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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11 (KJV)
Most of us dread the announcement time during church and find that time to be dull and boring, but this announcement that was given to the shepherds was anything but boring. The following are four reasons why the announcement to the shepherds is an exciting announcement for them and for us:
1) It is personal. The angels announced, “unto you,” to the common shepherds. The fact that God revealed the gift of Jesus to simple shepherds should be a comfort for all of us ordinary people. Paul suggests a possible reason in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, which tells us that God chooses the humble things for grand purposes, and ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Today, centuries after the shepherds heard this heavenly declaration, the message is still personal.
2) It is universal. The angels announced that this savior was given “to all people.” The message of Christmas is still an evangelistic message to be given to all people around the world. While some of us might still struggle with the sin of racism, Peter declared in Acts 10:34-35 that God is no respecter of persons. Today, through missions, we still get to play a role in sending the message of Jesus all over the world.
3) It is timely. The angels declared that the savior was born “this day.” The birth of Jesus on earth fulfilled Bible prophecy and had been planned before the world was even created. It is fitting that every Christmas, Christians spiritually celebrate the birth of Jesus as if Christ is being born for the first time. We must encourage all to follow the blessing of the great Christmas carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, “Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.”
4) It is timeless. Last, the angels shouted that the baby born was “a Savior.” People then needed Jesus, and people today need Jesus. From now until the end of time all people need Jesus.
Have you responded to this angelic announcement? And are you playing the role of an angel today by declaring to all that there is a Savior that was born in the City of David, which is Christ the Lord?
May God bless our Christmas season with many conversations that share the hope of the Savior born in Bethlehem!
- Bro. Dave
Thursday, October 24, 2013
As we have been journeying through Joshua on Sunday Mornings, one theme that stands firm through the book is God's faithfulness to His promises. As the Israelites enter the “Promised” land, they have to stand on the promises of God. When you get towards the end of the book of Joshua, you read in 21:45 “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”
We have to also stand firm on God’s promises. I hope that you have been able to get your free copy of the Bible Promise Book that was given out in our services during the month of October. If not, you can pick up your copy at the information table in the back lobby of our sanctuary. I want to encourage you to brouse through the book and to take in the many promises of God as you battle fear, sin, and the devil.
If I had to pick a theme song for the Journey through Joshua, it would be the Hymn, “Standing on the Promises of God,” written by Russell Kelso Carter (1849-1928). Although Carter was a professed Christian most of his life, it wasn't until a crisis with his natural heart that he began to understand the reality and power of Bible promises. At age 30, his health was in critical condition and the physicians could do no more for him. Carter turned to God for help and healing.
Carter knelt and made a promise that healing or not, his life was finally and forever, fully consecrated to the service of the Lord. It was from that moment that the written Word of God became alive to Carter. He began to stand upon the promises of healing, determining to believe no matter what his physical condition, no matter how he felt. Over the course of the next several months his strength returned, and his heart was completely healed! Carter lived another healthy 49 years.
The hymn Carter had written several years before his healing miracle became more than words and music to him. Standing on the Promises became an integral part of his life:
Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see! Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I cannot fall, Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God.
May God bless us to stand on His Promises, and like Joshua may we see that his promises will never fail!
- Bro. Dave
Sunday, September 29, 2013
In our study of the Sermon on the Mount, happening on Sunday Evenings at 7PM, we have reflected on the words of Jesus concerning His Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:2-12, Jesus makes nine statements that start with the word “Blessed.” The word literally means “happy, fortunate, blissful.” Here it speaks of more than a surface emotion. Jesus was describing the divinely bestowed well-being that belongs only to the faithful. The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is opposite to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness. The worldly idea is that happiness is found in riches, merriment, abundance, leisure, and other such things. The real truth is the very opposite.
The Greek word for blessed, makarios, was the name of an island off of Greece—the Makarios Island. It was known as the blessed island because it was self-contained. The residents didn’t need to leave the island in order to get their needs met. The island offered everything that they needed. The natural resources of the blessed island were so thick, so rich, so fruitful, and so productive that everything they needed to enjoy their lives was already built-in. The inhabitants of the island were self-sustained and self-contained without having to run to another island to get their needs met. The blessed island provided everything they needed.
All the stuff you get is outside of you. The new car, the new house, and the new money are all fine … but they are all extra. They are a bonus. In the biblical world of being blessed, you should be okay being on the island. Just being in the Kingdom with the King ought to put you in a blessed location. One of the ways you know that you aren’t blessed yet in the biblical sense of the word is that you got to keep leaving the island to have fun. You need more than your relationship with God to have peace. You crave more than your communion with the Father to have joy. The blessed person finds their sufficiency with Him.
Is your joy today in Jesus or in material things? Are you dwelling on the island of blessedness with our Lord, or do you find yourself leaving that island in a vain search for happiness?
May God strengthen our faith to see the joy that can only come from Jesus, and may we invite as many as we can to the island,
- Bro. Dave
Sunday, August 4, 2013
While many have shown an interest in helping out, I know others are struggling with the desire to go and knock on doors. I can understand that struggle. I am certain that knocking on doors is not anyone’s preferred way to share the Gospel. But I am also certain that God is going to bless our teams with wonderful opportunities to share Jesus Christ with our neighbors.
My prayer is that God will break us all out of our comfort zones and place us in situations where we cannot help but to talk to people about Jesus. Wrestling with the feelings of a comfortable Christianity, Nicole Winkel, writing for Christianity Today, attempts to answer the question, “Have we become too comfortable to share the Gospel?” I believe her observations correctly address the feelings of many of us:
The Christian life is great, but at some point in our lives we might reach a point where our own comfort hinders us from looking at the needs of others.
I have to admit that I have become lazy over the years. Sadly I am not referring to my work. Much worse, I am talking about my attitude as a Christian.
It is easy to find yourself in a safe haven, especially if you are mainly surrounded by other Christians. Yet the real challenge begins when we step out of our comfort zone. For me, however, it does not stop there. The majority of us work or are friends with people, who do not share our belief. We might also, for example in my case, not have had a Christian upbringing. The problem I find myself faced with now is not that those around me do not know that I am a believer or that I find it difficult to tell them about it.
Since I became a Christian when I was 17, most people have accepted my faith and were interested in my lifestyle. But what happens, when you go a step further and actually do what God said in Matthew 28:19-20?
"[Go] and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (NIV)
What I noted is that if people were curious about my faith, it lasted as long as I did not make any attempt "to evangelise" them. But is that not what God asked us to do in the above-mentioned verses?
Whenever I meet new people, I will let them know that I am a committed Christian. But what does this actually mean? Can our level of commitment be measured by the frequency of our prayers, how often we read the Bible, go to church and attend prayer meetings? I believe that being committed as a Christian does not only entail that you take responsibility of your own life, but that you also let others know about what Jesus did for them 2013 years ago.
I have come to realize that I have turned into a selfish Christian, which actually is an oxymoron in itself - being a Christian and being self-centered at the same time. How is that supposed to work? I am saved, so I am good, but what about the millions of others, who do not know God. What will happen to them? It makes me cringe that I cannot even remember the last time I shared the Gospel with someone. There are no excuses for that, not a busy work schedule, my private life, or the fear of rejection.
May God break us out of our comfortable and lazy inactivity in the area of evangelism and bless us with a fire-hot passion to win souls!
- Bro. Dave
Monday, July 1, 2013
People have many different perceptions of what God is like. Some see Him as an indulgent grandfather or a divine Santa Claus. Others see Him as a vengeful dictator. Many people fear God because they have a distorted understanding of His character. God not only wants you to view Him correctly, He wants you to know Him intimately.
How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life—your desires, motives, attitudes, words, and actions—is influenced by your perception of God.
Even your self-esteem will improve once you realize the awesome greatness of God and the worth He places on you. When you have an accurate understanding of who God is and how He is involved in your life, you will be motivated to excel in the use of your time, talents, and abilities.
God is completely trustworthy. But you can trust Him only to the degree that you know Him. God has unlimited abilities, so He can do anything. He is all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, and sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
God’s character is of the highest integrity. He is morally perfect in every way, so He will always do the right thing. He is holy, absolutely truthful, righteous, and just. He will never betray your confidence.
And God is totally committed to His relationship with you, so you can experience the many blessings of His gracious goodness. He is loving, merciful, faithful, and never changes. He will always do what is best for you.
Are you in the midst of difficult circumstances? Are you facing challenges that seem beyond your ability to cope? Do not despair because God is with you and He wants to help you.
As we work through our Sunday Morning series on the Nature and Attributes of God, allow the truth about Him and His marvelous character to transform your situation and your life. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be.
May God grow our knowledge of Him, and may it affect our worship, obedience, and joy!
- Bro. Dave
Sunday, May 26, 2013
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Useful for family devotions and growth in doctrine and salvation. This Catechism will be a helpful addition to your personal library of tools to help disciple your children and grandchildren.