Finding Life

If you watched a day’s worth of commercials on TV you would discover all kinds of answers to “finding life.” Buy the right car! Purchase the perfect skin cream! Eat this delicious food! Hire an amazing attorney to get the money you deserve! On and on it goes. One day Jesus spoke to a group of self-assured leaders about finding life. They believed in their superiority over others because of their involvement in the right activities and connections with the right people (while despising the “bad” people). Jesus said to them, “Yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40). Even though they believed they had “found life,” they were lost. Someone defined “lostness” as doing a lot of activity…with no purpose. As I read the encounters Jesus had with people like this, I ask myself, “Why in the world would they refuse to come to Jesus?” The answer is found by simply looking around and looking within. Why don’t more people come to Jesus today? Could it be the exposure factor? If the average person is exposed to hundreds of “commercials” about the meaning of life and yet hardly ever hears God’s Word, what will they choose? Many people have only a “cartoon version” of Christianity, and perceive following Jesus as a repressive life, missing out on “all the fun.” If you are a believer in Jesus, you have discovered that Jesus is truly “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). To walk with Jesus is to know the secret of “abundant life” (John 10:10). So, how can we help others who are lost? Let’s start by making sure we don’t lose sight of Jesus ourselves. Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Be responsible for yourself first. You must lead yourself in the ways of Jesus before you can point others to the way. Today, I was driving on the highway and saw a tow truck on the side of the road behind a car that needed assistance. However, when I got closer, I noticed the tow truck’s front tire was shredded down to the metal rim! The tow truck wasn’t going anywhere until it first received help. In summary, true life is found in Jesus! To help others find life in Jesus, we need to stay close to The Life Himself.

Pastor Mark Boucher

When Kids Go Wrong

Why do kids blessed with godly parents sometimes choose a pathway of evil? King Hezekiah was a great and godly king who reigned in Judah (you can read his story in 2 Kings chapters 18-20). His son, Manasseh, however, jumped headfirst into the cesspool of sin. The Bible says, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites…Manasseh led them astray (the people of Judah), so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before” (2 Kings 21:2,9b). Here we see a young king sprinting toward self-destruction…and the ruin of his nation. Today, your heart may be breaking over a child who has rejected truth and is continuing to make one bad decision after another. You ask, “What will it take for him (or her) to come back to God?” In the case of Manasseh, God allowed him to experience the bitter fruit of his choices. The Scriptures tell us, “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon” (2 Chron. 33:10-11). Try to imagine going from a throne to a torture chamber! The Babylonians treated captured kings with the most extreme pain and humiliation. Manasseh was led around like an animal on a leash, which was connected to his face with a hook through his lips! I don’t pretend to understand everything about how God works with wayward children, but I do know that God allows us to come to a place of desperation. Sometimes, personal pain is the only thing that will get our attention. In spite of all Manasseh’s woes, his story ends on an encouraging note. “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers” (2 Chron. 33:12). In his mercy, God actually restored Manasseh to his kingdom. Don’t give up praying for your rebellious child. The last chapter hasn’t been written yet. And let them know you are praying for them and are there for them.

Pastor Mark Boucher

Lasting Change

Last week I went into Home Depot looking for some mirror hangers. After asking for help (saves time), I went to the proper area. I grabbed a small plastic box of hangers, but kept on looking for what I thought was a better fit for what I needed. After several minutes of scanning other items, I closely examined what I had already picked up at first. Then I discovered my first choice was exactly what I needed! I didn’t need to choose something different, as much as I needed to understand what I already had in my hand. This Sunday we begin a series of preaching messages on the subject of “Lasting Change” from the Book of Ephesians. The greatest change in my life happened when Jesus saved me. “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” (Eph. 2:4-5). This wonderful salvation was not a “finish line” for me, but more of an open door to a new life. I have a little booklet in my office I often give to people whose lives are saved by Jesus. It is called, “Now What?”. We don’t receive Christ…just to stay in old habits and patterns. “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). After Jesus raises us up from our deadness in sin, His plan for us involves learning to overcome sin and walk in resurrection power! When it comes to our salvation, we don’t move away from it over time, but we learn to grow deeper in the One who saved us. Some believers in Jesus act like they are bored with their relationship with God. They are “window shopping” the world, trying to test the other “products.” But, take a closer look at what you already have in Christ. To really know Jesus and to seek Him daily satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts. Paul describes this connection with Christ as being “seated” with Him in the heavenly realms. To sit down means the job is done. Jesus did the hard work, making a way for us to get right with God. Now, we rejoice in Him and receive His salvation power in order to become like Jesus every day. Lasting change starts with Jesus and continues in Him. If you are a Christian, look more closely at what you have. You don’t need to “try other things.”

Pastor Mark Boucher