A Better Look for You
by Steven Pawley on March 5th, 2023
I’m on a personal journey to get a better look at who Jesus is. At times I’ve misunderstood, misrepresented, and have been misguided about who He is, how He works, and how He sees others. I need Jesus as He is, not how I want Him to be, believed Him to be, or how others who brought me to Jesus see Him. I’m taking a better look. I need to find out what I’m not quite seeing right. Growing up we were told “look twice” before crossing the road. It’s safer that way. When cutting materials, “measure twice and cut once”. Mistakes are expensive and avoidable. When we got bad news or had important decisions “get a second opinion”. Good counsel. Instant replays give a better look at an important call. A better look can change outcomes. We take a better look to see what’s in our blind spot or see a situation with a better perspective. On a news site I visit there’s a game called “spot the difference”. I think I’m pretty good but how would I know what I’m missing?! Sometimes I need a better look. You might too! Today, we’ll encounter Jesus doing something odd. I’ve had to look at this again - and again - and again. What is He doing? Why? What have I missed? What are you missing? (From Mk. 8:22-26)...   Read More
Are You Living Like a GrINO?
by Steven Pawley on February 26th, 2023
Have you ever met someone who claimed to follow Jesus but seemed to live like a GrINO? They mentioned grace a lot but misrepresented what it was and manifested so little of it. Maybe they met you with expectations, exhortations, and laws but very little love or acceptance. For others it’s the variety found in Jude 3-4 instead of the Rom. 1:5, 5:20-6:2. Grace isn’t vain. It is life-giving because it deals with sin: self-righteousness and license. We make it visible and accessible to others by committing to never being a GrINO (Grace In Name Only)! Jesus tells a story to affirm the rightness of forsaking all to build God’s kingdom not our own. Where many find principles of equity, equality, and one’s rights the story reveals a principle that is not so obvious about living in God’s economy: Amazing grace (From Matt. 20:1-16).   Read More
Yes Good Men Fail. Now What?
by Steven Pawley on February 19th, 2023
What do we do when a good man has a moral failure? What does the otherwise good person do when they fail? People fail - good people. You’ve probably heard it said, “Failure is prerequisite to success.” “Failure is success in progress.” “Fail forward”. “You fail because you’re trying.” “You haven’t failed until you stop trying”. Some people fail because of success. It goes to their head. Or it goes to their heart: The fear or stress of success causes them to sabotage their progress. Failure is part of life. Every great person of accomplishment “failed” to get there! God uses failures. Let’s look at a good man who failed, the provision God has made for it, and face failure together. How you handle failure makes all the difference in your world (From Gen. 9:18-29):  Read More
Are You Ready to Be Made Whole?
by Steven Pawley on February 12th, 2023
When you find yourself in a seemingly unchangeable situation, you know – “it’s been like this for years and nothing’s going to change it” – Jesus asks a question that can change it all. If you’re ready for God to make real change in your life, the seemingly impossible kind of change, Jesus is right there to make it happen. Jesus is called the Saviour because in Him there is a solution to every situation of life. But you have a role to play. Today, let’s face the impossible together and see what Jesus can do. Jesus encounters a man who has been in a frustrating situation that he’s resigned himself to for life. It seems like there’s nothing he can do about it until he has an honest conversation with Jesus (Context - John 5:1-8). Among the struggles – mental, emotional, relational, physical, financial, lame, halt, weak… Jesus asks a question:  Read More
Is God Breaking Your Ships?
by Steven Pawley on February 5th, 2023
Have you ever broken something to get someone’s attention? My mom broke an ashtray when I was young to break up a fight between my older brothers! She got our attention! God breaks things too. And when He does it should get our attention. He does so to help, to hinder a bad choice, or to stop us from continuing in a bad decision or direction. (Background: King Jehoshaphat was a great leader but gave in to a bad decision under pressure in the heat of the moment). Ever do that yourself? So, God broke his ships to help without regard for the time, effort, or expense invested! (From 2 Chr. 20:35-37) Consider some “ships” that God might be breaking or showing you that you need to break. Now is a good time to consider each “ship” in your life, find out what God expects, and act wisely:  Read More
I'm Ashamed. Now What? Three Questions.
by Steven Pawley on January 29th, 2023
Have you ever been perplexed by a decision you or someone you know has made? What was I thinking! What were they thinking!? We all have! Good or bad decisions have consequences. We control the choices but not the consequence. In fact, when we find ourselves facing problems because of poor choices, we may not be able to change the past, or present circumstances, but we can change our attitude and approach to the problem in a way that positively affects the future. The harmful ways people choose to handle problems, the ruin wrought in relationships, the things they turn to, run from, or attempt to hide in the midst of fears, failures, and faults is legend – and it goes all the way back to the beginning: (From Gen 2:15-17, Gen. 3:1-8). One little bite changed everything! Humanity happens to us all. Blame Adam! But how we respond to the messes we make is consequential. Friend don’t run and hide. God will meet you in the crises, calamities and conundrums of our own making. Let's look at three questions God asks when were in a conundrum and hiding from Him:   Read More
Handling The Issue that Plagues You
by Steven Pawley on January 22nd, 2023
In our Wed. night dinner and bible study at church we’re talking about encounters Jesus has with individuals. (Btw you’re welcome to join us, we’re going to have a really good time together). Recently, how Jesus met a very broken woman at a well and didn’t deal with her sin issue, He met her in her quests for fulfillment and the emptiness they produced. That was her issue. Maybe that’s you. Everywhere you’re striving for meaning, for purpose, for significance, for fulfillment never quenches the thirst. Frustrating right? Jesus meets you there to talk. Maybe you’ve been asked in a moment of heated discussion, What’s your issue? Maybe you’ve asked it yourself! The issue that plagues you might not be obvious. Friend, what’s troubling you? What is causing that inner turmoil and relentless pursuit for fulfillment, for wholeness, that no matter what you attempt, what you achieve, what you gain or lose just makes the issue worse? Well, you’re not alone. Jesus meets a woman in a crowd and deals with the issue that plagues her. He’ll do the same for you when you believe He (God) is the solution (From Mark 5:24-34):   Read More
Are You Living on Borrowed Power?
by Steven Pawley on January 15th, 2023
Through a great deal of pain, frustration, effort, and even prayer I’ve learned to admit and accept that there are some things you can do nothing about. Birth! Upbringing! Weather! The Past! Some are hindered from making progress in life because of what’s “back there”. I know. Instead of being restrained by a past you cannot change, there’s a question that can change everything going forward. When you’re honest with God you’ll be amazed at the hurts that heal, the losses recovered, and the redeemed life that the gospel received produces. And, you’ll live no longer on borrowed power (From 2 Kgs 6:1-7):  Read More
When You're Ready to Walk Away
by Steven Pawley on January 8th, 2023
Can you recall a time when you thought you knew where you were going but realized you were going in the wrong direction!? Sometimes life brings a circumstance that makes us want to walk away. So, we take a walk to clear our heads, think thru some things… But here’s a question you’ll need to answer: If you keep walking down the road you’re on, where will it lead in the end? When going the wrong way, God will walk with you awhile. And on that road as you walk and talk with Jesus, things can get turned in the right direction. With Jesus, it’s never too late to turn it around and He’ll meet you where you are right now (Context is From Luke 24:1-12 after Jesus' resurrection and meeting some disillusioned disciples) Every one of us can find ourselves disillusioned and going the wrong way. Right? Here's a few thoughts to about when you find yourself on the wrong road:  Read More
You Need to Know Your One Thing
by Steven Pawley on January 1st, 2023
Having been pastor for quite a while I’ve seen lots of people come and go. They run to Jesus during some crisis or emotional time only to walk away when God deals with some sin or issue in their life. People like you and me can be like that. Friend, I’m glad you came today… But I’m concerned about how you’ll leave. Before you can take hold of life as God intended, you’ll have to let go of some things: The one thing.   Read More
When it Cannot Get Any Worse
by Steven Pawley on December 18th, 2022
Why does God allow such pain and problems in our lives? Why does He give us those mountain top experiences only to take us to the valley of the shadow of death? To truly understand the hardships and losses of life, we must understand the gives and takes of God. He asks a question in the hard things; Will you worship me here? Remember, when it cannot get any worse, don't curse. Worship (instead). I’m going to remind you how God also allows you to suffer, often by a ruthless and relentless foe called the Devil. God allows the attacks of Satan to prove and prepare you for His purposes. So, arm yourself. Satan attacks five things to force you to curse (no longer worship) God. The order is instructive and in each we can hear God ask, will you worship me here? It’s part of why He gives and takes (From Job 1-2): How do we fight the foe and faithfully reveal Jesus and His gospel in the give and takes of God? (5 Thoughts)...   Read More
A Church You'd Never Leave
by Steven Pawley on December 11th, 2022
What is one thing you can expect from someone who professes to believe God and the gospel? Change. The gospel is both life-giving and life-changing and our mission is making it visible and accessible. Here’s our challenge. Can we build a church that creates a community that is biblically literate and genuinely Christian – one you’d never want to leave? With discipleship and some discipline, we can and should. As we embark on our mission to engage others with the gospel and teach them how to live as followers of Jesus Christ, we’ll regularly be introduced to four kinds of attenders... (From 1 Cor. 5:9-13)  Read More