innate belief that we have to meet certain standards to measure up. "If people believed I climbed in the Tetons they would think more of me and then I would be happy and successful." Right.

You might struggle to measure up if you. . .

Exaggerate about your rock climbing, or your back scratcher collection, or dalek impersonation or whatever else it is you weirdly want people to be proud of.

Spend more on others for Christmas than you can afford, and spend all year paying interest on VISA. But if that is you, I’m good to exchange gifts with you this year if you want.

Lie about why you are late. Sure the traffic on Paseo slowed you down for 5 minutes, but why are you giving that as the reason you were 20-minutes late?

Buy the flashy car with the horse on the front (Ferrari not Pinto) to look like someone you aren’t. I’ve been told Tom Selleck would have been cool without it (Magnum, P.I. for those too young to know), and I would just be broke with it. But what does JoLynn know?

Use cologne by the case. You might think it will help get the girl, but trust me, it won’t.

God gives us the answer to the struggle to measure up. It’s a fancy word called, "Justification." He tells us that our worth isn’t based on what we do, but on what He has done, and continues to do for us. Once we realize this, we can start telling the truth, spending less, and may even smell better.

Hope to see you Sunday!

 

Wake Up! 5 ways to help this Easter

 

Have you ever been driving along and suddenly wondered where your brain has been for the last 15 minutes? Somehow you’re still on the road, shaken but OK. 

 

When I was a courier we called this entering “The Bogel Zone,” named after a street in Dallas. The Bogel Zone is an odd mental state where life is unconsciously flying by, and you are clueless. Maybe that isn’t so odd after all.

 

The Bogel Zone is responsible for 100,000 police-reported crashes every year. But, you can enter it without driving. It’s probably safer that way.

 

On that first Easter morning, it seems like everybody but Jesus was in The Bogel Zone. It’s almost like he returned undercover.

 

Mary Magdalene, the first to see Jesus, was so out of it she thought he was the gardener. The two disciples going to Emmaus spent most of their 2-hour walk explaining Jesus to Jesus. That makes me feel good, knowing Jesus went out of his way to meet with two clueless disciples going the wrong direction. 

 

That means he probably cares about us too. 

 

Easter is a great time to wake up and get out of the Bogel Zone. Ephesians 5:14 Is a great promise for Mary, the two disciples and us. “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 

 

5 ways to help this Easter

 

  1. Ask God to show you who to invite to church. A neighbor? Coworker? Friend? You can use the card you were given at church last week.

  2. Fill out the connectionCARD in your bulletin - so visitors will see you do it & feel comfortable doing it too.

  3. Think Others First. Greet everyone around you. Park far away. Take the worst seats. Leave some snacks for those who come late.

  4. Remember – Services are at 8 & 10, w/snacks in-between, and nursery and toddler care at the 10:00 service only.

  5. Pray that those who hear the gospel will commit their lives to Christ.

 

Chart provided by LifeWay Research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

What would it be like if Jesus showed up as King today? Are we ready?

The Good: I figure, since The Eternal King has absolute authority, that He would stop all the bad guys and bad things. So, if Jesus ruled the earth I could change all my interweb passwords to "password," leave my doors unlocked, go back to eating French fries and hot fudge Sundays for breakfast, and cancel both my health and life insurance. It kind of reminds me of the college days.

The Bad: When Jesus came the last time, people expected Him to go to the palace and kick out the Romans. We might expect Him to go to DC and kick out… everybody. Or go on a rampage against televangelists. Or remove all cats. But what Jesus did on His first coming, was to go to the Temple and clean it up by whipping some people in shape. Later, after Jesus died and the Holy Spirit came, God’s Temple moved inside His believers. So, if He came back, today, would He be more concerned about cleaning up DC or cleaning up me? Am I really ready for His return?

The Ugly: Early in Christ’s last week, the crowd thought they were ready for Jesus to be king. He came in town and the people gave Him a Triumphal Entry. But, it seems likely that some of the same people who had shouted "Hosanna, Lord save us!" early in the week were shouting "Crucify Him" a few days later. What made the difference?

Kingship.

The Eternal King has absolute authority. The only way to prepare for His return is absolute surrender. Am I ready?

One day, He will come back as king. Come Sunday. Get ready.

As I prepare for my message this Sunday, titled, "Jesus and Demonic Possession," it occurred to me how little personal experience I have with this subject. I myself have never been possessed by an evil spirit (acted like it at times), nor has anyone in my immediate or extended family (when my kids were two I wondered about them), nor for that matter have I’ve ever seen anyone act anything like the stories of demon-possessed people in Scripture. Not even when I lived in Cuba, where some folks practiced Santeria (an unholy mixture of African animism and "Christianity") did I experience anything like that. 

I have, however, studied the subject over the years, both out of morbid curiosity and academic interest (is there a difference?), even as far back as my high school days in the 60’s. You see, I was educated by Jesuits, an order of the Roman Catholic Church which to this day regularly practices exorcisms. I vividly remember listening to my public speaking teacher simultaneously scare and entertain us with stories of demon-possessed people and exorcism rites when he was a missionary in India. And of course, listening to him meant we had less school work to do. 

Speaking of Jesuits, Pope Francis, a Jesuit himself, advises priests to refer people to exorcists if they suspect demonic activity is at work in any of their parishioners. But he cautions that they should first be examined by medical professionals to ensure that they receive the medical attention they need should their ailment be of a psychiatric nature rather than a spiritual malady. In spite of some significant differences in the way Pope Francis and I see things, I must admit that there’s some wisdom to be found here.

I also find that some people are either overwhelmed with thoughts about demons, as though they were evil spiritual gnats incessantly swirling around their heads, 24/7. Alternatively, others completely ignore the otherworldly rascals as though they did not exist at all. Both are wrong, and by not knowing the truth both open themselves to Satan’s lies and influence. 

This reminds me of something I read a while back in the preface to C.S. Lewis’ satirical/apologetic novel, The Screwtape Letters,

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist and a magician with the same delight."

I wholeheartedly agree. And I find that the best antidote to Satan’s influences on me, which is to say, tempting me to sin and trying to get me to believe his lies, is prayer coupled with reading, studying, meditating, and believing God’s word. God’s word is the absolute truth, and knowing and believing His word is the highway to freedom (John 8.31-32). 

Speaking of God’s word and the truth… I am taking my message for this Sunday from the story of the Gerasene Demoniac in Mark 5.1-20. I like this story because it illustrates God’s grace and mercy poured out on a poor helpless victim, one who was delivered from the worst form of the devil’s influence—demonic possession. And once delivered, he traveled throughout ten cities in the region where he lived filled with joy and telling everyone he ran into about all the good that God did for him. Talk about a happy ending!

Pastor Reinaldo

Just over three years ago, February 2, 2014, to be exact, I started teaching a series at Rio West which I titled, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, According to Mark." The title for this series was taken from Mark 1.1 which reads, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  I picked the gospel of Mark because it’s concise, and I determined that it was important to teach through the life of Jesus.  He is, after all, "the founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12.2).  Made sense to me!

Well, I got as far as chapter 6, vv. 30-44 , on October 11, 2015—and then the merger thing got started, we got busy, and "Mark" became another name on our phone list—make that several names.  FWIW, that last message I taught on Mark is the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the five thousand—with only five loaves and two fishes—a miracle of Biblical proportions (duh)!  Now, 21st century medical science has been able to replicate some medical miracles, albeit nowhere near as effective or efficient as how Jesus healed the sick.  But replicatimg food is something we can't do. Not yet, at any rate.  But there's good news!  In the 23rd century humanity - or humanoid-anity - will have invented the food replicator.  Don't believe me?  Then check this out: 

 See, I told you so!  Until then we'll just have to work overtime to afford an extra bag or two of groceries.

But I digress…Over the next three Sundays Pastor Dan and I will be teaching from Mark’s Gospel. The three messages are:

1.  Sunday, March 26: Jesus and the Unpardonable Sin – Mark 3.22-30,

2.  Sunday, April 2: Jesus and Demonic Possession – Mark 5.1-20, and

3.  Sunday, April 9: Jesus and His House – Mark 11.15-19.

I will be teaching the first two and Pastor Dan will teach the third one.  After that comes Easter! Pastor Dan and I will be co-teaching on Easter Sunday.

Well, I suppose I should say something about my message for this Sunday, "Jesus and the Unpardonable Sin," from Mark 3.22-30, before I sign off. Are you ready? Got a pencil and notepad ready (electronic or caveman-style)? OK, here it goes… 

If you’re concerned about having committed the "unpardonable sin" then you haven’t done it!

That’s it. That’s my message for this Sunday. Now that you’ve read it here you can relax and take this Sunday off and pig out on pancakes. But not donuts. Eating donuts is the unpardonable sin!

Seriously, I’ll have much more to say on this subject—and grace, and faith, and discipleship—this Sunday, which I pray will be a means of grace to you and edifying to your faith in Christ. 

PS:  Save the pancakes for another Sunday when Pastor Dan is teaching.  I jest, of course, as always.

Pastor Reinaldo