God’s gospel is about God’s glory

God's Hope for Your Heart Header

And I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.  And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”  (Revelation 14:6-7)

The word “gospel” in Greek means good news.  When used in Scripture, though, it isn’t just news of any random thing.  Rather, when the Bible uses the word “gospel,” it carries with it the nuance of an announcement of triumph, a declaration of victory.

Typically we see this word connected with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but here in Revelation we see something related, but different.  Here we see an angel of heaven, announcing an “eternal gospel” to all the peoples of the earth.  So then, what is this good news that has been true for all eternity?

That God is glorious, and worthy of worship.

Here’s why this is good news…

We were created to worship and serve God.  Since this is the point of our existence, true joy and fulfillment in our lives can only come through bringing glory to God.  For most of us, though, it can be difficult to worship God when we’re in the midst of painful seasons.

However, something special happens when we realize that the main point of God’s redemptive work is not our happiness, but His glory.  When we embrace this reality, we are empowered to worship God fully and freely no matter what our circumstances look like, because we realize that God’s goodness is not determined by our experience, therefore our worship of Him need not be, either.

This is truly good news for you, because it means that no matter how difficult your life may seem today, you can still experience joy, meaning and fulfillment as you receive and embrace this truth.

God’s Gospel is about God’s glory.

–Pastor Phillip

All of creation brings praise to the Lord

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling His word.
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!  Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!  Kings of the earth and all people, princes and all rulers of the earth!  Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted, His majesty is above earth and heaven.
(Psalm 148:7-13)

When you sing praise to God, you aren’t the only one bringing Him worship.

Right now, at this very moment, all of heaven and earth are giving glory to Him.  This means that when you sing praise to God, you are joining in the chorus of all the universe that has been flowing since time itself began!

Take time today to lift your head up out of the details of your little life, and be motivated by this truth…

All of creation bring praise to the Lord.

–Pastor Phillip

More than Mary

As [Jesus] was saying these things, a woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “The womb that bore you and the one who nursed you are blessed!”  He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.”  (Luke 11:27-28)

Some traditions venerate Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They speak of the favor she had with God, the righteousness she had before God, and the blessing she received from God.

Yet, Jesus says that if you follow Him faithfully, hearing His words and obeying His commands, something incredible can be said of you.

You are more blessed than Mary.

–Pastor Phillip

Worship

Worship is not an event you attend once a week; it’s the lifestyle you practice every day.

In reality, everyone, everywhere, at all times is worshipping someone or something, because worship is simply the act of demonstrating the value (or “worth”) of something by giving it priority.

When you prioritize one person, activity or interest above others in your schedule, that’s a form of worship.

When you spend more money on one thing than another, that’s a facet of worship.

When you devote your highest affection and devotion to a cause or individual or group or passion or pastime, that is an expression of worship.

I know you may push back, thinking that “worship” has an overtly religious sense, and of course it does.  Yet, at its core, the meat of what worship really IS has much less to do with observing a faith and much more to do with demonstrating a pattern priorities.  How you BEHAVE reveals what you really BELIEVE.

Because of this, if you want to know what you really worship, look at where you devote your resources, and more importantly, WHY you do so.

The answers might surprise you.

Just a thought.

–Pastor Phillip

Service (Luke 4:39)

So [Jesus] stood over [Peter’s mother-in-law] and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  She got up immediately and began to serve them.  (Luke 4:39)

In the culture of Jesus’ day, it was customary and expected for a woman to serve as a hostess whenever guests were in her home.  So, the fact that Peter’s mother-in-law responded to her healing by serving is at one level simply a societal norm.

At another level, however, she is a perfect illustration of a proven truth.  One of the surest ways to tell if someone has been deeply touched by Jesus is their willingness to serve others.

How are you doing?

–Pastor Phillip

Your worship can bless the world

God’s Hope for Your Heart from John 12

YOUR WORSHIP CAN BLESS THE WORLD

Mary took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  (John 12:3)

It was a small act, a little gesture, but it had a big impact on the environment.

Mary’s ointment was intended as a gift for Jesus.  It was directed at Him, given to Him, focused on Him.  However, the aroma of the offering spread much wider, blessing many others as a result.

Do you realize your life can be like that?

When you worship Jesus with your life, bringing your praise, your gifts, your service, if it comes from a heart devoted to Him, it is a fragrant offering that blesses not only Jesus Himself but others in His house as well.

May you never lose sight of the big implications of this hope-filled truth: Your worship can bless the world.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

When you do what you can, Jesus is blessed

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Mark 14

WHEN YOU DO WHAT YOU CAN, JESUS IS BLESSED

“She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”  (Mark 14:8-9)

This woman caused a stir by how she responded to Jesus.

She was surrounded by people who were saying nice things to Jesus, giving polite pleasantries to Him, and listening to Him speak.  But this woman, she showed her devotion in a different way.

Maybe she wasn’t much good at conversation, but she did what she could.  Maybe she wasn’t well suited for study or teaching, but she did what she could.  Maybe she wasn’t able or willing to go out and serve the poor (a fact which her critics were all-too-happy to trumpet), but she did what she could.

And Jesus was blessed.

In this hyper-connected, social media-driven, constant-comparison world, don’t let yourself get drawn in to the trap of comparing your service to others.  Jesus has called and empowered you uniquely, and He’s not looking for you to be like everyone else.  He doesn’t want you to serve exactly like everyone else, either.

He wants you to be faithful to who He made you to be.

As you seek to live your life to honor Jesus (which you should), may you resist the pressure to try and copy the successes and sacrifices of others.  Instead of trying to measure up to other people’s expectations, may you respond to His worthiness in ways that are as unique as you are.  As you do, you’ll discover hope through this truth: when you do what you can, Jesus is blessed.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)


 

“This is Amazing Grace” – Phil Wickham [Music Monday]

The aging Methodists sang this out with gusto.

I was so blessed to be visiting the little country church where my wife grew up, and was a little surprised when they started to play this song.  My surprise quickly turned to delight as these wonderful saints sang out these wonderful truths with enthusiasm and resolve.

May we all have the grace and the guts to do the same.

“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.

Jesus is worth the sacrifice

God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 21

JESUS IS WORTH THE SACRIFICE

They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road…  (Matthew 21:7-8a)

Most people in Jesus’ day didn’t have a lot of extra clothes.  Most only had one cloak, the outer garment they wore to protect them from the elements.

Yet, here they are, a whole crowd of people that see in Jesus something so compelling that they spread out their cloaks for His donkey to walk over as a kind of royal parade.

They do this because Jesus is worth the sacrifice.

Look ahead in the chapter, how Jesus enters the temple and throws out the people who took advantage of pilgrims by charging high rates of exchange.  Look at how He welcomes in their place the blind, the lame, the little children, and how He touches them all.

This is what Jesus does.  He challenges the powerful and empowers the challenged.  He brings down the high and mighty and lifts up the lowly and the weak.

He is trustworthy.

He is faithful.

He is kind.

He looks after the needs of His people, and though His methods aren’t always what you might expect or prefer, He will always do what’s best for you.

So, what “cloak” is Jesus calling you to lay down?  What thing brings you more comfort than His presence, more security than His promise?

May you have open ears and a willing heart to hear and obey His call to you, and as you do, may you be encouraged with hope by this truth: Jesus is worth the sacrifice.

-Pastor Phillip


AUDIO VERSION (Click here to subscribe to the daily podcast on iTunes.)