Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Finding Happiness

...his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning...
This passage is from Lamentations 3:22b-23a. As the title suggests, Lamentations is a book of laments, the Israelites are crying out to God following the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians (approx 587 B.C.). The chapters in Lamentations are like the Psalms, and in their original language, Hebrew, they are very poetic.
They were recited publicly on the special fast days and days of mourning. While much of the Lamentations speaks of the abandonment by God of the Hebrew people, and are therefore filled with grief and mourning, yet in this passage we get a glimpse of the hope that they cling to.
While they were in their deepest despair, they knew that God’s compassions never fail, they are new every morning. It is that understanding of God that makes their exile in Babylon bearable. No matter how bad it gets, God will one day hear their pleas, and in compassion, restore their great nation.
People today often feel abandoned by God. We live in a time where there is great wealth, whether compared to other nations or to previous generations. Yet at the same time, there is great despair and a sense of hopelessness.
The old saying, money can’t buy happiness, is apparently very true. Never before have we had so much, yet felt so bad about it.
What does buy happiness? If money doesn’t, what does? We all have an inner longing to be happy, to be fulfilled, and many spend their lives trying to find it. What is it that would bring us true happiness and fulfillment?
Solomon, the son of King David, King of Israel himself for some 40 years, searched extensively for the answer to this question. We read his findings in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.” The book finds that everything else is “meaningless.”
How do we live a life of happiness and fulfillment? We live it in relationship to God, our creator, redeemer, and friend. In Christ, we find fulfillment, peace , comfort, joy—all the things we need to be truly happy.

How to Pray Like Jesus

Here is a link to last week's message.

I got a lot of comments on it, so thought you might be interested in reading it, too!

Most of us know that prayer is important, but do we really know how we should be praying?  Is there a way that can make our prayers more effective over the long run?  Jesus had a lot to say on prayer.  This week we learn from Him...

Here is the link... How to Pray Like Jesus

Thanks for reading,

Pastor Steve

Monday, September 19, 2016

This week at FBC

This week we do something very different, something I've wanted to do for many years now.  We all know that spiritual gifts are important - that God equips us with those gifts we need to do what He has called us to do.  But how many of us know what these gifts are?  This Sunday, instead of just hearing about how important your gifts are, we'll actually help you identify what your gifts are!  Our sermon time will have a very short devotion on spiritual gifts, then you'll have time to complete a spiritual gifts inventory that will identify your spiritual gifts, and the best for you in serving the church.  It will be a great week at FBC!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thoughts on the Shootings in Orlando...

I wanted to use my blog this morning to share some thoughts on the shootings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL.  Our national government has made three statements concerning the shootings.  First, that it is not an act of Muslim Terrorism (even going so far as to block out large sections of the 911 call to remove all references of Islam and terrorism).  Second, that this is a call for increased homosexual rights (I think current law makes all people equal, what more is there to give?).  Third, that this is a call for increased gun control (I could argue just the opposite – besides, had he survived, he would have faced hundreds of charges already.  He wouldn’t have let one more charge of illegal gun possession stand in the way of his 72 virgins.  His goal was to become a martyr by killing infidels.  He would have found a gun, or used some other weapon).

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I don’t agree with any of those statements.  So what can we glean from this shooting that will help us in our life of faith.  Let me suggest the following…

First, let me make it clear that this was a horrible and senseless tragedy.  Horrible and senseless tragedies should be seen as reminders that we can’t know the date or the time of our demise.  They should be reminders that we need to make sure that we’re right with God now, before something tragic happens.  

Jesus was fairly silent on tragic events, but there is a glimpse in the opening verses in Luke 13.  Apparently, Pilate had several people killed while they were making a sacrifice to God.  Jesus asked the disciples, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”  Then He brought up another tragedy that apparently had recently occurred, a tower in Siloam collapsed, killing eighteen men.  Again, Jesus asked, “Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus seems to be saying that tragedy does not just come to sinners, it comes to everyone.  And unless we get right with God before it comes, we could be caught up in it and perish.  So tragedy, even the tragedy in Orlando, is a call to get right with God, because we never know when the tragedy will strike.  

Second, horrible and senseless tragedies should be a call for the church to respond to the hopelessness around us.  Tragedy can add to the hopeless feelings people experience.  But as Christians, we have a source of our strength, and a renewed hope through Jesus Christ.  In light of this tragedy in Orlando, our neighbors need to know that there is hope!  That all is not lost.  That there is a God who sits on the throne.  And while we may not understand why this tragedy happened, we do know that God is in control.  

Third, this is a call for believers to love the lost.  It’s love that will bring sense out of senselessness.  We cannot begin to understand how evil drives people to do horrible things.  But we know the love of God.  Show that love to others, be known for your love, and others will see God in you.  Even in times of tragedy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

In the Face of Troubles

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
1 Corinthians 1:3-4

Do you face troubles?  Are there some things in your life right now that you wish weren’t there?  Maybe they are health issues, you are not as healthy as you once were.  You have some things going on that you’re seeking treatment for, and praying that God will take it away.  Perhaps you have some financial burdens, it seems our expenses keep rising faster than our income.  Perhaps you have another trouble in your life that is causing a great deal of frustration, even grief, but you can’t seem to get by it.

Whatever the trouble, anxiety, or grief may be, 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 can help us through.  We can see three things from this passage that can be helpful.  First we see that God is God, and He is someone to be praised.  “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We can praise God in our trouble, we can look to Him for help.  Because He is truly the Father of Compassion.  

Next we see that God is also the God of all comfort.  Whatever our trouble, there is comfort from the Lord that can help us through that trouble.  In fact, this passage contains a promise that in Him, we will find comfort in all our troubles.  No matter what the trouble, no matter the cause of our stress and anxiety, we can find comfort from God.  God will not turn His back on us in our times of trouble.  We may turn our backs on God, but God will always be with us in our troubles, offering the compassion and comfort we most need.

Finally, we get a glimpse of a possible reason God might have allowed this trouble into our lives.  He comforts us in all troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we receive from God.  Why is this trouble in our life?  Perhaps it’s so that you may learn empathy for others going through the same or similar troubles as yourself.  Perhaps so that you can reach out in compassion to others suffering the same way you have.  

Who better to talk to single moms, than another single mom?  Who better to talk to someone who has gone through the loss of a loved one, than someone who has lost a loved one?  Who better to talk to someone battling cancer than someone who has won the battle themselves?

The things that you have gone through, while difficult, have prepared you to talk to others in ways that few others can.  And God wants to use that to bring comfort to others, and to bring others to Himself. 

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...