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August 15, 2017, 6:07 PM

Pastors Post - August 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 

The Heidelberg Catechism begins with the question, “What is your only comfort in life and death?” The answer that was developed back in 1563 is one of the finest I have ever seen and one of the primary pillars of the glorious Gospel message. The answer begins: “That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil.”

Contrast that answer with the message of society today which says that you are the master of your universe. If your body says that you are a male, you can say that you are a female because it’s your body and you can with it what you want. If a woman is pregnant she can decide to abort the baby growing in her because it is a part of her body, which she is in control of.

The message of the Bible and, as a result, the doctrine of the Church is that we are not our own. WE have been bought at a great price by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Every fiber of our body, every moment of our life, everything we have belongs to Him. That is a scary and seemingly oppressive proposition for those who have bought into the message of society. But for us, it is great comfort. We belong to Him through whom the whole universe was created. He has given us a purpose in life – to be ministers for Him, spread His Gospel and bring glory to His Father in heaven. He has also promised us eternal life with Him if we will put our total faith in Him.

This is a message that society desperately needs to hear today!

In His Comfort,

Pastor Matt




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


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