Midweek Reflections

Your Love Goes On

Read: John 3:1-21

We just came through Valentines Day and this past Sunday my
message was from the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians
13.  It is a reminder of what love is and what love is not.
It helps us to live a life of love towards God and with each
other.  But I hope that we don’t only consider those things in
the month of February.

One of the most popular Christian contemporary songs right now
is the song by Jesus Culture entitled “One Thing Remains.”
Here are the lyrics and also a link to the song on Youtube if
you would like to listen to it.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up
it never runs out on me
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of
your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart
from your great love

What an amazing truth, that God’s love never fails, never runs
out, and can never be separated from us.  It’s a truth that
should encourage us to live for him and keep him the constant
focus of all that we do.

In John 3 Jesus proclaims to Nicodemus that no one can see the
Kingdom of God unless they are born again.  What he means is
that every sinner on this earth (that would be all of us)
needs to repent of their sins and live by the truth he has
proclaimed.

God’s love is seen perfectly through Jesus Christ.  His love
does not want us to remain in sin but be changed and
transformed by his grace, love, and forgiveness.  When Jesus
spoke to the woman caught in adultery in John 8 he said that
he did not condemn her, but he also said, “Go now and leave
your life of sin.”

As we move past Valentines Day let us continue to embrace the
love that God has for us.  It will remain as a constant source
for us and never fail us.  As the song above says, “I never
have to be afraid.”

Make it personal: How can you respond to God’s love this week?
Find ways to show your need and your appreciation for this
love that is higher than the mountains that you face.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Change of Course

Read: Romans 12

Watching the Winter Olympics this week reminded me of ABC’s program “The Wide World of Sports” when I was younger. I still remember the opening of that program, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport, The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.”

As you heard those words “the agony of defeat,” it showed a ski jumper crashing down the mountain. But I just recently learned the whole story behind that incident. Apparently the skier was in good form as he headed down the mountain but realized that the slope was way to fast. He knew that if he completed the jump he would land on the level ground that was way beyond the safe landing area, which could have been fatal.

In the end the skier only suffered a headache from that tumble which became familiar to all of America because of that Wide World of Sports intro. If you want to watch that intro you can go to Youtube and type in “Wide World of Sports Intro” to see it. For some of you it will undoubtedly bring back some memories. Here is a link.

In Romans 12 Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

In our world there are many things that can lead us off the course of God’s perfect will for us. By staying in a close relationship with Jesus Christ we are able to sense when we are headed into a dangerous situation and change course in order to avoid disaster.

Paul says that when our minds are renewed in Christ we are able to discern those things. However, when our minds are on the things of the world, we tend to gravitate down that worldly path instead of the one paved with God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

At times, depending on how far down that course we have gone, it may cause us some difficulty and even some headaches when we actually do change our course. But just as that skier realized, a few headaches is much better than a fatal ending.

The most wonderful thing about Jesus is that he offers that “change of course” option without any strings attached. If we come to him with a repentant and changed heart, Jesus will not constantly remind us of our mistakes, instead he will constantly remind us that he has forgiven us of them.

If you are headed down a slope that could be fatal right now I hope that you will bail out and change your course. Turn to Christ and allow his love, acceptance, and perfect will to steer you back to where you need to be. In the final verse of Romans 12 it says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Very true for our world, but especially true in our own lives.

Make it personal: Take time to pray this week and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal some things to you. What dangerous path are you heading down? In what situations are you allowing your perfect will to override God’s perfect will for your life? Make that change!

Have a wonderful week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Served, not Ruled

Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

“I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it.” This was a statement made by Pope Francis recently to business and political leaders that were gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The statement was a plea for leaders to care for the poor but it also was a statement that speaks volumes to all of us about how we approach wealth, money, and the blessings the God has bestowed upon us.

Wealth and money only become gods to us when we allow our lives to be ruled by them. In other words, if our focus is all about the accumulation of things, we soon lose sight of why God may have blessed us with those things in the first place. Paul reminds us of that in 2 Corinthians 9.

He writes that each of us should give and share of those things not reluctantly or under compulsion, but with a cheerful heart and attitude. (v.7) He then quotes a verse from Psalm 112:9 that says, “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

Beryl Jantzi, the Everence Director of Stewardship Education recently wrote some great thoughts about this. He wrote about a verse in Exodus 34:20b that says, “No one shall appear before me empty-handed.” He went on to say…

“Moses was clear in his expectation regarding giving. Generosity was considered an expression of worship to God and a way of reaching out to meet the needs of the community. Rules about giving, whether it was for religious sacrifice or for building materials needed for the tabernacle, were specific and clear. In Exodus 36, we read:

“Every skillful one to whom the Lord has given a skill and understanding to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 36:1

Whether it was giving gold or other precious stones or special skills of construction or weaving or artistry – you were expected to offer your first and your best to God. Here’s how the people responded to the challenge placed before them.

“The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do. So Moses gave the command and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing; for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.” Exodus 36:5-7

Jantzi goes on to ask… “Can you imagine such a problem happening today?”

It got me to thinking, what if churches and organizations like MCC and World Vision had to say, “Stop giving, your giving is more than what is needed.” It seems like an impossibility and yet most likely it is not. It goes back to people, especially Christians, viewing and giving their money and wealth as a way to serve humanity instead of letting it rule our lives.

Byler concludes by writing, “There’s something about modeling generosity as a delight rather than a duty that can bring the spirit of Exodus 36 back among the people of God. Generosity is a spiritual discipline that can be expressed as an act of worship to God, as well as mutual aid to others. If this idea would grab hold, maybe one day we could say, like Moses, “Enough already! Your generosity has exceeded our needs!!” Might it be so.”

Make it personal: Consider your own attitude toward money, possessions, and wealth. What changes might God want to make in that attitude. Then think about the use of your own money. Do you give out of reluctance or under compulsion, or do you give out of the cheerful attitude that God desires? A good question for all of us to consider.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Super Bowl: “Jesus is Better!”

Read: Romans 10:8-13

Because this is the week of the Super Bowl there has been a lot of talk and interviews leading up to the big game. One particular interview seemed to get a lot negative attention after the last game that was played, but most of them this week have been far less controversial.

I was especially interested by an interview that pastor Mark Driscoll (from Seattle) did with some of the Seattle Seahawks players that are strong Christians. Their main message was, “The Super Bowl is great, but knowing Jesus is much better.” Here is a youtube link to a short 3:00 minute clip of that interview.

Since my days of growing up in New Mexico I have always been a Denver Broncos fan. So, I will be cheering for the Broncos when it comes to the game on Sunday. But I definitely support the Christian witness of all those on the field. Here is another short youtube link to a clip about Peyton Manning’s Christian faith. This was from his days with the Colts.

In Romans 10 Paul talks about declaring with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord!” These men are not only doing that, they are saying that Jesus is even more important to them than playing in the Super Bowl or anything else in life.

That only makes sense. For Romans 10:11 says that believers will never be put to shame. In verse 13 it says that believers who call on the name of the Lord will always be saved. That is a promise that is near and dear to every Christian.

I am thankful this week for Christians who are on the “Big Stage” of the world and yet are still persistent in living out their faith and testimony for Jesus. It’s a reminder for us to do the same on whatever stage God has given to us. Does our life speak the message “Jesus is Better!”?

Enjoy the big game this Sunday with family and friends and remember the testimony of both quarterbacks in the game. They believe in Jesus and follow Christ just like you and I. I support Russell Wilson 100%, but Go Peyton and Go Broncos!

Make it personal: As you watch the game this Sunday share the testimony of these players with those you are watching with. If you are not going to watch the game, share your own testimony with someone at your work or school this week. Remember, Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer us!

Have a Super week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



A Permanent Attitude

Read: Matthew 18:21-35

This week our nation is celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and his unwavering dream that some day all people would be free from racism and ready to embrace forgiveness. I tweeted out one of my favorite MLK quotes on Monday that says, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”

Our brother Martin Luther King Jr. stood for so much. It is hard to put just one title or label on what he did and what he stood for. Most importantly he encouraged people to walk in the shoes of someone else and ask, “How does it feel?”

In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us a perfect example of that in his parable about the unmerciful servant. He is forgiven of all his great debts by the master, and then he still goes out and demands someone to pay him back for a debt that was much less than what his master had forgiven him for.

It doesn’t seem right to anyone who reads the story and yet I wonder how many times in our world that same situation plays itself out. We often desire to be forgiven, but we are much less willing to forgive ourselves. MLK encouraged us to make forgiveness a lifestyle, and do what Jesus told us to do by forgiving not only seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Pastor Brent Eelman once shared about a story from Philip Yancy’s book entitled “What’s So Amazing About Grace.” “Yancey tells the story of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway grew up in a very devout evangelical family, and yet there he never experienced the grace of Christ. He lived a libertine life that most of us would call “dissolute”… but there was no father, no parent waiting for him and he sank into the mire of a graceless depression.

A short story he wrote perhaps reveals the grace that he hoped for. It is the story of a Spanish father who decided to reconcile with his son who had run away to Madrid. The father, in a moment of remorse, takes out this ad in El Libro, a newspaper. “Paco, meet me at Hotel Montana, Noon, Tuesday… All is forgiven… Papa.”

When the father arrived at the square in hopes of meeting his son, he found eight hundred Paco’s waiting to be reunited with their father. Was Paco such a popular name? Or is a father’s forgiveness the salve for every soul?”

The ability to forgive someone is not only salve for the relationship between a father and son, it can heal and restore any relationship. As Jesus encourages in this passage from Matthew 18 lets make it a lifestyle, lets make it a permanent attitude, lets make it make a difference in our lives and in those we need to forgive. The results will never disappoint when we choose to live a life of forgiveness.

Make it personal: Think about who you may be holding back forgiveness from today. Pray about it and ask the Lord to reveal to you what needs to happen to heal that wound and bring forth restoration.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes



Raising Children

Read: Proverbs 4

One the highest callings and responsibilities in the life of a parent is the raising up of our children. Yes, we want to teach them right from wrong and how to make difficult decisions; but teaching them the truth about God and about his Son Jesus Christ should be at the top of our list as well.

At each stage of parenting you can talk to parents who will tell you that each of those stages has had their own unique and different challenges. Diapers are hard, but so is deciding on college and how to pay for it. As parents we need to embrace each of these stages by wearing our faith in Jesus on our sleeves.

In other words, we need to engage our children in talk about Christ and why our faith is important to us. We need to take them to church where they can hear and learn more about Christ and get to know other Christ followers as mentors.

I once read a story about a pastor who engaged a young boy as he was eating his lunch on a park bench. He was around 8 years old. They entered into a friendly conversation and the boy soon learned that he was a pastor who preached each Sunday.

The boy said, “what does it mean to preach?” The pastor told him that it means to tell people about Jesus. About that time the boy put his hand over his mouth and said, “mister, don’t you know?” “Know what,” the pastor said. “That’s a cuss word.” It then dawned on the pastor that the only time this boy had heard the name of Jesus in his home was when his parents had used it as a profanity.”

In Proverbs 4 we read about instructions to a son. But those instructions can be just as important for parents to read. Are we “instructing our children in the way of wisdom” as verse 11 says? Are we teaching our children about the paths that are dangerous to walk down? (v.14) Do we talk with our children about guarding their heart and keeping their mouths from perverse talk? (v.23-24)

From research and study it is obvious that much of this is formed in the first six years of a child’s life. Those years are very important in instilling these life lessons and values from scripture. But there is still much work to do once our children enter into adolescence. The conversation must continue in order to help them grasp the important lessons of life and faith.

These things are not always easy as parents but they are crucial. My prayer is that we would look to Christ to help us teach, lead, and direct our children in the ways of Scripture. In the ways of Christ; and that when they grow up they will not depart from them. (Proverbs 22:6)

Make it personal: Prayer is of utmost importance when we talk about our children. Make it a priority to not only teach your children the ways of Christ but to lift them up to Christ daily in prayer. Ask for his protection, guidance, direction, for them and for you also as a parent. May the Lord be with you!

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling, Worship, and Community Life at Arthur Mennonite Church




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