We are excited to announce some new features to the blogsite. As more and more readers are viewing from foreign countries we have added the translate feature to the site. Our readers can also now choose to have the blog emailed to them, and they can search the blog by keywords on various topics. We hope that this makes the site more manageable for you. God Bless.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It’s all about Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)
by Seth Burgan: Youth Pastor at Dayspring Community Church

“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”-Matthew 5:1-3.

The very first attitude Jesus addresses during the Sermon on the Mount is very likely the hardest one to develop. Becoming poor in spirit requires, first, that we acknowledge our own tendency toward self-sufficiency. Breaking this predisposition of self cannot be done alone. We need the Holy Spirit’s life, power, and grace to keep ourselves completely dependent upon God.

Being poor in spirit was not something that Jesus simply preached about, but something he modeled:

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (held onto), but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”-Philippians 2:5-8.

Jesus let go of His privileges and His glory in heaven and depended completely on the Father. Scripture says that he made himself nothing; which literally means he emptied himself. Jesus emptied himself of everything that had defined Him in order to surrender His life to the Father’s plan. He realized that His existence was not about Himself; it was about saving us.

Yet so many people today are trying to fill themselves up and trying to make themselves something. This is such a dangerous way to live; because when someone pursues making something of themselves, instead of emptying themselves, it is not long before they stop depending on God.

So how is it that we develop a dependency on God? Matthew 7:7-8 tells us:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you. For everyone who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Ask. Seek. Knock. Those three simple worlds communicate a poor in spirit attitude.  A person who is poor in spirit is unashamed of asking God for help. Asking shows that a person is in need and trusting God to hear them; those who seek prove they are honest and will do whatever it takes to pursue God and His purposes; and those who knock communicate that they are committed to persistently bringing their requests to God, not because they have a lack of faith, but because they are expressing their dependence on God by acknowledging their needs belong to Him.

Jesus promised the kingdom of heaven to such as these.  He pronounced blessing over those who made seeking Him and His kingdom their first priority. Living poor in spirit is the foundational attitude of our Christian faith!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Sermon on the Mount (Pt.1)

(Part 1)
by Seth Burgan: Youth Pastor at Dayspring Community Church

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash.”-Matthew 7:24-27.

If I were to ask you to describe your house to me; more than likely you would begin by telling me where your house is located, the design, color, lot size, and perhaps even the square footage. However, something the majority of you would not mention, while describing your house to me, is a description of the type of foundation it sits on.

Perhaps you don’t know a lot about foundations or it’s just not something you considered to be important to include when describing your home; but it is the foundation of the house that makes the difference. Proverbs 24:3 states:

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.”

Not only does this apply to the physical house you live in, but it is also true regarding the life you are living. Unfortunately, many people build their lives on poor foundations like status, popularity, money, sex, drugs, alcohol, sports, and careers. Life quickly becomes centered on “self” and catering to our own wants and desires.

The Apostle Paul warned that this attitude would begin to prevail throughout our society in the last days:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be loves of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”-2 Timothy 3:1-5

Many people have adopted these worldly, self-centered attitudes, but as we will see from the Sermon on the Mount; Jesus intends for us to build our lives on a different foundation.

Jesus’ teachings, found in Matthew 5-7, are designed to build Christ’s character into our lives. A strong foundation of His character is what will enable us to lead Godly lives; both in thought and action.

 He begins His teachings with what are commonly known as the Beatitudes by addressing eight characteristics of Godly character that should shape our attitudes. Those include becoming poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure,  a peacemaker, and perseverant in persecution.