More Than Patches

Re:Verse passage – Luke 5:33-39 (day four)

“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment;”

This text begs us ask ourselves if we are standing in the way of receiving the full grace and forgiveness that God offers through Jesus. Often times, we assess our lives – have I gone to church at least once this month (yes)? Have I tithed a little bit (yes, some)? Have I served somewhere for any amount of time (yep) – by the number of boxes that we can check off. Then, the boxes we check off can trick us into thinking, “I must be in good standing with God right now. Phew.” However, if we miss a box, we might passively ask God to help us do better in the future and to forgive us for not checking that box off. Many of us have probably been stuck in that cycle at some point in our lives, or still are.

But that’s not what Jesus wants. That’s not how God wants us to live. A legalistic approach to following God will get us nowhere. Jesus came bringing new garments that are more incredible and glorious than we can ever imagine and offered for us to be clothed in those garments. But, there are still those of us asking if we can just cut a little patch from the robe that Jesus offers. We might think we don’t want or need the whole thing. But Jesus didn’t come to hand out patches. He came to clothe us and to offer us the life and salvation that only He brings. He came to make all things new, including us, if we will let Him clothe us with His garments. So, stop patching your old garment and trade it in for Jesus’ grace-filled one!

A Legacy of…

Re:Verse passage – James 3:13-18 (day four)

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. vs 18

I often remind the kids at the church that sin is whenever we do things our way instead of God’s way. It is as simple as that. God’s way is perfect and good, and our way leads to destruction. You can see this contrast in most everything we do from the way we prioritize our life, to the way we parent, to the way we view our politics. The list could go on and on. The world constantly tells us to go one way and God tells us to go another way. As followers of Christ, we will often find ourselves at odds with what the world tells us is the way to go.

Here in James 3, we find another example of the world’s way of things (sin) and God’s way of things (perfect). There is wisdom from above and wisdom from below and James describes the end result of both of them. Again, we have contrasting views of wisdom from God (above) and the world (below). Wisdom from God is perfect and good, leading to a legacy (or harvest) of righteousness, while wisdom from the world leads to destruction.

So, where does your wisdom come from? Do you seek the Lord or the world in your thoughts and deeds? What harvest or legacy does your wisdom leave?

“Got Wisdom?”

Re:Verse passage – 2 Chronicles 1:1-13 (day five)

Many of you might remember an ad campaign that ran over twenty years ago with two simple words, “Got milk?” It was a simple, yet memorable phrase that was seemingly etched into so many commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, and billboards all across the nation. Even as a young kid, I remember watching those commercials thinking that I needed to drink milk every time that I saw an ad for it!

The premise behind the TV commercials was simple: the people selling the milk wanted you to think that you needed milk, and that having it was the only way to make whatever situation you were in, a better one. Milk-needy people in the commercials would search and search until they found a source of milk, only to find that the source of the milk was empty. Then, a voiceover and big letters on the screen would ask, “Got milk?”

When I read 2 Chronicles 1:1-13, I am reminded of the “Got milk” ad campaign. I can just imagine Solomon coming to the realization that he was severely lacking in wisdom to lead the kingdom of Israel. But Solomon knew where the source of wisdom was. He knew that God was the only source for an infinite amount of wisdom, and so he asked for more. Do you lack wisdom? Where do you search for wisdom and when was the last time you asked for more of it?

– Jimmy Gunn

Are You Ready?

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:13-17 (day seven)

Mark 2:14 – “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.”

I often think about the willingness of the disciples to drop everything they had and everything they were doing to follow Jesus. Jesus simply says, “Follow me,” and the scriptures inform us of the ready hearts of the people Jesus called. There is no hesitation. The Bible does not indicate that there was any internal debating going on with the disciples. Levi (Matthew) simply rose up from his table and went after Jesus. He even jumped in with both feet by inviting his friends and colleagues to come and listen to Jesus while they ate a meal together.

These verses always make me take an inventory of my relationship with Christ. Am I ready to follow Him more closely, if need be? Am I ready to have the Gospel conversations with the people that He has placed in my life? Am I willing to get uncomfortable to do what He is calling me to do? Am I ready to stand before the Lord today and say, “Nothing stopped me from wholeheartedly following you!”

Is the Lord calling you to follow Him more closely today? Is He pressing on your heart if you are ready to do what He has laid before you?

Under Construction

Re:Verse passage – Philippians 1:1-11 (day four)

“…that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…”

Our church has been surrounded by construction for the past few years. It seems that everywhere you look from a church parking lot, you can see cranes or construction tape and cones in just about every direction. Some of that construction has even been in our own building. There are times that the effects of construction can be difficult or troublesome as it makes us change our routines or rethink how we go about doing things.

Now, imagine if construction on our West Hall had never been completed and was just stuck in a state of being “under construction.” There would be no joyous celebration when it was finished. There would be no ministry from that building if the doors couldn’t be opened. There would be no laughter and life in the halls. It would be just an empty building stuck in a state of disuse.

I’m grateful that God works in us to completion. Sure, the “working on us” part may be difficult at times, but God will finish the job. God will bring the work on us to completion every time so that we can be useful and ready to share the Gospel. God is faithful in our lives in what He has done, what is currently doing, and what He will do in the future. He will always be with us, working us to completion.

What are the ways in which God is currently doing construction in your life?

Jimmy Gunn
Associate Pastor, Preschool & Elementary

Stop and Start

Re:Verse passage – Ephesians 4:25-32 (day three)

“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with [b]one who has need.”

Often times, when I think of repentance, I think about doing the opposite of what I was doing. Sometimes, that action is simply stopping whatever it is that I need to repent of. Repentance is often described as “going the other way” in regards to your actions. However, as Paul writes here, there is a “starting” action and a “stopping” action with repentance. One who steals must stop stealing and start doing honest, productive work. One who engages in corrupt talk must stop tearing people down and start building others up instead.

Paul reminds us that in our repentance, there is sin that we must stop and an opposite action that we must start instead. These opposite actions to our sin draw us ever closer to the heart of God and free us all the more from the weight that sin bears down upon us. In your quiet times or time of repentance this week, what action is the Holy Spirit leading you to start in response to repentance?

Jimmy Gunn
Associate Pastor,
Preschool & Elementary