February 20, 2018 |One Historic Night
 
First, allow me to say, “WOW”! What a night we had Monday night as we were privileged to host the WCEA Men’s Meeting. As I write this on Tuesday morning, I know many of us have that “hangover” feeling as we move a little slower and drink a little more coffee to get ourselves going today. And I know that it was so much work for so many people to make this event possible. But let me offer a little bit of perspective into what happened last night…
 

Our little church in Cayuga, Indiana hosted

the largest gathering of men in WCEA history!

 

And we, the Cayuga Christian Church family, were apart of making that possible! In attendance in our Youth Center were 327 men from over 30 different churches. For several of those churches (ours included), last night was the largest men’s group to ever do anything together. No doubt it moved the heart of God as over 300 male voices lifted praise to Him. And the sermon George Ross preached challenged the faith of our men to boldly follow Jesus and share Him with our friends and families. So what exactly does this historic night night for the WCEA amount to? Think about it this way…

  • 327 men, all of which have a family, challenged to love BOLDLY.
  • 327 men, all of which will go to work or school this morning, challenged to live BOLDLY.
  • 327 men from over 30 churches who were challenged to lead BOLDLY.

The compounding impact from last night’s gathering could be exponential for West-Central Indiana families, workplaces, and churches. That makes all of the hours of cleaning, decorating, setting up, cooking, and serving worth it.

And as exhausting as Monday night was, let’s admit it, it was a lot of fun! For anytime I get to hangout and serve the Lord with my brothers and sisters, it’s a good time. And ya’ll made last night a blast.

I love you, Church! I have never served with a more loving, hard-working, sacrificial bunch of people. Amber and I are truly blessed to call you our tribe.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Ashton
 
February 12, 2018 |Discerning Who is Lost
 

ILuke 15 Jesus confronts the hard, selfish hearts of the religious elite during a dinner party.  As Jesus was interacting with “sinners”, those who considered themselves to be religious “muttered” about Jesus.  They were talking about Jesus, behind His back, but loud enough for him to hear them.  

So Jesus told them three stories.  Three simple to understand stories that contained spiritual applications that clarify God’s mission to rescue humanity from our sins.  Each story was about losing something (or someone) that you deeply care about, and the pursuit one is willing to undertake to find what was lost.  The three stories centered around a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son.  

The point Jesus made with these three stories is for the religious leaders to catch a glimpse into the heart of God.  While religious people tend to avoid sinful people, God cares about everyone.  Religious people felt sinners were less deserving of God’s love; rather, God loves everyone equally.  Religious people thought their pursuit of righteousness was more important than spending time helping sinners who had made a mess of their lives; but, God thinks everyone matters equally to Him.  

There’s no doubt when we read these three parables, lost people matter to God.  So who are the lost?  Simply put, they are people who do not believe in or follow Jesus.  They are people who are loved by God, but that love is not reciprocated.  These are people who live a life of sin instead of choosing to acknowledge their sin and consequent need for a Savior from that sin.  These are people who have never placed their faith in Jesus and they are people who once upon a time placed their faith in Jesus but no longer live like they have faith at all.  

Christians often struggle to recognize who in our lives are lost and who are not.  It’s simple to recognize the pagan who has never prayed, never praised, and never believed in Jesus to be lost.  But what about the person who has seemingly wandered from the faith?  What about the man or woman who claims they believe in God but shows no real fruit of the Christian faith?  

To this question, let me be clearly blunt for just a moment: While we should not judge the destination of a person’s eternity, we should judge the direction of their life.  

No one has the authority to decide whether a person goes to heaven or hell except God.  Jesus even said in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  If the Son fo God didn’t come in to the world to bring condemnation, then the people of God certainly do not possess that authority.  Jesus taught in Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…”  We do not get to pass judgment that only God has the authority to give.  God did not give you and I do that kind of authority.  

But, Christians must exercise spiritual discernment when it comes to relating with others.  We do not pass judgment when we discern a person’s behavior to be outside of the Biblical standard for Christian living.  If my coworker has developed a pattern of talking about his drunken weekends, it is not judgment for me to consider this person in need for the life-changing presence of God in his life.  I am not deciding what my coworkers eternity will be. I am, however, discerning the direction his life is going.  These are indicators that help me realize their need for the Gospel.  

If a member of my family once professed faith in Jesus, but, for years has not attended church and shows no real evidence of following Jesus, I am being judgmental if I show concern and a desire for them to repent and return to the faith they once knew.  We can be discerning without discriminating.

If we are going to be faithful to God and passionate to bring lost people to Jesus, we must be able to discern those who need to be found.  It may mean we lovingly, gently, see that the direction of their living is leading them away from Jesus.  And it’s because of our love for them that we’re willing to show them the way back to Jesus.  This will require patience, kindness, and grace.  Thanks be to God that we do not have to extend anything to anyone that He has not already extended to us.

In Christ,

Pastor Ashton

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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