Friday November 15, 2019
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Every time we think we’re perfect, somebody comes along and steps on our toes. For some reason, they just can’t see the clear picture – how can they be so blind? How many times do I have to prove I’m right and they’re wrong? It’s very tiring.
If you truly believe that, then you are in good company. Jesus, who was the only perfect human, suffered the same as you. He was not welcomed, He was rejected by His own people, He was falsely accused, and He was ultimately killed because people didn’t agree with Him and just didn’t like what He stood for.
When we are self-centered, we believe the world revolves around our wants, desires, and perceptions. Unfortunately, the reality is that we will be and usually are disappointed because that is just not true. Our hopes and expectations are built on how everything affects us, when the real case is how do we affect everything? This is a perfect way to clash with each other, and it often happens. What to do?
Paul admonishes the Colossians to bear with one another. Don’t be so prideful and self-righteous. Whether it is with another believer or with someone who doesn’t hold to your faith. For Jesus was not a respecter or persons (Acts 10:34), but was the same to all. As He bore the brunt of insults, injustices, of accusations, we too are to forgive our accusers just as He did.
Paul writes to the Ephesians and tells them “let not the sun go down on your wrath” (Ep 4:26). We are to be the makers of peace, as Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Lord Jesus, I don’t find it easy to forgive those who’ve wronged me. I know I should, and I know it’s the right thing to do, but it’s hard for me to forget those injustices. I pray that You give me strength and courage to forgive those grievances, and put love and compassion in my heart, just as You have for me. AMEN
Thursday November 14, 2019
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
We all know that actions speak louder than words. You’ve said it, I’ve said it. Paul is admonishing in this portion of scripture that being a Christian is not a one-time decision. Rather it is a decision day by day, to be consistent in our walk and faith in Jesus. One of the most common criticisms against Christians (and very often correct) is that while we say one thing, our lives show that we do another. There is not consistency between what we say and what we do. There is a fine line to this, as it can get caught up in doing “things” (works) to please or to earn our way.
When we come to Jesus, we have to repent. That means a change. While we can only judge an outward appearance of change, God is the one who judges an inward change. This inward change is what dictates our motives, our actions, our thoughts, and our lives. If we don’t view our salvation as a life changing event, than what was it?
In the Old Testament, or in the time before Jesus (if you prefer), being God’s people meant living a different lifestyle. What you did, what you ate, how you worshiped, who you hung out with, who you married, etc. Very visible and outward signs and indications of what you believed. Now granted not all of these were sincere, but some did follow the commitment to following YAWEH’s commands and even influenced the heathen kings (Da 1).
There are a lot of influences in our lives, and a lot of time when things don’t go the way we would like. I’ve had jobs where I was the scapegoat of my bosses when things didn’t go right. But when they did go right, guess who got the awards – not me. But I believed God put me into those situations and places for a purpose, and if I was doing my job as unto the Lord, then He would take care of me. Ultimately in time, I would be promoted and advanced like Joseph in Potiphar’s house (but without the specific temptation).
In other words, contentment is part of our Christian character we grow into. As Paul writes: “not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed to both be full and be hungry. Both to abound and to suffer need.”
The end of that contentment is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Ph 4:11).
Do you need strength today? Call upon the Lord Jesus. Be content, for He knows your need and your affliction, and will rescue you out of darkness.
Lord, my life is focused on myself today and I am in need and help. I thank you for Salvation, and I thank you for Your mercy and deliverance. Give me the strength to be content in every situation knowing You are not powerless and I am Your child. Help me to rely on You and not on myself. I trust in You and thank you for Your goodness. AMEN
Wednesday November 13, 2019
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Paul certainly seems a unique individual. He rejoices in his sufferings, in his persecutions, in his afflictions. Why is that? Since his youth, Paul (or Saul prior to being converted on the road to Damascus) he was a sincere man. He sincerely loved God and dedicated his life to serving God. That passion in him that drove him to persecute the early church (for what he perceived as blasphemy) prior to his life changing encounter with Jesus, was the same passion which drove him to evangelize the peoples and bring the good news of Salvation in Jesus to others. He is called “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Ro 11:13). Even though he was a Jew, even though he was a Pharisee, even though he kept traditions and the elements of the law; Paul nonetheless embraced the vision and God’s mandate that “the Gentiles shall come to thy light…” (Is 60:3), “A light to lighten the Gentiles…” (Lk 2:32), “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth…” (Acts 13:47).
One scripture verse that moves me deeply is Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Today, among all the people you know, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, even strangers; who among them is walking in darkness? Who do you know that needs a light in their lives to dispel darkness? First and foremost, that probably applies to almost all of us, but specifically it addresses those who are “Gentiles”. Strictly speaking, a Gentile is someone who is not Jewish. Who were the Jews? They are God’s chosen people. But like many biblical terms, there is a spiritual as well as a physical element to the definition. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all…” (Ro 4:16).
So Paul is saying that we, who are not Jews by birth, have become spiritually translated into the household of God by Faith. That same Faith that Abraham had when “he believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Ro 4:3). What does all this have to do with today’s scripture? We, like Paul, are commissioned by our Lord Jesus to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” (Mk 16:15) The suffering Paul endures by fulfilling his commission to preach the gospel, while not physically or mentally pleasant, he finds the joy in being like Jesus that to bring people to salvation and a right relation with God far outweighs his temporal discomfort. When I am not in the habit of talking outright about Jesus, it is very uncomfortable for me to even start, even with people I trust. But when I have Jesus as part of my every day, every hour and every minute life, He is part of who I am. We all have heard the adage “practice makes perfect”. So, I encourage us to practice talking about Jesus’ affect in our lives. Talk to one person today about the light that dispels all the darkness.
Oh Lord, I’m scared of opening my mouth and talking about you to others. It’s not the usual thing, it can make people defensive and me to appear foolish. I don’t know a lot of scriptures and anyway, it’s not my style to confront people. But I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and let others know how much You have changed me and helped me when I was in need. I want others to know the peace and joy You brought into my life when I trusted You. Give me the words to say, give me the time to say them, let me be the help in a hard time and point them to the only one who can truly help – You Lord Jesus. AMEN.
Tuesday November 12
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Old Testament is full of types and examples of the inheritance of God for His people. A people saved by grace and faith through the faith of our Father Abraham. Yes –our Father, our Father in faith. Believe it or not, if you call yourself a Christian, if you’ve had a faith conversion, then by faith, you are a child of Abraham. Ro 4:;3, Ga 3:6, and Ja 2:23 all say the same thing: “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”. Same God, same Faith, same inheritance.
So who do we care for? Naturally it is our families, our spouse, our children, grandchildren, close friends. I submit that it is more to it than that. You see, when we become born again, (and that is what all who have come to accept Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer really are), we are engrafted into a new family. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” (Ep 2:19). We care for each other, Sisters and Brothers in the faith.
The amazing thing is that Paul states we are qualified us to share in the inheritance of His holy people! What is that inheritance? Have you ever thought about it? The Bible is full of references to our inheritance. Is it to go to heaven? Is it to live in prosperity? Is it to have no worries or fears or anxiety? It is all of those and more. It is to be in the same relationship with God as Adam was before the fall, to be in harmony with God’s purpose and nature. Paul was convinced, from the day he heard about the Colossians, that their lives were based on faith in Jesus and had the expectation that their lives would be bearing fruit and they would grow in the knowledge, strength, and power of God. I truly believe that same is true for each and every one of us today.
Lord, I avail myself to your grace and I have faith that You will work wondrous things for me and trough me, so I may touch other’s lives in a way that will glorify You. Thank you for rescuing me from the darkness of Sin, and giving me the inheritance of being in Your household and family. Make my life count to others so they may know the riches of Your grace and mercy and come into the household of God. AMEN.
Monday November 11, 2019
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
When I was learning to drive, I faithfully watched my dad and how he drove. I never knew if he got any traffic tickets, I certainly didn’t think so. So when I got my temps and got behind the wheel, I not only did what the driver’s Ed instructor taught me, but I also incorporated the things I witnessed my father do when he was behind the wheel. One time, we were coming home from Thanksgiving at relatives and were driving up Interstate 71 when we stopped for gas and my dad said: “you go ahead and drive the rest of the way home”. Well, that was a big deal for me and I wanted to show him not only how much I learned and can do, but also how I could emulate and imitate how well he drove. Needless to say, he was not impressed by my weaving in and out of lanes, not using my turn signals, and speeding to keep up with traffic. When his displeasure was very loudly and directly displayed, I was confused and shocked. I said: “Well dad, that’s how you drive, and I was just doing the same things.” He came back with the reply “Do as I say, not as I do!” Hmmm – lesson learned!
The world hates Christians. That seems to be a brash and bold statement, but it is true. Why is that? Well, God sets a standard that we are expected to adhere to. But we don’t or can’t. Romans 3:23 states “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” When Christians hold to God’s standard, several things happen — we are both admired and disliked. It is because of the conviction in our hearts to do the right thing in all circumstances, because of Jesus lives in us. That is an insult to the worldly temperament that says: “I am the only we standard I need to adhere to”. But then again, the consistency and true following of Christ is also an enticement of something better. Most people are dissatisfied with their lives, but don’t know it or won’t admit it. They do long for something better, something consistent, something pleasing and happy. They want a better life. Where will they find it? Who do they see and know who have that better life; who not only says to do it, but actually does it?
Do we have a responsibility to others to walk in faith and love through Jesus Christ? When we faithfully serve and obey God our Father, we are not only fulfilling our commitment to Jesus, but we are also encouraging and helping our brothers and sisters in the faith to fulfill theirs also. And in doing so, will be the witness and testimony of the power of Jesus in our lives, to change us, to heal us, to help us, and to shine the glory of God. I love what Paul says in the verse above about the “..the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven..” When others see our faith walked out in our practical lives, and it gives them hope, then perhaps we can say: “Do as I say, AND as I do”.
Lord Jesus, make my life a prayer to you, help me to do the things you want me to do, that my life can be an example and encouragement to others, not only my fellow Christians, but to those who don’t know you, to give them hope beyond their expectations. Let the Gospel be spread, and the Kingdom of God extended through my life, not for my glory, but for Yours. AMEN
1 Peter 5:5b-7
Saturday, November 9, 2019
1 Peter 5:5b-7
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
We think we know so much. We’re out to prove ourselves better than someone else. We want to make ourselves feel good, but often it is at the expense of another person. You tell a story? I want to tell one better. What is this all about? How are we followers of Jesus when we do this?
Peter tells us to be clothed with humility toward one another. Lift up and encourage the other person rather than put him down. We can’t think about the character of Jesus without using the word humility. There’s a wonderful passage in chapter 2 of Philippians where it speaks of humility. Consider others better than yourselves. Let your attitude be like Jesus. He who was with God, in his very nature God, chose to give up the equality of God he deserved in order to be as nothing. In his humanity he became a servant to teach us about servanthood. He was obedient to God’s will, enduring suffering and death on the cross for our sake.
We think of Jesus’ teachings – he once said that if someone hit you on one cheek, turn your other cheek to your attacker. If someone takes your coat, give him your cloak as well. If one compels you to go a mile, go two instead. Jesus criticized his disciples when they were jostling for position in heaven. He taught when going to a dinner, be seated at the lowest place rather than presuming you belong at the highest place. How honored you will be to be elevated by your host, but how embarrassing if your host asks you to move to a lower place!
Our culture values high achievement, and along with that comes a healthy dose of self-confidence, even pride. Cultivating an attitude of humility is a difficult task unless we ask God to help us day by day. Humility begins when we acknowledge that God is in charge and not we ourselves, when we daily ask to follow God’s will in obedience. When we are in a right relationship with God, God helps us maintain healthy relationships with persons in our life.
Gracious God, help me live for you and not for my own self-interests. Remove from me the need to put myself higher than another and squash another down in the process. Remind me that I do not belong to myself alone, but to you. Christ has died for me and has given me a new life, a life of faith centered on you, not me. Let there be no room in this new life for pride that cuts down another person, for this I pray in Christ my savior. Amen.
Friday, November 8, 2019
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Maybe you’ve had some tough times lately. I can think of several in our congregation who are dealing with serious medical issues. The temptation is there to be afraid of an uncertain future and the worry of loss. We question how to be sure of God’s support through a crisis when it feels as though one is alone without resources to help.
On days when you’re not sure that you are able to cope with what is before you, read these words again. These are awesome words of praise, to remind us of the greatness of our God. Let your heart quiet as you contemplate how God is your refuge and strength. Hide in the Lord as one finds shelter in a safe place. Imagine how God’s arms are around you, holding you close.
To say that God is strong means that God is more powerful than whatever forces are taking you down into an abyss of despair. God can restore your hope that a good future is ahead, even if it is a promise that is fulfilled after this earthly life is complete. God is stronger than death, for he raised Jesus Christ from the grave. Christ our savior lives, and so we are also promised eternal life in him.
Can we believe it? Can we hold on to these promises and grab hold of God’s hand reaching out for us in the midst of our trials? Maybe we’re over a cliff and the thin branch holding us is about to give way. God will never abandon us, through medical procedures, through heartbreak over family, through natural disasters and confusion and the ravages of time.
There will be a day when this earth will cease to be, when the mountains fall into the heart of the sea the way huge icebergs are breaking off in Antarctica and Greenland. Even if the worse we can imagine does happen, still then we are not left bereft and alone. Praise God for his strength, for his comfort, for his peace, for his redemption and promises given in our savior Jesus Christ.
Dear God, let me keep my gaze firmly fixed on you despite whatever trials are before me today. Let me not despair or be overwhelmed but look to you to find the peace you offer that is beyond human understanding. I need you, Lord, to find victory in the midst of a battle. Let me turn my heart over to you and surrender completely, for then I will find peace. All praise to you in Christ my savior. Amen.
What We Believe
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son and our savior, who lived among us to teach us and die for us. He rose again to give us the promise of eternal life in him John 3:16. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God dwelling in us John 14:15-17. We seek God’s word in the Bible, the foundation of our faith. Our mission as a church is to proclaim the good news of Christ to all. We honor Christ through worship and fellowship, encouraging one another in faith, hope and love 1 Corinthians 13:13, and serving our neighbors with compassion and justice.
We belong to the United Church of Christ. As a congregation we are granted the autonomy to govern our local church, and prayerfully make the best decisions we can on how to live out our calling as believers. Each person has the freedom and responsibility of discerning for themselves how faith in Jesus Christ impacts their daily walk and their worldview. We respect one another’s differences because even though we are diverse, we are still part of Christ’s body.
We look forward to welcoming you some day soon. Peace to you in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
10:00 am Worship Service
10:00 am Children's Adventure Hour