LIVE PEACEABLY WITH EVERYONE


LESSON FROM ROADRUNNER

Take the TV news in small doses. Your favorite shows with limits. Social media at arms length. Instead, look for signs of life elsewhere in the days leading up to resurrection. Open your bible. Read of those early Christians who under great duress resolved to forgive and draw their strength from the unseen hope they profess. Pray what you were taught before you could read—the one about ‘our Father’s kingdom come, our Father’s will be done’. Tend to the relationships you presently have. Let your love be genuine, fervent, and hospitable. Laugh with…  Joke with…  Sit with…  Encourage. Comfort. As best you can, be at peace.

“Let your love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not grow weary in zeal but be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be high-minded, but associate with the lowly. Do not claim to be wiser than you are. And do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Romans 12:9-18

Dan Behrens, Co Pastor, Evergreen Church

Does God Speak?


DOES GOD SPEAK? 

The boy Samuel ministered to the Lord under Eli. Now the word of the Lord was rare in those days; prophetic vision infrequent. Yet it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, when his eyes had grown so dim he could not see, and before the lamp of God had gone out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, while Samuel was lying down in his place, that the Lord called out. And Samuel answered him, “Here I am!” (1 Sam 3:1-4)

These scriptures are some of my favorites and I return to them often. They are a comfort and confirmation of my own testimony, of God speaking to me and calling me to follow him nearly 15 years ago. These scriptures answer the question ‘Does God speak?’ And even more intimately ‘Does God speak to me when I see very little evidence of his presence?’ The answer is… ‘Yes!’ and ‘Yes!’

This here introduction into the life of Samuel serves to remind me (and I hope you too) of two important things: (1) Belief, more than anything else, bears the marks of commitment. Belief commits to continue believing when we are full of doubt. Belief continues to stay put, be patient, come close, and open up, particularly in times of uncertainty, where there is no clear vision or direction, when we despair even of lifting our eyes. This commitment we call faith, and without it we really are lost at sea. (2) Every bit as much in our day as in the days of Samuel, the lamp of the Lord does not go out. It continues right along with us. Whether our eyes have gone dim with disappointment or our hearts have grown hard from perpetual hurdles, the glowing presence of God is aflame the whole night through… the whole night through. Do not despair over evidence. Believe. Our constant companion even now walks us on toward morning, toward a Sabbath of sorts, a changing of the guard, a whisper of that long-awaited rest at the end of a shift, where our efforts shut down and His voice awakens.

Dan Behrens, Co Pastor, Evergreen Church 

Set The Captive Free


SET THE CAPTIVE FREE! 

“Set the captive free.” I’ve had this thought in my mind the last couple of days. It first came to me after reading the following verses near the end of Philippians—the apostle Paul’s closing remarks:

Give greetings to all the saints there in Christ Jesus. The brothers with me here send their greetings to you. And all the saints greet you, especially those who belong to the household of Caesar. And now may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil. 4:21:23).

What catches my attention is this: “especially those who belong to the household of Caesar”(v22). Caesar’s house represents the Roman guard who, whether on this occasion or some other, is responsible for Paul’s imprisonment and eventual execution. Yet somehow somewhere among the imperial ranks belief has taken hold. The power of the gospel of grace that is the kingdom of righteousness for both Jew and Gentile has infiltrated the hearts and minds of the opposition. The ministry of reconciliation has slipped through the prison bars undetected. A covert rescue mission is well underway and the real captives are being set free.

It would appear that the early church apostles believed “set the captive free” is an actual assignment, actually quite doable—possibly less “spiritual” than we first think and perhaps more “practical” than we’d like own up to. We no not for certain Paul’s method of ministry on this last leg of his race, but for us “set the captive free” may be as simple as a word, a comment, a card, a call, an apology, an encouragement, a favor, a deed, a prayer, an obedient service of no real benefit to you personally except that God has ordered you to do it.

See, here’s the deal. All around us and even in our own personal lives there are beautiful people all bound up, caged, and holding defensive posture. These may be persons of authority. They may persons under authority, receiving orders, or still searching for their place in life. Today, this week, or in the coming year, you just may be dropped into someone’s life like a secret spy on a rescue mission. You may be spotted, seized, and ushered into rooms you never could have imagined. But here you are. You are not the God of heaven and earth who establishes righteousness, but you are an ambassador with keys in hand. So quit stalling. Work the mission. Set the captive free. Reconcile that which is lost. To love your unlovable neighbor as yourself may require you slip love into the room. So be it. Tuck it up your sleeve. Bury it in your sock. Do whatever it takes to disarm the opposition. For although the eternal outcomes are up to God, we do know that Caesar’s household’s already been compromised.

Dan Behrens, Co-Pastor, Evergreen Church

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