Not a Cynic

The message of God’s Grace tells us that we are nothings who’ve been made into something by the Lord. We were rebels and enemies of God, dead in our sin and on the wide road that leads to destruction and eternal death. But God in his grace rescued us, and by His grace he will bring us home. This should and must engender humility. The more we know and appreciate this, the more humble we should be. And the more humble we are, the better we’ll be able to walk by the Spirit in dependence on the Lord’s mighty grace. And the better we will learn to extend love and grace to one another.


Sadly most of us have become cynics. We look around us and believe that people have horrible ulterior motives. Some will tell me that they are just discerning…discerning of the bad nature of others. But there is a significant difference between discernment and cynicism. We are not called to be cynics, servants. When we become cynics, we can’t see the beautiful and miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in our lives or the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s hard work wrestling down the inner cynics of our hearts, but we must. We have to let go of the individual visions we have for our own lives, the life of our family and church so that we can embrace and grasp God’s vision…that is if I want to live in such a way that I see what God is doing…getting a peak behind the Spiritual curtain.  


Cynicism or the belief that other people are motivated only by their own self-interests or from a desire to bring about evil outcomes, comes mostly from bitter disappointments that we’ve experienced in the past. Most of us have had the experience of having people we trust fail us…people whom we’ve admired betray us or treat us badly, which has burst long-held ideas and expectations. For many of us this has occurred more than once and so we either avoid others, or expect betrayal. We sometimes get to the point when we interpret the remarks of actions of others in the most negative light possible. How can we get beyond this? How can we experience healing and wholeness from cynicism? Please join us this Sunday as we explore the answers to this in the Gospel of Luke as we continue in our series on “Radical Revitalization”.

Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good!

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 Approximately 4 years ago, I started to experience illness and pain that seemed very mysterious. When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor 8 months later, I started to realize that I could soon be letting go of everyone and everything that was important to me. The years of pain that I’ve experienced since, has given me more insight to the depths of the hope that we have in Christ. 

So often we Christians here in America live such comfortable lives, that we start to think of heaven as an extension of this life. Yet most Christians around the world and throughout history have lived lives of trial, suffering, poverty and struggle so that the realities of heaven has meant so much more for them. Heaven, the place that our Lord has said he has gone to prepare for us is what we look forward to when all tears, all sorrows, all illness and sickness and death is gone. We live today with God’s mediating grace and we share in much that is good in nature and the goodness and kindness shown to us from others, but everything is still marred by sin, death, decay and sickness. 

But there will soon come a time when all is made new. Our hope is not in this world order. Our hope is never in the winds of political change or the wealth we are able to amass. Today, I am struggling with divisions and decisions that need to be made in Christ’s body. But all the mistakes, failures, and weaknesses of myself and others…all the hurts and trials, come into proper perspective when we look at that larger picture of the reality of heaven and hell, glory and judgement. The pain, struggles and trials of this life, while they might seem so large and looming today, pale in comparison to the joy and glory that we have in Jesus Christ and His sure promise of eternity with Him, paid for at the cross and sealed at the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The Wealth of Joy

This Sunday we will be talking about an important aspect of Christian maturity as we look at an important passage in second Corinthians. Paul is writing to the Corinthians and instructing them about the attitude of generosity and how it functions in the life of a believer and in the community of the church.

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He begins this discussion by bringing up the church in Macedonia as a model and an example for them. He describes the Macedonian believers as being poor, but extremely generous. In fact, he goes so far as to say that their “wealth” was their joy in what God had done for them. Think about that for a moment. Their wealth wasn’t in money and comfortable things in this world, but rather they were rich in joy, because they had grown in gratitude for what God had done for them. And this spilled out over to others.

They weren’t motivated by a guilt trip or because they were being manipulated by others. Rather their motivation was simple joy and gratitude because of God’s faithful work in their hearts. They gave out of the abundance of joy they had in their new identity in Christ. It was their poverty and their joy that combined together to produce an abundant and amazing generosity beyond what they had. May the Lord’s grace continue to work in our hearts, as He has done in the Macedonian church

How about you? Do you take sin seriously?


In Matthew 18:8-9 (NIV) Jesus says this, “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”

 

I don’t know about you, but my hands and feet have caused me to sin and so have my eyes. Jesus uses hyperbole here to express the utter seriousness with which our triune God takes sin. And yet, we rarely take sin so seriously. If we did, we would regularly be on our knees in confession, seeking the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. How about you? Do you take sin seriously? Jesus gives us an important aspect of the solution in this passage. I hope and pray that you will join us this Sunday as we pursue the grace and forgiveness of Jesus and seek His empowerment to live in those kinds of relationships with one another.

 

-Adel Thalos

At the Heart of True Restoration

This week at Parkway Church we will be having a special restoration and healing service at both the 8:45 and 11:00 service.  If you would like prayer for emotional healing, spiritual healing, healing for relationships, or physical healing or know someone who needs it, we pray that you will consider joining us this Sunday.

 

Preview of the message this Sunday as we will be in Matthew 18:12-22 and Luke 5:17-26:

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C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity wrote this, “For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life--namely myself. . . In fact, the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. . . But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is in anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere, he can be cured and made human again.”

At the heart of true restoration, real healing, being cured and made human again is the knowledge of a compassionate and caring God who pursues the lost sheep, pursues those who sin and need forgiveness. And who pursued those who have sinned with their eyes and with their hands and who truly know they need forgiveness and restoration.