Sharing Who We Have Become, Because of God’s Love for Us

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By Jim DeAngelo

I had the opportunity a few days ago to share Jesus, but it was a bit different. An acquaintance talked to me about how they had difficulty with their neighbor and wished a large wooden screen could be erected to block their view of the neighbor whose front yard joined theirs. As I knew that both proclaimed their relationship with Jesus, I asked the person, “How this could be?” They both professed Jesus, and they were joined in that relationship. Jesus states in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (ESV). This person shared how they didn’t know why it was so, and they gave a few examples that demonstrated the other person’s anger with them. They appreciated the discussion and recognized it wasn’t how they were to live, that they needed to address the unforgiveness.

The conversation continued for more than an hour on additional subjects that focused on Scripture and our personal walk and beliefs. The most pronounced of these was on the authenticity of Scripture. They felt that the Bible was written by men and subject to interpretation through culture, the culture during the time the Scriptures were written and the different culture of now. They felt that this filtering was the best approach to understanding God and defining how we are to live our lives.

I admit this was challenging. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (NKJV). If a person believed the Bible was stories written by man instead of God breathed, then the culture defined our walk instead of God. A decision to filter Scripture based on a cultural view results in the ability to justify any position a person wants to take and to indulge in any sin or practice we feel is culturally okay instead of what is presented in God’s Word. This decision removes the safeguards that God has lovingly given us for our own good and protection.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (NKJV)

Martin preached on this subject July 20, 2014, in his sermon titled, “The Bible: Is the Bible Historically Reliable?” You can hear that onlne here.

This is where I was given the opportunity to lovingly share my position and to encourage the other person to see our relationship with God through the love of Christ and each other. I shared with this person that God gave us His word to direct our lives and that it is authentic, and that I was discussing this to share my love for Jesus and how He had changed my heart and my life to be different from whom I had been and whom the culture would define me as. This is the testimony, that love does define who we are. To share means we share out of our love instead of our rightness.

I know that we will have opportunities to share and discuss the living God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to sharing whom I have become because of God’s love for me.

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Life Can Be Cruel

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by Martin Schlomer

I just received a deeply emotional call from my son, Wesley. This morning one of his best friends, Woody Moore, died unexpectedly from respiratory failure. He was a young, intelligent, energetic, and passionate lover of Jesus. No one saw it coming because this never should have happened! Life can be cruel!

I would love to believe that young, intelligent, energetic, and passionate lovers of Jesus are exempt from the cruelty of life, but I can’t, because we aren’t. While I see this truth time and again in the stories of Scripture, I still want to believe that perhaps there may be exceptions for young, intelligent, energetic, and passionate followers of Jesus. However, these phone calls slap me and shout, “There are no exceptions.” Honestly, people have a tough time understanding and are compelled to ask, “Why aren’t there exceptions?” Life can be cruel!

As I write these words, I mourn for my son, his Christian community, and for Woody’s family. They are overwhelmed with emotions and plagued with questions for which there seems to be no adequate answers. Paul’s words echo through my own soul: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan … as a foretaste of future glory” (Romans 8:22-23a). The cruelty of this life, the questions, and the emotions create a hunger, an intense longing for a time when you and I will no longer have to put up with all the evil, sin, brokenness, suffering, and death of this life.

Folks, there is an ache within my soul that cries out, “This world is not our home!” Life is cruel, BUT God is good! He brings glorious beauty and redemption out of life’s cruelty! I can’t predict how this might happen or what it might look like in this or any other situation, but He does it nonetheless. He promised and I choose to believe Him! This is my prayer for Woody’s family, for the community of faith at Western Washington University, as well as for Christ the King Church, where Woody was so involved. God, may everyone see and experience Jesus in ways that exceed our wildest dreams!

Who was Woody Moore? Here are some posts from his friends on his Facebook page. At 21 years old, his legacy will live on.

A status can’t measure up to how much I love and will miss this brother of mine. Woody Moore has been nothing but a blessing to me as well as to others. He was a roommate, a friend and a brother. Everything he did, he did out of love. The way he lived was proof that Jesus is real. His overflowing joy and ability to make everyone smile is something I’ll miss every single day. Being there with him in his final moments was heartbreaking but also comforting because I know, without a doubt, that he is in a better place right now. I love you Woody. I’ll see you soon brother.
P.s. we were suppose to find our wives this year bro.

My heart is heavy today, my brother in Christ, the young man of God that helped bring me out of the darkest time in my life when I thought it better to not live anymore, and who helped lead me to the cross, has gone to be with Jesus. Woody Moore I love you brother and cannot wait till I see you again.

Lived for Christ, living with Christ. Woody Moore

This man changed my life. Woody pushed me, encouraged me, and loved me so well. You will always be loved and missed. Thanks for changing this world.

What a man Woody Moore was! Never met with such zeal, and willingness to go out of his way for others. He was a great friend, and truly embodied Romans 12:1
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Today is a difficult day. This Facebook post could never express how incredible Woody Moore is. You were the best roommate, friend, and brother I could ever ask for. It was a privilege to live life with you these last couple years. You are a true example of Jesus on Earth and the only joy I have is knowing, without a doubt, that you are with God. I cannot thank you enough for the impact you had on my life and for the example you were to so many people. You are one of the funniest, most loving people I have ever met and I know anyone who came in contact with you feels the same way. I can’t wait to see you again Woody, thanks for allowing me to be a part of your life. Through everything, God is good. Miss you and love you forever brother.

I still cannot believe that this is real … I’m going to miss all the laughter that was still to be had! Woody knew how to brighten anyone’s day with a love that was so incredibly sincere! But mostly, I’m going to miss this wonderful man of God! He knew his Savior so intimately and stood for what he knew in his heart to be true. It hurts to know that for the time being, he’s gone, but I find joy knowing that Woody is home, bringing smiles to all those who are with him. My heart aches for the Moore family, the friends he loved on, and those who didn’t get to know this amazing servant of Christ. Woody, thank you for touching all of the lives that you did, for impacting me! It’s clear that so many folks have been touched by your many gifts and that God’s incredible glory shines through all that you are! You’re work on Earth is done, and I know the Lord said to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I love you man, and I will miss you until the day we meet again!

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NO!

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By Dan Amos

Over the Christmas break I saw something I hadn’t seen in a while. All of my boys were home from college, and when you live in a house with four men you adopt certain coping behaviors. One of my wife’s is to put sticky notes with the word “NO” on them on certain food items she doesn’t wish to disappear.

I don’t remember exactly what it was I saw. The kitchen was bustling with foraging children and Fran trying to put something together. She pulled something out of the refrigerator, and there was the familiar note, “NO.” It’s a declaration that has frustrated many a snack or individual meal. It might have been on bacon, cheese, pound cake, or egg nog, but it hit me right then that “no” was not mean and it wasn’t selfish; it was profoundly beautiful.

How many times have we prayed and thought God would answer “yes” or “no” or “not yet.” It occurred to me that God often responds, “I have something better in store.” That bacon and cheese might have made a tasty lunch for someone, but when used as Fran used it, it became family favorites of fettuccine Alfredo and cheesy potatoes. The pound cake became trifle and the egg nog became bread pudding.

So the seemingly harsh “NO” was really, “I have a plan, and if you just wait for it you’ll see that it’s better than what you had in mind.” It’s a simple insight I got that day into God’s sovereign love for us, but it is life changing.

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Do We Really Care?

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By Brian Sharpe

Does eternity matter? Do we really care? I would think that we would say yes to both of these questions. However, the problem is that most of us care about image or offensiveness more than we care about others and their eternity.

Now I’m confessing to being a part of the problem. A couple weeks ago I preached on being peacemakers in our world. I also talked about how we need to just invite people to things like the men’s dinner. Well, last Saturday I was working in my backyard in my shed. My neighbor was in his backyard with his new wife. I’ve talked to my neighbor on several occasions. I knew men’s dinner was that night and I was trying to figure out how to bring it up. I asked my neighbor if he needed help, since he and his wife were taking down a tree. He said they had it. I continued to work in my backyard. When I was done my neighbor was still cutting up the tree. I didn’t end up inviting him to the men’s dinner. I felt bad. I didn’t have the opportunity. At least, that’s what I told myself.

Now I’m not saying we should be abrupt and forceful in most cases. But I’m also not saying we should wait until “the right time.” I need to be bolder. I need to care more about the people around me. I keep hearing that my actions show my belief. Can you tell I care about the people around me based on how I’m living? This makes me think of a song that came out several years ago by Brandon Heath. I need to see people as God sees them. I need to have the love for others that God has for them. I need to be a peacemaker. This is what God is laying on my heart. I pray that God will challenge you with it as well.

“Give Me Your Eyes”
By Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Chorus:
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the brokenhearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Chorus

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You see the people all along

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Relationship

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By Chris Pace

Working with the youth group has taught me a vital bit of information: relationship is key! Everything relating to God has to do, in one way or another, with having a relationship with God. Everything! 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.” This makes sense because faith is the voice of love and hope is the accent of love. Love is the foundation of everything and relationship is the face of love. It is why the Creator created us; it is why the Israelites went through so many good and bad times; it is why Christ chose a group of men to join Him in His ministry; it is why Jesus taught the disciples what He did; it is why the Savior died on the tree; it’s why Jesus rose again; it is why Christ will come again.

God’s Word is His story about how He created us to have a relationship with Him, but we walked away. He made a temporary fix for being in a relationship with Him until the timing was perfect. Then He solved the problem that kept us from being together permanently, once and for all. That’s love! Love for His people. He longs to be with us again. Sounds like the God of relationships (a.k.a. love), to me.

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Living and Leaving a Legacy

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By Beau Leaman

What do you get when you add up the following?

  • monthly Jeep cruises
  • shooting guns
  • telling scary Sasquatch stories
  • a yearly men’s retreat at Evergreen Bible Presbyterian Church
  • a website with the exact coordinates of Noah’s ark
  • driving down the freeway with the blinker on
  • teaching children the Greek alphabet
  • pointing and shooting a gun at a kitchen table to see if it’s loaded
  • lip-syncing worship songs because people lost their place in the song
  • helping me put my flipped jeep right-side up
  • the love of God

What do you get? My dear friend Edward Crawford.

Psalm 99:6-7 says: “Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the Lord and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.”

This week, as I was processing through Psalm 99, I realized that these men — Moses, Aaron, and Samuel — all lived a legacy. A legacy that David remembered. A legacy that David found worthy to write about. These men lived lives faithful to God. Their faithfulness reached beyond just their own generation. Each of their lives was such a powerful testimony, a legacy reaching down generation to generation, touching a whole nation. Their testimonies taught others that obedience, faithfulness, and a relationship with God is not only vital, but is who we are.

Edward Crawford died a few years ago; the cause of his death was unknown. It is a mystery how a man in good health and full of energy, a man who had just climbed Mt. Ararat, could pass away suddenly and without warning. I truly believe my dear friend had great love for his Savior and had made it his mission on earth to proclaim that love. He made it his purpose to shout God’s glory and ensure all around him knew God’s faithfulness. Although my friend didn’t finish what he had started on earth, God decided it was time to take him home, ending his life on his earth. But one thing Edward did leave was his legacy.

We’re not given the exact time Christ is coming back, or when our lives here will end. I continue to go back and look at the life of my friend because I desire what he had. I desire the way he would communicate with Jesus. I desire the way he knew God’s Word. In thinking about his legacy, I wonder what kind of legacy I am living today. How will I finish the race? How am I impacting my neighbors, coworkers, community, and friends in an intentional, purpose-driven, and Christ-centered way? My hope is that I leave a living legacy even after I have left this earth.

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