Pastors' Corner

You Are a Beautiful Design

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

The question of origin: “Who am I?” 
The question of purpose: “Why am I here?” and 
The question of design: “How do things work?” all find their root in Genesis 1:1.

This verse tells us we were created. And because we are the created and not the Creator, we are not the measure of anything. We're not the point.

That's hard because, if I can be honest, I like to be the point. I like everyone to defer to what I want, what I need and what I desire, and so do you. We all want to be the point, and when we feel like we're not the point, a lot of conflict is birthed. 

Although we may not be the point, God did create us differently than the rest of the world. Genesis 1:26a and 27 say, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’ … So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NIV).

But God didn’t stop there. Verse 31a adds a compelling completion to creation, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (NIV).

That's the first time those words are used. Up until this point it was good, it was good, it was good, and now we have man and woman, and it's very good

In this passage, we get what theologians have called for a few millennia the Imago Dei, the image of God, and the idea that men and women are different from all of creation because we have been made in the image of God.

There are several things textually that take place in this passage of Scripture that start to reveal that truth. First, there's a break in the rhythm. It's not just, “I created this, and it was good. I created this, and it was good.” It was all of a sudden a conversation inside the Godhead: “Let us make mankind in our own image.” Us, Our. This conversation in the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Out of the overflow of Their unity, joy and perfection, They began to paint Their glory on the canvas of creation. And then, in the vastness of this universe, on this tiny little dirt ball in one of the smaller solar systems in this expansive universe, God placed His crown jewel of all creation: men and women, made in His image and endowed with dominion and authority.

The Imago Dei is God's investment in humanity of God-like glory and moral capacity to reign and rule the earth as His representatives. This is what sets us apart. 

What are the implications of the Imago Dei? There is an intrinsic human dignity that places us above everything else in the creative order.

We have an intrinsic value because of the image God has given to us. It's not a functional thing as much as a gift from God. And it shapes how we view humanity — those we live side-by-side with and those we’ll never meet.

Yet we forget this amazing truth, and sin messes us up, and we treat each other in ways that must break God’s heart. 

What if we could really grasp that we have intrinsic value because we are made in the image of God? The difference would be incredible. This is God’s beautiful design for us, and we were made to walk in this beauty.

*Devotion taken from Matt Chandler and Proverbs31 Ministries

 

 

Your First Love

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Who does not remember their first love?  Starry-eyed, walking on air, bubbles in the stomach, a forever state of mind that we were sure would last until we took our last breath!  It does not matter how young we were, it is very hard to forget that initial glimpse of love when all was right with the world!

The second chapter of Revelation relates that kind of love to a brightly flickering light--a golden lampstand shining brightly.  A love that shines on the darkest nights and through the thickest fog, a love that is cultivated with fresh oil that enables the light to continue to burn through each day.  

But something happens in verse 4:  “Yet, I hold this against you.  You have forsaken your first love”.  Jesus is telling His believers that their love for Him is compromised.  No longer does it shine brightly as before.  No longer is it a beacon that others can follow.  The shining light is now a flickering, dying flame.  

A faith fueled by love has become a mechanical faith fueled by schedules, agendas, worry, and regrets.  The voices of this world are allowed to muffle the still, small voice of God.

The love our God has for us is like none other.  He is closer to us than our next breath, and loves us despite our sin.  He sees what we CAN be, not what we ARE.  He sees us as a completed work in Him.  Through joys, trials, sun, and rain, He is there with an everlasting, sacrificial, pure loveAlways.  

A love like this must be answered with reckless abandon for all things in which would draw us away from Christ’s light.  In Song of Songs, we see a glimpse of what it should look like:  “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.  Many waters cannot wash it away.” (Song of Songs, 8:6-7).  

Jesus yearns for you to take His hand and walk with Him each day for one simple reason: to show you the depth of the love He has for you.  We can only begin to understand this love by seeking Him out each day, in all things, in every moment.  The most amazing love is right in front of us all the time.  Remember whom you serve and how much He loves you!  Return that love so all can see and know where your devotion lies.  

I would like to leave you with a challenge.  On Nov. 1, 2015, you have the opportunity to share what you have with others.  Give others the chance to open their hearts to Jesus Christ.  Invite someone you know to come to church with you on that day.  What do you have to lose?  It may just change a person’s life.  Bring someone with you on Feed 5000 day and see what God can do!  

“And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love”.  (1 Cor. 13:13)

God bless you!

Courtney Wall

 

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