|Repentanceby Will Traynor|
"But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ʻYou brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up
children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.ʼ"
Many preach repentance as a means to escape fire. That is a lie. Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is not an escape from fire, but the means by which we go through it. Every human will go through fire. In the text we see a the eternal fire that Jesus throws the chaff and unfruitful trees into, and we see a refining fire of sanctification that accompanies baptism. Make no mistake Jesusʼ sanctifying fire is a
scary and sometimes lonely road marked with suffering, but also with hope. The hope of Jesus Christ, our salvation, our justification and our Lord who sends us on our journey through this road, not as punishment, or so that we may prove ourselves to Him (for there is no need to, His death is proof of our value to Him and His love towards us) but so that He might make us more like Him and that we may learn to love him more deeply.
The only way to move through sanctification is repentance. Many modern churches today teach that repentance is the turning away from sin or being ʻnot worldly.ʼ I think it is more the practice of continually turning towards Jesus at all costs. We are not only called to repent of the things we have done (saying that word, or thinking that
thought) but also from the things we have not done (not caring about the destitute and marginalized, or not paying attention in church) and even our general nature (pride, apathy, worry). The goal is not as much maximum distance from sin (or more accurately the certain sins that happen to convict us) as it is intense closeness with Jesus. Godʼs
highest call for us is to be wholly His, not to be wholly ʻun-worldlyʼ.
The Pharisees and Sadducees attended one of Johnʼs baptisms in hopes that the baptism of the baptism would add to their assumed righteousness through the law so that they could escape the ʻwrath to comeʼ and were rebuked by John and called sons of Satan. The first element in repentance is realizing our spiritual bankruptcy and our inability to be righteous. The Pharisees and Sadducees were open to the baptism, but only as something to add to their own righteousness. They were not interested in being close to Jesus, they only sought to be sinless and were not interested in knowing Messiah. They were not willing to undergo the fire that comes along with baptism and repentance towards Jesus which ultimate doomed them to the fire reserved for fruitless trees. Are you seeking to merely not sin as much, or are you wanting nothing more than to fully know Jesus Christ?
Element two is an unstoppable hunger and pursuit for Jesus that will stop at nothing until it has Him. Please donʼt assume that there is something in your life that is the cause of sin that God is willing to work around. There isnʼt. God will remove every hindrance at any cost until He has you because He loves you. It is better that God breaks every bone in your body and He has you than you being comfortable and belonging to Satan.
The four Gospels recall Jesus referring to the ʻKingdom of Heavenʼ or the ʻKingdom of Godʼ about 86 times and the application of most of the teaching surrounding the topic of the Kingdom is repentance. Not as a ritual done when convicted or caught, but as a daily lifestyle.We repent because, at all costs, we must know Jesus and seek to be as close as possible to Him, not as a way of meriting righteousness, but as a response to the mercy, grace, and love displayed on the Cross
and the hope brought by the resurrection. We repent not because sin makes us feel bad, but because we are deeply undone by any actions that would break fellowship with our Savior. Because we are captivated by Jesus. Because we are in love.
1 Dan. 12:10, Isa. 48:10, Psalm 66:10
2 Matt. 9:12
3 Rom. 3:10-18, 23
|Your Best life...later, Crazy Love Chapter 7|
by Wes Olsen
Are you still trying to do this on your own? Are you really still trying to find fulfillment outside of God's love? Have you not surrendered fully yet to this love?
It's very true that there is great cost to ourselves to follow Jesus. We die to our selfish wants and needs to bless others and show the love of Christ. Some have given up 6 or 7 figure incomes to follow with complete abandon this Jesus. Some have given up their lives to fulfill a great and better calling - even to death! But why? Who would do this? What do they get out of it that it's so great to give up so much?
They get Jesus. They get the greatest treasure of all - Jesus. With Jesus they get peace, joy, security, love, oh immeasurable love!, hope, strength, wisdom and these are just the things we receive here while we still suffer in a fallen world! Oh there is suffering and rough waters, but for those surrendered to Jesus it's always coupled with amazing miracles, peace beyond all understanding, power to walk through the most heart-wrenching trials, to quite honestly suffer with Jesus! Those surrendered truly desire to please God and get to see His glory - get to see Him do the impossible! Oh how amazing!
Then there is eternity. What treasures will await us? What joys not ever experienced may we feel? What new thoughts might our minds enjoy? And we still get our greatest treasure Jesus! The thought makes me want to stop right now and worship Jesus!
Does this sound out of reach for you? Too hard and too tough to go through with? Pray for faith and read the scriptures, so that God may show His glory and that living your best life later for an abandoned-to-Jesus-for-His-glory life now is worth your life - now!
-1 John 2:6; 3:16-20; 2:28
-Matthew 12:50; 25:31-46
|Cool free resources from the Interwebz!|
|SOS - SAVE OUR SNACKS!!!!!!!|
by Trina Mannery
We are so very excited to be serving the youth, sharing time with them and growing together as we hear Gods call in our lives!
Part of our evening is to provide the youth with a snack. Not only does a snack give them something to munch on, but provides them with valuable time to socialize and build relationships.
To do this, we need your help!
How can I Help?
We need every family to help by providing snack one evening throughout the year. Since we have an average of 50-60 youth, we are asking 2 families to bring snack each night. Your responsibility will be to bring enough snack for 30 youth. We have lots of families so if every family contributes; we should only need your contribution once this year.
What do I need to do?
Please contact Trina Mannery at 206-550-9298 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She will work with you to set up a date for you to bring snack on a week that will work for your schedule.
What should I bring?
This can be homemade or store bought. Fruit and vegetables, cheese and crackers or cookies, brownies etc. Shop the sales! What's in the pantry? (Hint: They are teenagers, they love it all!)
Should I bring drinks too?
You may provide drinks if you like, but we can provide water and that seems to work well.
How would you like the snack to come?
Please bring the snack prepared and ready to serve. Also, please remind your youth to bring home your containers.
My schedule is crazy and I have a hard time preparing a snack, is there any other way I can help?
Yes! If you would like to help and just don't have the time to provide a ready to eat snack, you can donate $10 to our snack fund. This fund can be used on days when we don't have anyone scheduled to provide a snack.
Thank you so much for coming along side us to help us love on and serve your kids!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Trina
God Bless You!
|1/26/2011 - Youth Group, Chapter 7 Crazy Love, Birthdays|
2/2/2011 - Youth Group, Chapter 8 Crazy Love
2/9/2011 - Youth Group, Chapter 9 Crazy Love
2/16/2011 - Youth Group, Chapter 10 Crazy Love
2/23/2011 - Youth Group, Birthdays
|We thank God for each and every one of you, |
Shorewood Foursquare Ignition Youth Ministry Staff