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 This is off topic. Wondering with the recent loss of 2017 West Ottawa student taking his own life if he went to heaven 

This is not “way off topic.” Jesus’ heart breaks when life becomes so painful that death is a better choice. Ours should too. When a community experiences the loss of someone who was privately enduring pain, we should all grieve and ask how to help one another. 

First, please be in prayer for the the young man‘s family, his friends and former teammates, the West Ottawa students and staff, and our whole community. Ask God to bring tangible healing in the midst of profound pain. 

Second, Jesus is very clear. When we decide to believe in Him, recognize we need forgiveness, receive His grace, and follow Him, we are sealed as God’s kids for all of eternity. 

Third, no decision, not even one that results from deep and unexpressed pain and leads to our own death can change God’s love for us. 

Fourth, Scripture does not concur with the teaching that taking one’s life is an unforgivable sin. It teaches that God is faithful always. God keeps His promises always. God is there, in the midst of our pain, even if we don’t see or feel Him. God will secure the eternal soul.

The most important take away for us involves our day-to-day journey with one another. We can create safe spaces where honest dialogue is invited. As we encounter others, we can look into their eyes and inquire as to their well-being and take the time to wait for an honest answer. You and I need to model vulnerability and demonstrate how to share honest feelings when life hurts.

In May at CM Church, we will spend the whole month talking about emotional and mental realities and what the Bible says about depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and panic. The Be NICE lifestyle will be made available so that we can all notice, invite, challenge, and empower those around us. Support groups will be initiated and resources will be made available. Don’t miss it. Don’t let your friends miss it.

Thanks for asking he hard questions!

 

When did you know you were going to be used in such profound ways? Did you always know having the father you did? Or did it take some time?

Honestly, I don’t feel as though I am being used in profound ways. I feel as though I am enjoying the journey God has me on so that I can learn, enjoy so many new friends and ministry patterns, and watch God change lives as a result. 

When I was younger, I tried to do the “profound” and experienced frustration. I then observed my dad and other impactful people. I saw that they asked God to use them and remained open to opportunities to serve and learn and live out faith in Jesus with passion. That’s all I am doing. God does the rest. 

The greatest challenge is to always choose the great activity that God presents and not the good activity that is also available. By great, I in no way mean actions that result in numbers, noteriety, or a nomination for an award. By great I mean opportunities to serve that will result in Jesus being observed and seen as the way, truth, and life. When you can do something that changes eternity, you have departed the natural and emerged into the supernatural. 

Ask God what He has made you to accomplish, listen to the Spirit, and follow His prompting every minute of every day. When you look back, you will be amazed at what God has done and how you have been used to change the world.

 

It seems to me the ruler last week followed TLSL. He thought Jesus could help. He loved his son he left his comfort. He served household by sharing good news!

I’m not sure what “TLSL” in your question means or if that is a typo or computer glitch – maybe Russia caused the problem …

However, your observation of the Ruler’s actions is perfect and provides a great road map. I should always assume Jesus can help and continually go to him before I try to fix things myself. In the spirit of a servant, my family and others should come first. I can leave my place of comfort and partner with Jesus in revealing miraculous restoration. The best way to serve my household is by sharing and being the Good News to them! I love that. I can be the Good News, the image and personification of Jesus and grace, to my family. 

That’s awesome! 

 

Comparing vs. 9 & 13, is there Hebraic significances that v. 13 only mentions the loaves and that there were ’12’ baskets?

Great observation! Yes, I believe there is significance to the lack of reference to fish in John 6:13. This teaching proceeds Jesus referring to Himself as the “bread of life.” 

The abundance of bread that remained is a clear reference to the abundance of grace that is available in Jesus. Even after a “multitude” eats, there is plenty left over. Jesus is the source of abundant life – lots of bread. Matter of fact, there is the perfect amount of bread. 12 (baskets) is a holy and complete and perfect number in the Hebrew world and mind. 

It is significant in that bread (manna) was what God sustained the Israelites on in the wilderness. Bread is a staple of life in the Older and Newer Testaments, Jesus is born in Bethlehem (which means “the place of bread”), bread is used at the Last Supper to represent Jesus’ broken body, and verse 13 shows abundance. God’s redemptive plan is perfect and vast!

Keep asking questions of the Text and God will reveal more and more dynamic and life-changing truth!

 

How do we help people understand a miracle does not be on such a grand scale as the loves and fish so we can see them everyday.

Great question! I also see this as a great statement. God is always at work in every aspect of our lives. When you and I become more aware of God’s activity, we become better at revealing it. 

This is similar to the definition of major and minor surgery, It is minor when it is on you and it is major when it is on me! If the miracle happens in my life, it is major and profound. 

How can we tell our stories of God’s interaction with us so that others can see the same in their own experiences? How do we share about healing in relationships, our bodies, and minds so that others can say, “me too.” Maybe we best help others see by modeling the observation of transformation in our own lives. 

Food for thought … 

 

Reminds me of acrostic JOY I learned as child, Jesus, Others, You

So much of what we learned when we were kids stays with us and continues to shape us. I love this! JOY! You’re right. This is still the simple Gospel that creates profound life change. 

 

How can CMC plug into what the Palaus have going in GR?

Stay tuned! We will make CM Church well aware of all the opportunities we have to learn and serve as CityFest and CityServe progress. Just think, what if we could get 500 churches in SW Michigan working together to reveal the love of Jesus in actions and words? What could the result be?

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Christ Memorial Church