Dan Starcevich

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Who You Are and Why It Matters

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation...

2 Corinthians 5:17

Because We Are New Creations We Are Moved to Engage the World

It would be easy simply throw up our hands  and walk away.  Maybe one part of you wants ignore what is happening around us and retreat to your mountain hide-away.  Yet, another part nags that you can, and should, make a difference.  

As Hal was preaching this Sunday, it is the Gospel that defines who we are and how we see the world.  On the one hand the Gospel tells us that we and our world are damaged goods.  Our internal disposition, or core nature was damaged the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  Not only that, our nature works itself out in sinful desires and actions.  The Gospel reveals the truth that we are sinners by nature and by action.  This is the part that says retreat, give up, hide.

Yet, the Gospel also tells us that God provided forgiveness for our sinful nature and sinful actions at the cross.  Jesus satisfied God's demand for punishment of sin by bearing that punishment for us.  By the simple act of trusting what God has done in Jesus we are made holy before God.  We are no longer damaged goods but new creations.  New creations live new lives.  This is the part that says, don't give up, its not too late, your life changed so change is possible for everyone.

That new creation in us keeps nagging.  It gives us the motivation to reach out and make a difference in someone else's life.  Listen to the new creation.  Pray now for God to bring someone into your life that is hungry to hear that they can be a new person, have a new identity, become a new creation through faith in Jesus.

The Word of God Offends, No Matter Who the Messenger

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Mark 6:3

No matter who shares it, the  word of God is offensive to the hard-hearted. 

If you have ever tried to share the gospel you know that it is sometimes hard to get through to people.  If the heart has not been prepared to receive the truth then the words of the gosple are like grass seeds falling on the sidewalk.  There is so much resistance the seed doesn't take root but just bounces off.

Take heart, Jesus sometimes had the same challenge that you experience.  You know the old saying "familiarity breeds contempt". This is the resistance Jesus faced when He preached in His hometown. The resistance of familiarity.  His hearers knew his family trade; his mom, brothers, and sisters.  This very familiarity was the reason they resisted Him.  

Of course, Jesus Himself was not the issue.  If they really knew Him then they would have had ample reason to believe.  His sinless life, His exorcisms, His miracles all confirmed the truth of the word He spoke.  The issue was His call to repent in light of the coming kingdom of God.  They loved their sin so much that they used any excuse, true or not, to reject Him and His word.  Simply put, they didn't want to change their minds and follow Jesus.

As disciples of Jesus you will do what Jesus did and share the good news with those closest to you.  As visitors fill your homes this summer don't hesitate to do what Jesus did, share the good news that His kingdom is near.  At the same time be prepared that some of your visiting friends and relatives may resist.  Remember they are not rejecting you but rather the word you are sowing into their lives.

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