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Hillsong United – “Oceans” (Live at RELEVANT) – YouTube.

Mosaic of Newaygo County.

Honesty in a Culture of Church Taboos | RELEVANT Magazine.

“The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want for anything. He leads me beside still waters…”

These very words have spoken peace and comfort to troubled people for centuries, and still do today. Just hearing this phrase brings images of green meadows, calm pools, and blue skies to my mind, and, yes, quiet. Imagine, a quiet place like that to rest in the midst of your struggles, your heartbreaks, and fear. Many times life is strife, loss, guilt, anxiety, and despair. These grip your mind and your heart and refuse to let go, they imprison us.  They refuse peace and rest that is so desperately needed. Is it possible that there is a place of “quiet waters” that this singer speaks of in the Bible? Yes there is, it is found in the very heart of God. It is found in His unfailing love for you, in His promise to “…never leave you or forsake you“. My dear Friend, if you are in Christ, then you are safely in the care of God, no matter how you feel right now. If you do not know Him, be assured that He sees you and values you, and He knows you, and your pain. Jesus came to bring us to God, to forgive us our sin, and to give you His peace. Let us listen closely to the soothing voice of the One who made us as He speaks of His love for us. Don’t try to figure it out, or search yourself to see if you feel loved, or are worthy of His love, just rest and trust. This is called faith, and faith in God is a solid rock which nothing can crumble.

Does this sound too good to be true? Take it from one who is not worthy but has received His love…me.

When I was a boy, and it was time to open our Christmas gifts, I would always open the big ones first. The big boxes held the best gifts, right? Let’s face it, when you walk down the store aisles, the big toys and gift ideas surround us, attracting our attention as the best presents for our kids or families. The Christmas season is BIG, with BIG purchases expected from BIG stores, and BIG parties to prepare and attend. But big is best isn’t it?

Maybe not. In reality, many wonderful things come in small packages, and could easily fit in your hand. One personal example of this is the year I opened a small present, and inside was a die cast metal Batmobile. This was in the 60’s when the Batman tv show was on every week, and was THE highlight of my week. This model Batmobile was identical to the one on the show, and was instantly my favorite possession, one that I wish I still had. Or,  how about a long awaited engagement ring? A precious photograph? Imagine someone giving you an address to a daughter you haven’t seen in years, and thought would never agree to see you again. Perhaps best of all is the blessing of a new son or daughter, conceived in love, and received with joy. Life altering blessings often, if not mostly, come in small packages.

Now, of course this is leading to the grand, inconceivable, Blessing of all the ages from eternity past unto eternity future.The Majestic, Infinite, Creator God entering humanity as a helpless, tiny, baby. A baby that needs to be changed, fed, held, rocked, and protected. Could God be contained in this child? Can Infinity fit into a 7 pound baby boy? Amazingly that is exactly what the Bible tells us.

On the night of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem angels visited a group of shepherds( why shepherds? I really don’t know),  and loudly proclaimed to them,

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord“.

A prophet, named Isaiah told the people of God around 500 B.C., “…for unto us a child is born…and His name shall be called …Mighty God…”

Now, that is staggering news. But when you think about it, what is too hard for God? Is it too hard, for the One who created all that exists with a word from His mouth, to come to earth as an infant? No, of course not. Is it too hard for a Holy God to love us enough to do so? No, it is His delight.

I, along with you, my dear friend, can rejoice with this tiny package this Christmas, given to us with joy. A blessed Christmas to you.

 

 

 

 

 

At Mosaic we value simplicity. We realize that we don’t need a special building, or “professional” preachers, teachers, or leaders to guide us to success. We do not require religious objects, committees, nice clothes, or perfect people, to be a church. The Church (we here at Mosaic) is wherever we gather together in Jesus’ Name.

We celebrate the fact that God’s people ARE the Church. The Church is not the building, but those who are gathered together to love and worship God. We also realize that, because this is true, all are needed to be who we are called to be. There are no people here who are more important than others. The gifts, passions, and talents of all are God-given, and are intended to bless the church.

We desire to be a place where anyone can feel at ease. We try to be a safe place where those who have been mistreated, looked down upon, or shunned, in more traditional churches, can come without fear of judgement. There are many who need Jesus who cannot imagine entering a church door, and we want them to come and follow Him with us.

We must always strive to acknowledge and actively remember our sin, our failures, our “brokenness”, and never allow ourselves to look down upon anyone out of selfish, foolish pride. We want to keep in mind the ease in which we can slip into religious arrogance.

Lastly, we acknowledge that we cannot live by any of this apart from the strength and grace of God. Only then will we be Mosaic Church.

 

There are very few mornings that I wake up “feeling” loved by God. I usually wake up feeling ashamed of my failure to live my life the way that I so badly want to live. It’s not a lack of desire that I feel this way, however, I’ve learned that it is a lack of ability to live according to those desires. I find that, although I want to live a life of love, purity, and sacrifice, my inner self fights against those things, and wants to please me, and to live for me alone. So, usually, I wake up, and my first thought is of my basic failures.

Now, is this the way to begin my day as a follower of Jesus? Of course not. The thing about Jesus, the Savior, is that He did live the life I dream of, and so much more than that, and He counts His life as my life. Too good to be true? Yes, but He has assured His followers that this  is true in the Bible, His revelation of His truth. So, in fact, and I mean “fact”,  I can wake up and replace my feelings of failure with the truth of His love and forgiveness. Is this easy? No, but with practice, I am getting better at it. The good news is that you can experience this fact as well. Just come to Jesus, and confess your failures, and He promises His forgiveness to you too. And then you, as well, can wake up knowing that it is a new morning in Him and for you. What a way to start your day.

The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions  never end. They are fresh  every morning; your faithfulness is abundant! 

“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, so I will put my hope in him. The Lord is good to those who trust  in him,

to the one who seeks him.  (Lamentations 3:22-25)

 

This question plagues us often through our lives; we see the examples of people who seem to have it all together, and we compare  ourselves with them and we realize that we do not measure up. This is a discouraging feeling, and we wonder, “if I cannot live up to their standard  of ‘goodness’ , how can I possibly be good enough for God”? Doesn’t God demand obedience to the “10 Commandments” and the “Golden Rule”? We look at ourselves and see anger, jealousy, lies, lust, bitterness, and greed, and we feel despair that we can never be accepted by God. We are used to letting others see our masks of happiness and confidence, but would never let them see our inner fears of being unlovable to God.

I have struggled with these feelings through much of my life, and, I have to admit, that, in and of myself, I am not very lovely when I stop to take time to get a glimpse of my inner heart. The badness hidden there far outweighs the good, and I am left unable to decieve myself. Imagine, then, how I felt when I learned that I am lovable to God, and that it is not my goodness that makes Him love me, nor could my goodness ever earn His love. The Bible, God’s truth written for us, is very clear about our inability to be good enough. So, then, in answer to our opening question, no, my thinking, my works, my charities, or my decisions, will ever be seen as “enough” to get near to God. The good news, however, is that God takes great pleasure in grace and mercy. Mercy is God withholding what we deserve (seperation from Him), and grace is His overwhelming us with what we do not deserve( love, and adoption as children).

Please read, and listen, to what God has revealed to us about our sin, and His grace and mercy. Please read and take great joy in the fact of God’s love…

” Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the power in the fact of God’s in the unseen world.[a] He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it”. (From the Bible,  Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, chapter 2: 1-9)

Does your inability to be “good” enough for God break your heart, and cause despair? Please, take heart and rejoice with me in the fact that Jesus came to rescue those who could never be good enough. On the contrary, our badness is what connects us to Christ, for Jesus came into the world to “save sinners”.

May God grant you mercy and peace…Please come and visit us who are also not good enough.

 

 

church is who we are We are all used to saying, “It’s time to go to church,” or “Where do you go to church?” What we mean in these phrases is the name, denomination, building, or location of the place we gather to worship. It might be a cathedral, a chapel, a school building, or a house, but wherever it is it is our church. Churches are often associated with ornate doors, stained glass, steeples, spires, artwork, or statues, but all are marked with prominent signs announcing who they are. But is this all there is to “church”? Is this what Jesus spoke of when He said “I will build My Church”? The Bible, God’s revelation of Himself to us, makes it clear that the Church is much more than buildings, beliefs, or denominations. God says that WE, those who belong to Him, are the Church.

So, Who is the Church?

Paul, a man called of God to teach and record His truth, and to share the gospel to many, taught that  24″ I am glad that I can suffer for you. I am pleased also that in my own body I can continue the suffering of Christ for his body, the church“. (His letter to the Colossian church). So, we can see here that the “Body of Christ” is, actually, known to be synonymous with the “Church”.

What, or who, then, is the “body of “Christ”?  Paul, in another passage, says in his letter to the church in Corinth (12:27), 27 “Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body”. The Body of Christ is US, His followers, those who love Him, and who have been rescued by His grace. 

The founder of the “home church” movement in England, Canon Ernest Southcott, said it best:

“The holiest moment of the church serviceis the moment when God’s people—strengthened by preaching and sacrament—go out of the church door into the world to be the church. We don’t go to church; we are the church.”

The church, therefore, is not a place. It’s not the building, it’s not the location, and it’s not the denomination. We—God’s people who are in Christ Jesus—are the church.

All this to bring the joyous news that we are not, primarily individual Christians, but  part of a much grander people of God, a people who are His hands, feet, and voice in the world. The Bible says in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything“.

I hope that this truth fills you with joy, and that when you next worship with His people, you will remember that you are a part, along with those who worship beside you, of the ancient Church of God, a sacred and holy gathering.