Month: April 2018

A Woman who Typifies all People in Need

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Matthew 9

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Mark 5

25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

This miracle of Jesus has a special fascination to me. The woman in the story typifies every person who has tried every thing else before coming to Jesus. Mark gives us more details telling us that she suffered many things from many physicians. Here was a woman whose menstrual flow did not stop for twelve years. This made her ceremonially unclean so she could not go up to the Temple. This made her physically unclean unable to have any normal sexual relationships with her husband. Doctor after doctor took her money, all of it, putting her through different types of treatments some of which increased her suffering, but all to no avail.

 

Do you know anyone who is trying everything else they can possibly try but are not coming to Christ for help? The men and women of this generation are screaming for the meaning and purpose of life and are suffering at the hands of “professionals” who are subjecting them to all types of surgeries and treatments. Sin is excused and even defended. Pleasure is sought at all costs. Personal feelings are greater than truth itself. In the end, those seeking help are still in pain, still unfulfilled.

 

In a sane moment, this dear woman said to herself, “If can but touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, He can make me well.” So she set out on her pilgrimage to Jesus. She had to sneak through the crowds because she was unclean but that did not stop her from her trek. She got through the crowd and quietly, secretively touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. Her touch was a touch of faith and the Lord honored her faith. She knew instantly that for the first time in twelve years she was not bleeding! What peace must have flooded her body and soul.

 

But then Jesus called her out. “Oh no, everyone is going to know now.” She must have thought to herself, but she came to Jesus and He lovingly let her know that her faith had saved her and she could go in peace.   Is this not what our entire culture longs to hear? Do they not long to hear the sweet voice of Jesus telling them that they can go in peace and be healed of the affliction of their bodies and their souls?

 

My friends, we have The Message that this world needs. Instead of getting upset at the perversion of those around you, bring them to Jesus. Their souls are screaming and they are going to all of the wrong places for the help that they need. They are spending all that they have trying to find the answer and are coming up empty, depressed, and even suicidal. Just two weeks ago a mother drove her family off of a cliff. That woman did not come to Jesus and no one was able to bring her to Him. In her depression she acted so wrongly. Pray for God to open your eyes to the hurting around you. They are not far away and their greatest need is to reach out in faith to the Savior.

 

Whom are you praying for today? Bring their name to prayer meeting tonight at 7:45. Reach out to the God of heaven together with your brothers and sisters in Christ and plead with God to bring others to faith in Him.

 

My friend, Bonnie, would appreciate your prayers today. A lung infection has sapped her strength. We have a concert on Sunday and we want her to be there. Pray for God to step in and raise her up in strength from His hand.

 

We do have a concert this Sunday. It is the 30th Anniversary Concert of the Naperville Men’s Glee Club. My son, Steven, will be doing the directing. There will be many fun moments as we reflect over the past 30 years of singing together. For tickets and info just send me a message.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Yes, Jesus even called “them”

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Matthew 9

10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

 

As those saved from the depths of our sin, as Gentiles grafted into the Vine, we should treasure this section from the life of Jesus and his disciples.  Notice how specifically it describes those whom Jesus sat with.  “Many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus.”  Jesus had just called Matthew from his seat of collecting taxes and the word got out that Jesus was saving tax collectors and other sinners.  When that word got out, tax collectors and sinners came running to the Savior!  And what does it say Jesus did?  It says that Jesus “ate with them.”  He sat down and had a meal with sinners in need of hope.

 

We should rejoice over this chapter of Jesus’ life.  We should be jumping up and down for joy.  Jesus ate with sinners!  If we had been there and we had heard that Jesus was saving sinners, and if we had come, Jesus would have received us too.  Aren’t you glad we serve a saving Savior?  The Pharisees expected Jesus to act like them, to turn up his nose them like they always did.  Jesus was so counter-cultural that he did exactly opposite what those religious leaders would have done.  They were torched-angry.  What in the world is Jesus doing?  What kind of message is he giving?  Doesn’t he know who he is eating with?

 

As these Pharisees seethed, Jesus calmly turned to them and told them that he did not come to call them, those who in their minds did not need a Savior.  No, Jesus came to call those sick with sin, those sinners who knew they were lost and in need of the Great Physician.  Jesus came to save us, Hallelujah!  Jesus came to save sinners, as Paul said, “…of whom I am chief.”

 

As Jesus calls you to repentance, do you ever look next to you to see who needs that call more than you do?  We have all sat in church and wished so-and-so were here to get this message.  Every time the Word is opened, the Lord is calling us to it.  He came to call the sinners to repent. May we ever identify with the right crowd in this story and may we ever rejoice that Jesus came to save sinners; he came to save me.

 

Yesterday was my dad’s 87th birthday.  We had a nice party for him complete with kids and candles and presents.  We thank God for the continued influence my dad is able to have in this life.  

 

What a special joy the missions’ conference was this weekend!  As we heard from veteran missionaries, people who have spent 25-55 years serving the Savior, we were so blessed and so challenged to do more for the Kingdom of God.  The Kuvshininkovs, the Davis’s, Yashito, and the Massey’s were such a joy to be around.  These faithful servants of Christ are still serving.  They have a legacy and are still moving forward.  It is my prayer that God will call young people and adults from our church to serve alongside of some of these and eventually be able to continue their work.  A great big thanks to the missions committee for all of the work that they did to prepare us for a truly special weekend. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Jesus Called, Matthew Followed

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Matthew 9:9

9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

Jesus has had a public ministry. He has gained the attention of all. On this particular day Jesus waked past a tax collector named Matthew. What do we know about tax collectors? They were Jews who worked for the Romans collecting taxes from their own people to give to the Roman emperor. Because of their job, the tax collectors were disrespected by their Jewish brothers. Do you find it interesting that Jesus called someone in the margin of society? Or do you find it more interesting that Jesus knew the heart of this tax collector and called him based on who he was not on what he did?

 

We don’t know anything about Matthew before this time but we know that later, after the ascension of Jesus, Matthew wrote the first record of the birth and life and death of the Savior.   But on that day of his call, no one expected anything out of this traitor of a man who worked for the enemy as a tax collector.

 

Notice with me that when Jesus called Matthew to follow him, that Matthew did just that, “he rose and followed Him.”   Immediately we see the heart of Matthew as one who wanted to follow Christ and was ready when he was called. Matthew never went back to his profession but changed it totally to become a follower of Jesus.

 

Jesus is still calling people today to follow him. He does not call all people to leave their profession but he does call us to follow Him. What have you done with the call of Jesus in your life? Have you followed Him? Jesus did not give Matthew a contract but just called him. When Jesus calls us to follow Him we don’t get a contract from him either, we are to follow Him as Matthew did, by faith in His call.

 

A final thought from Matthew is this; Matthew changed direction to follow Christ. Every call to follow Christ is a call to change directions. Here is where people struggle with Christianity; while people want eternal life, they don’t want a changed life. Eternal life and a discipled life go hand in hand. All who receive eternal life receive the call to follow Christ with a changed life. Matthew understood this.

 

Church work can be interesting. Last week we had three teenagers show up, last night we had thirteen. Both weeks were good times of fun and Bible study. Pray for our teens. I am working through a series on the life of Joseph entitled, “Living with Pain.” Several of our teens know what pain is and live with it all the time. Pray that these lessons will give them encouragement to trust God with all parts of their lives.

Men, we have a prayer breakfast this Saturday morning and then we have our missions conference beginning Saturday night. We will be ministered to and hear reports of the Kashininkovs, the Davis’s, the Massey’s, and Yashito Kato. You won’t want to miss Saturday night or Sunday morning. Lunch Sunday will be an international dinner with people bringing food from different nationalities for us to enjoy. Be sure and bring your kids to hear these men and women as your kids need to be challenged with missions.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

“I forgive you of your sin, now get up and walk.”

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Matthew 9

1 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.

2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?

6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

7 And he arose and departed to his house.

8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.

 

The passages that tell about Jesus healing the sick are very interesting in their differences. Some of the time Jesus responds to the faith of the person, other times Jesus responds to the faith of the person bringing the sick or possessed person to him. But then there are the times like this one where Jesus responds to the person’s sickness by forgiving their sin.

 

Suppose I went to the hospital and walking into a room told the person in the bed that I have come to forgive their sin so that they could be healed. How would that be received? I have to think that those whom Jesus responded to their plea for healing with the willingness to forgive their sins had a similar, pained response.

 

Here is a man that cannot walk. He is brought to Jesus lying on his mat, unable to come on his own. He is a paralytic. Jesus says to the man, be of good cheer, or be happy about this, I am going to forgive your sins. Had the man done something sinful to become crippled? What had he done? Apparently the man knew and Jesus knew. The Pharisees, as usual, were clueless and thought Jesus out of line. But Jesus and the crippled man both knew of the sin that led to his crippling.

 

Once the man’s sins were forgiven by the Son of God, Jesus then tells the man to rise up and walk, which he does. The man, now walking, has had two miracles, his sin and guilt that caused his crippling have been removed and he has been healed physically as well. Is this not what Jesus does for us? For when we are saved from our sin we are also saved in our bodies. Issues that plagued us physically are often laid aside and we live in peace spiritually and physically with the Lord our Savior. Many physical issues are sin-related. When the sin is removed, the issues begin to go away too. “What a mighty mighty Savior You are; You have washed away my sin and have cleansed my heart within; what a mighty mighty Savior, You are.”

 

Tonight is our regular Wednesday night programs. I trust you and your children will be able to attend. We have much happening each Wednesday with groups for kids, teens, men and women throughout the building.   We pray, we sing, we play games, we learn and study the Word of God.

 

I am still rejoicing in our time on Sunday. What a great time of year it is when we can pause to remember our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection all taking place to remove the sting of death and the pain of sin. I was able to review all of this yesterday at Sunrise to our “church service” there. It was like having another Resurrection Day service. I wish you all could have been there to enjoy it again with us.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Following Jesus into the Storm

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Matthew 8

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

 

Here is an account in Jesus’ life that we are all familiar with.  It might be one the more amazing examples of the full deity of Christ in that a raging storm obeys His voice.  We should not be surprised that the Creator of heaven and earth has authority over a storm, just that no one had ever done this before.  Imagine with me for a moment the utter amazement of the disciples.  Some of them sailed daily in their trade and had faced storms before.  This storm was greater than any previous storm of their lives and they honestly thought the boat was going down.  “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

 

Christ’s waking words were a rebuke, not to the storm but to their lack of faith.  Jesus did not fear the storm, he made the weather.  Jesus knew what was going to happen next, where they were going, and that Satan was against him.  What did Jesus do in the midst of the great and fearful storm?  Yes, he was sleeping calmly in the bow of the boat unaffected by the storm and the fear of the men.

 

But I want you to notice the first phrase of verse 23.  Who got into the boat first?  Who was leading this journey?  The key point to us today is very simple, when we are following Jesus, not leading him, and when storms of life come, he is at peace and we can be at peace knowing that we are following his lead.  Are you at rest in a storm today or are you a wreck?  Are you at rest following the Savior or are you screaming at him above the storm just hoping he will hear you before you break apart and sink?

 

We have all been in this boat.  We have all feared the storm.  The unknown in the face of apparent loss puts fear in us all.  Make sure each day begins with following the Savior. Make sure each day ends following the Savior.  In every decision of life, follow the Savior.  If you don’t know what move God has for you, then don’t move.  If Jesus has led you into the boat then he will guide you through the storm.  Follow the Savior into the storm.

 

I am thankful today for a good Bible study last night.  We learned that when we increase in our understanding of God and his holiness and we increase in the knowledge of our own sin, the Cross grows larger in our view.  The opposite is also true.  It was a good lesson for each of us.

My son, Justin, is in Kenya teaching at a seminary there this week.  He started last night (our time) after a day and a half of travel without a bed.  He is teaching on the place of the church in the Scriptures, history and today. The men in the class, though pastors, have never had a class on the church.  Justin is excited to be there and to be teaching.  Pray also for Kaitlynn as she is home with the four boys in Justin’s absence.

I mentioned yesterday about the Illinois Family Institute meeting at our church this Thursday night.  For more info go to https://2mx1h817tiaq43gsho1fchch-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Jo-McGuire-invitation_combined-1.pdf and learn about the speaker and the topic, why we don’t need legalized marijuana. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS