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Archive for November 2013

Choose Wisely


Matthew 7:13-27

The past several weeks we have been on a journey through The Sermon on the Mount. We have seen Jesus’ view of hate; it equals murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Jesus explained His view of lusting; it means adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). He explained that using God’s name to make a vow is taking His name in vain (Matthew 5:33-37). Jesus taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-13) and described the life of faith (Matthew 6:25-34). He told us not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-5). Jesus told us that we enter the Kingdom by asking, seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-11). Entering the Kingdom of heaven is what Jesus wants for His followers, but, in order to do this, we must respond with obedience to this great teaching by Jesus.

As we come to the end of our study of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-27), we are presented with four warnings, each of which offers a pair of contrasts and our need to choose: two ways (7:13-14), two trees (7:15-20), two claims (7:21-23), and two builders (7:24-27). The principal theme of these verses is obedience. You see men, the so-called follower of Jesus who never enters the narrow gate, who bears bad fruit, who says, “Lord, Lord” to Jesus but who does not do the will of the Father, who builds his life on a shifting foundation will one day be dismissed from the presence of Christ as an “evildoer” (7:23). As D.A. Carson writes, “No one can leave behind a study of the Sermon on the Mount without facing these alternatives and recognizing that one’s eternal destiny hangs on them.”

Therefore men, the Sermon on the Mount must not simply be studied; Jesus’ teaching must be practiced and incorporated into our daily life. It is this person, the one who is obedient to Jesus’ teaching who experiences the power of God’s reign in his life. Men, there is no third option, no other alternative. Either you choose obedience to Jesus and have life or you choose disobedience and have death. Choose wisely. My prayer of each of you is that you take the narrow gate, you produce good fruit, you do the will of the Father, and you build your life on a firm foundation.

This Week’s Challenge
Of these four warnings, which one challenges you the most? How do you need others to help you in choosing wisely?

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

God’s Good Answer


Who among you has prayed and felt like God wasn’t listening and wasn’t willing to answer your prayer. I have! Recently I was going through a difficult time; my prayers to God were more fervent, but the result of these prayers left me wondering if He cared or was even aware of the difficulty I was going through.

You see men, I believe we often mistakenly think that God is unaware of our need. Then we read a passage of scripture like Matthew 7:7-11 and we see that God is not unaware of our needs and, from His goodness, He will answer our prayers. But, even knowing this does not always erase the doubt that our prayers will be answered. Matthew 7:7-8 makes it clear that an answer is certain – “You will receive.” And even when we believe God will answer our prayer, we may still doubt that the answer is good. No need to doubt because we have a comforting affirmation of God’s kindness by Matthew 7:9-11 – “Your heavenly Father will give good gifts.” This is what happened to me during my difficult time. God did know my need, He did hear my prayers, I did receive an answer, and it was very good!

This Week’s Challenge:
Where in your life do you need to continue to seek God? Continue to seek Him and have confidence that you will receive a good answer.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Men’s blog is back!

Welcome back to the blog for Men’s Ministries! This new content will focus on issues related to men, men’s events, helpful resources, devotionals & more. Subscribe to the blog or bookmark this page and return often to find out how you can be involved in the church and community.

Notably, this blog will include ManUp devotionals by Tim Hall who is a member of Christ Community Church. We encourage men to leave comments below the devotionals and interact with Tim, other leadership team members, and other men.

Why Do You Judge?


Many of you know that when we study scripture, it also studies us. I was reminded of that this week as I was studying Jesus’ teaching on judging others (Matthew 7:1-6). As I was reading and studying this passage, an uncomfortable truth hit me……I judge other people. As I grappled with this uncomfortable truth, I found myself wondering why I judge other people. Three reasons came to the forefront of my mind:

1. Jealousy – I see people having things that I want and don’t have, like the job I want or a certain personality trait that I wished I had. This jealousy often turns into resentment and I become self-righteous and think that I am more worthy than they are to receive what they have. But, being jealous of another person causes me to lose focus on the unique gifts that God has created within me. Instead of glorifying God for how he created me, this jealousy leads me to judge others.
2. Hurt – Pain, especially emotional pain has been an unjustified motivation for me to judge others. In fact, when I am hurt, I tend to become judge and jury against the person who has hurt me. Whereas I want mercy for myself when I cause someone pain, I require justice for the one who has hurt me. The bible says that vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19), but too often I think He is operating too slowly and I take upon myself the right to judge the one who has caused me pain.
3. Difference – Someone being different than I am is perhaps my most common reason for judging of others. This difference doesn’t have to do with appearance. Rather it has to do with a difference in how a person does things or responds to circumstances in their lives. When I judge people because of these things, I’m failing to appreciate their unique design or look at the big picture of their lives and see how circumstances may have caused them to respond in a way different from me.

You see men, when we judge others, we feel like we are qualified to do God’s job. Jesus knows this about us and He warns us that God Himself will judge us and apply to us the same rules by which we ourselves judged another. It is us who sets the standard of fairness and justice and we would be wise to remember that how we judge others is how we will be judged. So, don’t try to be Godlike in judgment. Rather be like Him in mercy; “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).

This Week’s Challenge:
This week, when you are ready to judge someone, check to see if you deserve the same judgment? Judge yourself first, and then show mercy and love to your neighbor.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com

The Folly of Worry


“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” ~ Matthew 6:27

We may not know each other, but I know something about you………you worry. Some of us worry about the past and the things we’ve done. Some worry about the future and what is going to happen. Others worry about their jobs. If you’re a parent, you worry about your children. I worry; you worry; we all worry.

So, what is it you worry about? Chances are it is nothing positive. You see, worry is counterproductive and achieves the opposite of what you wanted. Worry is crippling both emotionally and physically. Worry is controlling and keeps you from being yourself. Worry is costly. It costs you time and relationships. Worry is competitive. It competes with God, His presence and His peace.

Who of you can add an hour to your life by worrying? None of you! So, resist the urge to worry and release your fears and concerns to God. Say to Him, “God, I can’t handle the anxiety, I cast it on to you. Right now, as best as I know how, I’m giving my worries to you.” And then, let this release of worry turn into worship of God.

This Weeks Challenge:
Identify what causes you the most worry. Release this worry to God and replace your worry with worship.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)