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July 7, 2016, 11:53 PM

Hear Our Prayers O God


First Christian Church, Friends, Family -

Let us stand in prayer for our city, county, our country.

Let us lift up our officers who have sworn to protect us, their families and their loved ones.

Let us lift up the victims of hatred no matter the skin color, no matter their economic situation, no matter their profession.

Let us share in the blame when we let justice be slowed, when we let others suffer needlessly, when we speak when we should be silent and are silent when we should call out.

Let us stand for grace and mercy, for protection and for serving one another.

Let us reach out to the hurting and the hopeless, the despairing and the desperate.

May we speak words of love and acceptance and follow them by actions that confirm our words.

O God hear our prayers.  




March 29, 2016, 9:54 AM

Easter's Come, Easter's Gone.....

The big day has come and gone. Easter - just like Christmas seems to be over in a moment of glory.  All the planning of Lent and preparation of choirs, musicians, worship leaders, Greeters and Elders and Deacons.  In a single Sunday morning, to quote Jesus "it is finished..."  And then we now return you  to our regularly scheduled lives...

Why bother?  is the question so many of us have asked at one time or another.  It's pretty yes.  It's important to celebrate - we pastor types really do get it.  But goodness.  The work.  The energy.  The conflict created.  Is it really worth it?  Did it make a difference in a single life?  Did it bring us closer to Jesus?  Did it help us become a better disciple (follower)?  We argue that if one person came to know Jesus this day it was worth it.  We argue that if one soul was restored, reconciled, refreshed or renewed - then yes.  But is our argument sound?  Is it true that one life is worth all this?  And honestly - I want to say "yes" with reckless abandon and power and conviction.  But the exhaustion of Monday and Tuesday - the day I am writing this says "maybe" is more like it. 

What's wrong with this picture we ask.  Why isn't this Pastor just proclaiming the praises of Easter.    Don't get me wrong.  The music was wonderful.  The baptism was moving.  The children talking about newness of life precious.  All so good in the mix.  But then we all went home.  Did you hear the call to action?  To belief?  To service?  Or did you just sing the music, listen to the speech, and hang out with your family for a time?  Are you going to do something to grow in your faith or are you settled in your way of life so firmly that there is no room at the inn for faith?  For faithful action?

The good news is this.  You can decide to act today.  You can decide to be a more faithful follower today.  You can get in a study group, a prayer group, a choir, and fellowship group and feed your soul again and again.  You see - like Christmas - Easter comes again and again to our lives.  It's why we celebrate every year.  Because faith doesn't just "happen."  It grows like a living human being.  It changes and evolves and grows.  And that growth is something to celebrate.  We change - and that is good news.    Maybe, just maybe all this hoopla for Easter is worth it.  And while Easter has come - it hasn't gone.    Praise be to God!

 

 

 




August 11, 2015, 9:03 AM

STANDING ON THE PROMISE!

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Do you ever wonder what God really promises us in scripture? 

There are a lot of things God doesn't promise us:  Perfect lives.  Nope.   No Trials.  Nope  No Tribulation.  Nope.  No promises like these.  No Sickness?  Not a promise.  No mean people in our lives?  Not in the Bible anywhere!    Immense wealth?  Nope!  (Good news is that it doesn't promise us poverty either)    There are thousands of things people think they have found in scripture that really isn't a promise from God. 

Paul knew one of the promises - one that I think is really important to us today as we continue considering how to enjoy life every day:     “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

The promise of God is this:  What God starts – He finishes. He does not leave you out on a limb. You do your part and God will do His part. You do your best and He'll do the rest.   Don't give up. Don't give up on life. Don’t give up on your dream.  Your calling.  You will reap a harvest at the proper time if you do not give up. God wants you to live a successful Christian life. Fight the fight – run the race – put you faith and hope in God and let the one who started this good work in you bring it to completion.  That my friends is living the successful Christian life!

And this promise means - God's not done with you or me yet.  And that is good news.

Standing on the PROMISE!

PD




August 4, 2015, 9:12 AM

What's Stealing Your Joy?


Have you ever lost your joy?  Ever felt like someone had stolen it away?  Did it just slip away one day while you weren't looking?  

In our church's journey through Philippians - Paul's "joy-filled" letter, we find 5 things that Pauls says can steal or prevent our joy if we aren't careful.  And it is all in who and what we trust. 

A. You begin to trust in RITUALS – Paul could:   “I was circumcised when I was eight days old.” Philippians 3:5
            Today’s rituals?   Baptism, communion, catechism, baby dedication, church attendance.

            Fact is none of these will save a person. Trust these for your salvation – you're in trouble!

B. You begin to trust in your RACE   Paul could:   “I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real   Hebrew if there ever was one!” Philippians 3:5  

            Don't trust in your ethnic background – it will not save you.

C. You begin to trust in your RELIGION – Paul could:  “A Hebrew of the Hebrews” Philippians 3:5
            Paul was a religious person – but a personal relationship with Jesus is more important than             your religion.

            Religion is man's attempt to get to God. God’s attempt to get to man is through Jesus Christ.

            There is a big difference between being “religious” and having a relationship with Jesus.   

            Are you religious or are you in relationship with Jesus?


D. You begin to trust in RULES   Paul Did:   “I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.” Philippians 3:5 (NLT)

Paul tried to keep all the rules. We think of the Pharisees as hypocrites – but there were some that were genuine – sincere ones. They took the Ten Commandments and expanded them into 600 plus other commandments – they were legalists!     Are you more about the rules or the relationship?

E. You begin to trust your REPUTATION  Paul did:  "I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.” Philippians 3:6 (NLT)

Today people say, "I read the Bible, I witness, I go to church, I tithe..." – they are depending on their reputations – their works - that's legalism. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with these things – but the problem lies in the fact that some people think they that get “points with God” for doing all that stuff. They think that God owes them something for all the stuff they have been doing. 

So is there something stealing your joy?  Could you find it on the list.  It's usually being stolen from right inside our hearts - When we trust in something other than Christ!

Be Blessed,

PD




July 31, 2015, 2:24 PM

Fellowship Are We Doing It Right??

The other day in Bible study we studied Philippians 3:4-12ish.

I was ready or so I thought. I was ready to talk about how we are to die to our flesh and not hold onto the old ways even when they are seen as good or even great, because we shall lose all to gain Christ. You know the normal stuff you get out of the first few verses. Well that is not what we focused on. That is not what God wanted us to understand deeper.

Today we talked about fellowship. Of all things, that is not what we were thinking was going to be the focus point.

So as we read the verses we got stuck on the topic of fellowship. What is fellowship? When do we do fellowship? Well as we read we got stuck on verse 10 where it says:

10. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

See that line that says fellowship of sharing in his sufferings? That is what caught us. The question at first was who is ready and willing to stand up with Jesus in His suffering? Then it was asked if fellowship was the best word to use? We then talked about. The example of a funeral was used. We fellowship at funerals don't we, that is a place of suffering most the time right?

That is where we started to open our hearts to realizing that fellowship, true fellowship means to be with each other in all times of life, NOT just around a table eating, or playing a game of cards. but it is about being together in everything we do.

So when Paul says he wants to fellowship with Jesus even in His suffering Paul is really understanding fellowship.

Fellowship is being there for people and focus on life together in the good and the bad. Not just the good. I want to leave you with a quote I found great.

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.”
― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

 

Are you in fellowship with anyone?

PJ

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