Worship Service Times
Sunday Morning 10:15 am
Sunday Night 6:00 pm
Wednesday Night 6:00 pm
A few years ago, I pinned a Christmas activity on Pinterest that has become one of my most favorite traditions! I changed it up just a little to mesh with my world, but the idea is still the same. I wrote a few different names of the Lord on some ornaments. At night, before I go to bed, I choose one of the ornaments. I then look up scriptures about that name, reflect on it, and thank the Lord for His goodness in that Character I see through His name. This simple activity “resets” my mind in the middle of the Christmas craziness to reflect on who the Lord is, how powerful He is, and how above my circumstances He is.
We have actually made a “Names of the Lord” tree in Room 10. Come check it out and reflect on who the Lord is! Here are some names we are using, their simple definitions, and scriptures you can use to help you study more about that particular name.
“The Good Shepherd”- He (Jesus) saved us, not Himself from death. He watches over us, takes care of us, and does what is best for us. (John 10:7,11, Psalm 23, 1 Pet 2:25, 5:4)
“Lion of Judah”- Jesus is King of everything. He defeated death and is worthy of our p raise and worship. (Genesis 49:9, John 5:22, Revelation 5:5, Isaiah 31:4, Hebrews 13:7-8)
“Jehovah”- The Lord is our banner. Only in Him can we have victory. (Exodus 17)
“Emmanuel”- means “God with us.” When Jesus was born, He was human and God, 100%- full in each form at the same time. (Isaiah 7:14, 8:8, Matt 1:22-23)
“Prince of Peace”- Jesus brings peace in our lives like no one else can. We can trust that He is always in control. (Isaiah 9:6)
“Lord”- God is in charge of everything. He is King, controller, Boss (Psalms 135)
Merry Christmas! May you know Jesus in a new way this season, and may your 2019 be enabled out of his abundant grace.
Jesus, there is something about that name. As believers, Christmas brings about that time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus; or Emmanuel, God with us. For many, this time will be spent surrounded by a crowd. Crowds in the house, crowds in the stores, crowds of traffic, and crowds of around television sets watching their favorite Christmas movies, football games, or parades. Some experience a loneliness in this season, so “God with us” is good news. When you study the Scriptures, Mark 3 brings about an interesting account in the life of Jesus.
“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’” (Mark 3:20-21 Emphasis added)
This account gives us an interesting perspective to the family of Jesus and their perceptions of his work. Not only did they question his work, but they questioned his mental stability. The family had several misconceptions of Christ. For one, they were annoyed by the large crowd following Jesus. They wanted to pull him away from the crowd, or better said, pull the crowd away from Jesus. They missed the fact that Jesus Christ had been sent to seek and save that which was lost. He came to bring salvation; how could the family try to thwart the plan of God? Another misconception was that the family thought they could “take charge” of Jesus. Many of us today think that we can force Christ to do what we want, instead of submitting to his leadership. It is foolish for us to think that we could control the one who is in control; to think we can make him do things as the Maker of all things. The final misconception, they thought he was out of his mind. We often do not understand the ways of the Lord, His plans, His path, and His story that He is writing in our lives. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with Him. Instead, it proves that there is something wrong with us, our hearts and minds are fallen and tainted by sin. That sin has caused us to have a selfish focus. I cannot help to imagine that the reason Jesus’ family reacted in such a way is to protect their own reputation, their own story, and their own plans. However, later in the passage, there is another section where Christ’s reverses our thinking about his family as well:
“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him and they told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.’ ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ He asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mark 3:31-35)
This response from Jesus to his family would have tough. However, for us, this is great news! The promise is that we are a part of God’s family as we do His will. Romans 8 echoes this promise by explaining that if we are “in Christ” we are joint heirs with Christ. His inheritance is graciously ours. You are a part of this great faith family. Do not lose hope, do not despair, and do not fear. We have a faithful Father, a faithful Groom, and a faithful Savior. Here are some more take-a-ways for this holiday season:
1. Don’t be annoyed at the crowds – the Lord has placed you there among the people to do His work.
Don’t think your family is too crazy – We by nature are tainted by the sin of Adam; however, no one is too far from the grace and mercy of God’s grace – keep praying, don’t lose hope
Don’t forget to renew your mind – In the busyness of the holiday season, it’s easy to neglect the Word of God and our time with Christ. Remember what we celebrate at Christmas; don’t just celebrate Jesus, spend time with Him. This will prove to be a source of joy and strength. Also, renew your mind so you may see clearly the plan and will of God and not miss those opportunities.
Know you are loved and never alone – Emmanuel, God with us – Great news; you are never forsaken
Recently I was given a gift that took me immediately back to my childhood. It was a stack of vinyl records given to me by Kevin Lamb. When I was a child my parents had a record player and I would listen to it for hours. The Beatles, Ray Stevens, Lee Greenwood, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were some of the go-to hits for my childhood. Once I was given these it brought back a flood of memories, good times, and some great music. Since listening to these albums, I have noticed some unique things about listening to an album on vinyl:
1. The Entire Work - I am more likely to listen to an entire album on vinyl. I just set the needle down and it plays. In today's world of streaming services, iPhones, and music on demand people can go straight to the song they want. They just hear the hits, their favorites, and whatever they want. Our Christian walk is often like this. We only want our favorite Bible verses, our favorite sermon topics, or our favorite happenings. However; we need to appreciate the entire work of God. As Paul reminds them in Acts 20:27, "For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God." Sometimes the plan of God for us is uncomfortable, a road of suffering, or a fiery trial. The good news is that all of this is for His glory and conforming us into Christ.
2. The Classics - The records I was given were classics. Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Barry Mannilow, and The Doobie Brothers just to name a few. It reminded me of some great songs and works by these artists. In our Christian walk we can often become mesmerized by the now, the present, or the new. This has reminded me to take the time to listen, read, and spend time with the classic works of the Christian faith. The early church fathers, the works of Spurgeon, the works of Tozer, and the works of Graham. These men loved the Word, the Lord, and their writings show a rich history of God's faithfulness in the good and the bad.
3. The Flip-Side - When the record stops and those four or five songs are over, there is this unique silence. Then I remember there is another side that continues the work. In my Christian walk, I have been in situations where things with the Lord were good then seemed to suddenly stop. This is followed by a unique silence, sometimes it feels as if the Lord is distant or just silent (not His Word, but just a time to persevere in seeking Him). Then, there is a moment, we will call it the flip-side. Suddenly He speaks through His word and His Spirit. The Work of God and of grace continue and He is faithful, He provides, and He comforts. He is good. So as Galatians 6:9 says," I do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest."
Enjoy the Lord, all of His work. Enjoy how the Lord has worked through faithful people (even in this church and in your life). Enjoy the Lord's faithfulness, even the times of searching and seeking the Lord, knowing He's there, He's faithful, and He's good.
Martin Luther was a German priest and professor of theology who initiated the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the asser-tion that freedom from God’s punishment of sin could be purchased with money. October 31, 1517 Luther wrote out the 95 Thesis and nailed them to the door of Wittenburg’s Castle Church. His refusal to retract his writings resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.
A Mighty Fortress
Martin Luther | 1527
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great; and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing—
Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name, from age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim—we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! His doom is sure.
Our little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers—no thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Here is a link to the 95 Thesis https://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html
October is the celebration of one of my most favorite holidays. It takes me back to a time when young men would dress in long costume-like robes, lived in grungy dungeon-like atmospheres, some were covered in scars and could appear frightful if encountered by outsiders. Of course I’m talking about the monks and the celebration of Reformation Day which took place on October 31, 1517. Now, 501 years later, we could often take for granted the great theological discovery (better: a re-discovery) that changed the modern world. The doctrine that man is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone brought about incredible freedom in Christ, freedom from works-based salvation, and planted us firmly on the foundation of Christ, the Solid Rock. With this in mind, let’s read Martin Luther in his own writing:
“The Holy Ghost has two offices. First, he is a Spirit of grace, that makes God gracious unto us, and receive us as his acceptable children, for Christ’s sake. Secondly, he is a Spirit of prayer, that prays for us, and for the whole world, to the end that all evil may be turned from us, and that all good may happen to us. The Spirit of grace teaches people; the Spirit of prayer prays.
We do not separate the Holy Ghost from faith; neither do we teach that he is against faith; for he is the certainty itself in the world, that makes us sure and certain of the Word; so that, without all wavering or doubting, we certainly believe that it is even so and not otherwise than as God’s Word says and is delivered unto us. But the Holy Ghost is given to none without the Word.
Mohammed, the pope, papists, Antinomians, and other sects, have no certainty at all, neither can they be sure of these things; for they depend not on God’s Word, but on their own righteousness. And they always stand in doubt and say: ‘Who knows whether this which we have done be pleasing to God or not, or whether we have done works enough or not?’ They must continually think with themselves, We are still unworthy.
But a true and godly Christian, between these two doubts, is sure and certain, and says: ‘I neither look upon my holiness, nor upon my unworthiness, but I believe in Jesus Christ, who is both holy and worthy. For my part, I am a poor sinner, and that I am sure of out of God’s Word. Therefore, the Holy Ghost only and alone is able to say: Jesus Christ is the Lord; the Holy Ghost teaches, preaches, and declares Christ.’ For we must first hear the Word, and then afterwards the Holy Ghost works in our hearts; he works in the hearts of whom he will, and how he will, but never without the Word."