Lenten Blog – 2/22/2018

 

As I was watching the news this morning I heard the news that Billy Graham had died.  Some of you may know I do have a Greek and Hebrew degree from Wheaton College, where he also went to school.  This is part of the email Wheaton sent out this morning.   

 

Billy Graham preached the gospel to 215 million people in live audiences in 185 countries and territories at more than 400 crusades, missions, and evangelistic rallies. His influence for the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is beyond human measure. He provided spiritual counsel to every president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama and was sought out by countless other political and religious leaders around the world spanning several generations. Renowned for his humility, transparency, simplicity and integrity, Billy Graham proved faithful to the end as a “prophet with honor.”

I met him twice: once in a meet and greet; and another time I was invited to sit up on the platform behind him during a crusade he was doing in Buffalo in 1988.  His messages were never too complicated.  He always said we are all sinners but God has made a way to get right with Him by the blood and the grace of Jesus, so you can know the peace that only Jesus can bring.   His contact with all of the presidents brought him fame.  The episode that he was a part of in “The Crown” series on Netflix was outstanding in dealing with the challenges of forgiveness.  He made a major impact with Queen Elizabeth.  Even more, he spoke to 215 million people.

For Confirmation instruction this week we are talking about Paul, the Billy Graham of the early church.  More miles, more people, more countries than anyone else of his day. Yet it is always the same Jesus who forgives in Rome in 59, in Buffalo in 1988, and in Tampa in 2018.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7)

In Christ’s Service, 

Pastor Dave

Pastor Dave’s Lenten Blog – 2/20/2018

When we think about the love of Jesus, John chapter 15 has many insights into the love of Jesus.  The next few blogs will look at how Jesus describes love in this chapter.

 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.    (John 15: 9-10)

 

Real love happens in a relationship.  Jesus was loved by God the Father.  Then, in turn, Jesus has loved us.  “We love Jesus because he has first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  This is a part of that relationship that happens in love.  This kind of love is specific and powerful.  In weddings the vows sometimes contain “I promise, forsaking all others, to love you and you only as long as we both shall live.”   This kind of love places the spouse above everyone else.
 

How do we understand obeying the commands of Jesus as part of this love?   Every single thing that Jesus did was part of that love relationship with God the Father.  He always sought His will to be done.  Jesus life and actions were all a statement of that relationship.  To do this in a marriage will change the way you look your actions.  The great blessing here is that this attitude can make some of the mundane actions of life a true statement of love. 

 

In Christ’s Service, 

Pastor Dave    

Pastor Dave’s Lenten Blog 2/17/2018

Biblical literacy is not always the best.  As I was reading in this chapter of 1 John yesterday this passage stuck in my mind and I remembered this story.  A couple was getting married and asked their bakery to put this passage from 1 John 4:18 on their cake.

 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us. ”            (1 John 4:18-19)

 

They just put 1 John 4:18 but their baker looked up John 4:18 and did not know any better so he put this on their cake.  John 4:18 reads,

The truth is you have had five husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband.” 

Not the best wedding sentiments for one’s wedding day!

Jesus is the one who has perfect love.  That is because He is perfect.  His perfect love led Him to the cross.  His love for us makes our forgiveness absolute and so we have nothing to fear.  That is a promise that goes beyond life and into eternity.  As vows are made in weddings they are made until death do we part.  Jesus makes a vow to love us and be by our side forever.

In Christ’s Service 

Pastor Dave    

Pastor Dave’s Lenten Blog – 2/16/2018

One of the more common things we have in weekly worship services are the creeds. The more common are the Apostles and the Nicene Creed. These give a picture in the discussions and debates at the times they were written, namely, just who is Jesus and how can we describe the Trinity. We confess these as part of our faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, the creeds do not always tell the whole story.   I was reminded of that reading this passage.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:15-16)

This verse talks about faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and it is the Holy Spirit that creates faith and the confession of faith in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit, God living within us, is also true God and creates that relationship.  Yet the creeds do not explicitly bring out the next verse here that states that God is love and the magnitude of the love that God has for us in Jesus. 

We always want to be about speaking the truth but never forget the heart and passion that Jesus has for us and for all people. God is love and I know that because I know Jesus.

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Dave

Pastor Dave’s Lenten Blog – Ash Wednesday

Today begins the 40 days before Easter that marks the season of Lent (this includes all of the days except for the Sundays). You may think it unusual or not fitting that today is also Valentines Day. It last happened in 1956. It will happen again in only eleven years in 2029. Today is a day of hearts and love. This is one of the greatest days of the year for the sales of flowers and sentimental cards. Yet the message of Jesus in the cross is the greatest of all love stories. That is just what I take away when I consider the total message of Jesus in all that he said and even more in what he did for us. Paul states this truth in a powerful way in Romans.
 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”     (Romans 5:8)
 
I remember hearing something similar to this verse in an unusual way. ‘True love is being willing to die for someone you want to kill.” Jesus loved people. He did not limit his love to those who followed him. He did not only love those who agreed with him. His love is the ingredient that brings change to angry hearts. He loved broken people, sinners and you and me. He even loved those who nailed him to the cross.  
 
During this Lenten season we are going to prayerfully thank God for the kind of love we have been given in Jesus. This love is eternal in comparison to the flowers given today. It is also lived out in action and not only in words.
 
 
 

In Christ’s Service,  

Pastor Dave

Praying with Jesus: St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

– St. Patrick

Some people have amazing stories and Patrick was one of them. Kidnapped by Irish pirates as a kid and made a slave in Ireland. He escaped after a few years and went back home to England. Then Jesus put it on his heart to be a missionary to Ireland. His life then changed a country because people saw in him someone they had never seen before, Jesus. I think this prayer of Patrick shows his life. Jesus is within him and everywhere around him. So whenever anyone looks at him they saw Jesus. That’s the real heart of the story you may hear today. Not the green beer, the 4 leaf clovers, or the corned beef and cabbage, but someone willing to love and forgive anyone. Jesus.

Lord Jesus, thank you for being by my side. May I pray with you and even more, live for you in all that I do, so that people see a bit of you in me. Amen.

Pastor Dave

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Loving Others in a Time of Need

Snap 2016-04-26 at 12.49.13Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
-Philippians 2:3-4

I saw a video the other day on Facebook.  A mother of a 4 month old was taking a class at Baylor University.  At the last minute, her babysitter cancelled on her.  In desperation, Katy Humphrey did the only thing she could think of…she took her baby, Millie, to class with her. [Read more…]

Gathering Discussion: Service

2015-04-26 18.16.36

John 13:12-15 “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”

1 John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Does the Bible Speak about service?

  • Nearly around 1500 references to service/servant/serving
  • Another 200+ uses of minister/ministry

Why do we serve others?

  • Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – We were created for it and God prepared them in advance.
  • 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” – We have been given gifts and they are intended to be used to serve.
  • Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – We are blessed through it.
  • Galatians 5:13-14 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” – We are fulfilling the Law. Notice we do this out of freedom in Christ, not in order to obtain that freedom
  • John 13:12-15 “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” – It’s what Jesus did and what He told us to do?
  • 1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – We are showing love to others…the Love of Christ.
  • 1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” – God has already done so much for us. It is a response of thanksgiving.
  • 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.” – He Loved us (died for us) first.
  • Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – It glorifies God.
  • Isaiah 58:10 “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” – We can share the Gospel with others.

We do not serve others to get right with God

  • Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
  • Romans 3:21-25a “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
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