Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't judge too quickly...

I came across this story and thought it was an excellent reminder that we can be very quick to judge...

There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even the kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse.  Kings offered fabulous prices for the horse, but the man would say, “This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person.  And how can you sell a person, a friend?”  The man was very poor, but he never sold the horse.  One morning, he found that the horse was not in the stable.  The whole village gathered and said, “You foolish old man!  We knew that someday the horse would be stolen.  It would have been better to sell it.  What a misfortune!”

The old man said, “Don’t go so far as to say that.  Simply say that the horse is not in the stable.  This is the fact; everything else is a judgment.  Whether it is a misfortune or a blessing I do not know, because this is just a fragment.  Who knows what is going to follow it?” 

People laughed at the old man.  They had always known that he was a little crazy.  But after fifteen days, suddenly one night the horse returned.  He had not been stolen, he had escaped into the wild.  And not only that, he brought a dozen wild horses back with him.  Again the people gathered and they said, “Old man, you were right.  This was not a misfortune, it has indeed proved to be a blessing.”  The old man said, “Again you are going to far.  Just say the horse is back, who knows whether it is a blessing or not?  It is only a fragment.  You read a single word in a sentence – how can you judge the whole book?”

This time the people did not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong.  Twelve beautiful horses had come…  Of course it was a blessing!

The old man had an only son who started to train the wild horses.  Just a week later he fell from a horse and both his legs were broken.  The people gathered again and again they judged.  They said, “Again, you proved right!  It was a misfortune.  You only son has lost the use of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support.  Now you are poorer than ever.” 

The old man said, “You are obsessed with judgment.  Don’t go that far.  Say only that my son has broken his legs.  Nobody knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing.  Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you.”

It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military.  Only the old man’s son was left, because he was crippled.  The whole town was crying and weeping, because it was a losing fight, and they knew most of the young people would never come back.  They came to the old man and they said, “You were right, old man, this has proved to be a blessing.  Maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you.  Our sons are gone forever.”

The man said again, “You go on and on judging.  Nobody knows!  Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter into the army, and my son has not been forced.  But only God knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune.”

“Judge ye not” – otherwise you will never become one with God.  With fragments you will be obsessed, with small things you jump to conclusions.  Once you judge you have stopped growing. 

Judgment means a stale state of mind.  And mind always wants judgment, because to be in process is always hazardous and uncomfortable.  In fact, the journey never ends.  One path ends, another begins.  One door closes, another opens.  You reach a peak, a higher peak is always there.  God is an endless journey.  Only those who are so courageous that they don’t bother about the goal but are content with the journey, content just to live the moment and grow into it, only those are able to walk with God.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's really important?

But whatever was my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Philippians 3:7-8

We often have trouble prioritizing the things in our life. Most people I talk to have more things to do than they have time to do them, so prioritizing is necessary so you know what to do first. The problem is, everything seems important! How do know what is most important?

For the Apostle Paul, that was easy. The things that led him to knowing Jesus better were the most important! He was convinced that Jesus was more important than anything else in his life, and that anything that drew him to Jesus was of ultimate importance.

We might object today, saying that we need to provide for our families so our work is our highest priority. Paul would tell you that God can and will provide any need you have.

We might object that we will be with our families for the rest of our lives, certainly families are the most important thing. Paul would tell you that you that your family relationships would be infinitely better if Jesus were included, if devotions were shared, if Christ were honored in your family.

We might object saying that we’re getting older, our health is certainly what we should be placing importance on. Paul would tell you that Jesus can heal you just as healed so many before you.

We might have lots of important things in our lives, but until we place Jesus in that top position of importance, we will be missing out on all that He has to offer.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I think we all know that ASAP means “As soon as possible.”  It means that whatever the subject is, is very important.  We need to do it right away.  Or we need to contact someone about it right away. 
Sometimes, it refers to an invitation, we want others to let us know if they can come, but we need to know soon.  Sometimes it can refer to a sales offer, it might be a great deal, but time is limited, they have to act fast.
But sometimes ASAP is used for an emergency.  We need to do something ASAP or something terrible will happen.  The health care profession uses the term “stat” which is an abbreviation of the Latin term “statim”.    Perhaps that doesn’t sound so alarming.
There is another acronym that we should remember when things are urgent.  Still using the ASAP initials, remember to “Always Say A Prayer.”  Whatever we do when an emergency comes along, prayer is a very important step.
So the next time you hear the word ASAP, remember to “always say a prayer.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The fruit of our lips...

From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
Proverbs 12:4

I remember hearing a story about a little girl who wanted to build a new dollhouse. Her father was going to help her, and they decided that they could use some of the wood from an old fence that he had taken down earlier that year.

The little girl was a little bothered by the old nail holes in the wood, but instead of offering to fill them, or let her know that when they were painted they might not show quite as much, he decided to use them as a teaching lesson.

He knew that sometimes she said things about others that was very unkind, and he was concerned that quite often, they weren’t even true things. So he told her that every unkind word we speak is a little like one of those nail holes.

Sometimes what we say can cause hurts in others that leave scars, not unlike the holes in the wood from the old fence. And once said, our words can’t be taken back. We can apologize, and we certainly should apologize, and even when we are forgiven, those hurtful things can be difficult to forget.

On the other side, saying good things that help others and encourage others to get through their struggles, and strengthen them on their Spiritual Journey, can do a world of good. In fact, the verse above indicates that what we say can bring as many rewards as what we do. Feeding those who are hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the sick, providing transportation to someone without a car, are all great things, and Scripture promises a reward for those who do them.

Our words will also bring spiritual rewards, if we use them wisely!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Songs of praise...

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!  So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.  All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”
Psalm 66:1-4

What a great song of praise!  As I was reading this for my devotion the other day, I couldn’t help but think how great it would be to start everyday singing songs of praise like this.  To start everyday with God’s praise on your lips!

In our daily devotions, everyday should contain a time of praise, very much like this.  Including a time like this let God know that you acknowledge His greatness and His power in your life.  It keeps you in awe of the things of God.  And it helps keep you from thinking too much of yourself, humble, reciting daily God’s great power and might.

So every day, remember God’s greatness, and praise Him!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Justified by Faith

What do we really have to do to be right with God?

That's a question I hear fairly often, and it's surprisingly a question that people argue about. There isn't a lot of agreement on exactly what God expects.

The Sermon Message this week looks at that subject, and my answer to that question.

In the churches in Galatia, Paul had visited in an early missionary trip and help organize and strengthen the believers that were there. But then, after he left, others came in and told them that they needed to follow the Jewish Law, essentially becoming Jews before they could become Christians. Do we have to follow the Jewish commands? How do we become Christians? How are we made right with God (Justified)? These are the questions we try to answer this week. If you would like to read the message, click the title below. There should be an audio link by Monday afternoon.

June 13, 2010 - Justified by Faith

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are we basically good people?

When I have opportunities to share my faith, one objection I often hear is that a loving God would never sentence a good person to an eternity in Hell. And it might sound a little harsh on the surface.  But I think that reasoning is flawed.  Here’s why:
First, thinking that we are basically good people and that we should get into heaven suggests that we can save ourselves by our good deeds.  But the Apostle Paul is very clear that we are “saved by faith, not by works.”  We are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ - nothing else.
Second, it isn’t really God that is sentencing us to Hell.  He has done everything he could to keep us out.  Again and again, He has responded in grace when we have wandered away, doing our thing.  If we wind up in Hell, it’s because we didn’t accept the grace poured out on us.
And finally, how good do you suppose you would have to be to be “good”?  Would “basically good” be enough to offset a lifetime of disobedience to God?  Probably not.  I suppose the standard would have to be set pretty high, if in fact you could be good enough on your own. 
In fact, to get an idea how high, in Mark 10:17-18, a rich young man runs up to Jesus and asks, “‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered.  ‘No one is good – except God alone.’”  Is Jesus saying that he is not good?  That perhaps not even Jesus is good enough on His own to inherit eternal life?  Is the standard so high that even the One that never sinned still wasn’t good enough?  Would any of us measure up? 
That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 3:23, “for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  But Paul doesn’t stop there, he continues, “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Many think that we are born good, and it is life’s experiences that harden us.  But then why would we call that early stage in the development of our children the “terrible twos”?  Shouldn’t that be the best time in their development?  They are starting to freely interact with others, and they haven’t had any of the life experiences that would harden them yet.  They haven’t learned evil yet, having been sheltered by their parents up to this point.  The fact that almost every child goes through this stage might suggest that perhaps we aren’t born good.  Rather, we learn good from the rules established at home, beginning in this stage, but lasting throughout our lives.  Not that any of our kids are terrors, but perhaps they suffer the effects of sin from a very young age.
In our Bible Study yesterday, we looked at Deuteronomy, and in chapter 11, we studied the freedom to choose either a blessing or a curse.  In verse 11:26 we read, “I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey”.  The choice is ours.  We can follow God, obey His commands, trust Him in all things, or we can walk away and do our own thing. 
What we can’t do is blame Him for the consequences if we disobey.  He warned us long ago.  He even sent His Son to open the door for us.  We have to believe.
God is not evil or hard toward us.  Just the opposite.  God loves us so much he sent his own Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  God didn’t just meet us half way, He came the entire way, He did it all.  All we have to do is believe!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It doesn't matter who you were...

In our message last Sunday, we looked at a passage in Galatians, looking at chapter 1, verses 11-25.

In this passage, the Apostle Paul is telling us briefly about his conversion on the road to Damascus.  He was a very devout Jew, higher in the ranks than many of his peers.  He thought he knew what God wanted, and was very zealous in his faith.  But it turns out, he didn't know what God really wanted.  He had it wrong.  And it took a miraculous vision to straighten him out.

Sometimes, we think we understand our faith.  We think we know what it takes to please God.  We think we've got it right.  But sometimes, we can be wrong...

If you would like to read the message, click on the title below.  There is also a link to listen to the audio recording of the message.

June 6, 2010 - It Doesn't Matter Who You Were

Thanks for reading...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is He Your Messiah?

This week's message examines the question, "Are you really the Messiah?"

These people saw the miracles, they saw people healed, they saw so many incredible things, they even heard teachings that no man could know - teaching with authority!  How can they doubt.

One reason they questioned Jesus as Messiah is because Jesus was so different from their perspective of what the Messiah would be like, and what he would do.

We examine these expectation, what they saw in Jesus, and perhaps more importantly, what they didn't see that they expected to see.  These expectations affect us, too.  We dismiss miracles everyday, we miss God's work, we miss exciting things happening, we don't expect to see them there.

To read the message, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Do You Love Me?

The message for this week follows the lectionary reading from John 21:1-19.  It's the story of Jesus' third visit, at least His third visit, to the disciples.  He had instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for gift the Father had promised them (Acts 1:4).  This promise was probably made in one of His two previous visits, in the locked room, either the one Thomas missed, or when Jesus came back to see Thomas. 

Although Jesus had told them previously about the Holy Spirit that would come and be their guide and their counselor, I'm not sure they really knew what to expect.  They were waiting, but I'm not sure they knew what they were waiting for.  And after three weeks, they were getting pretty bored of that locked room.

Suddenly, without warning, Peter jumps up and says, "I'm going fishing!"  The rest, without missing a beat, all jumped as well, and said, "We'll go with you!"  And so they went.

When they got back, Jesus was waiting on the shore, with fire going.  He asked for a couple of the fish they caught, and prepared a meal for them.  After the meal, he pulled Peter aside.  He pulls all of us aside at one point in our lives. And He asks us the same question:  "Do you love me?"

This was a very short summery of the message.  If you would like to read the entire message, click here.  There is also an audio link to listen to the recording of the message, though this week the quality isn't the greatest.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Main Point of the Gospel Message...

This week is Easter Week - the day the church remembers the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

Easter is a great time to look at not just the resurrection of Jesus - but the life of Jesus as well.  So this year on Easter Sunday we looked at the message that Jesus proclaimed.  The gospel message - the good news.  What is the good news?  What is the main message?  What is the most important part of the message that Jesus spread?

That's the question we try to answer this week.  As you read the message, or listen to the audio link, I invite your comments.  What do you think is the most essential part of the Jesus' message...

If you would like to read, click here...

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Preparing for Easter...

How do you prepare for Easter?

Easter is the biggest day of the Christian year.  How do you prepare for it?

We have made Lenten Devotionals available here the Almond Union Church.  Do you have a devotion that read during Lent?  Any special disciplines that you might follow during Lent (fasting, mediation, prayer...)

How have they been going for you?  Have you found quiet time with God to be easy?  If you don't practice year round, it may be difficult to start for a fairly short period.

If you have started a new discipline and it has one well, I encourage you to continue it.  If it has brought you closer to God during Lent, continue it.  We need to be closer to God all year around.

Let me know how things are going.  I love to hear from you...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus wept

This last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and churches everywhere looked at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. 

We did, too.  That was the topic.  Yet the sermon title was, "Jesus Wept."  Does it seem odd that on the day that the whole city seemed to come out and celebrate Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, shouting "Hosanna" and "Blessed be the King," that we would talk about Jesus weeping?

Yet in Luke 19:41, it says, "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes.'"
In this weeks message, we look at this passage from Jesus' standpoint.  We've talked about the shouting crowds, the expectations, the joy in the hearts of the people in the crowd.  But while they were joyful, Jesus cried.  Why did he cry?

To read this message, or to hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Parental Rights vs. Godly Marriage

I was reading in Reader’s Digest the other night – you can’t beat the jokes, and April’s edition has some great pranks in it to get people ready for April Fool’s Day.
Every issue also has an article on a recent court case.  You read about the case and try to guess what the verdict was.  Some of them are difficult to guess, and I probably get as many wrong as I get right.  Which is a difficult situation for people today.  We try to do what’s right, but we don’t always know what’s right.
In this case, a man had a female friend who wanted a baby.  He donated sperm so she could be artificially inseminated.  It was successful, and a she became pregnant.  But after the baby was born, she refused to let the man have anything to do with the child.
According to Kansas law, men who donate sperm have no parental rights, and he pursued it all the way to the State Supreme Court, but lost.  He even appealed to the US Supreme Court, but they refused to hear the case, cementing the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court. 
Most people agree that the way God determined that children be born was in a committed and monogamous relationship He ordained.  That relationship is the “institution” of marriage.  Marriage has been under attack for some time now.  People seem to want all the benefits – children, health insurance, relationship – without making the commitment.
Biblically, what they did goes against the Word of God.  Too many people pursue other ways to get what they want.  I would much see them go without and be with God, then get what they want without God.
We need to get serious about our level of commitment to God.  What God gives is all we need.  Trust in God.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Resisting Evil...

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped; Therefore my heart dances for joy, and in my song will I praise him.
Psalm 28: 8-11

Last night we had an ALPHA Course that talked about How to Resist Evil. The discussion talked a lot about how we know that there is evil in the world. We see it in murders, abduction, bombings, school shootings. Over and over we see things that only a man possessed by evil could do. Unspeakable things.

Of course we talked about God, the source of goodness and mercy, and how the only explanation for the evil around us is the Judeo-Christian understanding of the Devil. I don’t know how else you can explain the evil around us.

Many religions teach that man is basically good, and if he does enough good, he will be rewarded with some type of heaven, paradise, or whatever end might be fitting. But if man is basically good, how does this evil happen?

The understanding of a Devil trying to lure mankind away from God may sound a little strange, certainly the image of the devil is not very beleivable, with the red skin, horns, tail, and pitchfork.  But I have yet to hear an explanation that makes better sense than an evil spiitual being, given what we see in the world around us.

One thing that was interesting in the ALPHA Course last night, did you know that if you add just one letter to the word “good” you get God. If you add just one letter to the word “evil” you get Devil.

I think the verse above is the answer. To resist evil, cling to God. The Lord is your strength and your shield. Trust in Him alone.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

O Lord, have pity on me...

As for me, I will live with integrity; redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
Psalm 26:11

As Easter is approaching quickly, I hope that you have the opportunity to do some daily devotions. We’ve again been blessed at Almond Union of Churches to offer a booklet of Lenten Devotions by Richard Rusbuldt. These are great devotions, I hope you have something similar that you’re reading through this season.

For me, Lent is a time of year when I am reminded of my never ending need for a Savior. I sometimes think that when I get to stand before God, I’ll probably be cowering behind Jesus. Fearful of the power and might of loving, yet just, God. In awe over His majesty, yet fully aware that I don’t deserve to be there.

Lent is time to reflect on that. Because in recognizing our unworthiness, we recognize Jesus’ worthiness. Only by recognizing our sin, can we recognize Jesus’ purity and lack of sin. And only by recognizing how our need for a Savior is, can we really appreciate our Savior.

We tend to think the best. Things will work out. We’re basically good people. We try our best. But especially during Lent, reflect on the fact that as good as we think we are, we still fall short. Things work out, we’re basically good people, able to try our best, because of the saving work of Christ on the Cross.

Without Jesus, none of us would be able to stand (or even cower) before God.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carrying Your Cross...

Our message for Sunday, March 21, looked at Jesus' last day, leading up to the cross.  While we don't actually look at the crucifixion here, we do look a little at the punishment He received at the hands of Pilate, and at the events leading up to the crucifixion.

We see that because Jesus was so weak after the flogging and the beatings, that He stumbled trying to carry His cross.  The Roman Soldiers grabbed an innocent bystander, Simon, to carry the cross for Him. 

In Luke 9:23, Jesus tells us that "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."  Understanding the floggings, the beatings, and being forced to carry His cross to the hilltop, what does it mean for us to carry our crosses.  We know what Jesus went through.  What must we go through?

To read the message, or hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Feel the Burn...

It's been a little while since I've posted anything here.  I was unexpectadly out of town for a couple weeks due a death in the family, then I started having some difficulties with the audio sermons.  Those difficulties have been resolved, and I think I'm ready to move forward again.

On March 14, our message at Almond Union was Feel the Burn.  We looked at 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 as our Scripture reading for the day.  The emphasis in this reading is that we are new creations in Christ Jesus.

To read the message, or hear the audio recording, click here.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some thoughts on Britains pending Equality Laws...

I just came across this from an article in Christian Today.  Pope Benedict has spoken out against pending equality legislation in Britain.  The legislation would guarantee equal rights to homosexuals.  A reason the church is so against this legislation is that it would make it illegal for a church to discriminate in its hiring practices.  While the Catholic Church deems homosexual activity as a sin, they would be unable to use that as a reason to not hire an individual that came looking for work.  To take that a step further, refusing to ordain an individual because of sexual orientation would also be illegal. 

The Pope had spoken out against this legislation.  In the article quoted above, Chief Rabbi Jonathon Sacks supports the Pope's condemnation of the legislation.  He writes, “We may not agree with the Vatican line on homosexuality. But the State is trampling on our rights as individuals.”

Here is an excerpt from the article...

There are times when human rights become human wrongs. This happens when rights become more than a defence of human dignity, which is their proper sphere, and become instead a political ideology, relentlessly trampling down everything in their path,” he said.

“This is happening increasingly in Britain, and it is why the Pope’s protest against the Equality Bill, whether we agree with it or not, should be taken seriously.”

He said the dismissal of a nurse for offering to pray for a patient, the closure of Roman Catholic adoption agencies for refusing to place children with same-sex couples, and the branding of a Jewish school’s admissions policy as racist were evidence that Britain was entering “dangerous territory” over human rights.

“When Christians, Jews and others feel that the ideology of human rights is threatening their freedoms of association and religious practice, a tension is set in motion that is not healthy for society, freedom or Britain,” he said.

“Rather than regard the Pope’s remarks as an inappropriate intervention, we should use them to launch an honest debate on where to draw the line between our freedom as individuals and our freedom as members of communities of faith. One should not be purchased at the cost of the other.”

Something to think about...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some thoughts on suffering...

I may have shared this before, but it's been a while.  So here it is again!

I’ve just finished reading a book called Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  I highly recommend it, if you haven’t read it.  Brother Lawrence was a monk living in a monastery in France in the mid to late 1600’s.  It’s a short book, easy to read, but speaks volumes.

One of the things that really caught my attention was the different view of suffering that was prevalent in the 1600’s in the church.  Nobody wants to suffer.  No one wants to suffer.  In fact, today, we are quick to ask for prayers to relieve our suffering and make us well again. 

Yet, Brother Lawrence wrote a letter, essentially congratulating a Reverend Mother when she became very ill, because he knew that God allowed that suffering, that he had a purpose for that suffering, and that it would bring her even closer to God by strengthening her faith.

I would never congratulate someone for becoming seriously ill, or experiencing other types of pain and suffering in their lives, and I certainly hope you wouldn’t either!  But Scripture is clear about the role of suffering in the life of one who trusts in their Lord. 

As we ride down the road, we will meet people who are suffering.  Many today are.  We may even be asked to pray for healing.  As we do, let’s remember the role of suffering.  Let’s remember that God is good and doesn’t allow suffering without a reason. 

If a believer suffers, it’s because God allowed it, and because He has a plan for it.  Often that plan is to steer people back to a closer relationship with Him.  We can be a part of that. 

By sharing and praying with people, we are directing their attention to God.  Many of them might not have thought much about God in a long time.  Look for suffering, and be ready…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

He must increase, I must decrease...

Wow, time really flies!

I can't beleive it's Thursday already, and I haven't passed along the info from last weeks sermon message.  It's been a busy week, but not a bad week.

This weeks message talked about Jesus' baptism, specifically why Jesus came to John the Baptist along the shores of the Jordan River to be baptized.  If you think about, John's baptism, according to Luke 3:3, was a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." 

But, Jesus never sinned.  Why did He feel the need for this kind of baptism?  Has that ever bothered you?  I think it bothered John the Baptist.  In Matthew 3:14 we see John's response when Jesus comes to him, "John tried to deter him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?'"

In the message we look at some possible reasons why Jesus came to John.  And why John consented, and led Jesus into the waters of  the Jordan. 

Ir you would like to read the message, or listen to the audio recording, click the link below.

Feb. 4 - He Must Increase, I Must Decrease

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All Things Work Out...

Last Sunday's message was titled All Things Work Out.

Most likely you are familiar with Romans 8:28, which states, "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those that love the lord, and are called according to his purpose."

Most likely you also know some situations that have happened, or perhaps you are going through right now, that don't seem to good. 

How do we reconcile these two?  How do we explain the trouble in life, if we understand that God works for the good in our life?  These are some difficult questions, and we try to answer them in this weeks message.

If you would like to read the entire message, or hear the audio recording (not the best quality this week, sorry), click the link below.

1-24 All Things Work Out

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Casual Words...

Curtis Corkey was our guest speaker at church this week as I am still in Florida with my parents.

His message was titled, "Why do the Lives of So Many Christians Look No Different Than the Lives of Those Around Them Living Secular Lives."  Now that's a mouthful, and Curtis readily recognizes that, and has come up with a short working title, "Casual Words."  Because that's the key - we as Christians let our words become too casual.  To the point that we no longer sound like Christians.  We sound like everyone else.

To hear the audio recording of the message, and I encourage you do, click below and follow the links...

Jan 17, 2010 - Curtis Corkey

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Helping out in Haiti...

I'm sure that you're email boxes are filling as fast as mine with requests for donations for the people of Haiti, and for those organizations that are helping, or will soon be helping.

In an effort to help you cut through the complex maze of offers, may I suggest that you donate to Samaritan's Purse Disaster Relief.

When Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita hit the Lousianna and Texas coasts, it was Samaritan's Purse that we as a chruch donated to.  I had the opportunity to serve side by side with Samaritan's Purse work crews in Texas and I do not hesitate to say that they are tops.  They are proficient and Christ-centered in the work they do.  I also had an opportunity to serve with them in the Elmira area after serious flooding there.

The morning after the earthquake, when the rest was world was promising to help, Samaritan's Purse arrived on the ground in Haiti.  If you're looking for a way to help, if you're looking for an organization that is there working to bring relief, use the link above and support Samaritan's Purse.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do you hear His voice?

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
Hebrews 4:7b

I came across this reading today, and tended to stick with them for a few minutes.  My mom just got out of the hospital yesterday.  She has cancer.  I’ve been struggling with the questions so many have already asked, many of them starting with the word, “Why?

This verse pulled me back a minute.  Yet as I looked at it, there is nothing there that probably should have pulled at me.  Yet… 

As I reflected on it, it occurred to me that, perhaps, some of those “why” questions were causing my heart to be a little hardened.  Perhaps because the focus on a “why” question is what you want, not what God wants.  We may ask God why he doesn’t want something, but it’s only because we really want, and therefore, we want to want it, too.  But that’s backwards.  We should want what God wants.  Not want God to want what we want.  I don’t know if you followed that, it sounds a little confusing, but God is God, and if we’re on the same page as God, we want what God wants.  Having that backwards is an indication that we’re not on the same page as God.

So, I don’t know why my mom has cancer.  I don’t know why it wasn’t contained so the surgery would have been successful.  I don’t know why she will have to go through the sometimes difficult treatments that are sure to follow.

But I do know God.  And I know His voice.  And I am listening to His voice.  And in the end, He will lead us through…

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rev. Ken Chroniger was our Guest Speaker on Sunday

On Sunday, Jan 10, Rev. Ken Chrongier was the guest speaker as Pastor Steve is out of town.

He gave an excellent message on persecution.  More accurately, about holding onto our faith in the midst of the troubles that come our way. The question to consider is this:  What in your faith are you willing to hold on to, no matter what.  Or perhaps, a better way to phrase it:  What in your faith are you willing to die for?

God doesn't promise to keep us out of trouble, but he does promise to be with us in the midst of those troubles.  Our role is to hang on to Christ, rely on our faith, no matter what the troubles are.

There is no written manuscript, but there is a recording of the message.  To hear his message, click below...

Jan 10 - Rev. Ken  Chroniger

Thanks for reading... 

PS - I wasn't there Sunday as i was in Florida spending time with my mom as she undergoes cancer surgery.  I'll keep you up to date, please pray for her.  Pastor Steve.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jesus as a child...

Has it ever occurred to you how little we know about Jesus' life?  What was he like as a child?  What games did he play?  Did he play well with the other kids?  How was he at school?  Did he like it?  Did the other kids tease him?  Did he tease them?  What was he like?

We really don't know.  There is only story that covers Jesus' life from his birth to his baptism nearly thirty years later.  It's amazing that we really only know about his birth, and then his last three years.  This is the only story that covers the time in between.

This week's message looks at that story to see if we can figure out a little about what he was like, and we might learn from this time in his life...

To read the message, or to hear an audio recording of it, click the link below...

January 3, 2010 - Being About the Father's Business

Faith First

  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him...