What Kind of Christian Are You?
by Steven Pawley on April 2nd, 2023
If you were to say, “I’m a Christian” would it be reasonable to ask, “what kind?” I mean look around at how many different Christian churches, cults, sects, beliefs, and behaviors there are. According to Jesus, your relationship to the Bible, your personal engagement with God’s word, reveals what kind of Christian (Christ-follower/imitator) you really are (John 8:31-32). Your relationship to and time in the Bible makes Jesus want to cry and is cause for concern. I’m asking you to hear from God and identify what kind of Christian you are (From Lk. 8:4-18).
Looking for Help In All The Wrong Places?
by Steven Pawley on March 26th, 2023
The stories of “people looking for help in all the wrong places” are numerous and well known. But sometimes people just stop looking for help. They surrender to their pain, problems, and predicaments and stop seeking help from God. My friend, don’t let that be your story. When you can’t do much to get to Jesus do what you can to get to Jesus – no excuses. He’ll even help you walk on water if you desire to get to Him for help (Mt. 14:29-31)! God’s word tells us of a person who for eighteen years dealt with a problem that limited their quality of life. Maybe that’s you? Unresolved pain or predicaments that are impacting your life. But Jesus uses the difficult circumstances this person endured to challenge us with a question: What’s keeping you from the help you need? Here’s four places to look (from Luke 13:10-17):
Satan Desires to Get You Alone
by Steven Pawley on March 19th, 2023
Difficult circumstances should drive us to God. But when they’re driving you away you need a strategy because Satan seeks to get you alone. That’s never a good thing. Satan is an opportunist who shows up when we’re weak. It is in these moments it is easy to give in to wrong and destructive choices. I know, you know, and Satan knows. Yet Jesus also knows about temptation and how to not succumb (1 Cor. 10:12-13). I’m going to show you three places I am regularly and relentlessly tempted when I’m right where Satan wants me - weary, isolated, and feeling alone. You will be too (From Luke 4:1-13).
Baggage You Weren't Meant to Carry
by Steven Pawley on March 12th, 2023
A famous verse of the Bible comes with some baggage that needs to be unpacked. Life gets that way too. We want the good stuff but have some baggage that life piles on and must be unloaded. Our baggage can bring us to the breaking point and life won’t lift a finger to help. Be careful how you unload when the struggles and stresses of life pile on. (From Mt. 11) When what you’re carrying is too heavy or unhealthy unload on Jesus – He can handle it.
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)...
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).
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):
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:
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:
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:
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):
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):