Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Habakkuk 2:18-20
18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
    Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
    he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
    Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
    It is covered with gold and silver;
    there is no breath in it.”
20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth be silent before him.

Our scripture today is referring to physical idols, but the most important reference here is that idols are lifeless. The reason this is so important is that only one thing can give life and the is God. So, all other things do not lead to life. What other things besides carved or physical idols do you think we have in our lives that do not lead to life?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Romans 1:21, 25
 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Our scripture today points to idolatry as the worship of created things rather than God. In what ways can we be drawn into worshipping created things rather than God?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Matthew 6:24
24 “
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

This week, we begin a new sermon series. This series focuses on the fact that idolatry is not just a sin but the source of all sin. Our scripture today keys in on why idolatry is such a bad thing. We can only really follow one master. How do you think other things in our lives can become another master? Why do you think we can not follow two masters?

Weekly Theme April 27 through May 3

God’s at War

 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony,
slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
- Matthew 15:17-20

When we encounter our sin it feels like we are just not operating the way God wants us to, it is so very hard to change.  In fact, it is so hard to change that we rarely want to talk about sin. We want to say, “I don’t want to think about my sin because it is so hard to get rid of, I just want to skip ahead to the grace part. This is true. It is through the grace of God in Jesus Christ that we can overcome sin in our lives, but too often we are treating the symptoms of sin and not the cause.  Now, what do I mean. The sins we often notice in our lives are usually caused by idols.
Kyle Idleman recently wrote a book, in which this sermon series is based, called God’s of War. In it he posits that Idolatry is not just a sin it is the sin. This thought occurred to him while he was teaching his daughters about the Ten Commandments. He began to ask his daughters which commandments they thought they had broken. They discussed anger, murder and honoring your father and mother. But the little girl told her dad the one she knew she had not broken was making an idol. He thought to himself, as we do, how it seems so easy to say we do not make idols. We can easily say that we do not have a ten foot golden calf in our living room. But, an idol is so much more than this. An idol is anything that we turn to or follow rather than following after God. If we take any sin that we commit and trace it back, we will find an idol at the core of it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Acts 1:3-11
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave
Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father
promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own
authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you
into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

In today’s scripture Jesus appears one last time and ascends into heaven having promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are also promised that one day He will return. This is our hope. We live in the mist of suffering and trial and by the help of the Holy Spirit we are waiting for the day when Christ shall return in final glory when there will be no more crying and no more death. How has the Holy Spirit helped you in the midst of despair? What hope do you find in the return of Jesus Christ?

Friday, April 25, 2014

John 21:1-12
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples,
by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast. ”None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

 In today’s scripture the disciples are fishing and having no luck. But Jesus instructs them to try the other side of the boat. You may be thinking, “so what Jesus is better than Bill Dance.” But what if we think about the fact that Christ has called us as His disciples to fish for people. If we go about trying to go fishing for people without Jesus’ help we will continuously come up empty. Yet, if we recognize that it is not our church but Jesus’, and we listen to His call as to where and how to fish. We will make so many disciples that any net will barely hold all those who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can we all give over control to our Lord Jesus Christ so that He may show us all how to fish for people?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

John 20:24-29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Our verses this week can be distressing because unlike the disciples we have not seen the raised body of Christ. We cannot touch His hands and side. We have to take it on faith, but Jesus gives us words of encouragement. “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Would you want to see the body of the risen Christ if you had the chance? Does not being able to touch the wounds cause you pause in believing in a risen Christ? Tell God about it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Luke 24:36-49
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

In today’s scripture we see the disciples become afraid as they feel they have seen a ghost. But Jesus reassures them that He is quite alive. He shows them His hands and feet. He also eats food with them. Why do you think it is important that Jesus showed that He was raised not just as a ghost, but that His entire body was raised from the dead?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Luke 24:13-21,28-32
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have
happened there in these days?”19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed
before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

In Luke 10:1 Jesus sends seventy two disciples to go ahead of Him to spread the Gospel. The two men on the road to Emmaus are most likely part of these seventy-two. In our scripture today we see again disciples that are sad after Jesus’ death.  They then encounter the risen Christ. But they do not realize it is Jesus until they sit and have a meal with Him. This is why the role of Communion in our faith is so important. We can see the work of God when we share a meal together and like the travelers on the road to Emmaus we can even encounter the risen Christ. What does communion mean to you? Does the story of the travelers on the road to Emmaus change or inform that view?

Monday, April 21, 2014

John 20:1-2, 11-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary
Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you
crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my
Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis literally, "to stand again." In the case of Jesus, resurrection meant the restoration of his whole self — body and spirit — by God, the creator of all life. The gospels record a number of accounts of Jesus appearing after his resurrection to His disciples individually as well as while they are in groups. This week we will explore the six appearances of Jesus after His resurrection.  Our first story is the resurrection story from the gospel of John where Mary sees the risen Jesus. On Sunday we celebrated the resurrected Jesus. He have seen that He’s alive. How are you sharing this hope having
encountered the living Christ on Sunday?

Weekly Theme April 20 through 26

The Resurrection Changes Everything

 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  
—1 Corinthians 15:3-4
              Three days after Jesus’ death, the power of God raised him to new life and he walked out of the tomb.  The victory over sin and death that came from Jesus’ death and resurrection was then offered to all humanity. How do we receive this gift of forgiveness and new life?  How does Christ’s new life get transplanted into our lives?  It is a free gift.  There is nothing we can do to earn forgiveness and new life.  We can’t be good enough to get it.  It isn’t something we are born into or that we inherit.  It is a free gift that is received when we believe in faith that Christ did die for our sins and that through his resurrection we have received new and eternal life.  When we have faith that all that Christ did was done for us then the transplant of new life has taken place and we will live eternally through that new life.  The resurrection of Jesus has changed everything.
Bottom line is that there is something we all need.  We all need forgiveness for our sins and we all need the gift of life everlasting.  The new life that we need is transplanted into our lives when we believe. When we have faith that Christ died and rose from the dead for us then Christ’s new life is transplanted into our lives.  The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mark 15:27-37
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28]  29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

Have you ever thought about those other two criminals on the cross or better yet the criminal that was released, Barabbas. Imagine that you are Barabbas. You know the
horrible things you have done. You know that you deserve to die, but this man Jesus takes your place. You follow Him from the prison to Golgotha. And you see there Jesus die on a cross in your place.  This is what Christ does for each and every one of us. We are sinful and we deserve to die, but He has taken our place.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mark 15:16-26
16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.  22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.

 In Luke 9: 23 Jesus tells His followers, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Simon of Cyrene quite literally follows this call. Think about what it would mean for you to take up Christ’s cross and follow Him?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mark 14:32-42
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said,
“everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

No reflection today. Simply take the time to pray with Jesus. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mark 14:17-26
17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” 19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” 20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

In this passage Jesus has one last meal with His friends. We often think that we are blameless in the death of Jesus. But He died for our sins. So as we remember this last meal, think about ways in which you betray Jesus. What things in your life did Christ die for?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mark 11:15-17
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the
temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Of course, scholars have considered why Jesus turned over the tables. But today take the space provided to explain why you think Jesus cast out the money changers?

Monday, April 14, 2014

 Mark 11:1-11
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it,some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve

Today Jesus enters into the city of Jerusalem to the people shouting Hosanna. When we engage with the last week of Jesus’ life we should pay attention to the sights, sounds, and emotions that are in the story. We often gloss over these things because we want to race forward to the end. Reread the story and think about all the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions of seeing the Messiah enter Jerusalem.  

Weekly Theme April 13 through 19

Holy Week
Then Jesus entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple.
—Mark 11:11

All around the world, many Christians observe Palm Sunday, the day that commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into the holy city. Riding on a donkey, he was greeted by ecstatic crowds who waved palm branches in celebration. In a matter of days, shouts of victory gave way to betrayals. With dizzying rapidity Jesus went from being celebrated to being crucified. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week, a week in which Christian tradition marks as the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. It is a week in which we retell and remember a biblical account fraught with violence and tension, political intrigue, and incredible cruelty.
Holy Week invites us to know the narrative of these final days experientially. It is a week marked by the darkest shadows, the insanity of political machination, the tenderness of a
communal meal and the way of the cross. It is also a week filled with hope, that culminates in the mystery of an empty tomb. It is a week in which we know anew that God always, and 
mysteriously brings forth life out of death.
By Easter morning if you have walked through the events portrayed by Holy Week, you will have intimations of hope—real hope. This hope springs from the valley of the shadow of death from the vast gap where we cannot bring forth anything new of our own power and volition. The hope is known in the frontier of suffering and death, where we least expect it.
Enter Holy Week, enter the story. Listen with your
deepest self as the events of the week unfold.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2 Corinthians 4:13-18
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have
spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Our scripture today reminds us that even in the midst of our grief we should remain heaven-minded. As believers we are all called to transform the little world around us. C.S. Lewis offered a thoughtful perspective on remaining heavenly minded while continuing to make an impact in this present world. In Mere Christianity he said, "Hope…means…a
continual looking forward to the eternal world…it does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in': aim at earth and you will get neither." Being heavenly minded is not natural. It happens when we focus and meditate on the reality and wonderful hope of the world to come. When we do, we can bring a taste of heaven to the little world around us. How do you think you could bring a touch of heaven to your world?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1 Peter 1:3-9
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

In our scripture today, we hear two key elements. Primarily, that work we do in this life is work towards our inheritance in heaven through Jesus Christ. Secondly, we will still have to suffer grief in all kinds of troubles. What things are you
storing up in your inheritance  that can never perish, fade, or spoil? And what grief have you suffered in your life waiting for the hope that is to come?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Colossians 3:1-11
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Our scripture today captures the way we should live our lives knowing and trusting God’s promises. In the first verse the word translated as “ set your hearts on…” is actually the Greek work zeteo, which means to seek. This word is used other places in scripture but most notably to describe the way a shepherd searches for a lost sheep (Matthew 18:12), the way a woman searches for a lost coin (Luke 15:8), and the way a merchant searches for fine pearls (Matthew 13;45). All these are parables Christ told to express how God seeks us. It is also used in Luke 19:1 to describe how the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. This setting our hearts on things above is to seek after them like God seeks us. It is a diligent, single-minded focus on one thing. So when we read Colossians 3:1 we should hear Paul’s call to seek things above with a diligent, single minded focus. How do you seek after things above in your life?