He Does All Things Well

October 20, 2019

Colossians 1: 9-14 Scripture: II Peter 1: 5-8 People that had the privilege of knowing Jesus personally made the observation that He did all things well. That’s an amazingly complimentary thing to say! Seems no matter what the situation or circumstance, Jesus responded in just the right way. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house” as a twelve year old facing an “anxious” Mom over His whereabouts when she wanted to know, “Why ….”  He went missing from the caravan home after the Passover. He handled pressure from unbelievers, threats from Pharisees, pain from the sick, betrayal from Judas, sarcasm from His brothers, disciples slow to learn and even worship from some. He commanded demons, held little ones in His arms, raised the dead, heard the very voice of His Father and yet freely offered His life on the cross where “no man takes it from me.” He got so tired He slept though storms at sea. He never lost His temper. He never fell for temptation. He never gave up even when the disciples slept through His last hours of freedom in the garden before His arrest. And He never failed to witness to lost folk around Him. And He’s our example!!! It’s His desire we become well rounded and thoroughly prepared for the same challenges. We are called to be His disciples.  We are known by the term, “Christians.” And we are to live a life “worthy of our calling.” Let us strive to “overcome” the sinful nature and live a vibrant balanced life for Jesus!  Your brother and friend,  Pastor Jon


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The Story of Hell

October 13, 2019                                                                                                                                      Luke 16:19-31

There’s a strange little insect called the velvet ant – attractive, as ants go – garbed in a thick coat of tiny hairs that feel smooth and velvety.  But it’s all a disguise. This tiny creature isn’t an ant at all, but a wingless wasp with a nasty sting. After injecting its victim with venom, it lays its eggs in their incapacitated bodies.   How like Satan!  He’s a venomous imposter who wants to implant his warped ideas into the dulled hearts of his victims.  One of his cleverest strategies is to make evil seem desirable. Just consider today’s movies. Sexual sin of every type is glamorized and glorified.  Profanity “appears” as righteous indignation.  Fame captivates. Fortune beguiles. Violence titillates.    It’s not popular today to talk about Satan, the devil… the “evil one.”   A personal being who personifies evil just seems, well, so medieval, and not so 21st century.  But this being is the adversary in God’s great story and is found in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  Jesus in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:1-23), blames the devil for thwarting the message of the gospel.      This morning’s Scripture tells of a rich man who went to hell, not because of his wealth, but because he was selfish, refusing to feed Lazarus, take him in, or care for him.  The rich man was hardhearted in spite of his great blessings. Sounds like the “velvet ant” got him.   There are no second chances in hell.  Abraham replied to the rich man, “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there [hell] to us” (Luke 16:26).  Satan doesn’t mind if we become religious, just so long as it remains politically incorrect to proclaim Jesus Christ as the ONLY name under heaven whereby we must be saved.  Will you dare to be politically incorrect and tell one person about Jesus today?!

Your brother and friend,
Pastor Bruce

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Does “One” Really Matter?

 John 1:45-46
Jesus called Philip personally and Philip trusted Him and followed Him.  We do not know what kind of heart preparation Philip experienced, because God usually prepares a person before He calls him/her.  We do know that Philip proved his faith by seeking to share it with his friend Nathanael.    John 21:2 suggests that at least seven of our Lord’s disciples were fishermen, including Nathanael. 
 
Fishermen are courageous and stick to the job, no matter how difficult it may be. But Nathanael started out a doubter: he did not believe that anything worthwhile could come out of Nazareth.  Our Lord was born in Bethlehem, but He grew up in Nazareth and bore that stigma. To be called a “Nazarene” meant to be looked down on and rejected.
 
When Nathanael hesitated and argued, Philip adopted our Lord’s own words: “Come and see” (John 1:39).   Later on, Jesus would invite “Come… and drink” (John 7:37) and, “Come and dine” (John 21:12).  “Come” is the great invitation of God’s grace.  When Jesus revealed His knowledge of Nathanael, where he had been and what he had been doing, this was enough to convince the man that Jesus indeed was “the Son of God, the King of Israel.”
 
After World War II, a group of German students volunteered to rebuild a severely damaged cathedral.  A large statue of Jesus, with outstretched arms and the words “Come unto Me” inscribed on it, was missing both hands.  Since it proved impossible to reattach the hands, they decided to leave them off. And they changed the inscription to read, “Christ has no hands but ours.
 
The person being touched by Christ’s follower is being touched by Jesus Himself. Through you, the hands of Jesus are ministering daily to others.  Has Jesus called you to be His disciple? Do you trust Him? Are you following Him? Does “One” matter?  “Go and tellOne and see what God will do. 
 
Your brother and friend,
Pastor Bruce

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