Archive

Joshua Hernandez

Let me start off by saying that nobody likes to be convicted. However, conviction is necessary to grow up in maturity. Pastor Whitney’s sermon on Sunday was definitely one of those “hard to hear” types of sermons. The major focus was on temptation! That’s right, temptation. The stuff we often deal with alone in the dark, where we like it to stay. Temptation is easy to pass off as someone else’s fault. In my life I can be like Frollo from Walt Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, singing Hellfire and blaming my temptations on others. Specifically, when I was a kid, whenever I got in trouble I would blame God for tempting me and then getting me in trouble. I can look back and realize how childish I was for thinking that way, but then I realize that I sometimes still think like that! While I don’t blame God if I get bad grades or make my parents upset, I do blame God for more significant issues I haven’t dealt with yet.

Pastor Whitney’s message talked about how pointless it is to blame God for our sins and temptations. She gave a relatable example of how the temptation of lying is easy to fall into. The words she gave that stuck out to me were, “If I did that, I would have to answer to God for it.” I instantly began thinking that lying to get out of a ticket couldn’t be that bad, but then I caught myself. Have I become so nonchalant about sins that I start comparing them? I was reminded that the biggest issue to do with lying is that it degrades character.

Pastor Whitney’s story ended by showing that honesty is much better than being deceitful. However, I cannot say all temptation stories are like that. I felt convicted about my actions and my lack of care for being righteous. The great thing about temptation is that God gives us the strength to resist it if we rely on Him. He gives us constant grace and love – knowing that we will fall into temptation. As we grow, we recognize good and evil, giving us more room to walk away from temptation and less room to hide from our sins.

Advertisements

Change. When I hear that word, many things come to mind. I think back on how drastically life can ‘veer off course from one little event. Pastor Scott’s message on Sunday was a figurative “nail on the head” moment for me; I have been deeply concerned lately with the future for my own life and with issues concerning change. Personally, I like comfortability, which I feel is common amongst most people.

Overall, my life has been relatively stagnant. I was always the pastor’s kid, in an “always Christian home” with a very laidback schedule. I often thought this was all that life was about, being the most comfortable person you can. It wasn’t until college though that I really began to feel change. I learned many things that both shocked me and encouraged me. I learned that true Christianity is a lot more than a feeling religion. It is one that requires deeds done in faith and actions that glorified God over ourselves. I learned that humility is an important aspect of the Christian faith that requires a deep inner change, which goes against the natural human tendency for self-seeking happiness. I learned obedience is key for the Christian, an obedience that does not seek to justify oneself or fight against servant-hood.

Sometimes, change brings things we may like. For example, the young man preparing to propose; going into a healthy and life long relationship with a significant other can be a very pleasant and eagerly awaited change. The business woman who has worked hard her entire life, about to step into a higher position offering better pay and bonuses would also thoroughly enjoy the change coming into her own life. However, like it or not, as Pastor Scott said, “If you are having a horrible time, just hold on, change is coming. If your life is going great, get ready because change is coming.” Change is common for all people; everyone has good times and bad times. Many of these changes have deeply impacted my life and walk with God. None of them were easy yet all were important for me. Sometimes, changes happen that may seem like nothing good comes out of it. In Acts 7, a faithful follower of Christ is put on trial for heresy and ultimately executed. Such a thing can easily be terrible in the eyes of the one reading it, which I must admit I indeed am guilty of, but find that through this man’s death God was able to kick start the Christian movement on a scale that proved to be effective. As any living being on earth, change affects us all, it is one of the major factors that make us what we are today. We live, learn and adapt through change; whether for good or for ill. In the end however, while things may become chaotic and utterly indiscernible, we have hope that God never changes and that ultimately, His plan will succeed.