Suffering for Your Good?

 1 Peter 2:20-21-For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Every time I read this text, I get trembling hands and weak knees. I don’t like to suffer. I’m not one of those people that looks at suffering and thinks, “Hey, that looks good to me!”

But the truth is, suffering is part of the Christian life. Many in the world today are beaten and killed for trusting in Christ and for doing good works in His name. Christianity isn’t just “Jesus loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.” Though that is true, it is only half of the story. Following Jesus Christ makes life harder in many ways. No doubt about it. That being said, why would I choose to follow Christ if that means I must suffer for it? There are many reasons, but here are three:

1.)    Proof – How I suffer for Christ proves I belong to Him (see Hebrews 12). If the going gets tough and I leave Christ, it proves I was never His. If I abide in His grace during my trial, it shows His strength in my weakness which glorifies Him.

2.)    Priorities – As I suffer for following Christ, I realize that this is not all there is to life. Things are peeled away and I begin to long for something that is not of this world (2 Corinthians 4:17). I begin to see that the things that really matter in this world have much more to do with the Lord than myself.

3.)    Power – As I suffer for following Christ, those around me will see His power in me. They will not understand how I can endure what I do and will see in me a power they do not have. The Lord uses that very “power in weakness” to draw others to Himself.

Peter isn’t telling us to run out and look for ways to suffer. We live in a fallen world surrounded by suffering. We don’t have to look very hard to find it. Suffering will find its way to our doorstep. Peter tells us not to be surprised when suffering comes to our house and rings the doorbell. Though suffering isn’t fun, the result is good. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17), So, as crazy as it sounds, embrace suffering and watch how the Lord uses it in ways we could never imagine.


  • Am I suffering as a consequence of poor choices I have made? How can God use this?
  • Am I suffering as a result of poor choices others have made? Can God use this as well? How? 

Prayer - Heavenly Father, everything that comes from You is for Your glory and ultimately my good. That includes my suffering. Help me to see suffering as a gift from You to grow me and make me more like Christ. Too often I crave comfort in this world. Too often I crave ease. Too often I crave the path of least resistance. Forgive me for looking to comfort in this world when true and lasting comfort can only be found in You. Help me not to waste my suffering but to use it to glorify You. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 






The Cross is Foolish?

1 Corinthians 1:18- For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 Have you ever spent lots of time praying for someone’s salvation and then worked up the courage to share the Gospel with them, only to have them totally disregard it? Paul clearly explains why in this verse. It is folly, or silly, or stupid to them. They cannot see the truth.

This passage can roughly be translated “the word of the cross, to those who are perishing, foolish”. This is important to remember. People are perishing and they are perishing because they refuse to come to the Lord as their Savior from their sin. They refuse His offer to save them from their perilous condition. Not only do they refuse His offer, they hate Him for even offering it.

Imagine if there was a doctor that came up with a cure for every kind of cancer, every virus that harms you, every disease known to man. Imagine that he put this cure in a shot and invited everyone to call him and he will give it to them without any charge right where they live. Would you think someone was foolish to refuse this offer? Would you blame the doctor if they refused this offer and decided to take gummy vitamins instead, thinking that they would have the same effect? They are perishing because they refuse to accept the free offer. Millions of people are perishing eternally because they refuse the word of the cross and they think that they are healthy.

 But thankfully that is not the end of the story. The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing but to those who are being saved it is the power of God. Notice that Paul uses the words being saved. What he means by this is that Christians, people who believe in the message the Gospel, are not only saved by the Gospel but they are constantly being saved by it. The Gospel that saves them is also changing them. They are not perfect but they are being made into the image of the one who is perfect daily through the power of the Gospel.

When you go to share the Gospel with someone who does not believe expect that they will think it is foolish. Pray for the Lord to open their eyes. Pray for your words to accurately describe to them the glorious Gospel that saves. Pray that you will show them the Gospel through your changed life. And ultimately, leave it in the hands of the Lord because it is His work to do. You are just an instrument in the hands of the master musician that is calling people to Himself. May you be an instrument that He uses much to make beautiful music for His glory, honor and praise.


 ·      How does knowing this truth change the way that you view evangelism?

·      Start praying that the Lord will use you to lead one person to the Lord in 2013. Write down three names below of people that you are going to point to Him through the Gospel, the message of the Cross. Start praying for them and for you to have an opportunity to boldly share with them


Heavenly Father, I exist to bring you glory with my life. One of the many ways that I can do this is by sharing your glorious Gospel with those who are perishing in their sin. Give me boldness to reach out to others with the Gospel. Help me to remember that You must do the work in them if they are to see the truth. Use me, I am willing to tell my neighbors, my co-workers, and my family members about You with what I say and how I live. I want to be used by you. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Jesus at the Center of My Family (Recap)

In the chaos of the day to day schedules and conflict within the family life can seem hopeless. BUT there is hope, not in a change of situation, not in a sudden calm in the storm, not in an immediate cease fire, but in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ brings hope to you family. Placing Jesus Christ at the Center of our families will have a profound affect on them. This is a daily decision and it begins by organizing and structuring our particular families according to Jesus' direction in Scripture.

Our first week in the series we saw that God defines and designs our families. He made them and we are to follow His lead. We are to trust Him with His plans for our families.

Our second week we moved into Ephesians 5:22-24 and looked at the role of the wife in the marriage relationship. Jesus taught us that submission to your husband is obedience to God. Submission being a willing continual attitude expressed by the wife in the marriage relationship. This is all done not because of the strength or great leadership of the husband but as unto the Lord.

Our third week we moved to Ephesians 5:25-32 and  looked at the very difficult call for the husband. Husbands love your wife like Jesus loves you. Who can do this? No one in their own strength. This is the picture of servant leadership that Jesus so beautifully shows us all throughout the Scripture. The husband's leadership through love allows the family to grow and reflect the Gospel.

Our last week we looked at the parent/child relationship found in Ephesians 6:1-4 and saw that your job in parenting is to be an ambassador for Christ. To properly do this is the parent is to teach their children to obey and honor them all the while by not provoking them. 

Take some time to prayerfully think through these challenges from the Lord and go back and listen to any of these sermons found here.

Jesus at the Center (Recap)

It has been a great Fall in the book of 1 John. Jesus at the Center has been what John is trying to get us to focus on each and every day. Here is a recap of our big ideas for each week. If you would like to hear the sermons, just click on the the LISTEN tab and download these sermon.

1 John 1:1-4- When Jesus is the center of your life, you find joy.

1 John 1:5-2:2- How you deal with your sin will determine your direction.

1 John 2:3-14- Authentic life in Jesus will show itself not only in what you say but also in what you do. 

1 John 2:15-17- My love for Jesus must be greater than my love for anyone or anything. 

1 John 2:18-29- Its not how you start the race but how you finish it that counts.

1 John 3:1-10- Having your sins forgiven is great, BUT being a child of God is greater!

1 John 3:11-24- Faith leads to love and love brings confidence before the Lord. 

1 John 4:1-6- Be filled with the Spirit to avoid the spirit of error. 

1 John 4:7-21- God's love flows to us and must flow through us. 

1 John 5:1-5- When Jesus Christ has your heart, you have His power.

1 John 5:6-12- You can believe in Jesus because the evidence is overwhelming. 

1 John 5:13-21- Enduring prayer to God comes from unshakable confidence in God. 

Join us as we seek to keep Jesus at the Center of our Christmas celebration! 

Reasons to be Thankful

The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots deeply embedded in the religion of the Pilgrims. It was less about the food than the God who gave them the food. The feast was to remind them to be thankful to God for all that they had. Life, breath, and all that they needed.


Today, Thanksgiving is associated with turkey and football. Families gatherings and early morning “Black Friday” sales. All of these are good things, but when they cloud out the real reason for the holiday something is lost.


So as you gather together with your family this Thursday to cranberry sauce (hopefully not from a can) and turkey, remember these truths that should make your heart very thankful. (All of these are true for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ)


You once were dead, now you are alive.


Ephesians 2:1-3-And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.


Ephesians 2:8,9- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


You once were a slave now you are a son/daughter.


Galatians 4:4-7- But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.


Your future was once unsure not it is secure.


Ephesians 2:4-7- But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


You once were defeated now you are a conqueror.


Romans 8:37-39- No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


You once were a rebel, now you have peace with God.


Romans 5:1- Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, bwe1 have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Romans 5:6-8- For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Take this time of Thanksgiving to revel in the goodness of God to you and your family. Think about the grace of God in salvation before you dress your turkey. Think about how He is still working on you before you butter your mashed potatoes. Look for evidences of God’s grace in your family as you pass the gravy. Don’t waste your Thanksgiving. Keep the Lord in the center of all that you do and you will have a joyful, thankful, Thanksgiving!



o   Get an empty can or jar and have everyone write down on small pieces of paper what they are thankful for. (You can keep this jar handy and add thankful thoughts throughout the year and open it next Thanksgiving)

o   Take time to thank God for your life.


         Heavenly Father, you are so good to me. Thank you for all that you do for me and the people that I love the most. Help me to see evidences of your work in my life and in the lives of everyone around me. Make me a thankful person on this Thanksgiving Day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.