Archive for January, 2016

CHOICES

The forecast for today (Monday) is for windy, with some snow showers. The good news? Sunshine is predicted for most of the rest of the week. I’ll be one of many who will be glad to see the sun again.
Our Sunday school lesson this week is the starting point for us today. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” What was Jesus talking about when He was comparing the narrow to the wide?
He was speaking of a choice we each must make. Narrow road or wide road. The easy way or the hard way. It is the choice between spending eternity with Him, or spending eternity separated from Him. The narrow road means there is one way to God. In John 14:6, Jesus makes this statement: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We are seeing that the narrow way is unpopular. It is called narrow minded, but the rewards at the end of this path are heaven and eternal reward.
This contrasts the popular wide, easy road that leads to destruction, and that so many people are choosing today. It offers temporary, worldly reward and satisfaction, but in the end, it leads to condemnation and an eternity in hell.
We all make choices every day. These choices range from what shall we eat or wear, what college will I attend, or to what political candidate will I support? The most important choice we make in life, I believe, is whether or not to follow Jesus Christ. You see the answer to that question is of eternal significance, whereas all the others are simply temporary.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
This is a topic I visit from time to time. It is because I believe it to be of utmost importance. Delay in making the decision to follow Christ may result in a person being too late. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation.
In His love,
Pastor Jerry
Advertisements

Who’s In Charge?

January is just over half gone. A national champion football team has been crowned, and now football fans are focused on the Super Bowl. The political races have taken on a new urgency, as we begin the count-down to the November election. Who knew there would be this much excitement this month?

Regarding the presidential race, I have mostly been observing the candidates as they jockey for position and try to convince the voters to support them. I will definitely make up my mind which one will get my vote before November rolls around.

One thing is sure; no one politician is going to solve all the problems of this country. Why? Because our problems, although politically driven in many cases, are the result of a spiritual deficit in this country. There are large numbers of people who see no reason to seek God, or to follow His commands. Many who claim to be Christians refuse to live according to God’s Word. Others seek to rewrite scripture to make it support their favorite sin, calling it a lifestyle, or claiming that God really didn’t mean what he said.

From Old Testament times, into the days when Jesus was on the earth, and continuing today, God has said that he will judge disobedience. I believe it is true for those who reject His gift of salvation, as well as those who claim to be His people and yet keep on living exactly like the rest of the world. If we continue down the path we are on as a nation, I see nothing but judgment in our future.

My reason for bringing this up is not to judge, but to give a warning. It is not too late to turn things around. God promises judgment on those who are disobedient, but in His grace and mercy, He offers salvation and the promise of eternal life to those who come to Him, confessing their sins, and asking His forgiveness.

Choose who you will vote for this November, but first choose to follow Jesus Christ. He is the answer. “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).

In His amazing love,
Pastor Jerry

Thoughts on the Lottery

Some of the big news this past week-end concerned the Power Ball jackpot. Those who know me are aware of my opposition to the lottery. Today, I want to share some reasons for Christians to avoid the lottery, from Pastor John Piper. He makes some very good points from scripture, along with other facts that you might not have considered.
First, playing the lottery can jeopardize your spiritual well-being. “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).
Next, it is a kind of embezzlement. He writes, “Managers do not gamble with their Master’s money. All you have belongs to God. All of it.” The parable of the talents says Jesus will take account of how we handled His money. (Matthew 25:14-30).
The system is built on the necessity of most people losing. “Much like the casinos the ‘house’ controls the action; the players will all eventually lose.”
It preys on the poor. People with annual take-home incomes of $13,000 or less spend 9 percent or their income on lottery tickets each year according to a report from one consumer organization
There is a better way to invest your money. “If the $500 a year that that on average all American households throw away on the lottery were invested in an index fund or 20 years, each family would have $24,000. Not maybe. Really.”
A government that promotes and sponsors the lottery is preying on the citizens it is supposed to protect.
One more point from Pastor John: He says if you should happen to get rich from playing the lottery, don’t bring your winnings to his ministry, because; “Christ does not build His church on the backs of the poor. Pray that Christ’s people will be so satisfied in Him that they will be freed from the greed that makes us crave to get rich.” Something to think about.
Seeking His will,
Pastor Jerry

A Turning Point

Dear friends,
Are you excited about the New Year? To me, it is good to think of a new year as an opportunity to make some course corrections, and to reevaluate where I am headed. However, I think at this point I am more motivated by the thought that spring is coming. I’m just not dealing with the cold this winter, and yes, I know this hasn’t been a particularly hard winter.
In our Sunday school lesson this week, it was suggested that an encounter with Jesus Christ is a turning point; a new beginning. When a person becomes a Christian, he or she has a change in priorities. In fact, a true conversion experience creates change.
In the passage of scripture known as the Beatitudes, Jesus clearly identified the characteristics He expects His followers to exhibit. They are not options; they are Jesus’ expectations for all His followers.
There are eight of these characteristics, and they are found in Matthew 5:1-16.
The poor in spirit: True happiness comes when we realize we are spiritually bankrupt and must rely on God’s strength. Those who mourn: refers to those who have true sorrow for our sins, which leads to repentance. The gentle: This implies humility and trust in God rather than a self-centered attitude. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: Those who yearn for true justice, personal righteousness, and salvation.
The merciful: The word merciful implies generosity, compassion, and forgiveness. It is second nature for those who have experienced God’s mercy to show the same mercy to others. The pure in heart: Purity of heart is single-minded devotion to God. The pure will see God and experience intimate fellowship with Him. The peacemakers: Peace describes a state of wholeness and completeness in our relationship with God and all others. Those who seek to make peace do the work of God and will be called sons of God.
Finally, the persecuted: It is an inevitable fact of life that true followers of Christ will be persecuted. Those who are persecuted because they serve Christ can rejoice, because their reward is great in heaven.
Those who possess a genuine Christian character are going to make a difference in the world. As salt, which both flavors and preserves, and as lights shining from a hilltop, they will have an impact on the culture in which they live.
Blessings,
Pastor Jerry