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May 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Pastor's Post - May 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jesus Lives!

As I mentioned in the Easter Sermon, those are probably the two most powerful words known to mankind. In them we find the answer to both life and death. Life comes through Christ; "all things were made through Him." (John 1:3). The answer to death comes through Christ; "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 15:55).

Since Christ alone has died, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven where He lives and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, He alone can be trusted to give us true direction in life. For this reason, we will be looking to His words when answering/addressing the questions and concerns of what some people call "toxic" scriptures / doctrines in our sermons this Easter season.

I remember some television commercials that said, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen." I also remember my dad saying, after seeing one of those commercials, "When Jesus talks, we better listen." In this day and age of political in-fighting, alternative truths and scientific "consensus" (not facts), we can trust Christ to be the final authority, the ultimate source of truth and the only true source of hope for the world today.

If you have a challenging scripture or doctrine that you struggle with, please let me know what it is and I will do my best to find Christ's answer to it.

Jesus lives!

Pastor Matt




April 2, 2017, 3:26 PM

Pastor's Post - April 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

I find it rather ironic that the month of April has two special days in it. Two days that seem to represent two diametrically opposed ideas: April Fool's Day and Easter.

Have you ever wondered, "How did we ever come up with this day - April Fool's Day?" As I researched its origins, I found that no one really knows. There was a Roman festival called Hilaria held on March 25th. In 1539, on April 1st, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed." But, my favorite explanation came from Jospeh Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University.

Boskin revealed that April Fool's Day began under Constantine. A group of court jesters told the emperor that they could a better job running the empire. Constantaine was amused and allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for a day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and it became an annual event. The best part is Boskin had made the whole thing up as an April Fool's Joke!

While we may never know how this day came to be, I do know how fools came to be. The Devil deceived Adam and Eve into the foolishness of thinking they could become wise by defying God. Ever since then, fools abound the world over, and we all can be deceived by the Evil One, making fools of ourselves.

So, I guess if we honestly think about it, April Fool's Day and Easter actually go together. What a wonder that Jesus entered this land of fools taking the form of the fool upon Himself, and even the foolishness of the cross. He did it so we could stop playing the fool and become wise unto salvation through His death and resurrection!

 

Joyful in the Resurrection,

Pastor Matt

 




March 17, 2017, 12:00 AM

Relentless Prayers on St. Patricks day

Are you reluctant to bring the same prayers to your heavenly Father over and over?

Maybe you don't want to trouble God; after all, He already knows waht you're going to say. Plus, you're not worthy to ask for anything!

If those thoughts surround you, think about Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. At 16, he was dragged from his home to be a slave. Patrick tended sheep in the cold. Hungry and miserable, he begged God for mercy and deliverance.

In his Confession, Patrick recalls praying "a hundred times in the day and almost as many at night." Without ceasing, he told God of his needs, wants, thanksgiving, and confession. And God heard his prayers.

Pray relentlessly! God is always listening!




March 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Pastor's Post - March 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This March is very unique in a special way, both the month and Lent begin on the same day, Ash Wednesday, March 1. But what exactly is Lent? The word itself seems to come from the Latin word for lengthening and refers to days getting longer as spring approaches. But the season of Lent is one of the oldest observation on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. Early church father Irenaus of Lyons (c. 130-c.200) wrote of such a season in the earliest days of the church, but back then it was a severe fast that lasted 40 hours. This fast began on Good Friday at about 3:00p.m., the time that Christ died, and ended at sunrise (7:00am) on Easter. It was not the 40 days observed today.

In 325, the Council of Nicea discussed a 40-day Lenten season of fasting, but it's unclear whether its original intent was just for new Christians preparing for Baptism. Yet, exactly how the churches counted those 40 days varied. Some counted weekends and some did not. Even today there are differences. Some say Lent is the 40 days beginning with Ash Wednesday and going through Palm Sunday. Others say it is the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, minus Sundays in between. Regardless of the counting method, the observance has been strict, serious and marked by fasting. This fasting may have been a complete fast from all food for a whole day each week or a fast from certain foods, especially meat, one day each week. The modern practice of giving something up for Lent finds its roots in this fasting.

All of this has been done with one purpose in mind, to remind us of the true cost of our sin. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, gave up His life so that we might live. This Lenten season, I hope that you will join me in daily thanking for our Savior for His sacrifice and setting aside each Wednesday as a time to formally worship Him.

In His Service,

Pastor Matt




February 26, 2017, 7:27 PM

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

The year 2017 marks the international observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

In honor of that anniversary, our midweek Lenten services this year will have a distinctly Reformation character to them. The Reformation took place because corruption has made it into our Lord's church. Martin Luther and the other reformers who joined with him or followed after him wanted the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible and reject the teachings of man. To this end, the reformers focused on the six chief parts of the Christian faith. What are the six chief parts? Well, you will have to come to our Lenten services to find out. Each week, beginning with Ash Wednesday on March 1, we will focus on one of these parts. By the end of the 40 days/six weeks of Lent, we will certainly be prepared to hear and rejoice in the Good News of Easter.

Please set aside each Wednesday, beginning March 1, for our 5:30pm soup supper and our 7:00pm worship service.

We would also like to remind everyone that there is great symbolism in our soup supper followed by our worship service:

1. Heaven is often refererred to as the Lord's Banquet Table. When we gather together for a family meal as members of His kingdom and the Zion family, it is a forestate and symbol of what is to come, HEAVEN!

2. Scripture also reveals that in heaven, all the heavenly host - angels, the saints, the cherubim and the seraphim all join together in praising/worshipping God. This is why we follow our soup supper with a worship service.

The soup supper is not meant to be a free meal that people come to, fill their belly and then leave. That would simply be a physical experience. Rather, the soup supper and worship service are tied together as a whole spiritual experience with the purpose of glorifying God and building up the Body of Christ with a vision of our salvation.


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