October 6th, 2019 by Murray Markert based on Footnotes of the Living Life Bible
“How privileged we are to be able to come to this building as a body of believers and sit in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ as co heirs of His kingdom.
“What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseparable to who He is. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, He never ceased to be the eternal God Who has always existed – the Creator and Sustainer of all things and the source of Eternal Life. This is the truth about Jesus and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.” Power for Living
It is Communion time; a time to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to partake of these elements. The bread, which represents Jesus’ broken body and the wine which represents Jesus’ blood which was poured out to enable the forgiveness of sin. It is a time to come to the Lord to share your innermost thoughts and concerns. It is a time to ask Him those questions of why – “why did this happen?” – “why me?” – “why now?” and “how would You have me use the gifts You have given me?” It is time to have a conversation with the Son of God Who was present at Creation, the center of the Crucifixion and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. And it is time to give thanks to Him for His part in our lives and for paying the ultimate price – for dying on a cross and shedding His blood so we can spend eternity with Him. In our conversations with Him we may not get the answer we want. We may not be able to decipher His answer and He may not even answer at all. But one thing we must never forget is His Grace – is sufficient for all things.”
September 29th, 2019 by Allen Webber
“Eight Things About Jesus
Each of us, in our own way, can have many distractions in our lives that cause us to not focus on Jesus Christ. They can be family, occupation, world events, politics, the weather, idleness, or any number of things that pull our focus to these things and away from God. And consequently, it can be challenging to sit calmly for a few minutes in communion and put our cares aside and think of Jesus rather than us. So, I would like to give you a few things to think about for your meditations.
- Jesus is the Son of God. Luke 1:34, “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”
- Jesus gives life. In John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
- Jesus is the Good Shepherd. In John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
- Jesus gave His life. In John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
- Jesus is the only way to God. In John 14:6, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”
- Jesus is the Head of the Church. In Colossians 1:18, “Christ is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
- Jesus is faithful. In 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
- Jesus is coming again. In Acts 1:10-11, “And they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you watch Him go into heaven.”
September 22nd, 2019 by Pastor Dave Sarsons
“Carl Boberg had recently quit his work as a sailor and started working as a lay-minister in his native Sweden (he would later go on to be a newspaper editor and a member of Swedish Parliament). In 1885, he was inspired by the sound of church bells ringing during a wild thunderstorm and penned the poem “O Great God”. Although “O Great God” was published, Borberg’s nine-verse poem didn’t really catch on, and it seemed destined to be all but forgotten. However, three years later someone out there like it enough to match the words with a traditional Swedish melody, and when Boberg found out about it, he quickly published the poem once again in his own newspaper in 1891, this time with the musical notation added.
Fast forward a few decades to the 1930’s – Somehow this poem put to music had traveled across borders, and English missionary Stuart Hine heard the song (in Russian) while in Poland. Deeply moved by the song, he translated it into English, tweaked the musical arrangement, some of the wording, and took it home with him to England. In English, the song was now called “How Great Thou Art”.
On to the 1940’s – Evangelist Dr. Edwin Orr heard this new version of the song being sung by native tribal people in Assam, India, and being deeply inspired by it he brought the song back to the United States. We are still unsure how the song ever got to India to start with.
In 1954, the song found its way into the hands of George Beverly Shea, who sang it nearly 100 times during Billy Graham’s 1957 New York Crusade (16 weeks at Madison Square Gardens).
In 1959, it became the theme song for Billy Graham’s weekly radio broadcast, bringing “How Great Thou Art” into the national consciousness.
How astonishing that this song, recorded over 1,800 times in the last 50 years, had its origins as a poem in a small town in Sweden, written by a sailor, turned lay-minister, and somehow wound its way around the globe.
The question was “What good could ever come out of Nazareth?” When God came to walk with us some 2000 years ago, He changed EVERTHING FOR ETERNITY!”
Matthew 19:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
September 15th, 2019 given by Ken Hartung from “Thru the Bible” – J Vernon McGee; “Romans New Testament Commentary” – John MacArthur and “Romans High Definition Commentary” – Steven E. Runge
“38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sure – convinced – The apostle assures his readers that he was not teaching them anything about which he himself was not fully convinced. He was convinced because he had experienced most of the things mentioned and they did not separate him from Christ. You can’t hurt people like that.
Death – “death” cannot separate us – in fact, it will take us into His presence. The response of many of the early Christian martyrs when they were threatened with death was, “Thank you, you will transport me right into the presence of my Savior.”
A well know pastor Donald Grey Barnhouse told a personal story that beautifully illustrates death’s powerlessness over Christians. When his wife died, his children were still quite young, and Dr. Barnhouse wondered how he could explain their mother’s death in a way their childish minds could understand. As they drove home from the funeral, a large truck passed them and briefly cast a dark shadow over the car. Immediately the father had the illustration he was looking for, and he asked the children, “Would you rather be run over by a truck or by the shadow of a truck?” “That’s easy, Daddy,” they replied. “We would rather get run over by the shadow, because that wouldn’t hurt.” Their father then said, “Well, children, your mother just went through the shadow death, and there’s no pain there, either.”
Life – We think of life as something positive. But it is in our present earthly life that spiritual dangers lie. It is while we still have this life that we face tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword (8:35) and the many other trials that Paul could have mentioned. But because we have eternal life in Christ, the threats during our present life are empty.
Angels nor rulers – and I think he means fallen angels – “principalities and powers” are spiritual enemies, evil beings, specifically demons. Angels would not and demons could not undo God’s relationship with His redeemed ones. Paul is saying that no supernatural created being, good nor evil, an sever our relationship to Christ.
Things present and things to come represent everything we are experiencing and will yet experience.
Powers – refers to miracles or mighty deeds…or a miracle worker. It was also used figuratively of persons in positions of authority and power. Regardless of the specific meaning Paul had in mind here, powers represent another obstacle that Christians need not fear.
Height nor depth – the idea that Christ’s love secures a believer from the beginning to the end of life’s path. Or perhaps he used the terms to signify the infinity of space, which is endless in every direction. In either case, the basic meaning is that of totality.
Nor anything else in all creation – Since only God, Himself, is uncreated, everyone else and everything else is excluded.
There is nothing anywhere at any time that shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord. Our salvation was secured by God’s decree from eternity past and will be held secure by Christ’s love through all future time and throughout all eternity.
I am going to have to trust God Who was faithful enough to us to send His only Son…He will remain committed to finishing the job.”
September 8th, 2019 by Allen Webber
“Jesus Tells About the Future
In this age of mass electronic communications, we are inundated by all manner of information from all parts of the world. A generation ago and beyond, information discovery was tempered by time, distance, reduced technology, and a limit to storage capacity. But today we learn about things and occurrences at such a volume and with such speed that it boggles the mind. We can watch and keep track of these events as they occur in real time. Rather than wait for days or even weeks to read an abbreviated account in a newspaper, we can watch it unfold right before our eyes on satellite TV or cellphones.
We have been able to watch minute by minute progress of a hurricane following up the east coast of Canada. We have seen the civil unrest and riots in Hong Kong. We can watch daily the turmoil in Britain and the Brexit negotiations. It seems we hear of new strife every day in the Middle East with all the tribal countries warring over their piece of the sand box. Every country in the world is bickering over political power. Even on a more individual basis, families are being torn apart by strife and unrest. It seems everyday people are dealing with external forces that are pulling them in different directions. One can not fault another for thinking the world is coming to an end.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus was questioned about the end times.. And He had this to say, “See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My Name, saying ‘I am He!’ and mislead many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not the end yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely birth pangs. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My Name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
But Jesus offers this encouragement. “Be on guard so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
September 1st, 2019 presented by Herb Harder
“Interesting: But Does It Really Matter?
Most everyone enjoys receiving a letter; now text or email, providing its good news. How would you enjoy a letter from Jesus? In Revelation, there were some churches who received letters from Jesus albeit though His servant John. The letter I want to address today is the one in Revelation 3:14-16. I recall the interpretation of these verses as Jesus being dissatisfied with the church’s works being neither cold nor hot. The theory being that hot was good as being on fire for God; cold being clearly not acquainted with God or the accepting of His salvation and lukewarm being useless or lazy so that God would spew them out of His mouth. Lukewarm is being associated with negativity. But what if?
The history and geography of Laodicean tells us that it was situated in a place where the water supply was not usable. They, therefore, had to access water from another town called Hierapolis, which was built on a plateau with natural medicinal hot springs that were used for bathing and healing as it came out of the earth full of natural minerals. The other source came from a settlement called Colassae about 10 miles away which had a spring of cold fresh water that was excellent for drinking. Through a system of aqueducts, these sources supplied the Laodiceans with the water they needed. They had access to both hot and cold water; both very useful and necessary.
If this in fact is correct, Jesus knew this and had a gift for speaking to people in a way that they could identify with. In this case, the water in Laodicean. He wanted them to be like hot water, useful for healing and bathing, or cold water; refreshing to drink. No one seems to enjoy lukewarm water for drinking or washing, but hot or cold water were useful examples. He was asking them to be useful, profitable servants. If they are not hot nor cold, He says, He will spit them out of His mouth; a warning that God will not abide by lukewarm Christianity nor a heart that is only partially His. Interesting?
Whichever interpretation you choose to accept however, does not change the true message of the gospel. I am in fact glad that our church and pastor makes it clear that there is only one way to salvation and that is through the cross and Jesus Christ’s sacrifice made for us and that, in fact, does really matter. As John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by me.”
August 11th, 2019 given by Ken Hartung from Jon Courson’s Application Commentary
“Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Reckless Love by Cory Asbury “Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me. You have been so, so good to me. Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me, You have been so, so kind to me. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’mm found, leaves the ninety-nine. I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”
8:1a…There is therefore now no condemnation…
To the woman taken in the act of adultery, Jesus said, “Where are your accusers? Go your way and sin no more” (John 8:10,11). So too, when, in total honesty, you say to the Lord, “I know I’m a sinner, but realize You are my Savior…what You did on the Cross is sufficient to pay the price for my sin,” then you can go free. “Wait a minute”, you may protest…”what human good do I need to contribute here?” “Yes, Jesus said, ‘Go your way’, but He also said, ‘and sin no more’. I don’t believe Jesus’ tone with the woman taken in adultery was, “I’ll let you off the hook this time, lady. But if it happens again, you’ll be in big trouble.” No, I believe His tone was, “Go your way a free woman. By the Word I’m sharing with you, and the love I’m showing to you, I’m giving you liberation from your tendency to live this type of life, and freeing you to live in an entirely different lifestyle.” And I believe there was a smile on His face, not a finger in her face as He said it.
8:1b…to them which are in Christ Jesus…
That’s the key. Let’s look at Noah and the Ark for a minute. The Lord said to Noah, make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. (Genesis 6:14). The word “pitch” is the same word in the old Testament for “atonement”. Atonement means “correct mistakes”, so the ark is a perfect picture of our salvation, for when the rain began to fall, the Lord shut Noah and his family in (Genesis 7:16). He didn’t say, “I’m going to put eight pegs on the outside of the ark, Noah. You and your family are to hang on for dear life, and as long as you hang on, you’ll make it through.” No, He said, “I’m going to put you in.”
And the same is true of us. It’s not a matter of holding on, hoping that if we can keep from sinning, we’ll be okay. No, our ARK is Jesus Christ; and we are in Him. Therefore there is no condemnation. No matter how rough the seas might be or how heavy the rain comes down, we’re sealed, safe and secure. When the Father looks at you, He doesn’t see you with all your failings and shortcomings. No, He sees you robed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus (Isaiah 61:10). He doesn’t see you in your sin; He sees you in His Son. Therefore, there’s no condemnation whatsoever. Regardless of where you’ve been or how badly you’ve failed, regardless of who you are or where you are, there is no condemnation.
August 4th, 2019 given by Allen Webber
“Desires, Dependence and Devotion by Jordan Standridge
On the night before Jesus died, He instituted this communion mean. He expects us to regularly partake of it. He believes it will make a difference in our lives. The Lord’s Supper can have many effects for a believer but I would like you to consider these three today.
- The Lord’s Supper challenges your desires. Jesus gave up His life. No one took it from Him. Not only did He know He was born to die, but He knew the way He would die. But He also knew about a last supper He would eat with His disciples. He had looked forward to this meal for a very long time. Why was He so eager? Partly because this meal was a transition meal. This meal would be the final God-ordained Passover meal that the world would ever see, but it would also prove to be the first God-ordained Lord’s Supper. The disciples and their followers (this includes you and me) would go on to eat thousands of Lord’s Suppers in their lifetimes, but Jesus would not. This would the be the first and last Lord’s Supper that He would partake of before the millennial kingdom. He was looking forward to this meal in the future – a meal He will partake in with all believers. He eagerly waits for that day. Are you?
- The Lord’s Supper confirms your dependence. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper to remind us about how we are constantly in need of remembering Him and what He was about to do. We depend on Christ in our salvation. Entirely. There isn’t one ounce of spirituality that we bring to this table, we are utterly bankrupt. And Jesus, on the cross, by giving up His body and shedding His blood, completely satisfied God’s requirement and opened up the gates of heaven for anyone who believes in Him. Each time we come to the Lord’s table we are reminded of our dependence on Him in our salvation.
- The Lord’s Supper checks your devotion. The Lord’s Supper is an opportunity to examine our hearts. We are bad judges. We have a hard time discerning why other people do what they do. The main reason is simply because we cannot see people’s hearts. Consider that the disciples had no idea who would betray Jesus. The lived beside Judas for three years and yet had no idea that he wasn’t truly saved, even after Jesus had made it explicit. So, what are we suppose to do? Scripture teaches us to take the plank out of our own eye before we take the speck out of another’s eye. We are to take a serious look at our own hearts. We are to examine it to see if we are in the faith. Secondly, we are to encourage those around us to do the same. Ultimately each person is responsible for their walk with Christ. We must trail ourselves to do these self checks and the Lord’s Supper is a good place to start.”
July 21st, 2019 given by Pastor Dave
“Laying it all on the table…by Tim Plyes (Pastor Church of Christ, Tulsa, Oklahoma)
In numerous worship assemblies this Sunday morning there will be a sincere, well-meaning soul who says something to the effect of:
“Let’s completely focus our minds on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins and remove all other worldly concerns from our hearts as we share in the bread and the juice.”
“Whatever else might be going on in our lives right now with our families, our work, our finances, or our health, let’s put these things out of our minds for the next few moments as we completely center our thoughts on the cross in remembrance of Jesus.”
For most of my life, I have heard statements similar to these shared in communion thoughts before the Lord’s Supper or expressed more indirectly in the prayers that are offered prior to sharing the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine. Despite the sincerity and noble intentions of such abominations for us to our empty minds of “worldly concerns” during this memorial feast, I would like to suggest that:
1) it isn’t possible and 2) it isn’t necessary or advisable.
As to the possibility of self-induced, temporary amnesia, try this…don’t think about a banana…or your favorite sports team…or the name of your first pet. How well did you do? By merely mentioning “whatever else is going on in our lives right now”, our thoughts instantly lock on to our most pressing concern, the heaviest burden of our heart, our deepest pain, or the most recent source of our anxiety or guilt. “So, now that you’ve identified it, stop thinking about it!” Can we just instantly change channels like that? I don’t think so. But here’s the cool thing: I don’t think we have to.
Let me clarify something, lest some readers misunderstand. I completely agree that, in the solemnity and celebration of remembering the Christ Who died for us, we dare not profane the feast and dishonor the Lamb by mere mechanical participation in the Lord’s Supper. However, to suggest that our relationships, vocations, finances, and physical health are merely “secular” concerns which have “no place at the table” reinforces the erroneous notion of a compartmentalized faith in which our worship of God and our communion with Christ have nothing to do with “real life”. On the contrary, there i s no facet or aspect of my life that is to be exempt from His Lordship. “All He wants is all of me!”
So bring your troubled marriage to the table as you remember the One Who convicts and challenges us to sacrificially offer agape love to one another as husbands and wives, just as He did in laying down His life for His bride, the church. Since God has declared the crucified and resurrected Jesus to be both Lord and Christ, let’s submit to His teaching and recommit ourselves to the hard work of “becoming one’ and resolve to let nothing or no one separate what God has joined together.
Rather than seeking to temporarily ignore our burdens, doubts and struggles, and failings, let’s bring them with us to the foot of the cross. As we remember the sacrificial body and blood of the Lord Who saves us from sin, let us also lay claim to His power to redeem and restore whatever is burdening our hearts.
Let’s lay it all on the table.
July 14th, 2019 by Brian Markert
“Shari and I decided that we would like to become confident kayakers so we can enjoy the river and take others with us so they can do the same. Last year we went to the U of C outdoors program and signed up for some courses and clinics. Through those we became much better kayakers. Since then we’ve taken our boats out and have worked on our strokes and our rolls. Yesterday I signed up for a course that matched my skill level and I went out on the river with a guide and a group who were at a similar skill set as I am. I was expecting that we would be hitting some more challenging features and have a run on some pretty fun water. I was wrong. We spent the entire day in four or five different eddies.
We practiced our exits and entries in those eddies over and over again. On the exit we would have a goal of what we needed to do and we would know the theory of how to do it. We would attempt the exit and either succeed or fail then enter the bottom of the eddy and come back to the top to try again.
Was the course what I was hoping for? No. Did it make me a better kayaker than if I had gotten what I wanted? Absolutely. I still had a great time learning new skills and making new friends.
Last week to paraphrase something that Dat said that resonated with me is that God has a plan and a purpose. He will carry out that plan with or without you and if you are willing He can use you in doing so.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
So lets look at the next step. Lets assume that you want to align your life with Gods will. What does that look like? I want to share two Scriptures:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
On the river, my goal is to become a better paddler. In life, my goal is to strive for the same prize as Paul, to really know Jesus and to love and serve others to the same extent as he does. Sometimes the days in life seem as monotonous as going in and out of an eddy. But what if we were to treat those humdrum days as a practice eddy. You leave the eddy in the morning and then you come back in the bottom at night. Suddenly something clicks in your repetitions and you say that’s a way better way of entering my day or I got a way better response out of my grouchy coworker when I approached him that way or I didn’t lose my mind on my kids when they tracked dirt across the floor I just vacuumed when I took time to pray in the morning. If you are striving for daily improvements God can use you to carry out His will. That change in how you approached your grouchy coworker may be the exact approach God needed for you to talk to a parent on your kid’s baseball team who is angry with God.
Life, like a river, has a flow to it that neither you nor I can control. Sometimes it’s predictable and sometimes it flips you over and all you can do is hang on to your boat and swim for shore. God’s plan and purpose for your life isn’t for you to sit on the flat water in an eddy and not go anywhere. God’s goal is to build you up and refine you so that you can find the joy in going through life’s white water with Him.”
July 7th, 2019 given by Allen Webber
“A Substitute – Tom Claibourne
When a person starts to read through the Bible, in no time at all, they encounter blood. The Bible is a very bloody book. Two thirds of the books mention blood, with upwards to 500 total references. One can get bogged down in the seemingly endless details concerning animal sacrifices. Why so many sacrifices? Why so much blood, when the Bible clearly states that the blood of animals cannot take away sins?
The Old Testament sacrificial system was part of a symbolic process God used to prepare the world for the coming of the Saviour, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world. It was merely a shadow of what was to come. The animal sacrifices ultimately impressed upon people their need for forgiveness and what God was willing to do about it. Each time an animal died in their place, the Jewish people vividly saw the messy and destructive results of sin. Sin devastates lives. Sin creates a barrier between us and a Holy God, resulting in death, just as God had warned mankind from the beginning.
The sacrificial system also provided a powerful lesson about the grace and mercy of God. It forcefully announced that He was willing to accept a substitute to die in our place. Yet long before God issued instructions concerning animal sacrifices, He had already demonstrated His willing grace.
After Adam and Eve fell into sin, the Bible says, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” An animal died in their stead. A substitute. Later, when God interceded to stop Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, He provided a ram for Abraham to offer ‘instead of his son’. A substitute.
Solomon’s temple was built many years later on Mount Moriah and became the site of countless bloody sacrifices. Substitutes. God’s grace shone forth even though the sacrifices were inadequate for the removal of sin.
The city of Jerusalem grew and expanded in the area around Mount Moriah. This was not a geographical coincidence. God knew back in the days of Adam, and in the days of Abraham, that His own Son would one day give His life as a ransom for sinners just outside Jerusalem.
Jesus died on a cross in our place not far from the hill of sacrifices known as Mount Moriah. Jesus was our Substitute, and we are made holy through His redeeming sacrifice.
These emblems at this communion table should prompt us to consider the high cost of our sin, the matchless grace of God, and the selfless gift of Jesus. His blood was shed to free us. He was the Substitute we needed.”
June 30th, 2019 given by Herb Harder
“What are Your Distractions?
Distractions come in all forms. It can be our work ethics, our time or type of play and relaxation, our dedication to whatever takes our time and efforts over and above of what they should be. Today’s headline news can be a huge distractions for our everyday life and more importantly our spiritual life. Our Bible, the Word of God, gives good guidelines on how to manage all these efforts from acknowledging our heavenly Father, our daily work and play as well as spending time with friends and fellow believers, it has it all.
Even in the beginning, we discover that man was distracted in the Garden of Eden by satan and the temptation of wanting what was forbidden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. King David with all his victories and God’s annointing gave way to distraction with adulterous actions, leading to murder before seeking forgiveness.
These examples of distraction unfortunately lead to destruction for Adam and Eve and God’s original plan and for King David and his family. How could God’s creation and annointed go so wrong. Here’s the third ‘D’ word. Deception. In most cases if not all, things go against God’s plan from Distraction, then Deception, followed by Destruction. Fortunately complete destruction can be minimized by believing and accepting the gift of life that Jesus offers by sacrifice for us on the cross.
It then becomes our decision of where our loyalty lies. There are so many forces (distractions) in this world that compete for our loyalty and it becomes a fight to redirect that loyalty. The final question being, upon realizing the perfect sacrifice made for you and me, to Whom do we belong, and to Who will our loyalty belong.”
June 23rd, 2019 given by Ken Hartung from Believers Bible Commentary
Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee
MacArthur New Testament Commentary
“The Wisdom of God
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The cross divides men. The cross divides the saved from the unsaved, but it doesn’t divide the saved people. It should unite them.
Michelangelo painted a picture called “The Last Judgment.” It depicts the throne of God, and away from that throne the lost are falling into space. And as they fall, they cling together.
This is an accurate picture of the one world that men are working for today. The lost want to come together in one great unity, and they are going to accomplish a great union in the last days.
But cutting across the grain of this environment and the contemporary thought is the gospel of Christ.
Jesus called Himself a divider of men, and the dividing line is His cross. The preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto the saved person it is the power of God.
Men are continually trying to figure out on their own what life is all about—where it came from, where it is going, what it signifies (if anything), and what can and should be done about it (if anything).
Modern man has made gods of education and human opinion. Although human ideas are constantly changing, appearing and disappearing, conflicting with and contradicting each other, men continue to put faith in them. As long as they reject divine authority, they have no other option.
The reason men love complex, elaborate philosophies and religions is because these appeal to human ego. They offer the challenge of understanding and doing something complex and difficult. Human good seeks to add some qualities to add to future eternal destiny.
For the same reason some men scoff at the gospel. It calls on them to do nothing—it allows them to do nothing—but accept in simple faith what God has done. The cross crushes man’s sin and crushes man’s pride. It also offers deliverance from sin and deliverance from pride.
That one man (even the Son of God) could die on a piece of wood on a nondescript hill in a nondescript part of the world and thereby determine the destiny of every person who has ever lived seems stupid. It allows no place for man’s merit, man’s attainment, man’s understanding, or man’s pride. This word of the cross is foolishness
the word of the cross includes the entire gospel message and work, God’s plan and provision for man’s redemption.
In its fullest sense it is God’s total revelation, for His revelation centers in the cross.
God’s whole redemption story and His whole redemption process seem foolish to unbelievers. And because Christ’s work on the cross is the pinnacle of God’s revealed Word and work, to reject the cross is to reject His revelation, and to perish.
To those who are being saved, the gospel is the power of God. They hear the message, they accept it by faith, and the miracle of regeneration takes place in their lives. Notice the solemn fact in this verse that there are only two classes of people, those who perish and those who are saved. There is no in-between class. Men may love their human wisdom but only the gospel leads to salvation.
June 16th, 2019 given by Allen Webber from “Revelation Megathemes NASB”
God is sovereign. He is greater than any power of the universe. God is not to be compared with any leader, government, or religion. He controls history for the purpose of uniting true believers in loving fellowship with Him. Though Satan’s power may temporarily increase, we are not to be led astray. God is in control. He will bring His true family safely into eternal life. Because He cares for us, we can trust Him with our very life.
Jesus Christ came to earth as a “Lamb”, the symbol of His perfect sacrifice for our sin. He will return as the triumphant “Lion”, the rightful Ruler and Conqueror. He will defeat Satan, settle accounts with all those who reject Him, and bring His faithful people into eternity. The assurance of Christ’s return gives Christian the strength to endure. We can look forward to His return as King and Judge. Since no one knows the time of His return, we must be ready at all times by keeping our faith strong.
John wrote this book to encourage the church to resist the demands of the world. He warns all God’s faithful people to be devoted only to Christ. The book of Revelation identifies who the faithful people are and what they should be doing until Christ returns. We can take our places in the ranks of God’s faithful people by believing in Christ. Victory is sure for those who resist temptation and make loyalty to Christ their top priority.
One day God’s anger toward sin will be fully and completely unleashed. Satan will be defeated along with all of his agents. False religion will be destroyed. God will reward the faithful with eternal life, but all who refuse to believe Him will face eternal punishment. Evil and injustice will not prevail forever. God’s final judgment will put an end to these. We need to be certain of our commitment to Jesus if we want to escape this great final judgment. No one who rejects Christ will escape God’s punishment.
One day God will create a new heaven and a new earth. All believers will live with Him forever and in perfect peace and security. Those who have already died will be raised to life. These promises for the future bring us hope. When we have confidence in our final destination, we can follow Christ with unwavering dedication no matter what we must face. We can be encouraged by hoping Christ’s return.”
June 9th, 2019 by Pastor Dave
Matthew 26:36-56 New International Version (NIV)
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
We are not just called to come to church, but we are called to be the watchmen, to pray, to stand in the gap for each other. Have we fallen asleep? https://youtu.be/oZ-MQzveKvI
June 2nd, 2019 given by Allen Webber from NASB Commentary
“1 John 4:7-9 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
Everyone believes that love is important but love is usually thought of as a feeling. In reality love is a choice and an action. God is the source of our love. In this love He chose to sacrifice His Son for us. Jesus is our example of what it means to love, everything He did in life and death was supremely loving. And the Holy Spirit gives us the power to love, He lives in our hearts and makes us more and more like Christ. God’s love always involves a choice and an action and our love should be like His. The question we might ask ourselves in our communion meditations is “how well do we display our love for God in the choices we make and the actions we take?”
John says, “God is love”, not “love is God”. Our world, with its shallow and selfish view of love, has turned these words around and contaminated our understanding of love. The world thinks that love is what makes a person feel good and that it is alright to sacrifice moral principles in order to obtain such ‘love’. But that isn’t real love. It is the exact opposite. It is selfishness. And God is not that kind of love. Real love is like God, Who is holy, just and perfect. If we truly know God, we will love as He does.
“By this love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
May 26th, 2019 by Ken Hartung from The Teachers’ Commentary by Larry Richards; Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald, The MacArthur NT Commentary by John MacArthur and Thru the Bible by J. Vernon McGee
John 1:12 (NASB)12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
What does God truly want with us? How does He react when we fail to meet His standards? The Creator entered the world He had made. He came to His own people, to whom He had given life. But His own people would not receive Him. He was rejected, scorned, and ultimately crucified. In spite of this, He reached out to individuals who would receive Him, and He gave them the right to become the children of God. The human race did not seek out a family relationship with God. The reaching out was God’s, and His alone. In spite of mankind’s failure, God drew men and women to Himself and lifted them up, adopting them as His children and heirs. In this act of pure grace, a glorious light bursts into history. In Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, we discover that God’s ultimate morality is one of love and grace. Jesus, full of grace and truth, unveiled now the relationship which God the Father had always wanted to have with humankind. And we, as His sons and daughters, must learn a way of life guided by the splendor of grace. He offers Himself to all mankind and to those who receive Him, He gives the right or authority to become children of God. This verse tells us clearly how we can become children of God. It is not by good works, not by church membership, not be doing one’s best – but by receiving Him, by believing in His Name. His Name refers to the totality of Christ’s being, all that He is and does. Thus it is not possible to separate His deity from His humanity, His being Savior from His being Lord, or His person from His redemptive work. Saving faith accepts Jesus Christ in all that Scripture reveals concerning Him.
1 John 3:2 (NASB) 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
I wish I were a better man, and I wish I knew more about the Word of God. I wish I were farther along than I am. But don’t be discouraged with me, and I won’t be discouraged with you because of the fact that “it has not appeared as yet what we will be“. “But we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him”. This is a wonderful prospect! He sees in you and in me what He will make out of us. I’m thankful that God is not through with me. If I thought He was through with me now, I would be very much discouraged, but He is yet to perform a work.
The story is told that when a great big piece of marble was brought in to Michelangelo; he walked around it, looking at it, and then said, “My isn’t it beautiful!” One of his helpers, who was standing there, said, “Well, all I see is a great big piece of marble – that’s all.” Michelangelo exclaimed, “Oh, I forgot. You don’t see what I see. I see a statue of David there.” The helper looked again and replied, “Well, I don’t see it.” Michelangelo said, “That is because it is now in my own mind, but I am going to translate it into this piece of marble.” And that is what he did.
God says, “it has not appeared as yet what we will be.” He sees what He is going to make out of us someday…God sees us as we shall be…when He shall appear…and we shall be like Him. What a glorious prospect for us! “We shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” We are going to see the glorified Christ.
May 19th, 2019 by Brian Markert
“I have always been confused by 1 Corinthians 1:10 as well as other versus that give the same message. This week I was with my brother and sisters and we were discussing some things about life. There were some things that we just couldn’t agree on. We were all raised in the same town, went to the same church and have very similar beliefs, yet we were definitely not on the same page.
1 Corinthians 1:10 “ I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
In this verse Paul is addressing some divisions that had started to exist within the early church of Corinth. Never have I been part of a group of Christians that completely agree on something. There are times when I don’t agree with my own thoughts, yet Paul instructs us to be perfectly united in mind and thought. There are some things that we can learn through study and there are others that we learn through experience.
- If we all studied the scriptures and prayed fervently our minds and thoughts would unite. There is a lot of truth to this but when we are studying scriptures we are studying the Living Word and it is just that, living. God uses it to speak directly and individually to us so we can all get something different.
- Paul is speaking more to the essentials or really important things.
Mark 12:30-31 New International Version (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
This also is definitely true and in context of the scripture that follows. Why should we boast about anything man does? We should be completely focused on Christ. Now for the part that experience has taught me.
1 Corinthians 12:15-22 New International Version (NIV)
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.
Something that I have learned over the past seven or eight months starting when mom found out she had cancer to now is what it is like to be a weaker or injured body part and how without the other body parts I wouldn’t be able to effectively function or heal. If a knee smashes a rock and becomes cut and bruised it is dependent on the eyes and hands to be cleaned and bandaged as well as all the internal blood vessels and organs to clot the wound and to start and carry out the healing process. Just like in the body of Christ if someone is hurting and needs bandaging that person is dependent on the other body parts. After mom died I was reminded of all the surrogate moms I have in Vulcan.
This is the part that I was missing in “being perfectly united in thought and mind.” If we are to be truly united then we start with Christ as the head and we focus on the most important things. But you can’t be united without knowing each other on more than a surface level. When Dave tells us to go shake hands with at least five or six people before we leave this is what he is encouraging us to do. Alls that does is maybe break down a barrier. There is still a long way to go before you know somebody. A great example is when James and Lori organized a family fun night. We got to start knowing each other deeper than surface level; or the conversations that I have had while working on the cabins. Doing life together gets you deeper than surface for sure but it still doesn’t perfectly unite us in thought and mind. That’s where the deeper conversations need to be had; the prayer together needs to happen. In order to be untied in mind and thought, we need to know each other deeply enough that our joy and pain flows over and is felt by everyone in our church. What is it that prevents us from being closer to each other? I don’t have these answers but a great place to start is with intentional conversation. When you go out for lunch today of sit around the campfire this afternoon ask each other way that we could know each other better. If a great idea comes to you, share it with the rest of us.”
May 12th, 2019 by Allen Webber
“No Yeast, Yeast
As part of the requirements of the Passover meal, the Israelites were instructed to use unleavened bread. It was important that the bread was made without yeast. I have thought this to be rather peculiar because the juice or wine required leavening or yeast to begin the fermentation process. Yeast or leavening was often used to illustrate sin. In Matthew, Jesus warned the disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” The disciples did not immediately grasp that He was speaking of the religious leaders’ doctrine, which was characterized by sin and hypocrisy. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that a bit of leaven leavens the whole lump?”
For leavening to work, it has to permeate all other ingredients. Live bacteria will replicate very quickly and give off gas bubbles as a by-product. And consequently, these gas bubbles cause the dough to rise. Sin is similar. It begins small, like a germ or infection, then grows bigger and bigger. In many cases, it can totally overtake an individual. But to make the Passover bread without leavening was to firstly, imply the sinless nature of Jesus but also render the bread a lifeless product which represents the crucified body of Christ.
Now contrast this with the ‘fruit of the vine’ whether it be wine or grape juice. It is very much alive. It contains yeast to start the fermentation process. You may want to suggest to me that grape juice doesn’t contain any yeast but just leave it on the kitchen counter for a few days and taste it. It most definitely will have started to ferment by then.
The law of Moses teach us that the life is in the blood. And so, as the communion moves from lifeless bread to living wine, we can see the symbolism. The Lord’s Supper is about from death to life – remembering that through Jesus we died to our worldly, earthly selves in order to live anew as righteous, spiritual beings.
But, although God sees us as sinless in His grace, we really aren’t are we? We need this weekly reminder that we are ‘suppose’ to be and that a truly awful price was paid to make our new lives possible, and that we live in Christ only because of His death and resurrection.”
May 5th, 2019 by Pastor Dave Sarsons
“Story of Sacrificial Love
Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination, and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death, she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it around her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of sacrificial love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain near the end of the First World War – 1916 to 1922.
I went onto Google, thinking this must have had such a huge impact on his life and more of his story, only to read and understand his mother did pass away, but not until David Lloyd George was 36 YEARS OLD.
I was disappointed, annoyed and probably frustrated to think I got conned like that.
But then the truth, His Truth, struck me. That is EXACTLY what Jesus did for you and me. He took off all His outer clothing and covered us with His body. Perhaps not physically, but certainly spiritually as He took the whipping for you and for me, and the nails in His hands and feet. We have been surrounded by His Sacrificial Love, even to the Cross.
‘Do This In Remembrance of Me’ because He died for you and for me, even when we were still sinners. And by His Stripes we are healed, saved, given Eternal Life if we choose!”
April 28th, 2019 by Herb Harder
“What’s Important to God
- The Ark of the Covenant was sacred to God and to the Israelites
- During the conflicts with the Israelites and the Philistines, Israel was losing.
- They thought that the Ark of the Covenant would save them in their battles. They used it as a magic bullet instead of obeying, trusting and loving God.
- This resulted in not only losing the battles but the loss of the Ark as well. When they reluctantly reported the loss of the battles, casualties and the Ark to the priest Eli, he was so shocked that he fell over backwards in his chair and broke his neck from the fall and died.
- His covetous of the Ark became the means of his demise.
- What can we learn from this passage in 1 Samuel 4? That even though church attendance, taking communion and even baptism is important, God would rather we live to please Him by obedience first and foremost. Insuring our hearts are right with Him should be our priority as we come to the communion table, come to church and fellowship with others. Going through the motions even if they are the right motions is insufficient to fully please the Lord. He does not want our sacrifices if we do not intend to obey Him in other matters. It is vital that we strive to do what the Lord wants us to do in all things and that we quickly and truly repent when we have failed to obey Him.”
April 21st, 2019 by Brian Markert
“When we read the Easter story in the bible it is very easy for us to wonder how all of the people during that time could have gotten it so wrong. Peter denied Christ three times. Thomas wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen until he stuck his fingers in his side and hands. The same crowd that hailed Jesus as a Saviour on Palm Sunday crucified him on Friday. The one that really gets me is the religious leaders of the day were continually plotting and scheming ways to trap Jesus and prove him wrong and eventually kill him.
To summarise, the people who were the most educated in the scriptures and the disciples who were closest to Jesus and were in conversation with him daily still didn’t understand what Jesus’ purpose on earth actually was.
This morning my kids were asking questions about the cross and about Jesus and God being the same but different. If they didn’t understand something their response was, “I don’t get it.” So I would try to think of another way of explaining it. Jesus instructs us to come to him like a child, full of wonder and having no preconceived ideas.
So if Peter or Thomas or the Pharisees didn’t get it don’t be surprised if you don’t get it.
The Pharisees tried to squash anything that didn’t fit into their understanding. Where did it get them? They released a murderer and killed the son of God.
Thomas was labelled the doubter but there are two things that doubt can do. One, it can cripple you and make it so you give up on what you once knew to be right or, two, it can drive you to seek answers and discover the truth. Thomas never gave up on the disciples despite his scepticism of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus never rebuked Thomas for his doubt.
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
When, not if, we doubt, we can let it cripple us or drive us.
Peter denied knowing Christ three times just as Jesus said he would. Peter was filled with remorse Luke 22:62 says he went outside and wept. Despite this Jesus charged Peter with feeding his sheep in John 21.
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus didn’t ask him three times to rub salt in a wound but to remind Peter that despite his failures he was to be used by God to spread the message that Christ died for the redemption of our sins and to reconcile us back to God.
These three examples really sum us up. We can either try to crush the things that we don’t understand or we can be like children and allow God to use our doubts and failures to further understand him and Glorify him.
I will repeat myself. If Peter or Thomas or the Pharisees didn’t get it don’t be surprised if you don’t get it. Also don’t be surprised when God shows you what you thought you understood to be right isn’t.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God has a plan for us as individuals and as the body of Christ. We may not understand it at any given time just like Peter and Thomas but God is in control and we just have to trust him.”
ril 14th, 2019 given by Allen Webber with excerpts from Jean Niven Lenk message
Luke 18:31 – “Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.”
This Sunday marks the beginning of the week that Jesus would be crucified, and the great Passover feast was about to begin. Jews came to Jerusalem from all over the world during this week long celebration. Many in the crowds had heard of or seen Jesus and were hoping He would come to the temple. Jesus did come, not as a warring king on a horse or in a chariot but as a gentle and peaceable king on a donkey’s colt just as Zechariah had predicted.
At first, He was received like a king. People were lining the streets and cheering wildly. They shouted ‘Hosanna’, which means save us. They wanted to believe that Jesus would destroy their enemies and renew God’s children as a free, honoured and chosen people. Instead He came as God’s Son, to break the power structures of oppression, hate and death.
Jesus is a different kind of Sovereign. His Godly kingship is not about might but about mercy; not about power but about peace; and not about retribution but about redemption. And Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem turned out not to be a parade for a king but a death march for the Son of God.
As the week unfolded, Jesus’ preaching became more pointed, His words and actions more radical. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers, threatened the power that be, and His actions united the religious and business leaders against Him. He wanted to make the temple a house of prayer for all people; He proclaimed God’s acceptance and life-changing love to the blind and the lame; and He welcomed the tax collectors and prostitutes into God’s kingdom ahead of the priests, scribes and Pharisees. Jesus failed to live up to the expectations of the crowd, and in response, they turned on Him. Slowly at first, and then with increasing rapidity, the cheers turned to jeers.
Jesus stood silent and trumped up charges, first before the council and then Pilate, as He was mocked and beaten. He could have turned from His path of radical obedience to God’s will, from His self-giving love of us. Right until the end He could have avoided suffering and death – having been abandoned by His followers, He could have abandoned us. And yet, Jesus chose to endure it all, so that we might know the full height and breadth and depth of God’s love for us, a God who would stoop to take on our common lot and endure what it means to be human – right through to the end.
Behind Him are His sermons – ahead is His suffering. Behind Him are His parables – ahead is His passion. Behind Him are His suppers of fellowship – ahead is His last supper of betrayal. Behind Him Galilee – ahead Gethsemane.
On the cross, Jesus looks humanity’s brutality and cruelty in the face and says, “I forgive you.” Even as we pound the nails into His hands and feet, Jesus says to us, “Nothing can separate you from my love.” Even as we throw dice for His bloody clothes, Jesus promises to clothe us with radiant garments fit for a heavenly court. Even as His arms are stretched wide on the crossbeam, Jesus freely offers to us an embrace of eternal love.
It’s easy to be one of those people in the crowd, lining the streets in Jerusalem to see the king enter. It’s easy to be an admirer. And it’s easy to be among those who are disappointed when the king we envision turns out to be something different. But, it’s harder to be a follower, standing in the huddled group at the foot of the cross. Because following Christ means living against the grain. It means telling the truth in a world of lies. It means giving in a world of take. It means loving in a world of hate, serving in a world that loves to be served, worshipping in a world that entertains. And it means carrying a cross in a world who crucifies the One who loves.”
April 7th, 2019 given by Ken Hartung from J Vernon McGee “Thru the Bible”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ”For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
Why did Paul go to the ends of the earth to preach this message?
For the love of Christ controls us – He says it is the love of Christ pushing us out. It is the love of Christ that is motivating us. It is the love of Christ that causes us to give out the Word of God.
Having concluded this – if one died for all, then were all dead. It was this that sent Paul out to the ends of the earth with the message of the gospel.
That if one died for all, then were all dead – mankind is under the sentence of death.
When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he was our federal head; he was the head of that old creation. That old creation was on trial in Adam. God told him, “…From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam deliberately disobeyed God. He came under the sentence of death, and when he did that, he took the entire human race down with him, for all were represented in him. You and I have been born in to a family of death. All mankind now is under the sentence of death. Someone has said, “The very moment that gives you life it begins to take it away from you.”
When David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” (Psalm 23:4), he was not referring to the end of life; he was saying that all of life is like walking down through the great canyon of death, which gets darker and narrower until, finally, we must go through the doorway of death.
and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf – Jesus came to the valley of the shadow of death. The Lord Jesus Christ came to this world all the way from heaven. He was the absolutely sinless One. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. So what did He do? He came down into the valley. He came down into the place of death where all men are. “And that he died for all.” Because men were dead. He went down into death, and now He brings believers up with Him into resurrection life. He takes them with Him into the heavenlies. We who believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ are now seated in the heavenlies. He has “…raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly place in Christ Jesus.” He takes them all the way up to the heavenlies. Christ took our place. And if we are going to live, it is going to be by faith in Him. Christ died, not only that we should be delivered from death and judgment, but also that we should be brought up from our state of death into newness of life. Now our lives should be devoted to Him that we should now live to the glory of God.”
March 31st, 2019 given by Herb Harder
“Tell All Your Friends, Tell Everyone
What would you consider to be the happiest day of your life. Day of your marriage? Time of your first born’s arrival? Perhaps the time you gave your life to Christ? All these times are memorable and important to us but likely become slightly vague over time. That is why we take pictures of the event, buy mementos and/or tell stories about it to help us remember.
In Joshua, there is an event where the Israelites cross the river Jordan carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The priests were to carry it across first followed by the twelve tribes. Once again God provided the miracle of holding back the waters of the Jordan river so that this could be achieved. This was the second miracle the Israelites experienced in this fashion as generations before with Moses crossing the Red Sea. As the tribes crossed the river, they were instructed for one person from each tribe to pick up a rock from the river and form a monument from them so as to set a remembrance of the event. This was done at Gilgal and every time someone would come across this monument of rocks, it would remind them of the miracle of God and they were to relate the story to their children and families as it took place of their ancestors.
The Bible instructs us to create a remembrance of two events as well. Our baptism and the sacrifice Jesus provided on the cross. It seems we all have short memories in our busy lives and I believe God knew this and why He said, “As often as you partake of these symbols, do this in remembrance of Me”. I pray that as we do this, the true miracle of the cross would overtake our minds and spirits and we would feel it important to share the story with our loved ones and colleagues. The God that created the miracles for our ancestors, no matter how long ago, is still the God creating miracles for us today. Let us remember together.”
March 24th, 2019 by Allen Webber
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
For a great number of people in the world, we are considered, a best, rather peculiar for celebrating communion and at worst, heretics and blasphemers. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he summarizes a passage from Isaiah to emphasize a point Jesus often made – God’s way of thinking is not the world’s way. The big difference is God offers eternal life which the world can never give. We can spend a lifetime accumulating human wisdom and yet never learn to have a personal relationship with God.
The Jews considered the Good News of Jesus Christ to be foolish and blaspheming, because they thought the Messiah would be a conquering king accompanied by signs and miracles. In reality, here was the King of kings, coming as a baby, then growing to a man, teaching of the saving grace of God with signs and miracles. But the Sanhedrin missed it. In the end, Jesus was executed as a criminal, and how could a criminal become a saviour?
The Greeks too considered the Gospel foolish. THey did not believe in a bodily resurrection. They did not see in Jesus the powerful characteristics of their mythological gods, and they thought no reputable person would be crucified. To them, death was defeat, not victory.
And the Romans didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus at all. They were so self absorbed in their empire and its accumulations and indulgences that Jesus was a mere distraction and inconvenience for them.
These three people groups based their societies on their own wisdom and knowledge. And the Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society still worships power, influence and wealth. But Jesus came as a humble poor servant and He offers His kingdom to those who have faith, not to those who do all kinds of good and wise deeds to try to earn His gift. This communion looks foolish to the world, but Christ is our power, the only was we can be saved. Knowing Christ personally is the greatest wisdom anyone could have.”
March 17th, 2019 by Pastor Dave Sarsons taken from Lita Cosner’s Excerpt
“It shouldn’t be surprising to believers that, as the post-Christian society rejects more and more of the historical Christian foundation which was assumed by almost everyone less than a generation ago, the blessings that grew out of that foundation are fading as well. It is easy to be discouraged as we read depressing headlines about corruption, political division, crime, and abuse. But this bleak picture gives Christians a backdrop against which the Gospel stands in stark contrast. To illustrate the problem, we often think of things like societal breakdown, murder, as ‘the problem’. However, they are symptoms of the real problem, just like a fever is a symptom of an infection. Really, the problem is a faulty worldview that says that man decides the truth!
On the other hand, the good things we want to see in society, like charity, valuing the sanctity of life, are also fruit of a worldview that accepts God’s Word as truth and God as the Creator.
Some people wish we could go back to the days when the culture was explicitly Christian, and laws reflected that consensus. But while that was better in a lot of ways, it also tended to blur the distinction between Christians and non-Christians, because your average, law-abiding, moral, patriotic citizen could look like a good Christian. While that may reap some cultural benefits, having ‘Christian’ governments or Christian laws are not enough to save someone.
Today, Christians are being forced to stand up for biblical morality that was taken for granted even in the recent past. This means that we are opened up to criticism and even persecution, but it also clarifies who is a Christian and who is not, and thus, who needs to be saved. This means that Christians who are prepared to present the Gospel in a compelling and winsome way in a hostile culture may have unprecedented Gospel opportunities.
So rather than going back to the days of cultural Christianity, Christians should prepare to go foward into the Christ-less culture and present the Bible’s teaching, and share the Gospel to sinners just like Jesus did – our ultimate example. We can have confidence that the Gospel will win out, because God’s truth will always withstand the false worldviews which oppose it.”
March 10th, 2019 by Ken Hartung
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“This verse is one of the most important in all of Scripture for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification. God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ Himself never sinned. Sinners cannot devise their own religious approach to God, because they are “dead in their trespasses and sins”(Ephesians 2:1). The damning lie of false religion is that man can reconcile himself to God by his own efforts, but all attempts to do so are futile. As a result, “There is none righteous, not even one…” (Romans 3:10)j.
Jesus, therefore, did not go to the cross because fickle people turned on Him, though they did. He did not go to the cross because demon-deceived false religious leaders plotted His death, though they did. He did not go to the cross because Judas betrayed Him, though he did. He did not die because and angry, unruly mob intimidated a Roman governor into sentencing Him to crucifixion, though they did. Jesus went to the cross as the outworking of God’s plan to reconcile sinners to Himself. In the first Christian sermon every preached, Peter declared to the nation of Israel that Jesus was “delivered over to death by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God”.
Only God could design an atonement of sin that would satisfy the demands of His justice, appease His wrath, and be consistent with His love, grace and mercy. Only God could conceive the plan in which the second person of the Trinity would be, “found in appearance as a man, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Only God knew what it woiuld take to rescue sinners “from the domain of darkness, and transfer them to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13), making them “qualified…to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Colossians 1:12). Only God knew how to make sinners, deserving of hell, acceptable in His sight and fit to spend eternity in His presence. Therefore, only God could author and execute the plan of redemption and reconcile sinners to Himself. That plan is so utterly beyond the comprehension of the unregenerated that it seems foolishness to them. No religion of human design has anything like it.
But Christianity proclaims the glorious, liberating truth that God is neither hostile nor indifferent but a loving Savior by nature. He does not need to be appeased and indeed cannot be by any human means. Instead, He, Himself, has provided His own appeasement for justice and the means of sinners to become His beloved children through the sacrifice of His Son. This then, is the heart of the doctrine of justification: God regards or counts believers as forgiven and God declares and treats them as forgiven. Because God the Father has imputed the believer’s sin to Christ and because God the Father likewise imputes Christ’s righteousness to the believer.
This communion table represents this important point: On the cross God treated Jesus as if He had lived our lives with all our sins, so that God could then treat us as if we lived Christ’s life of pure holiness that we lived absolutely perfect.” English Standard Version Study Bible John Mac Arthur Commentary 2 Corinthians
March 3rd, 2019 by Allen Webber
Luke 22:19-20 “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.””
Generally, in North America, we have become accustomed to great varieties of food as well as great volumes of food. We can eat anytime, anywhere, and as much as we want. A few times of the year we will have great banquets and family meals that have abundances to satisfy every want and desire.
But the most important meal you can eat is this meal of communion. Jesus wants us to remember Him and He uses food as a means to connect with Him. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death and over satan and his allies. Engaging in this meal is a powerful testimony to the world that Jesus is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
But how can eating a small morsel of bread and drinking a small amount of juice do that? Back in the Garden of Eden, an act of eating plunged the world into sin. One bite of disobedience led to death for Adam and Eve – and for us. It caused thorns and weeds to grow in the garden. It caused pain childbirth. It led to sibling rivalry between their sons Cain and Abel. All this came about through that act of disobedience and rebellion against God.
Jesus, the Son of God, Who became human and gave us His body and blood for our sake has made new life and restoration possible for us. Eating at His table signifies our participation in what He accomplished on our behalf. He paid fully for all our sin.”
February 24th by Herb Harder
“For the first many years, Christianity did not survive because of a written document that we can enjoy today (the Bible). Some say our Bible was not totally formed for quite some time near 300 A.D. This brings me back to the topic of our brother Brian who, some time ago in his communion thought, asked us if Jesus dying is enough. For Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, and Paul, and others the risen Lord was enough. They didn’t care or know how old the earth was; whether it be 6000 years old or millions. They didn’t know that ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so’. Their experience with the Savior, the risen Lord, was enough. So it is for us.
In our men’s group we’ve been studying the pursuit of holiness. We discover how much God hates sin. So much does He hate sin that He gave His Son’s life for our benefit. Our deliverance becomes our union with Christ in His death.
Brian’s communion thought begs the question: if someone close to us had to give their life every time we sin, would that change the way we live?”
“Search me O God, and know my heart. Try me O Savior, know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to everlastin life.” Amen
February 17th by Dale Doner
“What does it look like when God takes over an available life?
1. David – Samuel went to Bethlehem to see Jesse for a king. Samuel went through all the sons and then he chose the discounted one in David.
2. Joseph – He went from sibling rivalry to a pit to being a leader of Egypt as Pharoah’s number one guy.
3. Hannah – She went from a childless woman to a mother of quite possibly Israel’s greatest judge.
4. Peter – He went from a common fisherman to the rock (John 21) to preaching Acts Chapter 3.
5. Mary – She was taken from a questioning girl ‘how an this be since I am a virgin (Luke 1:26-36) to the mother of Jesus.
6. Allan Doner – His graveyard message was “Allan Doner – plumber by trade” to three continents of Canada, the United States and Nigeria fighting over where to bury him each claiming him as their own son.
7. Lynne Markert (with great respect) – was used by God in such a mighty way and she was available to Him as seen by our community’s outpouring of love.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight”. God’s Word is for us to commit our ways to Him and He will direct our paths vs. satan’s word that tell us that God is not directing.
Our instruction, therefore, is to live our lives as if God might be directing your steps and to pay attention. This leads to Him showing us some dramatic life trajectory stories. We need to look at values and priorities and make Him a vital part of everything we do then He will guide you because He is working to accomplish His purpose.”
February 10th, by Allen Webber
“Communion from Hebrews
From Hebrews 10:19-25, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
The Holy of Holies in the temple was sealed from view by a veil. The ark of the covenant was in this room. The most important aspect of this was the Glory of the Lord was between the two cherubim that was at either end of the lid. Only the high priest could enter this holy room and he did so only once a year on the day of atonement when he offered the sacrifice for his nation’s sins. He was to follow a very detailed procedure in carrying out his duties. So much so that if he deviated from it, he would be killed. But Jesus’ death removed that veil and now all believers can come into God’s presence at any time.
We have significant privileges associated with our new life in Christ.
1. We have personal access to God through Christ and can draw near Him without an elaborate process of works.
2. As we grow in our faith, we can overcome our doubts and questions we might have and thereby deepen our relationship with God.
3. We can enjoy encouragement with other believers.
4. We enjoy the benefits of worshiping with one another.
For Christians to neglect meeting together is to give up the encouragement and help we can give to others in the Lord. As time passes, we will experience more and more worldly struggles as well as more and more spiritual struggles. Increasingly, we will see anti-Christian forces and even persecutions for our faith. Therefore, it becomes even more important to meet as a group of believers for that strength and encouragement.
So, as we partake of this communion, examine your vertical relationship with God but also your horizontal relationship with the people sitting beside you.”
February 3rd, 2019 by Ken Hartung
“The Authority of Jesus
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mathew 29:18-20 (ESV)
Authority denotes active power, the full ability to do as one wills. Two domains are mentioned: “in heaven and on earth“. All authority in each. Nothing could be more comprehensive. Who can fathom this brief utterance of Jesus? The kingly authority of Jesus embraces heaven, all that lives and has its being there, angels and archangels, powers, principalities, might, dominion, thrones and the saints in glory. This authority is exercised also over the evil spirit world, whose prince is conquered and ruined, and whose armies lie in humble submission beneath Jesus’ feet. All the powers of heaven are in His hand to do His bidding without question or pause.
This authority has been given to Jesus by the Father and now He is instructing the disciples to go on the basis of that authority. Their field was to include all nations, not just Israel. They were to make disciples by proclaiming the truth concerning Jesus. Their hearers were to be evangelized and enlisted as Jesus’ followers. This the disciples are to realized as Jesus sends them forth into the world. Never did a human army have such resources behind it. Without the Messiah’s authority, the mission of the disciples and the mission for our church today would be doomed to failure.
Everything on the earth is also subject to Him; its inhabitants, both friend and foe, and all the powers that are in the earth.
– the means of transportation takes the ambassadors of Jesus all over the world,
– economics and commerce paves the way for the work of missions,
-the science of language and Bible translation for the preaching of the gospel in people’s own languages,
-the spread of culture helps to break down the stronghold of evil oppression.
He had the authority to lay down His own life and to take it up again. He has the authority to give eternal life to believers as the symbols of this Communion table represent.
As the world gets more chaotic and rushing itself into tyranny, realize that this is under Christ’s authority and is fulfilling His plan and His purpose. This will pass under Jesus’ command. Jesus, Himself, described His coming dominion. “The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,” He said, “and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”. When Jesus returns and sits on His glorious throne, Christ will impose righteousness on the world world. Until then, the kingdom continues as a hidden thing, revealed only to the eyes of faith, and experienced only by those who follow in the footsteps of the King.”
Lenski Commentary on Matthew; MacArthur Commentary on Matthew; Bible Knowledge Commentary; Teacher’s Commentary
January 27th, 2019 by Dale Doner
January 20th, 2019 by Allen Webber taken from The Road of Grace
“Our Indissoluble Union
When we consider communion, its ultimate meaning is our union with Jesus Christ. That is, when we partake of this sacrament we are united with Christ in such a way that we participate both in the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. This is the point of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 16, “Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?”
For Christians, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nothing less than the union with Christ. However, this also means we are united to one another. The two go together, union with Christ and union with other Christians. This union with Christ and with other believers is both exhibited and manifested by participation in the Lord’s Supper. Basic to this union with Christ is a union of hearts. This union of hearts between the believer and his Lord is the basis of a union of hearts that knits us together into one family of the children of God.
This basic affirmation – that Holy Communion should be understood as union with Christ – can be expressed in a number of biblical figures. One would be Christ is the head of the body and we are all members of one body. It can also be expressed by the figure of the Temple built on the rock or again it can be expressed by a metaphor from marriage. Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the bride. One can also speak of the vital union between Christ and the believer wherein believers are given the Spirit of Christ, which gives us spiritual power.
Communion also functions as a solemn representation and seal. In the celebration of the sacrament, we behold the family of God gathered around the Lord’s table, enjoying the benefits our Father has provided for us. The bread and the grape juice remind us of the passionate love of Christ for us in going to the cross of His free will. Furthermore, the Lord’s Supper is a seal because it confirms a promise and assures us that a covenant has been ratified. However, this seal works in both directions. It is a seal of the promises of God and it is a seal of the believer’s vows of faith. The sacrament is also a seal and assurance on the part of the participants that they come to this table to accept Christ and that they wish to join themselves to Christ.
This union also points us to the promise of life after death. Our union with Christ cannot be dissolved, even through death. In death, our souls is the presence of Christ, and is in perfect agreement with Him. The communion between Christ and the believer, which is experienced here and now, will become complete in eternity. Moreover, this communion will be enjoyed in His presence rather than enjoyed from the distance between heaven and earth.”
January 13th, 2019 by Ken Hartung
“As a church, we have an input into this story with our support of Hart Ministries in the Ukraine. This story is about an Ukrainian pastor, who enters into Eastern Ukraine where he occasionally goes to do ministry work. Ever since the Russians moved in a couple of years ago, Eastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russia and this pastor must go through a Checkpoint. At this Checkpoint, he is asked whether he is prepared to not return as he must prepare for Russian sniper fire. He goes through the Checkpoint and as he progresses, hears a Russian missile coming towards him. Apparently a missile coming towards you makes a very eerie sound. This is the type of missile that explodes overheard and destroys everything beneath it. At this time, the pastor has an incredible instantaneous communication with God, where he can hear Him in his heart and mind. This is the way the conversation went,
“God, I’m going to die today right?” God says, “No, you are not going to die today”.
So the pastor asks three questions of God as to why he wasn’t going to die from this missile…
- “Is it because I am doing Your will – helping the poor, giving them food and clothing?” God’s replies, “No”.
- “Is it because I am sacrificing my life – leaving my family to go into dangerous places for Your glory?” God’s replies, “No”.
- “Is it because I am so cool – doing amazing things for You?” God replies, “No, you are not going to die today because people are praying for you!”
This missile landed just ahead of him and it did not explode – it was a dud.
This story shows the importance of praying for our Christian leaders; for our pastor and the missionaries we support. Second Thessalonians 3:1-3 gives us instructions of how we are to pray for those in ministry.
“Pray for Us
3 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
Paul recognized the importance of people praying for him and it is important for us to bring this Scripture to our day and pray for our missionaries and Pastor Dave. Paul also faithfully prayed for the Thessalonians and for the others he ministered to likewise as I’m sure our pastor prays for us. In Paul’s travels where he faced difficulty, danger and loneliness, he needed their prayers. He has to either support himself or rely on the support of others to help him. He also usually preached to audiences who did not want to hear him and at places to which people did not invite him in the first place. Paul depended on God’s power to strengthen and sustain him and he knew the prayers of believers before God’s throne opened that divine power to work through him. In the same way, as we bring prayers before God’s throne for Pastor Dave, it opens divine power through him. Pastor Dave and our missionaries depend on our prayers to carry on their work and remain steadfast in their lives. Paul’s request for prayer reminds us that we never reach a place in our Christian maturity or service where we progress beyond the need of prayer because the prayer that agrees with Christ’s will always results in divine empowerment.
Verse 1 “…the word of the Lord” is the good news of salvation; that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ alone. This message is to “speed ahead”, spread rapidly, make progress. Paul wanted them to pray that the Word would advance like a strong runner, moving ahead unobstructed and unhindered, to attain new ground. Be “..honored” or glorified expresses the apostle’s desire that the gospel be received with the proper respect, that people would accept and affirm it as the saving truth of God.
Verse 2 “and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith” was Paul’s desire to be delivered from the threats and power of such enemies of the gospel whom satan used to prevent him from preaching the saving message. The word “evil” describes active hatred. “Not all have faith” showed that not all will believe and those who reject the gospel may be hostile towards it. Paul’s request for personal safety and rescue is not from the desire of personal ease, but from his longing for the gospel to move ahead unhindered. The gospel produces either faith and joyful obedience or a contentious refusal to God’s truth. The gospel does not always find receptive hearts.
Verse 3 “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” Whatever humans can hurl against the Christian, God always triumphs because He is faithful and unrelenting in His purpose. He has made a covenant between Himself and humankind and seals it with the blood of Jesus Christ. God is in control, and He keeps a protective guard aground the believer. When Christians experience harm or even death because of righteousness, it is not evil which triumphs, but the plan of God which succeeds.”
January 6th, 2019 by Herb Harder
“Renewal of Our Minds
Often when reading Scripture, I put myself in the place of some of the characters in the passage. In this case, the Scripture leading up to the crucifixion of our Lord. The characters we will observe today is Peter versus Judas. Both were disciples of the Jesus, but they had two different personalities, two different objectives and two very different outcomes to their lives. Both shared the experience to participating in Jesus’ walk of life and both of them denied the Lord.
Peter was at many times the spokesman for the disciples, and he made a statement that he would follow Jesus to the death which spoke out of his own confidence and in his own power. He didn’t realize his weakness and later he found himself powerless and denying the Lord. Judas, who also spent time with Jesus, had the ulterior motive in his commitment to Jesus. He hoped that Jesus would be the one to deliver them from the Roman’s control. When this wasn’t the case, frustration occurred which led to a radical corruption of sin which took over his mind. The outcome for both these men would have been forgiveness and we see in Scripture that only Peter was. So what was the difference?
I believe that Peter was remorseful and sorrowful whereas Judas felt guilty of his actions which lead to ending things in his own strength. Peter lived on for several more decades becoming an apostle and is then put to death for his faith to be forever with the Lord. Whereas Judas, as far as we know, kills himself in guild and despair, likely unforgiven.
So which character do I share common ground with? Do I willfully sin and deal with it on my own strength and guilt or do I seek wisdom and strength from God’s Word and receive the forgiveness from HE WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP ME FROM FALLING?
“The failure of Judas and Peter and their fellow disciples should cause us to fall to our knees in surrender, asking Christ to cause us to stand. Only by His power will we remain loyal to Him. We dare not trust in ourselves but only in the power of Christ to keep us faithful to Him.”
Upon knowing this story it is easy to say I would never have done that or been like that, but it is easy to misunderstand Jesus just as the disciples did, but not through any fault of Jesus. That misunderstanding comes from sin. The ignorance or lack of faith can be overcome by the cross and by grace through the study of God’s Word and prayer. Therefore let us be “transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). That includes attending church with our fellow believers and taking part in the Sacraments today, humbly accepting God’s mighty grace and pardon.”
December 30th, 2018 presented by Allen Webber
“Love Letter From God
You may not know Me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in My image. Genesis 1:27
In Me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are My offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in My Book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know Me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but Am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is My desire to lavish My love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are My child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I Am the perfect Father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from My hand. James 1:17
For I Am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are My treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all My heart and all My soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I Who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I Am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I Am your greatest Encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I Am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I Am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I Am your Father, and I love you even as I love My Son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of My Being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I Am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I Am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate Expression of My love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of My Son Jesus, you receive Me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from My love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be My child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad.
December 23rd, 2018 by Allen Webber
Acts 20:35, “…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
Just to be clear, Jesus did not suggest it is bad or wrong to receive gifts. He is just saying that the one who gives is more blessed than the one who receives.
Now, a question. What is the best gift you ever received for Christmas as a child? The farther back you can go into your childhood, the better I can illustrate certain aspects of our sin nature. For me, it was a toy wagon. It was a little metal wagon you could pull behind a little tractor. When I was a kid, almost all shopping could be done at Wolfe’s Hardware or Shrigley’s 5 and Dime. So, one day mom was Christmas shopping and when she picked us up at school and I was riding in the back seat and I noticed this box that had a picture of this wagon the outside. I thought, ‘Whoa, is this for me?’ Curiosity got the best of me and I asked mom, “Is this for me?” Wrong question. She calmly stated it was for some other little boy. It was though a dagger pierced my heart.
This displays greed and covetousness at a very early age. But there were also the seeds of respect and thankfulness in that experience as well. When Christmas morning rolled around there was this familiar present under the tree and I was most elated to open it and discover that little wagon. It taught me to respect. In other words; don’t snoop. It taught me thankfulness. Thankfulness, because it first appeared that there was no gift, other than the obligatory pants, shirt, socks, and pyjamas. But that little wagon brought me hours and hours of enjoyment. I felt so blessed and happy. As best as I can recall that little wagon is one of the two gifts that I still have to this day.
The other is the first gift I gave to someone else. And it was to my mom. It was three little glass figurines that were a shelf ornament. It cost 98 cents. I was so excited to be giving my first gift. Dad had to help wrap it. I suppose mom had some mixed feelings as to what to expect. Curiosity maybe, as to what this young boy could come up with on his first attempt at shopping on his own. And probably caution as well, as to what this young boy could come up with on his first attempt at shopping on his own. All must have gone well. Those little figurines stayed on that shelf for many years.
Now, let me ask you this question. What is the greatest gift you ever received, anywhere or anytime? I’ll give you a hint. We are going to be celebrating it in just a few moments. And it is a Christmas gift as well. But there is more to this gift. Much, much more. God gave us the gift of His Son, but what did the Son Himself give us? We find the answer in Matthew 20:28. The Son of Man came to give His life, a ransom for many. For you and me.
In Luke, we find this command. Do this in remembrance of me. Take communion to remember why Jesus was born. As the two emblems are passed, just before you consume them think to yourself, these represent the greatest, most wonderful gift I have ever received. We should feel most blessed and happy.
But wait, don’t forget, the one who gives is happier than the one who receives. And who is the Giver? God!!! Just image how blessed and happy God is to offer to us a gift through Jesus Christ – so that we might able to spend eternity with Him. We should remember the gift as well as the giver.”
December 2nd, 2018 by Murray Markert
“As we come to the communion table to partake in the emblems – the bread which represents Jesus’ body and the wine which represents Christ’s blood, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. We are to take the emblems in a worthy manner remembering Christ’s sacrifice to the point of death so our sins can be wiped away and we can be presentable to our heavenly Father. This all happens because of God’s love for us and the grace He has poured out to us.
Proclaiming Christ’s death until He returns
Matthew 24:30 Christ, Himself, tells us of His return “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” People have tried to predict the time that this will happen but all those predictions have come and gone. No one knows the time of His return except God Himself. Scripture does tell us Christ’s second coming will be swift and sudden. There will be no opportunity for last minute repentance or bargaining. The choice we have already made will determines our eternal destiny. So we need to be ever watchful and fully prepared when it happens.
Jesus came first as a Lamb to be sacrificed. The second time He wil return as “conqueror and king” to execute judgment. After Christ’s judgment, the earth as we know it will not exist and a new earth will be created. Satan will be trhown into an abyss and locked in there for a thousand years while Christ will rule and wherever God reigns, there is peace, security and love. After the thousand years, Satan will be released for a short period of time before he is finally put into a pit of fire for eternity.
The fact the Christ was sacrificed on a cross for the forgiveness of all of our sins – past, present, and up to the time of His second coming. The fact that Christ will return to reign over His kingdom gives us hope and confidence that God is in control of all things and is faithful to His Word and His promises.”
November 25th, 2018 by Ken Hartung from John McArthur
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
v. 21 Him who knew no sin
It eliminates every human who ever lived, “for there is no man who does no sin” since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Only one who knew no sin of His own could qualify to bear the full wrath of God against the sins of others. The perfect sacrifice for sin would have to be a human being, for only a man could die for other man. Yet he would also have to be God, for only God is sinless. That narrows the field to one, the God-man, Jesus Christ. Christ was not made a sinner, nor was He punished for any sin of His own. Instead the Father treated Him as if He were a sinner by charging to His account the sins of everyone who would ever believe. All those sins were charged against Him as if He had personally committed them, and He was punished with the penalty for them on the cross, experiencing the full fury of God’s wrath unleased against them all. It was at that moment that “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,..’My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?'” (Matthew 27:46). It is crucial, therefore, to understand that the only sense in which Jesus was made sin…He was blamed for my wrongs…He was personally pure, yet accused of my sin; personally holy, yet guilty.
But in dying on the cross, Christ did not become evil like we are, nor do redeemed sinners become inherently as holy as He is. God credits our sin to Christ’s account, and credits our account with His perfection. His goodness is credited to our account. There is no way for sinners to reconcile themselves to God…the entire human race is curses and unable to do anything to lift that curse. Therefore, the only reason believers can be reconciled to God is because “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us”. But Christ’s substitutionary death is applied only for those who would believe.
v. 21 so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him
Because Jesus paid the full penalty for believers’ sin, God no longer holds it against them. Believers experience the blessedness of forgiveness soley by faith in the complete redemption provided by Jesus Christ. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had lived our lives with all our sin, so that God could then treat us as if we lived Christ’s life of pure holiness. The sins of the world were placed on Him so that, in turn, His righteousness could be given those who trust Him. That gift of righteousness is obtainable only by faith. That is the doctrine of justification by imputation – the high point of the gospel. That truth, expressed so concisely and powerfully in this text, is the only cure for the sin plague.”
November 18th, 2018 by Allen Webber
“We are now entering the Christmas season. Plans are being made for family get-togethers and meals. The stores are decorated with all manner of lights and decorations. We are being inundated with countless advertisements and glitz to encourage us to buy bigger, better and fancier gifts.
But what makes a gift good or memorable? Does it have to cost a lot of money? Not necessarily, but it can. Sometimes a person might need a timely update to a car or home and can’t afford it themselves. But quite often , gifts can be inexpensive and spur of the moment and more a gesture of kindness and friendship rather than cost or utility. Do gifts have to be bought or can they be made? Well sometimes, there is not a choice and a gift will have to be purchased. But the ones that are most memorable for me are the gifts that I have made for someone or the ones that have been made for me. The more specific and personal a gift is, the more impact it can have. Every time we think about that gift, brings back the joy and elation we felt when we received it but also to consider the sacrifice and time it took for that gift to be made.
But no gift can measure the weight, importance, and sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross. When we celebrate communion, we remember the gift of salvation Jesus gave to each one of us. It symbolizes the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. The bread and juice represent the blood and body of Jesus, poured out and broken as a sacrifice for our gift of salvation.
Just like some gifts will always remind us of a friend or family member, this communion always reminds us of Jesus and the gift of salvation that was specifically crafted and lovingly made for each one of us.”
November 4th, 2018 by Allen Webber – part, NASB study Bible
“Happiness and Joy
If I were to ask you to ponder the word happiness, each of you would have a different explanation of what happiness means to you. The word can evoke visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing in some exotic destination. Everyone wants to be happy. We make chasing this elusive ideal a life-long pursuit – spending money, collecting things and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen and the party is over? Quite often the happiness flees and despair sets in.
In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is quiet, confident assurance of God’s love in our life – that He will be there no matter what happens. Happiness depends on happenings but joy depends on Jesus Christ. To illustrate this, consider the life of Paul. In 2 Corinthians, we get a glimpse of some of Paul’s ordeal. Starting in verse 23 of Chapter 11, we read in part, “…in far more labours, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I have received from the Jews, thirty nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.” And it goes on for 3 more verses. And in the next chapter, Paul talks about the thorn in his flesh. So did anyone detect any hint of happiness in these verses? Nope, me neither.
But in these circumstances, Paul speaks about joy. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is sometimes referred to as Paul’s “joy” letter. He had a special relationship with that church. They were a great encouragement to him in spite of his circumstances and he responded by writing them this personal letter of love and affection. It emphasizes the real joy of the Christian life. In just four chapters the concepts of joy and rejoicing are talked about sixteen times. In a life dedicated to serving Christ, Paul had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and everything in between. He even wrote this letter while he was in prison. Whatever the circumstances, Paul had learned to be content, finding real joy as he focused all of his attention and energy on knowing Christ and obeying Him.
In conclusion, I am going to use Paul’s words from a couple of verses of that letter. “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I might gain Christ, and may be found in Him…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
As we partake of this communion, may we share Paul’s aspiration and seek to know Jesus Christ more and more.”
October 28th, 2018 by Murray Markert
“A heavy curtain was hung in front of the temple, a place reserved for God Himself, called the “Most Holy Place”. Symbolically, the curtain separated the holy God from sinful people. The room was entered only once a year, on the day of Atonement, by the high priest as he made a sacrifice to gain forgiveness for the sins of the people. When Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, showing that His death for our sins had opened the way for us to approach the Most Holy God.
Before we go any further, I would like you to imagine yourself sitting in temple facing the curtain and the Most Holy Place which the curtain was hung across. Jesus draws His last breath, the darkness overcomes the land and the earth shakes and all of a sudden that curtain, which you were forbidden to go behind is torn and there before you stands the crucified Christ, God Incarnated. “19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19-23). Then Christ invites you to commune with Him; to share your intimate thoughts. To tell Him of things that have bothered you and concerned you and broken your heart. To tell Him of your fears of facing tomorrow and what that might encompass. To tell Him of the joy and laughter that surrounds you; to tell Him of your freedoms and abundance He has given you. To tell Him of how you messed up and how your mind has strayed. He then invites you to confess your sins and tell Him your plans to change. He then says you are forgiven and your slate is wiped clean.”
October 21st, 2018 by Ken Hartung
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
“The owner of this body which I have occupied for many years has given notice that he will furnish but little or nothing more for repairs. It’s had a hip replacement and a few stitches but I am advised to be ready to move.
At first this was not a very welcome notice. The surroundings here are in many respects very pleasant, and were it not for the evidence of decay and arthritis, I should consider the house good enough. If you were to see me grease my combine you would see it tremble and totter, and all the braces are not sufficient to make it secure. Yesterday Terry took the grease gun away from me and finished the job. So I am getting ready to move.
It is strange how quickly one’s interest is transferred to the prospective home. I have been consulting maps of the new country and reading descriptions of its inhabitants. The apostle Paul who visited it has returned, and from him I learn that it is beautiful beyond description; language breaks down in attempting to tell of what he heard while there. He says that in order to make an investment there, he has suffered the loss of all things that he owned here, and even rejoices in what others would call making a sacrifice. Jesus, whose love to me has been proven by the greatest possible test, is now there. He has sent me several clusters of the most delicious fruits. After tasting them, all food here seems somewhat tasteless.
Two or three times I have been down by the border of the river that forms the boundary, and have wished myself among the company of those who were singing praises to the King on the other side. My parents and many of my friends have moved there. Before leaving they spoke of my coming later. I have see the smile upon their faces as they passed out of sight. Often I am asked to make some new investments here, but my answer in every case is, “I am getting ready to move.”
The words often on Jesus’ lips in His last days express vividly the idea, “going to the Father.” We too, who are Christ’s people, have vision of something beyond the difficulties and disappointments of this life. We are journeying towards fulfillment, completion, expansion of life. We, too, are “going to the Father.” Much is dim concerning our home-country, but two things are clear. It is home, “the Father’s House.” It is the nearer presence of the Lord. We are all wayfarers, but the believer knows it and accepts it. He is a traveler, not a settler.”
(Streams in the Desert, October 21st, 2018 – R.C. Gillie)
October 14th, 2018 by Allen Webber (in part, Bill Pritchett)
“Coming to the communion table is a time to stop and reflect on how merciful God is. It is a time to recognize that despite our best efforts, apart from Christ, we are nothing and can do nothing. If we dare to assume that whatever God requires of us, that we might have the slightest power in ourselves to do it, we render the power of the cross and the grace of Jesus Christ of no value.
I would like to quote John Owens (a preacher and writer from he 1600’s) “The purpose of our holy and righteous God was to save His church, but their sin could not go unpunished. It was, therefore, necessary that the punishment for that sin be transferred from those who deserved it but could not bear it, to one who did not deserve it but was able to bear it.” The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death, and someone has to pay. There is a penalty which has to accompany our transgressions. Mankind has sinned and therefore is the only one who should pay and yet he cannot, being himself sinful. God has demanded payment and yet is the only One who could pay. However, He actually should not, being Himself holy.
Since God was the only One who could pay He did so with the blood of His Son. The Son of God became sin and bore the wrath of His Father, being a curse on our behalf. He became our substitution, dying for our sins, in our place. He did not deserve to die, we did, but He willingly became obedient to the payment required, that we might be reconnected to God. We deserved to die and owed a payment, but He purchased our freedom. Consequently, God has been declared both just and the justifier of the justified.
We could, in no way possible, clean ourselves to the point that our debt has been paid, we cannot do enough good to no longer need Jesus and the cross. So when we come to communion, our minds go to the fact that, yes, we are sinners, in need of a Saviour, but our minds don’t have to stay there, because with Jesus, it doesn’t end there.
As an epilogue to the cross, Jesus had victory over death and now sits at the right hand of God and He waits in anticipation for God’s perfect timing to bring us into eternity.”
October 7th, 2018 by Pastor Dave
September 30th, 2018 by Brian Markert
“Tomorrow is the first day of the season for the ice to be in at the Vulcan arena and kicks off the hockey season for a lot of the kids in our church. I am coaching Ben’s and Dawson’s team again this year and as I prepared for our first coach’s meeting and first practice I was reminded again of the similarities of a hockey team and the Body of Christ. I have no intentions of offending anyone by making this comparison I am simply trying to make sense of something that can be confusing and hard for me to articulate by using something as simple as sports.
There were three main points in Dat’s sermon last week regarding the body of Christ or As Ephesians 4:1 says “to walk worthy of the calling in which you have been called.”
1) Be in relationship with God
2) Be Holy
3) Be in service
I want to zoom in on point number two and play “what if.” What does it mean to be Holy? First off you can’t be holy without being in relationship with God or being in service. What does it mean to you to be holy?
Lets flip being holy into my sports analogy. What does it look like to be a good hockey player? Well that would depend on your age and your experience. If you are just learning hockey it would be someone who works hard at skating and puck handling drills to improve their basic skills, asking for help when they don’t know what they are doing, learning from their mistakes. Well to a new Christian, holiness would be similar. Figuring out who God is, the impact he has on you and others, wrestling with the contrasts between a faith based life and a worldly one, asking for help and learning from their mistakes.
What about a fifteen-year-old bantam player who desires a hockey career? At this point he has to start making some decisions and plans about what it takes to get to the next level. He has to put extra time in at the gym so his stride is more explosive, he has to start shooting 1000 pucks a day so that his shot is so natural he doesn’t have to think about it during a game. He probably has an NHL player that he looks up to and is modeling his game after. He still asks questions and learns from his mistakes. What does holiness look like for a maturing Christian? They probably have a formal or informal mentor that they can rely on for correction and advice. Prayer and study is a major part of their lives. They have memorized scriptures that are important to them and they seek to carry out what they believe to be God’s calling on their lives.
What about a professional hockey player? There dedication to their craft is incredible. Their strength-training program is custom designed for their body type. They have trimmed all empty sugars and carbs from their diet. Nothing unhealthy touches their lips. They avoid unnecessary risks in their lives so that their bodies are at peak performance for every game, for every battle in the corner or in front of the net. Their self-discipline is unrivalled. They are in constant communication with their coaches, teammates and trainers. They rehash what worked, what didn’t work and why.
Now lets play “What if.” What if your and what if my self-discipline in the pursuit of holiness rivaled that of a professional athlete? What if I studied the scriptures to the point where I understood the who, what, where, when why and how of every scripture. What if I memorized scripture to the point where I didn’t have to think of it and it would just role of my tongue when I needed it? What if I didn’t allow any empty sugars or carbs to enter my mind in the form of TV or social media? What would change if we as individuals pursued holiness?
What if this was the norm in our churches in Vulcan, Canada, the world? What if we were in constant communication with God, our mentors, each other? What if we as the Body of Christ pursued holiness together?
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
September 23rd, 2018 given by Ken Hartung
“Why is Communion a Celebration of Jesus Death and Resurrection?
Just before Jesus died, He gathered His disciples together for one more meal with them. It was at that time that He gave them a ceremony to help them remember that He had died for their sins, their healing and that He would come again to take them to heaven. We call this ceremony “Communion” or “the Lord’s Supper”.
Jesus took ordinary food items. He took a piece of bread and broke it in pieces and gave the pieces to His disciples. He said, “This is my body given for you: do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” Churches today use bread or crackers, and wine or grape juice. It really doesn’t matter what is used for Communion; what’s important is remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Communion is a sacrament in which the cup and bread symbolize Christ’s death on the cross and the shedding of His blood for the sins of mankind. When believers participate in communion, they acknowledge with great joy that Christ died for them personally.
What’s odd is that these early followers of Jesus didn’t get together to celebrate His teachings or how wonderful He was. They came together regularly to have a celebration meal for one reason: to remember that Jesus had been publicly slaughtered in a grotesque and humiliating way.
Think about this in modern terms. If a group of people loved John F. Kennedy, they might meet regularly to remember his confrontation with Russia, his promotion of civil rights, and his charismatic personality. But they’re not going to celebrate the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered him!
How could great joy accompany the acknowledgment of the horrifying death of the founder of one ‘s religion unless that death was followed by a resurrection that offers personal redemption?
The celebration of communion only makes sense on the basis of conviction that Jesus truly arose from the dead on the third day after His death, as the Scriptures record.
And you can be sure that Jesus is alive today! Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
September 16th, 2018 by Dale Doner
September 9th, 2018 by Murray Markert
In the middle of July, we were on the highway between Banff and Lake Louise. That highway follows along the Bow River for many miles. I could not help to notice virtually all the snow in the mountains around had melted; there had been minimal rain and yet the river keeps flowing. At winter time when there is minimal melting the river keeps flowing as well. The same could be said about all rivers in the Bow River and the Old Man waterscapes – the water keeps flowing. When you stop to think about it – it is quite remarkable, what God has created. With the water that comes from these two river basins, it supports industry, recreation, crop protection, livestock and sustains human life. Without it, life in southern Alberta would be quite different. This water is not unlike the water the Samaritan woman drew from the well Jacob had given them. It was used to sustain human life and water their herds and flocks. But as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman “whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again.” This is as true today as it was two thousand years ago. Jesus continued on “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Many spiritual functions parallel physical functions. As our bodies hunger and thirsts so do our souls, but our souls need spiritual food and water. The Living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word can satisfy our hunger and thirsty souls.
In John 7:38-39, Jesus refers Living Water to the Holy Spirit and eternal life – for whoever accepts the Holy Spirit eternal life follows. So there you have it – Christ has offered us living water to feed our souls on into eternity and when we fall short – when we are not drinking His living water – He offered His body and blood as a sacrifice so our souls can be cleansed and presentable to God the Father. Truly amazing!
September 2nd, 2018 by Allen Webber (in part, taken from Jenn Watkins)
Human memory is a tricky thing. Despite all the technological advances of the past several years, despite all that we’ve learned about biology and anatomy and physiology, we still don’t understand it. Researchers with years of training and experience are just now beginning to scratch the surface of how our brains work, just now beginning to learn the basics of how we record, store, and retrieve the things that happen to us.
Neuroscientists have identified three broad categories of memory – short term, long term, and working memory. Short term memory can hold approximately seven to ten pieces of information for about 20-30 seconds at a time. Things like a phone number or email address you need to jot down before you forget or something that someone said to you this morning as you came to church but has already faded away or is in the process of doing so. Long term memory is kept indefinitely. These are events you remember from your life (friends and classmates you had in school or even your teachers), facts about the world you’ve retained (events that have happened that caused you to go over them multiple times to seer into your memory) or skills that you have (like riding a bicycle or balancing on a pair of skates). And working memory often draws from both short-term and long-term memory. It’s what you use to reason, to process new information, to complete tasks and to store new memories. But your brain doesn’t consciously record and store information unless some significance is attached to it. You must focus on an event or a fact in your working memory to make it stick. You must think about it, remember it or relive it to make it become a long-term memory. And these same scientists have been able to study and begin to figure out the process by which these three types of memory store and manage information.
So now, let’s bring this into communion. Long before modern science even came close to understanding the mechanisms of memory, the God of all the universe, the One who knows how our minds and our memories function, the One who knows our brain inside and out, down to the smallest atom, commanded us to remember, to remember this communion, to take the bread and cup with purpose. He knew our brains needed to ‘relive’ events to create long-term memories. He knew that the creation of such memories literally changes our minds. He told us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and He gave us the exact way to do just that.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says this, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink in it, in remembrance of me.”
Remember. Remember what He has done and is doing and will do. Remember who He is and who you are. Dwell on His goodness, His love, His sacrifice, and His mercy. And consider your own desperate need for Him. And make sure these thoughts are in your long-term memory.”
August 26th, 2018 by Rob Maerz
“1 Corinthians 11:24 ‘And when he (Jesus) had given thanks, he broke it, and said, take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me’.
C.H. Spurgeon, in his “The Remembrance of Christ” wrote reflecting on this passage saying “it seems then, that Christians may forget Christ. The text implies the possibility of forgetfulness. Concerning Him Whom gratitude and affection should contrain them to remember.” Which is why I believe that, God in His great wisdom, didn’t just relegate Christ to the New Testament but gave us captivating tales in the Old Testament. Tales from our childhood that became planted deep into our memory, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and the coat of many colors, and Moses. All these, and too many to list for the sake of time, are all ‘TYPES’ and ‘SHADOWS’ of Christ. (John 5:46). Turn with me to Judges – are we all familiar with the acount of Samson?
Starting in chapter 13:3 “…and the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman and said unto her, behold now, thou art baren, and barest not; but thou shalt conceive, and bare a son. Now therefore bewatre, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink and eat not any unclean thing; for, lo, thou shalt conceive and bare a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines”.
From his birth, Samson had never cut his hair. As you might suspect his hair grew to a long length and for practical reasons he restrained his hair into 7 locks/baids – 16:13,19. Why?? Turn with me to Revelation 5:6 “and I beheld, and lo, in the mist of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth”.
The 7 locks/braids represent the 7 spirits of God, turn to Isaiah 11 “and there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grown out of his roots; and the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, and the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD”.
- The spirit of the Lord 2. Wisdom 3. Understanding 4. Counsel 5. MIght 6. Knowledge and 7. The fear of the Lord! Turn again to Judges 16:23. So Samson has had his hair cut off and he is now a captive of the Philistines!
16:23 “then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god and to rejoice, for they said, our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” And in John 18 we read of our Lord in the garden before the Crucifixion. Judas comes with a band of men and officers to arrest Jesus and take him before the high priests, then on to Pilate to stand a mock trial to then be made sport of, then to be crucified.
Judges 16:27-30 “Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there, and there were upon the roof about 3 thousand men and women; that beheld while Samson made, sport.” Why 3 thousand? Turn to 1 John 2:15-16 “for love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”. Why 3?
- Lust of the flesh 2. Lust of the eyes 3. Pride of life. What did Christ tell us in John 16:33 “in this world ye shall tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world”.
I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!! Judges 16:30 “and Samson said, let me die with the Philistines, and he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people where therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
Hebrews 2:14 “for as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself lifewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”.
Through the death of Christ, by His blood, He slays the lusts of the world and the sting of death (1 Corinthians 15:55) and the devil.
Christ, God made flesh (John 1, Heb.1,3 Rev. 1:17, Isa. 48:12) come to this world to be born of the flesh, lived a sinless life unspotted by the lusts of the world and temptations of the devil; and to freely lay down His life that we, a sinful people, bound by the chains of the lusts of this world; could have life by and through his death; and what a life without Christ? That end is also seen in our text Judges 16:30 “and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were therein.”
There are only two positions to take – that of Samson, Christ, and live through His death, or live, as the lords ‘high on the roof tops’ only to have your world be brought down about you and die in your sin. Samson, before he dies, had his eyes taken from him preventing him from seeing – seeing the statues and prestige, the ‘kindness’ of the Philistines were showing each other on the roof. The only thing that mattered was; if you were on the roof, you died! Christ, likewise is not going to judge you based on ‘deeds’ if you are on the roof living without Christ; you will fall into destruction.
John 3:14-18 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus Paid it All – verse 1. “I hear the Saviour say ‘thy strength in deed is small, child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.” Verse 3. “For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim, I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
August 19th, 2018 by Brian Markert
While thinking and praying about what God wanted to me to share today it seemed like I had a hundred ideas floating around my head to share but none of them came out coherent when I tried to write them down. I kept coming back to two Scriptures.
A parable in Luke 18:10-14
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I posses.” And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
II Chronicles 7:14
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
August 12th, 2018 by Dale Doner
August 5th, 2018 by Ken Hartung
Thoughts from John 10.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
10:11. Jesus then developed the sheep/shepherd figure in a third way. When evening settled over the land of Palestine, danger lurked. In Bible times lions, wolves, jackals, panthers, leopards, bears, and hyenas were common in the countryside. The life of a shepherd could be dangerous. When David was a shepherd boy there is an Old Testament story that illustrated David’s fights with at least one lion and one bear. Jesus said, I am the Good Shepherd. In the Old Testament, God is called the Shepherd of His people….. Jesus is this to His people, and He came to give His life for their benefit. He is also the “Great Shepherd” and “the Chief Shepherd” .
12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
10:12–13. In contrast with the Good Shepherd, who owns, cares, feeds, protects, and dies for His sheep, the one who works for wages—the hired hand—does not have the same commitment. He is interested in making money and in self-preservation. If a wolf attacks, he runs away and his selfishness causes the flock to be scattered. Obviously he cares nothing for the sheep. Israel had many false prophets, selfish kings, and imitation messiahs. The flock of God suffered constantly from their abuse.
14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
10:14–15. In contrast with a hired workman, the Good Shepherd has an intimacy with and personal interest in the sheep. I know My sheep stresses His ownership and watchful oversight. My sheep know Me stresses their reciprocal knowledge of and intimacy with Him. This intimacy is modeled on the loving and trusting mutual relationship of the Father and the Son. Jesus’ care and concern is evidenced by His prediction of His coming death for the flock. Jesus willingly gave His life for His sheep—on their behalf as their Substitute His death gives them life.
We have a firm hope…….O death where is your sting……O grave where is your victory. We have an overcomer in our lives. Jesus is the overcomer when we received Jesus Christ as our Savior. He destroyed….he trampled down death by death. The overcomer lives in you the moment you received Christ. We need that great hope.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary.
July 22nd, 2018 by Pastor Dave Sarsons
“Do not be influenced by the importance of the writer, and whether his learning be great or small, but let the love of pure truth draw you to read. Do not inquire, “Who said this?” But pay attention to what is said. Men pass away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.” – Thomas A Kempis
“Self Examination (1 Corinthians 11:28) A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
It is rather interesting that the medical profession will so frequently encourage the practice of self examination. After all, the doctor knows so much more than you and I, should we not let him do the examining? It is standard practice to encourage the patient to examine himself or herself. The reason is relatively simple: the tests performed by the medical profession are often painful, intrusive, obnoxious – and expensive. Even worse is the treatment which comes after the tests. Surgery, one doctor reminded me, is nothing more than a friendly attack with a knife.
But the surgery can be lessened or even avoided – if the disease is detected in time. That’s why self examination is so much encouraged: the sooner you see it, the lighter the task of curing it. Some of us, however, take our dislike of going to the doctor (a male fault, for the most part, in my observation) to the extreme of never performing a self examination. We’re afraid of what we might find, You think not? Have you ever felt around inside your mouth and discovered something that “felt funny?” Did you have the temptation to say, “Well, it’s probably nothing – no need to call the dentist on this one?” Of course, when it begins to hurt, you’ll hear the dentist say those painful words, “I wish you had come in when you first noticed this.”
The purpose of self examination is not to prevent the disease. It is to minimize the impact the disease has, and provide the swiftest, least painful cure. That is exactly the same purpose that self examination has for the Christian. You and I are sinners. We are going to sin; if we “let that sin go,” it will become a habit of voice so very hard to break. But if we catch it early, God, the Great Physician, can deal with it gently and root it out. So our spiritual physican prescribes a weekly period of self examintion. It’s a time for a check of our attitudes and our habits. In a medical examination, the doctor will tell you what to look for. He’ll tell you what “normal” looks and feels like, and then leaves it to you to find something that doesn’t match the pattern. So it is with our heavenly Physician. He has given us the pattern we should conform to – our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we approach the Lord’s Supper, we should be fully aware of our sins. For there is one thing else. More and more, doctors are discovering that the patient is a very important part of the cure. It is so in spiritual life as well. If you will not examine yourself, you will not confess your sins. If you will not confess, you will not repent. If you will not repent, you cannot be forgiven. Healing power is His; the next step is ours.”
July 15th, 2018 by Allen Webber
I want to talk about a little word called hope. And I ‘hope’ to illustrate how we can use this word in a very superficial way right through to a way that describes, in part, the relationship that we have with God.
Firstly, we can use hope in a very ‘casual’ sense. We use it in our lives every day without giving much regard to how we use it. It speaks to a certain desire of an outcome to an issue that is immediately before us. An example would be hoping there is little traffic on the freeway, or hoping you find a parking spot at the mall, or hoping your favorite sports team wins the trophy. It’s probably not that critical, that what you might hope for in this sense, is important enough to lose sleep over.
Secondly, we can us hope in a more ‘precious’ sense. In this case, the hopes we have are for things that can be far more serious and have life altering implications. They tend to be concerned with issues that surround life itself. We will pray diligently for these hopes and even become actively involved in processes that might bring resolution to what we are hoping for. And yes, we can lose sleep over these. They might include the health and welfare of a family member or a loved one. You might have hopes that your children do well in schoool or they make wise choices in life. You may have hopes that members of your family or neighbours would be saved and come to know the Lord. Your concerns might also be for job security and for a lot of you here today you might even hope for rain. But even these precious hopes will have fairly temporal limitations to them, one of them being the uncertainty of the outcome.
But lastly, we can use hope in an ‘ultimate’ sense. This communion celebrates that hope that we have in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Along with this hope, comes the calm assurance that Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to bridge the divide, to cover over the separation from omniscient God to carnal man. This hope now becomes the anchor of our souls. It’s this hope that causes us to come to church, to worship the Lord, to relish in His Word and have the desire to tell others of His saving grace. There is no anxiety in this hope, no worry or fear, just victory. And this ultimate hope we have tells us ‘the best is yet to come’.”
July 8th, 2018 by Dale Doner
“I will start with Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” We got it on our table here; we’ve heard it lots and lots. So let’s look at the pattern Jesus used again and again. I was going back over the time in my life when I didn’t read the Bible and that ended in 2002 when a fellow up in Didsbury looked at me softly as said ‘I have no idea what to do in your situation; I haven’t made the same choices you have.’ But then he said these words ‘go find your Bible and read it and I will pray for you and I will encourage you as God directs me to’. Where did that pattern come from and why did it work? Moses had used it with Aaron; Elijah used it with Elijah, and Paul in 1 Timothy used it for Timothy and Jesus used it many times with His disciples. In Luke 22:19 it stands that teaching and encouragement used hand in hand produce the results that the bible has lots of stories of including our stories as well. In this passage, the encouragement that Jesus gives us is “to remember”. How do we remember Him? What is He to us? What do we actually long for Him to become? This remembrance was often presented by people who were petitioning for their position in the conversation – the thief on the cross, Jeremiah said remember the old ways, the good ways and go walk in them and Nehemiah said remember me for good. Then previous to all t his – the 10 Commandments was to remember. Jesus is petitioning us to remember Him every time we have communion. What does He want us to remember Him for? He knew what was facing Him. Eleven of His disciples were there to hear Jesus’ teaching ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). There is the teaching and the encouragement – take heart. Teaching and encouragement works in Jesus’ petition to remember Him; the instruction that we say in our communion thought every Sunday is based on a petition that keeps His dream going. Hebrews 10:35-36 ““ So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Jesus is petitioning us to remember – to not throw away our confidence and He encourages us that we will be richly rewarded and we just have to persevere because all we can do is His best in His name. This is the stewardship model that He asks us to do. Isn’t it nice to not have to control outcomes anymore? My Savior delivered me from having to deliver outcomes. In “remembrance of Me”, He is passes us the encouragement of Hebrews 10:35-36.”
July 1st, 2018 by Murray Markert
“Once in a while I like to look back into previous Communion thoughts. Firstly because I run short of time and secondly its an old guy check for me. I want to make sure my enthusiasm for and my wonder of our Lord and His plan for my salvation do not lose a youthful perspective.
This morning I would like to present one for a while back – as it was given. There is one spot that reads “several months ago”; you will have to insert in your minds “20 years ago”.
When we listen to someone minister to us in a word or song sometimes we cannot tell you what their message was five minutes after they spoke. Sometimes we hear a message, mull it over, file it to memory and that message will help shape our being. Every so often we hear a message that we continually reread. It becomes a life clanging cymbal and will go off when we least expect it. “Several months ago”, a young lady sang a song in this church and the chorus goes “Seize the day, seize whatever you can cause life slips away just like hourglass sand. Seize the day, pray for grace from God’s hand and nothing will stand in your way.” Those words “seize the day”, ever since I heard them, are in the back of my mind. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that we are predestined to be God’s children through Jesus Christ. That we were chosen to be His followers before creation. But what wasn’t chosen was how our relationship with Him would be. That is our choice. We have the opportunity in our lives to seize the opportunity to deepen and strengthen our relationship with our Lord and Savior or we can just let time pass and slip away just like hourglass sand. We have the opportunity to seize our lives and live them in accordance with God’s plan. Each new day is the first day of the rest of our lives. The lives of all of us here are influenced by past events that have occurred in our lives. Some of the negative things that have occurred can be used as excuses why we cannot live our lives to the fullest or live it for Christ. Each new day we have the choice when we wake up in the morning to use the baggage that comes along with us as an excuse or we can seize the opportunity to pray for grace from God’s hand in our lives and nothing will stand in our way.
How did Christ, the man, seize the day? After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, He seized the opportunity to reject the temptations of satan. He chose not to accept the things that might have given Him immediate power, but rather chose to carry out the plan to save the world from sin. He chose God’s plan.
As we come to the Lord’s table this morning, it can mean different things for all of us:
- If we have not accepted Christ, we can use this opportunity here and now to seize our pre-destination and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.
- If our relationship with Christ has been a little shaky, we can seize this opportunity to rededicate and recommit our lives to Him.
- If our relationship with Christ is good, we can thank Him for His blessings, confess our sins and pray for an even deeper and stronger relationship
As we come before You, Lord, to partake of these emblems which proclaim Your death until You come again. We would like to seize the opportunity to commit ourselves to serve You or to serve You more fully. We pray we will allow the Holy Spirit within us to guide and direct our lives and we will not allow our lives to slip away like the hourglass sand, but live our lives in accordance with Your plan. And we ask for Your blessing. Amen”
June 24th, 2018 by Allen Webber
“The Privilege of Communion
Communion is a very important privilege to participate in. The fact that we observe it every week tells me that we understand that importance. I want to give you three thoughts to keep in mind as we partake.
- This communion has remembrance value. In 1 Corinthians 11:24, we read, “…do this in remembrance of Me.” It is a divine desire of God to be remembered. All throughout the Old and New Testament, page after page, chapter after chapter, and book after book, God earnestly wanted and wants His people to remember Him. From what we see in His creation, from what we learn from His Scriptures, from what we can grasp of His grace and mercy through Jesus Christ on the cross, and right through to Revelation where Jesus declares, “I am alive for evermore”, and God’s glory is ever-present and on display for us to remember Him. There is such a comforting simplicity in the words ‘I am alive for evermore’ because they assure us of eternal life.
- This communion has fellowship value. Whether we be a farmer, a businessman, a teacher, or a pastor, those titles mean nothing at this table. The common thread that we have though is that we are all sinners saved by grace, and we are ‘one body’ in Christ. That understanding should give us humility to banish any earthly differences and to celebrate the unity of fellowship we have together with the Lord.
- This communion has prophetic value. In Luke 22 we read, “I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” and “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” This teaches us to look forward to the grand finale of all things. In these two statements, God says that victory and triumph are ahead for His people. And so, His best things are yet to come. Through Christ, we are members of a conquering cause and if we serve and suffer with Him here, we shall also reign with Him hereafter and forever in the presence of God.”
June 17th, 2018 by Brian Markert
“Reactions to Jesus
Before I start I want to encourage everyone here to go home and read the passages I am focusing on and see what it says to you. The only thing that we can accept as pure truth is that which is written in the bible, not what me or anyone else says about it. I and everyone else who shares at the front of this church strive to be correct but we are not perfect like the scriptures are. Challenge everything taught by the light of God’s written word.
I wanted to focus today’s communion thought on how people react to Jesus after interacting with him. I randomly opened up the gospels and started reading where I saw red writing, which in a lot of bibles is used to indicate Jesus speaking. I’m simply going to quickly paraphrase the context of what occurred and focus on the interactions of Jesus and the people around him.
Jesus had spent a lot of time preaching in parables. Then He and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was sleeping and a storm came. The disciples feared for their lives, which I feel was a pretty reasonable feeling considering the situation. Jesus calmed the storm then said to them “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
As soon as Jesus got off the boat he encountered a man possessed by many demons. He cast them into a heard of 2000 pigs. All the pigs ran off a cliff and into the sea and died. The people who fed the pigs begged him to leave the region. The man who was demon possessed begged to go with him. Jesus’ response was very interesting. He said, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and He has had compassion on you.”
A synagogue leaders child was dead and Jesus raised her back to life. Everyone was astonished and Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone.
A woman was bleeding for 12 years and she had faith that Jesus could heal her if she touched his robe. Jesus asked, “who touched me?” the women was trembling with fear. Jesus’ instructions were “Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Jesus went back to his hometown, Nazareth and performed some miracles. Many were amazed by his miracles but then took offence because they viewed him as a peer.
To recap the recap.
Calming of the storm-He expected more faith out of his disciples who had witnessed many miracles and teachings.
Demons leaving a man and killing pigs-A man had experienced a miracle and wanted to follow Jesus but was told to go home and share.
Synagogue leaders child healed-Witnesses to a girl being raised from her deathbed were instructed to keep quiet.
A woman healed-was a gift of freedom from her suffering.
Miracles in Nazareth-People were offended when one of their own did great things.
Everything that has happened in this one and a half chapters of Mark are miraculous yet circumstances were very different and Jesus instructed individuals differently in every situation. Every single person here is created with a purpose. None of which are identical to the other.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these.”
How God desires you to fulfill these commandments will be very different for you then me. Don’t be like the pig farmer who was blinded by financial loss and asked Jesus to leave and don’t be like the people of Nazareth who were offended when one of their own did great things.
I want to propose a twofold challenge. This week, or even today, share something ordinary in your life that God has used to teach you. If you can’t think of someone to share with pick someone here. I think you might be amazed at the conversations that will happen. The second part of the challenge is if you see something done that is good let the person know. Do not stop to think about their history or your history or the motivation. Simply recognize good when it happens.”
June 10th, 2018 by Murray Markert
“After any championship game of any sporting event the players of the victorious team jump around and hug each other, the fans of the winning team do what they do – they too will jump, hug and scream. Then some sportscaster will ask the star of the game “How do you feel right now?” or “Is this the greatest feeling you ever have had?” Because a championship victory is only temporary and the next year the chances are good there will be a new victor, they celebrate wildly because the glory will soon be gone.
When Jesus was crucified, His body broken, His blood shed, things temporarily looked pretty good for Satan. He had gotten Judas to participate in his plan to end Jesus’ mission and now Jesus was dead and buried. But the good news is Jesus, three days later, rose from the dead and He became the victor! Although Jesus was not the first to rise from the dead, He was the first to never die again. He is the forerunner of us, the proof of our eventual resurrection to eternal life. Jesus’ victory is not temporary; it only needed to happen once and His victory and glory are eternal.
The resurrection of Jesus is the center of our Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead as promised, we know what He said is true – He is God. Because He rose, we have certainty that our sins are forgiven. Because He rose, He lives and represents us to God the Father. Because He rose and defeated death and Satan, we know we will also be raise.
Victory in Jesus “O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood”
June 3rd, 2018 by Allen Webber
Faith is a word that can have a number of meanings. It can mean faithfulness as found in Matthew 24, describing slaves being faithful to their masters. It can mean absolute trust, as shown by some of the people who came to Jesus for healing in Luke 7. It can mean absolute confident hope as found in Hebrews 11. Or, as James points out, it can mean a belief in something else that does not result in any goodness whatsoever. But in Romans, Paul speaks of saving faith.
It is very important to understand faith as Paul uses the word because he ties faith so closely to salvation. Faith is not something we do in order to earn salvation – if that were true, then faith would be just one more deed and the Scriptures clearly declare that human deeds can never save us. Instead, faith is a gift God gives us because He is saving us. It is God’s grace, not our faith, that saves us. In His mercy, however, when He saves us He gives us faith – faith in a relationship with His Son that helps us to become like Him. And through this faith, He carries us from death to life.
Even in Old Testament times, grace, not deeds, was the basis of salvation. Hebrews points out, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” God intended for His people to look beyond the animal sacrifices to Him. But, all too often, they put their confidence in the fulfilling the requirements of the Law – that is performing the required sacrifices. When Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, and triumphed over death, He canceled the charges against us and opened the way to God. And because He is merciful, He offers us faith.
And so, as we consider communion, a number of things should come to mind. It is a time to reflect on each of our relationships with God and that they are based on the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. We are to remember the broken body and blood of Christ. And we can remember the gift of faith.”
May 27th, 2018 Ken Hartung taking from Jon Courson Application Commentary, Old Testament Volume 1 (Genesis – Job)
“Grace at the Communion Table
“The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.” Genesis 43:17-18
“Oh, no!” said Joseph’s brothers. “He’s calling us to his table because he wants to send us away as prisoners – and take our donkeys, too.”
People still have this view of the Greater than Joseph, Jesus Christ. People still say, “I’ve blown it so badly; I’ve erred so greatly; I know the Lord will yell at me, put chains around me, and take my donkey from me if I come to His house.” Not true! Even though these guys have sinned greatly, they will discover incredible grace and unbelievable mercy because Joseph is a picture of Jesus, and where sin abounds, His grace abounds more (Romans 5:20). When you are aware of your failings, your weakness, your inconsistencies, your stubbornness, rebellion, and sin, there’s a tendency to say, “I can’t go to church because I know Jesus is mad at me. If I go, I’ll be bound with rules and regulations; I’ll be sent away to the prison of condemnation; and on top of all that, I’ll lose my donkey.”
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9
Through Isaiah, God says, “When someone offends you, is mean or nasty to you, I know that your ways and your thoughts center on one thing: Revenge. But I don’t think like you do. Therefore, I don’t work like you do,” declares the God.
We need to realize how much different the Lord is than we are in our fallen condition, in our depraved nature. God is good, declares the psalmist (Psalm 73:1). He’s just flat out, plain old good – looking for ways not to blast, but to bless.
Some people are afraid to go to the Lord’s Table. On the basis of 1 Corinthians 11:29, they’ve been wrongly taught that if there’s sin in their life and they partake of the elements of Communion, they will do so to their own damnation. But that’s like saying to someone who’s sick, “Before you go to the doctor, get well. Before you go into the hospital, make sure there are no germs within you.” No, we go to the doctor because we’re sick. We go to the hospital because we have a problem. So, too, we go to the Lord’s Table because we realize we’re sinners – for it is at t he Lord’s Table that we are reminded of the work Jesus did on our behalf when He shed His blood to cleanse us from our sin.
Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians regarding Communion speaks volumes about how the early church viewed the Lord’s Table. They didn’t view it with the somber, heavy, fearful, introspective mentality that has crept into Protestant theology. They viewed it as a celebration to such a degree that Paul had to caution against drunkenness (I Corinthians 11:21).
Even though his brothers had blown it incredibly, Joseph says, “Get the meat ready! It’s time to feast with my family!””
May 20th, 2018 by Murray Markert
“I would like to start out this morning reading the instructions God gave Moses on how to build the tabernacle – more specifically how to construct the curtain. I will be reading from Exodus 26:31-33 ““Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.”
The curtain separated the two sacred rooms in the temple. The Holy Place was where the priests entered daily to commune with God and to tend to the altar of incense, the lampstand and the table with the bread of Presence. The Most Holy place was where God dwelt. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year on the day of Atonement, to atone first his sins then then the sins of the nation using the blood of sacrificed animals. God considered the people’s faith and obedience cleansed them from sin and made them ceremonially acceptable according to the Old Testament law. The curtain symbolically separated the Holy God from sinful people.
From Mark 15:37-38 “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two. It showed that His death for our sins had opened up a way for us to approach our Holy God. And it was torn from top to bottom showing that God had opened the way.
As we come to the communion table this morning and partake of these elements, let us remember that Christ sacrificed His body and shed is blood so that we would be made clean from the inside. He rose on the third day to signify the fact that He has the power to conquer death and that we too will enter a new eternal life in God’s Holy Presence. And finally, that when the curtain was torn it gave each of us direct access, any time or place, to our Holy God through Jesus Christ.”
May 13th, 2018 by Ken Hartung
“Some skeptics and critics see the resurrection of Jesus as a phony story. Some facts to consider:
- Jesus was dead – no dispute among scholars that Jesus was dead; this is indisputable even among atheists; Jesus was dead before the wound in His side was inflicted.
- Resurrection – early reports came so quickly of the resurrection of Jesus; this story could not be written off as legend; one report of the resurrection including names of eyewitnesses that has been dated back to within months of the death of Jesus. (p.76) (I Corinthians 15:3-8)
- Empty tomb – opponents of Jesus said the tomb was empty.
- Nine ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirm the conviction of the disciples. The disciples encountered the resurrected Jesus.
a. Non-Biblical ancient manuscripts – Talmud (ancient Jewish work); Josephus; Tacitus; Pliny the younger
b. Ancient Biblical manuscripts written to within 45 years of the historical event – Matthew; Mark; Luke; John; Acts; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Other ancient sources claim that disciples suffered as a result of their proclamation that Jesus had risen.
Why – had they heard a rumor that they heard Jesus was risen. No – they were there – they touched Him, they ate with Him, they talked to Him. They knew the truth and they were willing to proclaim the truth even despite the suffering they endured.
Based on historical data Jesus calmed to be the Son of God and He backed up that claim when He was resurrected from the dead.
Jesus was the Lamb of God who took our sin upon Himself and suffered the punishment and death on our behalf. When we confess our sin and receive the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased for us on the cross, at that moment we become a child of God. The Resurrection of Jesus is not fiction, but historical reality – not based on mythology or make believe or wishful thinking, but based on solid foundation of historical truth.”
May 6th, 2018 by Rob Maerz
Matthew 27:33-54 King James Version (KJV)
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 And set up over his head his accusation written, This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews.38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Verse 35 states…”And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoke by the prophet,…”
And so to what prophet was spoken of; what prophecy was needing to be fulfilled? Three out of six prophecies fulfilled in this chapter of Matthew are from Psalm 22. The other three are: v.9 Jeremiah 32:6-9; Zechariah 11:12-13; v.48 Psalm 69:21; Psalm 22 will be my focus today.
Psalm 22:1-8 King James Version (KJV)
22 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
v. 6 “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, despised of the people.”
Websters Dictionary 1828: defines Worm: “in comman usage, any small creeping animal, or reptitle, either entirely without feet, or with very short ones”
Snakes would fit this definition, would they not?
6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
v.6 “And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.” Does this remind you of anything? Genesis 3:1-6
v. 6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good…and they eyes of them both were opened.
Deuteronomy 32:33 states that following others’ word over His is as taking into yourself poison or venon.
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: 33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
The words spoken to Eve were/are poison. We, in Adam, disobeyed God.
Numbers 21:8 “And the LORD said ….” Do you believe this statement?
THE LORD SAID – John 6:63 “63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
If you are not saved turn to Christ and believe.
Numbers 21:8 “8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
John 3:15 (as Jesus speaks to Nicodemus) “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
It’s summed up like this, a perfect image of what Christ did; with all this in mind the perfect summary – 2 Corinthians 5:21 “21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ took upon Himself the very image of sinful man that we could take on the image of sinless God through the Son.
Are you looking to Christ? Numbers 21:8 “Look and live.”
And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
April 29th, 2018 by Allen Webber
“Prayer in the Garden
In Mark 14:32-36, we read this text: “They came to a place called Gethsemane and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him, Peter, James and John and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved t the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it was possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
I want to pick up on the words ‘deeply grieved to the point of death’. It was at this point that the humanity of Jesus realized the magnitude, the enormity, the infinite weight of the burden He was about to bear. After all, the weight of the sin of the whole world was going to be placed on Him. His initial reaction was to ask God to let this cup pass from Him – to not let this whole ordeal of the cross be endured by Him. But then, Jesus refocused His thoughts and prayers to make sure that God’s will be done and not His.
But Jesus, the Son of God, was not the only One suffering at the cross. God, the Father, was suffering as well, but in a different way. Jesus was the One Who was actually suffering the infinite wrath of God, in our place, making our salvation possible. But it was God, the Father, Who, with feelings of deepest agony imaginable, poured out that wrath on His own Son.
But we also need to speak of God, the Holy Spirit, as well. As Jesus realized the enormous scale of the task that was before Him, He started to become overwhelmed at what seemed to be the impossibility of it all. As He continued to pray though, His initial recoiling disappeared, and His mind and heart were calmed and made ready for the unspeakable ordeal that awaited Him. “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” If there was ever a specific point when the Holy Spirit began to strengthen the man Jesus in the shadow of the cross, this was it. We can visualize the power of the Holy Spirit undergirding the finite humanity of Jesus and giving Him the resolve to see His ‘impossible task’ through to the end.
So, as we meditate on this communion, consider the trinitarian nature of God and how Each were involved and invested in your salvation.”
April 22nd, 2018 by Brian Markert
“I had a friend ask me a question a long time ago that I am going to ask you.
If all God gave us was Jesus to die on the cross for us, would that be enough?
Jesus dying on the cross as a sacrifice for all mankind so that we are no longer slaves to sin and may have eternal life. It’s pretty easy to make the argument that is enough for our praise worship admiration and obedience. Reality is we expect so much more of him. Reality is he has given us so much more.
This week has been really hard for me. I got to coach Mitch Malmberg last year and as such I grew to love him just as I do every single kid I coach. I get to see God’s creation in every single one of those kids and a glimpse into what God has planned for them. I didn’t see Mitch dying at nine years old as part of that plan. I found myself asking a lot of the same questions that my kids were asking me. Why didn’t God use a miracle to save him? Did Mitch know Jesus? It’s not fair he only just started living. All I could say to them is that sometimes we don’t understand God’s plan but we have to trust that he is in control and to continue to pray for God to guide us that we do what he wants us to do.
Later in the week someone sent out a text on the prayer chain reminding us of Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
I relied heavily on that because my mind couldn’t comprehend what was going on around me. Yesterday while helping put the sanctuary back together I was talking to Tom who was talking to Taryn who was talking to someone talking to Mitch. Mitch had said that he knew where he was going and he was comfortable going there and that he got to see his Grandpa. This to me is God answering our prayers and using a miracle to save Mitch.
Reality is we expect so much of God because he gives so much. If all God gave us was Jesus as way to atone for our sins that alone would be enough to demand our obedience and worship. Take joy in the fact that we serve an omnipotent big picture God who is control of the universe but also provides for each of us personally as well.”
April 15th, 2018 by Dennis Teichroeb
“What is Communion? There have been over the years many traditions in taking Communion. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians on the subject, they had been allowing their own self-interest to defile the whole purpose of Communion. By not allowing the poor to be included in the sacrament until after the rich had eaten their fill and in so doing, often would have nothing left for the poor.
The dictionary describes communion as follows:
The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
As I read that, it says to me, that we are intimately connected to our God through Jesus, and we are also connected with all other Christians. We need to examine ourselves, as well as encourage and to hold each other accountable.
The symbol of the cross can then also be used to reflect the connection to our Lord as well as our connection to each other.
In the church we attended in Calgary, we used a confession of faith before we received communion, and it goes like this:
We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against You in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart, we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen
1 John: 1:8-9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
There are some things that are worth restoring rather than renewing. We have those who like to restore cars, furniture, even houses, and yet we hesitate to restore religious traditions. Not all should be restored, and it is not up to me to decide which ones are worth keeping. If it is Scripture based, it is worth looking at. There are some things that never change; the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the full authority of Scripture, the Resurrection, the Gospel and the Second Coming.
1 Corinthians 11:23-24 “…The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:25 “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
April 8th, 2018 by Murray Markert
“I have a habit of ripping out articles that get my attention and placing them in a cubical in my desk for further consideration. A few weeks ago, I needed to clean out my desk and ending up reading them again and two of them jumped out at me again. It is somewhat eerie that one of them involved a horrific accident. Not to the magnitude as the one that took place on Friday with the hockey team [Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Team], but none the less horrific. I even contemplated not using them this morning, but decided to go ahead.
The first article appeared in “Clergy Talk” in the Advocate about four and a half years ago and was written by Pastor Tim Hill. He tells of going to Japan to volunteer at a Bible college and he and his wife took two young people from their church with them. The young lady was asked to stay on for the entire summer and with accepting she got an exhausting schedule doing everything from cleaning to counseling. She thrived under the demands and when asked how she managed, she said, “You just have to concentrate on God and take your eyes off of yourself”.
The second article appeared in the Globe and Mail about three years ago and the event took place in an Amish community in Ontario. It was 4 am and a young lady had gone to the dairy farm where she worked for the morning milking. All chores were done and she was hurrying back home to get to church with her parents. The road home took her through a tightly knit Amish community who held their services in people’s homes on a rotating basis. The Amish had been busy in the morning getting their chores done as well as they could be on time for their service. As the young lady was coming to the community, the sun was just coming over the horizon glaring onto her windshield. This occurred at the time a young Amish man and family had just turned onto the road with their buggy on the way to their neighbour for a church service. All of the Amish community has just left their homes or just about the time to leave so all knew almost simultaneously of the crash that took place. As it turned out, the young father was the only one who lost his life. What followed is what I found incredible. As well as comforting their own, the Amish reached out to the young driver and offered her the same comfort as they did their own. They followed that comforting up making several visits to her home to make sure she was alright. She was asked to the funeral so she could get closure to the accident along with the young father’s family.
After the last supper was finished, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but Yours be done”. Jesus knew three things were to happen – He was going to have an excruciating death, He was going to be totally separated from His Father for a period of time and He would have to carry the sins of the world. Despite all that, He focused on the purpose His heavenly Father had sent Him. The young lady from Champion had understood the need to concentrate on what is important and had made it part of her life.
After the supper, Jesus prayed for all future believers (that meant you and me) that we all may be one. That we would share God’s love to the world so the world will know God lives. The Amish in the previous story not only understood that unity – they lived it offering unconditional love.
To concentrate on Him, and to offer unconditional love – something to commune with the Lord about this morning.:
April 1st, 2018 by Allen Webber
“If we were to mark the passage of time by only using the second as the unit of measure, we would quickly reach some very astronomical numbers that would soon render the whole exercise incomprehensible and useless. But I do hope to illustrate how critical one second in time can be.
When we have an Easter Service, invariably the whole service will be focused on the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. You might hear mention of the Last Supper, the betrayals and denials, the prayer of Gethsemane, the mock trial, the scourging and the crucifixion, and finally the resurrection. And rightly so, because the events of the cross, are the very foundation of our faith, the reason we celebrate this communion. If you have no cross, you have no salvation.
But I want you to focus on just one second of what the whole ordeal. And this is the second that Jesus Christ died. Just think of that for a moment. In the time leading up to that final second there would have been confusion, the noise, the anguish, the smells, the fear, the sense of impending death. And then the final second. And as the sky darkened, I am sure a hushed silence would have come over the crowd, finally coming to grips with the gravity of what just happened. I read a few months ago that in the second that Jesus Christ died, it marked the end of the beginning from the beginning of the end. Everything that happened prior to that point was leading up to that point. Even in the story of the creation, where mankind was created to have fellowship with God, but due to the fall of man, that relationship was broken. A Godly answer was needed to restore that relationship. When you consider the progression of stories through the Old Testament, some including some very colorful characters, all were necessary to project and protect the lineage from Abraham to Jesus, and to bring us to the cross. Jesus short ministry was the seed planted to usher in an age of grace and mercy. He taught His followers the Gospel – the good news of salvation – that in turn they would live and teach the same message to all they came in contact with. And just moments before the final second, Jesus uttered these words, “It is finished!” Everything that needed to happen to bring to us to the point of Jesus death was accomplished.
But what now? What of this beginning of the end? What is the end? We have entered into an age of grace and enlightenment. By God’s grace we can understand that the ‘end’ means to be in the presence of God for all eternity. How can we be part of that? What can we do? Quite frankly, nothing. In the final second, God offered us an invitation to be part of His family through Jesus Christ, and He leaves it up to us to accept or reject it. But if we accept, He requires us to do a couple of things. Number one is He wants us to tell others of Jesus and do it in a manner that Jesus taught us – with gentleness and respect. And number two, He wants us to remember the cross.
At the Good Friday Service, there was a backdrop of the cross at the back of the stage. It was of scrappy lumber, some rough hewn 4×6 or similar. It was a little irregular, with some bark still on it in places. And there was a blood stain on the face. God says we are to remember that blood. It was because of us that it is there and it is for us that it is there.
I want to close with some Scripture from Revelation Chapter 21:1-4: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bridge adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away”.”
March 25th, 2018 given by Allen Webber
Why Palm Sunday?
“In Matthew 21:1-11, we can read this, “As they approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell them that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: Say to Daughter Zion,’See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Bless is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
There are five things we can take from this text.
- God’s Word tells us the people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death.
- Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled Old Testament prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolizes peace, so those who chose to ride them, showed they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace.
- When people shouted “Hosanna!” they were hailing Christ as King. The word actually means ‘save now’, and though, in their own minds, they were waiting for an earthly king, God had a different plan in mind of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him.
- The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem. In the midst of the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn’t be long before these same people would turn their backs on Him, betray Him, and crucify Him. His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Savior.
- Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any the mind of man could ever conceive or plan. Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world. Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over death.
This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week as well as the Easter week. Because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free from death.” Debbie McDaniel
March 18th, 2018 by Dale Doner
“The Communion Table here represents two invitations and two promises: Take Eat this is “My body broken for you” and Take Drink this represents “My blood shed for you” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
What do we do with His invitations? What promises could possibly fit both then and now? We have had some great examples of significant lives:
1. Greg Cornelsen and Teen Challenge men
2. Pastor Dave – auctioneering at the pie auction and preaching real sermons from his heart
3. One of you – gentle manner leadership of meetings from year to year
4. One of you – a heart to make pies for the pie auction but not having enough money to pie one for her own family
5. One of you – grandparents, parents, kids, grandkids all in Sunday service
6. One of you – graciously plays the piano Sunday after Sunday and all her family in church
7. Communion care, Sunday School involvement – accounts for at least 40% of the congregation contributing to the function of our church. If you have a heart to help at this church, you have come to the right church.
How about us with “what now” lives? What do we all do with these invitations? How did the disciples fit and how “together” were their lives because they are the original recipients of the two invitations?
1. Peter – denied Christ even though he said he wouldn’t do it
2. Judas – he ran his own plan and after Jesus tagged him, he went out in the night to his own death
3. Thomas – after seeing it all, refused to believe unless he physically touched Christ’s body
4. The fishermen – who had no fish after a whole night of fishing
Again, what do we do with His invitations?
Here is our Master and here is His message – Take Eat, Take Drink
I think we are here to do just as He instructed to do. Look what happened to the disciples, one went out and ended up dead, and the eleven went out and through them an influence spread that we take hope and shelter in even today. The two invitations must included 1. the blessing of Jesus and 2. the instruction of Jesus.
So why do we pretend…let’s just come as we are for this represents His life and all He stood for.
1. “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
2. “The refreshing of your soul” (Acts 3:19-20)
And the two promises are combined in Jeremiah 6:16.
The two invitations to Take – Eat and Drink come with the two promises of rest and refreshing of our soul. So take REAL comfort in this ceremony. It did happen 2018 years ago plus 30 years.”
March 11th, 2018 by Herb Harder
“Good morning, I apologize in advance if this seems a little too simplistic or scattered, but that is what you are dealing with today. So, picture this, a young boy comes home from school has a troublesome day and at the dinner table I (oh that’s me) relate that to my parents and they listen. Dad sits there and smiles and says, “Oh Herb, you are going to have lot bigger problems than that before you’re grandpa.” Well I am still not grandpa so I got troubles or problems to look forward to, I guess. Now if I continue with that logic, that is a little depressing in a way but maybe he was trying to toughen me up. You see back then you didn’t get a trophy just because you participated – you had to earn it. So then when I left home and got on my way, I made friends with another fellow – actually, it was the girlfriend’s dad – and we became good friends. Anyway, I came home from a construction job, which I enjoyed, but sometimes went troubling and his advice was “Herb, it is never so bad that it can’t get worse” – that is quite the object lesson! So, you start out life and I have been accused of being a person that my glass is half empty. Now there is some people that their glass is half full – that is very good. But I am happy to say, wherever you fit in that spectrum, I serve a God whose glass is neither have empty nor half full – it is overflowing with mercy and grace! Now to turn this Biblically, you can look in John chapter four and He speaks to a Samaritan woman who is shunned by her own people and of course by the Jewish people, yet Jesus takes the time to talk to her – explain to her that the living water that He gives will never leave her thirsty again (again, a glass more than half full). The previous chapter in John, chapter three, He speaks to a respected Jewish leader – Jewish teacher. There again He delivers the message to him, that you must be born again, by the Water and the Spirit. Both of these people have nothing in common other than the fact for their need for Jesus Christ. I want to close with Romans 5 verses 15-17. It says:
“ But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” Through the cross that can be offered to all of us. And as mentioned last week, the Corinthians set out the scale that makes us eligible to take part in the communion service this morning – the rest is between you and God. ”
March 4th, 2018 by Rob Maerz
1 Corinthians 11:23-29
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
“For over 200 years the body of believers have gathered around the table, for before this was the Passover, of which this is for us, to share in the bread and wine. And at this table; you are as close to the feet of Christ as you would be at the Mount of Olives.
This do – This do ye (you)!! We are all beckoned to come to the Master’s table. Small, great, rich poor…this do ye. All are bid to come and share in what is laid before us. And what is that? But to remember the Lord Jesus and what He has done and what the Father has done – John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”). To satisfy the perfect law, the spotless Lamb was slain for my sins and yours.
In remembrance of me – what has He done for you brother, sister? What depths has the Saviour pulled you from?
Consider the table – the bread (unleavened), the wine (new wine) – both without leven, as symbol of sin. Both of these clean and pure as Christ, the WORD, the Living WORD (John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) The bread and the wine, each held in 4 trays making 8 together and then 2 covering these trays making 10 which is the law; all these contained in 2 (Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” and Mark 12). All these lie upon a piece of wood (the table) – the Cross. The WORD of God made flesh – of course these are not literally His body and His blood – nailed to the cross to bear my shame, my sin – that I and you, and you, yes even you dear sinner may have forgiveness for your sins. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14)
This is GOOD news! By four men – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – is the Gospel, the GOOD news distributed , offered to you; freely where you are, AS you are..will you accept?
This is more than bread and wine, it is the Gospel of Jesus laid before you. Let a man examine himself – Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”; I John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” But just as at home – mom calls, dad calls, grandparents call – the call to come and be seated around the table goes out. Do you sit without washing? Not likely, nor should we at the Lord’s table. Dear brothers and sisters, we all sin, we all fall short, we are all stained by this world. Not one of us is worthy to approach, of his own merit, the Lord’s table. Is it of our own merit we come?
Do ye this – in remembrance of who? Christ! Christ died for those sins, washed in the blood, covered by His righteousness, made acceptable to the Father by His Son! Be mournful if you must grieve over your sins – “blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). And this dear Christians is our Comfort. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. And He will come! 1 Thessalonians 4 “comfort one another with these words” Words of our Saviour’s return “to meet the LORD in the air, and so shall we ever be with the LORD” v.17.
Oh sinner, will you not heed the Master’s call. This do you? You are being called. Will you not see your sin or will you stand before Christ to be judged? The table is set, a place is set for you “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy ladden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Brothers, sisters, the table is set. Do ye this, in remembrance of Christ.”
February 25th, 2018 by Allen Webber
“Practice What You Preach
In 1 John 1:6, we read, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”
Truth and love are frequently discussed in this world but seldom practiced. From politicians to salesmen, from business leaders to labourers, from entertainment to sports, people use words and deeds to enhance their position, to hide facts or pursue wealth. Perjury is common, and integrity and credibility are endangered concepts. You can look in any corner of the world and find examples of corrupt leaders that are foregoing their responsibilities as the head of state, but attaining massive amounts of wealth for themselves. How many times have we heard of business scams that have made a few rich at the expense of others? Another Olympics has come and gone and we are still having issues with illegal doping. And all the troubles in Hollywood stem from the lack of truth and integrity. And let’s look at our judicial system for a moment. Words, twisted in meaning, and torn from context, have just become tools for manipulating circumstances. Is it any wonder that we have to swear to tell the truth?
And what about love? Our world is filled with its words. Popular songs, greeting cards and media advertising shower us with notions and dreams of ethereal, idyllic relationships and feelings. We have millions of novels and miles of film to preoccupy our lives in this quest for love. Real love, however is much more scarce – selfless giving, caring, sharing, and yes, even dying. It requires one to put aside their own reservations and conventions and consider someone else and their circumstances and needs.
Christ, however, is the antithesis of society’s prevailing values – those being falsehood and selfcenteredness – for He is truth and love in person. Therefore, all who claim loyalty to Him, must be committed to these ideals – those following the truth and living the truth, reflecting God’s love and acting with God’s love toward one another.
We start that process here – not by consuming crackers and juice, but reminding ourselves what these crackers and juice stand for. They stand for the absolute and ultimate example of truth and sacrificial love that has saved us from ourselves.”
February 11th, 2018 by Murray Market
“This morning I would like to start out with a short story that will lead into today’s communion thought. I have recently read a book entitled “Alive” which is a true account of an Uruguayan rugby team and friends who were flying to Chile for a couple of rugby matches in 1972. While flying over the Andes, the plane went down between 11,000 – 12,000 feet and about two weeks later, the piece of fuselage that they were held up in, was struck by an avalanche. About sixty days after the crash, the sixteen survivors of the original forty-five picked the two strongest and most fit of them to head west to Chile to seek help. On the tenth day out, the two Uruguayans saw three horsemen looking after cattle on the other side of a raging river. Unable to hear each other over the rushing water, one of the horsemen wrapped a piece of paper around a stone and threw it across the river. After a couple of times back and forth with the stone, the horseman indicated he understood and headed out for help while the other two horsemen got the Uruguayans across the river. When the ranch hand arrived back with help, the two Uruguayans rushed out to great him. As their gratitude became more profuse, the timid horseman raised his hands to stop them and said (must remember they were in the reaches of Chile – a two day horseback ride to the nearest town – and there was only a handful of people around) “All I did was my duty as a Chilean and a son of God”.
Romans 8:14 reads “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”. Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, …” Because we are God’s children, we share in great treasures as co-heirs. God has already given us His best gifts – His Son, His forgiveness by Christ’s death on the cross, and eternal life after Jesus conquered death three days later and He also encourages us to ask for whatever we need.
However, there can be a price to be paid for following Christ. Not that we here in Vulcan have ever had to pay too high a price, but in certain parts of the world, they do. That maybe changing soon, but the suffering we might have to endure will see small to the price Jesus Christ paid to save mankind.”
February 4th, 2018 shared by Dale Doner
January 28th, 2018 by Allen Webber
In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The oldest form of commerce is that of barter. When two or more people needed what the other had and had what the other needed, they negotiated terms of trade that were agreeable to both parties and usually sealed with a handshake or some other form of a bond. It was an exchange of one thing of value for another. The transaction was fairly horizontal in nature.
Now contrast that with what God has done for us in a more vertical transaction. When we trust in Christ, we make an exchange – our sin for His righteousness. Our sin was poured into Christ at His crucifixion. His righteousness was poured into us at conversion. God offers to trade His righteousness – something of immeasurable worth, for our sin – something that is utterly worthless. There is nothing we can offer, nothing we can do that could balance that transaction in any way.
When we take communion, when we physically handle and consume this piece of cracker and sip of juice, we are not only acknowledging the terrible cost from God’s side of the transaction but it should cause us to examine our vertical transaction with God. We should feel very blessed and fortunate.”
January 14th, 2018 by Allen Webber – reference C. Robert Wetzel
“”We believe that Jesus died and rose again.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14) In a very real sense, participating in the Lord’s Supper is preaching. And through this preaching, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. We are proclaiming to the world what we first confessed when we came to Christ, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
There are at least three ways the Lord’s Supper may be a proclamation. It may be a reaffirmation of our own faith. This may have been one of those weeks in which nothing seems to have gone right or make sense. Then we come to the Lord’s table and hear the words, “This is my body broken for you.” And we hear the proclamation anew that first penetrated our hearts when we came to Christ, “God became flesh in Jesus Christ and gave Himself for my salvation.” We hear the words, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.” Once again, we realize that through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ we are part of the body of Christ. And then as we eat the bread and drink the cup, we can affirm, “Yes, I do believe that Jesus is the Christ. It is He who makes sense of the difficulties and confusions that confront me.”
There is also proclamation to the body of believers who gather together to participate in the Lord’s Supper. It happens when we hear the words, “Because there is one loaf, we who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:17). We are reminded that as much as communion is an individual experience between God and me, it is also a community activity. It is an affirmation of my participation in the whole body of Christ. Not only do we believe that Jesus is our personal Saviour, but we also believe that we are part of the whole body of Christ, the church, whenever and wherever it gathers.
Nonbelievers have often found the church’s participation in communion curious if not downright strange. And yet every time we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim to the unbelieving world the message of salvation. “God’s love was revealed to you through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ.” We are saying, “We believe! Come join us in the faith that leads to eternal life.” Consequently, when I say at the Lord’s table, “I believe”, I am saying it to myself, and as the congregation we are saying it to each other, while at the same time we are proclaiming our faith to the world.”
January 7th, 2018 by Ken Hartung – reference John MacArthur’s Commentary on Revelation
Revelation 1:14-18 – “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
John, apostle of Jesus, was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the book of Revelation – “Remember…this John was an apostle of Jesus…knew Jesus well…spent three years working very closely with Him…placed his head on Jesus during the last supper…the Bible says he was the apostle that Jesus loved…This overwhelming vision John witnessed dramatically changed him. Initially, his response was devastating fear, which the Lord removed by assurance.
verse 17 “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man” (1:17a) Such fear was normal for those few who experienced heavenly visions. For example, John had a similar experience with Jesus on the Mountain of Transfiguration sixty years before this time, as well as Daniel reported that “no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength…as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground’. As well as, Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” when he was faced with a heavenly vision. On his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, Saul of Tarsus, known as the apostle Paul, “saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around him”. We all would do the same as those who have come before us when they were brought face-to-face with the blazing, holy glory of the Lord Jesus Christ – they were terrified, realizing their sinful unworthiness to be in His holy presence.
verse 17 “…he laid his right hand on me…”. Jesus placed His right hand on John and comforted him. This was a touch of comfort and reassurance. This shows us that there is comfort for Christians when overwhelmed by the glory and majesty of Christ. He assures us of His gracious love and merciful forgiveness. Jesus’ comforting words, “Fear not” reveal His compassionate assurance to the terrified apostle John.
verse 17 and 18…” I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades…” In verse 17 and 18, Jesus identifies Himself with “I AM” – is the covenant name in Exodus 3:14 when “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘ I AM has sent me to you.’”” Jesus next identified Himself as “the first and the last” which is the title used of God in the Old Testament. When Jesus applied this title to Himself, it is a powerful proof of His deity. The third title of deity Jesus claimed is that of the living One. Then His declaration “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” provides further grounds for assurance. The living One is the eternal, self-existent God who could never die, became man and died. As Peter says in 1 Peter 3:18, Christ was “put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit.” In His humanness He died without ceasing to live as God. When Jesus said, “behold“, He was introducing a statement of amazement and wonder: I am alive forevermore – Christ lives forever in a union of glorified humanity and deity. Romans 6:9 “Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him”. This truth provides comfort and assurance because Jesus, “is able to save completely those who come to God through him…” (Hebrews 7:25). As the eternal I AM, the first and the last, the living One, Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades. These terms are essentially the same with Death being the condition and Hades being the place. Keys denotes access and authority.
The keys of hell and death are not to lock people up, but to set people free. “”I can get you out of your damnable, hellish situation if you’ll let Me,” Jesus says, “I can save you from hell eternally if you’ll receive Me. My desire is to set you free.”” (John MacArthur). Knowing that Christ has authority over death provides assurance, since believers need no longer fear it. Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…because I live, you will live also.” (John 11:25; 14:19). Paul says “to die is to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; cf. Philippians 1:23).
As we take these elements of communion this morning, they represent the fact that Jesus conquered Satan and took the keys of death away from him; “Through death Christ rendered powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and …freed those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all of their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15). The knowledge that Christ “loves us and released us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5) provides the assurance of eternal life.”
December 31st, 2017 by Allen Webber
“Death to Life
I ran across an interesting paradox between these two emblems. The Passover meal was a relatively short celebration – one evening and one meal. The two parts of the meal that we are concerned with are the bread and the cup. The bread was to be unleavened – that is without yeast. Yeast is a bacterial culture that when mixed in correct proportions will cause bread to rise. It becomes a living product. Opposite to that then is unleavened bread – a dead product. This represents Christ’s broken body.
Now contrast that with the cup. The juice, whether it be wine or grape juice, is alive. It has a bacterial culture within it. We know that wine has a specific recipe to cause it to ferment but even grape juice will begin a fermentation if left out for a few days.
The Law of Moses tells us that life is in the blood. So, in this communion, we can see the symbolism, as we shift from a lifeless bread to a living wine or juice. The Lord’s Supper is about moving from death to life – remembering that through Jesus we died to our worldly, earthly selves in order to live anew as Godly, righteous beings.
But although God sees us as sinless through Christ, we really are not, are we? I believe we need this weekly reminder of what we are suppose to be and that a truly awful price was paid to make our new lives possible, and that we live in Christ only because of His death.”
December 24th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“Seven hundred years before John the Baptist was born, Isaiah wrote “A voice of one calling in the desert, prepare the way for the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3). Later “And all mankind shall see God’s salvation” (Isaiah 40:5 NIV). He wrote about Christ “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
When Mary found out she was with child, she went to see her cousin Elizabeth who at the time was six months pregnant with John the Baptist and when Mary entered the room, John in Elizabeth’s womb, leaped. Elizabeth said to Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear” (Luke 1:42). Mary’s response “From now on all generations will call me blessed for the mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name.” (Luke 1:48-49)
When John the Baptist is born, his father Zechariah who has been tongued tied for not believing his aged wife would bear a child – prophesied, “And you my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare a way for Him, to give the people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God” (Luke 1:76-78).
When Jesus is born a heavenly host of angels appeared before the shepherds and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rest” (Luke 2:14).
When John is out baptizing in the desert, people are starting to say he is the Christ, but John says to them, “I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am unworthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
Jesus in His ministry asks Peter, “Who do you say I am? And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20). Jesus then predicts His death for the first time. “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”. (Luke 9:22) Later Jesus answers a question and says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Luke 22:17-19 “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
All of the things that have been said and prophesied about Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible to this point in time have come to pass. With that assurance we can be confident in our faith that Jesus Christ will lead us into the future. When we eat this bread and drink this wine, let us be truly thankful for Jesus Christ and His way to salvation.”
December 10th, 2017 given by Allen Webber
“I Can do Whatever I Want
One of the characteristics of our nature that hinders our relationship of God is the idea that in this time and space we can do whatever we want. We can have whatever we want, say whatever we want, and do whatever we want. Just Google that phrase and you will come up with a short list of famous songs that have that as the basic theme. Many movies as well promote that as a basic plot. And even celebrities will espouse this as their basic philosophy in life.
Now compare this with the mind and attitude of Jesus Christ. You would think that if there were ever a human being who could say, “I can do whatever I want”, it would be Jesus. Can you image Him saying something like this? “I am Jesus. I’m the Son of God. I’m the ‘all powerful’ Lord of the universe. I can do whatever I want.”
But this is not what happened is it? After living in this world for 33 years, Jesus found Himself face to face with the reason He came to earth in the first place. He found Himself facing the cross. He found Himself about to drink the cup of God’s wrath, preparing to experience the equivalent of eternity in hell for the whole human race. In Matthew 26:39, we find Jesus on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”
What did Jesus WANT? He WANTED to pour out that cup, so that He would not have to drink it. He WANTED to hand the cup back to the Father and walk away. But is that what He did? No. He did the very opposite of what He WANTED for Himself. Though for His own sake, He WANTED to refuse that cup, He knew He could not do it. He knew this was not the Father’s will. And He knew that if He did what He WANTED to do, there would be no salvation for sinners like us. And more than walking away from the cross, He WANTED to do the Father’s will, and He WANTED to provide that salvation for you and me.
And the rest of the prayer goes like this, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” In other words, “Not what I WANT, but what You WANT.” And again, in verse 42, He repeats, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
So, two things as I conclude. First as you partake of this communion, say a prayer of thanksgiving that Jesus did not have the common attitude, “I will do whatever I want.” Thank God that Jesus put the Father’s will, and your need, ahead of His own desire. And second, as you partake, pray the same prayer of submission that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, “My Father, in my daily life, help me to do not whatever I want, but whatever You want.” Jack Cottrell
December 3rd, 2017 by Pastor Dave
“When Jesus said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” it was a cost to Him but it is also a cost to us. We have come to celebrate communion – God is god and we have come into His presence. Story – “Though I have heard and given hundreds of Lord’s Supper meditations there is one that is firmly fixed in my mind as the most effective. An elderly man in a church I was attending stood one Sunday to give his meditations. He slowly made his way to the pulpit, and then slowly spoke these words. “When I was a younger man I thought when I would be aged that I would be done with sin. Now as an old man I realize that sin is more powerful to me today than ever before. That is why I need this cup and this bread. That is why I need Communion. That is why I need a Savior, and that is why I am thankful what my Savior had done.”
November 26th, 2017 read by Leslie Swann
“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrowsc and acquainted withd grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth… yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:3-9;12c
November 19th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“The Meal of Sulha (Reconciliation)
A few years ago, a Messianic Jew named Ilan Zamir was driving through an Arab village in Israel at night. He saw a dark blur and felt his car strike something. He stopped and jumped out, only to learn that he had killed a thirteen year old boy. The Israeli police investigated and learned that the boy had been deaf and so had not heard the car coming at all. Mr. Zamir was found to be without fault.
But the incident weighed on him. Mr. Zamir desperately wanted to meet the boy’s family and apologize. His fault or not,he had killed their son. His friends told him he was out of his mind. The boy’s family lived in the West Bank. West Bank Palestinians don’t like Jews, and he couldn’t count on Israel to protect him there. But he felt obligated and made arrangements to meet the family at a sulha – a meal of reconciliation.
And so, Mr. Zamir sat down with the boy’s family for the ceremonial meal. He described what happened this way, “The cups of coffee remained on the table, untouched. According to tradition, the father would be the first to taste from the cup as a sign that he accepted the reconciliation gesture, and had indeed agreed to forgive. The tension in his face had cast a shadow on the proceedings until then, but at that point he suddenly began to smile. The lines of grief softened. He looked at me squarely and his smile broadened as he moved towards me, opening his arms in a gesture of embrace. As we met and embraced, he kissed me ceremonially three times on the cheeks. Everyone began to shake hands with one another as the father sipped his coffee. The whole atmosphere was transformed, the tension was at an end.”
And then something truly amazing happened. A spokesman for the family said this to Mr. Zamir. “Know this, O my brother, that you are now in the place of this son who has died. You have a family and a home somewhere else, but know that here is your second home.”
And so, we are here. We are sinners, and we have killed God’s Son. He died because of our sins. We didn’t mean to kill him, but we did. And we desperately need to be reconciled with His Father. And yes, we are very much at fault.
As we take this communion, we should know that God, through His Holy Spirit,is here with us, eating and drinking with us. He accepts our apology and embraces us. Although by rights we should be His enemy, He has made us family. We killed His Child, and yet in His incomprehensible grace He’s made us His children – and now His home is our home.” Jay Guin
November 12th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” Luke 22:17-20
“Eating the bread and drinking the cup shows that we are remembering Christ’s death for us and renewing our commitment to serve Him. When we partake in these elements we need to do it thoughtfully, remembering when Christ shed His blood, the new covenant began. Unlike the old covenant where animals’ blood was shed yearly or even daily as part of the process for the forgiveness of sun. Christ shed His blood once to cover all sin past, present, and future.
When we partake of these elements we should take it worthily with due reverence and respect. It was Christ, Son of God, part of the triune Godhead, the Creator of all things Who sacrificed Himself on our behalf.
When we partake of these elements we should examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitude. The Lord desires that we understand ourselves and then we can look to Him for forgiveness and direction. The Lord desires a personal relationship with each of us so when we partake of these elements, we can converse with Him and share our most intimate thoughts with Him.
We are all sinners, saved by grace and grace alone. Remembering what Christ did for us and clearing us all our differences with Him gives us a clearer pathway in our walk with Him – to be more Christlike.”
October 29th, 2017 by Allen Webber
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we can read, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” and in Romans 12:2, we read, “And do not be fashioned to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, well pleasing and perfect.”
When you look up transformation in the dictionary, a basic description is a “complete or major change in someone or something’s appearance or form.” And when you look in original Greek, the word transformation is metamorphosis.
Consider for a moment the butterfly. It undergoes a profound change from caterpillar to pupa and from pupa to mature butterfly. Although an outward change in appearance takes place, the change comes from within the life of that organism. A caterpillar is born with a life that cause it to become a butterfly. It doesn’t put on a butterfly costume or strive to act like a butterfly. As long as it eats, its metabolism takes the nutrients in and causes it to grow so that eventually the caterpillar changes and becomes a real genuine butterfly.
This butterfly transformation is a good metaphor for the Christian life. When we become Christians, we are reborn or transformed with the divine life of God within. This life transforms us into the image of Christ. But like the butterfly, we have to stay in the process of transformation by eating. Some caterpillars eat only one kind of leaf for their whole lives. In the same way, as believers, we also are meant to eat only one kind of spiritual food throughout our entire lives – Jesus Christ. In John 6:35, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger and he who believes in Me shall no longer thirst.”
When we partake of communion, we are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus, so that we might be transformed into a new creation.”
October 15th, 2017 by Allen Webber
Have you ever stopped to consider, as you are reading Scripture, and especially in the Old Testament, how the Jews missed the message of the gospel; how they missed the Messiah? After all, the scribes and scholars who were studying and meditating on their Scriptures were brilliant minds. They had studied and learned the same Scriptures for multiple generations, for thousands of years. The documents they were using were God-inspired so there was not an issue there. Accuracy was critically important to them. These prophecies were studied so often and so well, they even knew where Jesus was going to be born. As well, over the final two thousand years, from the time of Moses to His birth, God was in regular contact with (and disciplining) these same Jews. He was constantly trying to hammer into their heads what kind of God He is. Even the Old Testament worship practices were forerunners of things to come. Consider the animal sacrifices, especially the Passover, and we can see the picture of Christ. Even then, they still rejected the Messiah. Even the rejection was prophesied. But why?
I think it was part of the plan. It was necessary that the Messiah be rejected so that the good news of the gospel could then be spread beyond the boundaries of Israel. Up until now, the faith, as it was, was limited to a race of people in a relatively small part of the world. But, with the Messiah, the good news was to be for all the world. It was necessary that Jesus experience what He did and how He did it so that He might have full sympathy with all. To be the perfect sacrifice He must be fully human. To be perfect, He must be fully God.
So, to bring this into a communion celebration for the Christian church today, we can contemplate the rejection of Christ on our behalf. The nation of Israel, the official leadership, rejected Him and are still waiting and watching for Him. Even His closest friends and followers – men He had taught and lived with for three years – abandoned Him as soon as the official oppression began.
But on the cross itself, we hear the cry of the greatest rejection of all, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, and, rejected as sin, must be rejected by a holy God. So, these two emblems are to remind us that our Lord was rejected by heaven and earth – for us.”
October 8th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“Lynne and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and the farthest east we got was the National Historic Site at Fort Louisbourg on Cape Breton. Fort Louisbourg was built by the king of France to protect his very lucrative fishing business and it held 600 soldiers and up to 10,000 people in the busy fishing season. It operated in the early 1600’s to 1658 – so about 400 years ago – when it was destroyed by the British. Throughout the museum, it had people dressed and acting parts of people who would have lived and worked at the fort during its years of operation. We booked a tour to walk us through the life of a soldier. That part of the tour was only short lived and then we were taken by the soldier to a large kitchen where we were hosted by a man playing the part of the priest of the day. He very much looked liked Friar Tuck and he played his part to perfection staying in character of the time. A lady on the tour asked him what he would have done. He responded immediately and with great enthusiasm and he went slightly out of character in his response. He responded, “To comfort the lonely, to assure those who are fearful and afraid, the same as I would to people today. I would talk to them to give them the assurance that the Lord cares for them and loves them. I would comfort them to help them overcome their fears.”
As this was played out before me, I could not help but realize the human condition has not changed. No matter what the backdrop, our needs have been, are, and will be always the same. As we come to the communion table and remember Jesus’ life and celebrate the fact that Jesus died and shed His blood for the assurance of our salvation, let us remember to give thanks to Him for that.”
October 1st, 2017 by Allen Webber
From Acts 4:8-12,
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all of Israel, that the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name this man stands before you in good health. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone, and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
When I was young, we used to put up hay using small square bales. And until we got mechanical means that would make the job easier, sometimes that bale could be handled six or seven times before it was fed to a cow. Nonetheless, when the bales were brought back to the farm, and put into a stack, you needed to pay attention to how that stack was built. Quite a few times we would start plopping bales down without due care, only to have part of the stack sluff off because it was not tied together with the other bales. We always started a stack in the corners and followed the same principle of brick laying – overlaying the bale on two previous bales. But when you came to the corners you had an opportunity to overlap, going two different directions, hence the term – cornerstone. Using basic physics, a structure will collapse generally north, south, east or west. By adding the cornerstone, you strengthen the entire building again, in those four directions.
Peter said the Jews rejected Jesus, but now Christ had become the Cornerstone of the church. Without Him, there would be no church, because it wouldn’t be able to stand. Many people react negatively to the fact that there is no other name than that of Jesus to call on for salvation. Yet this is not something the church decided. It is not something that a pastor has decided, or a group of elders, or a board or a few in a congregation. It is the specific teaching of Jesus Himself (John 14:6). If God designated Jesus to be Saviour of the world, no one else can be His equal. As Christians, we are asked to be open minded on many issues, but not on how we are to be saved from our sin. No other religious leader could die for our sins, no other religious teacher came to earth as God’s only Son, no other religious teacher rose from the dead. Our focus in this communion should be on Jesus, Whom God offered as the way to have an eternal relationship with Himself. There is no other Name or Way.
September 17th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“The Temple Veil
In Hebrews 10:19-22, we read, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Dave was using this passage for a part of his sermon and the temple veil peaked my interest so I thought I would do a bit of research on it. You will recall when Jesus was crucified, the temple veil was torn in two, from top to bottom. What is the significance of that?
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple was the centre of the Jewish religious life. The temple was where the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. The temple was designed with basically two parts. The front part was where the priests would sacrifice the animals, on a regular basis, for the sins of the people. But in the back section, which was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil or curtain, was the Holy of Holies, the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, once each year, to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel.
This veil was a well constructed piece of work. Some early Jewish documents suggested that it could have been up to four inches thick but the Bible does not give us any indication as to that measurement, only the height and width and how it was to be built. But nonetheless, the it was very durable. The moment Jesus died, this veil was torn in two like it was tissue paper.
So what does this mean for us today? Above all, it symbolizes that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sin. Hence, Jesus’ last words, “It is finished.” Whereas the continual ritual of sacrificing animals was for sin, the sacrifice of Jesus addressed the nature behind the sin. The tearing of the veil also signified the way into the Holy of Holies – to God- was open for all people, for all time – both Jew and Gentile.
So, in a sense, the veil was symbolic of Jesus Christ Himself as the only way to the Father. This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter into the Holy of Holies through the veil – through Jesus Christ. Now, Christ is the superior High Priest and as believers in His finished work, we can enter into the presence of God through Him. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ.”
September 10th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“A few weeks ago (for the first time in my life) I took a personality test to identify my strength and weaknesses and to assist in a better understanding in our farm’s transition planning. I thought I was a little on the complex side, but sixty-five relatively simple questions later, the person interpreting the results could read me like a book – or rather a very short story. One of the things that surprised me a little was the fact for me to understand and feel comfortable with something I need to see it or visualize it. In the context of today’s communion thought there arises the problem of putting my trust, my hope and my faith in something I cannot see. I am certain that I am not the only person here who has tried to visualize God – God the Father has never been seen, but we are created in His image and Jesus is sitting at His right hand side. With that information, I have tried to visualize God the Father. God the Son, Jesus, spent time on earth and was wholly God and wholly man so while on earth we do have a visual image of Jesus the man. God the Holy Spirit is just that – a spirit – and personally I have never tried to visualize Him.
Over the years I have come to appreciate God for the part He has played in my life and the guidance and direction He has given me. Just because I cannot visualize Him does not mean He is not working on my behalf. I now believe that if we could visualize God, ‘in our minds’, we would put more limitations on Him than we now do. God is without bounds and limitations and His abilities are incomprehensible for us to understand. He certainly cannot be understood in sixty-five questions. As we enter a new year of Sunday School and teaching, let us strive to understand that we can trust Him completely even when we cannot answer the question ‘why?’ Let us allow Him to change us spiritually on into eternity.”
September 3rd, 2017 by Brian Markert
“The inspiration for my communion thought came from a debate I had with a friend last night. She said something that I strongly disagreed with so I let her know what I thought. I presented my argument and she stood her ground. I knew I was right so I tried again. She then proceeded to re-explain herself and I realized I did not listen to her the first time and we actually agreed. I was wrong but if I hadn’t confronted her I would have thought she had some pretty screwed up views. She was then gracious enough to re-explain it to me only this time I listened to everything she was saying.
Now lets time warp back to ancient Egypt. We are all Israelites slaves to the Egyptians. We complain and grumble of our plight. God sends us Moses along with miracles for us, and plagues for our enemies. We praise God then we complain against him. He continues to lead us and provide for us. We wonder around for a generation then arrive at the Jordan River. We are now standing in the land Moses has promised to the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh. We cross over the Jordan and, with God, conquer all the land God has promised us. All the land is divided amongst the tribes. It is now time for the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh to cross back over to their inheritance.
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Eastsiders returned to the east side of the Jordan
10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. 11 And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 12 the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.
The Westsiders were ready to destroy the Eastsiders because they thought that they were disobeying God and destruction would befall all of them. The reason the Eastsiders built an alter was not to be used for sacrifices, but to act as a reminder to future generations of the shared history and shared God.
In the end “They were glad to hear the report and praised God. And they talked no more about going to war against them to devastate the country where the Reubenites and the Gadites lived.
Why do I bring this up at communion?
1 Corinthians 11:27-28 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
It is my opinion that God uses the vague term “unworthy manner” very intentionally. It is open for interpretation and allows God to personally convict us. That being said it is also my opinion that many “unworthy manners” stem from personal relationships. I’m not saying that we should prepare to destroy our neighbor because they are sinning like the Westsiders did. We should, however, examine ourselves and question our motives or issues. “Take the plank out of our own eye” so to speak. Then we should talk about it. Go to your neighbor and present your concerns. The worst that can happen is you find out you are right. The best, as happened to the Israelites and me last night, is find out you are wrong. Also remember how my friend and the Eastsiders responded when confronted. They weren’t offended or confrontational. They were Gracious and forgiving willing to help settle the issue.”
August 27th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“Who Am I?
I ran across an old song that I am going to read at the end of this communion thought but as an introduction to it, I thought I woud give you two quite contrasting events that happened to me yesterday that describe the highs and lows of our experience on earth and by celebrating communion, how we can keep rooted in the faith. Yesterday afternoon and evening, I attended a wedding reception for my nephew. So, there was all the fun and frivolity that goes along with such an event. There was a great setting, a good meal and the ever present ‘time warp slide show’. There were many people I reconnected with that I have not seen in anywhere from 20 to 40 years. And there were also new young couples and families and babies and kids. A good time was had by all as the saying goes.
Now contrast that with the text I received earlier in the day from the prayer chain. It listed so many issues that effect this church family as well as people in the community and their families. There are many health issues for many people right from young to old. And there are many people grieving for the loss of loved ones right from a very young child to an elderly stepmother. There are serious issues of family relations that are ever changing and need prayer constantly. There are internal struggles that people are having with loneliness and despair. Some people are having struggles keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table.
But it is not only the responsibility of the prayer chain to look after these prayer needs. As Christians, it is all our responsibility, whenever we can, to consider the needs of others and pray for them and whenever possible do what we can to address their battles. But, the question might arise – who am I? Who am I, that I might have the time or resources to help? Who am I that I can show God’s love to others that was first given to me? Who am I that I can even pray effectively for any of these issues? I think the words of this song will help put those questions in perspective.
When I think of how he came so far from glory,
Came to dwell among the lowly such as I,
To suffer shame and such disgrace, on Mount Calvary took my place,
Then I ask myself the question, who am I?
When I’m reminded of His words, I’ll leave you never.
If you’ll be true, I’ll give you life forever.
I wonder what I could have done to deserve God’s only Son
To fight my battles until they are won?
For who am I?
Who am I that a king would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray – not my will but thine Lord?
The answer, I may never know, why He ever loved me so,
That to an old rugged cross He’d go for who am I.”
August 20th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“In First Corinthians Chapter 11, Paul points out that when we partake of these elements, the bread and the wine, we do so in remembrance of Jesus and that we proclaim His death until He comes again. For today’s communion thought, I would like to focus on remembering some of the choices that Jesus made.
Each and everyday we make many choices. Ranging from everyday essentials, to how we interact with others, to what are innermost thoughts are. The choices we make – what we say and do – add up over time and the sum of those choices defines who we are and what we stand for. As we walk with Jesus our ultimate goal is to be more Christ-like. Let’s examine just a few of the things Jesus said and did to see the sum we are trying to achieve.
Firstly, let’s look at the story of the adulterous woman brought to Jesus by the teachers of the day and the Pharisees to trap Him so they could have reason to kill Him. However Jesus turned the table when He said to them, “If any of you are without sin, let them be the first to throw a stone.” Here Jesus shows His desire to forgive and to change people’s hearts.
Next, after the last supper, Jesus went out into the garden and prayed to His Father “if it is possible may this cup be taken from me” knowing what was to come – the pain, anguish and separation He was about to face. Shortly after knowing the reasons for His upcoming crucifixion, He prays to His Father “may Your will be done”. Christ went through this brutal death for you and me and so some day we can enjoy eternity in His presence.
Finally, Christ is hanging on the cross, undoubtedly in excruciating pain, says “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Right up to His death, Jesus’ main concern was not about Himself, but about us – who put Him on the cross. In our walk with Christ, we need not only focus on our needs, but those around us.”
August 13th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
I have a story to tell this morning. This summer when Julie was up visiting us, Julie and Debbie went out for a mother and daughter day and I was home alone. I was working in my yard with my tractor and my front-end loader doing a job. I looked up toward the house and there were two gentlemen at the door of my house. Within a fraction of a second, I knew three things – this was going to be a religious discussion, this was going to be very short and I knew exactly the point I was going to make in a very short time. I drove my tractor over there to where they were standing and I parked the tractor between their car and them so they would have to walk around my tractor to get to the car. But I am going to make the point. The first question I asked, “Are you Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness? And they said they were Jehovah’s Witness.
I said, “I can never be a Jehovah Witness, never in my lifetime will I or can I or ever will be a Jehovah’s Witness.
“Well, why not?”
“Because you believe that Jesus Christ is not God. You believe that Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel and Jesus is not an archangel – He is God, He is the creator of all things and then I quoted John Chapter 1 verse 1 – “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God – Jesus is God.
They said, “We don’t translate it that way – We say He is a god”.
And I said “I know you do and you have very poor Greek translators who translated. True Greek translators will say that Jesus is God – that the Word was God”
And he said, “You know that it is a very popular belief”.
I said “Yes, the church has taught this for 2000 years. But I said there is one more point I want to make with you.
I said “After Jesus was crucified and died and was resurrected from the grave He appeared to the apostles, Thomas was absent. And they were excited that Jesus was alive and they said to Thomas ‘we have seen Jesus, He is alive’. Thomas said, ‘unless I can see his hands and unless I can see his side I will not believe’.
I said, “Jesus appeared to the disciples then a second time with Thomas present. And He said to Thomas, ‘Thomas behold My hands, Thomas behold My side’. Thomas got on his knees and said unto Him ‘My Lord and My God’.
And now I said, “Thomas can call Him my Lord and my God, therefore I must call Him, my Lord and my God and You must call him your Lord and your God.
But I said “You refuse to call him your Lord and your God and you do it to your peril, but I said, He is Lord and God.”
And at that point they walked around the tractor and went into the car.
As we are around the communion table this morning we recognize Jesus is God. That He is the great Jehovah of the old Testament Who was the Creator. He came as the Lamb of God. He suffered and died and He came to take away the sin of the world. And He was resurrected from the dead and He proved who He was by being resurrected from the dead. He is the only one who can do that – only God can do that. So, we are here this morning praising God for what He has done. That through Jesus Christ alone we have eternal life.”
August 6th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“A Grain of Wheat
In John 12:23-25, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world, will keep it to eternal life.” This is a picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus.
A grain of wheat in and of itself is just a grain of wheat, it will sit there for years and years not doing anything. But bury it in the ground and the purpose of that seed will cause it to germinate, grow the necessary foliage and stalks to produce more seed and then die. Within that seed is the genetic code that tells the seed what it must do to complete one life cycle. It is designed to flourish and succeed to guarantee a way of passing on that genetic code. But the moment it germinates, it is vulnerable to attack from all manner of forces that want to destroy it, from disease, to insects, and the ravages of weather. Consider these forces, if you will, as the sins of the world.
In the same way, Jesus had to die to pay the penalty of our sin, but also to show His power over sin. The moment Jesus came into this world, all manner of evil was already at work, to attack Him in any way to discredit Him, to diminish His accomplishments and to eventually kill Him. And they succeeded.
But His resurrection proves that He had the code to overcome the ultimate prize of that sinful influence, that being death, to bring forth a new life, eternal life. Jesus can and will give this same eternal life to all who believe in Him.
July 23rd, 2017 by Allen Webber
When I sit in a funeral and consider the person who has died and what their life has been, I am amazed at the volume of knowledge, wisdom and experience that dies with them. All the stories and anecdotes that they told from the experiences they had on their journey through life are, for the most part, gone. A few of the more colourful or poignant ones will be passed on to the next generation as words of wisdom or life lessons. But most of the everyday, seemingly mundane things that a person has done to ‘measure’ their existence on this earth just evaporates. They’re gone. For anyone sitting in that funeral service, they can recall different experiences they had with that person that caused them to come and pay their respects.
Having grown up in the same career as my parents, I experienced a lot of the same things they did, first hand, and I started to amass a history and experience of my own. But when they died it seemed like large volumes of this history died with them. And as I get older, most of what made up my early experience is starting to fade off into the sunset. I am starting to forget so much of my experience with my dad and all the things we did together to move our farm forward. But now a new history is being created with memories and stories and experiences with my children.
Now if I were to ask you to remember some of the things in your past, you will initially pick things that have a greater emotional attachment. Maybe it would be your first car, a new home, a newborn child or even the death of a loved one. But eventually even these experiences will fade and become part of your wisdom and knowledge and experience that die with you.
But now I want you to consider another ‘remember’. In 1st Corinthians 11:24-26 we read, “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
So this is a little different. To remember Jesus and the cross? We weren’t there. We didn’t experience it firsthand. At best we have stories from the Bible, from Sunday School, or maybe even paintings or statues. But when Jesus asked His disciples to ‘remember me’, when He asks us to ‘remember him’, He intended for them and He intends us, much more than to create a memory. The purpose of this remembrance is to evoke a response. To paraphrase Jesus, “You eat this bread, drink this cup. Remember what happened, what I did, and what I am asking you to do. Now, do it.” This remembrance, in a Biblical sense, should cause us to think differently. It must never fade into past history.”
July 9th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
“Genesis 3:6; 15(ESV) Fall of Mankind
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
This verse records the tragic story of the fall of mankind. There are four clearly defined steps that Eve took on the pathway to sin.
1. First, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food. Sin begins with the sight of sin. The sight of sin itself is not sin, but that is where the pathway that leads to sin begins.
2. When the woman looked at the tree, she saw that it was a tree to be desired. Her second step on the pathway to sin was desire. Sight alone is no crime; but to desire that which we have innocently seen, if it cannot be ours, is sin.
3. Eve’s third step on the pathway to sin occurred when she took of the fruit and ate. She had already sinned by coveting that which was not to be coveted; but she deepened her sin by indulging, by taking that which was not rightfully hers according to the prohibition of God.
Eve had now fallen into sin. She had followed the three inevitable steps that lead to sin: (1) sight; (2) desire; and (3) gratification.
4. It still would have been a great tragedy if these were the only three steps on the pathway to sin, but there is one more. After Eve saw the forbidden fruit, desired it, and took of it, she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate. Unfortunately, the final step on the path to sin is the involvement of others in our sin. There is no such thing as private sin; every sin affects someone else. Eve’s sin affected Adam; and consequently, Adam’s sin affected the entire race. The whole human race sinned in Adam, for “… death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). Our sin always involves others and thus becomes compounded
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Here is the initial Messianic prophecy of the Bible. “The traditional Christian interpretation … is that it is the first direct expression of the gospel. It recognizes the essential conflict between Satan and the Lord and indicates that this conflict also will involve the people of God and the followers of Satan. The seed of the woman is a clear reference to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus who came ‘to destroy the works of the devil. This verse prophesied that Christ would deliver a death blow to Satan but in so doing would suffer death himself. This is what this communion table represents.”
KJV Bible Commentary
July 2nd, 2017 Mark Adams – Redland Baptist Church read by Allen Webber
When we celebrate communion it allows us to do four things:
1. It allows us to look back. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, we find these words: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread – and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'” These two verses allows us to look back to the cross. We look back to see Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. Listen to the words of this old hymn, ‘Alas, and did my Saviour bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I? Was it for crimes I had done, He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree.”
2. It allows us to look forward. In 1 Corinthians 11:26 we read, “For, whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” The first communion was the start of a journey. A journey that will one day end – the day Jesus comes to take us home. The Lord’s Supper helps us to look forward to this day – the day we will all be together in heaven – no more death – no more sin – no more pain – no more sorrow. But this forward look also reminds us to always live in such a way that we are ready for His return, for He could come at any moment. We need to live our lives in such a way that we will not be embarrassed or ashamed at our Lord’s sudden appearance.
3. It allows us to look inward. From 1 Corinthians 11:28-29, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.” This inward look is a time to take moral inventory of our lives. But our nature does not allow us to be objective. We cannot see our lives from God’s holy and perfect perspective. The sin and evil in this world has desensitized us and is more difficult in seeing sin as sin anymore. We need Psalm 19:12, “Who an detect my errors? God, clear me from hidden faults.” Through prayer and His word, we need to allow God to make known to us that which hinders our relationship with Him.
4. Communion allows us to look outward. The more we look towards Jesus and the more we see His act of love and sacrifice, the more we begin to see the world through His eyes. By God’s grace we have been given specific talents and abilities to take the gospel message to the people of the world who are hurting and in need. In John’s gospel, we read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much frutit.”
June 25th by Murray Markert
“What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseparably to who He is. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the Source of eternal life. This is the truth – This is the truth about Jesus and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.
It is communion time, a time to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to partake of these elements. The bread represents Jesus’ body and the wine represents Jesus’ blood which was poured out to enable the forgiveness of sin.
It is time to come to the Lord to share your innermost thoughts and concerns. It is time to ask Him those questions of why – why did this happen? – why me? -why did I get these gifts and how can I use them? It is time to have a conversation with the Son of God who was present at creation, was the center of the crucifixion, and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding on our behalf. It is time to give thanks to Him for His part in our lives and for paying the ultimate price; for dying on a cross and shedding His blood so we can spend eternity with Him.”
June 18th given by Pastor Dave
“Easter Morning written by Anna Sarsons (Pastor Dave’s grandmother)
Hail, hail the sweet dawn of Easter morn.
Hail with gladness!
Hail with sadness!
Hail with pity, for the one who lived for thee.
Hail with worship, love and anguish for one who died for thee.
For the one who lived and suffered
That we might from sin be free.
Hail, hail the sweetness dawn of day.
Open wide the curtains of the ages gone by.
See the holy human Saviour
That they dared to crucify.
Are you trying to be worthy
Of the love he holds for thee?
Are you trying to be worthy
Of the blood that flowed so free?
Friend of mine and sister, brother,
Dare you, dare you turn away?
Dare you face your Saviour saying
“Lord, I cannot try today.”
Friends of mine, and sister, brother,
Turn your faces to the right.
Strive again to become worthy
On this Easter morning bright.”
June 11th by Allen Webber
The world believes that we are born pure and innocent but are taught and learn and practice varying degrees of ‘evil or sin’ as we grow up. Which also implies that you will learn to do ‘good’ by being taught and guided from outside influences, whether it be family, society or maybe even environmental influences.
But Christianity teaches otherwise. Christianity teaches that we are born with a nature to sin and rebel and that we have within that nature a latent ability to wreak all kinds of evil that at times may seem imcomprehensible. The history books are filled and they are being added to daily with accounts of these evils and wrongdoings. And at times we just shake our heads in horror and disbelief. We may even thank God that our parents and family have made an effort in their wisdom and experience to teach us to keep that sin nature under control.
But is that enough? Quite frankly, no! Within that sin nature is also the inability to correct it. It takes an outside influence, a renewing of the mind. It can only come from an absolutely pure source, someone that is not blemished or tarnished with the slightest speck of dust or sin. And that is only from God.
But, our minds, being somewhat limited in scope and ability, could not comprehend this renewal from where God is at. So Jesus came to earth to live among us, to show and teach us of God’s nature and to show and teach us of our nature and how incompatible these two are. But through that, God provided the way to bridge that gap. And in these two emblems, we are reminded of the extreme cost that Jesus had to pay on our behalf to give us an understanding of what it took to break that hold that sin had on us. In Romans 12:2 we read, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you might prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.”
And as a bit of a side item to this – when Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the grave site on the resurrection morning, the tombstone was rolled away, the tomb was empty, and the only thing left behind was the burial wrappings that Jesus was buried in. How many times have we read these verses and dwell on the resurrection and maybe not read in between the lines? Those body wrappings are important. They are a metaphor for our sin nature. Jesus left them behind, telling us that our sin nature has been dealt with. He was clothed with a new robe which tells us we also have a new nature in Him.
In Colossians 2:13-14, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt, consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross”
May 21st by Allen Webber
“In Colossians 1:15-18, we read, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything”.
This is one of the strongest statements about the divine nature of Christ found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus is not only equal to God, but as the image of the invisible God, He is the exact representation of God. He not only reflects God, but He reveals God to us as the Firstborn over all creation, He has all the priority and authority of the firstborn prince in a king’s household. He came from heaven, not from the dust of the earth and He is Lord of all. He is completely holy and has the authority to judge the world. Therefore, Christ is supreme over all creation, including the spirit world. We, like the Colossian believers, must believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, in other words, that Jesus is God, or our Christian faith is hollow, misdirected, and meaningless. This is a central truth in Christianity. We must oppose those who say that Jesus was merely a prophet or a good teacher.
God is not only the Creator of the world, but He is also its Sustainer. In Him, everything is held together, protected, and prevented from disintegrating into chaos. Because Christ is the Sustainer of all life, none of us is independent from Him. We are all His servants who must daily trust Him for protecting us, caring for us, and sustaining us.
Christ is the “firstborn from the dead”. Jesus was raised from the dead, and His resurrection proves His Lordship over the material world. All who trust in Christ will also defeat death and rise again to live eternally with Him. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, He has been exalted and elevated to the status that was rightfully His.”
May 14th, Derrick Schiffner
“Communion to me is a time of remembering the implications of the Gospel. And to help us with that this morning, I’d like to read some select passages and ask some questions for us to think about in this time of reflection.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
So how justified are we? This is what I’d like to explore.
Propitiate has to do with satisfaction. Verse 25 says God set Jesus forth as a satisfactory payment on a debt we couldn’t pay. How many sins did Jesus propitiate for us with his cross work? And to answer this:
1 John 2:2 says
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 Peter 3:18 says
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”
When Christ died for sins, how many of those sins were all in the future? How many of your specific sins were in the future? What sin did the cross work of Jesus not take care of? If there were a sin that could condemn you God was not satisfied with The death of His Son on the cross. Here’s my point: this time of reflection on Christ’s work Is how sufficient it was. Today we don’t have a sin issue we have a Son issue.
1 John 5:11-13 (NASB)
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
Do you have the son?
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 11:24-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
I Corinthians 11:25 “In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
May 7, 2017 by Murray Markert
“Pastor Dave’s message on Easter Sunday presented a very strong case for Christ. In his closing summation, he chose these words “Do I love Him?” These words have been resonating in my mind ever since. If we look up the word “love” in the dictionary we will find in this application that the word is a verb and a verb is an action word. If we love our dog, we will take it for a walk; if we love pizza, we will eat it; if we love our truck, we will take it for a drive; if we love our job, we will go to work with anticipation and if we love our spouse, we will have intimate thoughts. If we love Jesus, what will we do? This is not so easy to articulate. Not only are we to love Him, we are to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind. The appropriate definition for each word is virtually indistinguishable – my best interpretation is to love with the heart is to show strong emotions and feelings. To love with the mind is to know what you think and feel. To love with the soul which is the spiritual side of the body, is all of the above, but it also puts our love into action. The footnote in my Bible says love is something best understood by the actions we take. Maybe the best way to understand how to love Christ is to look at how He loved us and then put that into action the best we can – an emulation of that love.
Jesus, after creating the universe out of nothing, left the Father and came to earth. He unselfishly left His place on High to come join us knowing He would be despised, spit upon and beaten. He came to earth to teach us about morality, about Godly values, and how to stand up for our convictions and justice. He taught us what it is to share with one another, to feel how other people feel without any concern from any ‘payback’ – all this coming from the heart. Finally, knowing that despite all of His teaching and love He poured out to us, we needed to be saved from our humanity. Knowingly, He allowed Himself to be sacrificed on the cross, His body broken, His blood shed, and then conquered death three days later so some day we can enjoy eternity with Him. That is amazing love in action.”
April 23rd, 2017 given by Allen Webber
“The first communion took place during the Jewish Passover. Passover is so named because the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites while destroying the firstborn of Egypt. The key feature was that any house to be passed over had to have the doorposts and lintels painted with blood from a sacrificed lamb. Note that this salvation from death was not achieved by merit, or by being born in the right tribe, or by achievement – it was simply a matter of claiming it. If you believed the Lord would deliver, and said so in the terms He prescribed, you would be passed over in death. Passover started with faith. This Lord’s Supper is a visible demonstration of our faith.
Passover involved sacrifice. A young lamb, in perfection condition, was to be slaughtered to provide the blood for the doorposts and the meal. A perfect sacrifice was required; the blood was the sign of salvation. Jesus is our perfect sacrifice; by His blood we are passed over in death.
Passover was a community ritual. The requirement was that the lamb be completely eaten, or the leftovers be burned. The Israelite was to assemble his family, and if that were not sufficient in numbers, bring in other members of the faith so that the lamb could be completely consumed. So it is with us, that the Lord’s Supper may not be taken alone, but in the presence of the family of God.
Passover was not an end, but a beginning. It meant that the Israelites were beginning a journey to the Promised Land. It was in many ways the beginning of the nation of Israel. It was for most of them the beginning of their relationship with God. So it is with us. The Lord’s Supper is not the end, but the beginning. We acknowledge our sojourn in this world. By it we are made one people, the people of God around the world. By the sacrifice it represents we have fellowship with God.
Passover was to be eaten in haste, dressed fro a journey. The Israelite was to be ready to go out and follow the Lord wherever He might lead, even though he was under a roof celebrating a feast. He was to have his garments belted for a journey, his sandals on his feet. Passover was to prepare him spiritually for the trip. So it is with us. The Lord’s Supper should cause us to examine our relationship with the Lord, to examine the tenets of our faith to make sure they are true to the word of God, and then resolve to use those tenets to spread the good news of salvation to wherever we may be.” author unknown
April 16th, 2017 by Pastor Dave
April 9th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“Sometimes it can be quite difficult to have a consistent walk of faith. Depending on where we are or what we are doing, we can experience times of strength or times of weakness. And it can happen quite quickly. For a long time, the Israelites had been expecting their Messiah to be arriving with a shield in one hand and a sword in the other hand, riding on a horse – a symbol of war. But in Zechariah 9:9, we are told “Your king is coming to you, riding on a donkey – no, a cold of a donkey” – a symbol of peace. Compare this to the Christmas story. Again, the Israelites were expecting a mature ruler,a king that would lead their nation to greatness – a symbol of strength. But He came as a baby – a symbol of frailty and weakness.
Now to bring this back to my original statement about having a consistent walk of faith. On that Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into the streets on that colt of a donkey, the people were cheering and shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” But just five days later, on Good Friday, the leaders had convinced them to shout, “Crucify him, Crucify him.” They were having issues with their faith.
We are every bit as human as those people and therefore we have times of victory and times of struggle. Having communion is one way to refocus our thoughts and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. Our consistency in faith is not only important for us but for the people we encounter daily.”
April 2nd, 2017 by Brian Markert
“While we prepare for communion I want to draw your attention to the words on this table. “Do this in remembrance of me.“ We are remembering Jesus dying on the cross for us to be forgiven of our sins and be reunited with a personal God. I ask you to think about this as a model for our relationships with others.
God did nothing wrong to create a divided between him and his creation. It is us that chose to sin against God and make ourselves unworthy to stand in his presence. He then sent his only son to die as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.
What right do we have to hold a grudge against others? Forgiveness in our personal lives usually requires sacrifice on both sides of the relationship. As we take Communion ask the Holy Spirit to help you to see what needs to be done to repair or start to repair a damaged relationship in your life and the strength to do it.”
March 26th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“One of the aspects of this communion whether it be a conscious process or not is trying to comprehend in the slightest degree the love of God towards us. We can try to use one or many adjectives to explain it but the moment we do we realize how inadequate they are. Over the years, and even centuries, many people from laymen to scholars, have tried to understand and explain this love but fall short. Consider for a moment a line in a hymn that we sing, ‘amazing love, how can it be that Thou my God, should die for me?’
In 1 John 4:10-11, we find this, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin. Dear friends, since God loved us, we ought to also love one another.” God incarnate showed His love in His willingness to bear the shame, endure the cross, and be the bridge that brings us back into relationship with Him. These three things illustrate His indescribable love.
One of the first verses we learn from Scripture is John 3:16. There is probably no one here who can’t recite it. We have probably said it so many times that we give it scant notice. And by the time we complete it we have glossed over the third word – ‘so’. “For God so loved the world…”
As we partake of this communion, we must sit in quiet awe as we mediate on God’s grace and mercy toward us.”
March 19th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“This past weekend Dat and Dave led us through our church history and the influence that those founding fathers have impacted lives from 90 years ago to the present not only within our church community but throughout the world. They shared with us how the world around us is changing and the need to adjust the way the gospel is presented. They guided us through the process of developing a vision statement to deal with a changing world and to help us better understand our love for Christ and to project that to the world around us. Change is not something we all accept readily but in the bigger picture, after we have adjusted, change is usually good.
Speaking of change, at one of my daughter’s graduation exercise, the speaker giving the address was a young tv anchor from CTV. She told them that their class was going to face something that would be unique to their class. That was change. Even though she did a skillful job on her presentation, I remember thinking at the time this isn’t something new. My parent’s generation had seen the change from horse and buggy to landing a man on the moon. More recently I have thought about the change the religious community went through when Christ entered the world and claimed to be the Son of the living God. The world around us is constantly transforming its views and opinions, as a result, the way we interact and communicate needs to transform as well.
The good news is through all this turbulence there is one constant and that truth is captured in the lyric of a famous hymn “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”. Christ was the same 90 years ago as He is today He is the same today that He will be 90 years from now. He offers us His love, His eternal wisdom, His compassion and His forgiveness. His death on the cross was done once for all until His return so that someday we can sit in the presence of our Triune God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”
March 12th, 2017 Excerpt from NASB study Bible delivered by Allen Webber
“It is easy to overlook the fact that Jesus chose Judas to be his disciple. We may also forget that while Judas betrayed Jesus, all the disciples abandoned him. With the other disciples, Judas shared a persistent misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. They all expected Jesus to make the right political moves. When he kept talking about dying, they all felt varying degrees of anger, fear, and disappointment. They didn’t understand why they had been chosen if Jesus’ mission was doomed to fail.
We do not know the exact motivation behind Judas’s betrayal. What is clear is that Judas allowed his desires to place him in a position where Satan could manipulate him. Judas accepted payment to set Jesus up for the religious leaders. He identified Jesus for the guards in the dimly lit Garden of Gethsemane. It is possible that he was trying to force the hand of Jesus – would Jesus or would Jesus not rebel against Rome and set up a new political government?
Whatever the plan though, at some point Judas realized he didn’t like the ways things were turning out. He tried to undo the evil he had done by returning the money to the priests, but it was too late. The wheels of God’s sovereign plan had been set into motion. How sad that Judas ended his life in despair without ever experiencing the gift of reconciliation God could give to him through Jesus Christ.
In betraying Jesus, Judas made the greatest mistake in history. But the fact that Jesus knew Judas would betray him doesn’t mean that Judas was a puppet of God’s will. Judas made the choice. God knew what that choice would be and confirmed it. Judas didn’t lose his relationship with Jesus; rather, he never found Jesus in the first place. He is called the ‘son of perdition’ because he was never saved.
But Judas does us a favour. He makes us think long and hard about our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and to the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Are we true disciples and followers, or uncommitted pretenders? We can choose despair and death, or we can choose repentence, forgiveness, hope and eternal life. Judas’s betrayal sent Jesus to the cross to guarantee that second choice, our only chance. Will we accept Jesus’ free gift, or, like Judas, betray him?”
March 5th, 2017 by Brian Markert
“Logic and God’s Will
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
Some Jews saw a miracle for what it was and they believed in Jesus. Some of the other Jews saw it as an opportunity to give the leaders of the day, the Pharisees, what they were looking for, a reason to eliminate Jesus as a threat to their leadership.
Whenever I read the bible, especially the gospels, I try not to judge the naysayers to quickly. I try to put myself into the situation. You know what happens more frequently then you would guess; I understand where they’re coming from. Let me read the next two verses.
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
Now that seems like sound logic. Doesn’t it make sense that one crazy man die then we let the Americans, Chinese or Russians take over Canada. Here’s the rub though. This man isn’t crazy. He is Jesus and God will do His Will whether we want to be part of it or not.
As we are making decisions in our lives, remember, a popular or logical decision is not always the right one. It’s easy to feel good about doing what everyone else is doing but if you haven’t checked it by God you might want to hold up a bit. Pray about it. Sometimes a quick “Hey God what do you think about this?” is enough and you know what the right decision is. Other times you pray for days, months, or even years and you end up more unsure then you did when you started. That can be an answer in itself or it can mean you need to completely rethink the way that you are looking at something.”
February 26th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“This morning’s thought is based on Mark 8:27-36. I will need your participation this morning. We are going back in time to around 31 AD and I need you to play the part of an apostle. I will ask and question as Jesus would have and I would like your response as an apostle who had been travelling with Him. Here are some of the events that you would have seen prior to this conversation you would have witnessed: – the sick have been healed
– the lame have walked again
– you have seen Jesus preach to thousands and feed them all with a few baskets of food
– you have seen Him being questioned by the religious leaders of the day and at the end they were speechless
– you have seen possessed people fall down before Him saying He is the Son of God
– you have seen Him calm a storm
– you have seen Him walk on water and the list goes on.
As the apostles and Jesus were walking from one of the villages to another, Jesus said to them, “Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27-29). Then Jesus goes on and this will be the first time He tells them that He must suffer (Mark 8:31). Then Jesus goes on to say “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?…” (Mark 8:34-36).
Christ very clearly pointed out to His disciples what was going to take place. He must suffer, die, and rise three days later. This is what we are celebrating here at the communion table. Christ told us to partake of these elements remembering Him until He returns again.”
February 19th, 2017 by Dale Doner
- He is here
- It’s going to be okay
- He knows what to do
Galatians 5:6 “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”
John 17:24 “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”
February 12th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“‘To Do’ List
How many have a bucket list or a ‘to do’ list? A bucket list generally consists of things that one would like to accomplish or do, but not necessarily getting them done. They can be a bit ‘loftier’ in scope, with more planning, resources and time involved to complete them. But with a suggestion of, “Boy, I would like to do that someday.”
But a ‘to do’ list implies that what is to be accomplished is definitely attainable and with a sense of will and purpose to see it through. More along the lines of ‘this needs to be done’. But in both cases there is a common thread – the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction one gets from completing the task.
When Jesus came to earth, He had only one thing on His ‘to do’ list. And that was to restore mankind to his relationship with God. Right from the start there was a purpose and resolve to see the task through to the end. And there was a definite timeline in which it was to be accomplished.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 2, verse 4, Jesus told His mother at the wedding feast in Cana that “my hour has not yet come.” But later on in chapter 17, Jesus began His prayer with these words, “Father, the hour has come”. That might seem an odd ways to start a prayer, but not if you are about to accomplish the most important mission in history. And Jesus continued His prayer by saying, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do”.
Which brings us to John 19:30. Jesus said, “It is finished”. With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Whenever we take communion and remember the cross, lets bow our heads and give thanks that Jesus completed His ‘to do’ list on which the name of every human being was written. Every time we remember Jesus Christ in a communion, we affirm ‘mission accomplished’.”
February 5th, 2017 by Allen Webber
A believer’s life and an unbeliever’s life should look different. God has a great deal to say about the distinction between the two. On several occasions in the Scriptures, He uses salt and its qualities to describe what the attributes of a Christian are.
At one time salt was valuable enough that it was used as a trading currency. But anymore, it has been reduced to a flavouring condiment for food. We have salt in abundance and therefore it has become very inexpensive. But whether it is valuable or inexpensive, its inherent qualities remain the same.
Salt is used the world over for its ability to enhance the flavour of food. It changes the taste of food to make food more appealing. In the same way we are to change the flavour of what is happening in our world around us. We are to bring a Biblical perspective to any aspect of life that we become involved in.
We know all too well that when we consume junk food it is not too long before we also need something to drink. So, salt also creates thirst. But you can’t stay at 1 potato chip or 1 peanut. The salt entices the person to eat more and thirst more. That is how we are to work in the lives of the people around us. If they can see in us joy and contentment, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit, they will desire to have that for themselves.
Salt also has unique healing properties. Is there anyone here who has not gargled with salt water to sooth a sore throat? We too, can be soothing influence in the lives of our neighbors when they are going through a difficult time of their life – both physically and/or spiritually.
Salt also has qualities of preservation. Before refrigeration came along, much food was preserved with salt to prevent deterioration. In much the same way, we are to preserve the Word of God and live by it so that people can see a clean delineation between the philosophies of this world and their consequences, and the principles and precepts that are taught in Scripture.
You have heard of the phrase “putting salt in ones wounds”. What comes to mind is the pain that we feel when we put salt on a cut, but the value of salt in this instance is for its disinfecting qualities. Salt was used to prevent infections and to keep the wound clean. We too are to live a clean life so that people can see a distinct and desirable difference between Christians and non-Christians.
However salt loses its qualities and value when it is mixed with impurities. Our lives, as well, are less effective when we allow sin to gain a foothold in our lives. We then lessen the validity and strength of our witness.
But the saltiness we might possess does not come from within. It is given from outside. It is only given to us from God. When we are working with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will have a salty influence on the world. If someone asked, what does a Christian look like, could they point to you and say, they look just like that person?”
January 29th, 2017 by Brian Markert
“When I was 6,7 or 8 we were learning about prayer in Sunday school. Trina Wickstrom was m teacher at the time. She told us it didn’t matter when or what we talked to God about, he just wanted us to talk to him. We could pray to God about anything. There seemed to be one caveat, however. That Sunday’s story made it pretty clear we shouldn’t expect a brand new bike just because we prayed for one.
Luke 11:9-10 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Monday I went to the dentist. They always had a draw that kids could enter if they were cavity free. I didn’t have many cavity free visits but I did this time and the draw prize was a teddy bear that I couldn’t live without. This wasn’t a new bike so it was fair game. I prayed for that teddy bear every time it crossed my mind. It seemed like it was hourly that I would remind God how much I needed that teddy bear. Two weeks had gone by and I came home from school. The dentist’s office had called and guess who won that teddy bear…. My sister.
I didn’t understand. Trina had told me that if I prayed and I believed, God would grant me what I asked for. The more I thought about it, though, the more I began to understand what the original Sunday school lesson was trying to teach us. Since then that two week period in from my childhood has been a platform that God has used as a teaching tool for two other major lessons in my adult life.
Luke 11:11-13 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
When you pray God provides you with what you actually need, not necessarily what you think you need. The key to seeing fruit in your prayer life is to not think that you know better than God.
The other thing that I can see now that I couldn’t see then is that God has a very grand and purposeful plan for his creation and a very personal and purposeful plan for me and the two are so intertwined it blows me away. Trina planned a lesson for us every Sunday and did her best to try and keep a class full of boys focused on something then God used a Sunday school lesson, a cavity free visit and a teddy bear to teach a child about prayer and a little of his character. Sometimes in life we feel lost and discouraged because what we are doing seems humdrum but you never know what part of your day God will use to impact others. Whatever you do every day do it to the best of your abilities and leave the rest up to God.”
January 22nd, 2017 by Murray Markert
“My communion thought this morning is just that, a “thought”. It focuses on Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This verse probably most of us here try to achieve. But unless, everyone here is different than me, we start to coast some time and our hearts, soul and mind start prioritizing other things and we can even have a dark moment. A moment that we question God as to why He would allow this or that to happen. People will say and rightfully so – ‘let God be God’ – but still we are questioning God.
I would like to leave this just for a moment. When we first accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and have become aware of who He is and the price the Son of God paid for us so we can sit in His presence some day. We are truly in awe of Him. Hold that thought for a moment.
I would like to use an analogy now of what I have been talking about. It does fall short but we are going to use it this morning. When couples first get married they are in awe of each other. That awe can dissipate pretty fast unless they learn to talk to each other, to communicate their feelings for each other,to share their love and to stay committed.
Our relationship with our God is very similar. To maintain our awe for our heavenly Father throughout our lives we need to remember who He is at all times, we need to stay committed to Him, we need to talk to Him, and we need to share our innermost feelings with Him. We need to talk and walk with Him all week.
Communion is a special time when we remember He allowed His body to be broken for us, His blood to be shed for us and three days later He conquered death. It is a time to give thanks and stay in awe of Him.
January 15th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“On the front of this table is the inscription “In Remembrance of Me”. It is a constant reminder that when we partake of this communion we are to make a concerted effort in our meditations. Firstly, it should cause our minds to block out our worldly cares and concerns and then totally focus on the message of the cross. What does that message mean to me? What does that message mean to you? In the bread I am reminded of Christ’s broken body. Not broken in the sense of broken bones but in the sense of beatings, the humiliation, the defilement that Christ had to endure on our behalf. He was not an ordinary man. He was the Son of God – He was perfect. All that He endured was unmerited – yet He was willing to take it all upon Himself to spare us from the horror of having to defend ourselves in God’s court.
In the cup I am reminded of the shed blood of Christ. In the Old Testament the shedding of blood was necessary for the atonement of sin. But since it had to be done individually for each one, many thousands of animals had to be sacrificed on a regular basis. But when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He was one sacrifice for all. Nothing more had to be added to it or subtracted from it. It was finished.
The communion is a time of personal meditation for each and every one of us. It can be a time of unparalleled gratitude in realizing God’s love for us and what He has done for us in Christ. It can also cause us to reflect on who God is – and who we are not. But it is a personal meditation, just as our relationship with Jesus Christ is personal. So as you partake, just sit there for a few moments in prayer and meditation, think of Jesus Christ and remember His comman from Luke 22:19, “Do this in Remembrance of Me”.
January 8th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
“Marveled at What He Said
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law…”
Simeon…who by the Holy Spirit was in the temple when the Lord Jesus was brought in to fulfill the Mosaic Law. God had promised Simeon that he would see the salvation of God. What did he see? He saw a little Baby. Salvation is a Person, and not something that you do. Salvation is a Person and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. You either have Him, or you don’t have Him. You either trust Him, or you don’t trust Him.
“then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all people, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
This is a remarkable statement coming from a man who was limited in his outlook upon life-that is, he was limited to a particular area geographically. Yet he saw the One who was to be the Savior of the world. This is to me one of the amazing things about the Word of God, especially the New Testament. Although given to a certain people, it is certainly directed to the world. No other religion pointed that way. You will notice that the religions of the world are generally localized for a peculiar people, generally a race or nation. But Christianity has been from the outset for all people everywhere.
“And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed – and a sword will pierce even your own soul – to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
If one wonders why they marvelled at Simeon’s words after what they had heard from Gabriel, Elisabeth, and the Shepherds, he should bear in mind that every parent is astonished and pleased at the fine things others see in the child. How did this man know the mystery of the child? How did he single out their babe? More than that, their wonder was this that he should say such astounding things about the child. Simeon’s words went beyond Israel…Simeon included all the Gentiles nations in the salvation that this child was bringing – reason, indeed, for astonishment at this new revelation!
The cross of Christ has moved many people – artists have painted the picture, songwriters have written music about it, and authors and preachers have sketched those moments with words. There is a danger of dwelling on His death in a sympathetic way. Christ did not die to elicit anyone’s sympathy. He does not want your sympathy, He wants your faith.
However, when Mary stood beneath that cross and watched Jesus die, it was a broken heart. She was suffering as His mother. And at that time the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled – the sword pierced through her soul also.
“that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
This expresses God’s purpose in the mission of the Messiah. He is to test men’s thoughts and purposes. They will be compelled to take a stand for Christ or against him. This is true today.
Again…He does not want your sympathy. Jesus Christ wants your faith.”*
*Through the Bible – J Vernon McGee
Word Pictures of the New Testament – A.T. Robertson
January 1st, 2017 by Allen Webber
One of the things we tend to do at the start of the New Year is to take stock of what has been in the past year and what might be in the New Year. We introspectively look at ourselves and our lives and ask, “Are we better off or worse off than at this time last year?” And human nature, being what it is, tends to use tangible things to measure progress from one year to another. And these tangible things tend to be things that measure our health or our wealth.
But how often do we take stock of our spiritual walk with Christ? Are we better off this year than last year? Have we studied the Scriptures more than last year? Have we prayed more? And have we prayed more for our fellow man and his needs as opposed to us and our needs? Have we been a better witness to all our neighbours or just a select few? Have we given more of our time and treasures to the glory of God and less to the indulgences of man?
As we partake of this communion, we should ask God’s forgiveness for the times of this past year when we consciously or subconsciously denied Jesus Christ. We need to pray to God to show us areas of our lives that are lacking and where we could improve. We can always improve our prayer life and our study life. We can resolve to take these steps so that at the end of this year, we can look back and say with the confidence of Paul that “Yes, we are spiritually better of this year than last year”. Paul was nearing the end of his ministry and life when he wrote to Timothy proclaiming, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. Paul didn’t just leave the starting gate and arrive at the finish line. There was the progression of time, day in and day out, year in and year out. The same opportunities obstacles were before him – just as we have today. Our relationship with Jesus Christ should be at ever progressing journey that takes hard work and patience. We should be able to say at the end of this year that , “Yes, we are still fighting the good fight, we are still running the race, and we are still keeping the faith.””
December 4th, 2016 by Allen Webber
In many places in Scripture, we are given a sense of urgency for our salvation, since we do not know when the coming of the Lord will be. Although our salvation is about a personal relationship with the Lord, it is by no means meant to be a selfish relationship with the Lord, in the sense that we are to keep it to ourselves and not share it with others. Indeed, we are to go…throughout, and let our speech and actions be an example of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But sometimes it may be a little difficult in knowing how to share the Gospel. We can find instruction on how to do this in the book of Romans.
Firstly, recognition of the human condition is found in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” This verse is not exclusive to anyone, no matter what nationality or circumstance. Everyone must come to realize that we are born sinners and must be transformed by the blood of Christ – not born basically good and then being impacted by some external forces that make us sin.
Secondly, we find in Romans 6:23, what the penalty for that sin is, as well as the hope offered in Christ: “For wages of sin is death, but the free Gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Third, the method by which one may receive Jesus as their personal Saviour is found in Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is as simple as that. You don’t have to jump through a series of hoops or follow some sort of initiation rite.
And lastly, Romans 10:13 offers hope to those seeking the Lord: “For ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
November 20th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Heal Our Land
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 says this, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or commmand locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”
I think there is a tendency for modern Christians to conduct their lives using the New Testament with lesser regard for the Old Testament and its knowledge and precepts. But there are very important principles that can be gleaned from that part of the Bible. We may think that because we are under grace, God is a god of love and forgiveness. But He is also a god of judgment.
This passage from 2 Chronicles reveals that judgment could in fact befall God’s people. This verse concerns, “my people“, not some pagan nation that follows a man-made god or gods, but a fellowship of believers that profess God as sovereign and holy. It suggests too, that turning away from God could result in pestilence and drought. Now we, living in an agricultural area know all too well what a plague of grasshoppers or a drought can do to a community. But the conditions of pestilence or drought can happen to our spiritual lives as well. If we get our eyes off God, and rely less and less on Him and more and more on the things of the world, our Christian witness will be diminished. We will blend in with the world and not be the light shining in the darkness that God desires. We will also be in a spiritual drought whereby there is no growth in our lives.
But God wants to heal our ‘land’ (in a spiritual sense). He wants closer and closer fellowship with us, so we mature and understand more clearly His will for our lives.
As believers, we are to humble ourselves. We must acknowledge who God is and who we are not. We are to pray. This describes heartfelt crying out to the Lord rather than simply bringing requests before Him. We also need to seek His face. This is to have a longing in our hearts to know God’s will for our lives, our families, our community and our nation. And we are to turn from our wicked ways. If our lives are not for God, they are against God and this is wickedness. If we join hands with the wicked, whether by action or inaction, we ourselves are guilty before God.
So, this communion reminds us of where our faith starts, where the healing begins. We are reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf to bring us back into right relationship with God It reminds us that the healing comes from God through Christ.”
November 13th, 2016 by Murray Markert
One of my all time favorite movies is Braveheart. A movie about a legendary Scotsman, William Wallace. He led a rebellion against England in the late 13th century because of persecution and suppression of basic human rights. After many successes, he was finally captured and was publicly tortured to force him to admit treason against England. In one of the final scenes the head henchman thought Wallace was about to plead guilty and was allowed to speak. With every ounce of life left in him, Wallace shouts his last word ‘Freedom’.
Freedom is something mankind has sought and is still seeking. From Exodus where the Israelite nation wanted freedom from enslavement and persecution of the Egyptians to the Scots rebelling against England to the Western world united against Hilter and his thugs to fight anarchy against humanity and to preserve the freedoms they enjoyed. Freedom came at great costs; thousands of men and women lost their lives and thousands more lives were changed for what they did and saw. They did all this to preserve the freedoms we still enjoy today.
With all the freedoms mankind has been given, from the Israelites to us presently, we have proven with all these freedoms we do not make very good choices. We tend to make choices in the midst of all this freedom that enslaves us to sin. We see at the communion table here this morning to remember Christ and what did Christ have to say about freedom? John 8:31-32 “If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
My thoughts: ‘Know the boundaries that Christ has set for us and live a life within them full of love and forgiveness and if you stray outside those boundaries, confess and repent and Jesus will open the gates and allow us back in, to live our lives in true Freedom‘.”
November 6th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“The Purpose of Life
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams or ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point – ourselves. What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for the future?
You cannot arrive at life’s purpose by starting to focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God. In Job 12:10 we read, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures, everyone’s life is in his power.” It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
When you go into a bookstore, there is usually a section on discovering your purpose in life. It is called, appropriately so, a self-help section, coming from a self-centered view or a worldly concept of the purpose of life. And generally, that concept is defined as success-being rich, being powerful or being influential. Now each of these results can be a good thing, but if their primary purpose is to serve oneself, then they are futile and against God’s purpose. The Message Paraphrase of Matthew 16:25 says, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
But God has not left us without any resources in discerning our purpose in life. The Bible is our instruction manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help book or philosophy book could know. God is not just the starting point of our lives; He is the source of it. To discover our purpose in life, we must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. Ephesians 1:11 says, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
October 23rd, 2016 by Allen Webber
If I were to ask you what you thought would be the most significant verses in your Bible, I would probably receive back a number of different responses and for a number of different reasons. But I think we can agree that the whole or sum total of our Christian experience can be found in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Sopn, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But if I were to ask you what you thought would be the most significant one, two, or three words that convey a single thought, that might prove to be a little more challenging – only because we might not have given it much consideration. One choice might be – “In the beginning” – the first three words in the Bible. All of Genesis 1 deals with the beginning of God’s creation – the start of His master plan – indeed a most significant event. Another choice might be “Amen” – the last word in the Bible. With this amen, there is a finality that brings the Bible to a close with the satisfaction of knowing that there does not need to be anything more said or done to help us understand God’s will. A third choice might be “It is finished” – the last three words that Jesus spoke at His crucifixion, signifying the completion of the work of Jesus on earth.
In addition to these choices, I would like to add another. I think two works that would pass the test of significance would be “But God“. When we think of the word but, it conveys a sense of something else to follow or an exception to what has been previous And when we place it next to the word God, it tells us that there will be something very significant or extraordinary taking place. Let us look at a few examples. In the beginning there was nothing, absolutely nothing – but God, in His perfect and sovereign will, created the universe and all that is in it. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt in the exodus, they were guided along a path that brought them to the Red Sea. Only to discover that they were being followed by the army of Pharaoh. They were trapped, by the virtually uncrossable Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army in back of them. They faced certain death – but God – again to proved His sovereignty, parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to cross in safety but totally destroying the Egyptian army when they tried to cross. Daniel would have been devoured by the lions – but God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have been burned to a crisp in the fiery furnace – but God. Saul (who later changed his name to Paul) on the road to Damascus, eargerly and zealously on a trip of persecution and murder –but God.
And then there is you and me – created in God’s image to worship Him, but with a will of our own and inborn nature to sin. That inspite of ourselves, there is nothing we can do, no good works that we can do that is good enough to be worthy in His eyes to overcome that sin nature. Left to ourselves, we sin at will and the result rightly deserved, is to spend eternity in hell – but God. But God loved us so much that He provided a way – one way to allow us to be absolutely clean, absolutely pure, absolutely sinless enough to be in His presence. And that was is Jesus Christ. We were created primarily to worship God, and to be in His presence requires us to be perfectly holy. At our first heartbeat we failed that requirement. But through Christ, God sees us as holy.
This bread reminds us of Christ’s body, sacrificed to God on our behalf. And with His death, there is a finality to God’s plan of salvation, in that, there is nothing more that needs to be said or done for our redemption. And with the cup, we are reminded of the covenant or promise that God made, whereby if we believe God is who He says He is and Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son and died for our souls, then we can ultimately be in God’s presence and worship Him.”
October 16th, 2016 by Brian Markert
“Joshua 2:9-11 God’s ways are different than ours
It really is incredible all the different methods or forms that God uses to capture our attention or carry out his will. One common theme though; God doesn’t use common or worldly logic to make individuals or groups to stand up and pay attention. The light really does stand out in the darkness.
I want to read Joshua 2:9-11
Joshua had taken over leadership of the Israelites after Moses died. He had sent two men to spy on the land west of the Jordan before the Israelites crossed over. They were hiding in Rahab the prostitute’s house.
Rahab recognized who God was by hearing of his miracles as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. She chose to act against the norms of her culture and serve God in the only tangible way she could. She hid the Israelite spies. As such she escaped the destruction that befell the rest of Jericho.
We are no different. Once we recognize who God is we have a choice. We can choose to continue living for ourselves which usually hurts in the short term but always hurts in the long term, or we can choose to be used by God and experience his blessings.
Now God shows us his will in a lot of different ways; observations, conversations, visions, leaders and most importantly prayerfully reading the bible. It’s almost impossible to decipher any other direction without reading the bible.
The point I want you to think about as we partake of the communion is we know who God is. He is a God that so loved the world that he sent his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Now we have a choice. Do we let him use us and what does that look like in your life.”
October 9th, 2016 “Thanksgiving Harvest” by Allen Webber
“This is Thanksgiving Sunday and we tend to reflect on being thankful more at this time of year than at any other time of the year. Thanksgiving Day was originally set in the autumn of the year because of the tangible results of God’s providence that people could see, as the harvest was being brought in. In 1620, the Pilgrims sailed from England on the Mayflower and had to endure a very harsh winter in which more than half of the people died from sickness and starvation. But 1621 was a very good year for crops and when the harvest was finished, there was more than enough food for all to last the entire winter. They decided to have a celebration giving thanks to God for their crops and survival. Even today an example of God’s grace can be seen in the harvesting of our crops and the bounty of what the land produces. We farmers, know full well that the success or failure of our farms comes not from our own hands, but from the hands of God. We can put the seed in the ground, fertilize it, spray it, nurture it, and harvest it, but if we do not get moisture, the results will not be there. We must rely on God for timely rains to ensure there will be a harvest.
As we read in Scripture, our attention is drawn to another harvest. In all of the Gospels, a harvest of souls is talked about. We are to draw a parallel between an unharvested field of grain and the vast number of people who do not have a relationship with the Lord but need to know of His great mercy. We can plant the seeds of salvation, nurture it with Scripture and teaching and prayer, but only the Holy Spirit can water that seed and bring to life the inner soul of man.
Christ died on the cross so that we may be in that harvest. He died so that our sin would be forgiven and that we could be justified before God. He died so that we might have eternal and abundant life. As we partake of this communion and as we enjoy our fellowship with our families, but all means be thankful for the material needs we have, but over and above that, thank God for the awakening of your spirit to respond to His calling.”
October 2nd, 2016 by Brian Markert
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
“Truly it is this simple. What we deserve is struggles and suffering because we make choices that hurt us and those around us. The reality is we are forgiven no matter what. Murderer, theft, lies, selfishness, anger. It doesn’t’ matter
Let the Holy Spirit work and show what is between you and God. It doesn’t matter how big or small. Take the free gift of forgiveness and watch how God will use your confession and start to change your life.”
September 11th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“The first communion took place during the Passover feast. We might tend to think this was just a coincidence or just a convenient way to bring the disciples together, to inform them of the events that were to unfold in the next few hours But there are hints within the Passover that we can consider as forerunners to Jesus’ sacrifice. We have learned from Scripture that the Passover as so named because the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites while destroying the firstborn of Egypt. The key element of this was the lintels and doorposts of the home were to be painted (as it were) with the blood of a young lamb. This salvation from the angel of death was not achieved by merit, or by being born into the right family, or by some manner of achievement. It was simply a matter of claiming it. If you believed God would deliver and said so in visible terms as ‘He’ prescribed, you would be passed over in death. Communion therefore is a visible demonstration of our faith.
Passover also involves sacrifice. This young lamb which provided the blood for the doorposts had to be in perfect condition with no flaws. Jesus ws our own perfect sacrifice. By his blood, we are passed over in death.
Passover was also a community ritual. One of the requirements was that the Israelites were to completely consume the lamb and if there were any leftovers, they were to be burned. The Israelite was to assemble his family and if there weren’t enough members, he was to bring in others so the lamb would be completely consumed. The communion was never intended to be consumed alone but in the presence of the family of God.
Passover was not the end but the beginning. The Israelites were beginning a journey to the Promised Land. It was for most of them the beginning of a relationship with God. And so it is with us. Our steps on this ‘wilderness’ we call earth are not our ultimate goal, but rather to reach the Promised Land, an eternity with God.
The communion is not a remembrance of the end but of the beginning. By it we are made one people, not just within the walls of this church, but around the world. By the sacrifice these two emblems represent, we have eternal fellowship with God in the Promised Land.”
September 18th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Nicodemus was a Pharisee-a learned man of the law and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was very knowledgeable with every minute detail of the religious system that governed the lies of the orthodox Jewish nation. That he was a member of the Sanhedrin is also an indication of the stature and esteem that was accorded him by the Pharisees.
But God was working on the heart of Nicodemus. In spite of his knowledge and wisdom, and believing that following the law was what was required for salvation, he could see there was something quite extraordinary about Jesus. The evidence of His teachings and miracles could not be refuted and Nicodemus, therefore felt an urgency to seek out and meet with Jesus. But because of his position in the Sanhedrin, he met with Jesus in the middle of the night.
Nicodemus could not understand when Jesus insisted that one must be born again. He believed that if one conducted his life according to the law and to the best of his ability, he would surely gain entrance into heaven. Many people today are like that. Like Nicodemus, they are moral, they do good works, they compare themselves to others, and as a result feel pretty good. They reason, somehow this living, gracious, wonderful God will make it possible for all of us to go to heaven. But, this is entirely false. Jesus made it very clear to Nicodemus that one must be born again. To be born again is to ultimately answer the question that God would ask of you, “What have you done with my Son, Jesus?”
Our sin separates us from God. Being good cannot ever begin to close that gap. No matter how hard we try, we will have that sin nature to contend with. We can change physical habits and tendencies but the sin nature is a spiritual thing that can only be changed by God. We can never perform well enough to be acceptable to God.
It is only when we accept that Jesus was the son of God, that he came to earth as a man, that he took our sin nature and all its consequences and paid the penalty for those consequences, and was resurrected and ascended to heaven to rule with God can we understand being born again. Then the soul and spirit are radically changed forever. We experience a regeneration, a giving of divine life to our spirit.”
August 28th, 2016 by Murray Markert
Quote from footnotes of the Living Life Bible
“‘What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseperably to who He is. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the creator and sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.’
It is communion time; a time to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to partake of these elements. The bread which represents Jesus’ body and the wine (juice) which represents Jesus’ blood was poured out to enable the forgiveness of sin. It is time to come to the Lord to share your inner most thoughts and concerns. It is time to ask Him those questions of why – why did this happen? -why me? – and what can I do? It is time to have a conversation with the Son of God who was present at creation. It is time to give thanks to Him for His part in our lives and for paying the ultimate price. For dying on the cross and shedding His blood so we can spend eternity with HIm.”
August 21st, 2016 by Ken Hartung
John 5:23 “…“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
“Here in John 5:23 we have the reason God has given authority to His Son to raise the dead and to judge the world. The reason is so that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. This is a most important statement, and one of the clearest proofs in the Bible of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible we are taught that God alone is to be worshiped. In the Ten Commandments, the people were forbidden to have any god but the one true God. Now we are taught that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The only conclusion we can come to from this verse is that Jesus Christ is God.
Many people claim to worship God, but deny that Jesus Christ is God. They say that He was a good man or more godlike than any other man who every lived. But this verse puts Him on an absolute equality with God, and requires that men should give Him the same honor which they give to God the Father. If a person does not honor the Son, then he does not honor the Father. It is useless to claim a love for God if one does not have the same love for Lord Jesus Christ. If you have never realized before who Jesus Christ is, then ponder this verse carefully. Remember that this is the Word of God, and accept the glorious truth that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh.” (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (Jn 5:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
August 14th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Last week Ken was using the 46th Psalm to preach a message on the ever present help the Lord can provide in a time of need. He used an example of a personal experience in his life concerning a bad financial decision he had made and the comfort he got from this Psalm. One of the most common sources of trouble and grief in our lives tends to be centred around money but paradoxically, we need money to carry on commerce. In many places in Scripture, there are examples of how the pursuit of money can cloud your vision if God is not involved.
So I found it interesting the parallels I could draw between the experience Ken had and a situation I had concerning a bad financial decision I made. It caused similar amounts of grief, stress and sleepless nights. I also found solace in the Psalms but it was Psalm 91 that brought me release. So I am going to read a portion of that Psalm for communion.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He wll cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
This next part is in quotations indicating it is a response from God. “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see my salvation.”
July 31st, 2016 given by Ken Hartung
“Grace at the Communion Table
And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and all upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our donkeys. Genesis 43:17-18
“Oh, no!” said Joseph’s brothers. “He’s calling us to his table because he wants to send us away as prisoners-and take our donkeys, too.”
People still have this view of the Greater than Joseph, Jesus Christ. People still say, “I’ve blown it so badly; I’ve erred so greatly; I know the Lord will yet at me, put chains around me, and take my donkey from me if I come to His house.”
Not true! Even though these guys had sinned greatly, they will discover incredible grace and unbelievable mercy because Joseph is a picture of Jesus, and where sin abounds His grace abounds more (Romans 5:20). When you are aware of your failings, your weakness, your inconsistencies, your stubbornness, rebellion, and sin, there’s a tendency to say, “I can’t go to church because I know Jesus is mad at me. If I go, I’ll be bound with rules and regulations; I’ll be sent away to the prison of condemnation; and on top of all that, I’ll lose my donkey.”
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9
Through Isaiah, God says, “When someone offends you, is mean or nasty to you, I know your ways and your thoughts center on one thing: Revenge. But I don’t think like you do. Therefore, I don’t work like you do,” declares God.
We need to realize how much different the Lord is than we are in our fallen condition, in our depraved nature. God is good, declares the psalmist (Psalm 73:1). He’s just flat out, plain old good-looking for ways not to blast, but to bless.
Some people are afraid to go to the Lord’s Table. On the basis of 1 Corinthians 11:29, they’ve been wrongly taught that if there’s sin in their life and they partake of the elements of Communion, they will do so to their own damnation But that’s like saying to someone who’s sick, “Before you go to the doctor, get well. Before you go to the hospital, make sure there are no germs within you.” No, we go to the doctor because we’re sick. We go to the hospital because we have a problem. So, too, we go to the Lord’s Table because we realize we’re sinners-for it is at the Lord’s Table that we are reminded of the work Jesus did on our behalf when He shed His blood to cleanse us from our sin.
Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians regarding Communion speaks volumes about how the early churdh viewed the Lord’s Table. They didn’t view it with the somber, heavy, fearful, introspective mentality that has crept into Protestant theology. They viewed it as a celebration to such a degree that Paul had to caution against drunkenness (1 Corinthians 11:21).
Even though his brothers had blown it incredibly, Joseph says, “Get the meat ready! It’s time to feast with my family!”
Courson Application Commentary, Old Testament Volume 1 (Genesis-Job)
July 17th, 2016 by Murray Markert
“They say that the salvage value of the human body is only worth about seven dollars and change and if we adjust that we might make $10 Canadian. Of course that will greatly depend on the number of gold fillings you have. In all seriousness, that is from a morbid human perspective and we are here to talk about eternal things this morning. The Communion Thought this morning is based on John 4:13-15; the Samaritan Women at the Well.
Humans are an unique combination of dust and spirit. Our bodies need to the physical nourishment of food and water and so our soul needs to be nourished as well. At the heart of Christianity is the story of Jesus taking on flesh and blood, coming to live with us, offering physical healing as well as spiritual restoration.
We tend to be like the Samaritan woman at the well-somewhat lost-focusing more on our physical needs and desires while at the same time our souls are yearning to be fed. This can lead to committing physical sin and we cannot commit physical sin without damaging our souls. Feeding our physical body is only temporary; feeding our souls with living water-which can only be offered by Jesus-leads to an eternal foundations, a spring, a flowing well of understanding, of contentment, of where our physical life is leading.
“This is not to say that Christ came to take away our challenges but rather to empower us to deal with problems from God’s perspective!”
Christ came to us flesh and blood to sacrifice Himself on the cross so even though we will commit sin-through our faith in Him, we will be presentable to God the Father.
When we eat and drink of these emblems, let us remember the living water He has offered us to satisfy our souls. Because Jesus conquered death, our souls will be satisfied for eternity.”
July 10th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“I am going to use part of a verse from Proverbs, chapter 30 and it starts out like this, “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!'” One of these examples happen to be, “land, which is never satisfied with water.”
I think farmers can appreciate the most the effects of the relationship between moisture and drought. We tend to watch this process on a daily basis right from planting through to harvest and to a lesser degree beyond that. Some of us have been through these cycles of feast and famine a few times in our careers. So when you are watching one of these drought cycles you are aware of abnormal characteristics in so many things. Grass tends to curl up and have a faded bluish green hew. Tree leaves are not as large and also curl up. Cows are trying to find something to eat but tend to lay down more trying to conserve energy. The sky has a brownish blue appearance to it. Even when you drive down the road there seems to be two or three times the dust necessary to get the job done. Everything has this dirty, filthy quality about it.
About two weeks ago I was in the shop which is somewhat of a sanctuary for me and there was a forecast for a reasonable amount of rain. And in about a half hour duration we received.4″. When it was finished and I walked out of the shop I think the first thing that hit me was the smell. The air is crisp and clean and it feels good to take a deep breath. There is a rainbow in the east. The leaves on the trees have started to shimmer and shine. The birds are noisier as they preen and play in the puddles. You take a panoramic view of what is before you and say, “Man that was sure nice!” So we went from what seemed like a life threatening drought to a life sustaining abundance.
And then it struck me. This is how grace works. We are born in a drought with this sin nature. We wallow and languish in the things this world has to offer, all the while thinking and believing it is nourishment, but always feeling short of expectations, much like a drought.
And then, one day, the Holy Spirit, at His choosing, gave us a gift, a life sustaining gift, that broke the drought and gave us abundance. That gift came by way of Jesus Christ. And we celebrate that gift in this communion.”
July 3rd, 2016 by Ken Hartung
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the comic powers overs this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Is Islam Compatible with Christianity?
” As with all world religions, there are tremendous differences between the Biblical Christianity and Islam. A close examination of the two faiths will find their beliefs to be incompatible.
Mohammed claimed that the revelations given him by God were infallible, thus making the Quran the standard by which the other Scriptures are to be tested. However, the mere claim to revelations is meaningless unless backed up by some kind of adequate evidence.
The evidence for the inspiration and historical reliability of the Bible is overwhelming, while evidence for the infallibility of the Quran is lacking.
Mohammed also asserted that the Gospel portrait of Jesus is incorrect, while the proper view was revealed to him by God. The Moselm thus believes the report in the Quran of the life of Jesus, rather than the New Testament account.
The Jesus who is revealed in the Quran is not the same Jesus who is portrayed in the Gospels. Both accounts cannot be true at the same time.
In any event, the teachings of Christianity and Islam cannot be reconciled. The Quran is in direct conflict with the Scriptures on the character of Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than an apostle of God” (Sura 19:92).
Furthermore, the Quran states that Jesus is a prophet only to the nation of Israel, while Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet to the whole world.
Contrast that with the Biblical view of Jesus Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, KJV), “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9, RSV), “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16, MLVB), “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB).
The Quran, speaking of the death of Christ, states, “They neither killed nor crucified him; it had only the appearance of it.”
The New Testament, however, makes the mode of Jesus’ death very clear: “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33, KJV), “and when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46, KJV).
The Bible teaches that Jesus was the virgin-born Son of Mary, God in human flesh. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus'” (Luke 1:30, 31, RSV); “And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore that holy Offspring will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, MLVB).
Islam teaches that Jesus was born miraculously from Mary but they do not believe in the Biblical virgin birth. They believe that, as Adam was created from the earth, Jesus was created by God in the womb of Mary. They say He is not a god or the Son of God. Although this would be a miraculous conception, it is not the same as the Biblical virgin birth.
Islam teaches salvation by works: “They whose balances shall be heavy shall be blest. But they whose balances shall be light, they shall lose their soul, abiding in hell forever” (Sura 13:102-140). Thus if the scale tips in favor of good works, the Moslem will reach paradise, but if this is not the case then he will be banished to hell.
The Bible teaches a salvation by grace, through faith and not of works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that no of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB), “Not by works of righteousness which have been done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5, KJV).
A major problem with accepting Mohammed’s account is that his testimony is 600 years after the events occurred, while the New Testament contains eyewitness of first hand testimony of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus made the distinction very clear, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent” (John 6:29, RSV).” (Answers to Tough Questions Josh McDowell and Don Stewart; 1993)
June 19th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“We hear on a daily basis about things that are happening in the world that cause us to shake our heads in disbelief, disgust, terror and even resignation. One day we hear how brutal and horrific mankind can be only to wake up the next morning to find these limits have been exceeded and new one have been established. We need only to research off the well beaten path of mainstream media to find examples of this.
On the home front we tend to have an air of complacency that says it won’t happen here. But in fact it is. In the big cities of Calgary or Edmonton or right down to Vulcan, we are constantly dealing with what boils down to issues of morality that keep pushing the limits of what we believe. And every group wants their day in the sun. When one is accomodated, another jumps into the spotlight demanding equality.
And I fear we are only going to see these atrocities increase in volume and degree.
So I thought as a respite from the barrage and onslaught from what the world has to offer, I would read a passage from Colossians about what we celebrate when we partake of communion. We read about Jesus Christ, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and 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. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.””
June 12th, 2016 Allen Webber based on Jon Morissette’s May 12, 2002 message on Lakeside Christian Church
“If you look up the word communion in a thesaurus you will also see other synonyms – empathy, close association, union and relationship. The Lord’s Supper is synonymous with relationship. It is all about having empathy with our Lord and Saviour, understanding his passionate love for us, understanding his sacrifice, his forgiveness, his life, and his death. The Lord’s Supper is all about our close association with Jesus Christ. We are God’s children. Jesus is our life, our identity, our hope, our future, our destiny, and our purpose. The Lord’s Supper is also about our union. We have become united with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. Communion reminds us that we have been united with someone eternal who transcends life, who has conquered death, and who promises us an eternal hope.
The Lord’s Supper is not playtime for the Christian believer. It is not a time for traditionalism or blind ritualism. Communion is not a religious formality that we subject ourselves to in order to appease God or to fulfill some obligation or duty. The Lord’s Supper is not an isolated act of worship that constitutes the full requirement of all God’s desires for our lives.
When we look at the cross, we are aware of a vertical piece and a horizontal piece. The vertical piece should cause us to consider our relationship with Jesus Christ. Am I saved by faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross? Am I a believer? Have I repented of sin and turned to God? Do I confess him as Lord and Saviour from my heart? Am I living in obedience by his Holy Spirit? Do I know Christ’s forgiveness, his unconditional love, his mercy and his grace?
The horizontal piece should cause us to consider our relationship with the physical body of Jesus Christ on earth – the church. Am I forsaking his body by skipping times of worship, by neglecting times of fellowship, or by avoiding my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I injecting disunity in the body through gossip, malicious slander, idle chatter, etc.? Am I being inconsiderate or considerate of others? Am I being judgmental of others or am I judging myself?
There is a great list of questions you can ask yourself concerning what you are or aren’t doing for the body of Christ, but it all boils down to this fundamental question. Do I show the same love and forgiveness, grace and mercy to others that Jesus Christ has shown to me?”
June 5, 2016 Murray Markert
“Listening to an after game interview of a Stanley cup playoff game with a defenceman who had just scored the winning goal. He said he didn’t have to worry about leading a rush because his defensive partner “had his back”. Quite often watching police shows on TV one partner will tell the other partner in a difficult situation “I have your back”. Even in our daily lives someone might say “I’ve got your back” or you just know someone is there when the going gets tough. As reassuring as this is at the time, we all know these situations are only temporary.
At the end of the Great Commission, Jesus tells us that He will be with us always to the very end of the age. He also says He will be with us in all situations. We could say that Jesus has our back, but it goes beyond that. He has our right, our left, our bottom and our top. Sometimes we might question whether He has our front because He places difficult situations in front of us that are not always easy to navigate. But this is only done to help us get to our end goal of sitting in the presence of our Lord and Savior. Besides all of this and probably most important of all, Christ has our inner most being. He has our soul!
Throughout Scripture, it tells us that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God the Father, interceding on our behalf. Through His broken body and His shed blood that washes us white a snow, we will be presentable to God the Father as we enter eternity.”
May 29th, 2016 lead by Pastor Dave: Matthew 26:26-29
26While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
May 22nd, 2016 by Allen Webber ” A Thorn in the Flesh”
“Every once in a while, in conversation, the topic of Paul’s thorn in the flesh has come up. In 2 Corinthians, he calls it a “messenger of Satan” that has a purpose of torment. Many explanations have been put forward, many sermons have been preached, many documents have been written on what that thorn in the flesh could have been. It doesn’t seem logical that it was a literal thorn in the flesh as that would always be subject to infection and disease. Some of the more popular theories include temptations, a chronic eye problem, malaria, migraines, epilepsy, and even a speech disability. No one can say for sure but it was a source of real pain.
But Paul does give us a hint as to its purpose Further in Corinthians, we read, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given a thorn in my flesh…” Now Paul had good reason to be conceited. He was a brilliant scholar. He was a Pharisee’s Pharisee. He knew the Old Testament inside and out, frontwards and backwards with all the twists and nuances. He knew the letter of the law. At his conversion on the road to Damascus, he would not have lost any of that head knowledge, and I believe that God would start to give him special revelations into the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also wrote a large portion of the New Testament. These sort of things could allow one to become conceited and puffed up.
Paul pleaded with the Lord three times to remove it. After all, no one likes pain. But Go said, “No, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” Just think of what Paul’s ministry could have been like without pain. He could have had a more effective ministry, he could have reached more people, and he could have glorified God even more. But the Lord was more concerned with building Paul’s character and preventing pride And in the end, Paul’s ministry was exactly what God had in mind.
The exact nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh is uncertain. And that is for a very good reason. God wanted it described in general enough terms to apply to any difficulty we might have today. Whether the thorn we struggle with today is physical, emotional or spiritual, we can know that God has a purpose and that His grace is all-sufficient.
Now what does all this have to do with communion? Communion is most assuredly not from Satan and it is in no means painful. But it can serve as a “thorn in the flesh”, a constant reminder that always brings us to Jesus Christ in humility, understanding grace and mercy, understanding the hold that sin nature has on mankind and the price that was paid to remove that curse. It is very easy to get conceited and puffed up in what we do and what we know and for me, communion is one reality check that I need in my journey with God.”
May 15th, 2016 by Brian Markert
Jacob, the son of Isaac who was the son of Abraham, had twelve sons. The youngest of the twelve was Joseph, whom Jacob loved more than the rest, and made it quite obvious. This made the rest of the brothers jealous and they plotted against him. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him but instead sold him into slavery, and tricked their father into thinking that a beast killed him.
Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh. God’s blessing was on everything Joseph touched and soon he was put in charge of Potiphar’s household. Then Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. She accused him of attempting to rape her and he got thrown into prison.
While in prison he was still blessed and he was put in charge of the prison. God gave him the gift to interpret dreams and eventually this gift put him working for Pharaoh and in charge of the countries food supply. There was a famine in all of the areas around Egypt. The only food available was under Joseph’s control. Joseph’s brothers were forced to travel to Egypt to buy food. They didn’t know they were buying it from their youngest brother that they sold into slavery.
This became a pattern in Joseph’s life. A person of prominence favored him but because of other’s selfishness he would fall from that point and have to climb back to the top. Now Joseph had every reason to be bitter and those who hurt him through his life. The list was long. Instead, every time he fell from his position he worked hard where he was, trusted in God and as a result allowed God to work through him
Joseph responded with forgiveness and mercy to his brothers who probably deserved enslavement.
Jesus descended from heaven to a world full of sin. The only reason was to give us eternal life in heaven through the forgiveness of our sins because of his sacrificial death.
May 8th, 2016 by Allen Webber “Mother’s Day”
“On Mother’s Day, we proudly embrace our mothers and say, “This is the one who gave me life. This is the one without whom I would exist. This is the one who has nurtured and cared for me, who loves me, who sacrificed so much, and who always wanted the best for me”.
In the very least, Mother’s Day gives us a point of reference of understanding what it means to be vitally linked or indebted to the life of another. Without our mothers, none of us could enjoy the life we live. But without Jesus, none of us could have or enjoy eternal life with God in His kingdom. Without our mother’s sacrifice, we could not exist in this life. We’d have nothing. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, we could not exist in eternity. We would be lost. Through our mother’s nurturing and love, we’ve become what we are today. Through Christ’s love and nurturing, we are becoming all that God intends us to become.
In communion, we become acutely aware of our relationship with Jesus Christ. In communion, Jesus Christ’s presence becomes very real to us. In communion, precious and vivid memories are conjured up of a life that was sacrificed on our behalf, in another place, some 2000 years ago. As much as we pick this day to honour our mothers, it is critically more important to pick every day, every second, every breath to praise and honour God through Jesus Christ.”
May 1st, 2016 by Murray Markert “I Saw God this Week!”
“My lawn is desperately trying to turn green this week with the moisture that was provided. Our two Canadian geese have been guided back and are flying patrol over our yard. Landing on roof tops making sure that we all know they have returned. Our crab apple trees are on the verge of full bloom declaring that spring is upon us. All this is orchestrated by God’s hand.
I was under the weather this week but some how the body knows how to fight off what is making us ill and some how restores us to good health. By chance this happens? I don’t think so. By design by our Creator is where I would bet my life.
This week I saw my children through my eyes become adults and my grandchildren turn into little people just as God has planned for things to transfer from generation to generation. Seeing God’s hand in my life this week – He continues to give me assurance of His plan for me, His love for me and the gracious gift of His Son Jesus Christ who died on a cross and shed His blood so some day I will be able to sit in His presence with all who proclaim Him Lord and Savior.
When we partake of this bread, we are reminded of His death. When we drink of this cup, we think of the blood He shed so we could be cleansed of our sins.”
April 17th by Brian Markert “Seeing God Beyond our Troubles”
God had just led the Israelites out of Egypt. They had witnessed the plagues brought down on Egypt, been led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God then split the Red Sea so that they could cross safely on dry ground only to swallow up and destroy the Egyptians that were pursuing them.
Right then and there it would be pretty easy to know God has a plan for you. They praised God.
In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
The Israelites lost their focus pretty quickly when they were thirsty and hungry
3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
If they had stayed in Egypt where they had enough food, they never would have seen the awesome power and splendor of their God.
As we prepare for communion pray to God that we aren’t so focused on our daily problems that we can’t stand in awe of God’s awesome plan for his people. Pray like David
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
April 10th, 2016 by Murray Markert
“Pastor Dave mentioned Bill 10 last week and that people have concerns over it. In talking to a lot of people about it, my take on Bill 10 is that people are fearful of the outcome on the next generation of kids going through the school system and the fact the government is trying to impose questionable regulations on our educators. The end result is that people are fearful of what is to come – they are fearful of the future.
Let’s go back in time 40-50 years. The world was in the midst of a nuclear arms build up which coincided with the escalating cold war. As well, the Vietnam War was raging as well. Some of you here are probably too young to remember the Archie Bunker Show. It was a satirical comedy series that incorporated the events of the day into its program. In one of the episodes, Archie was badgering his son-in-law Mike and his daughter Gloria about not giving him a granchild. It came out that Mike and Gloria were fearful of bringing a child into the world that seemed intent on destroying itself. This was not an uncommon thought at the time.
Now let’s go back to 79 AD and what was happening back then. Christ had been crucified 46 years prior. Rome was destroyed by fire in 64 AD. Nero had managed to pass the blame for the fire onto the Christians of the day and was having them dipped in oil and and burnt on lamp posts to light his gardens in the evening. During this upheaval, the apostles Peter and Paul were put to death. In Rome, the apostle John was still alive.
In 79 AD with the erruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was covered by 20′ of volcanic ash. I was in Montreal for meetings a few weeks back and we had an afternoon off, so we happened to go to the Museum of Fine Arts and the exhibit of Pompeii happened to be on display. It was incredible – like walking back in time 2000 years. Paintings and sculptures that looked like they had just been completed depicted what life was like. I could go on about what I saw but to summarize quickly even Archie Bunker himself would have been fearful of having a child had he lived in Pompeii in 79 AD.
All those years since the time of Christ, the man, walked the earth to the present. There have been fearful situations to be faced. We will continue to face hardships into the future. We can overcome our fears when we remember who God is, what He has done, what He can do and who we are because of the love of Jesus Christ. So when we partake of these elements, let’s remember that Christ has assured us He will never leave us.”
April 3rd, 2016 read by Allen Webber
“The Eyes of Jesus by Tom Claibourne
Jesus’ eyes would have been the same as ours, but He wouldn’t have always seens things as we do. He could see things from an eternal perspective. So, when Jesus walked ot of Nazareth to begin his ministry, He would see things that we do not see. He could see the Spiritual battle that rages between God’s angelic hosts and satan’s demonic forces. Jesus could see people’s hearts, along with their needs and potential.
At the well, when others saw a filthy sinful woman, Jesus saw a woman who had taken some wrong turns in life who needed grace and guidance. He lovingly called her to repentance.
When others saw a brash, wealthy young man, Jesus saw a man who could be greatly used by God if he rearranged his priorities. Mark 10:21 records that “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
When other people looked at Simon Peter, they saw a mouthy fisherman, but Jesus saw a man who could become a “rock”.
At His last Passover supper, Jesus looked at the simple bread and wine and saw a representation of His own sacrificial death less than 24 hours later.
His eyes looked with pity, conviction, and compassion on those who played a part in His arrest, abuse, and excruciating death – Judas, the soldiers, Pilate, the fickle crowd, even the hypocritical religious leaders. His eyes filled with disappointment when He looked into Peter’s tearful eyes following the three denials.
His eyes were filled with tenderness as He looked down from the cross at His mother and His friend John.
Still, Jesus’ eyes saw far beyond the darkness of Calvary to what His death and resurrection would accomplish for those who choose to see things His way and follow Him. A contemporary Christian song expresses this thought. “When He was on the cross, we were on His mind.” Jesus saw us and He still died for us!”
So as we partake of this communion, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus,, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
March 20, 2016 by Murray Markert
“My morning communion thought is not really a thought. It is a lot of facts pieced together to give us knowledge to better undertand phrases like: washed in the blood of Jesus; the lamb of God; justified by His blood; and there is a song “There is Power in the Blood” and the list goes on.
To fully understand all these phrases we need to have the knowledge of why they are used and how they came to be used. Blood carries food and oxygen to all parts of the body and brings back waste material. It’s above all other parts of the body; it is vital to life. We can lose a limb, lose our sight or our hearing, we can break bones, puncture a lung, we can be brain dead and still be alive, but if we lose our blood, life as we know it ends.
God is the sovereign Judge of the universe and He is absolutely holy. As the Holy Judge of all, He condemns sin and judges it worthy of death. In the Old Testament, God accepted the death of an animal as the substitute for the sinner’s. Then animals’ shed blood was that; one life had been given for another. So on one hand, blood symbolized the death of the animal, but on the other hand it symbolized the life that was spared as a result. God’s forgiveness was based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing.
We move forward to the Passover. The last plague that God inflicted on Pharaoh and the Egyptians before the Israelites fled Egypt was the plague of the first born. The first born child and the first born animal would die. For the Jews to prevent that from happening to them, they had to put the blood of an unblemished lamb around the door frame of their houses on the night of the Passover. In killing the lamb, the Israelites shed innocent blood. The lamb was a sacrifice, a substitute for the person who would have died in the plague. From this point on the Hebrew people would clearly understand that for them to be spared from death, an innocent life had to be sacrificed in their place. This was the foreshadow of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who have His blood for the sins of His people.
Move forward to the new covenant. Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with His disciples which turned out to be the last supper. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and ended up being sacrificed on a cross and shedding His blood for all mankind. Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God and all sufficient sacrifice for sin. His blood was shed once on a cross in a never to be repeated act for man’s redemption. Jesus is our Passover Lamb.
March 13, 2016 by Brian Markert
John 4:11-12 “‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our Father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?'”
“…We limit the Holy One by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying, “Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing.” The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.” (Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest, February 27)
March 6, 2016 Unscheduled Love
February 28, 2016 by Allen Webber
How many times have we heard,how many books have been written, how many talks have been given on the subject of why do bad things happen to good people? The question suggests that if we believe the right things, if we say the right things, if we do the right things-bascially conduct our lives according to good works, it is incomprehensible to think that anything other than good should ever happen to us. But, in fact, that is not the case. Bad things can and do happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is a result of the nature of mankind being at enmity with the nature of God. The world would have us believe that we are born basically good, but only through circumstances in our birth, our environment, and our experience, bad things befall us or we cause bad things to happen.
But Scripture paints a completely different picture of the nature of mankind. In Mark 10:18 Jesus says, “No one is good – except God alone.” And in Romans 3:23, we find, “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”
So, how do we get to the Glory of God? Is there something we can say, or do, or boast about that will garner us favour with the Lord? Absolutely not! Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can ‘man’s nature’, that we are born with, be covered over and a true fellowship with God happen. And that is the purpose of our communion – to remember Jesus Christ and the price He paid to bring us to God.
February 21, 2016 by Murray Markert
What a wonderful opportunity we have this morning to come to the Lord’s table and partake in these elements; the bread and the wine. Behind me is a cross which represents the cross Christ was crucified on. If you would imagine for a moment Christ hanging there just having breathed His last breath and a Roman soldier taking his lance and piercing Jesus’ side, would be a terrible thought to hold but we know that Christ conquered death three days later. Though not a bone was broken on Jesus’ body, the bread we are about to partake in represents Christ’s body which was given for us; each one of us as a sacrifice for our sins once and for all. The cup which we are about to drink from represents Christ’s blood which was shed to wash our sins away.
When we eat this bread and drink this cup, it reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice and through that sacrifice we can come directly to God and He will hear us, through our faith in Him. It also reminds us that our friendship with Jesus will continue through the work of the Holy Spirit.
So as we come to the communion table this morning, it is a time to have an intimate conversation with God. A time to give thanks to Jesus for His sacrfiice and to tell Him of our gratitude for what He has done, is doing, and will do. It is time to ask for forgiveness of our transgressions. It is a time to talk about concerns and problems we have encountered. It is time to talk to Him about the joy He has given us by giving us meaning and purpose in our lives. Because it is an intimate conversation between you and the Lord it is really up to you what you commune with the living Lord about. As we prepare for communion as a body of believers, let us say the Lord’s Prayer together.
February 14, 2016 by Allen Webber
So, today is Valentine’s Day. A day that is third, behind Christmas and Mother’s Day/Father’s Day in spending for gifts. It is unclear the exact origin of Valentine’s Day. Some say it is a pagan holiday. Some say it can be traced to a St. Valentine. The first Valentine card was made in 1415 by a British duke writing to his wife while he was imprisoned in the tower of London. It has gradually evolved from very humble beginnings nonetheless, into a full blown festival of giving and celebration in the expression of love. Many millions have been spent on cards, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, trips, and on and on, all to express the love bond that one has to their spouse or loved one. But Valentine’s Day should just be a reminder of what needs to be done daily, not just once a year.
So what is love. Love cannot be defined by the same parameters as you would if you were describing a rock or a pencil or a book-things that you can see, touch, or measure. Love is an expression from the inner soul of man. The first expression of love was from God Himself. Out of love He created the heavens and earth, seasons, time and gravitational waves that we have heard about this week. But most importantly, out of love, He created you and me, in His image. And, with that He gave us love and the ability to express love.
We need to go to I Corinthians 13:4-7 to learn how God’s Word relates to love and the expression of love. Many of you might have used these words at your wedding. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserves.”
I believe that a successful marriage can only be strong when there is three parts to the relationship-two spouses and Jesus Christ. So I would like to issue a challenge to the married couples here, to go home and read to your spouse two verses from the Bible as your expression of love and commitment to your relationship. Those two verses are Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
January 24, 2016 by Murray Markert
When you stop to think about it, a marriage and our relationship with Christ have a lot of similarities. In a marriage, there is a constant change from the time you say ‘I do’, to its present stage. From learning to live together and sharing your life, to raising kids, to sending the kids out on their own, to changing financial situations, to changing perspectives on how you view the world to changing spiritual perspectives and to plans for your golden years. To deal with these changes, we are on a constant learning curve and there will be a time along the way when you have thought that you have learned enough.
When you say for the first time ‘I do’ accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, if you were anything like me, you had no idea about the door you were opening. From learning the depths of who God is, to learning about God’s grace, to learning about forgiveness, and to comprehend God’s love and trying to apply it in our lives. To deal with these changes is just like in a marriage, you are on a constant learning curve. There will also be times when you feel you have just learned enough. Lynne will tease me when I pray for wisdom; about just getting another problem to solve.
Our relationship with Jesus is something that is ongoing and constantly changing. If we look at the lives of His disciples, it is apparent the way things can change and that change is not always what we would call comfortable. However, throughout everything that is going on around us, God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Yet God expects change deep down inside us and He waits patiently for it to occur as we learn to be more Christ like. Whatever pathway we are on, God knows we will never totally get to the end to be Christ like. So in His patience and grace, He sent His Son to be crucified. His body was broken and His blood was shed and three days later He had conquered death. So, on our first change, when our mortal life ends, He will send us to eternity in His presence.
January 17, 2016 by Allen Webber
Last week Pastor Dave started a series of messages on the Holy Spirit. I thought it would be appropriate to bring in some aspects of the Holy Spirit to the communion. I want to start by reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verses 16 and 17. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” And again in verse 26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”
At communion we remember and celebrate what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalves. But we can also take time to remember the role of the Holy Spirit as well. I am going to use some of Pastor Dave’s notes from last week to bring out some points. In John 3:5 we see, in part “the Spirit gives birth to the spirit”. It is the Holy Spirit that first awakens our hearts and minds to God and His qualities as well as to our relationship to God and our sin. One aspect of our nature that we are born with is the notion that we are our own god. Do you remember the verse back in Genesis where Satan is telling Adam and Eve that if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you can become like God? The Holy Spirit helps us understand that God is the creator and we are created.
We have scriptures that to some are foolish words on a page. But through the Holy Spirit, they come alive with knowledge and wisdom.
Every day we hear news from all corners of the world that makes us wonder about the future of civilization But the Holy Spirit can give us a sense of assurance that God has things in control.
It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to conduct our lives in a manner that is worthy of being called a Christian. And it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of any action that would be against God and most likely not in our best interest.
To be able to worship God in a manner that would be pleasing to Him is impossible. But the Holy Spirit can and will and does teach us how to do that.
To fully understand what Jesus Christ did on our behalf will take a lifetime but the Holy Spirit will help us with that too. These two little items that we are about to consume are practically worthless in and of themselves. But at the last supper Jesus used them to remind us of what He was doing and has done for mankind.
I just want to close with this I recently read a ‘fridge magnet’ philosophy on the difference between grace and mercy. Grace is getting something we don’t deserve-mercy is not getting something we do deserve.
December 27th, 2015 by Allen Webber
The Lamb of God
The gospel of Luke gives the most descriptive account of the birth of Jesus Christ. It has since evolved from 20 verses of Scripture about very humble and barren beginnings to varying degrees of pageantry and ceremony – some quite humble as we see in small churches to others that are rather lavish with their ceremony and pageantry.
But Scripture only mentions sheep and shepherds. No cows, horses, camels or donkeys. So why only sheep? Most sheep were raised for their wool and for meat. But many scholars agree that around Jerusalem, the flocks of sheep had a third more important purpose. And that was for sacrifice.
Every day, two one year old ram lambs were offered in temple worship, one in the morning and one in the evening. Also, many special occasions required the offering of a ram or a lamb. Most significant of all though, was the Passover Feast. During this time, every family sacrificed a lamb. It has been suggested that over 200,000 lambs were offered at Passover every year.
So where did these lambs come from? Probably flocks closer to Jerusalem and then branching out to various towns surrounding Jerusalem – Bethlehem being one of them. Many of these flocks were probably property of the priests and therefore were destined to be used for sacrifice. They were born to die. They were born to shed their blood on the temple altar, as a symbol of atonement for the sins of the people of Israel.
How appropriate then when we consider the baby Jesus, born in sheep country, in a barn, and laid in a feed trough for a bed. This gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Jesus is the Lamb of God’. For this is the very reason He was born. He was born to die – to die on an altar in the form of the cross, to take upon Him the sins of the whole world. He was born to be the ultimate Passover Lamb.
November 29th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“Matthew 26:20-22 says, “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, He said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to Him one after the other, “surely not I, Lord?”” Scripture following tells us that this phrase, ‘surely not I, Lord’ made its way around the entire table. They were probably quite stunned that Jesus would say such a thing. And innocently enough for these disciples, they were quite sad that they might do something to betray Jesus.
Scripture doesn’t say definitively whether or not Judas had any knowledge of the betrayal at this point. The shock and dismay displayed by the disciples seems to be equal for all. There are two possible scenarios. Judas might have been completely innocent of the betrayal conspiracy at this point and those events still had time to unfold in the remaining few hours of Jesus’ life. Or this could have been planned out for the most part ahead of the last supper and Judas was a good liar.
In either case, the point I would like to bring out is this. Can you imagine the broken heart of Jesus, the sadness, when He pointed His finger at Judas an said, “Judas, it is you”? There wasn’t any hate or malice in Jesus’ heart, but hurt and sorrow. After all, Judas was part of this group of men – a friend of Jesus.
It has been said that the saddest words in the Bible are, “and they crucified Him” (Matthew 27:35). I would like to offer a close second choice might be “surely, not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22) As part of the research for this communion thought, I came across these few sentences. The cruelest nails ever driven were not those driven into His hands and feet, but those driven into His heart by His friends. That still goes for His followers today. That upper room question is still appropriate for us to ask today in this communion. “Surely, not I, Lord?”
November 15th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“I have borrowed this communion thought from a fellow by the name of Jon Morrissette. I have not used his entire message but only excerpts.
The Lord’s Supper or communion is synonymous with relationship. It is all about having empathy with our Lord and Saviour, understanding His passionate love for us, understanding His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His life and His death. The Lord’s Supper is all about our close association with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our life, our identity, our hope, our future, our destiny, and our purpose. Communion is about being proud of the name we bear. It is about our union. It reminds us that we have become united with Him in His death, burial and resurrection. We have been united with someone eternal who transcends life, who has conquered death, and who promises us eternal hope.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 says, “For I have received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: the Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘this is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'”
The Lord’s Supper reminds us that we are vitally linked in relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. Without Him, eternal life is impossible.”
November 8th, 2015 by Pastor Dave
November 1st, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“From Hank Hanegraaff
What does it mean for you that the Lord said, “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with Me” (Rev. 22:12)?
What happened as a result of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was unprecedented in human history. As a Christian, I’m sure you feel its impact today. But think back to its impact 2000 years ago. In a relatively brief span, a small band of seemingly insignificant believers, living in the center of a Caesar Cult turned the empire upside down.
Why the radical transformation? What caused frightened and fragmented followers to become fearless fighters for the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The answer: they had seen the resurrected Christ and knew for certain that they, like their Master, would rise immortal, imperishable, incorruptible.
So, they turned away from earthly vanities and put their focus on eternal values. From fleeting riches to forever rewards.
“Rewards”. What does that mean? For the early Christian and for you and I today, the enduring rewards of a life of perseverance include “the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8)…”the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4)…and “the crown of life” (James 1:12).
But there’s more! Jesus explicitly points to varying degrees of rewards that will be given for faithful service, self-sacrifice, and suffering. This is precisely why He exhorted His followers: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”. Instead, He said, “store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”. (Matt. 6:19-20)
The early Christian church suffered persecution. The church today suffers persecution in this world as well. As the Master Himself puts it: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. (Matt. 5:11-12)
While we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, we are saved unto good works. Put another way, what we do now counts for all eternity.
During Jesus’ crucifixion, two thieves were crucified with Him. The thief on the right said to the thief on the left:
“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:41-43)
October 25th, 2015 by Murray Markert
“Before I start my communion thought this morning, I would like to point out just because you have the title as an elder does not mean you cannot have weak moments and moments in time when you need to be retaught or reinforced things you already know. When Paul stated in Ephesians 3:8 “….I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people” I can relate very well to that.
Last week Dave in his message talked about filling backpacks for homeless kids on the street if the affluent city of Calgary. I have to admit the first thought that went through my mind was most of those kids have totally rejected just about all things society has to offer, rejected their parents, rejected schook, and probably rejected all authority in their lives. Probably most of them have turned to substance abuse of one kind or the other to cope with their circumstances. What are the chances…..Then Pastor Dave reminded me of the most basic Christian principle. Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for everyone no matter who we are or no matter were we stand in the pecking order of society. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 3:8-9). Sometimes our faith can become quite fragile and our lenses can be tinted by the world around us. And we-especially I-need to daily put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18):
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
October 18th, 2015 by Allen Webber on H. Lynn Gardner’s “When We Partake”
“Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is not a meaningless routine ritual. We must partake thoughtfully, and with our minds engaged. Communion should be one of the richest and most meaningful experiences of our week.
1. We remember Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. “Do this in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24). Lest we think we deserve God’s favor, lest we forget what Christ did for us, we are regularly reminded of the price paid for our salvation. The cross of Christ is not an insignificant fact from the storeroom of history. We are remembering and savoring the meaning of the most pivotal event in human history.
2. We participate in the benefits of His blood shed for us. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16). In the Lord’s Supper, Christ shares the meal with us, and we have fellowship with Him because we share the new life His death achieved.
3. We proclaim our faith in the saving benefit of our Lord’s death and in His coming again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). Making it a priority to gather around the Lord’s table each Lord’s Day declares to all that we believe Christ died for our sins and that He is coming again.
4. We affirm our unity and solidarity with fellow believers in the body of Christ. We “come together (I Corinthians 11:20). “We all partake of the one bread” (I Corinthians 10:17). Meals can bring poeple into closer relationships. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper reminds us we belong to Christ and we belong to one another as fellow believers in Christ’s worldwide community.
5. We give thanks for Christ being our substitute sacrifice. Communion is not a repeat of His sacrifice. Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). The offering that occurs in Communion is our offering of thanks. We express our appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice.
6. We examine ourselves so we can purify our motives and direct our thoughts to meaningfully commune with our Lord. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (I Corinthians 11:27, 28). ”
October 4th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“(Isaiah 53:5) “The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed”.
Every once in a while we will come across a word or group of words that at first glance appear rather odd. While I was preparing this communion thought I came across the phrase ‘whipping boy’. And that set me off on a little tangent of discovery.
It seems that this term came about in sixteenth century England, a time when kings believed they were appointed by God and could do no wrong. A king and only a king was allowed to discipline his son, the prince. However, a king had to be away from home for extended periods of time and quite often the prince was spoiled or got into trouble. So the solution was to hire a ‘whipping boy’, someone to take the beatings the prince really deserve. This boy would be the same age as the prince and would live in the castle, be educated, and would always be around the prince so a bond could develop. In time they would become like brothers.
So whenever the prince would misbehave, the whipping boy would receive a beating. The prince was required to be close at hand to observe the punishment. This punishment could be rather severe depending on the seriousness of the sin. The whipping boy would often be stripped to the waist and caned to the point of bleeding.
At first the prince probably thought, hey this is a pretty cool deal, but as the boys grew and their relationship grew it started to grieve the prince to see his friend suffering. Gradually the prince decided to grow up to spare his friend more anguish.
Now here is an interesting twist to the whole story. It was a great honour to become a whipping boy. Because when he grew up he would be rewarded with a title, a territory, or a statue of himself on the palace grounds.
Jesus was our whipping boy, and because of His sufferings He has been honoured. In Philippians we read “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name”.”
September 20th, 2015 by Brian Markert
“Life is like a loaf of bread
When I make bread there are certain ingredients that are essential and others that are optional. Yeast, flour, and water are the essentials. Salt, eggs, sugar, and oil are the optional ones that alter the flavor of the end product. There are several factors that change the outcome as well. Warm water activates the yeast faster then cold so the bread will rise faster but hot water will kill the yeast and the bread won’t rise. You have to knead the dough sufficiently so that the proteins in the flour combine to make gluten, which gives the bread its light fluffy texture. There is a bunch of ways to tweak a bread recipe to get a different end product but there are bunch a ways to mess it up as well. Life is like a loaf of bread. God has given us a recipe for life that would make us into a pretty good loaf of bread.
We have a lot of choices as to what ingredients do or don’t go into the dough. Always remember that after something is added to a mixing bowl it’s really hard to get it back out. Likewise we have choices as to what we do and do not put in our lives. Our sins of today and yesterday will change who we become tomorrow and our obedience to God yesterday and today will also change who we are tomorrow. We get to choose what ingredients we put in our lives and the ones we don’t let anywhere near our lives.
Now for the beautiful thing about God, no matter what ingredients we’ve put in our lives He can make good from it. Have you ever had a spicy pepperoni stick covered with cheese bread, or a delicious sourdough bread, or my favorite, maybe He will push us into a deepfryer instead of the oven because his plans for us was to be a doughnut.”
September 6th, 2015 by Ken Hartung
John the Baptist at the Jordan preached the coming of the Lord
Baptizing everyone who would believe
Among the crowd that gathered, they’re a watching from the shore
I’d imagine there were scribes and Pharisees
I can see John pointing toward Jerusalem that day, to the place of temple sacrifice
Saying through the years those lambs have never washed our sins away
But hope is here, behold the Lamb of God
Put out the fire, here comes the glory
Your sacrifice is not as worthy
He’s come to die, to make us holy
We’ve found the perfect lamb
Put out the fire
The smoke up at the temple sent a message to the world, that every sin of man would have a price
Daily as the priest prepared an offering for the Lord, the purist of all lambs would have to die
But when John saw the promise walking down ol’ Jordan’s banks
The answer to the cries of all the lost
He knew up at the temple, things were soon about the change, the altar would forever be the cross
He was prophesied to rise out of the seed of Abraham
Coming by a virgin down in lowly Bethlehem
The one who angels worshipped since before the world began
Has stepped into the Jordan as the spotless lamb
Your sacrifice is not as worthy
We’ve found the perfect lamb, put out the fire
We’ve found the perfect lamb, we’ve found the Great I Am
We’ve found the perfect lamb
Put out the fire
August 30th, 2015 by Murray Markert
“This morning’s communion thought is based on John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I would like to focus on two words in that verse: loved and perish. The word love is used today to include many things; we can love our cat, our peers, we can love our music and even Canadians might say that we love our hockey. But God set the standard when He said, He so loved the world. God’s love is not static or self-centered; it draws others in. He went to the point of giving up His Son who He held dearly so that through His sacrifice, we have the opportunity of eternal life.
To perish means to come to an end, to be destroyed or die. If we look at life from the point that it ends upon our physical death here on earth, we might think possibly that life is not what it is cracked up to be, then our perspective on how we live our life dramatically changes. God, through His love – allowing His Son Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross, cleansing us of our sin, allows for a totally different meaning to the end of life. Rather than a doom and gloom perspective – feeling of no purpose, we have the promise of a place to go beyond our wildest imagination. Rather than a finite life, we have infinite years beyond. Rather than there being an ending to life here on earth, it is just the first act with no ending to come.
As we partake of these elements this morning, the bread and the wine, we need to be grateful and eternally thankful that our God would allow His Son to be crucified on the cross so we do not have to perish, but rather have eternal life. For our part, we need to put our trust and confidence in Jesus, that through our faith Jesus will change our lives.”
August 9th, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered throught the greater and perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” Hebrews 9:11
“Once again, keep in mind this epistle was written to Hebrew Christians who were being drawn back to the sacrificial system. And here again, the author is saying, “Don’t go back. Why would you want to return to rules and regulations when the work of salvation has been completed by Jesus Christ, the only perfect Lamb of God?
When a Jewish person went to the temple to worship, he would bring a lamb to offer on the altar. After careful examination by the priest, if the lamb was found to be without spot or blemish, the worshiper could worship confidently. You see, the priest never inspected the person – only the lamb.
Satan will try to whisper in your ear, “You’re blemished. You’ve dropped the ball. You haven’t been a woman of prayer. You haven’t been a man of integrity. You can’t worship. You can’t talk to the Father. You can’t be blessed.”
But he’s wrong. At the temple, the priests didn’t inspect the worshiper. They inspected the lamb. The same is true of you and me. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” declared John the Baptist – which is why three days before His crucifixion, Jesus Himself was scrutinized as the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Greeks questioned His theology, His morality, and His integrity (Matthew 22). Pilate’s declaration that he found no fault in Jesus meant He passed even their inspection perfectly.
So what does the Enemy do? Revelation 12:10 says he accuses us day and night. “You blew it. You didn’t do that. You should’ve done this. You dropped the ball again.” But when you really understand the idea of God becoming a man and dying in your place, you don’t go around with the baggage of a guilty conscience because when Satan reminds you of your shortcomings, your past failings, or your present weaknesses, you can say, “That’s only half the story, Satan. I’m a worse sinner than you even know. But your reminding me of these things only makes me all the more amazed by what Jesus did on my behalf”.
On August 9th, AD 70…1945 years ago today, the Romans under Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. It was no longer needed. Because a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands exists in heaven. This tabernacle is nothing that man has built down here. The better tabernacle does not belong to this natural creation as to materials or builders. We need to recognize that there is a real tabernacle in heaven; there is a real High Priest there, and there is spiritual worship. You can worship Him anywhere, and it is wonderful when people can come together in a church and really worship God. We can come to the Father confidently and talk to Him freely based not upon our righteousness, but soley on the perfection of the Lamb.
The Bible teaches that “The soul that sins shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Although ashes of heifers and blood of goats and bulls could cover sin, they coud not pay for it because payment required the death of a man. Jesus came on the scene and died for me. Yes, I’ve sinned. Indeed, I’ve blown it. But I’m free-not because of some technicality but because God Himself became a Man and died in my place.”
August 2, 2015 by Murray Markert
“If you ever stop to think about the story of Jesus Christ, you might say to yourself – ‘this is too good to be true!’ If we follow the story from the immaculate conception, His birth in a stable, His escape to Egypt, and His baptism. At His baptism, the heavens opened up and a voice said, “This is my Son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased”. If we also consider His forty days of fasting, which ended by Jesus being tempted by the devil. His teachings, His obedience to the cross and finally His conquering death, we see that all of this was so we could have eternal life in the presence of our Creator.
If you ever think this is too good to be true, or your faith needs reaffirming, I would ask you to consider only the following miracles that take place everyday:
1) Take a blanket or sleeping bag and lay on the grass on a clear night. Behold the universe; the number of stars that are suspended in the air while our planet floats around are seen.
2) Harvest is upon us. Consider all that has to take place for that to happen. The changing seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall; the germination of the seeds, the growth of the plant roots to absorb the nutrients and the moisture that comes from the sky, the sunshine to enable photosynthesis, and the time clock in the plants themselves that tells them it is time to mature and that harvest is at hand.
3) Life itself. If we watch a child’s development from the time of birth, being brought home in a small cradle, to their gradual comprehension of the environment around them, the growth and development of their motor skills, the ability to fight off diseases, their ability to communicate and finally to reason.
Through all this we are reminded of our Creator. These are only a few things of the everyday miracles that happen around us and we tend to take them for granted. Our God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit orchestrated life around us and it is because of the free will offered to us, we can decide how we will move to the music. For me, whenever I start to believe this story of Jesus is too good to be true, all I have to do is to remember the everyday miracles that occur around me and WHO is the orchestrator of them.”
July 19, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“Fifty years ago the most popular verse in the Bible was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.
Today the most quoted verse is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that you be not judged”. The Lord ‘s point is not to judge hypocritically. This verse is often misunderstood and often used to bully and shame people into submission in order to accept some ungodly and sinful behavior. “Judge Not”.
The Greek word translated “judge’ is krino, which means “to judge to the place of condemnation“. It’s when you’re in someone’s face, so to speak, pointing your finger at them, and condemning them, sharp or unjust criticism.
But we need to know right and wrong based on the authority of Holy Scripture. In Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”.
So there is a need to judge, but not to the place of condemnation. Rather, we are to judge for identification and for restoration. I am to love people enough that when I see them erring, I am to say to them lovingly, “Because I care about you, I want you to know that you’re going in the wrong direction”.
Quoting Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted”.
According to Scripture, I must make some judgments and identification. But I am not to have an attitude of condemnation. How do I know if I’m condemning people? If I am NOT willing to partake in restoration, then I am probably practicing condemnation. When Jesus walked into the Upper Room where His disciples were sitting for the last supper before He was crucified, He noticed they had dirty feet. Did He point His finger and say, “You guys, why don’t you wash your stinky feet? It’s getting pretty rank up here”. No. John 13 says He rose from supper, girded Himself with a towel, and began to wash their feet Himself. So, too, I do not believe I have the right to point out someone’s dirty feet unless I’m willing to kneel down and wash them.
We will see more Christians being persecuted and bullied and shamed and called bigoted because of the stand they are taking on social issues. Christians make judgments based on what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Scripture. The judgments are not based on personal preference or prejudice. The Christian church upholds a standard of right and wrong that is based on the authority of Holy Scripture which is based on the very nature of God Himself.
There is a store in the book of Acts, the disciples were teaching in the name of Jesus. That Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for the sins of the world and the redemption of mankind. They were arrested. Acts 5:40-42, “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go”. What did the apostles do? Acts 5:41-42, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus”.
These apostles were marvelous men. They were rejoicing that they could suffer for the Lord Jesus. They continued to teach and preach Jesus Christ. What is the gospel? It is a Person! It is Jesus Christ.”
July 5, 2015 by Brian Markert
James 2:14, 17-18 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?””In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
“James goes on to contrast Abraham and Rahab. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and it was credited to him as righteousness. Rahab helped two of Joshua’s spies and it was credited to her as righteousness. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past, God will ask you to do specific things in your life. They may be bold like Abraham or they may be less dramatic, but no less important, like teaching Sunday School or coaching soccer.
Righteousness is being obedient to what God asks you to do. This will result good deeds because I guarantee God isn’t asking you to do nothing.”
June 28, 2015 by Ken Hartung (adapted from Josh McDowell)
“In the Old Testament during the days of the prophet Jeremiah, Israel had very poor leadership. So this reflected in the behavior of how the nation lived. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes”. Jeremiah 17:6
An every growing problem in our society and the church, we are losing a sense of what is right and what is wrong…everyone does what is right in his own eyes. We have church leaders in North America who are moving towards a secular progressive agenda who say the resurrection is irrelevant and insignficant. The teaching that there is an absolute truth is being replaced with do what seems right to you…to redefine the absolute principles of God.
Jesus Christ offers real hope. He gives mankind the opportunity to become right with God and his fellow man.
John 8:32 Jesus says, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
What is truth…there are those who think right and wrong are old fashioned ideas and that people have the right to decide right and wrong for themselves. People who say there is no such thing as right and wrong expect you to treat them fairly. They may say, “you have to choose what is right for you and I have to choose what is right for me. But if you try and cheat them or hurt them in any way, they will tell you your behavior is not right! You know why? Because in their hearts they know the truth.
How do you choose? If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong. Some people decide what is right and wrong based on how they feel. Some decide what is right and wrong based on what everyone else is doing.
If the Wright brothers had not paid attention to the laws of physics like gravity, force and velocity, then their airplane would not have lifted off the ground. It was truth that set them free to fly. If we go through life ignoring God’s truth, then we’ll never know real freedom. If we know the mind of God and pay attention to it and obey it, then we will be free-free from sin and free from the consequences of wrong choices. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “the truth shall set you free.”
The emphasis we see to develop in our church is to offer to our community a hope, a purpose and meaning to life…and to teach and uphold principles and lifestyles of what is right and wrong. We must shed a light of truth as an alternative to the principles and lifestyles of this dark world. We need to uphold a Biblical view against a worldview of Secularism. John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
In a changing world, there exists an unchanging God whose Word lasts forever. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Jesus never changes…Hebrews 13:8 tell us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus says…“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life”. John 11:25-26, Jesus says…“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die”.