Which side are you on?
Are you for it or against it?
Which way will you cast your vote?
All through life we are called to be for one thing or the other. We are aligning ourselves with certain things and thereby opposing other things. We vote this way and that means we don’t vote that way. I cheer for the Vikings against all other teams but sometimes I cheer for one of the opposing teams because they are the “enemy of my enemy.”
We need to stand up against injustice and oppression. We need to overcome evil with good. When we encounter pain and brokenness we must enter in to bring comfort and wholeness. This is not up for discussion if we are followers of Jesus but that doesn’t mean it will always be easy, wanted or appreciated. After all Jesus was crucified!
Our theme for this Sunday’s message [Luke 5.1-6.16] has to do with “Disciples and Opponents” of Jesus. He comes to humanity with an invitation for all, but many people reject Jesus to their own peril. When people reject Jesus they are choosing to turn against the love and provision of God. To oppose the Savior and grace is to not only rely upon ourselves as we face a Holy God on Judgment Day; it is also to go without the peace that comes from day to day living in God’s Kingdom. To reject Jesus is to turn away from the eternal truth that comes through being connected to God’s ways by the Spirit living in us.
But on the other hand…
For 2000 years Jesus comes to humanity either to be embraced or to be rejected. He is turned away from for a number or reasons ranging from being offensive to just not wanting to take the time to consider His claims. Jesus has been unchanging through all the generations since He walked the streets of Israel. He is nothing less than the King of Kings and the Savior of your soul. He has never been a nice guy to quote or just a really sweet guy. He has no intention of just “going along on the ride of your life.” He is either Lord of your life or you are attempting to relegate Him where He doesn’t belong.
The really good news is that He keeps coming day by day with new grace to move back to the center of our life to take His rightful reign. So, today worship Jesus with a thankful heart. Enjoy being His disciple no matter what opposition you and Jesus face. He is always right, powerful, loving and all you need for whatever life brings your way.
In Grace and Truth,
I have always liked the word emergence. It sounds so exciting and new and positive. I am well aware that something can also emerge that is not so great but I choose to think on the other side.
The dictionary definition of emergence is:
1. The process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.
2. The process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.
I like to think of it in terms of someone stepping up in a way that is a blessing to others. They see something that needs to be done and they do it because they can. Throughout history people have been willing to use their resources and time to do things of significance. I have also had people emerge in my life to help me when the going has been tough or to bring me joy when it seemed to be absent. I am guessing if you take a moment or two you could also think of some people that have places of emergence in your life as well.
Oak Hill Church is a family that is in a perpetual state of emergence as God works in our midst. If we are to be the living family of God, we will need to emerge individually and corporately to be who God made us to be. Not a one of us was called into God’s family to sit on the sidelines and let others get all the joy that comes from serving the Lord. Part of the gift and responsibility of being saved by grace is to emerge as the servant God wants us to be.
This Sunday’s message will focus on the greatest emergence to ever take place. It was the emergence of the Savior, the Messiah, and the Christ. He is the Long Expected One that could heal our brokenness and set the captives free once and for all. He was spoken of as early as Genesis 3, and then all through the Old Testament God’s people anticipated the coming of the one that would set them free. He was described as powerful and gentle, as holy and merciful, as the savior of Israel and the savior of all nations. All of these qualities and so many more would come together in the tiny village of Bethlehem.
His name was Jesus and He was just a baby – or was He more? He looked like any other little baby boy with all the needs and limitations that came with that. He truly was one of us, but He was also completely OTHER – He was God! Jesus grew up just like the rest of us but without sin. He knows about pain and suffering and rejection, but He was never crushed by them. At 30 years of age Jesus emerged as the one to follow and the one to save us. His
completed emergence as all we need would reach its culmination with a cross and an empty tomb. This Sunday we will consider what that means for us today.
See you on Sunday,
Wow, that went fast! Summer is behind us and the colors of fall are just around the corner. The days are getting shorter and cooler which means it is time for Oak Hill to kick-off another year of fall activities and programs. Join us this Sunday and all through upcoming months in connecting to our God and each other.
This upcoming week we will eat together, laugh together, worship together and just do our lives with one another. Join us this Sunday and beyond! Life is better when we live in a loving community. I invite you to make Oak Hill that place in your life as we journey with Jesus.
In our worship service this Sunday we will be starting our WayPoints II series. Last year we walked our way through the Old Testament and this year we will be traveling through the New Testament books of Luke and Acts. This Sunday will also be the installation service for Pastor Ben so come and be a part of that event as well.
Here we go!
Labor Day! Summer is over; let the work begin.
Do any of you feel that way? This often seems the way it is if we have kids in the house or we are somehow connected to the school year cycle in one way or another.
For me it is a mixed bag. I love the sunny warmth of summer, the long days and all the outdoor opportunities. But fall is my favorite season and I love the rhythm of a life settled in that often happens about the end of September. It also seems like it is easier to maintain connections starting in the fall.
Labor Day is September 5th and this holiday has often been synonymous with the end of the “vacation season” and time to get productive with WORK. I know that is an overstatement but for this brief article it helps make a point. Our “work time” in God’s Kingdom never has a vacation season. That can sound overwhelming or almost oppressive to us if we are motivated by Law instead of Gospel. Kingdom work is ultimately living out each day as being who we are with joy and grace.
If we look at Kingdom work as a bunch of things we need to do or rules we need to keep instead of primarily living in the confidence of our identity in God’s family we will become exhausted. There are definitely things to do and work to be done but God does something in us that brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment instead of dread or boredom.
Right from the very beginning, I’m talking creation, God tells us that we are made for work. This can look very different for each of us but that shouldn’t surprise us since we were lovingly and uniquely created by an exceedingly creative God. We are individually made for kingdom work that will strengthen and stretch us intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We were made to work and to rest. This is the tempo God established for our lives. It is right and good.
So, this holiday weekend I invite you to thank God for the gift of work in all of its various forms and to enjoy the labor that God has given you to do. This upcoming Sunday I will be focusing on God’s Kingdom Work by looking at three parables from Matthew. [20.1-16; 21.28-32; 25.1-13]
Remember to whistle while you work,
Pastor Nick Mundis