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Tuesday
Apr022019

April 2019

Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too.

This is why we are to yearn for all that is above,

for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place

of all power, honor, and authority!

 Colossians 3:1 (TPT)

Church, very soon we will come together to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus.  We will rejoice in the victory Christ won on the Cross – a victory over death, hell, and the grave!  When the dust of the day has settled, are we any better off? Are our lives any different at all? Or, was Easter just a day to “cut loose” spiritually – then it’s back to the same old way of living?

I want you to seriously consider the truth that’s presented here:  Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too.  Jesus lived into the fullness of the resurrected life.  Isn’t that our challenge as well? Now, I realize Christ was the perfect melding of divinity and humanity.  You and me? Not so much – but that’s no excuse. The power that raised Christ from the dead lies latent within every Christian.  And this power has the potential to transform every Christian! So, will we submit to God and allow the resurrection life of Christ to revolutionize us?

It happens when we yearn for all that is above.  Another translation says set your heart on what is in heaven (CEV).  And therein is the secret.  What we yearn for will possess us.  Our desires will rule over us. If our heart is enthralled with the world, our lives will be incredibly empty.  If we are taken with the things of the kingdom, the blessings of the kingdom come in their fullness. The power, honor, and authority of Christ are infused into fragile flesh.  And His resurrection happens again – through you and me. May it be so!

~ Pastor John


Tuesday
Apr022019

March 2019

When he had finished speaking, [Jesus] said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” - Luke 5:4 (NIV)

This verse literally means what it says – but it’s also an image of spiritual life.  And if we are honest, most (if not all) of our lives is spent in the safety of shallow spirituality (Amen?).  I wonder what would happen if faithful (and faith-filled) followers of Christ went “all in” for these words of the Lord?

Jesus gives two commands. They aren’t orders barked out by a drill instructor with the recruits following in fear.  No, Jesus speaks with a compelling authority – words leading to obedience. Simon’s reluctance bows to Jesus’ certainty, and submission results in a miracle!

So, how will we respond to these commands?  What will we do when Jesus tells us: Put out into deep water?  It would be easy to make excuses ...  Jesus, I really need to be able to see the land.  Lord, it’s probably not safe to go that far – we don’t know what’s out there!  And the answer to our dithering?  Ahoy, mates.  Stow the excuses!  Hoist the anchor and set sail for open water.  Let the adventure begin!  (I hope that motivates you!)

Will our faith be such that we let down the nets for a catch?  Again, we could waver:  It’s not the right time … place … conditions.  And that’s through human eyes.  Eyes of faith will discern and defer to the Lord.  People of faith will follow Jesus’ directions precisely.  And hesitant-but-obedient disciples will find themselves on the business end of a stunning miracle – much more than they could have accomplished themselves!

So, what do you say?  Let’s go fishing with Jesus!

~ Pastor John


 

Saturday
Feb162019

February 2019

Hey Guys and Gals ... the month of love is upon us.  So don’t forget to express your love for that special person in your life!  Oh ... and speaking of “expressions of love” – what about this one:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!                     - 1 John 3:1a (NIV)

When I read this verse, I think of a companion verse, 1 John 4:19:  We love because he first loved us.  Folks, love begins with God.  If we leave love on strictly human terms, we will find that this type of love is incredibly fickle and wholly inadequate to meet our most basic need.  We need so much more.  And it is available to us!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us:  John calls upon us to use our powers of observation with respects to God’s love.  His love is evident – not cloaked or obscured.  It’s on display for all to see!  And this is no ordinary love – John describes God’s love as a great love.  We encounter the New Testament love-word agape here.  It’s not a love conditioned by requirements.  No, it’s an unconditional “no-strings-attached” love; a love freely given, expecting nothing in return.  It’s not a love tethered to feelings – a love that grows and then wanes.  It’s a godly love that seeks the highest and best for another person.  It’s this kind of love that God has lavished on us.  God isn’t stingy with His love.  No, God is over the top in His love for you and me!

That last part of the verse is very descriptive:  ... that we should be called children of God!  The love of God is like the love a Father has for his children.  It’s a tender love, the love a strong Father shows to vulnerable children.  It’s a compassionate love, revealed in a Father who cares for and meets the needs of his child.  It’s a holy love.  A Father’s love commands respect, desires devotion, and expects obedience.  And it’s a love that binds two people together in relationship.  Think about it.  Even though we have been adopted into the heavenly family, God’s love for us isn’t any less!  May we bask and rejoice in the lavish love of our Father!

~ Pastor John

Wednesday
Jan022019

January 2019

The Old Testament book of Isaiah contains three verses where God speaks of “new things.” It would seem to be a worthwhile topic as we begin a New Year.

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” - Isaiah 42:9 (NIV)

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. - Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you. - Isaiah 48:6c (NIV)

God is all about “new things, right? This idea of “new” is pointing us to Jesus, the “new and living way.” Didn’t Jesus speak of the “new wineskins, which would hold the “new wine” of the Spirit? Christ also established a “new covenant” in His death and resurrection. Through His sacrifice, all are invited to participate in the “new life. And I think every believer is looking forward to a “new heaven and a new earth” one day. So, what about the “in between?”

 Questions: Do you believe God still does “new things?” Ok ... would you be open to God doing “new things” in your life next year? Would you like to see God do “new things” in your church in the coming months?

A New Year brings new opportunities – along with new challenges. Are we up to facing them? Let the Church answer with a resounding, “YES!”

~ Pastor John


 

Saturday
Dec082018

December 2018

I know Christmas will soon be here.  We will celebrate the birth of our Savior.  We will rejoice in the gift of God’s Son and the salvation that attends His coming.  May I ask you a question? Would you mind if our thoughts went in a different direction?  Oh, the focus will be on Jesus. What will the difference be? It’s this: Instead of a meditation on the Babe of Bethlehem, let’s lift up our hearts and minds to Jesus – our coming King!  And here’s scripture to get us started . . .

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

- Acts 1:11 (NLT)

You remember the story.  Jesus has just ascended into heaven.  The disciples are watching him go, straining their eyes for a final glimpse of the Lord.  Their gaze is interrupted by angels, who leave them with powerful prophetic words. Would you mind if I paraphrased what they said?  Hey, guys!  Stop standing around staring at the sky.  Get to work fulfilling that Great Commission, because Jesus is coming again!

Wow!  There’s no way we can dismiss this verse and say, “It’s just not relevant for us today.”  I know there will be some who focus on where is the promise of his coming (2 Peter 3:4).  Or in our language, “We’ve heard this all our lives and we’re still waiting!”  Consider this: If we focus on the “waiting,” we will end up disappointed and discouraged.  But, if we “read between the lines” and focus on the work – the Great Commission – the time will pass and our King will come!  Come to think of it, as we pray and work for God’s kingdom come, we are preparing the way for our coming King – Jesus!    

Are you up for a little “homework?”  The next time you have a hymnal in your hand (or Google it on your electronic device), look up an old hymn:  We’ll Work till Jesus Comes (#282 in the Nazarene hymnal – Sing to the Lord).  Its words will provide you with strength and encouragement as you patiently wait for the Lord’s return!

~ Pastor John