Our Source of Freedom (Memorial Sunday 5/29/2016)

This weekend we celebrated Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who have given their lives in defense of our nation. The roots of this holiday in America can be traced to the Civil War when the graves of soldiers were decorated to commemorate their sacrifices. It kept evolving until it became a federal holiday which we now celebrate on the last Monday in May.

I remember having a heroic concept of war when I was a young boy. Watching war movies inspired me to play war games with my friends. Of course, in my mind, I was always the hero. (more…)

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Who Is God? (5/22/16)

Colossians 1:15-20 gets right to the point about the identity of Jesus. It states: “15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Jesus is the image of God, the firstborn over all creation, creator, before all things, head of the church, the fullness of God, reconciler and peacemaker. It can be very difficult to understand all of these phrases and how they apply us – his followers. This, in turn, can lead to a lukewarm faith because we typically don’t give our whole hearts to anything which confuses us. Since our salvation is based on whether or not we’re right about Jesus being the Messiah, our uncertainly can lead to fear. (more…)

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Is My Wood Wet? (5/15/2016)

My wife, Stephanie, and I received a special blessing this past Easter weekend. Our daughters and their families came to spend a couple of days with us and to attend worship on Easter morning. The weather that weekend was good so I got a brilliant idea. I bought and assembled a fire pit so we could spend some quality time together around a calming fire. When it came time to light the fire, I gathered up some seasoned wood that was lying at the edge of our yard. It had been cut for several years so it should have been ready to burn. I placed the wood on the fire and initially it appeared we would have a roaring fire in just a few moments. Then something happened. The multicolored flames began to diminish and the firewood began smoke and make popping noises. We spent the rest of the evening playing “Dodge the Smoke” every time the wind changed directions. The wood looked ready to burn one the outside but on the inside it wasn’t ready. (more…)

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Be A Colorful Christian (Youth Sunday – 5/1/2016)

The writer of this Psalm 71 appears to be an older man who’s asking God to strengthen him. His enemies see he is losing his strength so they’re attacking him. He starts out by asking God to strengthen him, protect him and deliver him for his enemies.

Psalm 71:1-8 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.

The author says he has followed God from the moment he was born through his youth into adulthood. Later in the psalm, he states that as an older man, he’s still trusting God.

There are a lot of older adults in worship throughout the week who have also been trusting Jesus since they were infants. They were raised in the church and are still practicing their faith. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people in our community who were raised in the church but aren’t worshipping the Lord anymore. They’ve turned away from walking with Jesus and serving him. (more…)

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