The Pastor's Page (7-25-17)
Let’s examine a few thoughts about thankfulness today…..
**Be thankful to the Lord
Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name.
**Give thanks to God for His goodness
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
**God’s people are commanded to be thankful
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
**Heaven is filled with thankfulness to the Lord
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed , and were created." Revelation 4:9-11
Christians should seek to grow in thanksgiving every day. I am making the commitment to become more thankful at every opportunity. Will you join me?
The Pastor's Page (7-18-17)
The word humble appears over 80 times in Scripture. Let’s examine what the Bible has to say about humility. For the sake of our purposes, I will limit this discussion to three New Testament occurrences. What does the Bible teach about this subject?
*We must humble ourselves. As Believers, we are called to rightly evaluate ourselves and be subservient under the purview of God. Christians are instructed to realize their dependence on Christ alone. We humble ourselves by growing in dependence on Him and not ourselves.
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10
*God humbles us as well. While we are called to submit ourselves to God, we are also taught that God does humble us from time to time. He does so through circumstances that come upon us that are out of our control. God humbles us and helps us realize that we do not control much in our lives. This humbling is not always pleasant, but, it is always necessary.
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:11
*Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. He is our example and what He revealed to us through the cross is what we should aim for each day. We are never more like Jesus than when we humble ourselves.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8
Humility is not valued by our world today. It is always valued in the kingdom of God. Be humble and realize your dependence upon God. It will make a huge difference in your life with Christ!
The Pastor's Page (7-11-17)
God’s faithfulness to His people is a constant theme of Scripture. His faithfulness is demonstrated to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s faithfulness is revealed in His dealings with the nation of Israel. He was faithful to the kings, the priests, and the prophets. Even when His people were not faithful, God always was.
The theme of God’s faithfulness continues into the New Testament. We are told that God is still faithful to Christians today as we peruse the pages of Scripture. Let us examine three ways that God is faithful to Believers in our day.
**God is faithful to forgive us and reconcile us through the work of Christ upon the cross.
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
**God is faithful to help us fight temptation and overcome it.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
**God is faithful to forgive us and cleanse when we confess our sins to Him.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
God is faithful to us. May we live in this reality day by day. And may we give thanks for His faithfulness and declare to all generations!
The Pastor's Page (6-27-17)
Jesus and Me
I am unworthy—Jesus is worthy
I am a sinner—Jesus is perfect
I am limited—Jesus is unlimited
I was lost—Jesus found me
I am insufficient—Jesus is all sufficient
I am unlovable—Jesus loves me still
I go could go on and on. The contrast is stark. Let me simply say that Jesus Christ is worthy of all glory, honor, praise, and worship. He is worthy because of who He is and what He has done! Hallelujah, what a Savior.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
The Pastor's Page (6-20-17)
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful. Even when we are not faithful to Him He is always faithful to us. He is faithful in so many ways.
**God is faithful to provide for us.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
**God is faithful to be with us.
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
**He is faithful to give us eternal life.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand."My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. "I and the Father are one."
God is indeed faithful. He never leaves us, He provides for us, and we will be with Him forever. If God is faithful, what else do we need?
Blessings be upon you all!
The Pastor's Page (6-13-17)
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7
Paul teaches the wonder of adoption in this passage. As Believers, we have been “adopted” into His family. He is our Heavenly Father and we are His adopted sons and daughters.
A few thoughts about adoption are in order today. First, adoption proceeds from redemption. Human beings are born into the slavery of sin. Sin rules us, controls us, and dominates us. We may be able to keep it at bay for a time, but, we can never conquer sin in our strength.
Christ redeems us from the curse of sin by taking the curse upon Himself. He paid the price for us so that we could be free and receive this adoption. Having been forgiven and restored to God through Christ Jesus, we are now a part of His family forever. Nothing can separate us from our Heavenly Father. Nothing.
Jesus is the cause of adoption. We would be an eternally lost cause without Christ. We have eternal life and the rights of son-ship because of the Savior. What a mighty God we serve!
Ultimately, we are free through this adoption that God grants to us. We are no longer a slave to sin, self, the world, or the devil. Instead, we have been set free to love God, love others, and serve Him all of our days.
Christians have been adopted into God’s eternal family. We are set free from the past and able to serve Him for the rest of our lives. And it’s all because of Jesus.
You are blessed today!
The Pastor's Page (6-6-17)
Serving Jesus should be a burning desire within the life of a Christian. We are called, commissioned, and sent to serve Christ through serving others. This post will deal with concrete reasons we can and should serve Jesus every day. Why should we serve?
*He loves us. Christ loves us, therefore, we ought to serve Him. His love was manifested to us when were at our worst. Shouldn’t we be willing to give Him our best?
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:8-11
*We should also minister to others because it is worth the cost. Service is never easy. We would much rather be served than serve our fellow humans. In the end, attending to the needs of others will cost us. However, it also gives us blessing, strength, and joy knowing that when we love others we are following in Christ’s footsteps. Serving Jesus is always worth the effort.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
*Finally, let us serve out of our growing love for Christ. Giving ourselves to others is an expression of our love for God. Let us serve Him because we love Him.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. Psalm 103:21
And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
1 John 4:21
Dear Believer, commit to serving Jesus this week. After all, it’s the least that we can do!
The Pastor's Page (5-30-17)
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
These words comprise a portion of Jesus' final instructions and serve as words of encouragement for His followers. As His time on earth was ending, He reminded His followers, all of His followers, of His abiding presence to the very end.
God’s presence is more than a feeling. It is a promise found throughout Scripture. Admittedly, most believers endure times in their lives where they do not “feel” the presence of God strongly. We should not be surprised by this as others in Scripture (David, Elijah, etc.) voiced the same feelings. Even Jesus cried out, in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” as He suffered on the cross. God’s presence is more than a feeling.
He is with us not matter the situation. He is with us no matter the triumph. And, He is with us no matter the failure, hurt, or pain we may experience. Remember His presence throughout your day. He is always with us!
The Pastor's Page (5-23-17)
Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak. Acts 27:29
This Scripture (Acts 27) contains the account of Paul’s shipwreck at the end of the book of Acts. Paul had warned the captain that travel was unsafe earlier in the trip. Nonetheless, the captain insisted on further sailing despite the treacherous conditions. Eventually, the storm overcame the ship and they were forced to abandon the vessel and swim for shore. Everyone made it to safety and the shipwreck resulted in no loss of life. You can read the entire account chapter 27 for further details.
What has always struck me about this scripture are the concluding words of verse number 29. Luke wrote they “wished for daybreak.” Other translations recount the words as they “prayed for daylight.” These words describe quite well the situations we sometimes face. We may not experience a literal shipwreck. However, this phrase perfectly illustrates how we feel when life is difficult. We simply long for the light when life is at its darkest point.
Many of you can relate to this language. You have wondered if the darkness will ever lift and if the metaphorical sun will ever be visible again. You feel as if your life is sinking and there is no hope. What is a Believer to do?
It sounds trite, but, KEEP BELIEVING. There is no magic formula to overcoming trials in life. There will be seasons when you simply must hold on and keep going. In those difficult hours, keep praying, keep asking, and keep the faith. Keep on traveling even when you don’t feel like it. Go forward even when it looks as if there is no hope. Forge ahead knowing that tears and trials do not last forever.
I know that “keep believing” is simplistic counsel when one is facing the complicated, gargantuan difficulties that this life offers. There will be seasons when this attitude is the only thing that will carry you through. Make a decision and make a choice to keep going and not surrender to fear, doubt, and bitterness. When you escape the darkness you will be glad you did not give up.
Stay in the fight, dear Christians. Better days are on the way. Jesus is coming again! Be encouraged even in your darkest hour. I’m praying for you.
The Pastor's Page (5-16-17)
Today, let’s talk about the three Ls of Christian growth. We find these principles scattered throughout the Bible. Let us peruse them for a few moments.
What is the first L? It is listen. To grow in Christ one must learn to listen. We must listen to God’s Word, listen for the promptings of the Spirit, and listen as God speaks through others. We love to talk, but, we would do much better if would learned to listen.
Psalm 34:1 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
The second L is learn. Spiritual maturity requires us to learn more about Christ through the Scriptures. We are to be learning everyday of our lives. The growth we experience may arrive slowly. However, it will be steady if we are continually learning through the Bible, through the Church, and through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The final L is love. To grow in Christ we must grow in love. There more we understand what Christ has done and who He is, the more we increase in love for Him. Jesus loved us more than we can ever understand (Romans 5:8-11). Therefore, we should be continually flourishing in love day by day.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Let us all make commitments this week to grow in the three Ls. May we master the art of listening. Let us seek to gain a greater grasp of the Word of God. And, may the end result be a thriving love for God and for others.
The Pastor's Page (5-9-17)
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
Every good gift, every perfect gift is from the Father. We are thankful for all that God does for us. Let us recollect a few of these wonderful gifts.
The gift of eternal life…………………..
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
The gift of health…………………..
The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.
The gift of His presence……………….
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
The gift of His power………………….
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
May God richly bless you today!
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
We are going to think about a wonderful verse today. Romans 8:28 speaks to us in the good times and bad. We rely upon this assurance and through it we are reminded that God is always moving and working. Let us take a moment and dissect this verse in this post.
“And we know” It is a certain promise. We don’t have to guess and wonder about this promise. It is certain and sure.
“that God causes” It is a caused promise. God uses and works all things in our life to our ultimate good. The verse doesn’t say that God is the cause of evil or sin for we know He is not the author of such things. This scripture reminds us that God is able to turn evil for ultimate good.
“all things” It is a complete promise. God uses everything in our life to shape us, mold us, and conform us to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29) God uses the good, the bad, the sweet, and the sorrowful to advance His cause in our life.
“to work together for good to those who love God” It is a conditional promise. Romans 8:28 is a guarantee for believers. It is not a general pledge to all mankind. It is ONLY for those who love God and those who are called to His purpose.
“to those who are called according to His purpose” It is a consecrating promise. God is using all things to make us holy and sanctified. He calls us to be His witness (Acts 1:8) and His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) so that we may fulfill His purposes.
Accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives brings true joy and peace. It is what we truly desire as Christians. As a result of this promise, let us commit to trust Christ, serve Him, and rely upon Him each and every day!
The Pastor's Page (4-25-17)
Purity is not optional in the life of a Believer. We are commanded to be holy, pure, and upright in this life. We are to live in ways that honor and please God.
We understand that we cannot be perfect. We will sin and make mistakes on a day to day basis. BUT, our imperfection should cause us to pursue purity all the more. And our imperfections should never be used as an excuse for our sin.
Why are we to pure and holy in our lives? Consider these precepts…………….
For I am the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God, so you must be holy because I am holy. Leviticus 11:45
Flee from sexual immorality! “Every sin a person can commit is outside the body, ”but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27
But, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.
1 Peter 1:15
As Christians, we should strive for holiness in everyday living. We do not strive in order to gain our salvation but we strive so that we may please God and reveal our salvation to others. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Let us commit to live holy lives in the midst of an unholy culture.
The Pastor's Page (4-18-17)
“He has risen!” (Luke 24:6) That simple, powerful phrase changed the course of history and eternity at once. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection had been predicted throughout His ministry. And now it was fulfilled just as He had said. He was no longer dead, but alive forevermore.
The resurrection is the heart of the Christian faith. Without it, Paul tells us our “faith is vain and we are yet (still) in our sins.” (1st Corinthians 15:17) The resurrection, though an audacious claim, proved the veracity and truthfulness of the Messiah. It serves as verifiable evidence that everything He said was truth and that He is indeed the very Son of God.
What a difference the resurrection of Christ makes in our lives. Without it, we are lost and hopeless. Through the finished work of Christ, we are brought near to God through the wonder of reconciliation. (2nd Corinthians 5:18-19) The resurrection gives us “the hope that our sins are paid for (Romans 4:25), death has been defeated (Hebrews 2:14), and the hope of eternal life when we repent and turn to Christ, accepting what He has done for us.”
How should we as believers respond to this hope? I would imagine that there would be many responses, but praise and sharing are two that come to mind. Our worship and praise should be centered on all that Christ has accomplished for us and in us through His completed work of sacrifice and resurrection.
Given that we have received so much, how can we not share it? Those early disciples centered their witness on Christ’s death and resurrection. We should do no less today.
He has risen indeed!
This post was first published in 2014 and has been offered annually on the Tuesday after Easter since that first publication.
The Pastor's Page (4-11-17)
And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.” "He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, "This man is calling for Elijah." Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him." And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
Oh, the agony! Christ suffered, He writhed in pain, and He died for us.
Oh, the shame! The Son of God was made a public spectacle. He was crucified as common criminal. He died as the “just for unjust.”
Oh, the love! Greater love has never been shown. He died for us when we were sinners (Romans 5:8) and when we were completely unworthy. No greater love could there ever be.
Dear Believer, remember the cross. Remember the cost. Remember the price that was paid. Christ gave Himself for you and for me. Remember just how much He truly loves you.
The Pastor's Page (4-4-17)
Have you ever considered what took place at the cross of Christ? I know we understand the horror, but, do we understand what took place from a theological perspective? Allow to mention three things that took place at the cross.
**Jesus took upon Himself our sin.
And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24
**Our forgiveness was secured.
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
**Reconciliation with God became possible.
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven Colossians 1:19-20
As we focus upon the cross this year, may we never forget what took place from a spiritual context. Our forgiveness was secured, our salvation was purchased, and our sin was atoned for at the cross.
At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
“At The Cross”
Isaac Watts and Ralph Hudson
The Pastor's Page (3-28-17)
The God of the Bible is the God of all comfort. God, as He is revealed in Holy Scripture, brings comfort to His people in various ways. He is good, holy, righteous, and loving.
(2 Corinthians 1:3)
Let us give thanks today for the Savior who comforts us and let us rejoice in His greatness!
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river attendeth my way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul!
It is well with my soul,
It is well, It is well with my soul.
The Pastor's Page (3-21-17)
God is immutable. He does not change in His essential nature and attributes. He is the same day by day!
Immutability does not mean that God does the same thing the same way in every situation. He does change His approach and working in our lives from time to time. But, in God’s essential being and in His essence, God is always the same.
We change and our world changes around us. God, however, is always the same and so shall He ever be. Consider these Scriptures……………….
God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, "Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.
"For I , the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end."
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
May God bless you!
The Pastor's Page (3-14-17)
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
Let’s think about three things these verses reveal to us.
**We must plant for the harvest. As believers, we are called to spread the gospel seed far and wide. This happens in many different ways including preaching, teaching, witnessing, sharing our testimony and ministry through the church.
Not everyone is called to the specific preaching or teaching office. However, all Christians should be sharing their faith and inviting people to Jesus in their daily lives. The Great Commission to go and make disciples is given to all. (Matthew 28:19-20)
**We must prepare for the harvest. Apollos watered the seed after Paul planted it. We must prepare to receive the overflow in our churches and in our lives as we sow the good news into the lives of others. Preparation is needed when one “waters the seed” as being unprepared for the harvest is shameful and wasteful. Telling others that Christ died and rose again and that there is hope for reconciliation with God through the forgiveness of sin will result in salvation for others. Not everyone will receive the message, but, some will. Are we prepared to enjoy and accommodate the harvest?
**We must pray for the harvest. Our task is to plant and prepare for harvest. However, God must bring the harvest. God must cause it to grow and mature. We ought to pray that God will bring the harvest and that He will send laborers into the field. (John 4:35 & Matthew 9:28)
May God richly bless you!
The Pastor's Page (3-7-17)
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Pastors have a multifaceted calling. We are called upon to perform many tasks during the course of a week. Today, I would like to concentrate on one aspect of the pastoral task from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church.
Mind you, what we will discuss in this article is not the only requirement of the pastorate. Many other duties are performed by those who lead in the church. But, what we will peruse in this post is the most central task of the pastor. What is that activity? The task of which we will speak is preparing the membership to minister to one another.
Paul speaks of this responsibility as a primary aspect of the pastoral calling. The “equipping of the saints”, as communicated in verse twelve, is central to work week of the minister. Pastors should teach and preach to prepare the Christian for ministry and to serve the body of Christ.
While the pastor should be involved in ministry and service to the membership, he should not be expected to do all of the ministry within the church. He is to raise up others and equip them through preaching, teaching, personal example, and training to do the work of the ministry as well.
Too often the pastor is expected to “do it all” as the church’s hired hand. This should not be! Ministers should train the membership and then release them to serve one another. The result of this service is spiritual growth, an increased knowledge of God, and Christian maturity.
As a believer, you have a calling to serve in the Church, the Body of Christ. Do not neglect that calling. Attend church, learn, and be equipped and encouraged to serve within the membership. From myself and pastors everywhere, let me make this closing statement. “We need you and we can’t do it without you. Help us!”
The Pastor's Page (2-28-17)
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This portion of Scripture was called the Shema by the Jewish rabbis. It was often quoted by Jewish worshipers in the synagogue meetings. The lessons it teaches are universal and important for Christian believers in our day. What are those lessons?
**There is only one God.
The great truth of this passage tells us that there is only one true, authentic God. In a society that trumpeted a multitude of gods and goddesses, Moses declares that the only true God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We would do well to remember this truth in our time. Many idols still vie for our attention. Yet, for the Christian, there is only one God revealed in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
**We must pass the Christian faith on to the young.
The Hebrew people were commanded to continually teach the precepts and principles of the Law. They were to pass on their faith to the next generation. Failure to transfer these principles from God’s Word resulted in much pain and heartache for the nation of Israel. The people of God were to continue to faithfully teach the Word of God so that future generations would not forget the miracles, blessings, and provisions that God had provided for His people.
This principle still has great import for today’s Christian. If we don’t teach the truths of Scripture through word and deed to our children and young people, who will? The world system is contrary to the truths of the Scriptures. Therefore, we must teach the truth, preach it, and live it so that our children may grow in the faith.
**We must teach the truths of the Bible by utilizing every opportunity.
The Jewish people were commanded to teach the truths of the Law in the morning, throughout the day, and in the evening. The point was this; use every teachable moment to pass along the ways of God, the truth of God, and the greatness of God to the young.
As Christians today, our command and call is exactly the same. We should be taking advantage of every occasion we are given to teach the plain truths of Scripture. Let us point out God’s blessing and goodness. May we remind our children that God is with us at all times. Let us teach them of Christ’s died and rose again for the salvation of souls. Let us not hold onto our faith, let’s pass it on.
The Pastor's Page (2-21-17)
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
The God we serve is a generous God. God, as He is revealed in the Bible, is not stingy or cheap. He gives, and He gives abundantly.
What has God given us? What blessings can we credit God for in our lives? Well, all of them. The Scripture above reveals to us the truth that God gives us “all things.” A few examples are in order at this time.
God has blessed with material blessings. He has promised to supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19) and the Lord does supply us every day. He gives us financial blessings, physical blessings, and material blessings galore. You and I may not have everything we want. But, when we examine our lives we find that we have more than we need.
God has also blessed His followers with Spiritual blessings. He has saved us. (Romans 10:9-10) God has given us His Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11) He has promised us a home in heaven. (John 14:1-13) And, the Lord has promised to never leave us. (Hebrews 13:4-6) What great and mighty blessings God has showered upon us.
Finally, we also have personal blessings from God’s hand. Our greatest blessing is not a thing, it is a person. Jesus Christ lived for us, died for us, was buried for us, and rose again for us. Because of this, those who trust Him by faith, are afforded a personal relationship with Christ forever. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Let us give thanks today to our God who “freely gives us all things.”
The Pastor's Page (2-14-17)
The way of salvation is through Jesus Christ. And the way of salvation is open to all who will believe. No one is worthy. Yet, all are eligible. Consider the following statements from Scripture;
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." Romans 10:11
For "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Romans 10:13
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:5
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
A key word in these verses is the word “whoever.” God loves you and Christ died for you. You are a part of the “whoever” in these verses. Jesus gave His life for you and desires for you to have a personal relationship with God no matter what you have done or how you have lived. His aspiration for you is eternal life in His presence.
Will you trust in Him today for the forgiveness of your sins? Will you turn away from your sin and selfishness and accept God’s gift of salvation? Visit Find It Here for more information.
The Pastor's Page (2-7-17)
Genesis 40: 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
Do you ever feel as if you have been forgotten? Perhaps you feel you even been unremembered by the Lord?
Joseph understood this emotion. He was forgotten for over two years and languished in prison. Yet, God was faithful all along and the story of Joseph ends with him as a ruler and not as a convict. God’s plan unfolded marvelously in Joseph’s life and it change the entire course of history.
If you feel abandoned today, I cannot promise you that God will make you a ruler in the end. I cannot guarantee that your life will be perfect or trouble-free. I can, however, remind you that Jesus has not forgotten you. He promised to be with you forever as you follow Him.
Think deeply about these Scriptures today and be blessed!
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
The Pastor's Page (1-31-17)
“Love one another.” (John 13:34) This command is given 15 times in the New Testament. Over and over again, we, as Believers, are commanded to love one another. It is one of the most oft-repeated directives in all of Holy Scripture.
We should love one another because Christ first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Jesus’ love was shed abroad through His life, ministry, death, and resurrection. He loved us when we were far from Him. (Romans 5:8-11) Therefore, we should love one another as God has loved us. Christ’s love for us should serve as an impetus for loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us also love one another because it reflects the character of God. The Scriptures teach us that “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Love is not optional if we desire to accurately reflect the truth of God as we seek to minister and witness to the lost. Our love for one another is a most powerful “proof” that we are in Christ. (John 13:35) People can argue with many things. But, they can’t argue with our love for one another when it is portrays the nature of God.
We ultimately love one another because it is commanded by the Word of God. The command is clear and direct. If we are Christians who take the Scriptures seriously, we must love our fellow believers.
Yes, we are called to love all people. Learning to love all people begins with learning to love our fellow Christian. It is not always easy, but, it is always worth the cost. Will you make a commitment to grow in your love for one another today?
The Pastor's Page (1-24-17)
Here are a few thoughts about our salvation for today.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Our salvation is a gift. The gift of salvation is received by faith. The salvation of human is all of God and is not dependent upon us!
1 Timothy 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
Christ was sent into the world to reconcile sinners to God. He lived, died, and rose again for salvation and our justification. Even the worst are not beyond the reach of God’s grace.
1 Timothy 2:4 Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
God yearns for men and women to be saved. His desire as that all would have relationship with Him. God’s heart is for all the nations of the world.
What about you? Have trusted Christ today? He loves you and He proved it by dying for your sins. He rose again proving that everything He said is truth. You are not beyond His reach. Turn from your sins and trust Him this very moment.
The Pastor's Page (1-17-17)
The simplicity of the gospel message is amazing. Children grasp this timely message and receive it with joy. People continue to hear the gospel and experience it all around the world.
Yet, while the gospel proclamation is simple, it is also powerful. God changes lives through this simple, powerful directive. God’s grace is truly amazing.
Three aspects of the gospel message come to mind. Let us examine them briefly in this space.
First, we human beings are desperately in need of help. We are sinners who are accountable to the holy, righteous God of all ages. (Romans 3) We have broken God’s law and made ourselves into an idol. We have become our own god who seeks to fulfill our own desires and not God’s desires. We have broken His law and stand guilty before Almighty God.
What is more, we have no recourse own our own. We have no remedy apart from Christ. We cannot “make it up” to God and we dare not try to justify ourselves. We are faced with the prospect of standing before the God of the universe in judgment and finding ourselves to be eternally guilty. (Hebrews 9:27) We cannot save ourselves and are in need of a Savior.
Thankfully, the second aspect of the gospel message makes it apparent that a remedy is available. Help has arrived, and His name is Jesus. Christ lived for our justification, died as our sacrifice, and rose from the grave to prove that He is the Son of God and that His Word is truth. ( 1 Corinthians 15) Jesus became our sacrifice, He took our place in judgment, and He paid the price for our sins upon the cross.
Where we couldn’t, Jesus did. Where we were powerless, Jesus died for us so that the forgiveness of our sin could be secured. (Romans 5:1-8) We are needy sinners, but, Christ provides the help and hope that we need.
Assuredly, the final facet of the gospel message that we would peruse reminds us that eternal life, forgiveness of sin, and reconciliation with God is available to all who call upon the Lord. (Romans 10:13) Today, desperate, needy sinners may trust in Christ by believing in Him and be granted eternal life. (John 3:16-17) His death, burial, and resurrection makes relationship with God a reality for all who will believe.
What about you? Have you received this wonderful gift of grace? (Ephesians 2:8-10) Will you place your trust in Christ? Christ is your only remedy and your only hope. Call upon Him today!
The Pastor's Page (1-10-17)
In Galatians 5:17, Paul implores us to “redeem the time”. This phrase means more than just “make every minute count.” Though that is good advice, the idea behind the phrase is to make the most of every opportunity. (Guzik n.d.) We have limited opportunities to serve Christ. We should “buy” them and make the most of every occasion to do good to others.
Why should we “redeem the time” as believers? Obviously, one reason is our brief time on earth. James compares our life to a cloud or “vapor” that arises for a fleeting moment and then is gone. (James 4:14) We seek to serve Christ by serving others because our lives are short and our opportunities are limited.
We should also redeem the time because of the remainder of Galatians 5:17. We are reminded that the “days are evil” at the end of this verse. The consequences of sin abound in our world and the needs these consequences reveal are endless. Many are hurting and countless people need Jesus. Abundant needs plus limited opportunities ought to make us more focused on ministry and evangelism so that the lost can be saved and the captives can be set free.
Ultimately, let us redeem the time in view of Christ’s example in the Scriptures. Jesus made the most of every moment and every day. He never hurried, but He lived His life intentionally by giving, teaching, and serving. Let us commit to examining the Gospels and learning through them how Jesus managed His time. There is no better example to follow than that of the Lord Jesus.
Friends, our time is brief and our world needs Jesus. Make we make the most of every opportunity in 2017!
The Pastor's Page (12-20-16)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
It is a glorious story. Christ has come to redeem his people.
It is a wonderful story. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
It is a powerful story. He is JESUS, the long awaited one.
May we give thanks and praise to Christ during this Season, and forevermore!
The Pastor's Page (12-13-16)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
The coming of Jesus was trumpeted hundreds of years before His arrival. In this passage, Isaiah declares to us Jesus’ nature and greatness. Who is the “Son” that would be given?
*Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He understands and empathizes with us as fellow human beings. He is the one who is “touched by our infirmities.” (Hebrews 4:15)
*Jesus is the Mighty God. He is the Son of God. He is Emmanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23) And Jesus is the “Word who became flesh” for us. (John 1:14)
*Jesus is the Everlasting Father. Christ is eternal. He is, He was, and He shall always be.
*Jesus is Prince of Peace. Christ offers peace in a chaotic and sinful world. The peace of Christ allows us to live without fear. He gives us His peace that enables us to serve and live for Him! (John 14:27)
May God richly bless you this as you celebrate and worship Jesus this year!
The Pastor's Page (12-6-16)
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
As we study God’s Word, we find much encapsulated within this particular verse. This writing tells us something of the nature and character of God. What does it say to us?
**God is Gracious
God grants to us gifts and blessings which we do not deserve. He loves us when we are unloveable. And He calls to human beings everywhere to repent and receive salvation.
**God is Compassionate
He doesn’t cast us aside and He continually seeks relationship with us. God is much more compassionate than we are. When our compassion wanes, God’s compassion is just beginning.
**God is Patient
God is “slow to anger.” He patiently waits and pursues, at the same time, those who are far from Him. This is not to say that God never becomes angry, for we know He does and rightfully so. Yet, His patience and longsuffering are astounding and wonderful to behold.
**God is Merciful
When we repent and trust Christ as our Savior, God graciously forgives and spares us from what we truly deserve. His wrath was poured out upon Jesus. Therefore, He is mercifully just in keeping us from eternal separation and granting to us eternal life. (John 3:16) Mercy says that God withholds from Believers what we truly deserve.
Friend, you are blessed!