Reaching Out

Outreach PicIn Colossians 4:2-5 Paul writes, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” We want to be a church that is looking for those open doors. We want to seek out ways to connect with our community. We want to love and serve. We want to help spread the good news in Eugene and around the world.

During the month of November, we will emphasize some ways we are trying to do this. This afternoon, we hope to have people from around our community here for our first ever Trunk-or-Treat. Next Sunday, we will spend time thinking about children without families on Orphan Sunday. On November 15, Dale Linge will be with us to share what the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort is doing to help in times of natural disasters. On November 19, we will gather to put together gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child. On November 30, we will be helping out in the soup kitchen. It’s a busy month when we often remember what we are thankful for. This November, let’s also think about how we can make the most of every opportunity.



People PicWe encounter all kinds of people every week: people who believe in God, people who do not, people who are friendly, people who are ornery, people who serve, people who are selfish, people who are wealthy, people who are struggling to get by, healthy people, sick people, kids, adults, family and strangers. Each one of those people is part of God’s creation and loved by him. In fact, scripture tells us quite a bit about how we should interact with each other.

It begins with loving our neighbor, which Jesus explains is one of the greatest commands. Then we find something we talked about in our Wednesday night study: household code. God give us instructions in Colossians 3 and other places about how to treat husbands, wives, parents, children, slaves and masters. Although we might find some of those commands difficult and others easy, there’s one amazing thing about all of them. God included them in His word. God spends a lot of time communicating how we should live alongside our families and others. He cares about how we treat each other. Sometimes we spend so much time debating the content of the household code, we forget how incredible it is that God put it there in the first place. Not only did He love us so much that He sent His son; He loved us so much that He wants us to love each other and treat each other well. Let’s live out that love this week.



Set Your Hearts

Heart PhotoAs Colossians 3 begins Paul writes, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” We have our hearts set on many things throughout life. As kids, our hearts were set on toys or place we would like to go. As we grew, our hearts may have been set on someone we loved or the job we desired. As we get older, our hearts may be set on the welfare of our families and friends. Some of those things seem trivial and others seem important. God wants us to have something above all of them: things above.

Sometimes we go to extremes and forget that there are things here that should be on our hearts. Later in the same chapter he talks about the importance of selfless interpersonal relationships. But “things above” should stand above that. He wants us to concentrate on the example of Christ and on following him. He wants our perspective to be one that places him above everything else. When we do that, we will find ourselves having the right priorities when it comes to things on Earth, because Jesus had the right priorities here. Where is your heart set?



Slave PhotoOn Wednesday nights, we have been studying Paul’s prison letters. Last week we looked at the first part of Colossians 2. As Mike led our study, I found myself thinking about Paul’s words in verse 1 when he told the Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.” It struck me at that moment the irony that Paul, who is being held captive as he writes these words, is warning them not to be taken captive. Then I realized that there is a big difference between Paul’s captivity and the one he warns them about: he chose it.

Paul understands all too well the way that people tend to be slaves to something. Even today, it’s a struggle that we have. We are slaves to work, slaves to school, slaves to sports, slaves to the pressure to fit within society. Rather than be slaves to those things by deception, our lives and our world would be better if we embrace the freedom we have in Christ. Jesus said it this way in John 8:34-36, “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”


Difficult Times

Roseburg PhotoThis week Oregon finds itself in the center of national news. This time it’s not because of politics, wildfires or earthquake predictions. It is because of a senseless act of violence that took place on a college campus seventy miles south of Eugene. We are already beginning to hear stories of terror and of heroism. We’ve probably ran through a few “What if” scenarios in our minds. We might have hugged our own kids a little tighter. In the midst of all the debate, we’ve probably all heard the question, “Why?”

Reasons for the tragedy will be discussed by talking heads on television over the coming days. Some questions will be answered, and there will probably be details that we will never know. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that murder is not where the problem begins. It is anger that takes root. Sin always begins with the heart, and our society definitely has a heart problem. There is so much anger around us already. As we respond, let us introduce love into the conversation. Let the world know that we are Christians by our love.