Nasty Weather, Eternal Truth

When the weather gets nasty we naturally think about how we might fill our evenings or other times while being cooped up inside. I’d sincerely like suggesting “binging” on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5-7 commonly referred to as The Sermon On the Mount. Our church has recently been going through it, and getting the opportunity to work through it slowly has shown me that it’s even more rich and profound than I knew or anticipated.

Here’s a small sampling of what you’ll find:

•Where TRUE happiness comes from, the BLESSED life.
•Making a difference for God’s glory
•The importance of God’s Word above all other authority
•Getting to the HEART of God’s commandments
•Loving others well
•Generosity God’s way
•How to pray
•Where our treasure should be found
•Dealing with anxiety and worry

If you just read through the chapters it would take about 30 mins. Maybe do that first, but then go through it slowly, no more than a paragraph at a time. Take time and ask the passages some questions. What does this say about God, about man, and about the relationship between God and man? Is there a command to follow? A promise to remember? A truth to cherish? Take some notes in a journal. Pray to God and about what He’s revealing. Thank Him for His Word, for the Cross, and for desiring relationship with us and making the Way through Jesus Christ.

Netflix series are hit or miss. The news will suck the joy right out of you. Sports become blah after awhile. BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS ALWAYS LIFE-GIVING!

If you get stuck inside, consider redeeming the time in Matthew 5-7!

📖 ✝️ 🙏🏼 💡

No danger…

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. – Psalm 147:4

“He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting His own children.” – Charles Spurgeon

A Divine Story

“If God is sovereign, then he is in control of all the details of my life. If he is loving, then he is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If he is all-wise, then he’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need. If he is patient, then he is going to take time to do all this. When we put all these things together—God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience—we have a divine story.” -Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“Follow Me”

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. -Jesus, Luke 9:23

“To an unusual degree today, Christians mistakenly think that the freedom of Christian experience means that we no longer need to make any effort to be spiritual. We simply ‘do what we feel,’ and ‘be ourselves’. To live any other way—for example, to set aside definite and sacrificial amounts of money to do the Lord’s work, or to set aside specific time during the day for prayer, engage in deliberate acts of self-denial as we seek the Lord’s face— is seen as ‘legalism’ and ‘bondage.’ Jesus, on the other hand, assumes that these disciplines are basic to any spiritual vitality. And he was no legalist!” -Sinclair Ferguson

Jacob, Encountering God Through Trials

Encountering God through trials—“Bethel” — The House of God.

In our study of the life of Jacob this morning we read a story that’s familiar to most of us by personal experience.

Jacob found himself in a sad, low and lonely place. Partly because of the consequences of his own actions, partly the actions of others, and then partly just because of unfortunate circumstances. But when he was made aware of God’s presence and promises, Jacob’s place of great pain was transformed to what he named Bethel which means “The House of God.” Jacob then said:

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28:16)

This happens so often! The place of trial is the place of encounter with God. We can know about God through knowledge, but so often we come to know him personally by encountering him through hardship.

George Macdonald once said “Afflictions are but the shadows of his wings”

When we encounter God through trials it can change us. We see evidence of this in the life of Jacob in Genesis 28:16-22

Encountering God through trials can
Vs 16 build our faith
Vs 17 build our theology
Vs 18 build our worship!!!
V 22 make us thankful and generous

Whatever you are going through right now, like Jacob, you can be encouraged that we can encounter God through trials. We draw near to Him in the hard places and those places can become Bethel – The House of God. Like Jacob, we too can say “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Gen 28:16) Like Jacob, we too can face trials knowing and believing the promises of God—that by grace through faith in Jesus we are saved, called, loved, and kept!

Remember, “Afflictions are but the shadows of his wings.”

God bless you, and keep looking up!

I Have Decided…

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

‘I Have Decided To Follow Jesus’ (Author Unknown)

Consider this invitation…

Had all your hopes and dreams dashed by a recent change in politics? Consider this invitation:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30

Thinking you’ve found hope and all your dreams are coming true because of a recent change in politics? Save this invitation, you’re gonna need it soon enough:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30

How majestic!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. – Psalm 8:1

Sometimes the world’s problems seem so big because our view of God is so small.

Father in heaven, let your name be lifted HIGH in our life today. Help us to live like you are big, powerful, and full of goodness because you are! Thank you for the cross, Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Preparing for the week ahead…

Hey friends!!! Some of us are already feeling worried, anxious, and uncertain about the week ahead. Don’t do it!!!

Here’s 6 R’s for finding certainty in “uncertain times”

1. Read the Bible 📖 🔥

Let the Word of God speak to your soul and emotions.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8

2. Recite the gospel 😌 📰

The God of the universe loves you so much that he sent his son to die for your sins. By grace through faith we’re forgiven and He calls us son or daughter for all eternity. Let the good news give you God’s perspective!

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

3. Reach out to God prayer 🙏🏼

Psalm 61:1 starts out, Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.

He will hear you! He will listen! It has been said if you’re praying don’t worry, and if you’re worrying don’t pray! Be a prayer warrior not a weary worrier.

4. Relationships 🤝

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says encourage one another and build one another up…

Let a friend in Christ know that you’re struggling. We’ve all been there. Don’t struggle alone! The people in your care more than you realize.

5. Remember God’s faithfulness 💡

Psalm 33:4 says, all his work is done in faithfulness.

God is faithful. He has never failed, and He won’t start now.

6. Rid yourself of sources of anxiety. 👎🏼 😟

It may be time to turn off social media and the news. 2 Timothy 2:16 says, avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.

Be wise with your time and eliminate what’s causing you to get your blood pressure up!

That’s it friends! I hope these 6 R’s can help you go from feeling frantic and uncertain to feeling peaceful and assured!

💪🏼 ✝️ #LookUp

Pastoring With certainty In Uncertain Times, 30 Days of Prayer

Pastoring With Certainty In Uncertain Times, 30 Days of Prayer
Like you all, I’ve been taken aback by many things that have occurred in 2020 and now into 2021. At times I’ve felt especially inadequate to be your pastor. But the Lord has been faithful to give me continual reminders of the importance and sufficiency of the Bible, and how we simply need to stay rooted in His Word and we’ll be who He’s called us to be for His Glory (Psalm 1). This isn’t something new for me, about 10 years ago the Lord made it clear that He had 3 objectives for me as a pastor: 
1. Preach the Word 2. Love people 3. Pray for the Spirit to move 
That hasn’t changed, and His Word hasn’t changed. I want you to know that I am resolved in sharing the Truth of God’s Word with you with every opportunity I am given. I want GOD for us, church! And we can’t encounter Him apart from His Word. 
This morning part of my Bible reading was from Mark 9, whereJesus corrected someone who was doubting his power and said “All things are possible for one who believes.” Captain obvious here, but JESUS IS RIGHT! There are no limits to His power! It made start thinking about the many powerful attributes of God. I did a quick search and came across an online post that outlined attributes of God as prayer prompts. What a great idea! Consider taking a news cycle break and spending 30 days reflecting on a different attribute of God each day. 
Here’s a link to the post: https://www.navigators.org/resource/praying-names-attributes-god