Remain Faithful

This last Sunday we finished the letters to the churches in Revelation.    There are some common themes that run through the letters.  They are a call to remain faithful to Christ despite whatever is happening around us.  They are a call to change the areas that are not right in the Christ’s judgment.    Spiritually dead people are called to come back to life.  Spiritually luke warm people are called to be on fire for Christ.  Spiritually sleeping people are called to wake up.  People who have lost their love for Christ are called to recapture that passion.   People who have conformed to the ungodly world are called to separate themselves and to be God’s holy people.  The call of Christ in these letters is serious and it is important.  Christ is very patient with us but there is a limit to his patience.  We must respond to Christ while there is time.  There are manifold blessings promised to us if we will listen and obey the word of the Lord. 



Repentance

As I read the letters to the churches in Revelation I find a key word that keeps coming up.  It is the word repent.  I believe repentance is a good thing!  Jesus writes to the churches and he invites them to repent.  To repent means to change directions.  It means to stop what you are doing that has attracted the convicting gaze of Jesus and be obedient to him.  The call to repentance is a gracious call.  It is given for our benefit.  When we repent we experience the forgiving grace of Jesus and are blessed.  I find that many people today desire the blessing of Jesus but they want it without repentance.  Many simply do not want to give up their sin.   The blessing of Jesus will only come after we come to the place of repentance.  I think we should be thankful for this powerful invitation.      



Pastor’s Blog

I am thinking about the message that Jesus sent to the church in Pergamum. They were a great church in many ways but they had allowed compromise with the world to take place. I was thinking about how we might be tempted to compromise with the world and I think our main temptation to compromise comes at us through media. We are bombarded with a constant stream of information, entertainment, music, literature, and news. Most of it comes from a perspective that does not honor God. I think if we are not aware of this bombardment we will succumb to its message. God has called us to be different from the world. We must resist the ungodly influences around us and fill our minds with the truth of God. It is a tough battle that we fight but we can win this and find ourselves blessed and Bringing glory to God!



Pastor’s Blog

As I studied the letter to the church in Smyrna, I began to understand that I have no real understanding of what it is like to suffer for Jesus.    Anything that I have gone through because of following Jesus is nothing compared to the suffering that the Christians in Smyrna went through.  Their example of faithfulness to Jesus even in the face of threats against their life is inspiring.   So how do we emulate their faithfulness while we have it so comparatively easy?  I think it is a real challenge for us because we can live our lives without the threat of persecution.  It is a real challenge to keep trusting in Jesus every day when things are going good.    It is too easy to think that we can handle things on our own and begin to trust in ourselves instead of Jesus.  Even though we do not face the fierce persecution that the Smyrna church faced, we must still live being dependent upon Jesus every moment.  May God help us to be faithful to him.    



Pastor’s Blog

In our study of Revelation, we studied the letter to the church in Ephesus this week.  In this letter Jesus commends them for the many good things they are doing, but he has just one thing against them.  They had lost their first love for Jesus.   They had drifted away from the love relationship to Jesus and were just going through the motions.  They were still doing good things but the love was missing.  This was so important to Jesus that he told they were about to lose their place of influence as a church.  This letter has contemporary application to us today because it is too easy to drift in our relationship with Christ.  When we do that we end up just going through the motions without any excitement or motivation.   We serve out of obligation instead of love.   The solution that Jesus gives us is to return to the love relationship that we had at the beginning.  We are invited to enjoy a love relationship with Jesus that will bring great blessing into our lives and bring blessing to others as well.  What are we waiting for?  



Pastor’s Blog

On Sunday I began a new sermon series in the book of Revelation.  The first few verses tell us that we are blessed when we read and hear and obey the words of this revelation.  I like the idea of being blessed and the blessing that God has is the best blessing.  I have been reading Revelation in my own devotions and I encourage you to read it as well during this time.  I encourage you to read it with a listening ear.  I think we often miss what God wants to tell us because we aren’t really listening.  As we listen to this revelation from God we can be certain that we will hear something that only God can tell us.  There are so many different ways  to interpret the book of Revelation but I want to suggest that the most important way is the personal way that God speaks to us as we read and listen.  It will be an adventure!   



Pastor’s Blog

After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead he appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  When Peter realized it was Jesus he jumped into the water and swam to Jesus.  He was so excited to see Jesus and be with him that he could not wait until the boat reached the shore.  The rest of the disciples came to shore on the boat a little later.  The question that haunts me is ‘would I jump in and swim to Jesus?’.   Jumping in certainly isn’t the practical thing to do and it is not the easy thing to do but maybe it is the best thing to do.  I admire Peter’s passion that led him to jump and swim to Jesus and his example challenges me to do the same.  I am not sure what that means for me, but I am feeling the call of Jesus to jump and swim.  It is a call to be passionate about Jesus and all the he desires to do in and through us for his glory.  Enjoy the swim!



Pastor’s Blog

The empty tomb gives witness to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.  When Mary came to the tomb on the first Easter morning, she found an empty tomb.  When Peter and John got to the tomb they also found an empty tomb.  Every person who showed up at the tomb found that it was empty.  Even the enemies of Jesus could not dispute the fact that the tomb was empty.   When I visited Israel a few years ago, I went to the traditional site of the tomb of Jesus and I found an empty tomb.  All over the world you can go and see the tombs of famous kings and leaders.  At each tomb you can be sure that the remains of that person rest in the tomb.  The tomb of Jesus is empty because Jesus rose from the dead.  The empty tomb changes everything for us.  Whenever you are tempted to be discouraged or feeling defeated, remember the empty tomb.    Whenever you are scared and worried, remember the empty tomb.  Whenever you are in despair and feel hopeless, remember the empty tomb.  The empty tomb shouts to us that Jesus is alive and he is our source of hope.  Remember the empty tomb!



Pastor’s Blog

As I read the story of the death of Jesus I am amazed at the majesty of Jesus.  Even though he was suffering on the cross he was in complete control.  He was on the cross because he willingly went to the cross to die for our sins.  He went through this unimaginable pain and suffering because of his great love for us.  He was even in control of the moment of his own death.  After all the prophecies had been fulfilled Jesus said, ‘It is finished’ and he died.  We see from the gospel story that Jesus was still able to shout out in a loud voice so he still had breath in his lungs.  Usually people with breath in their lungs can live a while.  But Jesus chose to die at the exact moment when all the prophecies had been fulfilled.  If he had waited a few minutes to die, he would have had his legs broken along with the other victims and the prophecy concerning the Messiah having no broken bones would not have been fulfilled.  The picture of Jesus willingly laying down his life for us is amazing and humbling.  Like the song writer wrote, “Amazing love!  How can it be, that thou my God, shouldst die for me?”   



Pastor’s Blog

What kind of King is it that would allow people to arrest him illegally?  What kind of King is it that would allow people to spit in his face? What kind of King is it that would allow people to beat him up?  What kind of King is it that would allow people to mock him?  What kind of King is it that would allow people to slap him in the face?  What kind of King is it that would allow people to whip him until his back was a mess of bloody wounds?  The only King that allowed all this to happen to him is the Lord Jesus Christ!  He is the greatest king to ever live and yet he allowed people to do all this to him.  The question that echoes in my mind is why?  Why would the King of all kings go through the suffering he endured at the hands of sinful people?  The reason is his great love for us.  Our King Jesus loved us enough to go through all of this for us!   In light of what he has done for us, we should not doubt for one second that Jesus loves us.  What an amazing King we serve!