Tonight (July 8th) we will be gathering for a picnic at Wingra Park starting at 5:30. We would love for you to join us. Please bring a dish to pass!
As a church family our desire is to be a blessing and serve our community. This coming Saturday morning starting at 10:30 a.m. we will be sponsoring a free community Easter Egg Hunt at Olive Jones Park (1802 Regent Street). If you have any questions please send Aaron an e-mail: aaron@RedVillageChurch.com
We hope to see you there! Do not forget your Easter basket!
This morning I was watching the news and seemingly every other story had to do with some kind of suffering. There were interviews of people in Japan that are still suffering from the effects of the earthquakes, suffering in different parts of our country that recently went through severe weather, suffering of those who lost loved ones, suffering of people who are without a job, and on and on. The world we live is a world marked by great suffering. To many, suffering is one of the biggest sticking points for them to believing in God. However, suffering should not cause us to run from God; it should cause us to run to Him.
As we see people suffer we should be reminded of the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. When God created the world, he created it good. There were no sickness, no death, no suffering. In the Garden mankind did not have to worry about earthquakes, tornadoes, disease, or death. Man was in perfect fellowship with a perfect God. However, as mankind rebelled against God, disobeyed God’s command, and ate of the forbidden fruit, not only did sin enter into the created world but so did suffering. Mankind now was not immortal: sin had poisoned his body that eventually would kill him. Sin also began to devastate the rest of creation. In the New Testament the Scriptures tell us that the world now suffers “birth pains” (Matt 24) and that creation is now groaning (Ro 8), longing to be set free from the bondage of decay in this life.
Suffering is the great sign that we and all of creation is broken and in need of reconciliation. Suffering shows us the we need a Savior from this life. When an unbeliever suffers he should not curse God and die; rather, he should fall on his face and plead for the mercy of God to save him from this life, and restore him back into fellowship with his Creator. Suffering points unbelievers to their need for the gospel.
Suffering also has great purposes in the life of a Christian. As mentioned, suffering points unbelievers to their need for the gospel, when believers suffer, the gospel is put on display. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says that he suffers so that God can raise him up (2 Cor 1), and he suffers in order that through his suffering, the life of Christ might be made manifest (2 Cor 4). Suffering further unites us with Christ and draws our heart closer to God.
As you suffer through this life, and as you watch others suffer, be reminded of your need of the gospel. We should not look at suffering and reject God but embrace him. As we suffer we should be reminded of Christ who suffered the wrath of God, which is the punishment for sin on the cross. Through his suffering, death, and resurrection, he is reconciling man and creation back to Himself where one day all the benefits of mankind that were experienced in the Garden will be restored.
If you read this and you are not a Christian I pray that your suffering drives you to Christ as your only hope. If you are a follower of Christ I pray that as you suffer, the life of Christ will be put on display for others to see the glory of the gospel.
Tonight was a great night of coming before our Lord and Savior in worship of Him. Thomas Burris opened up the Word to us as we continued our study of 2 Corinthians. We were reminded of the gift of forgiveness God gives to His children through the cross of Christ and how the forgiveness we receive ought to compel us to forgive others.
In response to the Word, as a church family we broke bread and celebrated the Lord’s Supper.
We finished the night off singing the song “Absent from Flesh” as we long for the day to meet our Savior in eternity. What a blissful thought that is!
Next Sunday Pastor Aaron will continue our study of 2 Corinthians starting at 2 Cor 2:12. We look forward to worshipping Christ with you!
The past week has been an incredibly interesting time to live in Madison. A proposed budget by the state’s governor has stirred up both the political left and the political right. One side loves the bill and calls the governor a hero while the other side hates the bill and call the governor a villain. The same can be said of fourteen of the state’s senate Democrats who are opposing the proposed bill. One side looks at the senators and praises them for their political action, while the other side looks at the senators and calls them cowards. Over the past week there have been thousands upon thousands of protestors from both sides of the political aisle in Madison. Both sides are incredibly passionate about their view and one can hardly have a conversation in town without this issue being brought up. To say the least it is on the forefront of everyone’s mind.
While this is a big political decision and without question many people will be affected, as Christians we must fight to not get consumed with this debate. Rather as Christians, whose citizenship is in heaven, we must look to minister the gospel to our city. We must not waste this incredible door of opportunity to share with people the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Here are some suggestions on how to use the political unrest to bring glory to our Savior:
1. Point people to the Kingdom of God. This life will never be perfect no matter who has the political power. In the Old Testament great kings such as David and Solomon, who were uniquely blessed by God, failed. There has never been and never will be an earthly government that will be perfectly just and righteous. We live in a broken world that will not be completely fixed until Christ returns. Use this situation to explain to people the consequences of the fall both in our world and the consequences of sin in their own personal lives. Use this situation to point people to the Savior who came redeem a broken world.
2. Pray for the political leaders. I have been disappointed in how many Christians on both sides have spent hours marching and protesting around the capital. While I think it is their right to voice their concern, Paul tells us to pray for those in authority over us (1 Tim 3). Rather than bashing the governor or the state senators, pray for them. As Christ-followers we are to spend much more time praying than protesting.
3. Minister grace with your words. Just as I have been disappointed in how many Christians have spent hours protesting and little time praying, I have been even more disappointed in how little as Christians we have ministered grace to those we talk to. Once again Paul tells us to let no corrupt talk come out of our mouths but rather use our words to build others up. Last I checked slander was an offense to God; rather than using our words or our facebook statuses to slander those in politics, use this time to minister grace. Use your words to give people hope in the gospel.
4. Be submissive to whatever the outcome is. At this point who knows what the outcome will be on this political debate. Without question one side or the other is going to be disappointed. However, as followers of Christ, unless it is a gospel issue–which this is not–we must submit to those God has placed over us. Both Paul (Romans 13) and Peter (1 Peter 2) urged their readers to submit to governing officials. Just as a reminder the officials to whom they asked the readers to submit were the same leaders who were putting them in prison for sharing the gospel!
5. Trust in God. In the days ahead you may be directly affected by whatever the outcome is. There is a real possibility that your finances could become much more of a challenge. If that is the case, use that situation to put further trust in Christ. Our trust can’t be in jobs, bank statements, insurance policies, or benefits–it can only be in God. All things in this life will pass away. As Job said, “the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.
6. Long for Eternity. When we see political unrest, we should be even more reminded that our citizenship is in heaven, and the kingdom we belong to is the Kingdom of God. How sweet will it be when one day, our great King Jesus will be ruling and reigning over us fully. In the Kingdom of God there will be no more political unrest, there will be no more budget concerns, there will be no more division. In the Kingdom of God every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. How sweet that day will be.
While you have a right to have an opinion on what should or should not take place, and you have a right to voice your opinion and concerns, in the days of ahead don’t be a political activist but be an activist for the things of Christ. This life soon shall pass and how embarrassing will it be when we meet King Jesus if we spent all of our time and energy trying to make our best life now rather then pointing people to the next! May we not waste the political unrest.