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

Lenten Blog – 2/21/2018

We continue on with John chapter 15 that has many insights into the love of Jesus.  Yesterday Jesus talked about remaining in the love of Jesus and obeying Him. The next verse talks about the result of that action, joy.

  

 

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15: 11-12)

 

 

When you think of Jesus do you think of joy?  Too often I talk with people who have a dour-faced view of God and of Jesus.  He is always frowning when looking at them and their lives.  I have always loved the picture of Jesus that the kid from the book “Heaven is for Real” picked out when he saw Jesus in heaven.  Jesus looks into your soul and you have this sense of Him knowing everything about you and looking at you with love.  That brings joy because Jesus is full of joy when we look Him in the eye and know the love that He has for us.  His love and His joy are meant to overflow in our thoughts and lives.   

 

In Christ’s Service, 

Pastor Dave

Visiting Der Dutchman with Forever Young

It’s Time for Our Annual Trip!
 
Saturday, February 17, 2018  
3713 Bahia Vista Street

Sarasota, Fl 34232
 
Pastor Dave will be taking us on the bus – leaving church promptly at 11:00AM
($5.00 donation, per person, to cover gas)
 
Everyone is Welcome!
 
If you have any questions, please contact: Carol Goebel  813-447-0781 
Sign up sheet will be in the Narthex.

Praying With Jesus: Spirit and Truth

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Do you ever struggle to know what to say when you pray or feel that your prayers have gotten into a rut, of sorts; praying the same basic thing time after time? One of the great ways we can pray is to pray God’s Word itself. Praying in the Spirit and speaking His Words of truth. Praying the Scriptures not only can add to our ideas of what we can pray, but it can help us take the focus off ourselves and focus us on God. These are His words and His promises.

There are many prayers in the Scriptures which we can pray, the Psalms, in particular, are full of prayers:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” – Psalm 51:1-2

However, you don’t have to be limited to only praying the prayers in Scripture. You can use pretty much any Scripture to guide your prayers. I’ll close this blog post with an example:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Heavenly Father,

You are the God joy and peace. Please help me to trust in You in all circumstances. Fill me with Your Spirit that I may overflow with the hope only found in You. And may Your hope fill me with all joy and peace.

Amen

 
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Kurt

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Praying with Jesus: God Wants to Forgive Us

“Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” – Luke 11:4


This passage is probably very familiar to you. It’s the part of the Lord’s prayer that deals with forgiveness. I find it amazing that this is part of the prayer Jesus taught. It shows us that Jesus wants us to confess our sins and that He WANTS to forgive us. It’s not that we have to convince Jesus to forgive us, he wants to do it.

Sin separates us from God. Sometimes, when we sin, we may feel afraid to pray about it. Like Adam and Eve, after we sin, we try to hide from God. We may think that we’ve really blown it this time and gone too far. Or we’ve done the same sin too many times and we figure Jesus is only going to forgive us so many times. But that’s a lie. Jesus wants to forgive us.

Sometimes, however, it’s not guilt or fear that keep us from confessing our sin, it’s that we don’t really want to let go of the sin. Truth be told, we kinda like the sin and we know that if we come before God in prayer, we’re going to be faced with our sin and will need to confess it and turn from the sin. But we need to confess it and we need to turn from it. Amazingly, even in those moments, Jesus wants us to come to Him. Sometimes our confession needs to go something like,

“Lord, I know I’ve sinned and should be sorry for it, but I don’t really feel sorry and even want to keep doing it. Please change my heart, that I would turn from my sin. Please forgive me.”

Whatever your situation might be, Jesus encourages us to come to the Father in prayer, confess our sins, and receive His forgiveness. Let’s do that right now.

Heavenly Father,

I am forever amazed that You would be willing to forgive me. I know I don’t deserve it, but I trust in your promise to forgive me. Today, I confess the following sins:

(confess your sins)

Please forgive me for the sake of Jesus Christ who died for me.

Amen.

In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Kurt

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