December 2018 – From the Pastor

So, as we enter December, we do so while also contemplating the message and sermon part of our Sunday worship, part two!
Most of the time, Advent and the month of December follow a pre ordered or regular subject of scriptures. We hold up the traditional scriptures, which point to the coming of the Messiah, an amazing and exciting time all in and of itself.
Do you ever wonder sometimes, as we go through these annual seasons, how much of it settles us into a time of complacency? We’ve heard the story…how many times? An angel visits Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth, Zechariah loses the ability to speak because he didn’t believe, Joseph struggles with this situation, shepherds are watching their flocks and celebrate, angels sing from heaven, the wisemen watch and follow a star…Jesus is born…hope and peace and love and joy are alive and well! Children offer their fun and seriousness for a special program, we decorate the sanctuary, celebrate family….the routine plays on….
 
As we met, discussed and pondered the idea of returning to one service, one of the comments we heard was that Sunday had become more like “Bible Study.” Certainly we know that Worship is a time for us to give thanks and praise to a God who is present in our lives…but, “Bible Study” seems like a strange word…how can we give thanks and praise to a God for the things he does in our lives and for the ways he moves in our lives, without really being able to recognize how God might do that…by learning from his word?
 
In studying this very subject, we learn that God reveals himself as the Word and by the Word. In this way, we learn how God wants us to live and breathe and move in our lives. Without the word of God, we wouldn’t have all that he calls us to, our faith, life in our spirits, or the ability to worship and praise God. In one place, the author writes, “the Word of God is to worship, as air is to breathing.”
 
Second Timothy teaches us that: “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God [a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Right after that, in Chapter 4:1-2, Paul reminds us with the utmost seriousness…”I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word.”
 
In other words, learning from God’s word, is how we learn the way God wants us to walk in life. Isn’t that a great thing? Hearing from and learning how to apply his word is the way of life…giving us a reason to give him praise. “Bible Study” and learning God’s word is what keeps our annual seasons fresh and exciting. Studying the Bible and going deeper, allows us to avoid the complacency in our faith that can shut down any semblance of growing closer to a God who gave us so much. Let us be in prayer and offer thanks that worship can be a time of learning and being energized! We are in charge of building God’s Kingdom here on earth aren’t we?
 
So as we move forward and embrace the message and how it is built from God’s Word, let us also be thankful and blessed by the way it goes deep and helps us celebrate this amazing time of year!
 
 
 
Hear ye, Hear ye….Merry CHRISTmas!
 
 

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November 2018 – From the Pastor’s Desk…

 
 
 
So we’ve spent some time delving into the subject of Fellowship, one of the three areas which were chosen to focus on with the changes in church. It has been a wonderful and full time of discovering and getting to know what this time means for us…
Now it’s time to move into another area. We will focus the next few articles on the Message, the time we spend together in worship and within. If you haven’t noticed, we have entered a series focusing on the subject of bringing our Spirits to life and strengthening our faith. We have been doing this by beginning in the book of Genesis and really jumping in to the subject of who we are as humankind and how that affects every bit of our walk with God. It has been received well and I think we are learning and rediscovering some great things.
 
Adam and Eve teach us about choice and how we just aren’t satisfied being caretakers of God’s creation. It was (and still is) important to us to have a say and we have within us a desire to walk that way, a desire which brought conflict. How often does having to have a say touch our every day? As Adam and Eve walked in the garden, they made choices and had perceptions, they introduced patterns which follow us in our lives and impact who we are. Many of the people we read about tell us about who we really are in those early stories in God’s Word.
Maybe, though, the most important lesson thus far, is the message that we are all part of the same tree. God created us all to be image bearers of God, and sometimes this is something really hard to do in life.
 
Sometimes we can be Cain, sometimes we can be Abel, but in the midst of all of it God is always breaking through trying to bring out the goodness. God showed us this when God made Abraham a big promise. God promised Abram and Sarai they would be a blessing and that all families would be blessed through them. This is also the promise that brought us all into the same circle.
 
Certainly there is a lot more to this journey, but it is hoped that your Spirit is being moved through this time, that depth in faith is happening and you are understanding more about who you are in Christ. It has been good stuff this far and it will continue to poke you and encourage you to go deeper in understanding how becoming the Image Bearers that God calls all of us to be is why we are here!
 
Whew….God is Good!!

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