Why Don’t Your Children Behave?

Have you ever looked at other people’s children and wondered why they’re so well behaved, while your children aren’t? Can you take your children to a restaurant and make it through a meal without being frustrated? Can you have a conversation with another adult without being interrupted? We’ve all been there, we’ve all been frustrated with our kids and struggled with how to make them behave.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Everyone’s children misbehave. The trick is to TRAIN them to obey. Obedient children don’t happen by magic or accident. I can’t promise that training will always work, but I guarantee you, that it WILL drastically improve your child’s obedience.
 
Before they can understand why they need to obey, children must be taught to have a heart for obedience. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  In our home, our children love Jesus and they love being able to memorize bible verses.  One of the very first verses that they learned was Ephesians 6:1. We repeat it often; this is because they need to understand that God wants them to obey their parents, just as He wants all of us to obey Him.  Our obedience to God shows our love for Him.

 

Here are a few simple ideas to help you train your children to obey.

First, teach them HOW to LISTEN!

Children have to be able to LISTEN in order to obey. Have you ever heard of the concept of whole body listening?  No?  Me either, until a few years ago…  If you google, “whole body listening definition,” it explains how one gives different parts of the body a specific job. This enables one to focus on what is being said and really absorb it. It uses parts of the body that the speaker can see (ears, eyes, mouth, and hands), as well as, those the speaker cannot see (i.e. the brain and heart).  Basically, you are teaching your child how to focus themselves on what you want them to do.  I can easily incorporate whole body listening by asking my children to “Give Me 5.”  This teaches them what I expect from them to show they are actively listening.  This way, they’re not distracted, they can hear the words I say, AND actually comprehend the direction given.
 

Once they learn how to listen, they need to practice!  You want them to develop this skill well enough for it to become second nature.  My favorite way to do this, is through games.  We’ve all played Telephone before.  That’s a great way to start.  Another idea is to play the “Tell Me What I Said Game,” (directions: http://mosswoodconnections.com/activities/new-auditory-processing-activities/tell-me-what-i-said/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes)

Make it fun for them!  All kids love games!

 

Then Teach them HOW to OBEY!

Once children fully grasp how to listen, they need to be trained to obey. If your children do not come to you when you say to come, they aren’t fully obedient. Think about this, if you tell your child to come to you at home and they don’t, no biggie, right?  WRONG!  If you don’t train them to obey while you’re in the home, what will happen when you’re in a parking lot, or in front of a car, but they run the opposite direction? That’s a scenario that no one wants to be in.  So what’s the solution?  Training! Kids love fun and games.  So we train them to obey with fun and games! 

 

The most successful way I’ve seen this accomplished, is what I affectionately refer to as, “Puppy Training.”  Everyone knows you train a new puppy to obey with simple commands such as: sit, stay, and come.  Not everyone knows that this works well for little human babies too! Teach your child to obey your command by standing a few feet away, and telling them to come to you.  When the child obeys, make a huge deal by lavishing them with praise.  Repeat a few times and then back farther away.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat…. As many times/days/weeks as it takes.  If your child learns, but then starts to forget, train them again!  The ultimate goal is that your child should come to you whenever you call to them without any questions or hesitations.

 
Here is a link to other games that work well for teaching obedience.https://www.triumphantlearning.com/teach-child-obey-games/
 
The biggest issue with my children’s obedience is when I have adult company over.  They want to join in on the conversation so badly they can’t stand it!  Someone once gave me some advice on how to handle that (obviously she could see I needed help!) and it has worked wonders for me!  Teach your child that while you’re speaking to another adult, and they need your attention, they should place their hand on your arm.  You will acknowledge them by placing your hand on top of theirs so they know you recognize their need.  When you get to a stopping place in your conversation, acknowledge their turn by asking, “What did you need to say?”  After practicing this a few times, my children got the hang of it!  Of course, we still need reminders every now and then, but their interrupting has gotten so much better!
 
Like I said, I can’t promise that your children will become perfect little angels, but I can promise you that these training tools have worked wonders for my little ones!


4 Ways to Honor Your Mom by Pastor Raymond Wicks

This Sunday we will give recognition to some of the most special people in our lives, our mothers.  My heart is filled with wonderful thoughts and memories of my mother; she passed away almost seven years ago.  The Bible clearly teaches us to honor our parents.  Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”  As we approach Mother’s Day, here are a few practical tips to help us honor our moms.
 

1. Brag on her.

Your mom does something better than anyone else you know.  What is it?  For example, my mom made the best pineapple sauce for ham and pork chops!  My wife got the recipe and has now passed it on to our children.  Every time we use that recipe, memories flood back to those special meals with Mom.  Let others know about your mother’s amazing chocolate chip cookies or her sweet comforting smile or her incredibly soft hands.  Maybe she is the most faithful, hard-working person you know.  Maybe her selfless deeds for others should be recognized.  Take a few moments right now and think about ways you can brag on your mom. Give her some well-deserved accolades.
 

2. Listen to her.

Early on I realized that there are only a few people that genuinely love us and have our success in mind.  For many, that person is called “Mom.”  With that in mind she certainly deserves our attention when she tries to teach us, correct us, or guide us.  Don’t be too cool to listen to your mother. 
 
In Proverbs 1:8 the Bible says “hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”  Proverbs 15:20 continues “a foolish man despiseth his mother.” 
Listen to her.  She is trying to help you.  She probably has your best interest at stake. 
 

3. Stay out of trouble.

Proverbs 10:1 says “a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”  Even as a young boy, I remember wanting to please my mom.  I wanted her to be happy with my decisions and my life.  One of the reasons I hired our current youth pastor is because he had a reputation of wanting to please his mother, even as a teen.  Spare your mother from a lot of heartaches and embarrassment by simply doing right. 
 

4. Be a success.

Give your mom a son or daughter she can be proud of.  Make her child-rearing efforts worthwhile.  My mom is now gone from this life, but she can look down from Heaven and see four successful children who owe a great amount of honor to a wonderful lady we called “Mom.”  She deserves honor. 
 
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!


REAL HOPE Because Jesus Lives !

 

REAL HOPE.  Everyone needs it.  Everyone longs for it.  Young or old, rich or poor, new Christian or seasoned saint, there is no one who doesn’t find himself yearning for REAL HOPE.  We need hope because of our own sin and because of the sin of others. We need hope because of the effects of sin on this old sin-cursed broken world. We need hope because of sickness, pain, death and evil. We long for REAL HOPE, not just a fantasy of some positive future or pie in the sky by and by,” but REAL HOPE anchored in the solid foundation of God’s eternal Scripture.

 

The good news is that there truly is REAL HOPE  found in the Bible.  Hope abounds for the true child of God who has a REAL relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Here are five reasons for REAL HOPE; each one is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ including his death, burial, and resurrection.

 

  1. REAL HOPE abounds for the Christian because of Jesus’ perfect shed blood, His death and His bodily resurrection. Jesus died and shed his sinless blood so that He could be the substitute for us. Christ took the wrath of God His Father upon Himself so that we could be forgiven. Because of this sacrifice, God promised restoration, cleansing, forgiveness, and mercy.  Of course, Christians are already declared totally righteous for all eternity, but those of us who are believers still need God’s forgiveness throughout this life. Our failures, accidental or purposeful, hinder our walk with God, and we need restoration, just as we do in earthly relationships when failure breaks our fellowship with the Lord.  1 John 1:7-9 reminds us that “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” John goes on to declare that if we try to hide or deny our failures, we are liars; but, if we confess our sin to Him, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sin, bringing about greater holiness and restoration. We have REAL HOPE for forgiveness.

 

  1. REAL HOPE abounds for the Christian because of His power. Ephesians 3:20 declares that we should thank and praise God because He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” God has promised His power to help us live a godly life. Even when we feel totally defeated and discouraged, His power is greater and can do far above what we feel can be accomplished in and through us. In addition, 2 Peter 1:3 reminds us that God’s power is given to us so that we have everything we need to overcome failure and live a godly life. Yes, we fail, but God’s power never allows us to live consistently in a state of sinful failure. His power saves us from a life of failure! We have REAL HOPE for a life free from being a slave to our sinful desires and failures.

 

  1. REAL HOPE abounds because we have victory over death and have Heaven as our future home. Paul says in 1 Thess. 4:13-18, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Heaven is not a myth. It is a REAL place, and we will enjoy it together as Christians. What a hope!

 

  1. REAL HOPE abounds for the Christian because of His plan. Romans 8:28-31 is encouraging, because God states that “all things work together for good” (even when they don’t always appear to be good) to cause us to be more like Christ.  Life is like a giant puzzle with infinite pieces, each of which is needed, and all of which come together to accomplish God’s plan. Some of those pieces even include pain, sickness, and failures.  God, although never responsible for our failures, mercifully allows them to strengthen us for the future and to make us more conformed to the image of His Son. The book of Romans also reminds us that when sin increases and failure happens, grace always increases and can overcome our failures (Romans 5:20). Although we face pain, death, evil and our own failures in this life, we have REAL HOPE.  This REAL HOPE in the face of trouble causes us to reach the same conclusion as the divinely inspired Apostle Paul. Writing in Romans 8:31-33, he states, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.” If all that weren’t enough encouragement in the face of failure, we can also rely on this promise of God in Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” No, God is not ever going to leave His children helpless or at the mercy of Satan in this evil fallen world.  He is on our side.  REAL HOPE!

 

  1. REAL HOPE abounds for the Christian because of His presence. Hebrews 13:5 gives us yet another hopeful promise for our life: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Often in the difficulties of life or when we sin, we feel that God is angry and frustrated with us, and we may even feel forsaken or deserted by God.  On the contrary, like the father in the story told by Jesus of the prodigal son in Luke 11:15-32, God eagerly awaits to forgive and restore us. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

 

The person of Jesus Christ, his death, burial and resurrection provide REAL HOPE for this life and our future.  Are you a REAL CHRISTIAN with REAL HOPE?  If we can be of help to you in your relationship with God, we invite you to contact us.  If you are looking for a REAL HOPE, consider joining us for a service soon. 

In our services, we pray you will come to know the hope found through Jesus Christ and His words to us in the Bible.

 
 
 
 
 


4 Things to Look for in a Church

As we seek to be real Christians serving a real God and having real influence for him in our lives, it is imperative that we be part of a local church. Some do not have a church to call home. Some may be dissatisfied with their current church or feel it is slipping from a true doctrinal position. Others may be new to the area or be a new Christian.  Pastor Wicks wrote this simple guide that we hope anyone looking for a church will find helpful.
 
Here is his article. 

A great faith community can be a huge blessing and God certainly wants each believer to have an active part in a Bible-believing church.  If you are not yet a believer, a good church can help guide you to personal faith in Christ.

Churches have been called the house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, and the active body of Christ.  A local church should be very important for each follower of Jesus. There is something missing when we don’t have a faith community.  When we find the right church, we may discover lifelong friends; and hopefully, as a believer, we will grow and serve. 

There is no perfect church, but there is a perfect church for each of us. Pray about it; learn what you can from church websites; and then visit the prospective churches several times before making a final decision. Here are 4 things to look for in a church:

  1. Solid biblical doctrine (clear basic Bible truths)

Church doctrinal beliefs can usually be reviewed on most church websites.  Find out their teaching on key doctrinal issues such as creation, the redemption of man (salvation through Jesus vs any of man’s works), baptism (after salvation by immersion), and the authority of the Scripture (an inspired and preserved Bible).  We may not always be able to discern all doctrinal issues at our spiritual stage, but we can “try the spirits” to see if a particular ministry seems to be in tune with God (1 John 4:1). 

  1. Desire for influence

Does the church desire to have an impact on their community and world?  Do they want to see people come to know the Lord and grow spiritually?  Is the church concerned about the spiritual and physical needs around them?  What kind of outreach programs do they have?  What do they do for world missions?  Each church may have different ministries for influence, but these questions can help you to discern the desire the church has to influence.  It may also be apparent when you make a personal visit.  How friendly and open are they to you?  What did they do for follow-up on your visit?  If someone in that church is not personally interested in you, they may not be very mission-minded to others either. 

  1. A godly leadership team

Look for spiritual leaders who will help take you where you want to go.  Try to discern if they are balanced, spirit-filled, and spiritually strong leaders.  Look for church leaders that know the Bible and are solid on what they believe.  Spiritual leaders should portray good people skills.  Try to perceive their reputation including what kind of people they personally attract.  Every good church has a broad range of types of people, but keep in mind you probably want to avoid a lot of “weirdness” or “quirkiness.”  Look for healthy relationships among church leaders and members.  Evaluate the leaders’ individual families for strong husband/wife relationships and well-behaved children and teens.  Spiritually healthy leaders can help you grow as a believer. Keep your standard high for those you allow to influence you and your family.   

  1. A church that you need (as opposed to one that just needs you)

Often small struggling churches will “need” people like you.  Most churches start small as ours did, so I understand how much small churches need people.  However, some churches will stay small no matter if you join them or not. You should plan to be involved in your new church, but you joining a church should not be the “fix” they have been waiting for.  What about your personal growth?  Is this church going to be a great fit for your family?  No matter what the church size, when you find the right church, plan on getting involved using the gifts God has given you.   Your new church and, more importantly, the Lord will want you to be as involved as possible.

Allow your family to be included in this process.  Have each person pray about God’s leading in this matter.  Listen to those in your family that will be affected by this decision.

In some cases, there is a diminishing commitment to the local church.  Others understand the value it brings to individuals and the world.  Let’s follow God’s plan of assembling and serving Him until we see Jesus return!
 
 
Are you looking for a church?  Please consider joining us for a service soon. Here is what you can expect and more. 
 


A Biblical Strategy for Being Real

Our theme as a church this year is “Real.” However, it is more than a theme, it is a goal. Since the church is made up of individual Christians, in order to reach this lofty goal as a church, we must endeavor by God’s grace to be real Christians serving a real God and having real influence for the Lord. 
 
With this in mind, we know that we must have a plan to reach that goal.  We believe this plan or roadmap will help individuals become more authentic and genuine in their walk with God thus helping our church do the same.  
 
We hope you will consider the Roadmap below.  We encourage you to prayerfully and with dependence on God’s grace implement it in your life.
“Real” Roadmap
 
Purpose—To exalt our real God, exhort us to be real Christians, and emphasize real influence
 

Things we must always do:

  1. Always desire spiritual growth — We will seek and strive for the fruits and attributes of a true believer. We must have a  desire to continue to grow.  We have not arrived. 

 

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
 
1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Real Christians should want to grow—we will grow by the Bible.

2. Always value God’s truth and let His truth influence me above other opinions or desires.

3.Always allow real Christianity to be natural in my life– Strive to be an authentic and genuine Christian in my speech, prayer, actions, and attitudes.

4. Always love and fear God–Desire to keep my heart in a right relationship with God.

Pr 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

Mt 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
 
5. Always be honest and transparent and promote transparency.

–Be honest with God, myself, and others.

Acts 6:3 “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”

2 Cor.4:1-2 “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

Lu 8:15-17 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.  For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.”

Things we must never do:
 
  1. Never neglect my personal walk with God.

What does that look like?  Just reading the Bible?  That is the beginning—understanding it –prayer with it – meditate on it – apply it to my life. 

This also includes faithfulness to church for the preaching and fellowship.
 
  1. Never falsely represent myself or put on a facade –Never be a hypocrite. Never act different in my public versus private life. Never portray something that I’m not.

Lu 6:42  Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

Lu 13:15  The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

  1. Never let man have more authority in my life than God

 4. Never view myself differently than God and the Bible see me — Never believe I am better or worse than reality. Pride works both ways. Check out this article on Pride’s Disguises for more on this tricky sin.  It is basically thinking too much about ourselves.  It is easy prey to fall into at any age—especially young –millennials.

  1. Never lie or oversell

Joh 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Ro 9:1  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Resources: These are resources given to me by God’s grace that I must use.
 
  1. Helpers — The Holy Spirit, our conscience, other real believers, healthy relationships, people in our homes, connection groups at church, Sunday School, people in our other regular gatherings. 
  2. Bible, preaching, teaching, and prayer—Examples are teaching on defending and spreading our faith, training on outreach/soulwinning etc. This can be found at church.
  3. Devotionals, books, or journals— Consider keeping a prayer journal, devotionals on spiritual growth, and other good spiritual books which are Bible based. Ask us for help if you don’t know where to find these resources. 
  4. Evangelistic events and personal soulwinning
  5. Change/risk —Be open to new biblical variety in church and ministry. Get out of the same old routine, stretch yourself because in doing so, we grow.

Tasks: These are tasks that we must actively accomplish in order to succeed

  1. Prioritize a strategy to grow spiritually— Options are a Bible reading program, (there are many smartphone apps for this purpose) working through this Roadmap, getting involved in outreach times and activities.
  2. Determine how to connect best with other real Christians--Perhaps going to a class or getting involved in a small group Bible study, attending prayer meetings, lunch Bible study meetings, and more as schedules allow.
  3. Find a discipleship or accountability partner –Local or not, find someone who you can trust and talk to about your spiritual struggles.  Find someone who will ask you the hard questions and help you change and grow in your walk with God.
  4. Find ways to meditate on Scripture after reading or hearing it.
  5. Take ownership of some area that promotes the cause of Christ—Examples are evangelism –serving in a ministry —visiting the sick or shut-ins—praying for missions. What are you doing?? 

Constraints: These are known hindrances to our success that we must prepare for and overcome by God’s grace and wisdom.

  1. Hard to change any norm— It is hard exchanging traditional hypocritcal living with being authentic and real. It is hard to see the need to make any changes, We will struggle with complacency/satisfaction — “I am who I am”
  2. Symbols or rigid programs –ex. formal attire (looking good doesn’t make us better), —We must allow growth to take place over time. We can’t be over demanding on others. We must afford Christian liberty as needed.
  3. Fear of man–People-pleasing and fear of living a holy life in front of others.
  4. Enemies –Satan, other fake people etc.
  1. Our Self— Pride, lack of desire or effort to grow, fear/insecurities, trying to protect an image, pretending to know everything, wanting to look good instead of being good, 
How about you? Will you join us on our quest to be real Christians serving a real God and having real influence for him?  Follow this Roadmap and watch with excitement and God changes your life.  
 
If you do not have a church that challenges you to grow in grace or provides teaching and preaching that challenges and encourages you to be more like Christ, please consider joining us for a service soon. Here is what you can expect when you visit. 
 
 
 
 


Sermons on Our Real Theme

This resource provides a video sermon playlist featuring sermons on our theme for this year.
We hope you will click to watch the services and sermons and share with friends. We hope to update these each month during the year as Pastor continues this series.
Sermons yet to come on our theme:
 
Real Spirituality
Real Godly Wisdom
Real Generosity
Real Prayer
Real Bible
Real Evangelism
 
If you do not have a Bible believing and preaching church, please don’t just watch online, come join us for a service.  Here is what to expect. 
 
 


Billy Graham, 1918-2018: Two Questions to Consider as You Hear the News

As in the case of Isaiah, recorded in Isaiah 6, the death of a leader can certainly be used by God to cause those of us still living to stop, breathe deeply and consider our own lives.

 

Billy Graham has died.  He lived 99 years on this earth.  While none of us may fully agree on every point regarding his ministry, there is little disagreement with the fact that he was an international public figure that caused millions of people to consider their relationship with God.  He was used by God to be a royal ambassador for God to this world.

 

As we read the news stories and see his biography played out in media in the coming days, may God use this to cause us to consider two main questions in our lives regarding the Gospel.

 

  1. Have I Accepted the Gospel for Myself:

 

Are You Ready to Die When Your Time Comes?

First, do you have a real and vital relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Have you repented of your sin, come to God for forgiveness based on the death, burial and resurrection Jesus? Have you called on the Lord Jesus Christ and invited him to come into your life and change you for eternity?  If you have been considering starting a relationship with God and want to learn more, we invite you to contact us here today.  Just let us know you have questions about a relationship with God.  If you aren’t ready for a conversation just yet, click here to read a short explanation that will help you understand the Gospel better. Stay in touch if we can help.

 

For those who have a real and consistent relationship with God, may the death of Billy Graham be used to inspire us to consider our personal responsibility to share the Gospel and make disciples of all nations.  The news articles talk about how Billy Graham used all the new technology of the 20th century to spread God’s word.  What are we doing with the powerful free tools of social media? How can we personally spread the Gospel more effectively and be a royal ambassador for Christ?

 

  1. As a Christian, How Are You Doing With Your Responsibility As an Ambassador for Jesus and His Gospel Message?

 

How often do you think of yourself as a representative of King Jesus? How much of your life is spent on the mission that he has given to you?

Throughout the Bible we see many powerful metaphors to help us understand what it means to be the a Christian, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. One of the best and most unsung metaphors is that the church is the  embassy of Christ and we, like Billy Graham are royal ambassadors. ( 2 Corinthians 5 )

Consider, an embassy is a body of persons entrusted with a mission to a foreign government, especially an ambassador and his or her staff. and/or a body of diplomatic representatives

And an ambassador is: An authorized messenger or representative and/or a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative

So, what exactly does that mean for us to be an ambassador of Christ and his Gospel?

Who and what do we represent? Where is our “homeland”? How long are we on this mission? How are we supposed to go about it?

 

  1. We represent a King and a kingdom

As Christians, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ and his kingdom. We should look different, act different, speak different, and live different than the culture in which we live. We should be representing Christ’s character, his love, his commands, and his purposes to the world around us. We have been sent to the foreign land of this world in order to represent our King and our kingdom’s interests. The problem is that most of us look just like everyone else. We spend our money the same way, we dress the same way, we talk the same way. But that isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Just like you can tell when someone isn’t a native to where you live, the world should be able to look at Christians and say, “That person clearly isn’t from here. Where are they from?” Would people say that of you?

  1. We have the King’s authority

Jesus sent his disciples out with his own power and authority in Luke 9. He has given the church the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16) and told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against us and that it is through us that the “manifold wisdom of God” becomes known (Ephesians 2). He has gifted us with his Spirit so that we might possess his power and authority. He has not sent us out on this mission empty handed, for he has given us his very own authority.

  1. We have the King’s protection

We have been granted asylum as refugees. We fled from our former lives of slavery to sin and to the kingdom of God where we were granted access because of Jesus’ love and sacrifice on the cross. We have been given protection through our citizenship. Though we may be afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, we will never be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, destroyed, or totally overcome. As citizens of heaven, no matter what happens in this life, we have been given the promise that God is with us and our citizenship is secure.

  1. We are on temporary assignment

Like Billy Graham, we are resident representatives, but only for a while. This foreign land is not our home, for our true homeland is the city that God is preparing for us while we are away on the mission. We are always waiting and longing for the return of our King and our entry into the completed kingdom of God. Because this is true, we shouldn’t get too comfortable in this life because we won’t be here for long. If you were going on vacation, you would pack light. In the same way, we should “pack light” in this life and instead store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. This treasure is accumulated through obedience to Christ’s mission and message.

5. We have the King’s mission and message

In Matthew 28 and Mark 16 Jesus commissioned his disciples and believers everywhere of all time for a specific task – to go, baptize, teach, and declare the message of reconciliation to the world. Our mission is to declare the gospel message to the foreign land around us so that they too might become citizens of the kingdom. God has entrusted to us, as stewards, the treasure of the gospel that we are to share with the world. We are to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness, drawing people toward Christ.
 
 
So, as you watch the news and consider Billy Graham’s life, perhaps you will ponder your own short time on this earth. Do you have a real relationship with God yourself?  Where will you go when your death day comes? If you do have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, what does it mean to you to be an ambassador for Christ? How often do you embrace your role as an ambassador? Do you think you and your church do a good job of representing Christ and his kingdom to the world?
 
If you don’t have a church home or a church that challenges and helps you grow in your relationship with God, please consider visiting with us soon. 
 
Here is more from our church you may find helpful.
 
 


How to Pray After the Tragic School Shooting

 

Often during times of heart-rending events that involve mass casualties and national grief, our leaders will say that “our thoughts and prayers are with those who were touched by the tragedy.” Perhaps you are wondering how to pray.  You can pray for the people touched by this terrible school shooting in Florida based on the following ideas presented in Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3

If you are wondering how God could let something like this happen, click the link at the bottom to see our article that was posted after the church shooting in Texas.

In the meantime, when thinking of the families and friends of those dear people in Florida, pray:

  • That our nation would, as Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3, remember the true God of the Bible and have hope. Lamentations 3:21
  • That the people would be comforted in the Lord because his compassions fail not and his mercies are new every day. Lamentations 3:22-23
  • That the Lord would guide people into hope through quietness and solitude where they can reflect on their own relationship with Jesus Christ. That they will find both present and eternal hope in Him. Lamentations 3:25-33
  • That our government leaders and especially our churches would not be ashamed of standing on true moral, Biblical truth and righteousness as they continue to fight this battle against evil in our land. That we all would have discernment regarding what is truly evil and what is truly good and what leads men to commit such atrocities. Psalms. 25:2
  • That evil and those who commit evil acts would not triumph over good by defeating courage or our trust in the one true God. That anger, hate and bitterness would not prevail. Psalms 25:2
  • That those who continue to transgress without cause, taking innocent lives would be in disarray, in conflict with one another and ultimately exposed and defeated. Psalms 25:3
  • That our government leaders, law enforcement and protection forces would have wisdom and insight. That they would seek God in their efforts to destroy evil and that God would direct their paths and protect them. Psalms 25:4
  • That rather than turning against the true God of the Bible in anger or discouragement, the people effected and our nations in general would turn to God. That we all would trust his mercy, his loving kindness and goodness to those who follow him. Psalms 25:5
 
Take some time to read through Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3 and let these passages help guide you as you seek to pray for those who are suffering and hurting in unimaginable ways. Pray for America as a nation as well.  Tragedies such as this raise many deep and difficult questions about God, his love, his control and his goodness. While no human can answer all these questions, we believe the Bible has answers for the problems of evil and suffering. We would be glad to talk further with you or have you join us for a service soon. We all wrestle with these issues and we would be happy to point you to the truths we have learned in years of studying God’s word the Bible. In the meantime, take some time today to pray for these hurting people and our nation.
 


18 Bible Verses for 2018 [You’ll be Encouraged]

Concept of a man follows the right way

 
As you begin 2018, we encourage you to begin on a foundation of Biblical Truth. Here are some verses to get you started, but we challenge you to build your life like never before on the principles of God’s Word, the Bible. Read it, meditate on what it means, listen to sermons online, memorize it and more.  If you do not have a church home that preaches and teaches the Bible regularly, please consider visiting our church.  We have many options for learning the Bible and for building great God-honoring relationships.  
 
Here are the 18 verses to start 2018.  Feel free to add your own. The Bible is filled with promises from God. 
 

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

 

Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  

 

Psalms 56:3 – What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

 

Psalms 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

 

Matthew 6:25 – Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?   

 

1 Peter 5:6 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 

 

1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

 

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 

Isaiah 35:4 – Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you.

 

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

 

Exodus 14:14 – The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

 

Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

 

Psalms 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 

Matthew 6:34 – Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

 

Psalms 27:1 – The LORD [is] my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD [is] the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
 
 
Joshua 1:9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
 
Here is more from our church that you may find helpful as you start this new year…

 



Facts You May Not Know About A Charlie Brown Christmas

The most popular Christmas special of all time next to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It has been shown every year and often twice a year since 1965.  It is the only Christmas special to clearly present the true reason for Christmas and point us to God.

Here are 5 facts about the show you probably didn’t know AND

5 Truths About God that Linus’ quote from the Bible teaches us about God.

 

  1. The show was developed in less than 7 weeks on an extremely small budget.
  2. The show almost never aired. CBS executives originally didn’t like it for reasons ranging from not having a laugh track to the Biblical passage recited by Linus.
  3. The first special was commissioned by the Coca Cola Company as an exclusive advertising opportunity.
  4. The final program was finished just 10 days before the premiere.
  5. The negative view of aluminum trees presented in the show ruined the aluminum Christmas tree market. They were no longer manufactured after 1967.

 

As mentioned above, the Bible quotation has caused some controversy over the years. However, Charles Shultz, the creator, said that it had to be included since it was the true meaning of Christmas. The inclusion of the passage from Luke chapter 2 reminds us that the perfect answer to the question “Who is God?” is found in the Christmas story.  

 

Here are 5 key truths about God’s revelation of himself through Jesus’ birth and what practical significance that has for our lives.
 
  1. God wants to be known.

The entire Bible is filled with hundreds of accounts and stories of God revealing himself to people and communicating with them. Many people wrongly believe that God is distant and inactive in the world or in our lives. They believe that he is real, maybe even that he created the world and set it in motion – but that he has been “hands off” ever since (Deism). This is false. Scripture teaches us that God is actively involved both in world affairs and in our personal lives. He is both transcendent and immanent. That is, he is above and beyond all that we can comprehend and imagine, and yet he has chosen to be active among us and communicate with us and seek relationship with us. God wants to be known. He wants humanity to know him and has proved himself willing to go to extreme lengths in order for that to happen.

  1. Through Jesus, God reveals his identity

We know that God wants to be known because of the many ways that he revealed himself to his people throughout the Bible. God walked with Adam and Eve. He spoke to Noah. He called Abram to uproot his life and move to the place he had for him – and so on and so on throughout the Old Testament. He spoke through visions and dreams. He spoke to Judges and through prophets. He gave his written Law. He spoke in a still, small voice; and he spoke through thunder on Mt. Sinai. The Psalms declare that God can be known by the great things he has done in our lives and Romans even tells us that creation itself proclaims the identity of God to the world. And the list could go on for hours, but none of these, NONE of these – even if you added them all together, come even close to the fullness of God’s revealing his identity that exists in the person of Jesus Christ. God wants his identity to be known and Jesus’ is the ultimate proof of that.

  1. Through Jesus, God reveals his character.

Throughout the Gospels, we see God’s character made vividly clear in the person of Jesus. The Old Testament gives us a taste of God’s character and heart – but Jesus is the perfect and complete picture of God’s character. Sometimes it can be difficult to read through books like Leviticus and Numbers that contain chapter upon chapter of laws. But even these laws, along with the entire rest of the Bible, give us a glimpse into the character and heart of God. But Jesus himself is the ultimate revealing of God’s character. In Jesus, we find the heart of God. We find him caring for people, loving people, rebuking the hypocritical religious people, healing the sick, setting the demon possessed free of spiritual oppression, letting children come to him, bringing people back from the dead, and much more. In each teaching of Jesus and in the life of Jesus; in every story and every parable; every healing and every exorcism; we see the character of God clearly made known. As we read through the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings, we see the heart and character of God on display.

  1. Through Jesus, God reveals his purpose.

There is perhaps no clearer description of Jesus own mission and purpose in this world than we find in Luke 4:16-21 – Jesus’ mission statement:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Though many of the people of Jesus’ day thought his purpose was to set them free from Roman oppression, Jesus came to set them free from something far more powerful and far more oppressive – sin, evil, and death – an oppressor that only God could conquer and overcome. Jesus came to set humanity free from enslavement to sin once and for all. He didn’t do this just to do it. He didn’t set us free for freedom’s sake – he set us free so that we might be in relationship with him and know him and love him. In short, Jesus’ purpose in coming was to do what was necessary to set us free from sin so that we could enter into a loving relationship with him. In Jesus, God made his purpose known, not only for the world at large, but also in our individual lives. His overarching purpose was to set each person AND all of humanity free from enslavement to sin and to provide a way for his people to be in healthy and holy relationship with him. Through Jesus’ teaching and his death and resurrection, we have the perfect revelation of God’s purpose.

  1. Through Jesus, God reveals his love.  

The love that Jesus exudes throughout the Gospels is the perfect display of love. Jesus himself said that the greatest and purest form of love is to lay down one’s own life for the sake of others (John 15:13). In Jesus life and especially in his death, God’s deep and unfathomable love was perfectly revealed as he laid down his life, not just for his friends, but for his enemies – those who hated him (Romans 5:8) – and for all of humanity. Even though we were still sinners, Christ died for us so that we could be made right with him – so that we could know him and commune with him forever. He was willing to endure the punishment we deserved and die the death we should have died, simply so that we could know and love him. His birth, his life, and his death are the perfect revelation of God’s love to humanity.

Christmas is an important time for believers to reflect on these truths and their importance for their faith. Christmas reminds us in ways that few other things can, about the true identity, character, purpose, and love of God. Only in the person of Jesus can we see all these things in their full and complete form. During this Advent season, as we approach Christmas Day, there will be nothing more spiritually meaningful than to reflect on and grow in our understanding of who our God is and what he has done for us.

We hope you affirm these truths and celebrate Christmas not only as a special time of year but in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you have questions about these truths or about a relationship with Jesus Christ, please contact us here or visit us for a service.

We also have some wonderful Christmas events this month at our church. Follow the links below for more information and we hope you enjoy a very Merry Christmas.

Information on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” gathered from Wikipedia. Read more at this link.
 
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