Stir up each other to love and good works

Posted by Matt Lane on January 30th, 2017 filed in Christian Living, Church, Faith, Small Groups
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tells us to “stir up one another to love and good works”.  There are some 50+ other “one another” statements in the New Testament that we as Christians should pay attention to but in context, is a fairly good summary.

So stirring up one another is essential and part of how God has set up our sanctification process. Jesus gave his life for the church () and so it goes without saying that being with others is by design. We need to live in community so that we are known and where we know others. Biblical community helps to keep our hearts soft to God and others and is the foundation of the guardrails of the Christian life that God designed. Isolation can lead to unhealthiness in many ways but think the 7 deadly sins.

In community, I love to be challenged on things as it makes me think, confess, repent and change. Knowing the heart of the one challenging makes the experience sweet and I can receive it through the lens of them being for me, not against me. Being challenged in our Christian walk is so needed as we all wear blinders.

That being said, if someone charges at me instead of challenges, there can be more hurt that help. Charging gives the impression that it’s just about being right or about condemning and less about coming alongside someone. Now there are some situations when it’s needed. Jesus did it with the Pharisees in . Paul did it to Peter in . Great sin requires a strong response but this shouldn’t be the norm.

So let’s stir up and challenge each other but not charge (unless absolutely needed) so that we push each other to be “imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God ().

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And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,


And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,


Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.


You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.


But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.


5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Sanctity of Human Life Day

Posted by Matt Lane on January 27th, 2017 filed in Christian Living
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We recently celebrated MLK day and Sanctity of Human Life Day and although they were not on the same weekend this year, they often are. While this is not the first post connecting these two days, both days push for much reflection, thought, and then action.

Martin Luther King Jr. fought for rights of the oppressed and marginalized. For those that were treated unfairly and often not even seen as humans. His fight is most well know to be for the black community who were treated horribly at the time and not afforded their God given rights. If he was still alive today he would still be fighting it seems. But it’s not a stretch to say that MLK was fighting for the unborn. The unborn are treated horribly and not afforded their God given rights. The unborn are oppressed and marginalized. They are not seen as humans. if MLK was still alive today, perhaps he would be fighting for the unborn too.

Abortion is murder. There is no other way to describe it. As Christians we cannot turn a blind eye to any group of people that are being oppressed, marginalized or in this case, slaughtered. Instead, we are to move into the issue with truth and grace. Jesus’ earthly ministry is our example for this. From healing the sick to raising the dead to associating with those of all different social rankings, Jesus was so often focused on those who were marginalized and treated as second class. To move into difficult things is hard but holy and as Christians we are called to this.

Sure stopping abortion is crucial. But stopping people from wanting to get abortions is even better. The farther up stream we can get the better. So for sure we need to stop abortions. But what about the mothers who feel like they have no hope? What does a young teenage girl do when she cannot get help at home or anywhere else? Why do women feel trapped with no other option? Why do they feel as if there is no other way?

According to the 2010 census data, the US population is over 70% white and under 13% black but the abortion rate is 39% white and 28% black according to one report. In other reports the percentage of black abortions is even higher. Either way, there is a significant amount of total abortions happening in the black community. This should cause us to pause and wonder what is going on. It should make our hearts ache that the one people group MLK fought so hard for continues to be treated as non human in the womb. It should make us all weep for the loss of all those children.

Yes there is a large percentage of women from minority groups that get abortions but don’t think for a moment that white girls from “good Christian homes” are not frequenting abortion clinics too because they are. This should also make us pause and cry out to a holy God that tells us to look after the widow and orphan.

So to bring this to a close, let’s be unapologetically against abortion. But let’s also be for the marginalized women who feel that they have no other option. Let’s make space for the messiness of young pregnant teens of all people groups and show them Christ’s love instead of condemnation. Let’s show them that God, through his son Jesus, will give them another way. A way that is life giving and offers hope in the midst of chaos.

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The Power of Mentors

Posted by Matt Lane on January 26th, 2017 filed in Christian Living
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I was sharing my story with a group recently and it made me reflect on three men who poured into me. It’s amazing to look back and see how much God used them to speak truth into my life and how I was changed forever.

I never went looking for mentors and maybe at times the learning went both ways. But regardless, these guys taught me so many things. It would be hard to list out how many! How to trust God, how to love on others, how to relate to teens, how to teach in front of a large group, how to study the Bible, how to be discerning but most importantly, God used these men to draw me closer to him.

By God’s grace I’ve in turn have been blessed with opportunities to pour into others. The things that God will teach YOU as you pour into others is priceless.

We are all on our own unique journeys. Not better or behind, just different. And, God set it up that in the Christian life we would need each other ().

Who’s pouring into you and who are you pouring into?

For sure it’s expensive but there is little that is more rewarding.

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Listen

6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (ESV)