Saints or Sinners?

Saints or Sinners

When you walk into church on a Sunday morning, who do you see around you?  What are those people like?  Are they people who have it all together?  Do they struggle?  Do they doubt?  What do you think and feel?

I know that walking through the front doors of a church can be incredibly overwhelming for some people.  Some people are afraid that if they come to church their skin is going to burn from the holy light that is in that space like some sort of exorcist movie.  They believe that they have done so many horrible things that they won’t ever be accepted in a place like this.  Maybe that is how you feel, or used to feel.  Interestingly enough, the way that we view others affects the way that we engage with others.

It comes down to this?  Do you see church as a collection of saints, or a collection of sinners?

One of the primary reasons that people don’t spend more time engaging in confession and accountability is because they are afraid of being judged by you and me.  Too often we think that the church is a collection of saints and that we are the one sinner that slipped into that community.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, we are all sinners, we are all people who at one point in time or another were separated from God.  Too often we believe the lie that I can never measure up, or I’ll never change.  We loose hope and we start to just throw in the towel.

Don’t buy the lie.

That’s the amazing thing about Jesus.  Anyone can come to Him and find that there is still hope no matter how dark their world may seem.  It is because of Jesus’ death on the cross that each one of us with our bruises, scars, and warts can come before God and be seen as beautiful and clean by Him.

The church is not filled with better people, just people who are better off because of it.

So what do you think?  In an honest moment here, do you lean more on the side of seeing people as saints, or sinners?  Let’s take a poll.

~Peter

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The Ninja Assassin in Me

AOL ICON

Do you remember AOL?  I bet some of you don’t remember what AOL even stands for.  In fact some of you may not have even known it stood for something.  So, I’ll not tell you.  Let’s see what you remember.

But seriously, AOL developed one of the most iconic noises of that era.  It was that blessed noise, “You’ve got mail!”.  They made a movie based upon it, cleverly titled, “You’ve got mail”.  To me, that sound was like a beautiful chorus of sweet baby cherubs singing the Hallelujah chorus.  I was so excited when I would get an email.  I can remember waiting five minutes to establish the connection, trying to call a different location because the AOL phone number was busy, and then waiting for everything to load.

It was like Christmas morning when you would hear, “You’ve Got Mail”.  And to make sure that there would be presents under the tree when I got there, I would sign up for anything that would be willing to send me an email from time to time. “Would I love to hear more about this exciting new product to reduce ear hair?  SURE!  I’m only 14 but you can never be too educated right?  Sign me up!”  Bam, now I’ve got mail.

How times have changed.

Now I don’t hear “You’ve Got Mail” anymore.  In fact all I hear is a small chime.  But now, getting email is much more than listening for the baby cherubs.  We use email for far more than my 14 year old mind could have dreamed of.

Now the goal of my email box is to eliminate with the precision of a ninja all foreign and unnecessary emails.  The unsubscribe button and I have become friends.  I am ruthless when it comes to junk email.  I cannot have a cluttered up email inbox.  It is not good for me. When it gets crazy cluttered, I loose sight of others emails, and I can easily become distracted by “The 10 quick and easy steps to rid yourself from the plague of ear hair!”  To keep my email clean I have to do this.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time:  Am I as ruthless with sin as I am with junk email?  

What I mean is, do I work equally as hard to get rid of sin in my life?  Do I work to diligently to rid myself of the evil of sin?  Do I push towards the goal of Christ likeness with the same tenacity that I apply towards keeping my inbox pure?

I think that many of us have a very soft view of sin.  If we truly believed that sin is as harmful as it is we would act like it.  It would change the way that we live.  We would set up certain protocols when temptations entered our life.  We would work diligently towards eliminating sin’s hold on our life.

I wish that I was more of a sin assassin than a junk mail assassin.

What are your thoughts?

~Peter

I’ve got the golden ticket!

Yeah, that’s right. You heard it hear. I’ve got the golden ticket. The golden ticket came back yesterday. What’s the golden ticket you ask? A pretty sweet golden Chrysler town and country, that’s what.

3 weeks ago, the transmission went out on the van. We had it towed to one shop, and then towed to another shop. Finally after 3 weeks of frustration, (and many thanks to the Millers, and the Atkins for loaning us their cars) we got the golden ticket back.

So here is the most frustrating part. 2 years ago, we replaced the transmission in this car. So, just about 730 days later we were in need of another transmission. Unbelievable. Anyhow, yesterday when I went to pick up the van, I recieved a very detailed report of what happened, what went wrong, and all this other technical jargon. Here’s the synopsis. The computer that controls the transmission went bad, and told the car to shift into some other gear it wasn’t supposed to shift into and it threw the trans into the wrong gear. This is what it did. It took a part that is supposed to look like this:

And made it look like this now:

It sheared off this whole hunk of metal due to the fact that it was going in the wrong direction or it was the wrong downshift, or who knows exactly what the scenario was. Either way, we ended up with a bum transmission. This is the close up.

So, here’s the problem. Two years ago, when I had the transmission replaced with a rebuilt one, why didn’t they replace the transmission controller at the same time? The part is seriously only $150. That’s a lot of money to me. However, I would gladly have paid $150 bucks initially to protect against ruining another transmission! I mean, that was basically $2,500 dollars down the drain because someone didn’t really fix the whole problem the first time.  Yes, they got the van running again; but fixed?  I’m not sure…

So, here’s where this hits me in real life. Have you ever had some sort of sin that you just couldn’t kick? The kind of thing that you don’t want to do, but end up doing anyway? It isn’t fun. The way I see it, it’s kind of like that transmission. If we don’t ever get to the root of the sin/problem in our life, we may find ourselves going through the same pain, the same sin issues time and time again. When we see that something is going on in our life, or when God shows us something that needs to be removed/fixed/changed, we better do something before our transmissions blows up, and shears something off of our life. I was recently hanging with a friend of ours who was expressing a time in their life when they were living with serious depression. They said that they stand here today completely healed and changed because they prayed and prayed, and asked for God’s wisdom, and sought counsel, and got to the very root of the issue. They went to the core and corrected it. They didn’t just mask it or wait for it to kind of go away for a while only to see it come back stronger and more intense. There is wisdom in that.

What do you think?

~Peter

P.S. My man Jesse has just started blogging over here, why not stop by and give him some love. Jesse is one of our Youth Leaders and is a great guy who really has a heart for the Lord.

What a fine line indeed…

 I will tell you what, this picture reminds me of what a fine line we walk in this world.  Sometimes we get so close to the edge and we are about to go over and it is just amazing.  This guy right here, in his little helmet, and reflective vest, (that’s so as he’s falling you can spot him… [at night that is])  is walking on top of a suspension bridge.  He is walking on what appears to be like a foot and a half of walkable space.  Which granted isn’t all that small, however, in the grand scheme of things, that is pretty scary. 

How many of us walk so close to the line of sin that we are almost dancing on it?  I’ll tell you what, it is unbelievable how sin can sneak up and snatch your life.  When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness by Satan in Luke 4, there is one verse at the end of the passage that is intriguing.  It is verse 13.  Luke 4:13 “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”  An opportune time is when you are walking closest to that line!  We shouldn’t be anywhere near the line.  We should be careful not to be close to the line for fear that we may indeed fall into temptation from Satan the great temptor.  Crazy.  Stay strong, and let me encourage you to stay in the word, and know God’s word so that when temptation comes you can follow Jesus’ example and quote scripture. 

“I have hidden your word in my heart,
      that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11