The Pastor's Page (4-24-18)
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.
The Pastor's Page (11-28-17)
Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.
1 Samuel 11:1-4
This passage of Scripture is a case study on human sinfulness and how temptation works. David was a good and Godly man and yet, he succumbed to temptation and committed adultery and later murder (see 1 Samuel 11:5-27 for the sordid tale). If it can happen to him, then, it can happen to any of us. What can we learn from this story? How can we learn to overcome temptation?
First, don’t entertain temptation. Avoid it all cost. When it tries to seize you, run away from it. (1 Corinthians 6:8) David saw the bathing woman, Bathsheba. But, instead of turning away, he gazed and entertained the thoughts of temptation. Do not dwell on temptation. Run from it!
Also, guard your eyes. David saw and gazed and then began to lust after her. In our day and time, our eyes are now exposed to some of the most provocative images any generation has had to endure. Images of filth and depravity are all around us. May we covenant with God to guard our eyes and not look upon those things that are displeasing to God. (Job31:1) Just remember, looking leads to longing and longing leads to lusting.
Finally, pray and study God’s Word. Pray for strength to endure and to resist temptation. Fill your mind with the things of God and His Word. (Philippians 4:8-9) Remember that sin has is it consequence and that we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7-8) May we take God’s command seriously to “Be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16)
The Pastor's Page (11-21-17)
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
We are blessed. We are abundantly blessed. It doesn’t always seem to be the case. But, we are blessed beyond measure. In no particular order, consider these blessings today…….
God has saved us.
God sustains us.
God secures us forever.
We are blessed with food.
We are blessed with clothing.
We are blessed with shelter.
We are blessed with finances.
We are blessed with family and friends.
We are blessed by the Church.
We are blessed with the sustaining power of Jesus.
We are blessed with the Holy Spirit’s presence at all times.
We are blessed with eternal life.
These are but a few of the blessings and gifts that God has given us. We may not have everything we want, but, we have more than enough. Dear Christian, you are blessed!
The Pastor's Page (11-14-17)
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant and praise is becoming. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. The Lord supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.
As Christians, we are commanded to praise the Lord. We should delight in worship and praise for all that God has done and all that He is. He is worthy.
We should praise God for building us up. When we are down, He is there. He strengthens us and helps us to persevere in ways that are seen and unseen. He carries us through and enables us to keep going when we would rather cease.
We should praise God for His healing power. He heals us and binds up our wounds through Christ. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provides the healing power we need that forgives us, cleanses us, and justifies us for all of eternity. We will still suffer in this life and we may not receive physical healing at all times. However, we acquire ultimate healing when we see Jesus in heaven.
We should praise God for His strength, His sovereignty, and His abundance. He is in control of all things even when it doesn’t seem to be the case. Our goal should be to praise Him, serve Him, and enjoy Him forever. He is worthy. He is worthy!
The Pastor's Page (11-7-17)
Adoption is a beautiful theological concept in Christianity. It is said that those who are saved are adopted into the family of God. All the rights and privileges of becoming a child of God are bestowed upon those who believe in Christ.
Let us take a moment and see what we those privileges are as they are revealed in Scripture. Our status changes when we are placed in God’s family. And the change is wonderful and marvelous.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15
Believers are released from the slavery of sin in adoption. This release allows us closeness with God as we now relate to Him as our heavenly father. We can grow and mature into full son-ship and daughter-ship as result of our adoption.
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. Galatians 4:4-5
Adoption allows us to be freed from the bondage of the law. We now have liberty to seek to please God as a result of our salvation and not to try to earn our salvation. We are placed in His family and all the encumbrances of past life are washed away.
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4:6
Closeness with God is a wonderful and powerful result of adoption. Where once we were far from Him, we now have closeness with God through Christ Jesus. We have the ability to address Him as Father in the same way an earthly child calls out for his/her Daddy! What wonderful thought—we are no longer an outcast, we have closeness with God.
We should give thanks for our adoption. We didn’t deserve it. But we ought to be thankful that our heavenly Father has placed us into His family forevermore.
The Pastor's Page (10-31-17)
Psalm 33:18-22 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.
Thoughts about Psalm 33……………………………
God is our help. He is our sustainer, provider, and shield. Even when things go wrong, he guards, guides, and protects. We need “God our help” each day. Cling to Him and serve Him dear Christian.
God is holy. We can trust in His holy name always. I don’t know what battles you are facing this week. I do know that you can trust in God’s holy name. We should trust and rejoice because we know who is in control.
God is loving. His lovingkindness endures to His people. Paul tells that even when we are faithless, God is faithful. (2 Timothy 2:13) We can rest in Christ, put our hope in Christ, and serve all of our days because of His faithful lovingkindness.
It is so true. When Christ is all you have, you truly understand He is all you need!
Blessings upon you all.
The Pastor's Page (10-24-17)
In Exodus 25, God commanded the people of Israel to build what would be known as the ark of covenant. It was an ornate chest that symbolized the greatness and might of God. This “ark of the covenant” is featured prominently in Israel’s history at different points in the Old Testament.
The ark still teaches us much today even though we are no longer under the law. It still has meaning and teaches us principles for our time. An examination of these principles will follow.
First, the ark symbolized the purity of God. The ark was to be overlaid with pure gold inside and out. (Exodus 25:11) The purity of God would be memorialized through the purity of the gold. God is pure and holy and the ark would serve as a reminder of that fact.
Second, the ark symbolized the presence of God. The ark would dwell in the most holy place of the tabernacle and later in the same place in the temple. (Exodus 40:20-21) It would remain as a perpetual illustration to remind the people that God was with them. They would be His people and He would be there God.
Also, the ark symbolized the purposes of God. The ark would serve as an illustration of the covenant of God with His people. The mercy seat or “atonement cover” was placed on the top of the ark and there the High Priest would place the blood of the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people. (Leviticus 16:14) The mercy of God would be found through the sacrifices remunerated each year on the Day of Atonement.
What does this mean for Believers today? We need to be in awe of the purity of God. In a world that is filled with impurity, God’s purity shines forth like the sun.
We should realize that God dwells with us as well. He indwells us through the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16) We no longer look to an object because He is with us at all times.
Finally, the ark instructs us about Jesus. It is through the blood of Jesus that our sins are ultimately removed and we are forgiven. (Hebrews 10) His sacrifice was accepted and fulfilled the entirety of the law for us.
As Paul says “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) Be blessed today!
The Pastor's Pace (10-17-17)
We live in a world that values power. Our culture is in love with physical power, military power, and economic power. Power is the objective and power is sought by many in our day.
God’s power is altogether different. How so? The Bible tells us.
God’s power saves………..
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
God’s power resurrects……..
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 1 Corinthians 15:42-43
God’s power is infinite………..
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Gods’ power is everlasting………..
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ ; and He will reign forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, "We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. Revelation 11:15-17
God’s power is greater than any earthly power. I don’t know about you. But, I’ll seek to live in God’s power every day. Be blessed with this thought!
The Pastor's Page (10-10-17)
I have a question for you today. Are you a daily Christ-follower in word and deed? Do you have a daily relationship with Christ?
If you are a believer then you DO have a relationship with Jesus. He has saved you and adopted you into His family. (Galatians 4:5) However, is your relationship with Christ growing on a daily basis?
How can we engage and grow our relationship with Christ? Are there practices that will help us grow closer to our Savior? Absolutely! Let us discuss them today.
First, learn to seek God daily through prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Have a fixed time and place that you can pray every day. You do not need to pray hours on end in order to see results. Just begin to pray consistently each day and you’ll see God work in your life.
He may not always answer our prayers as we hope. But He will change us through prayer. Little by little He will use the prayers of His people to help us grow in the faith.
Second, read and study the Bible. (2 Timothy 2:15) Find some systematic way to engage the scriptures each day. As you read persistently, you will notice your view of the world and your view of Christ changing and growing. It will not happen overnight, but, if we continue in God’s Word He will use it to grow us and transform us.
Finally, think about your relationship with Christ each day. Perhaps that statement is self-evident. But honestly, we as Christians have a tendency to live each day without thinking about what God has done for us and how He has blessed us. Let’s challenge ourselves to think the proper thoughts so that our thinking will lead us to a deepening relationship with Christ. (Philippians 4:8)
Following these simply practices will not make your life perfect. You will still have problems and pain. Following these precepts will give you a different perspective on life. You will begin to see things from God’s perspective and not your own. And when we begin to see things from God’s perspective, life will be more victorious and abundant. And that’s what we want, right?
The Pastor's Page (10-3-17)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
People today are fond of saying “our times are troubled.” On certain days, such a pronouncement would be an understatement. Violence, carnage, and mayhem reign in our streets and our hearts. Each new tragic episode is said to be the worst episode that has ever taken place. Well, it’s the worst at least until the next tragedy comes around.
As each tragedy comes and goes, humans become more despondent and distressed. We ask “what causes these things to take place?” and “how do we stop this?” Unfortunately, from a human perspective, there are no easy answers. Each side on the political spectrum simply doubles down on their arguments. But nothing seems to change. Tragic, terrible, events teach us that there will never be true peace on earth until King Jesus rules and reigns.
In the meantime, what are we to do? Remember, the truth of God’s Word. When tragedy and hurt come our way, be cognizant of God’s unchanging truth and unchanging love. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Why?
He is our refuge. Christ is the one we can turn to in every situation. He experienced pain, sorrow, injustice, betrayal, and even death for us. Turn to Him as your refuge from the tragedy, the violence, the pain. Pray, trust, and keep believing in the goodness of God despite what you see going on around you.
He is our strength. He is the reason you and I are able to keep going. Jesus is the cause of our worship, our service, and our obedience. And He is the reason you’re able to get out of bed in the morning. Trust in Him—He is your strength.
He is our help. Christ has been your help, He is your help today, and He will always be your help. He is our might and He will carry us through.
God never promised perfection in this life. Evil will always be a part of this world until Jesus returns. Keep recalling what God has declared. He is your refuge, your help, and your strength.
The Pastor's Page (9-26-17)
One of the great tenets of the Christian faith surrounds the person of Jesus Christ. We proclaim that He is all God and all man. Somehow, through the miraculous power of God, Jesus received humanity in the incarnation.
Today, let us think about the one who came to identify with us. He felt the emotions we feel and Christ experienced life as we experience it. Let us look as some examples.
**He became hungry.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
**He became tired and rested.
So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
**He was thirsty at times.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."
"Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept.
The mystery of the incarnation is deep and profound. Jesus experienced the entirety of humanity and yet remained without sin for us. He loves us today. And He understands-He’s been there.
The Pastor's Page (9-19-17)
The word “help” occurs over 185 times in the Scriptures. The word is found in the Old and the New Testament many times over. Why? God realizes that we are needy creatures and that we need His power, His love, and His mercy.
The book of Psalm contains several references to help. Let us look at three instances of the help that God provides for His people.
**Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
We are called to wait upon the Lord. This waiting is not a call to passivity but to increase in faith. Waiting means we are to do what He has called us to do until further instruction. We don’t know when our help will arrive. We only know that God is the only one that can provide it and that He is our “help and shield.”
**Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
The help the Lord provides is present when we truly need it. Oftentimes, God doesn’t remove the trouble, instead, He helps through the trouble. He is our refuge and strength when everything else fails in our lives.
**Psalm 94:17 If the LORD had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
Christ is our ultimate help. We would be separated from God forever without the salvation that He provides. As sinful human beings, we would indeed “dwell in the abode of silence” separated from God forever. Thanks be to God for the victory He has given us.
Dear Christian, these principles are for you. Look to God as your ultimate help. Trust Him through all things. It is not easy, but, He has promised to be your help!
The Pastor's Page (9-12-17)
Who is Jesus? The opinions are varied and mixed. While almost everyone believes there was a historical Jesus, there is much division about who He truly is and what it all means.
What does the Bible say about this topic? How would Scripture answer that question? It would be impossible to tell of everything the Bible says about Jesus nature and work in one blog post. So let’s examine three truth claims about Jesus from the Word of God as we seek to elucidate this quandary.
1) The Scriptures declare that Jesus is the Son of God. Peter declared Him to be the “Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:14) in his declaration. Also, Jesus has the power to forgive the sinner (Matthew 9:1-6) and He pronounced Himself as “Lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:1-5) John expressed Jesus’ deity by saying “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) in his Gospel.
These statements make a compelling case for the deity of Jesus. The Holy Word of God thunders the truth of Jesus’ divinity from the lips of the Savior and the pen of the apostles. When one examines the Bible, we must realize that the Scriptures declare that Jesus is indeed the Son of God!
2) Jesus is the Savior of the world. Everyone who believes in Him and trusts Him for salvation shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16-17) He lived for our justification, died to pay our sin debt, and rose again to prove that everything He said was true. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
He is the Savior, and He is the ONLY savior. We find this truth expressed in John 14:6, Acts 4:32, and 1 Timothy 2:5. One can choose to accept this precept or reject it. However, this truth is objective and eternal and cannot be changed.
3) Jesus is the judge. He is the long promised Messiah (Matthew 16:14) and He is the one who will judge the nations. (John 5:22) All Believers will answer to Christ for the way they have lived one day. (2 Corinthians 5:10) People may choose to reject His salvation and His mercy. But, no one will escape His judgment.
Are you ready to stand before Christ? Have you trusted Him for your salvation believing He died, was buried, and rose again for you? Trust in Him today. He is the Son of God, He is the Savior of the world, and He will judge everyone at the appointed time. Trust Him today while you still can!
The Pastor's Page (9-5-17)
This Article Was Previously Published in 2015
I love the church! God has given me the opportunity, throughout my life, to serve the church as a worship leader, youth leader, a servant, and as pastor. I have given my life to the church and I have no regrets.
Those who do not participate in the corporate life of the church are missing so much. Tremendous blessings are found as one serves alongside their fellow members in the Body of Christ. We learn so much from one another simply by meeting together regularly, serving together faithfully, and living our lives in the shelter of the people of God.
The church is not perfect. This should not surprise anyone as we understand that the church is comprised of imperfect sinners. But, even our imperfections allow us the opportunity to both give and experience forgiveness. Our faults allow us the joy of experiencing a love from fellow church members that is not based on performance. We should seek holiness and avoid sin at every turn. It’s good to know, however, that when we fall, there are those who will stand with us and not forsake us in the Body of Christ.
Are you a part of the church? Are you searching for a place where you will experience true meaning and purpose? I encourage you to be a part of the local church. Jesus loves His Body and He is building the church for His glory (Matt. 16:18). It for all of these reasons that I love the church!
The Pastor's Page (8-29-17)
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 3:6-9
Three points from Paul’s teaching stand out in this passage. They correspond to the thoughts, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”
1) We are to plant for harvest. Let us plant each day by sowing the seed of the gospel. We plant for harvest by sharing the good news of the forgiveness of sin that is available to all who believe. Also, we plant by loving people and by inviting them to Jesus.
2) We are to prepare for harvest. We water as we continue to share the gospel and live out the implications of the gospel. Being a consistent witness is important and necessary for the harvest.
3) We must pray for harvest. Only God can give the increase and cause growth. He uses our efforts and obedience. But, Jesus is the only one that can “build His church.” (Matthew 16:18)
Dear Christian, commit yourself to these three principles each day. The harvest is ready and waiting. People need Jesus and we should be honored to be used by God to lead souls to salvation!
The Pastor's Page (8-22-17)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer. Romans 12:10-12
Romans 12 is filled with practical instruction for Believers. The above referenced verses contain several key points about relationships among Christians. Let us briefly peruse them during this article.
How are we to treat one another?
**We are to be devoted to one another. Loyalty is a lost concept in our world today. Loyalty needs to be recovered and practiced within the church.
**We should honor one another. Selfishness has no place within the body of Christ. Honoring one another reveals the depth of our love for those in the Church.
**We ought to be diligent, fervent, and service-oriented towards those whom God has called in the body. Our service should not be lackadaisical and half-hearted. The Christian should serve heartily and faithfully in the Church.
**We need to be a rejoicing people. We have much to be joyful about even though life is difficult. A happy people will attract others to the faith.
**We strive to persevere through all things. True Christians stay the course and keep the faith. We may stumble, but, we do not abandon the Truth.
**We are devoted to prayer. We may struggle with prayer, nonetheless, we pray. We pray believing that God hears and God knows that is best for us.
I pray God’s richest blessings upon us all as we seek to obey these truths each day.
The Pastor's Page (8-15-17)
We are living in troubled times. The divisions in our nation are stark and bleak. Radical ideology seams to find its way into the open at every opportunity. These are difficult times indeed.
The Bible is clear that these things will be with us in this world. How are we to respond? We should respond by continuing to live out the principles of God’s Word not matter what happens in the world.
Genesis 1 and 2 tell us that God created us in His image. There is some dispute about what that means in a world that is dominated by sin. Nevertheless, this Scripture instructs us that all human begins are created by God and therefore have inherent value to Him. In that sense, we are all equal. On the basis of that fact, let me make the following personal convictions:
**As a Believer in Christ and Minister of the Gospel, I denounce racism in every form and fashion. It is antithetical to biblical instruction and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
**I denounce every form of bigotry and white supremacy wherever it is found. It is sinful, wrong, and evil. All are created in God’s image and are worthy of respect and common decency.
**I hurt for, and with, my brothers and sisters of other races who have endured abuse, scorn, injury, and ridicule as the result of racism, bigotry, white supremacy and the like. I am especially grieved that some of these actions have taken place in the church.
**I will continue to preach that God’s love sent His to the cross to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) and “that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
**I commit to take every opportunity to build bridges and not walls. I commit to take every action within my power to stamp out the scourge of racism and bigotry at every turn.
Please hear my heart. This is not a political statement—it is a Gospel statement. As Believers, we all should denounce racism as wrong and sinful no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.
The hope we have is the gospel. Our responsibility is to preach, teach, and share the good news that God saves, changes lives, changes hearts, and changes attitudes. May God bless us as we contend for faith until He comes again.
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
The Pastor's Page (8-8-17)
The word repent appears over 65 times in Holy Scripture. Repentance is a biblical concept that is imbedded deeply in the pages of the Bible. Today, let us take a brief survey of the New Testament teaching on this subject.
First, let’s define the term. Repentance means “to change the mind.”1When the word appears, especially in the New Testament, this meaning is applied and understood from the text. We change our direction, our thoughts, and our beliefs when we repent. Once we were faithless. Now we accept the truth and believe the truth by faith. It is a total reordering of the life and mind.
Repentance is required for salvation. Jesus told His followers that “unless you repent, you will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) Salvation demands that we abandon our old way of life and our sin and place our complete trust in Christ. While we may state this concept differently depending on the context, the message is clear. There is no eternal life without repentance.
We will continue to struggle with sin as long as we are on this planet. Repentance that leads to salvation does not lead to automatic sinlessness in this life. However, the truly repentant Believer will not continue in sin and will seek cleansing from the God. (1 John 1) The Christian cannot be happy in sin as their desires have been changed and reoriented towards the thing of God.
Repentance redirects the way we live and treat others. A repentant person will seek to act righteously and think Godly thoughts. Simply put, if there is no change in thought or behavior, there is no repentance and no salvation.
What about you? Have you turned from your sin? Have you repented and trusted Christ for the forgiveness of your sin? Turn away from your sin and self and trust in Christ today!
Brand, et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, 2003: 1375
The Pastor's Page (8-1-17)
False teaching is prevalent in our society. We shouldn’t be surprised as false doctrine has always been front and center since the time of Christ. How are we to respond to this as Christians? Let us ruminate on three thoughts about false teaching today. Let us think on these three sayings that fall from the lips of our Savior.
*Jesus predicted that this would happen. Throughout His ministry Jesus warned His followers often that there would be false teaching and false messiahs. Knowing this fact should help us to be wary and test everything we hear.
"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24
*We need to be prepared to deal with false teaching as Believers. We will not be able to hide from false doctrine forever. Eventually, we must confront it in love and shine for the truth.
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
*We must know the truth of Scripture. The only way to be able to identify the false is to know the truth. When we know the truth, we can then call out the counterfeit gospels that are so rampant in our society.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
May God bless you all as you pursue the truth that will last for all eternity!