This is where you will find out what's going on at our church. The Monthly News, Weekly Sermons, Calendar of Events and Special Notices. For more information about location, staffing and services, visit OUR WEBSITE. Also, go to that website to view the older sermons - they are available there as links and there are about 200 to choose from!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From the Pastor (and Charles Spurgeon)...



Joseph’s Bones
by Charles Spurgeon

 
“And Joseph said to his brethren, I am dying; BUT GOD WILL SURELY VISIT YOU…and you shall carry up my bones from here…” Gen 50: 24,25

“By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones…” Heb 11:22

We cannot readily tell which action in a gracious life God may set the most store by. The Holy Spirit in this Chapter selects out of good men’s lives the most brilliant instances of their Faith. I should hardly have expected that He would have mentioned the dying scene of Joseph’s life as the most illustrious proof of his Faith in God. That eventful life— perhaps the most interesting in all Sacred Scripture, with the exception of One, abounds with incidents of which the Holy Spirit might have said by His servant Paul, “By Faith Joseph did this and that,” but none is mentioned save the closing scene. The triumph especially of his chastity under well-known and exceedingly severe temptation might have been very properly traced to the power of his Faith, but it is passed over, and the fact that he gave commandment concerning his bones is singled out as being the most illustrious proof of his Faith.

Joseph not only wished to be buried in Machpelah, which was natural, but he would not be buried there till the land was taken possession of… he was so certain that they would come out of the captivity that he postpones his burial till that glad event, and so makes what would have been but a natural wish, a means of expressing a Holy and gracious confidence in the Divine Promise.

He says, if you turn to the last Chapter of Genesis, “I die, and God will surely visit you”; or, as the text puts it, he “made mention concerning the departing of the children of Israel.”…he bears his last witness to his brothers, who gather about his bed, concerning the Faithfulness of God and the Infallibility of His Promise.

Once more, here is a proof of the power of Faith in laughing at improbabilities. If you will think of it, it seemed a very unlikely thing that the children of Israel should go up out of Egypt; perhaps at the time when Joseph died, there appeared to be no reason why they should do so…

 But Joseph’s eye was fixed upon the mighty Promise, “In the fourth generation, they shall come here again”; he knew that when the 400 years were passed, Abram’s vision of the smoking furnace and the burning lamp would be fulfilled, and the Word would be established—“And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Though as yet he could not know that Moses would say, “Thus says Jehovah, Let My people go”; though he might not have foreseen the wonders at the Red Sea, and how Pharaoh and his chariots would be swallowed up there; and though he did not predict the wilderness, and the fiery cloudy pillar, and the heavens dropping manna, yet his Faith was firm that by some means the Covenant would be fulfilled!

Improbabilities were nothing to him, nor impossibilities either; God has said it, and Joseph believes it! On his dying bed, when fancy fades and strong delusion relaxes its iron grip, the true sure Faith of the man of God rose to its highest altitude, and like the evening star shed a sweet glory over the scene.
May we, my Beloved, possess the Faith which will triumph over all circumstances, and over every improbability that may apparently be connected with the Word of God!

In the case of Joseph, his Faith led to an open avowal of his confidence in God’s Promise. On his deathbed he said, “I die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land.” He also said, “He will bring you to the land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Joseph, having thus declared his Faith, practically showed that he meant it, that it was not a matter of form, but a matter of heart! I do not know in what better way he could have shown his practical belief in the fact that God would bring the people out of Egypt than by saying, “Keep my bones here; never bury them till you go yourselves to Canaan, having left Egypt forever, and taken possession of your Covenant country.”

He who believes in God will find practical ways of proving his Faith; he will avow it by an open confession….or if affliction is allotted to him by God, he will take it cheerfully, expecting that God will give him strength equal to the emergency, and so his Faith, by God’s Grace, will triumph under the trial!

Moreover, notice that Joseph having Faith himself, he would encourage the Faith of others. No man may be said to have real Faith who is not concerned that Faith may be found in the hearts of his fellow men. “But,” you ask, “What did Joseph do to encourage the Faith of others?” Why, he left his bones to be a standing sermon to the children of Israel! Every time an Israelite thought of the bones of Joseph, he thought, “We are to go out of this country one day.” He has left us the assurance of his confidence that God would in due time bring up His people out of this house of bondage.”

Once more, it seems to me that Joseph’s Faith in connection with his unburied bones showed itself in his willingness to wait God’s time for the Promised Blessing. Says he, “I believe I shall be buried in Machpelah, and I believe that my people will come up out of Egypt; I believe, and I am willing to waithowever weary may be the time of Israel’s captivity! It is a great thing to have waiting Faith. “Stand still and see the salvation of God,” is easier said than done….

Wait the Lord’s appointment, O impatient Grumbler! Be quiet of spirit and calm of heart—the vision will not tarry! Be willing to wait; be willing to let your bones sleep in the dust till the trumpet of the Resurrection sounds, and if you could have a choice about it, refer your choice back again to your Lord in Heaven, for He knows what is best and right ….

You will notice that Joseph had his wish, for when Israel went up out of Egypt you will find, in the 15th of Exodus, that Moses took care to carry with them the bones of Joseph; and what is rather singular, those bones were not buried as soon as they came into Canaan; nor were they buried during the long wars of Joshua with the various tribes! But in the last verses of the book of Joshua, when nearly all the land had been conquered, and the country had been divided to the different tribes, and they had taken possession, then we read that they buried the bones of Joseph in the field of Shechem, in the place which Abraham had bought for a sepulcher. As if Joseph’s remains might not be buried till they had won the country, until it was settled, and the Covenant was fulfilled. Then he must be buried, but not till then! How blessed is waiting Faith which can let God take His time, and wait, believe in Him, let Him wait as long as He wills! 

Though one after another we shall pass away, there are not dark days for our descendants, but days of brightness are on the way. “Let Your work appear unto Your servants, and Your Glory unto their children.”
 “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” The kings of the isles shall yet acknowledge Him, and the wanderers of the desert shall bow down before Him! Jesus, the Christ of God, must be King over all the Earth, for God has sworn it, saying, “Surely all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” “The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”

As Joseph said “God will surely visit you”

“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” Galatians 6:9

Friday, February 10, 2017

From the Pastor...

Quotes by Abraham Lincoln - 

That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or any denomination of Christians in particular.
--July 31, 1846 Handbill Replying to Charges of Infidelity

To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
--February 11, 1861 Farewell Address

Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.
--March 4, 1861 First Inaugural Address

If I had had my way, this war would never have been commenced; If I had been allowed my way this war would have ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it.
--October 26, 1862 Reply to Eliza Gurney

Nevertheless, amid the greatest difficulties of my Administration, when I could not see any other resort, I would place my whole reliance on God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right.
--October 24, 1863 Remarks to the Baltimore Presbyterian Synod

If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.
--April 4, 1864 Letter to Albert Hodges

To read in the Bible, as the word of God himself, that "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," and to preach therefrom that, "In the sweat of other mans faces shalt thou eat bread," to my mind can scarcely be reconciled with honest sincerity.
--May 30, 1864 Letter to George Ide and Others

We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein.
--September 4, 1864 Letter to Eliza Gurney

I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself.
--September 4, 1864 Letter to Eliza Gurney

All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.
--September 7, 1864 Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

From the Pastor...

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” 
 ― Andrew Murray

“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible” ― Thomas à Kempis

“When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live.” ― E.M. Bounds

“When all my endeavor is turned toward Thee because all Thy endeavor is turned toward me; when I look unto Thee alone with all my attention, nor ever turn aside the eyes of my mind, because thou dost enfold me with Thy constant regard; when I direct my love toward Thee alone because Thou, who art Love’s self hast turned Thee toward me alone. And what, Lord, is my life, save that embrace wherein Thy delightsome sweetness doth so lovingly enfold me?” ― Nicholas of Cusa

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

“It occurs to me it is not so much the aim of the devil to lure me with evil as it is to preoccupy me with the meaningless. ” ― Donald Miller 

“Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.” 
 ― J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer 

“I may be wrong but I think nothing needs so much effort as prayer to God. If anyone wants to pray, the demons try to interrupt the prayer, for they know that prayer is the only thing that hinders them. All the other efforts in a religious life, whether they are made vehemently or gently, have room for a measure of rest. But we need to pray till our dying breath. That is the great struggle.” ― Benedicta Ward, The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks 

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” ― Karl Barth 

“No matter what God's power may be, the first aspect of God is never that of absolute Master, the Almighty. It is that of the God who puts himself on our human level and limits himself.” ― Jacques Ellul, Anarchy and Christianity

Frederick Beuchner. "Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is Grace." The book is entitled Scandalous Grace by Julie Ann Barnhill 

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Friday, January 27, 2017

From the Pastor...

The Bible is not just written for our inspiration and comfort. It is given to model for us what we are to do and be, to instruct us in effective living and ministry.
It tells us about the prophet Daniel, who found himself in a culture and season that parallels ours in many respects. The example in Daniel 9 gives us the only medical protocol that will heal our land.

READ GOD’S WORD

I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years (Daniel 9:2 NASB).
Daniel’s powerful and effective response to the national need was driven by his reading of Scripture. It informed him, corrected him, and equipped him to accurately assess and react to what was happening around him.
This is exactly what the Bible is designed to do. It is God-breathed and “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
In other words, if you don’t voraciously and prayerfully read your Bible, you will not find the path of life or be adequate to assess what is happening around you. You will not understand the times, and you will make costly mistakes in your judgments.
Are you reading your Bible daily, carefully and deeply listening to God’s Word to you and those around you?

GIVE SOLEMN ATTENTION TO THE LORD

So I gave attention the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes (9:3).
We give much attention to the news, to the world’s opinion about our situation. But our greatest concern should be to get in a posture to hear what God says regarding the world. We must seek Him.
And we must not seek quick answers, but Him alone. The answer is not mere plans, but a robust, real-time relationship with the One-Who-Is-Everything.
It is hard for us to grasp how much the Father loves His children, the Groom loves His bride, the Spirit loves His body. God longs for us to come back to Him in passionate intimacy. When was the last time you fasted and prayed for nothing but Him? To return to your first love?
Are you seeking Him?

PRAY FERVENTLY

prayed to the LORD my God (9:4).
God desires us to cry out to Him. Prayer is an admission of need and the foundational expression of humility. Proud people don’t pray, because they foolishly believe they can handle life by themselves. Why turn to the Creator?
God has designed prayer and His Word as His means of connection and communion with Him. If you are not using these means, you are not connected. If you are not connected to Him, you will not only be of no help to others, but you may be in danger of working at cross purposes with God Himself.
Are you praying fervently, without ceasing?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

From the Pastor...





God needs men who will believe Him for the impossible … who operate with confidence in God’s ability to do the miraculous … who will pray and proclaim like this … who understand that bringing spiritual awakening to a city is just as possible in our day as it was in Ezekiel’s. He is the same resurrecting God.

Bodies with No Breath

But there was one final part of the physics lesson that Ezekiel needed to see.
So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come forth from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (vv. 7-10).
Every man of God has seen this equation before—seemingly healthy bodies, but no breath. No life.
We know people like this. We call them “lost” people. Paul said they are “dead in [their] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). This, of course, was all of us until the Breath came.
There are also churches like this. Mechanically functioning, programs and bells and whistles in every direction, but no life. They self-proclaim that there is life, but discerning believers know something is lacking.
The greatest heartache of such churches is that they have zeal but no power. They give a false impression to a desperately thirsty world that they are flowing with living water, but lives are not being changed. People are being sanitized on the outside but not sanctified on the inside.
Jesus was even harsher. He called such religion “whitewashed tombs … full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27).

What About Us?

Do we see this reality? Do we recognize the difference?
Or do we go on, propping up lifeless corpses, hoping our church can get just a little bigger and look just a little better than the one down the street, so we can feel good about our activity?
Do you long for the Breath?
Are you that singular prophet, in the middle of a valley of dry bones, who has the spiritual tenacity to finish the job? To pray and proclaim and believe until the Breath of God comes? Slowly at first, but then sweeping like a north wind into your family, your church, your community, and our nation? Until God comes and brings spiritual awakening to the land, and raises from the graves an “exceedingly great army”?
Then all the world will know that only One could do such a thing—no man, no church, no human machinery. “‘Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,’ declares the LORD” (v. 14), and He will be adored.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

From the Pastor...


The following is John Wesley's Covenant Prayer, a prayer of surrender used by British Methodists in a covenant service on the first weekend of the New Year.


I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering,
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.
SaveSave

Saturday, December 24, 2016

From the Pastor...


What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?
                       
 by John  Piper

           
What does Jesus want this Christmas? We can see the answer in his prayers. What does he ask God for? His longest prayer is John 17. Here is the climax of his desire: "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am" (v. 24).

Among all the undeserving sinners in the world, there are those whom God has "given to Jesus." These are those whom God has drawn to the Son (John 6:44, 65). These are Christians - people who have "received" Jesus as the crucified and risen Savior and Lord and Treasure of their lives (John 1:12; 10:11, 17-18; 20:28; 6:35; 3:17). Jesus says he wants them to be with him.

Sometimes we hear people say that God created man because he was lonely. So they say, "God created us so that we would be with him." Does Jesus agree with this? Well, he does say that he really wants us to be with him! Yes, but why? Consider the rest of the verse. Why does Jesus want us to be with him?
. . . to see my glory that you [Father] have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 

That would be a strange way of expressing his loneliness. "I want them with me so they can see my glory." In fact it doesn't express his loneliness. It expresses his concern for the satisfaction of our longing, not his loneliness. Jesus is not lonely. He and the Father and the Spirit are profoundly satisfied in the fellowship of the Trinity. We, not he, are starving for something. And what Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to experience what we were really made for - seeing and savoring his glory.

Oh, that God would make this sink in to our souls! Jesus made us (John 1:3) to see his glory. Just before he goes to the cross he pleads his deepest desires with the Father: "Father, I desire - I desire! - that they . . . may be with me where I am, to see my glory." 
But that is only half of what Jesus wants in these final, climactic verses of his prayer. I just said we were really made for seeing and savoring his glory. Is that what he wants - that we not only see his glory but savor it, relish it, delight in it, treasure it, love it? Consider verse 26, the very last verse:
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. 

That is the end of the prayer. What is Jesus' final goal for us? Not that we simply see his glory, but that we love him with the same love that the Father has for him: "that the love with which you [Father] have loved me may be in them." Jesus' longing and goal is that we see his glory and then that we be able to love what we see with the same love that the Father has for the Son. And he doesn't mean that we merely imitate the love of the Father for the Son. He means the Father's very love becomes our love for the Son - that we love the Son with the love of the Father for the Son. This is what the Spirit becomes and bestows in our lives: Love for the Son by the Father through the Spirit.

What Jesus wants most for Christmas is that his elect be gathered in and then get what they want most - to see his glory and then savor it with the very savoring of the Father for the Son.

What I want most for Christmas this year is to join you (and many others) in seeing Christ in all his fullness and that we together be able to love what we see with a love far beyond our own half-hearted human capacities.

This is what Jesus prays for us this Christmas: "Father, show them my glory and give them the very delight in me that you have in me." Oh, may we see Christ with the eyes of God and savor Christ with the heart of God. That is the essence of heaven. That is the gift Christ came to purchase for sinners at the cost of his death in our place. 

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

From the Pastor...

What is Christmas?

Is it just a day at the end of the year?
A holiday filled with merry good cheer?
A season for presents - both taking and giving?
A time to indulge in the pleasures of living?
Are we lost in a meaningless, much-muddled haze?
Have we closed our eyes to God and His love?
And turned our eyes from "The Bright Star Above?"
Oh, Father in Heaven, renew and restore
The real, true meaning of Christmas once more.
So we can feel in our hearts again that
"Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men"
Is still a promise that man can claim 
if he but seeks it in Thy name.

Helen Steiner Rice

♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰

FIVE POINTS for the growing Christian

1. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY (1 Peter 2:2)
Read your Bible daily, if you would be strong
To witness for Jesus and overcome wrong;
"I'm busy" you say, as you lay it aside
But when you neglect it you'll surely backslide.

2. KEEP LOOKING TO JESUS (Colossians 3:17)
Keep looking to Jesus, He never can fail
And walk in His footsteps in every detail;
The world's bright attractions will fade from sight
When you look to Jesus, your Saviour and Light.

3. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (Luke 11:9)
Pray without ceasing, you can count  on Him
Who cleanses and keeps you a victor o'er sin:
There's nothing so great that our God cannot do,
And nothing so small that He won't do for you.

4. CONFESS HIM TO OTHERS (Matthew 10:32)
Confess Him to others, be bold for your King
To those who are living in darkness and sin;
What help can you better to all recommend,
Than this blessed Jesus - the needy one's Friend?

5. DO SOMETHING FOR JESUS (James 1:22)
Do something for Jesus, He did all for you,
Your joy is complete when His will you do;
So seeking to please Him through each new day
His presence shall gladden each step of your way.