Posts Tagged ‘Mark Bates’

feeding the baby birds

feeding the baby birds

While in my parents backyard this past week I enjoyed observing the birds. They were small birds, maybe sparrows. The birds made a nest in a small bird house that my parents provided them. Momma and papa bird kept bringing the grub as the baby birds chirped. They may not have been “angry birds,” but they were definitely hungry birds.

As I did my bird watching it reminded me of what Jesus said about the birds of the air.

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

—Matthew 6:26

Jesus uses this example, asking the rhetorical question, if our Father cares for little birds, don’t you think He will care for you? He exhorts the people of God not to worry, not be anxious. Anxiety will not provide for you, it will not add a day to your life.

In light of the recent Waldo Canyon fire that reached the city of Colorado Springs this is a good reminder. Dawn and I have many friends who were affected in one way or another by the fire. We talked to some of them today at church. Some of them have already been able to go back to their home. One family told me they were going to be able to go back home today. Then those whose homes were in the more affected areas will only be able to see their homes, but not stay in them yet.

Pray for Colorado and for those affected by the fire

Pray for Colorado and for those affected by the fire

The last I heard from Tom Graham, who I mentioned in one of my last posts, he was waiting to get into his home. Hopefully, that happens today.

What’s more basic than food and shelter. Friends of ours lost those basic needs. Everybody in the city is talking about it.

Disasters cause us to worry. Our pastor, Mark Bates pointed out this morning that, “disasters shatter our illusion of control.” Yes, it is an illusion, because sometimes we think we are in control, and then a fire comes. You can lose everything you own very quickly in a fire. Up in smoke all of your worldly positions, and at that moment you do feel powerless.

These times can increase our faith, as we trust in our loving heavenly Father. We don’t always know, why the fiery trials come? Why bad things happen? At least apart from the fact that we live in a fallen world, we don’t know the specific reason we suffer.

Yet we do know God loves us. He loved us enough to send His son, who died on the cross for our sins. He bore the penalty for us.

I’m sure you’ve quoted or heard Paul’s well-known promise found in Romans 8:28,

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…”

Then Paul strengthens his argument in Romans 8:32,

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

You see, if you know God is good, He is powerful and He loves you, then this gives us hope even when we don’t understand. I mean He even God up His own Son for us!

It’s related to the birds. The birds don’t worry, but our heavenly Father takes care of them. He will take care of you too. You are more important than sparrows. You are made in God’s image. So even when it doesn’t seem like God cares, or that He is in control, He does and He is. Praise Him with me!

In His Grip, Dave

God’s passion is for the lost. Jesus said,

“I came to seek and save the lost.”

Pastor Mark Bates at Village Seven

Pastor Mark Bates at Village Seven

In Luke 15 the Father shows His heart for the those that are without Christ. The lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son all illustrate the Father’s love. Jesus said the shepherd would leave the 99 for the 1. Even though 99% were safe, he’d go for that one lost sheep. It should encourage us learning of the Father’s love for the those that have wandered away.

Today, our pastor at Village Seven Presbyterian Church, Mark Bates, shared a great sermon. It inspired me! He said that it was a recycled sermon that he first heard from Randy Pope, pastor of Perimeter Church in Atlanta.

I liked it so much I thought I’d highlight some of my take aways from this morning. I think good sermons should be recycled!

The sermon was from 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. The focus was on verses 19 & 22.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them… I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

Paul says he has made himself a slave to all. He’s a slave to Christ. As he follows Christ he too has a passion to win men and women for the kingdom. He recognizes the needs of the lost become more important than the needs of the found. This is alluded to in the parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son mentioned above.

Paul is willing to do whatever it takes to reach those outside the church. Those in need of Christ. We are to do the same. Notice his emphasis here. “I have become ALL things to ALL people, that by ALL means I might save some.” Any unnecessary barriers that keep people from coming to Christ must be removed. We do not exist for ourselves. We exist for the kingdom. What will we choose our comfort, or to join Christ in His mission?

In the last part of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul issues a challenge to the church in verses 24 – 27.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Paul has a laser beam focus. He knows what he is serving for. He exhorts us to follow him as he disciplines, beats, punishes his body so that he might finish the race, and not be disqualified. Instead of running for a prize that is perishable, we discipline ourselves for something that lasts forever. We live for Christ.

This sermon pumped me up. I told Mark that even missionaries need mission focused sermons. I know for me it strengthens and reaffirms my faith, and my calling to serve him.

I hope it does the same for you!

In His Grip, Dave