Friday, January 19, 2007

Sacred Marriage

Right now I know of several marriages ending in divorce. And do you know what? Most of these marriages are Christian marriages made up of Christian people who love God, but who have decided that they no longer love their spouse. But does real love really end? The Bible defines love as a CHOICE. If it were based on feelings alone, how could God ever require us to love our enemies? But in Matthew 5:44 that is exactly what Jesus commands us to do. How much more so are we required to love someone we have committed our life to before God? I am reading a very interesting book right now called Sacred Marriage. The author of this book argues that marriage is about more than our happiness... it is a call to holiness and a test of our faithfulness to God. God didn't design marriage for our selfish gain; he created it to be a symbol of His perfect faithfulness to us - with the beautiful image of the church as the bride of Christ. Thank GOD that His love isn't based on our perfection, our weight, our appearances, or our ability to keep Him happy. It is a sacred covenant... a permanent relationship between us and God. When we enter into marriage as sinful humans we have big shoes to fill. But just because we are sinful and selfish doesn't mean we are excused from God's holy expectations and purpose for our life. Maybe our spouse isn't perfect... maybe he/she doesn't make us happy anymore, but does that mean we can just walk away from a promise we've made to him/her? ...From a promise we've made to God??? I think we need to stop expecting marriage to make us happy and start appreciating its ability to make us holy. - HB

"By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher." -Socrates

Sunday, January 14, 2007

We're Home - hopefully!

As many of you know, we have been searching for a church for over 4 months. We thought that we had found a home at New Hope, a large church here in Bend, but quickly realized there were some aspects about the church that we did not agree with. Last week we met with Pastor Scott Johnson who leads Cascade Covenant and were very impressed with his vision and ministry. Cascade Covenant is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The motto of Cascade Covenant is "No perfect people allowed," which resonated with both of us. We found out this week that our good friend Karen Magnuson who lost her husband of 35 years last October was in search of a new church and so we were able to have her join us this Sunday. We originally started going to New Hope because of Karen and were sad that we felt we couldn't keep attending the church as we knew we would miss our time with her. We were a little affraid to tell her that we were not going to be attending New Hope anymore only to find out she was trying to figure out how she was going to break the news to us that she was going to be leaving as well. That could have only been orchestrated by God Himself. So our Sundays with Karen will continue as we all begin our journey at Cascade Covenant.
The photo is of the Pastor's adopted son from Africa.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Shane & Shane - AMAZING!

We were playing around on ITunes Sunday night looking for a song we heard at church. We came across a group called "Shane & Shane." They are amazing. The acoustic guitar and the through the roof vocals give a whole new meaning to praise music. This isn't another band singing the same songs we hear over and over again at church and on Christian radio. These guys have a sound that is new and fresh. And to top it off every song is about Jesus. The passion and love these two men have for Jesus comes through on every song. You will be on your knees crying out to the Lord in worship while at the same time your feet can't stop tapping to the incredible beat.

What an awesome creator to come up with a thing called music. I love Jesus, He is AMAZING!


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Christmas - Celebration of Christ or Celebration of Self?

Christmas disgusts me! I know, that is a horrible thing to say and feel but its true. Its not that I hate what Christmas is suppose to represent. I hate what Christmas has become. I am not talking about Christmas in the secular world. I am talking about Christmas in the Christian world. This year was my second Christmas as a Christian and I am deeply saddened how Christians treat Christmas. Sure we pray, we sing, we read the story of Jesus' birth. We put up our nativity scenes and we write bigger checks to the church or to our favorite charity. We spend time with family and friends and we buy each other gifts. All of these things feel good, but do these things glorify God? Jesus Christ stepped down from the comfort of Heaven into the slums of the earth so that he could be tortured and killed so that you and I might be made right with God. Does decorating a tree or buying gifts for each other show God how much we love and appreciate Him? The Messiah is born and we sit at home watching football? I am tired of being this way.

Thank God for Jesus!