Let Justice Roll: The Freedom to Care

 Jesus wants his people to live with Justice.

The stats are in: there are a whole lot of people struggling in Pincher Creek--and in every community! People are struggling financially, they are struggling to balance making a living and caring for their children, and are struggling to deal with their grief at the loss of loved ones. Yet, while they are in need of our care, what are we busying ourselves with instead?

Some of us are one of those stats: we need to know Jesus cares deeply about us.

Some of us are just stressed out thinking about how to get ahead or next big thing or secure for future: Jesus offers a better way.

Others of us feel like there’s nothing we can do: but Jesus will give you what you need to make a difference.

Read: Amos 6:1-8, 12 (NLT)

Israel was looking down on the other nations’ failures and they thought they were better than them; the Israelites were pursuing lavish living, even as nation was corroding under them; the Israelites placed their trust in wealth, in size, and in fortresses. We may be tempted to look down on them for all of this, but if you really look at yourself and at our culture, you may see more of this attitude and behaviour in you than you care to admit!

When your trust is in material things, it’s all you can do to keep them. When your trust is in Jesus, you’re freed to pursue godly righteousness and justice.

Jesus’ death and resurrection did what you can never do for yourself.
Jesus’ death and resurrection brings a perfect hope greater than all your failures
Jesus’ death and resurrection begins to change your desires
Jesus’ death and resurrection provides you with the ability to pursue righteousness and justice.

Action Steps:

  • Put your trust in Jesus
  •  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how your lifestyle is contributing to injustice and poverty and what you can do instead to fight for justice.
“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.  May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.  May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.  And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.  Amen.”

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Let Justice Roll

If you're a follower of Jesus, consider: what is the reason you go to church, get together with other Christians, or worship God? Sometimes it's to feel good, or to look good. These are not wrong things to look forward to, but if they are the sole reason you are worshipping God, then you need to know that your worship may be false. It's all useless if it doesn't come from somewhere deeper.

False worshippers are concerned about themselves. True worshippers are being changed to pursue justice and righteousness for Christ's glory.

“I hate all your show and pretense— the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.
— Amos 5:21-24 NLT

God loves it when you worship him with a genuine heart.

But it's easy to slip into worshipping for the wrong reasons.

Your worship should stem from your adoration of Jesus’ love and transforming work in your life.

Action Step:
Genuinely ask the Holy Spirit to grow a strong desire for justice and righteousness in you


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In case you missed part 1:

Risen - The end doesn't have to be devoid of hope

 Jesus is the resurrection and the life

As much as we try to ignore it or delay it, death affects us all and brings with it a deep sense of helplessness. However, Easter is a day that reminds us that there is hope, because Easter is a celebration of the One who defeated death and brings us life.

Text: John 11:11-44 (NLT)

A few notes on this passage:

  1. Jesus' deep anger is not directed toward those who are mourning; instead, Jesus is angry at the hopelessness his enemy, death, has caused in those he loves.
  2. As Jesus approached Lazarus' tomb, he was facing off against death. This is a battle between Death and the Resurrection and the Life. The best part: Jesus won!
  3. A short while later, Jesus would defeat death again; this time, it would be with his own death and resurrection.

Jesus' death paid the price for your sin (i.e., your rebellion/rejection against God; your wrongdoing or failure to do what's right). At the cross, he took your sin on himself. His resurrection proves that Jesus is who he claims to be, that you can trust him, and that he has defeated death itself!

When you try to find your own way through life, death is inevitable and nothing good lay beyond it.

Jesus has overcome the hopelessness of death with the hope-filled promise of eternal life.

Imagine going through life with hope for the future and assurance of great things to come, even after this body dies!

It may be tempting to drag your feet and try to squeeze out few more days living for yourself before you give yourself to Jesus and his hope for you. It's easy to put off thinking about the end, but it comes sooner than you think!

April 15, 2017, ushered in a historical milestone.  On a day that most of us can't even recall, Emma Morano died in Italy at the age of 117.  None of us knew her, but she was the last known person born in the 19th century.  Although the 1800s were a long time ago, this quiet passing reminds us that a time comes for each generation when the last remaining person dies. 

No longer how long we put it off, death comes for everyone.

Will this short life be one full of hope now and for the future? Jesus is inviting you to step out of the grave and accept his offer of life.

Action Step:
Place your hope in Jesus and choose to follow him.

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Better: Isaac -- Jesus' sacrifice saved you

 Jesus can be known better through the Old Testament

We all know people who are choosing to carry the burden of their sinfulness on themselves, even though Jesus already paid the price to take those sins upon himself.

Read: Genesis 22:1-18

This isn't an easy passage to read. Why would God do these things? This is the only time in the Bible when God tested someone in this way. He wanted to ensure that Abraham's trust was in God himself, not just the promises that God had made him. By asking Abraham to offer up Isaac, he was asking him to be willing to give up the promises God had given him.

As well as serving as a test for Abraham, this story foreshadows the coming sacrifice of Jesus. Isaac and Jesus have many similarities. Both were born miraculously, both were to be sacrificed, both were dead for three days (Isaac in Abraham's eyes during their 3 day journey, Jesus in reality for three days), both carried the wood that would be used to sacrifice them up the hill, both were raised to life (Isaac through God staying Abraham's hand, Jesus being raised to life from the tomb). 

In fact, where Abraham's obedience with Isaac caused God to promise again to build a nation through whom the nations of the world would be blessed, he was speaking about Jesus who was to come and whose sacrifice on the cross truly would bless the nations with the gift of an eternal, life-giving relationship with Jesus for all who believe in him. Jesus was the lamb God would provide for himself, mentioned in Genesis 22:8!

God sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice so you could find life and freedom.

Jesus’ sacrifice has saved you. If he went through all that for you, what are you willing to do to share His message of hope?

It's a scary thought for many of us--sharing our faith. But we must remember that God is the God who provides. He provides the growth of faith in the people we share the Gospel with. He is the one who provides us the courage and the wisdom and the words as we do so.

Additionally, while you may be wary of putting yourself out there if it doesn't get you anything, remember the testing of Abraham: consider if you trust in God himself, or just in the benefits you get out of following him. He has commanded all who follow Jesus to share the Good News, and we must do so out of our faith in Jesus, not because of any benefit it may bring us personally.

Action Steps:

  • Consider: are you willing to obediently share your faith if there is nothing in it for you?
  • Tell people about Jesus: engage in spiritual conversations, invite people to church and to our Easter Extravaganza!

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