Heavenly thinking amidst tragedy and atrocity.

So a week ago I came home from church to hear what happened in Orlando. Throughout the week, the news of three events (murder, mass murder, and young child drowning due to alligator) were both horrifying and appalling.  In such times, I often think about how Jesus responded to similar news.  Luke 13:1-5 gives an account when Jesus heard about how Pilate slaughtered some people and another incident where a tower fell and killed 18 people. In both cases, Jesus made a clear point that the fatalities were not due to a greater degree of sin in the victim’s life. In fact, his answer seems to imply that not only could it also happen to you, something will happen to you.

In the span of 5 verses, Jesus repeats two times, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Not necessarily the message of comfort we want to hear in such times, but certainly one that gives life. Jesus is making it clear that we live by God’s mercy and His mercy alone, so respond in kind by leaning into His mercy and realign our heart to God’s character.  Jesus’ command flows out the prophet’s observation “that it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, they are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-32).  When tragedies hit and our ears are filled with the sounds of siren, thank God for his mercies, but also pray that those impacted would know God’s mercy in that time.

Pastor Jarrod Scott

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On Things Above… continued

James 4:14 makes the point that we “do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

Think of a length of string that starts at the pulpit and runs down the aisle, out the door and continues on as far as one can see. Consider the first inch of that string as our time on this earth, and the rest representing our time after death.  Our life on this earth is like that mist that one sees on a cool morning. When the sun come out it disappears quickly, just as our time on this earth is infinitely short compared to eternity.

2 Peter 3:11 challenges us to lead holy and godly lives, given that the Lord can take us home at any time. From last week’s blog, we need to live heavenly-minded lives by telling others about what lies beyond the grave.

Today, so much of our culture is based on shades of gray. Moral absolutes are fading into the background as tolerance for individual preferences, regardless of Scriptural mandates, takes precedence. What we know as a Christian is that there are no shades of gray on the other side of the grave. The lack of sin and the ability to see God face-to-face (1 Cor. 13:12) brings clarity in all things.

1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love

Prayer – “Lord, please give me opportunities to share your love and truth while there is still time.”
Jeff Hilles

On Things Above

Colossians 3:1-2 tells us “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

The commands to seek and set your mind on a heavenly perspective contradict the admonition that “we can be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good”.  However, countering views of society is common for those who belong to Jesus’ Kingdom.  The church is a body of people who encourage each other as we counter the forces dominated by a perspective that chiefly values the immediate and the comfortable.  We are to be a heavenly outpost within an earthly realm.

To provide more encouragement and instruction for our church, we, the pastors and elders of Green Pines, will provide a weekly blog that can be accessed via our newsletter and website.  The varied topics will only be limited by what we as believers deal with in our age and location.  Therefore, we may deal with social, church, work, family, art, money, and personal issues just to name a few.  In fact, if there is an issue that you would like to discuss, feel free to contact the church office. The unique thread is to prayerfully, provide insight of our issues with a Heavenly vantage point.   Some of what we will offer will be very specific applications, while other times, it may be to offer scripture based principles regarding issues.  For the latter case, we recognize that there will be room to differ with other believers while still upholding the heavenly principles.  While differences occur, may we practice “love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)

Pastor Jarrod Scott