• Katie Bock

Nov. 17 - Mike Cheek, What Are We FOR?

On Sunday Mike Cheek picked up the microphone for one last sermon before moving on to his next adventure. He challenged us to ask ourselves, “What are we for?” and “What do we want to be known for?” Don’t we want to be a group of people who are known for what we are for rather than what we are against?

Sometimes when nonbelievers are questioned about Christianity, they say they don’t want to be a part of a group of judgmental hypocrites who claim to be loving, but don’t live that out in their lives. They see Christians as being against abortion, homosexuality, one political party or another, or maybe even certain races or demographics. This is not what Jesus’s ministry looked like and it’s not how He calls us to live.

During the time of the Roman Empire, Christians were known for their love and acceptance. They were welcoming and offered a helping hand to those in need. They hated sin, but loved the sinners. Jesus, full of truth and grace, was for the sinner. Yes, He hated sin, but He loved each and every person no matter what sin they struggled with.

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

So how can we be for the sinner? Keep that question in your mind as you go through your week. When you see your grumpy neighbor who always has a drink in his hand. Your sister who never has anything nice to say about her spouse. Your coworker who cusses like a sailor. Your friend who is unfaithful to his wife. The homeless man begging on the corner. The disrespectful teenager. The single mother. The tattooed waitress. The ex-convict.

How can we show these people the love and the grace God freely shows to us?

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Do you want Newstart to be known for our theology, our doctrine, our programs, our stances on morality, our judgement? Or do we want to be known by our love. Who knows what doors God would open for people if we would just be for them? Offer a meal, share a burden, be a shoulder to cry on, point them back to the gospel. And most of all, love them. Let us be known for what we are for.

Thank you, Mike! What a powerful note to go out on. Mike and Janis have touched the lives of many of us and will be missed deeply. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance as Mike is searching for his next Lead Pastor role and for Janis as she seeks a teaching opportunity. Pray that God will lead them to where they are most needed and that He will open doors for them to be a blessing to a new community of believers just as they have been to us.

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