Posts with the tag “gospel”
God Can Rewrite Your Story
by Steven Pawley on May 28th, 2023
The Bible is full of life-changing and life-giving encounters with Jesus and the gospel. When God touches a soul, rescues it, redeems it, repurposes it - that’s a story that must be told! Whatever your past, present, or future the gospel believed and received rewrites it. The gospel rewrites your story in such a way you cannot be silent about...
Late But Not Left Out
by Steven Pawley on May 21st, 2023
A friend of mine missed an appointment to his tryout for a MLB team! It was his opportunity of a life time but was too late! Maybe you feel like it’s too late in life and you’ve missed it. Don’t. The sins of God’s people can get under our skin and make us cynical of church. But a fresh vision of Jesus (and our own hypocrisy) can get us back to serving the Lord...
When You Need God to Step In
by Steven Pawley on May 14th, 2023
When you’re in that place where the more you try the messier it gets and you need God now, stop lamenting, and look! He’s working behind the scenes for the greater good, and ready to step in. When you’re overwhelmed by circumstances or overtaken by sin God is not distant. Whatever your lament, look for Him. Jesus is at work and ready to step in when...
Does Your Life Reveal God's Ultimate Truth about Himself?
by Steven Pawley on May 7th, 2023
At the weekly Bible study in the county jail, I’ve been challenged to make sure I’m not a liability in helping those hungry men understand why God became a man - specifically for them. Jesus is rarely comprehended because His word is barely considered. Each minute in darkness you trade for light in God’s word is an investment that reveals what you believe Jesus is worth. He did something for us so we would do something for Him...
Only One Out of Ten Helped By Jesus Do This. Have You?
by Steven Pawley on April 30th, 2023
In America, one in ten people have diabetes, turn to social media instead of their doctor for health information, don’t care at all about politics, and during the pandemic considered suicide. Yet there is another troubling stat Jesus gives that should also challenge us. Only one in ten helped by Jesus give God praise and thanks. Nine out of ten are ungrateful! For some, the power of the gospel is within grasp. Jesus makes it visible and accessible. Religion is enough for nine out of ten, yet they walk away outwardly changed but no closer to Christ...
Something You Need to Remember
by Steven Pawley on April 9th, 2023
There is a point God ordains in our lives where the pain of past decisions and experiences meets our present predicament - where consequences and regrets force an encounter with Jesus. It has been said, show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. Be careful who you hang around. Whether your life is preferable or regrettable things can change in an instant. Two people are forced to hang around Jesus - crucified next to Him for their own poor choices with no escape. What they do next determines their future. You are one of these two people. (From Luke 23:33-43):
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):
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.
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:
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):
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:
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.
A Church on Mission is A Church with Tension
by Steven Pawley on December 5th, 2022
How does the local church remain on mission and handle the messes of ministry that direct engagement, discipleship, and discipline involve? A church on mission is a church in tension. We can desire it so clean we see none come to Christ or we can prefer it so permissive it becomes puffed up. We can do better as Bible-believers. (From 1 Cor. 5:6-10)
Two Options Only
by Steven Pawley on June 27th, 2022
Did you ever overhear someone ask a question that really made you think? Have you ever been given good advice only to choose another option then later regret it? Who here hasn’t been told what pain and problems the future holds if you continue on some preferred path only to dismiss the prophecy and then fulfill it?' Friend, be careful what you seek to accomplish in this life, you just might get it! God asked a good question in Mark 8:36-37. Makes you think, doesn’t it? When God asks questions, we should pay attention. In Psalm 2 the Godhead is talking among themselves about those made in their image and ask a question we should pay attention to (From Psalm 2)
One Anothering Well - Compassionate Community
by Steven Pawley on June 6th, 2022
The essence of the Christian life is fellowship because of the essence of the gospel: Forgiven, forever changed, and placed into the family of God! But what is the essence of fellowship? The essence of Christian fellowship is powerful love revealed in compassionate community. A compelling community of believers (the local church) is the place where love is displayed not just discussed because those who assemble are Christian by virtue of regeneration, not mere religion. The new birth (not just beliefs) gives evidence of God’s life in us because of our committed love one to another. Believers one-another well because they are committed to living in unity, fervent charity, and growing in maturity - genuine fellowship built around healthy relationships. Biblical Christianity then is made manifest by demonstration (not mere declaration) of what love is and does. (From 1 John 3:10-19):
One Anothering Well - The Essence of Life
by Steven Pawley on May 30th, 2022
If I were to ask you what is the essence of the Christian life, what would be your answer? What is the essence of our life together as followers of Christ? When the “disciple whom Jesus loved” took up pen and parchment to write about what it means to be “Christian” he did not write about what the gospel says, he wrote about what it does. If the gospel does anything, it profoundly changes one’s life and approach to relational health, because it turns on the light, reveals the problem, and rescues us from what hinders our life and relationships: Sin! So, what is the essence of the Christian life? John argues for fellowship (From 1 John 1:3-7)