Blessed are those who mourn…

September 29, 2008

Continuing in our beatitude series, mourning is the concept for the second beatitude.

What does it really mean to mourn?  Usually we think of loss, grief, hopelessness, bereavement, and other forms of sadness.  However, there is more to mourning than just losing a loved one to sickness, injury, or death.  There is more to mourning than overwhelming emotion due to a tragic event in life (death, divorce, loss of job, economic failure).  Although, Jesus is not leaving these ideas of mourning out, he is actually calling us to more. 

Basically, this beatitude is about those who mourn the sin of others and their own sinfulness.  These are the ones who will recieve the ultimate comfort from God.  That comfort will be here on earth and in heaven.

When was the last time you had a good cry over the sins of our world?  When did you last weep for the greed of our nation?  When did you last lament over the senseless deaths of every age?  When was the last time you poured out your soul to god on the behalf of those who curse his name and slander others?  When we can mourn over the sins of our world then we will be comforted.  We will realize the poverty of life and soul.   We will realize that kingdom life means anguished prayer over how the world has wronged our God.

When was the last time you wept over your own sinfulness?  We mourn and we grieve over our sin and how it separates us from God.  We cry out and scream for repentance.  Not that we don’t have grace, but that we desire grace so much and understand our deep need that we won’t allow sin to not be felt…grieved…mourned!

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted!

-Mercer

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This is the end statement to the first beatitude.  The term kingdom within the new testament has been a hotly debated topic in the last 50 years or more.  What exactly is the kingdom of heaven.  If you read only the gospel of Matthew and read for face value (without understanding the author’s context) you might think that the kingdom is heaven.  However, Matthew is a Jew writing to Jews and the idea of saying or writing God’s name is too holy to conceive of.  Therefore Matthew uses heaven instead.  Matthew does use Kingdom of God in his gospel, but sparingly.  The idea for Matthew isn’t about a place as much as it is about what God does.  Basically, God Rules!  The kingdom of heaven is God’s Reign.  That can be in Heaven, on Earth, and in the entire universe.  The good news is that we don’t have to wait to the end to live in God’s reign, which is the perfect place to be.

So…”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  When you remember that without God you cannot exist, survive, or thrive then you will continually long for him and when you continually long for God in the deepest of ways you are blessed with living in His reign!  Therefore the poor inherit the now and eternal riches of God.

We must live today with a deep longing (poor spirit) for God that is only enriched by the reign of God (kingdom of heaven) over everything in every dimension.

-Mercer

This week I have been studying and thinking a lot about the Beatitudes.  I thought I would share some things about being “Poor in Spirit”.

The idea of being poor is mostly related to money, but was taken on by the spiritual scene even before Christ’s appearance.  He chooses to use secular language to make his spiritual point when he gives the beatitudes.  You are given a deep longing of joy when you choose to live the Kingdom life as someone who is fully dependent upon God.  It is more than humility, it is knowing that not another breath will take place without God’s mercy and sustainment.  I want to share some poetic words from John Stott’s book, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount .  He writes,

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to thy Cross I cling;

Naked, come to thee for dress;

Helpless, look to thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

How can we know the richness of Father, Spirit, Son without participating in the poverty of the spirit?

Middle School Camping Trip

September 8, 2008

One of my favorite times of year is fall, the other is spring.  In the couple of days that we have each of those seasons I really enjoy the crisp air and the not too cold/not too hot atmosphere.  It goes hand in hand that two of my favorite youth events are in these two seasons; Middle School Camping Trip and 3D Retreat.

The Camping trip began a while back when the group went to see The Promise; a play about the passion of Christ.  They would camp nearby to keep their cost down.  A few years ago we decided to change the trip to just camping with devotionals throughout the weekend.  This helped keep our cost down and focus on reaching in. 

This year we will go to Lake Brownwood State Park and camp there during the weekend of October 10-12.    During that weekend we will camp, eat, have team building games, swimming, and devotionals.  This is a great time for our Middle School Students to get to know one another better in a fun environment.  We celebrate God’s beauty through nature and through the ultimate; relating to one another in His name!

Join us by signing up starting September 14.

 

-Mercer

6th Grade Parent Class

September 3, 2008

Today Sarah and I begin a three-week Wednesday series for 6th grade parents.  We like to do three things with this class.  First we like to educate about the current adolescent culture that these new sixth grade students are entering.  Second, we like to bring in a veteran parenting couple who can share their wisdom on parenting adolescents.  Third we like to bring in our youth ministry elders who can provide wisdom on spiritually directing your adolescent.

We hope that you will join us for this exciting series.  We are glad that we can partner with you in this faith journey!

 

Mercer