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Friday, September 18, 2009

Church News: September 15, 2009

Last Sunday, the message was titled, "Losing Our Lives For Christ's Sake" based upon Jesus' words recorded in Mark 8 verses 27-38. In it, Father David started out by seeking to answer the question of how valuable our souls and lives are. The short answer- Worth dying for!  Indeed, he said, to recognize the context of this passage, we need to contemplate the sanctity and awesome value of our lives, lives for which the Son of God offered His Life on the Cross. 

He reminded the listeners that "God wanted us born" and "He has great hopes and investment in our lives." Our lives are valuable to God! From this starting point, he helped us to unpack what Jesus said as recorded in Mark 8:35 "whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it." 

"Considering our lives as valuable to God, then what does the denial of self entail?", David+ asked. It entails a shift from self-centeredness, selfishness, exclusive self-interest, and even seeking self-protection without consideration of God's place in our lives. Who is at the center of your life?, David+ asked. Who do you seek to have supreme control in your life? Is it your self or is it Jesus?

So how does self-denial and humility fit in to our lives in a godly way? David+  explained that everything we have is from God, therefore we don't need to hold so very tightly to our own self interest. Rather, we must learn to let go of our selfishness, our efforts to save ourselves without God's help, and learn through faith to cooperate with God and trust Him. 

"And yet", David+ continued, "self-denial is not an end in itself."

We can never rid ourselves of self-interest... this can not be the aim... and furthermore 'What can a man give in return for his life?' (Mark 8:37). The self-denial Jesus advocates takes dying to self and becoming alive to God. We do this by giving over ourselves to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. This means that we learn to cooperate with Him in the life He gives us and the life to which He calls us in His love. Afterall, Jesus is speaking here of self-denial for His sake and for the sake of the gospel. We are therefore invited to give over our loyalties, our focus, our purpose, everything that is important, and indeed, our centeredness, to God.

David+ encouraged us not to think of ourselves as too damaged, too bad, or too unreachable for God, nor are we to think we are too good, not needing a Savior. Neither are we to see God as to weak or too unwilling or uncaring to receive us and grant us life eternal as we lose (invest, commit) our lives unto Him: for His sake and the gospel. 

So who is in control- you or God? Father David concluded, "In Christ, your life is not your own. Jesus bought your life for the price of His own Life, therefore your life is sacred to God." Let us offer (lose) our lives unto Him in faith in order to gain true life.



Announcements


Pray for the people of Reformation Lutheran as they meet to discuss the recent changes in the Lutheran church and how these changes will affect them.


September 26, 2009- First day of Sunday School! Tom and Alison will host an after-church meeting for all members regarding Sunday School, refreshments will be provided.


October 6, 2009- Women's Book Group will meet at 7PM at the Perkins at 1500 W. Ridge Rd. The discussion will include "Why Faith Matters" by David J. Wolpe, the Mary Magdalene
chapter of the book "Twelve Extraordinary Women" by John MacArthur, and the Ben Stein video documentary "Expelled".

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