Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Shepastor: "Where Are You Looking for Jesus?"

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son. (John 1:14, New Living Translation)

Who knew that the baby born to a poor, young, teenage girl and her fiancĂ©e (an “average Joe”) would be “the Word made flesh dwelling among us!” God has a way of surprising us! So often we miss what God is sending because we are looking for the wrong thing. Frequently we are looking for a king in a palace when the King is actually in a stable. When Jesus presents himself to us through His Word, or through a stranger, or through a child, or through someone needing our help, what is our response?

During this Advent Season, let us take time to hear, see and respond to Jesus however He chooses to come to us.

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Matthew 25:40, NLT

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Shepastor: "Thankful and Thinking..."

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:1, KJV

As we sit around dinner tables, drive down highways or jump on planes to meet with family and friends, may we also think about and be intentional about blessing others…

- The homeless and hungry
- The immigrants facing deportation
- Our fellow U.S. citizens still suffering in Puerto Rico without power, shelter or clean water
- The grieving who find the holidays unbearable
- All who suffer…

May we think of ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus…

- Make monetary donations to charities, agencies, ministries
- Volunteer sometime preparing and or serving meals for the homeless
- Assist in distributing food and clothes to those in need
- Spend time sitting with someone who is broken just to listen
- Offer respite services for a day to a caregiver…

There are many other ways to bless others. May we all elect to do something to share the love of Christ as we give thanks for our blessings.
May you and yours have a blessed, compassion-filled Thanksgiving!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shepastor: "Words to Bless You..."

May you be blessed today by the words of this Psalm...

Psalm 103 King James Version (KJV)

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

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Until next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
PastShepastor1@hotmail.comor Chris

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Shepastor: “When ‘Freedoms’ Make Us Prisoners…”

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36, KJV

Freedom is a beautiful thing. However, when the “freedoms” of some encroach upon the safety, peace of mind and liberty of others, it’s time to re-evaluate our stances.
Recent studies indicate that 66% of mass shootings over the past few decades have happened in the US…

“30 years of mass shootings by country”
Between 1983 to 2013, 119 mass shootings took place around the world. Sixty-six percent were in the U.S.

The Conversation/CC-BY
Get the data

Many are demanding freedoms they perceive to be associated with the 2nd Amendment. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states the following…

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

At the time when this amendment was written, the Framers (“Founding Fathers”) were concerned about maintaining a law abiding society. There was no “standing army.” Therefore, states were given the power to form “well regulated Militias.” Of great concern was the uprising and rebellion of slaves. Aspects of this law was rooted in the “slave economy” and maintaining order. Read more in the article, “The Hidden History of the Second Amendment,”

In today’s society, The National Rifle Association (The NRA) has invested millions of dollars, dispatching gun lobbyist who have all but extinguished the courage of Congress to develop ANY common sense legislation to address gun control issues. As a result, the perceived “freedoms” of gun rights enthusiasts have unleashed a horrid rash of violence upon our Nation.

Pervasive loop holes in our current gun laws allow for the purchase of military style weapons by just about anyone, including those with a history of mental health issues. Websites, gun shows, some gun shops, etc., are free to sell guns without sufficient background checks.

While Americans are being encouraged to beware of immigrants, little or nothing is being done to address the terror being inflicted upon us by our own citizens…individuals who have purchased stock piles of war weapons with no questions asked.

Pausing for a moment of silence in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to tragic mass shootings will not stem the tide of gun violence in America. We need gun control!!!

Guns will not ensure our freedom. Our real freedom is in Christ.
May we continue in prayer for all of those who have lost loved ones during the past and most recent mass shootings in America.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Shepastor: “When ‘No’ Becomes ‘Yes’…”

Matthew 21:28-32New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Two Sons
28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.

Have you ever had someone tell you that they were going to do something…something that you were depending upon them to do and for whatever reason they did not do it? Wouldn’t you rather have had them say “No?” In this parable, Jesus talks about two sons that were asked by their father to work in the vineyard. One said, “No, I won’t go,” but did. The other said, “Yes, I’ll go,” but didn’t.

There’s something about the attitude of the first son that resonates with me. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt God leading me to do something that I was not particularly excited about doing…accepting the call to preach…accepting the call to pastor…changing the course of my desired career path to honor God’s direction for my life to name a few. There have been times when I’ve wrestled with God, not readily surrendering my will. Honestly, there have been times when I said, “NO!” Later, however, my “no” became a “yes.” This parable speaks to me because in it, we experience the abounding grace of God.

It seems that Jesus would rather have us wrestle and confront our struggle and evolve into a “yes,” than to blurt out a yes when we really mean NO! God honors the processes of our human frailty. Time and experience have taught me that there are abundant blessings in yielding to God’s will. There still are times, however, when I don’t want to do what I hear. Internally, I say, “No!” But my desire to be faithful, my reverential fear and ultimately my longing to stay close to the Lord wins out and my no becomes, yes.

Retrospectively, I realize the abundant blessings I would have missed had I stuck to my “no.” But I am grateful for the patience, mercy, grace and love of God that allowed me to express my true feelings. By the loving nudges and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, I began to see the need and find the will to say “Yes.”

When our heart’s aim is to please the Lord, even when we start out with “No,” our love for God, our desire to be in God’s will and our understanding that without the Lord we are nothing, our “Yes,” eventually emerges.

It’s better to say “No,” and allow the work of God’s Holy Spirit to convict and draw you into yielding, than to mindlessly say “Yes,” and then fail to keep your word. By God’s grace, may we do what we say.

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Until next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris