THE NINE – OVERCOMING ISIS

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Blog, Christian Living, Worship

THE NINE – OVERCOMING ISIS

Many of you wanted an opportunity to view the video that we showed in this Sunday’s services.  This video features 9 Christians from Mosul who fled Isis persecution for their faith.  Please join us as we stand in prayer for our brothers and sisters around the world who are daily persecuted for their faith....

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Advent Peace

Posted by on Dec 20, 2015 in Blog

Advent Peace

The celebration of Advent is not just about the coming of Jesus 2000 years ago.  The celebration of Advent also looks forward to the day when Jesus will come again. Revelation 21 begins: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’” This peace comes at a price, though.  In order to secure His kingdom, the Lamb of God must put an end to the grace that He has lavished on mankind.  At the moment that He determines to establish this new heaven and new earth, it assures the destruction of this sinful earth.  When every knee bows and every tongue confesses, it is no longer of their own free will, but because the awesome power of Christ compels them.  God is a God of relationship.  He desires fellowship with His children.  So God waits.  God waits because He knows that when He comes again it puts an end to the ability of His creation to choose Him.  God’s great love for us means that He postpones His assured victory so that all might be saved. So we wait, as well.  We wait, eagerly anticipating the day of His return.  We wait, sharing the Good News with as many people as we can.  We wait, doing the work of building God’s Kingdom.  We wait, knowing that when the Prince of Peace returns, it will be a lasting peace.  Isaiah prophesied in chapter 9, “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this...

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Advent Joy

Posted by on Dec 13, 2015 in Blog

Advent Joy

There’s nothing like the sight of a little one on Christmas morning.  There’s nothing like that look of wonder and excitement, or the sheer volume of their excitement (that makes you really need a second cup of coffee), or that amazement that Santa has come, and all their hard work to make his “Nice” list has paid off.  That kind of joy is infectious, isn’t it? Joy is defined as the emotion brought about by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.  At Advent, this last definition is made so clear to us.  We look back on the coming of Jesus with joy because of what it meant for our salvation, and we look forward to His return as the thing that will make all things right. So many times in Scripture, the word “joy” is found in the context of sorrow or trouble because joy is the prize inside that promise.  Jesus told us in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  The Psalmist looks forward to that day in Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.” This morning we can have joy in the promise of what is to come, but we can also have joy in the “now.” The advent of Jesus was an event that heralded great joy, but we are filled with joy now, not because of something temporary like a gift that Santa leaves under the tree, but because of the permanence of Emmanuel, God With Us.   “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Deut 31:6)  Joy has...

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Bringing Us Back

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Blog, Christian Living

Bringing Us Back

Last night, I visited our PD officer in the hospital recovering from surgery.  His accident could have claimed his life, but God is so good and spared him for unknown purposes that we can only be excited about!  I can’t wait to see how God will use his life for His glory once he has recovered. How interesting that my time in the Word today led me to such a relevant passage.  I’m working my way through the Old Testament, and some valuable words awaited me today in 2nd Samuel 14.  A wise woman from Tekoa is contending with King David to bring his estranged son home again.  In her speech before him, these words hit home for me: “All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.  That is why God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from him.  He does not sweep away the lives of those he cares about…” (2 Samuel 14:14) We know our lives are limited in days (Heb. 9:27), yes.  But how thrilling to me that God isn’t finished with us… He doesn’t discard those he cares about!  What encouragement for my friend who was close to death’s door!  God has a plan and purpose for his life, and I know He cares so deeply for him. But this also has the more direct implication.  He also cares about us when we stray…when our thoughts are far from Him.  He tries to bring us back.  I think of those times when I don’t wantto be close to Him.  My eyes are fixed on myself or the sin dangling before me, and I distance myself.  How exciting that God continues to call after us, seek us, and find us.  I’m reminded of Jesus’ words and why He came – to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  That’s not just for those who don’t know Him…it’s for me , too. Would you say you are lost today?  I know God wants to draw you close to Him and His fatherly affection.  The question is: will you let Him?   Originally Published at...

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Advent Love

Posted by on Dec 6, 2015 in Blog

Advent Love

The second candle of Advent is the Love candle.  Admittedly, the love candle might seem a bit dim right now. We are still reeling from the evil that hit too close to home last week, and this morning we are heartbroken for 14 families who will wake up to a world without someone they love.  While we may never understand on this side of Heaven why God allowed this to happen, we can take comfort in the fact that God is a father who intimately understands loss and suffering. Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us that “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Perhaps the most famous words in Scripture are found in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Especially at Christmas, we love others because He first loved us.  We know how to love because we have known the sacrificial love of God, who did not spare His only Son so that you and I could have our slates wiped clean. The apostle John writes in 1 John 4:7-10 “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” There is evil in this world.  We know this all too well.  But if you are afraid, take heart.  The God who has existed before there was time, who loved us so much that He sent Jesus as a tiny baby in a manger, that very same God is here now.  The apostle Paul writes, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.   And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us...

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In the Midst of Tragedy

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Blog, Christian Living

In the Midst of Tragedy

It is easy to lose hope in the midst of tragedy.  Our city/region has taken a one-two punch with our officer in the collision Monday in surgery now and with the horror yesterday in San Bernardino.  But I will not give up.  Since God graciously allows us the gift of our lives today to do whatever we want – good or evil – I will not give up living for Him moment by moment. It’s not about God “fixing” the problem.  He already did by coming to earth and entering humanity.  And He’s not dead…He’s alive and knows full well the results of His gracious gift of giving us a free will.  Following Jesus is the antidote to living a self-centered life.  There will always be those who deny God’s existence and then point the finger at Him for all our troubles.  It will not be popular or easy to be like Jesus. That’s why, in my prayers for the victims and families here locally, I take great comfort in these two Scriptures: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NIV) “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” – 2 Cor. 1:3-5 (NLT) How might you today not lose heart?  How might you fix your eyes on the Source of all comfort and peace and then pass that on to someone...

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