Posts in Pastor Tommy
Where Wolves II: Identifying the Wolf - Part 1
I went deer hunting. Once. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Before I tried it I always thought, “It can’t be that hard.” Deer are docile and non-threatening and honestly they seem a little… slow. Not slow as in they can’t run fast (because I know they can) but more like they’re not real quick on the uptake. I mean, they see headlights from an oncoming vehicle and just stand there. How smart can they be? And so I figured finding one and shooting one shouldn’t be that tough. I was wrong.
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Where Wolves I: Who Are The Wolves
Pastor’s conferences are kinda weird. Over my years of ministry I have been to a lot of these conferences and I have noticed an odd dynamic. Quite often these events consist of pastors telling pastors how pastors are really important or how pastors are under-appreciated or how pastors need to be respected or how pastors have a hard job. The whole thing, at times, can seem self serving. Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are unique challenges to a pastor’s life and spending time talking, sharing and even, on occasion, commiserating can be deeply beneficial but at times this exercise can move from being supportive and affirming to misguided and destructive. (if you’re not a pastor keep reading, this is ultimately about church-goers not pastors)
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Seeing Jesus
The book of 1 John opens with the testimony of John's personal relationship with Christ: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us...
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Powerful Humility
This last week's message was on the 6th prayer in the series "Dear Father... Pastoral Prayers for Mercy Hill" and it was the prayer of humility: Dear Father, we pray this morning that we would turn away from spiritual pride. That we would be convinced of the destructive nature of arrogance in the heart of the believer and the life of the Church. May the image of Christ's humble Gospel inspire us daily to emulate his service and sacrifice. Father, may our deepening love for Christ produce a true love for others.
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What Does it Mean to be "Yoked"?
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
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Living Hope in the Resurrection
A living hope. This last Sunday we looked at that phrase as written in 1 Peter 1, he caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we discovered that this living hope is intended to be a practical daily benefit to the follower of Christ. The phrase in the greek indicates a current, alive hope. A living, breathing daily sustenance that carries us in our walk. And that is what the lesson of the resurrection should be to us.
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Partakers in Suffering
Hus is one of the many leaders in the great history of God's great church whose willingness to follow Christ into the blaze of suffering should stand as an inspiration to all Christ followers, especially as we contemplate this the most holiest of weeks. As our hearts and minds are turned toward the Passion of Christ and Good Friday it seems right that we contemplate our own relationships to the call to "co-sufferer" that is so prevalent in God's instruction to the church found in His word.
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Devoted to Teaching
When we use the phrase "being the church" at Mercy Hill the model for that "being" is discovered in Acts 2. It's that amazing story of the birth of the church following Pentecost and the description of the church's functioning moving forward. "They devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching...." is the first hint at where the church's head and heart was as it launched out as the front runner on mission for Christ.
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BEING THE CHURCH
If you are around Mercy Hill for any period of time you're going to hear me say, "We're not interested in building a church, we're interested in being the church." That phrase to many might seem like a simple tag line or platitude but from our perspective it is not, this for me is a governing value. See, I have been around the American church enough to know that when we get fixated on "building the church",
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A Father's Will
A loving father's will for his children is always for their best. I think that statement is pretty easily acceptable. I know there are dads and for that matter moms out there who can become self absorbed and therefore neglect the best for their kids but by and large loving parents desire the best for their children. I know that when I think about my three boys I want nothing but good for them. It's in the truth of this statement that we can find our greatest strength to yield our will and embrace God's.
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The Gospel Community
The phrase "gospel community" clearly consists of two concepts; gospel and community. Now as un-profound as that observation is, realizing the impact of each concept can produce a profound change in the life of the believer, the life of the local church and the community at large. I take the time to point this out because too often we embrace one without the other and in so doing we don't sufficiently serve either.
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Forgive.
"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare." - Lanny Morrow
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Before and After
This last Sunday I talked about the incredible before and after picture the apostle Paul painted for us in Ephesians 2. I have seen some pretty dramatic before and after shots but Ephesians 2 was probably the most impressive.
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