November 27

Let me be one of the first ones to wish you a Merry Christmas.  This advent season we are going to look at the OT prophecies to Jesus’ birth.  They are just as God-breathed as the stories in the NT.  And looking at the line of Jesus reaching back to Abraham (Adam in Luke’s gospel), shows us that Jesus did not just appear out of no where.  He had parents and grandparents and great-grandparents in a long line to people whose stories and whose lives we read about in the OT.  And because of this we have a rich heritage before us.  Because as Christians, we too are heirs of Abraham.  We are part of God’s family and with it the royal privileges that come with it.  So this week, celebrate being children of the king and reveal in the miracle of his presence with us.

November 20

Have a great thanksgiving, being thankful in all things and “giving thanks to God the Father through” Jesus.

November 13

This post is posted much later in the week.  But I hope that you have been thinking about Sunday’s sermon about communion.  Remembering all that Jesus did for us on the cross is so important to our life as a Christian.  He is our life, our example, our salvation, our hope, our faith, our everything.  And even though we do not celebrate this meal in our church every Sunday, it is still an important celebration in the life of a Christian.  So let us not forget.  Let us never take it for granted the sacrifice of the lamb of God.

November 6

I told you last Sunday that I am going to have our whole church participate in a through the Bible reading this next year starting in January.  There are many options out there and I personally have read through the whole Bible in one year multiple times and every time I find new things.  I found three great options that have both positive and negative traits.  I finally have decided which is the best for our church at this time.  The one I chose has 5 groups of readings every week.  I like this because I know from personal experience that it is harder to find time on the weekend to do Bible reading than throughout the week.  Plus this gives you the option of choosing which days of the week you do your reading.  And if you miss a day or forget or are too busy on any particular day, you do not have to worry about falling behind.  You have seven days to do five readings.  This means that the readings may be a bit longer than a typical 7 day/week reading plan, but I think the benefits out weigh the vises.  This reading also has Old Testament and New Testament mixed together so it is easier to keep up with the readings especially in some of the “dryer” passages in the OT.  I also like this plan because it comes with a companion guide that gives just a brief insight into each chapter of the Bible.  This will help clear up any confusion a passage may have and give us a starting point for discussion in this post.  And finally, I like this plan because you do not have to buy a special Bible or translation.  You can use any Bible or translation you already have, you can take and use the Bibles in our church pews, or you can do it on your phone with any Bible app you may have.  So I hope this will appeal to most people and allow us to read through the Bible together.

October 30

There has been much in the news this last week about anti-Israeli protests and demonstrations.  Despite the trend toward “tolerance” and “acceptance” of different races, cultures, lifestyles, etc., this hated toward the Jews is not treated in this light.  And you almost have to ask the word why when you see all the hatred out there.  This week we talked about persecution of Christians because of our witness about Jesus and the Word of God.  (BTW I found another good passage about persecution and following Jesus in my devotions this morning from Mark 10, “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: Homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life”)  My guess about the antisemitism is they (like Christians) are God’s chosen people, and it is that relationship that causes the hate.  So let us support our fellow God followers there in Israel.

October 23

The news is continuing to sadden me as I see our world fall deeper and deeper into chaos.  I am not sure how much longer it will be before we see Jesus again.  How long will he tarry?  How much worse can it get?  I may not be able to answer the first question, but the second is clear from our message this week.  It can and it will get worse.  Sin will be the norm and Christianity a small minority.  However, we should not give up or allow Satan to have the victory.  One of the things I failed to mention in this week’s sermon is that we should not just fold our hands and do nothing or just to accept the inevitable.  We need to reach as many people for Christ as we can.  All are not lost and God is tarrying so that others will come to know him.  He is not willing that any should parish but for all to come to know him.  So as the world declines, let our testimony and our witness increase so as many as possible will make it to heaven.

October 16

Pray for Israel today.

October 9

I hope my introduction today was shocking today.  It was intended to wake us up to the reality that we cannot just sit around while one or two people do what the Bible commands us to do, which is to tell others about Jesus.  A beautiful building, great sermons, wonderful times of worship will not sustain a church.  Only people reaching people will.  And that is what we are all called to do.  It is part of being faithful.  Faith is not just believing in someone or something.  It is acting on that faith.  It is putting boots on the ground to use military terms (which Paul does in 2 Tim 2).  So be a good soldier following our commanding officer.  Be an athlete who obeys the rules.  Be a farmer who toils to receive a share of the harvest.

October 2

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet, I do not often share my faith with others.  These are two contradictory statements.  If you know Jesus, you have all the tools you need to boldly share your faith.  They are the big three, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Use them and they will help you find opportunities and people who need to hear what God has done in your life.

September 25

I did not feel like preaching yesterday morning.  My heart was not in it as I walked to the front to pray.  I even mentioned it to Bryan who was walking with me.  I do not know what it was.  Maybe is was the beginning of a headache that grew that afternoon.  Maybe it was the Sunday School hour and the need to correct my sons again during that time.  Maybe it was a spiritual attack by Satan putting me in a slight depressive state.  Maybe I was a bit weary in doing good (as my message that morning would speak on).  Whatever it was, I shrived to do my best and preach what I had prepared that week.  But I do not know what happened.  I am going to chalk it up to the praise and worship yesterday morning, (it also could have been the prayers of the men up front, especially Bryan), but I felt the sermon went smoothly.  Many of the songs that Anita picked out had subtle hints that I knew I was going to preach on yesterday.  Especially evident in the songs was the presence of God being with us even when times are dark or hard.  And looking back that praise is just what I needed to not grow weary yesterday.   Little did I know that the message was for me.  Press on when you do not know what else to do.  Be faithful even if that faith is tested or dimmed.  Do what God has asked you to do and as Gal 6:9 says, you will gain a harvest at the right time.  Yesterday’s hymns of praise was just what I needed to be faithful until the end (of that sermon at least)