Displacing the Darkness (12/25/16)

This Christmas morning, as we celebrate the birth of our Redeemer and Deliverer, do we really want Jesus to take away the sin that is still in our lives? I’m not asking if we want salvation from Him. We all want that. Do we really want Him to come in and change the dark areas we still have in our hearts? After all, this is one of the reasons Jesus left the safety of heaven and came into our evil world.

Jesus, the Creator, Light and Life, came to displace the gloom that sin had cast on God’s creation. He came to bring us salvation. This includes removing the darkness we still carry around in us which tempts us to play around with sin and to ignore God. The truth is many Christians don’t want to let Jesus into these areas because they enjoy sin too much.

What if we want to let go of the struggles, pain and doubt that we still carry with us? How do we let Jesus into the dark areas of our heart? To answer this, let’s look at a Christmas passage in the Bible. (more…)

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A Work in Progress (12/18/16)

People have interesting hobbies. A friend of mine collects railroad memorabilia. I have a collection of Looney Tunes glasses from the 1970s and 80s on top of our kitchen cabinets. Some people enjoy buying and restoring old cars. Jim Otto, a member of our congregation, bought a 1930 Roadster to restore. When this car was new, the paint was perfect and there were no rust spots or dents in the metal. However, after decades of exposure to the weather, this car needed a lot of work to restore it to its original condition.

In the Old Testament, the new nation of Israel was once new and impressive. God brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land. Once they settled there, they slowly rose in influence and grew in economic trade to become a powerful nation in the region. They were supposed to be a light for God so other nations would want to worship him too. Most of the Israelites didn’t do this. Many of them forgot God and began to follow the gods of the local people. (more…)

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Do Not Fear (12/11/16)

I had an opportunity last April to go to Turkey with a group that would visit historical sites in Istanbul as well as the sites of the 7 churches mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3. While I wanted to go, I was also concerned. ISIS was growing in size and strength. The cable news networks were filling the airwaves with stories about how many of the ISIS fighters were making their way into Iraq through Istanbul. Naturally, I had questions. I kept asking the trip leader, “Is it safe?” Every time I asked, I got the same response. “Yes, it is.”

After spending some time praying about it, I realized a few things. First, you can’t see the sites of the ancient church staying in Pennsylvania. You have to go to where they’re located. Second, I don’t want to be on my deathbed, reflecting back on my life and saying, “I should have gone to Turkey.” Third, if God was calling me to go, I needed to trust him – no matter what happened. (more…)

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Why Do I Need to Repent? (12/4/16)

If you got a phone call right now from the United States Secret Service announcing the President was arriving at your house later today, what is the first thing you would do? The answer for most of us is the same. We’d make sure the house was clean and everything put in its place.

This is the type of announcement John the Baptist was making in Israel before Jesus began his ministry as the Messiah. The king is coming and we’d better get our house in order before he arrives. (more…)

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