After having a fairly mild Summer so far, it’s supposed to hike up into “Condition 90” weather several times this week -- so we’ve got that to look forward to. For my neighbor with the pool, that sounds great. For those of us who have to mow our lawns in the heat, that’s no fun at all.
But we did have fun this Sunday morning in worship. First off, we had a handful of out-of-town guests, which is always nice to see (especially when several of our regular FCCers were traveling hither and thither for this first true weekend of the Summer season).
We also had our last donation drive for Love Packages materials. The Youth Group will be taking all of the books, games, CDs and DVDs that the church family has collected over the past month to the Love Packages facility in Butler, Illinois, this Friday -- and then staying to work all day packing all of those items up in crates to be sent around the world. Thank you for all that you brought in, and please pray that Sara and the kids have a great, productive day on Friday.
And with that in mind, I should also remind everyone again that the kids could really use your pennies for the penny floor that we’re laying down this Summer in the Youth Room. We’ve gotten a lot of copper in already, but they could really use one last, big push to get all of the pennies that they’ll need. Please just bring them in and plop them in the big penny jar in the Narthex.
In our message this week, we continued our trip through the book of Romans, taking a walk through chapter 8 and looking at how we should be living in the Spirit.
It’s one thing to think of Pentecost and tongues of fire resting on people’s heads and all of that spectacle... but shouldn’t having the Holy Spirit living within us on a daily basis actually change the way that we live on a daily basis? It’s more than just a spectacle-generator -- it’s a life-changer.
Paul talked about how wretched he felt, recognizing the struggle that he felt between his thoughts (which were seeking after God) and his brute instincts (which were habitually sinning), but he wasn’t lost in that wretchedness, because he also realized that Jesus freed him from that sort of bondage at the cross, and that there’s now no condemnation awaiting him -- or any newborn (born again) child of the living God.
So if you genuinely are a Christian, then the Holy Spirit has worked in the and changed you (and continues changing you every day) -- and, conversely, if you haven’t been changed by the Spirit, then you aren’t really a Christian. Because a Christian isn’t someone who goes to church, or who reads the Bible, or who believes that there’s a God -- a Christian is someone who was bought and paid for by the blood of Christ, who has been brought from death to life, and who has been changed by the Spirit to become a child of God Himself.
ho on earth could be powerful enough to pluck you from out of the hands of an Almighty God who loves you that much? What possible force -- in all of Creation -- could be authoritative enough to condemn you, when God Himself died to take all condemnation from you?
The truth is, you and I have been given a hope that will carry us with it throughout all eternity, and it’s a hope that transcends this place as more than the entirety of your long life transcends the five minutes that it took you to read this Update.
Your attitudes in life should thus be based on your eternal hope, and not on the moment at hand. Stop and think about that the next time that you need to decide how to respond to a situation in your life -- the next time that you stress about what to wear, or the next time that you get frustrated about someone messing something up for you, or the next time that you decide that you’re too busy to pray or to read God’s Word because you’re too focused on doing something that will only matter for a day or a week or a month or a year.
If you truly have the Holy Spirit living in your heart, then stop and ask Him to direct you today.
And then ask Him the same thing tomorrow.
And then ask Him the same thing the day after that...