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Some of my favorite smells are buttered popcorn at the movie theater, an apple-cinnamon candle, sauteed green peppers and onions, and barbeque on the grill. I can imagine smelling them right now and it makes me hungry. There is something about smells that take you to a great place. It reminds you of food or hanging out with friends or peaceful times.

The thing about these smells is that they go everywhere. Often I can smell something cooking on the grill before I get in the door. Or I can all of a sudden get the urge to have popcorn when I go to the movies. Smells are powerful and can change my thoughts, my mood, and my desires in a good way.

The other day I was reading from 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 which talks about my smell as I walk in a room.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For to God, we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some, we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.  2 Corinthians 2:14-16

It hit me that every day, no matter if I know it or not, I’m the fragrance of Christ. Wherever I go, whether it’s the store, the office, or the ballgame, I’m the fragrance of Christ, at least I hope I am. I have to ask myself, what is the aroma of Christ that I give? If your presence was the only picture of Jesus someone saw, how clear of a picture would they get? How can you spread the aroma of Christ with those around you today?

I remember a few years ago, as we moved into our new house, we wanted to make some improvements. One of those improvements was to add insulation to the ceiling of the house and to avoid heating the great outdoors. We rented a machine to blow insulation in.

With this machine, you basically take a compressed bag of insulation and throw it into a grinder that separates it and blows it through a long tube. Think of something like blowing dust through a leaf blower.

This was going to be a team effort with our family.  Holly, Becca, and Blake cut open the bags and fed the machine. I was going to handle the hose and spread the insulation in the attic. It was a hot, sweaty, dusty mess. by the time I finished, I was soaked from head to toe in sweat.

I climbed down from the hot attic and I began to take off the layers, my mask first, hat, then I began to clean myself up. I peeled off my sweat-saturated clothes that were clinging to my body, threw my shirt on the garage floor and it hit the floor with a splat.

I jumped into the shower and felt the water rinse off the dirt. It was everywhere, in my nose, hair, and ears.  But once it was washed away I felt great. It was like I was a new man. What a transformation!

But imagine after going through this thorough cleaning process and then putting my old soaking wet with sweaty, dirty, smelly clothes back on! Sliding on my smelly, wet socks.  The feel of the wet shirt as it pulled down over my face and chest. Putting on my drenched jeans…Gross… We couldn't imagine why anyone would ever choose to get back into the sweaty, smelly, dusty clothes after they had been cleaned up. It doesn’t make sense.

But this is what a lot of people do who place their faith in Christ. Ok, we don’t literally put on our smelly and wet clothes, but we put on our old clothes of sin. We clothe ourselves with sinful behavior that doesn't fit with our purified identity in Christ. At the moment we place our faith in Christ, we have been completely cleansed and we are a new person in Christ. We are dead to sin, alive in Christ, hidden with Christ, and completely forgiven (Colossians 3:1-4).

Paul says in Colossians 3:5 Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.

Don’t put on your dirty clothes again!

How do we conquer the sin in our lives that trip us up and handcuff us? Paul addresses this in Colossians 3. His point is, that if we are to win against sin in our lives, we must live out our new identity in Christ. So we read...

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

This is a great verse but how does this help us to conquer this sin. It doesn't really seem to be very practical.

When we place our faith in Christ, one of the many things that happen to us is we are placed in Christ. You might think of it this way. Imagine your life is represented with a baseball card with your image on the front and Christ is represented with your Bible. When you place your faith in him, the card is placed inside the pages of the Bible, and the Bible envelopes you. You are placed in Christ.

We are a part of Him and He is now a part of us. When God looks at us, He now sees the righteousness and purity of Christ.

As we set our minds on things that are true it shapes our beliefs, values, and our actions. We are reminded to "Set your mind on things above" in Colossians 3:2. As we do, these new beliefs will turn us away from the pull of sin.

 

Jesus' famous words, “Let the little children come to me”, can be found in 3 Gospels, specifically in Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16. While this is a relatively simple phrase, it profoundly reveals God’s concern for children. At Trinity kids are important and we want to help kids of all ages find life in Christ. One of the ways we help kids to find this life is through basketball camp in July.

As we are preparing for this year's camp we have been talking about what are kids thinking and feeling as they come to camp?

I'm sure there are a bunch of other thoughts as kids come here.

Basketball takes about 70 volunteers each night to be onsight but it takes all of us to pray for kids to find life in Christ, and even change families in the process. Would you pray for God to do some amazing things through this camp?

We are praying that kids will find this atmosphere, friendly, kind and they would leave here feeling encouraged and valued. We want them to see that being at church isn't weird but is exciting, challenging and a place to find answers. The reality is that if kids are having a good experience they are more likely to bring mom or dad.

Most importantly we want kids to find life in Christ. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me" so that they can find life. Let's pray together for seeds to be planted in each of these kids.

Welcome back. I’m so glad you’re here. Let's continue with the thought we started in the previous post. Jesus said,

Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus begins, “Come to Me.” Notice, this isn’t an invitation to a church, a religion, or a list of rules to follow. It’s not a philosophy. It’s not a rule book or ritual, but it is an invitation to a relationship with a person. He is offering you help.

Jesus says to you… “Come to me…all of you who are…” this is the beautiful part of his words. We don’t need to be perfect to come to Him. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. We don’t need to be nervous. We don’t need to have it all together, as a matter of fact, Jesus knows we are imperfect. He knows we are a mess.

I’m not sure where the idea has come from where we think we need to have it all together before we come to Jesus, but that isn’t what He expects. Many of us have this idea that Jesus is disappointed in us. Many of us feel like we need to have it all together.

Jesus offered a yoke that was “easy,” meaning, good, comfortable, or well-suited. Just as a yoke had to be tailor-made for oxen, the Lord’s yoke fits well and takes into consideration the needs and abilities of His people. Jesus is saying, “EXCHANGE YOKES”. Take off the yoke of religion, rules, selfishness and put on the yoke of Jesus. To put on this yoke, we need to accept Jesus. To accept Jesus means to turn away from the wrong things you are trusting in to find acceptance with God. Place your faith in Jesus and follow Him and not the religious Laws. Essentially, Christ would bear the burden, and those who took His yoke by faith would find rest for their souls. Put on this yoke and walk beside Jesus and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live. John 11:2 As we come to Jesus…when we place our faith in Jesus…He gives us life…eternal life. But He also gives us a life full of joy, peace, forgiveness, hope. Jesus invites you to this kind of life, right now!

Maybe you aren’t weary or burdened by religion, but you are worried, discouraged, angry, disappointed, scared, left out, alone, overwhelmed, or maybe you are just bored. Maybe you are empty, sad, bitter, lost, questioning, maybe you are just uncertain, worried for your health…

Jesus promises to relieve you of these and provide something else.
Jesus wants to give you relief, encouragement, joy, peace, courage, purpose, assurance, hope, contentment, cleansing, refreshment, a new vision, rest, perseverance, patience, or forgiveness.
Jesus invites you… “come to me…

Take the thing that you are carrying and bring it to the one who can help you. Jesus is not some impersonal being who just wants you to follow a bunch of rules. NO. Jesus is real. Jesus is personal. Jesus wants to take your burdens. Jesus wants to give you REAL LIFE.

When people think about Christianity, most think Christianity is about doing better, trying harder to be a better person, going to church regularly, or going to church on Easter Sunday. Some think Christianity is just following certain rules, maybe following the Ten Commandments. And most think that if they follow these rules pretty well, then they will be okay with God. They think, “God is happy when I try to follow the rules.”

For some reason, many carry some of this type of thinking around with them. They carry this baggage from their past and it shapes their idea of what God is like and how to make themselves acceptable to Him.

Because they don’t feel like they measure up to their own standard, most people carry around with them some level of guilt, “I’m just not measuring up.”

Some live with a level of fear that God is going to be mad at them. Or some have some level of shame that they have blown it so badly and God would
never accept them.

So, when it comes to following Christianity, many just check out because they think, “Why would I want to follow some rules where I know I will feel bad?” It sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

But God is not like an accountant, keeping a ledger of good works on one side and bad works on another with the hope that somehow good outweighs the bad.

Here is the great news!

You will never hear Jesus saying,

I don’t think you will find Jesus saying that to anybody. Nowhere in the Bible will you find that.

Look what Jesus does say to us in Matthew 11:28-30. I love this.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

In the next post, I’ll be expanding on how we might interpret and apply this scripture, but until then, I pray you will find peace in knowing you can simply come as you are to Jesus and let him carry all of your fears, guilt, and shame so you can come to find a more restful life in Christ.

 

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