Month: March 2016

Our focus 

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We take prayer and the Gospel very seriously  

   

Having fun 

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A normal week here at GFL youth group 

Rejoice in the Groom, not the best man

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John 3

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

John the Baptist understood his position.  He understood that his fame was going to be replaced by Jesus Christ.  He understood that all that he did was to prepare the people for the Christ.  So when Christ came and the people told John that Jesus was increasing in popularity, John was OK with this.  They expected John to defend himself and to proclaim to the people his greatness.  They did not expect what John told them.

In vs 27 we read that John told them that all he had came to him from God.  John knew who he was and who he came to testify of.  In vs 28 John makes it clear that he was not the Christ but came to bear witness; as an announcer announces the famous speaker and we forget the announcer, so John came to announce Jesus and John was OK with his job.  When we do a job for Christ and no one remembers us are we OK with that?  Do we want some of the credit when people’s lives are changed because we think we did something to help God make the change?  Are we OK with being a nameless announcer preparing the way for the Savior in people’s hearts?

John then gives an example of the best man at a wedding.  Do people come to see the best man?  During the wedding is the best man jealous that his friend, the groom, is getting the bride and lights?  Of course not and if the best man felt this way we would all say that he was out of place.  John knew his place was beside Jesus exalting and rejoicing in Him.  In that position John’s joy and ours too, was fulfilled.  When Christ is exalted we all rejoice.  He must increase but we must decrease.  Rejoice in the work of Christ and be thankful when we are able to stand next to Him exalting Him.  We will not steal His lime-light and we must be OK with being second.

Tonight at 7:00 will be our prayer time followed by our Bible study time.  Kids4Truth begins at 7:00 and is a great time for our children to get grounded in the Word of God.  Youth group starts at 7:00 and is vital for our teens as they gather to have fun, prayer, and Bible instruction.  See you then.

Friday night will be a time of reflection on the Cross of Christ.  The death of Christ has been called the “Darkest night in history” and we will, from Isaiah 53, examine the work of God that took place on the Cross.  We will also be exalting Christ in song.

Saturday’s prayer event, from 12:30-4:30 will be a time focusing on the responsibility of the church to be the light of Christ.  Join us for the whole time or for any part of the time that you can come. 

Have a great day in the Lord

PS

Love the Light!

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John 3

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

It is a bit ironic that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and Jesus closes the conversation with a teaching on light and darkness. Nicodemus came to the Light of the world. He was not aware of who Jesus was in His fullness so Jesus taught him a lesson he would never forget. Nicodemus came to the Light but he came in the darkness obscuring his deeds before the other Pharisees. Jesus tells him that when he is willing to come to Christ as his Light, Nicodemus will no longer be ashamed of the Savior. This came true in Nicodemus’ life at the death of Christ when Joseph of Aramthea and Nicodemus took Jesus off of the cross and beg to have His body given to them for a proper burial. Finally, Nicodemus did not care what the others thought; he was going to do right by Jesus. (John 19:38-42)

Why do men love darkness? Why is so much of sin done in the night? Why are places of sin dimly lit? Men don’t want their evil deeds broadcasted but they want them hidden. Therefore, men love darkness as the best place of their operation.

But, when we do works for God we want the lights on, we want the deed exposed, we want God glorified through our works. No longer are we lovers of darkness but we are now lovers of light. Our Lord is the Light of the world and we are in Him and He is in us. His glow surrounds all that we desire and do. There is no glory in the hidden things of darkness, the things of which we were ashamed. There is great glory in living in Christ’s light and letting our deeds for Him be known.

Love the Light!

I am off to Sunrise Assisted Living in a few minutes for a service there. Please pray for that service. Last week I was wondering if I should continue this service until some of the people in the service let me know just how much they appreciated my coming and bringing God’s word to them. It was God’s confirmation to me.

This afternoon is my library study time and I am looking forward to more time in Isaiah 53. Read this everyday this week with me. Prepare your heart and mind to learn all that God can teach you from it. Friday night and Sunday morning will be special to all of us who prepare our hearts and minds from this great text.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Who is responsible for salvation and who is responsible for condemnation?

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John 3

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

What primary actions do you see God doing in these verses?

  1. Loving mankind
  2. Granting eternal life
  3. Sending His Son

What primary actions do you see men doing?

  1. Believing
  2. Not believing
  3. Loving darkness

When people have a wrong view of God they will develop a wrong view of their own responsibility toward God.  Then from that wrong view sinful mankind will blame God for condemning them.  I have heard this often.  People ask, “Why does God send people to hell?”  “Why does a good and loving God condemn people forever?”  As we carefully examine the scriptures where salvation is taught, we find God loving mankind, granting eternal life to all who believe and reminding them that He sent His Son to provide their salvation.  What a great and good God He is to demonstrate His love so fully and to offer it so freely.

In return to God’s love, men often don’t believe because they love the darkness of their sin and don’t really want to believe to the change of their lives.  They know the options but love their sin to the rejection of God’s offer.  This passage tells us that men are condemned because they do not believe in Christ.  At this level, who is responsible for those who go to hell?  Is God responsible for this or does the responsibility lay in the rejection of those who refuse God’s offer?

A careful reading of Christ’s teaching here shows us clearly that men and women are responsible to God and to God alone for their acceptance or rejection of His offer of eternal life.  God has clearly provided a wonderful alternative to a life filled with sin and an eternity of paying for that sin.  Jesus paid the price and offers us full forgiveness and eternal life.  No, God does not send mankind to hell for their sin, their rejection of God’s offer is their condemnation.  Pray with me today for those who need to be saved to come clearly to the Savior to find eternal life in Him.

Yesterday was a great day for our church.  We enjoyed the music as we lifted up our hearts and hands to the Savior.  We enjoyed our fellowship with one another.  We enjoyed the church family as we planned for the future events including Good Friday service an Saturday prayer time.  I brought the first in s series of three messages from Isaiah 53 on Christ who is the only key that fits all of the tumblers of this great chapter.  I am still rejoicing in this great teaching.

This morning there is a ladies Bible study led by Sandy Petrelle at 9:00.  If you are free do join them.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Encouraging One Another to Christlikness, Ephesians 4:1-7 By Ben Schroeder

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Each member of a church has a Christ given ability and responsibility to equip one another in Christlikeness. As each member faithfully uses their Christ given spiritual gifts the entire church grows and becomes more like Christ . The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ is attained through a properly functioning church body.

 

The clearest call to salvation

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John 3

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

The clarity of this teaching by Jesus, lets all people of all time know that the only way of salvation is through Him.  Jesus could not have made it any clearer than this.  He references Numbers 21:19 for clarity.  The people of Israel had rebelled against God and complained against Him so much that God sent poisonous snakes into their encampment to bite and kill the people.  As the people were suffering and dying Moses interceded and God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it on a pole.  He then promised Moses that all who looked on the bronze snake would live.  That look would have been a look of faith.  I am certain that there were those in the camp who refused to look at the bronze snake thinking it just wouldn’t work. But all who looked with faith upon that snake were healed of their snake bite.

Jesus used this illustration to prophesy His being lifted up on the cross.  One day, all who looked to Him with the look of faith, would live.  We have been bitten by the snake of sin, just as Eve was, and the bite is deadly.  We are going to die in our sin unless we look to Jesus for life.  When we do look to Jesus for life we gain eternal life.

Why does God do this? Because He so much loves us that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him will not, will not, perish, that is, they will not die in their sin, but will have eternal, everlasting life.  With all of this love and salvation on display why won’t more people look to Jesus and live?  Pray with me for more people this year in our community to look to Jesus and live.

What did God do? God sent His Son to give us life.  He did not send Jesus to condemn us, our sin does that, but God send Jesus to give us life.  God wants us to be saved from our sin, to rise from that snake bite of sin and to live in Him both here and forever.  If you have never looked to Jesus with the look of faith to save you from the snake bite of sin, will you look to Him today and find life abundant and life eternal in Him?

Ben’s message from last Sunday will be on the church website today.  I am thankful for Ben’s competence with the Scriptures and the clarity with which he delivered this message to our church. 

If you are struggling with this election, read Psalm 2. 

A young man named Derek died of an OD this week.  He was a work friend of Ron.  Pray for his family as the funeral is tonight. 

We had a blessed time of prayer and Bible study last night.  What a thrill to gather with brothers and sisters around God’s word.  I am so thankful for our Wednesday night times. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS