Serving and Sitting (Luke 10:38-42)

While they were traveling, [Jesus] entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  So tell her to give me a hand.”
The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)

Working for God without spending time with God is a fast-track to frustration.  Taking time to listen and learn from Jesus is a pathway to peace.

Often we may seek to work for the Kingdom because it produces the immediate gratification of a job well done.  This is not a bad thing, but separated from quality time simply listening to the King, it’s not the best thing.

Don’t just work for Jesus, walk with Him, and in doing so you’ll not only be able to learn; you’ll also be showing your love.

–Pastor Phillip

God’s love is the source of your holiness

God’s Hope For Your Heart from 1 Thessalonians 3

GOD’S LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF YOUR HOLINESS

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.  (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Love comes from God.  This is a basic foundation of the Christian faith, that God is love, therefore the kind of self-sacrificing, others-centered, God-honoring love that truly matters can only come from Him.

So, a prayer for God to help us love others better is really a prayer for Him to simply pour more of His love into us so that it overflows.

Holiness is required by God.  Over and over in Scripture, we see that to be called AS a son or daughter of the King is to be called TO the life of the kingdom, a life that is set apart, a life that honors God.

All too often, though, we make two fundamental mistakes in the arenas of holiness and love.

First, we try to pursue holiness through our own efforts and moral goodness, but this will always fail because our human effort can never be good enough for God.

Second, we feel as if God’s love for us depends on our performance in holiness, so we slip into despair as we realize we just can’t measure up on our own.

If you’ve ever felt either of these things, here’s good news: they’re all wrong and upside down!

God’s love for you doesn’t depend on your character.  It depends on His.  Your holiness doesn’t depend on your effort.  It depends on His!

The road to God’s love isn’t about getting rewarded for your good deeds and the pathway to holiness isn’t about living rightly on your own.  Both of them are about simply receiving God’s love as a gift through Christ.

That means once you receive more of God’s love for you, you will abound in love for others, and the overflow of that love will result in a holy life, because of this hope-inspiring truth: God’s love is the source of your holiness.

-Pastor Phillip

God wants blessings to flow through your life

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 2 Corinthians 9

GOD WANTS BLESSINGS TO FLOW THROUGH YOUR LIFE

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

God is not a stingy giver.  He does not like to hold back, play it safe or give His children only the bare minimum they need to get by.

No, He is generous!  He is lavish!  He is an extravagant giver, to the degree that you allow Him to be.

You see, God is also a wise Father.  He knows when the state of your heart is ready to receive abundantly, and when multiplied blessings would actually be turned cancerous by your own selfishness.

That’s why God has a purpose for His provision.  He blesses abundantly, so that you will bless others abundantly, too.

Why?  Because when you live with open hands towards others, you are free to receive even more from your Heavenly Father, because of this hope-inspiring truth: God wants blessings to flow through your life.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s Spirit is your access to God’s blessings

God’s Hope for Your Heart from 1 Corinthians 2

GOD’S SPIRIT IS YOUR ACCESS TO GOD’S BLESSINGS

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  (1 Corinthians 2:12)

All throughout the Bible God promises blessings for His children.  Yet, it’s likely there are plenty of times you don’t feel you are experiencing these blessings in your life.  Why?

Imagine the things God has “freely given” are in a safe deposit box, but you are trying to open it with the wrong key.

Perhaps you are working to earn a blessing, but the Bible says Jesus already earned it for you and credited it to your account.

Maybe you’re trying to logically reason out the situation, hoping that if you understand it correctly and have the right perspective, then God will release the blessing, but God’s ways are often simply beyond our understanding.

Maybe you don’t feel worthy to be blessed by God at all, so you’re not even trying.

All of these approaches are natural, but wrong.  However, the great news is that there is a simpler way that is easier for you and more glorifying to God: receive from the Holy Spirit.

When you receive from the Holy Spirit, He gives you power to walk in God’s blessings.  He gives you understanding to know what those blessings are, and what they are not (because they aren’t always what you might expect.)  He gives you confidence to see how Jesus has qualified you for favor from God, so you don’t have to be afraid to ask anymore.

Stop trying so hard and humbly receive today.  As you reorient your mindset, you’ll find there is great hope in this eye-opening truth: God’s Spirit is your access to God’s blessings.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s blessing is already yours

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Luke 15

GOD’S BLESSING IS ALREADY YOURS

But he was angry and refused to go in.  His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”  (Luke 15:28-31)

Why was the older brother so angry?

Was it that his father was kind to his brother?  Partly, but it was deeper than that.  Was it because he was comparing his life with his brother’s?  Partly, but it was deeper than that.  Was it because he misjudged the heart of the father?   Partly, but it was deeper than that, too.

The brother was angry because at the deepest level, he felt cheated out of the rightful wages of his obedience, and he resented the grace the father showed to someone who hadn’t earned favor at all.

He felt the father owed him.

He throws up a comparison chart with obedience in one column and reward in another and throws it in his father’s face, claiming injustice.  “I obeyed you, and you never gave me a thing” is what he seems to say.

But he had the equation all wrong.

Gently, the father takes the balance sheet, rips it in two, throws away the column of obedience and fills up the column of reward.

“Don’t you see, Son?” he is saying.  “All that I have is yours.  You have been waiting for a reward from my table for all of your work, but the whole pantry was always open to you and yet you never took what was yours.  You waited for wages but the gift was already yours to take.”

“Son, you never received it because you didn’t trust my heart.  You thought I was harsh and demanding so you spent your life trying to work for approval and favor that you thought you didn’t have, but it was yours all along because you’re my son.”

God wants to say the same thing to you today.

Your Father in heaven has invited you in to His family through the perfect work of Jesus, an invitation that brings with it the full rights of sons and daughters, heirs of the Kingdom.

Yet, if you’re spending your life working for approval that you already have, trying to earn favor that’s already been given, you’ll become harsh and angry, frustrated at God when He blesses others more than you because you feel like He owes you.

Here’s the thing, though.  Anything you thought you earned yourself was already paid for at the cross of Jesus Christ.  All that’s left is for you to receive it!

Will you?

Today, may you hear the voice of the Father saying “Son, Daughter, all that is mine is yours…” and as you do, may you find hope in this truth: God’s blessing is already yours.

-Pastor Phillip


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Will you receive what God wants to give?

Scripture Notes on Luke 15

“But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” -Luke 15:28-31

Why was the older brother so angry?

Was it that his father was kind to his brother?  Partly, but it was deeper than that.  Was it because he was comparing his life with his brother’s?  Partly, but it was deeper than that.  Was it because he misjudged the heart of the father?   Partly, but it was deeper than that, too.

The brother was angry because at the deepest level, he felt cheated out of the rightful wages of his obedience, and he resented the grace the father showed to someone who hadn’t earned favor at all.

He felt the father owed him.

He throws up a comparison chart with obedience in one column and reward in another and throws it in his father’s face, claiming injustice.  “I obeyed you, and you never gave me a thing” is what he seems to say.

But he had the equation all wrong.

Gently, the father takes the balance sheet, rips it in two, throws away the column of obedience and fills up the column of reward.

“Don’t you see, Son?” he is saying.  “All that I have is yours.  You have been waiting for a reward from my table for all of your work, but the whole pantry was always open to you and yet you never took what was yours.  You waited for wages but the gift was already yours to take.”

“Son, you never received it because you didn’t trust my heart.  You thought I was harsh and demanding so you spent your life trying to work for approval and favor that you thought you didn’t have, but it was yours all along because you’re my son.”

So it may be with us.

Our Father in heaven has invited us in to His family through the perfect work of Jesus, an invitation that brings with it the full rights of sons and daughters, heirs of the Kingdom.

Yet, for many of us it’s all too easy to spend our lives working for approval that we already have, trying to earn favor that’s already been given.

So, we become harsh and angry, frustrated at God when He blesses others more than us because we feel like He owes us.

But anything we thought we earned ourselves has already been paid for at the cross of Jesus Christ.  All that’s left is for us to receive it.

“Son,” “Daughter,” the Father is saying, “all that is mine is yours…”

Will you believe Him?

-Pastor Phillip

Jesus wants you to receive

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Luke 12

JESUS WANTS YOU TO RECEIVE

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Luke 12:32-34)

Earn your keep.

This is the message of the world, that to be secure, to be successful, we must earn our keep.  Work hard to build up our value so that we will be valued by others.  Practice long to increase our skills so we will be wanted.  Be diligent in striving to accumulate possessions so that when our strength fails we’ll be provided for.

But that is not the way of the Kingdom.

In the Kingdom, we don’t work to earn our keep; we simply receive it.  We don’t strive to build up our value so that we’re valued by the Father; He loves us already.  We don’t make possessions our priority because they bring us security; we let them go when God calls us to, because in the Kingdom, He is our security.

What about diligence, then?  What about the virtues of hard work and dedication, for Scripture surely encourages those things, doesn’t it?

In the Kingdom, yes we’re called to work with diligence, but not as self-sufficient strivers.  We work as Spirit-filled stewards, not to acquire possessions, but to accomplish our potential as givers.  And, when we are living as givers, our hands are open to receive the blessings of the Kingdom that God wants to give to us.

May you work well, not to earn, but to receive the blessings that your Father wants to give, and may your hands stay open to let the cycle of giving and receiving continue.  As you do, may you be encouraged by this truth: Jesus wants you to receive.

-Pastor Phillip


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God’s love is the source of your holiness

Scripture Notes on 1 Thessalonians 3

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Love comes from God. This is a basic foundation of the Christian faith, that God is love, therefore the kind of self-sacrificing, others-centered, God-honoring love that truly matters can only come from Him.

So, a prayer for God to help us love others better is really a prayer for Him to simply pour more of His love into us so that it overflows.

Holiness is required by God. Over and over in Scripture, we see that to be called AS a son or daughter of the King is to be called TO the life of the kingdom, a life that is set apart, a life that honors God.

All too often, though, we make two fundamental mistakes in the arenas of holiness and love.

First, we try to pursue holiness through our own efforts and moral goodness, but this will always fail because our human effort can never be good enough for God.

Second, we feel as if God’s love for us depends on our performance in holiness, so we slip into despair as we realize we just can’t measure up on our own.

If you’ve ever felt either of these things, here’s good news: they’re all wrong and upside down!

God’s love for you doesn’t depend on your character. It depends on His. Your holiness doesn’t depend on your effort. It depends on His.

The road to God’s love isn’t about getting rewarded for your good deeds and the pathway to holiness isn’t about living rightly on your own. Both of them are about simply receiving God’s love as a gift through Christ.

Once you receive more of God’s love for you, you will abound in love for others, and the overflow of that love will result in a holy life.

You see, God’s love is the source of your holiness.

-Pastor Phillip

Work the Gift

“We have received God’s Spirit…so that we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” -2 Corinthians 2:12

“The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose.  And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” – 2 Corinthians 3:8

When I was a boy, my dad had me mow the lawn each week.

That was how I earned money, but the condition was that while there were $10 available for me, only $4 were for getting the grass cut.  The other $6 were all about the character I showed in how I got the job done.  Was I prompt or did I drag it out?  Was my attitude cheerful or negative?  Did I focus on the opportunity or the obligation?

No matter how I did the job (or even if I did it at all), my dad never stopped loving me, never stopped accepting me.  In fact, he couldn’t.  Nothing I could do would ever take away his love.

The thing is, my father freely gave me everything I needed to reap the maximum blessing.  What I did with it, however, was up to me.

Read moreWork the Gift