What kind of person…really? (Luke 6:45)

A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart.  An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.  (Luke 6:45)

“I know he’s done some terrible things, but he’s really just misunderstood.”

“Yeah, he cusses and yells and lies sometimes, but he’s really a good person.”

“Okay, so he cheated once and got violent a couple of times, but I know he’s got a good heart.”

Do you know what I think Jesus would say to all of that?

“That’s just silly.”

–Pastor Phillip

You are part of a new humanity in Christ

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Romans 5

YOU ARE PART OF A NEW HUMANITY IN CHRIST

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.  For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the One Man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  (Romans 5:18-19)

“Well, I’m only human.”

How often do we hear or say this phrase as an excuse for sin or foolishness?  How often do we use it to explain why we won’t be able to achieve the goals and dreams God has given us?

The thing is, if you’re in Christ, this phrase no longer applies to you!

Here’s why.  In Romans 5, Paul writes about justification for “all” and about “many” being made righteous through Christ.  Yet, before and after these passages he makes it very clear that this righteousness is not given to everyone carte blanche, but rather is made available to those who receive it by faith in Jesus.  So what’s the deal with the “all” language?

What Paul is doing is contrasting two groups of people, those who are “in Adam” and those who are “in Christ.”  He is showing us that while every person who is physically born is a member of the family of Adam and thus inherits death, every person who is spiritually born again by faith in Jesus is now a member of the family of Christ and thus inherits life!

This means that if you are in Christ, the old struggles don’t have to apply to you anymore.  You don’t have to resign yourself to failure and sin, but instead can live in victory all the time!  Why can you have this hope and confidence?  Because of this truth: you are part of a new humanity in Christ.

-Pastor Phillip


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“Great Are You Lord” – All Sons and Daughters [Music Monday]

My wife got this stuck in my head… and I’m so grateful!

The other day at home she started singing it.  “It’s your breath, in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise…”  It hasn’t left me since, and I can’t think of a better use of my breath!  May you be blessed by this expression of praise, and join in the song yourself.

Praying WITH God

I am surrounded by water.

A sky of cobalt is above me, rays of morning sun stream through the space between downtown high rises, and all around this concrete jetty are the black lapping waves of the Caloosahatchee River.  A cool breeze nudges the tinkling wind chimes on the deck of a nearby boat as a haphazard collection of birds welcomes the day with a song, and a shadow drifts across my page as the mast of a small powered sailboat passes through the path of the dawn, dragging its life boat and owners’ schedules behind it.

The bridge in front of me makes a gentle arc across the river; a highway of asphalt beckoning cars to bring their owners across the water for a busy day ahead.  Their engines provide the background noise, the audio canvas over which all other sounds must somehow stretch to take their turn in my ears.

There is no salt smell here, just the ever-so-faint odor of brackish river water making its way to the sea.

Read morePraying WITH God

Just Beyond the Horizon Line

I can almost see it… but not quite.  I can almost hear in the whispers of the wind, almost heart the sound of the new song, the new joy, the relieved sigh of peace… but not quite yet.  This desert, this wasteland, it’s not that there isn’t some good here, or that I haven’t had any provisions given to me… No, my needs are met, He has made sure of that, but it is so dry here, and lonely.  It’s as if, though I find myself surrounded by a herd of other seekers, we have no deep connection, no shared drive.  We seek the same thing, even believe the same truths, but somehow we still walk along in our own little bubbles, together, yet alone.

Then there are the signs.  Oh there are all sorts of “signs” all around, but it’s almost as if they are all pointing a different way, or even changing, so that as I look, I can almost read them any way I want.

Oh the frustration of it all!

But I do not lose hope.  No indeed, because when He is the foundation of my hope, I know, I am sure that what I am looking for is just beyond the horizon line.  I know this because I know Him, the One who has promised good to me.  He is the one who is preparing it, making my way, and even though I can’t see it yet, I know it’s there.  You see, every night brings darkness, cold, even isolation, but the sun remains, it endures, and it is waiting to return again, just beyond the horizon line.

So, just as morning always comes, I know that so will my answer, my hope, my deliverance.  I can almost see it already, right there, just beyond the horizon line.

Phillip Gonzales
4/13/2008