**The Next Pastor's Page Will be Published on July 31st.
The Pastor's Page (7-3-18)
We, as God’s people, are commanded in the Bible to bless the Lord. What does it mean to “bless the Lord?” It means to give gratitude and admiration to God —it is defined as speaking well of His goodness and greatness. We have the awesome privilege to bless the Lord.
How are we to do this? The Scriptures shows us the path. Let’s look at three ways we are to bless the Lord!
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
(Psalm 103:1)We should bless the Lord in the deepest part of who we are.
The soul refers to the center of being. It is the mind, the will, and the emotions within us. We are to bless His name fully and completely. Let our praise not only be external, but, let it engage our inward person as well.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalm 34:1) We ought to bless the Lord in everything. In all times, let us bless His name. It good times let us bless the Lord. And in difficult times may we bless the Lord as well. His praise shall continually be in our mouths and on our hearts.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21) Bless the Lord when the Lord gives. Bless the Lord when He takes away. This principle is not always easy to follow. It’s not simple to traverse this path when we suffer a loss. If Job can bless the Lord after all he lost, so can we.
May God richly bless you and you bless the Lord!
The Pastor's Page (6-28-18)
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
Waiting is exhausting. Waiting on God is one of the most difficult experiences we will ever endure as a Believer. We know that God is able, but, He doesn’t seem to move on our time-table.
Why does God require us to wait? Why do the answers take so long to arrive? While we can never fully answer those questions, we can know that there are some good reasons that God acts as He does. Let us examine three reasons in the remainder of this article.
**God requires us to wait to increase our trust in Him. If everything arrived from God immediately our faith would stagnate and never grow. Waiting forces us to rely on God all the more.
God used a time of waiting to grow Joshua’s faith. Joshua waited forty years for God’s ultimate plan in His life to unfold. Joshua’s trust in God grew and allowed him to effectively lead God’s people through the Canaanite conquest.
**God asks us to wait so He can prepare us for the future. Joseph is a good example of this principle. God was preparing Joseph for leadership each step of the way. First in slavery and latter in prison his skills and acumen were being honed and refined. Joseph learned to serve and this lesson prepared him for the time that he would lead the nation of Egypt.
God is preparing you today for something greater tomorrow. God is using your waiting as a time of preparation. Learn from it and grow as a result.
**God uses our times of waiting to remind us that He is in control. Though we have free will, we do not have ultimate dominion over our circumstances. And God reveals that fact to us in the time of waiting.
Perhaps you are in a season of waiting. It’s not an easy place to be. My counsel to you may seem trite. Nevertheless, here it is–trust God, learn from your present circumstances, and give thanks for God’s ultimate sovereignty. When God reveals His path and His glory, it will be worth the wait!
The Pastor's Page (6-19-19)
30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' 36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" 37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." Luke 10:30-37
Jesus often taught using parables. Parables were stories from the natural realm that Christ used to demonstrate great spiritual truth. The Good Samaritan is one Jesus’ most famous parables.
It is important to remember that parables were not historical accounts and were used to amplify the truth that Jesus taught. Therefore, we must be careful not to over analyze or analogize them as we seek to understand the message Jesus intended. With that in mind, let us look at three simple lessons from this teaching and apply them to our lives. Jesus gives us a blueprint for how we are to interact with folks in our daily lives. Let’s not miss His message.
**First, God uses unlikely people. Jesus made the Samaritan the hero of His story and that is significant. The Samaritans were descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel who had intermarried with the nations that bordered their land centuries before. They were hated by God-fearing Jews and were considered to be half-breeds. The Jews called them dogs to demonstrate their disgust with these compromising peoples.
It is the Samaritan who stopped to aid the victim. While the priest and the Levite ignored the need, the Samaritan went to the need. Let’s be careful not to discount people. You never know who God might use for His glory. Even unlikely people find their way into His story.
**We ought to see the need around us. The priest and the Levite observed the need, yet, they didn’t really “see” the man and offer to help. This may seem simple but it isn’t always the case. We can become so busy and self-focused that we miss opportunities to comfort others. And the reason we miss them is because we don’t see them.
Let’s make it a point to ask God to reveal the need around us. We can’t meet every need. We can meet some if we will keep our eyes open and listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
**Service is costly but worth it. The Samaritan was willing to help physically. He bound up His wounds and took the stranger to the inn so He could recover. But, he also was inclined to pay a price to help this man by leaving provision for the future.
Service is costly. It is costly for us just as it was for Jesus. Serving others is worth it. When we serve others we are following in Christ’s footsteps. Service is not easy but it is rewarding and Christ-like. Don’t the let the price of service keep you from meeting needs. You’ll be glad you did.
The Pastor's Page (6-12-18)
"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
We will look at the most famous verse in the Bible today. This is verse is also the most memorized verse in all of Scripture. Let us not lose the wonder and majesty of this teaching even though we are very familiar with it. Let us examine it in this post and be reminded of God’s love and goodness to us.
God took the initiative in our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is not incidental or accidental. God made the first move.
“so loved the world…………………
God’s love compelled Him to send Christ for us. He loved us enough to take action on our behalf. He could have simply allowed us to suffer the natural consequences of our sin. But, His love would not allow Him to do that!
“that He gave His only begotten Son….
God sent Jesus into the world for us. The term “only begotten” implies uniqueness and singularity. God sent His one and only Son because He was the only One who could be our sacrifice for sin. Christ was the only acceptable sacrifice and substitute that could pay our sin debt.
“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life………
Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. There are no restrictions on the “whoever.” God loves the people of world and calls them to repent.
You may be asking “what do I have to believe?”
**First, believe that Jesus is who said He is. He is the Son of God who came into this world. He is the Savior and He is the only Savior.
**Also, believe that Jesus did what He said He did. He lived in the world perfectly for our righteousness. He died as our substitute and sacrifice on the cross for our forgiveness. And He rose again on the third day for our justification.
**Finally, believe that Jesus will do what He said He will do. The Bible declares that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. (Romans 10:13) Jesus taught us “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)
Trust in Him today. Ask Christ to forgive you and save you. He loves you. And He desires your presence in Heaven!
The Pastor's Page (6-5-18)
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
Isaiah 33:22 wonderfully summarizes the way God relates to His people. The original context refers to the nation of Israel. But, one can easily see these thoughts enumerated throughout the Scriptures. Because of that, we believe that they apply to us today.
Let us examine the implications of these statements for our lives. The LORD is great and greatly to be praised (Psalm 96:4). It is important to understand how we should view Him.
**The LORD is our judge. Since the God will judge us, we are accountable to Him. What we believe, what we say, and what we will do will come under the judgement of the LORD. May we remember this as we live for Christ each day.
**The LORD is our lawgiver. Therefore, we should learn and study His Word. We will be judged by the standard of God’s Word. God help us to study the Bible, learn it, and seek to obey it throughout our lives.
**The LORD is our king. Our highest allegiance belongs to Christ and Christ alone. He is to be above every relationship and every person in our lives. Let us serve our LORD the King the rest of our lives.
**The LORD is our savior. We would be lost forever without Jesus. He has saved us by His blood (Hebrews 10:18-20). We should serve Him and worship Him forever.
What a mighty God we serve!
The Pastor's Page (5-29-18)
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
These words comprise some of the final instructions and words of encouragement from the Savior. 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 (5-22-18)
I love the church! God has given me the privilege of serving churches my entire adult life. I am thankful for the church local and the church universal. With that in mind, let us be reminded of a few vital aspects of the church today.
The church is the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. We need one another and we should fulfill our role in the body. I am thankful for the body of Christ.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
The church is God’s witness to the world. It is through the church that we learn and grow to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world. We are His witnesses and He has sent us into the world to make disciples. I am thankful for the witness of the church.
To me, the very least of all saints , this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The church is a powerful presenter of God’s glory. God’s glory is revealed in many different places throughout the scope of the universe. And it is display powerfully in the church as God’s people meet, worship, pray, and serve together. I am thankful for the glory of God as it is revealed in the church.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Dear Christian, are you a faithful part of your local church? Are you fulfilling your role in the body of Christ? Do you give God glory through the church?
The Pastor's Page (5-15-18)
As Christians, our desire is to live holy lives. We want to be like Jesus. But we still struggle with sin. While we want to be holy, we struggle against the world system, the evil one, and our own sinful nature. We can easily sympathize with Paul’s struggle in Romans 7.
What can we do to overcome sin? Is there any help? Thankfully there is. Let us examine three steps to overcoming sin. I’m sure there are more, but, we will limit this discussion to three steps.
**Avoidance. First, let us commit to avoiding situations that tempt us as much as possible. Paul spoke of fleeing fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18) and of avoiding the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Stay away from circumstances that allow sinful temptation to flourish. We can’t always avoid these times. But, we should take every precaution possible to prevent them from occurring in our lives.
**Prayer. Jesus counsels us to pray that we would not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). He also teaches us to pray that we would be spared from temptation in the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). A consistent prayer life is a powerful defense against sin. Avoiding temptation is not simply running away from sin. That is important, but, it’s not enough. We need to run towards Christ. One of the best ways to do that is through prayer.
**Trust. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us this: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. This promise reveals several important keys to escaping temptation.
**God is in control of your temptations.
**He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear.
**God will provide an escape route from temptation. Look for it early in the temptation process and when you find the escape, take it.
**Christ will give you the strength to bear it all to help you overcome sinfulness.
Overcoming sin is difficult and arduous. Sometimes we will lose the battle. When you do, simply confess your sin, ask forgiveness, and move on (1 John 1:9-10). Stay in the fight. Avoiding sinfulness means escaping the consequences of our sin. And obedience is always worthwhile in the life of a believer.
The Pastor's Page (5-8-18)
Encouragement for the Week
Dear Christian, God is with you!
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"
Christ lives in you!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Our faith will be rewarded!
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Keep serving Jesus, Believer. Your faith is not in vain. Keep striving and living by faith knowing that Christ is with you every step of the way.
The Pastor's Page (5-1-18)
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. "But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. "But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. "The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said* to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' "But he said* , 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn." Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus is the judge of all things. At the end of the age, He will gather the true Believers to Himself and He will judge those who refuse to believe in Him. This parable gives us insight on these future events. Let us observe three observations from this parable of Christ.
**There are true believers and false believers. Some who claim the name of Christ are true converts and they are the good seed that grows into good wheat. There are others who claim to be a Christian, but, they are actually not a Believer at all. The non-believer may look like a Christian and may even act like one for a time. However, the true and false will be revealed for who they really are in the end.
**True and false believers will inhabit the same space in this life. Both are allowed to grow. It is only at the end that the differences come into focus.
**Ultimately, the true believer shall be gathered to Christ and the false convert shall be separated from Christ. All shall be judged and the true faith will be rewarded while the false faith will receive condemnation. No one escapes the judgement of Christ.
What about you? Have you placed your faith in Christ? Do you believe that He lived for you, died for you, and rose again for you? Are you a true believer? You may fool people for a time if you are not really a Christian. But that ruse will not last forever. In the end, the wheat will be revealed along with tares. Trust Christ today and be saved!
The Pastor's Page (4-28-18)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
We are reminded today about what awaits the Believer in Christ. The Apostle Peter tells us that we have an inheritance through Christ’s work upon the cross and His resurrection. He then goes on to describe the inheritance we have in Christ. Let’s be encouraged as we examine this topic this week.
**Our inheritance is imperishable. It will never spoil or decay. Our inheritance in heaven will not rust or rot. Praise be to Christ our Lord!
**Our inheritance is pure. No defilement of any kind will ever mar our Heavenly home. What a contrast. In our society, everything is stained and corrupted by sin and rebellion. However, the dwelling place of God’s people is pure, holy, and undefiled. Christ alone is worthy!
**Our inheritance is eternal. Our inheritance will remain long after everything else has passed away. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
**Finally, our inheritance is reserved. We have a reservation for Heaven through Christ’s saving work. It cannot be taken away or destroyed and nothing can keep us from our reserved place in Heaven. Christ alone is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise!
The Pastor's Page (4-17-18)
I was lost—Jesus found me!
"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? "When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
I was spiritually blind—Jesus opened my eyes!
The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
I was separated from God—Jesus reconciled me!
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.
I was headed for Hell—Jesus saved me and now I am headed for Heaven!
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Christ has done all of these things for me. He can do the same for you! If you haven’t already, will you trust Him today?
The Pastor's Page (4-10-18)
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."
Building on the right foundation is vitally important. The foundation determines the strength and durability of the structure. The same is true for our lives as well.
You are building your life on a foundation. We all are. Jesus said there are only two foundations on which to build your life. One is the solid rock of Christ while the other is the shifting sands of the world. Upon which foundation is your life being constructed? The contrast could not be clearer.
**One foundation is steady, the other is unsteady.
**One foundation will withstand the storms, the other will succumb to the storms.
**One foundation is eternal, the other is earthly.
**One foundation leads to eternal life, the other leads to eternal ruin.
Are you building your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ? Have you turned from your sins and received salvation through the forgiveness Christ gives? Do you believe that Christ lived for you, died for you, and rose again just as He promised? If not, believe and trust in Christ. Begin to build your life on the solid rock. You won’t regret it.
The Pastor's Page (4-3-18)
**We run this article every Tuesday after Easter each year. It was first published in April 2015.
“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 was 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!
The Pastor's Page (3-27-18)
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:14-16
The cross is key to our theology as Christians. We are saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We are reconciled to God through the cross. We are brought into Christ’s body through the cross. The cross is central to our faith.
As we observe this holy week, may we never forget what Christ accomplished on the cross. He died for us so that we may be forgiven. Even though we have sinned and deserved nothing, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s love was shown in the greatest possible way at the cross. May we ever be grateful for the cross of Jesus Christ.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame,
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross.
Till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Written By George Bennard
The Pastor's Page (3-20-18)
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:12
We believe that 2 Timothy was Paul’s last sacred, inspired writing including in Scripture. According to church tradition, Paul was martyred soon after this epistle was composed. There is a great deal of comfort found in this letter. I want to focus on the latter half of chapter 1, verse 12 today.
“For I know whom I have believed”
Paul was totally confident in His belief in Christ even as he faced the end. No amount of persecution could shake his trust in Jesus. Even death itself could not cause him to lay aside his beliefs. He knows who he believes in and he will not let it go.
We have the some hope today. We can trust Christ no matter the persecution and trials we face. We should be confident that Christ has saved us, sanctified us, and will secure us for the rest of our lives and for all eternity.
“and am persuaded that He is able”
Paul has an unshakeable trust that God will keep His promises. He had experienced the resurrected Christ and it changed his life forever. He was totally sure that God was able to do what He said He would do.
Our faith should be just as strong. God is able to keep His commitments to us. We need not give in to fear and worry. He is able!
“to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”
Paul understood that God could keep His covenant of grace until the very end. On the day of judgement, Paul know He would be vindicated for what He believed.
Our day of vindication will come as well. We will see Him face to face and it will be worth it all. Trust in the Lord and live for Him dear Christian. You will not be ashamed or regret it!
The Pastor's Page (3-13-18)
The Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity. As Believers, we belong to Him and He lives in us. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not an “it” or an impersonal force. He has attributes that mark Him as a personal being. Let us examine three of His personality characteristics in this article.
1) He is intelligent. He has all knowledge at all times of all things. What can be said of the Father and the Son can also be said of the Holy Spirit. He is omniscient in every way.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
2) He has emotions. He is not detached from our struggles, cares, and trials. He feels our pain and knows us by His power. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is genuine and robust to all Christians in every circumstance of life.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
3) He has a will. He gives spiritual gifts by His power and might. The Holy Spirit is all- powerful and omnipresent and He works His purposes through the events of history in order that God may be glorified.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
1 Corinthians 12:11
Let us give thanks for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He knows, He cares, and He works on our behalf. What a mighty God we serve!
The Pastor's Page (3-6-18)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jesus is the truth. That is a powerful statement. Jesus simply doesn’t just tell the truth—He is the truth.
Christians believe in truth. We, as God’s people, believe that truth has been revealed in God’s Word. The Scriptures are given by divine inspiration and we are accountable to believe and obey what the Bible says (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The “truth” that is found in the Bible is profitable for us as God’s covenant people. We cannot cast it aside simply to fit in with the crowd. It does not change and it will not change.
We, as Christ-followers, believe in “objective truth.” We trust that the Bible reveals truth that is true for people, for all time periods, and in all places. The truths of Scripture applied to the church in the time of the apostles and they still apply to us today. The Bible may not be popular in our day. But, it is the truth given to us by God and we are bound to obey it realizing that we will be judged by its standards someday.
Society has individualized truth. In some ways, there is no universal truth in our country any longer. We speak of “my truth” and we assert ourselves as the ultimate authority. Such an approach to truth leads to chaos and dystopia. And we are seeing evidence of that break down every day.
God has called us to a better way. The truths of God’s revelation are not easy to obey. They require sacrifice, humility, and God’s grace. God’s truth is not always easy to hear, but, it is the only truth that will save you, restore you, and set you free.
Have you accepted this truth into your life? We have all sinned and fall under God’s just condemnation. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. But, Jesus came to this world to live for us, die for us, and rise again so that you and I might have eternal life. He lived for our righteousness and He died to pay our sin debt. As a result, all who turn from their sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness are saved and reconciled to God. This truth is true for all people, all times, and all places. And it’s the greatest truth that has ever been told!
The Pastor's Page (2-17-18)
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
In this passage, Paul commands us this way in verse 30; “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” The word grieve means to “make sorrowful or to offend someone.” The apostle is teaching us that we can grieve or offend the Holy Spirit by how we live.
Grieving the Holy Spirit has consequences for us as Christians. For instance, we will not have power in prayer when we grieve the Holy Spirit. Our prayer life will be weak and ineffectual when we are living contrary to God’s word.
So what exactly does it mean to “grieve” the Spirit of God? Consider the following:
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie to each other (V. 25)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we have uncontrolled anger (V. 26-27)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we steal from others (V. 28)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit by being lazy and untrustworthy (V. 28)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we talk unkindly about others (V. 29)
After telling us what not to do, Paul concludes by giving us the way we are to live. He encourages us to put away bitterness and wrath. We are to be kind and tender toward each other. Finally, the apostle reminds us of the importance of forgiving. Forgiveness should replace bitterness and kindness should replace anger in the lives of Christians.
Let us be careful to not grieve the Spirit of God. We ought to examine our speech and our attitudes regularly. And let us be careful how we speak to one another.
Let us not grieve the Spirit of God. Without Him, we have no power at all.
The Pastor's Page (2-20-18)
God’s people should be filled with joy. Joy should be a defining characteristic of the life of a Believer. We have joy that lasts and is not dependent on our circumstances. An examination of the reasons for our joy is in order today.
*We have joy because we are forgiven. Our debt has been paid through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Be joyful, dear Christian. You are forgiven.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
*Joy is available to us because of God’s mercy. God has mercifully withheld from us what we truly deserve. Jesus took the punishment that was rightfully ours. As a result, we receive mercy. We deserved death but God has given us life. We earned Hell but God has promised us Heaven. We merit separation from God but He has reconciled us. Be thankful today for God’s mercy.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
*Joy flows to the Christ-follower as a result of God’s grace. Not only has God withheld from us what we rightfully warrant, He has given us blessings that we do not deserve. We have relationship with God, the power of the Holy Spirt, and the promise of His abiding presence. And frankly, we do not deserve any of these things. Yet, through grace we have “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” Jesus paid the price and we reap the rewards of God’s grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
We have every reason to be joyful. May joy mark our lives and identify us a Christ-followers!
The Pastor's Page (2-13-18)
In the life of a Christian, motivation matters! Why we do what we do is of great importance. We are accountable to God for motivation for service, giving, and ministry. Let’s look at the biblical teaching on proper motivation for serve in the life of the Believer.
First, we do not serve in order to be seen by others. Jesus reveals this clearly in Matthew 6:1 when He says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Beware of performing ministry with the goal of being seen, congratulated, and exalted by people. It you do that, Jesus says “you have your reward.” And that reward is short-lived and it doesn’t last for very long.
Second, we serve others realizing that God’s sees. Jesus applies this principle to giving alms in Matthew 6:2 when He teaches, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” When we serve and give in this way, the Father who sees us will reward us. Which would you rather have, dear Christian? Would you rather have the fleeting praise of men or lasting reward from God? We ought to serve knowing that God sees us even if no one else does.
Finally, we serve so that we may shine forth Jesus’ nature to the world. As we serve in the proper manner, we show who Jesus truly is to those who are far from Him. We shine the light of God’s love and truth as we minister to those who are in need.
Christ served others to glorify and please the Father. And His service was infectious—people couldn’t stay away from Him as He loved them, healed them, and ministered to them. As such, we should serve to glorify and please Jesus. May God’s people serve in this manner each day. Our service should draw people to Christ and help them see God’s love, mercy, and grace.
So, I leave you with this question today. What is your motivation for service? God bless you as you seek the answer to that question.
The Pastor's Page (2-6-18)
Living as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is not always easy. Kingdom living requires us to embrace the paradoxical teachings of King Jesus. What exactly am I writing about today? Consider these examples of upside down thinking that characterizes living in the Kingdom of God.
Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me." Mark 9:35-37
The first shall be “last of all.” Success in the Kingdom of Heaven arrives by putting oneself last, not first. This thought is counter-cultural and even offensive to our generation which embraces a selfish view of life and self. Yet, the call to put others first is strong and unavoidable.
In the Kingdom, the greatest shall be the “servant of all.” Greatness in God’s economy does not flow to us by chasing after earthly power, earthly plaudits, or earthly treasure. Rather, we rise in the Kingdom by serving others. Jesus is the perfect example of this as He came not to be served, but, to serve and give His life for us. (Matthew 20:28)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
Love your enemies. This is a powerful command from the Savior. We are not told to ignore our enemies or tolerate them. We are told to love them as we love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies in the same way that we love those who love us.
As we love our enemies, we show forth the love of Jesus and His nature and character. When Christ was reviled, He did not respond with reviling. He did not return insult for insult or injury for injury. He loved and He forgave even in the most horrid of circumstances. (Luke 23:34)
Christians are citizens of a heavenly Kingdom. The standard of conduct for the Christian is much different than the worldly system. May we, as God’s people, embrace the challenge of living in this way as it honors God and shows forth His love.
The Pastor's Page (1-30-18)
Are you primarily a giver or primarily a taker? Do you give more than you receive? Simply put, are you a giver or a taker?
God’s people ought to be givers in this life. We should be thankful when we receive and still be overwhelming in giving. We have been made stewards of our time, our talents, our treasures, and God’s truth. Are you giving abundantly in these areas of your life?
Great benefits accrue to those who give. Let us look a three of them today.
**Givers are promised blessings. Jesus statement (as recorded by Paul) reminds us that blessing and benevolence follow giving. Reciprocity should not be our motivation for giving. We should give expecting nothing in return. But, it’s wonderful to know that we are blessed in our generosity.
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35
**We can expect our gifts to bring forth a great harvest. When we sow to the Spirit, we will realize a harvest someday. We may not see the entirety of the harvest in this life. But we can give with the assurance that nothing is wasted when we give in the name of the Lord!
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
**We have the opportunity to show forth God’s love when we give. The God of the Bible is a giving God. Nothing helps us shine the light any better than giving. God gave to us and now we have the wonderful privilege of distributing those blessings to others. Commit yourself to a life of giving in all areas of our existence. Let us shine the light of the gospel through our giving.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The Pastor's Page (1-23-18)
Let us give thanks today for the Word of God. God has revealed Himself to us. He has given us much of Himself. The Bible may not answer every question we have. But, it contains a storehouse of inexhaustible riches that cannot be exceeded.
**We should be thankful for the eternal nature of God’s Word. All else will fail and every other writings will cease. But the Word of the Lord will abide forever.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
**We ought to give thanks for the power of God’s Word. God’s Word is powerful and active in our world and in our lives as Christians. God’s uses the Scriptures to change us and shape us in ways that are seen and unseen.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
**Let us be thankful for the inspiration of God’s Word. The Bible is “God-breathed” and profitable in our lives. There is no other writings that rival it in the entirety of the universe.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
As we continue in this New Year, let’s make a commitment to study God’s Word faithfully and diligently. Let us be exhorted to read the Scriptures and know them better than we ever have. And may we seek to obey its commandments and follow its precepts more closely each and every day!
The Pastor's Page (1-16-18)
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Shine the light. Christian, shine the light of Jesus. Shine it so that others may see and glorify God. Shine the light so that others may know the truth. Shine the light so that others may be saved.
**Shine the light by loving others. Shine the light by loving the least of these. Shine it by loving and caring for those who need Jesus. Wherever you go, shine the light!
And He said to him," 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40
**Shine the light by serving others. Let us find tangible ways to serve our neighbors and our communities. Serve the Lord with gladness by serving others.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45
**Shine the light by pointing others to the truth. Shine the light so that others may sin their sinfulness and be drawn to the Savior. Shine the light so that others may know.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
The Pastor's Page (1-9-18)
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16
Our goal as Christians should be to grow in Christ every year. How do we accomplish that task? Spiritual disciplines are a good place to begin. Make it a point to 1) pray every day, 2) read the Scriptures every day, 3) be faithful to the church, 4) and find a place of service where you can give of yourself, your talents, and your resources. Spiritual growth doesn’t take place over night. Yet, when we are faithful to seek after God in these practices, we will begin to grow-even if it times it seems the growth is minimal.
These are wonderful practices that all Christians need. But, let us make something clear. We must “make time” for these things. Bible reading and prayer will not happen naturally. Being faithful to the church is not the result of accidental processes. No, we must be purposeful and intentional about them.
The business of life and your circumstances will pull you away from these disciplines if we are not intentional about maintaining them. Don’t let it happen! Have a time and place for Bible study and prayer. Make the church the priority in your schedule. It won’t always be easy, but, it will be worthwhile. You will not regret these commitments in the long run as they will lead you to a closer relationship with Christ. Indeed, may we all “grow up” in Christ in 2018!
The Pastor's Page (12-19-17)
Thank you so much for reading the Pastor’s Page. I enjoy being able to reach out to you through the week. I pray that these articles are an encouragement to you.
I pray that you all have a blessed, Merry Christmas. I am thankful for you and I pray that you’re Christmas season will be filled with wonder and awe as we celebrate the birth of the Savior. Let us thankful for our Emmanuel—God with us!
I also pray that God would give you a glorious New Year. It is my prayer that God would bless you in 2018 and that His presence would be revealed in powerful ways in your life. I pray that we would all grow in the faith and in the knowledge of the Lord this next year. May we make the most of our time and be wise as we serve Christ and serve others.
The next article of Pastor’s Page will be published on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Until then, keep lifting up Jesus. God bless you all!
The Pastor's Page (12-12-17)
The birth of Jesus was accompanied by light. The shepherds on the hillside saw it vividly. (Luke 2) One moment they were watching their sheep at night. Suddenly, brilliant light floods the hillside. Deep darkness turns to midday in the blink of an eye. Light shone everywhere.
The coming of Jesus was also marked by a star. (Matthew 2) This star led the magi to come and worship the King of kings. They followed its life carefully and faithfully. Once again, we see light!
Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world. (John 8:12) The light that shines forth through the spiritual darkness was personified in the person of Christ. Let’s think about what that light accomplishes for us today.
Light exposes the truth. The cleanliness (or lack thereof) of a house or a dwelling is clearly seen when it exposed to the light. Darkness hides the dirt and decay, but, light reveals what is truly happening. The same is true of us in a spiritual sense. The light of truth that Jesus gives exposes our sin and shame. And it drives us to the Savior who made it possible for us to be clean and whole. The light is not always pleasant. However, it is necessary for the salvation and redemption we desperately need.
Light gives direction as well. The light of God’s Word will guard us and guide us as we read and study it.
(Psalm 119:105) When we walk in darkness we stumble and fall. When we walk in the light we have direction we need to be holy, loving, and joyful.
It is also important to note that light gives comfort. We desire that comfort as Christians today. Our world is so spiritually dark and in need of the light. Great comfort arises in our hearts as we trust in Christ day by day and seek to please Him with our whole heart.
The light of Jesus is needed in abundance today. Christian, let us shine the light of Jesus as Christ-followers each day. (Matthew 5:14) When others look to us, may we strive to show them Christ’s love, His joy, and His peace.
The Pastor's Page (12-5-17)
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Grace. It’s such a beautiful word. Grace is defined as “the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” 1 That is a lengthy definition, yet it captures the heart of the biblical word grace. Let’s see if we can apply it to our lives today.
God’s grace is sufficient.
His grace is sufficient when I hurt.
His grace is sufficient when I fail Him.
His grace is sufficient when I am joyful.
His grace is sufficient to keep me secure in Christ forever.
His grace is sufficient to meet all my needs.
His grace is sufficient in life.
His grace is sufficient in death.
Essentially, God’s grace is sufficient for the Believer in every time, in every season, and in every circumstance. You can rely upon and trust in God’s grace. Let us end today with the words from John Newton who penned the hymn Amazing Grace.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come.
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.