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!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Who is the Messiah in Prophecy?

God in the Flesh
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Is. 9:6-7).
These all-important names given to Messiah in Isaiah 9 reveal His deity. Traditional Judaism does not teach that Messiah will be God, but this idea is clearly presented in the Hebrew Scriptures. The four names given to Messiah in Isaiah 9 bring us to the conclusion that this eternal ruler is God Himself. In fact, many Jewish versions of the Bible do not even translate the names, but rather transliterate them so that their meaning is not obviously seen!
If these references to the Mighty God and Everlasting Father are not enough to demonstrate that Messiah is God, John tells us that Yeshua is God who became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:1). Having already established that Yeshua is the descendant of Abraham and David, it is easy to see that this One who is Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace is Yeshua, from Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 11:1-5. There, the “stump of Jesse” (David’s father) is said to possess wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, justice and righteousness.
Who else but Jesus could have fulfilled all of these prophecies? He is the Jewish Messiah for all and God’s greatest gift of love for mankind. As the first verse of the New Testament claims: 
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.(Matt. 1:1).

Thursday, December 10, 2015

From the Pastor...

Signs of His Coming -
   When the great C. H. Spurgeon began his ministry in London in 1853, at age nineteen, people flocked to hear his eloquent Biblical preaching. But the young pastor's heart longed for more than the outward signs of success, for he knew the real need was for a deeper transforming miracle-work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of his hearers.
   Believing God's promise that "fervent prayer" avails much, he frequently called on his congregation to cry out in intercession for the power of God to fall. He tells how his faith was strengthened to continue pleading for a mighty move of the Holy Spirit.
   In his message "Travail for Souls" Spurgeon spoke of how the Lord encouraged him to continue in prayer and to believe for revival blessing.

"Usually when God intends greatly to bless a church, it will begin in this way - two or three persons in it are distressed at the low state of affairs, and become troubled even to anguish. Perhaps they do not speak to one another, or know of their common grief, but they begin to pray with flaming desire and untiring importunity. The passion to see the church revived rules them. Suffering great heaviness and continuous sorrow in heart for perishing sinners, one (brother) in  this church said to me the other day, 'O sir, I pray day and night for God to prosper our church: Long to see greater things, God is blessing us, but we want much more.' I saw the deep earnestness of the man's soul and I thanked him and I thanked God heartily.... Sometime after, another friend, but who did not know anything of the other, felt the same yearning about and must needs let me know it; and he too is anxious; longing, begging, crying, for a revival, and I feel hopeful because of these tokens for good.... The Lord give me a dozen importunate pleaders and lovers of souls, and by His grace we shall shake London from end to end. O may God give us this first sign of travail in the earnest ones and twos."

   The answer came nearly five years later, after which Mr. Spurgeon preached to 5,000 to 6,000 twice each Sunday, and indeed did "shake London from end to end." In October of 1857 he proclaimed the Word of God to over 23,600 people in London's Crystal Palace.
   According to revival historian J. Edwin Orr, by 1865 Protestant churches in the city of London added 200,000 seats to their buildings; an increase of 60 percent. Britain's Baptists received 100,000 new members. As the Presence and power moved throughout Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, a million souls professed faith in the Savior.

from Third Millennium Antivirus

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

From the Pastor...

This is an excerpt from The Week magazine, from an article by Robert Samuelson that was printed in The Washington Post.

"The horrific massacre in Paris reminds us of the Achilles' heel of American foreign policy," said Robert Samuelson. Since World War II, the U.S. has spread its influence and values throughout the world largely by offering to bring material progress, freedom, and democracy to other nations. This approach has "paid large dividends," transforming Japan and Germany from enemies to prosperous allies, triumphing over communism, and turning much of Asia into market economies and trading partners. But today, we face foes who "repudiate our faith in the power of shared prosperity." Putin's Russia has chosen aggressive nationalism over the Pax Americana, despite great economic costs. Radical Islam, meanwhile, emphatically rejects material progress and secular democracy, and promotes a moral code and fanatical religious dogma that is utterly foreign to Western values. ISIS and other Islamic radicals couldn't care less about giving their followers better material lives. Instead, they promote religious purity and paradise, and glorify murder and martyrdom, disdaining Western freedoms and material wealth as vulgar and evil. We're fighting people whose worldview is incomprehensible, and "the battlefield has been selected by them." That's why this struggle is so "disorienting."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. 

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

- George Washington

Monday, November 16, 2015

From Pastor John's book...

“Repent And Turn Yourselves” 
                                        Ezekiel 14:6, 18:30

          Christ began His ministry preaching:

“…Repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Mark 1:15

Repentance is the change of mind and attitude toward God. It arises from the Holy Spirit-revealed awareness that we alone are responsible for our failure to seek the Lord and we are rightly adjudged guilty for our sin.  
Repentance involves the individual’s acknowledgment that, above all else, he or she is in need of God’s forgiveness. It is the initial step in responding to the offer of salvation in the Word of the Gospel. It involves surrender to God’s truth and the individual’s willingness to place complete trust in Christ as one’s Savior and Lord.
The inescapable power of death, physical and eternal, is the direct result of man’s refusal to repent and believe God’s Word concerning Christ.

“…He who does not believe…is judged already…. He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.” 
John 3:18 (Amp. Bible)

Jesus was saying that the eternal magnitude of this reality far outweighs how and when we die. Unless these things have ultimate meaning to a person, he or she will be perplexed, discomfited and possibly overwhelmed by what human reason can only see as irrational evil.

Cure By Candlelight
All evil in the world is ultimately the result of the missing component in man which is beyond his ability to identify, let alone recover - because it is the very eternal life of God. Understanding his condition, the reality and nature of this inward spiritual void is beyond anything rational ability is able to process - let alone produce.
Analysis of the pathological perpetrators of the seemingly endless horrors inflicted on humankind (more especially on women and children) shows clearly that there is, at bottom, the absence of humane restraint, which in turn is based on a seeming unwillingness (leading to an eventual inability) to permit one’s self the feeling of any degree of empathy.  
There is no absence of reason here. Most psychopaths plan and execute well.  
Reason is not the solution or the problem. Rather, it is modern man’s absolute reliance on human reason, in place of dependence on Divine grace, which utterly precludes any real comprehension of the depth of his problem. This in turn negates his sense of need to seek God’s eternal solution.
Apart from a willingness to “Repent and believe the Gospel,” man’s greatest and finest efforts to deal with the unrecognized spiritual roots within himself, of all evil, again relying solely on reason and logical thinking, are comparable to treating a fractured limb by exposing it to the light of a candle.

“If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.” J. C. Ryle

Third Millennium Antivirus, available through (click the book photo on the left)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

From the Pastor...

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to the missionary office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paying back a small part, a great debt owing to God, which we can never repay? Away with such a word, with such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say, rather, it is a privilege.

Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink. But let this be only for a moment. All of these are nothing, when compared with the glory which will hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice made by Him who left the throne on high to give Himself for us. Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie but the tie that binds me to thy service and to thy heart.

                                                               - David Livingstone

Thursday, November 5, 2015

From The Pastor

1.  God is sovereign and really doesn't need our prayers. But in His sovereignty He has chosen to partner with us through our prayers. By His Spirit, He leads us to pray for things He has planned to do. The result? God moves heaven and earth in response to our prayers, and we experience joy.

Jesus put it this way: "In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" ( John 16:23-24 ESV). So we need to ask, Could it be that some of God's intended blessings for His people never arrive because no one was willing to follow the Spirit's leading to pray for it to happen? I believe Scritpure would support answering this question in the affirmative.

The Bible is full of "if" statements, including one most of us are very familiar with in 2 Chronicles 7:14. God will not hear, forgiven and heal unless we do our part of humbling ourselves, praying, seeking His face and turning from our wicked ways.

The importance of prayer is further underscored when you consider that Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, but He repeatedly, through word and example, taught them how to pray. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon put it this way: "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."

Prayer warrior Geourge Mueller also taught much on the subject. Through prayer, he brought in the resources necessary to feed, cloth, and house over 10,000 orphans in England during his lifetime. He never directly asked people for money,  yet still survived very nicely without a regular salary for 68 years! Mueller understood that sometimes we don't feel like praying. We still need to pray! He put it this way:  "It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were of no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer: whilst the truth is, in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying; for the less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray.          - One Cry Movement

2.  Andrew Murray once said, "The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history."

"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying," said Samuel Chadwick. "He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray."

In many congregations, prayer ministry is handed off to a few prayer warriors, and leadership feels like they've handled the issue. What a far cry from the leaders of the Jerusalem church in the first century, who handed off other issues so they could give themselves to prayer.

Oswald Chambers said, "We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties."     
                                                  - David Butts "Forgotten Power"

Thursday, October 22, 2015

From the Pastor...

God's Law of Prayer -

"Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. 'Ask, and ye shall receive.' It is the rule that never will be altered in anybody's case. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the elder brother of the family, but God has not relaxed the rule for Him.... If the Royal and Divine Son cannot be exempted from the rule of asking that He may have, you and I cannot expect the rule to be relaxed in our favor. Why should it be? Jehovah says to His own Son, 'Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.' (Ref. Psalm 2:8) God will bless Elijah and send rain on Israel. But Elijah must pray for it. If the chosen nation is to prosper, Samuel must plead for it. (Ref. 1 Samuel 7:3-13) If the Jews are to be delivered, Daniel must intercede.... If you may have everything by asking, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is and I beseech you to abound in it."  - Charles Spurgeon

"If God left some things contingent on man's thinking and working, why may He not have left some things contingent on man's praying? The testimony of great souls is this: some things never without thinking; some things never without working; some things never without praying!"  - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"There is a divine principle in regard to prayer which runs all through Scripture. It is that God is pleased to unite His people with Himself in whatever He is about to do. He first of all leads them to pray, then He does what He intends to do in answer to their prayers."  - Russell Elliott

Andrew Murray asks:
"Will God really make the pouring out of His blessing on others dependent on our prayers? Yes, He makes us His fellow workers. He has taken us into partnership in His work. If we fail to do our part, others will suffer and His work will suffer. God has appointed intercession as one of the means by which others will be saved and Christians built up in the faith.... Should we not expect God's children to endeavor with all our strength to pray for God's blessing of salvation on the world...? Yes, 'pray at all times... and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.' In so doing you will learn the lesson that intercession is the chief means of bringing others to Christ and bringing glory to God."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

From the Pastor...

Rest: "Busyness makes us stop caring about the things we care about." - Mark Buchanan

REST - Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

The 24/7 pressure to drive and strive rules every part of life - even weekends and vacations. Saturday and Sunday aren't for rest. It's time to catch up on more work! Work in the garden, wash the car, do the books, take the kids to games, go shopping. On vacation we stay plugged into laptops and keep earning our identity while we play. It's how we sustain the myth that we are indispensable. Overwork is our badge of honor. Christians reward overworking as much as anyone. And church leaders struggle to model alternatives to the work addictions that ruin families, damage souls and sometimes kill us.

Rest is not laziness or a sign of lack of ambition. Rest is fundamental to God (Gen. 2:2-3) and the well being of all creation. Rest is a transcendent anchor in the midst of doing. God wants us to rest because a society that encourages overwork is no different from a society that encourages, lying, murder, stealing and promiscuity.

God also wants us to rest because if we don't we will not have time to care about the people we love, the neighbors we know, the strangers we meet and the gifts that come to us while we rest. We need to lay our deadly doing down and taste the unforced rhythms of grace for ourselves. Receive the gift that keeps us from running on empty. Jesus knew when to say "no" to need so he could stay connected with God. He could resist the constant temptation to do something to prove who he was - because he was deeply at rest in who he was.

"...then because so many people were coming and going that they didn't even have time to eat, Jesus said, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." - Mark 6:31

Thursday, October 8, 2015

From the Pastor...

"Verily,verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he sees the Father do", for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel" - John 5:19-20

Our relationship to Jesus is the exact counterpart of His to the Father. And so, the words in which He sets forth His communion with the Father have their truth in us, too. And as the words of Jesus in John 5 describe the natural relationship between every father and son, whether on earth or in heaven, they are applicable not only to the Only-begotten, but to everyone who, in and like Jesus, is called a son of God.

There is not a better way to think of the simple truth and force of the illustration than by thinking of Jesus learning His trade from His earthly father in the carpenter's shop. The first thing you notice is the entire dependence: "The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the father do." Then you are struck by the implicit obedience that just seeks to imitate the father: "for what things soever (the father) doeth, these also doeth the son likewise." You then notice the close relationship in which the father holds him, keeping back none of his secrets: "for the father loveth the son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth." And, in this dependent obedience on his son's part, and the loving teaching on the father's part, you have the pledge of an ever-growing advance to greater works. Step by step, the son will be led up to all that the father himself can do: "He will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel."

In this picture, we have the reflection of the relationship between God the Father and the Son in His blessed humanity. If His human nature is to be something real and true, and if we are to understand how Christ is in very deed to be our example, we must fully believe in what our blessed Lord here reveals to us of the secrets of His inner life. The words He speaks are literal truth. His dependance on the Father for each moment of His life was absolutely and intensely real. "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do." He counted it no humiliation to wait on Him for His commands, He further considered it His highest blessedness to let Himself be led and guided by the Father as a child. And accordingly, He held Himself bound in strictest obedience to say and do only what the Father showed Him. "What things soever (the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."

The Father had formed a glorious life plan for the Son, that in Him the divine life might be shown forth in the conditions of human existence. This plan was shown to the Son moment by moment until at last all was gloriously accomplished.

Child of God, it is not only for the only-begotten Son that a life plan has been arranged, but for each one of His children. Just in proportion to how we live in more or less entire dependence on the Father will this life plan be more or less perfectly worked out in our lives. The nearer the believer comes to this entire dependence of the Son, "doing nothing but what He sees the Father do," and then to His implicit obedience, "what things soever He doeth, these also doeth likewise," so much more will the promise be fulfilled to us: "The Father showeth Him all things that He Himself doeth, and He will show Him greater works than these." Like Christ; that word calls us to a life of conformity to the Son in His blessed dependence on the Father. Each one of us is invited thus to live.

To such a life of dependance on the Father, the first thing that is necessary is a firm faith that He will make His will known to us. I think this is something that keeps many back: they cannot believe that the Lord cares for them so much that He will indeed take the trouble to teach them and to make His will known to them, just as He did to Jesus. Christian, you are of more value to the Father than you know. You are worth the price He paid for you, that is, the blood of His Son. He, therefore, attaches the highest value to the least thing that concerns you, and will guide you even in what is most insignificant. He longs for close and constant fellowship with you more than you can conceive. He can use you for His glory, and make something of you, higher than you can understand. The Father loves His child, and shows him what He does. That He proved in Jesus; and He will prove it in us, too. There must only be the surrender to expect His teaching. Through His Holy Spirit He gives this most tenderly. Without removing us from our circle, the Father can so conform us to Christ's image that we can be a blessing and joy to all. Do not let unbelief of God's compassionate love prevent us from expecting the Father's guidance in all things.

Dear ones, if you have so far only known a little about this life of conscious dependence and simple obedience, begin today. Let your Savior be your example in this. It is His blessed will to live in you, and in you to be again what He was here on earth. He only longs for your acquiescence.

- from LIKE CHRIST by Andrew Murray

Friday, September 25, 2015

From the Pastor...

Whosoever Shall Call...

For an individual to receive eternal salvation, God has ordained that the human spirit contact Him through prayer. This is not "saying" so many prayers so many times, or praying about everything under the sun, but a specific request for the once-for-all forgiveness and the acceptance He has promised. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:10,13

As much as some wish it were so, God is not an object or a system, but a living Person, as we are persons created in His image and likeness. Addressing Him in prayer is His appointed way for us to respond to His offer of pardon. When God's Word of love is heard with the heart, and made alive in the human spirit by the Holy Spirit, the individual is empowered to say the "yes," then the "decision in freedom" must be made.

Although God by His Spirit, using the truth of the Gospel, empowers us to say the "yes," a response of silence maintains the "no."

There are incidents recorded when an official pardon was obtained by the friends or family of a person on death row, but was rejected by the condemned. In one case efforts were made to force acceptance by legal action, but the court determined that if the pardon is refused the verdict stands, and in this instance the offender was executed.

In the spiritual realm, "the effectual fervent prayer of (the) righteous" is God's way of releasing the Holy Spirit's power on earth, for the illumination of the truth of His love, that can melt the hardest heart. It has happened too many times to be denied. (Ref. James 5:16)

This is where the "supply of the Spirit" is dependent on intercessory prayer in the Church. How many know from experience that their coming to the Savior can be directly connected to the persistent prayer of someone who cared enough to prevail with God? If this is true, how can we excuse our lack of fervent, faithful intercession for the lost all around us? (Ref. Philippians 1:18)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Please look at this please

Posted by Kerlene Rogers on Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Thursday, September 17, 2015

From the Pastor

     However dim or inaccurate our perceptions, truth must ever be our ultimate goal. Unless there is an honest, even merciless, examination of presuppositions, including our own, we may be accepting assertions and making decisions based on misinformation, deception and worse, self-deception.
     If we assume that an expert in a field of study has some evidence upon which he or she bases certain skeptical assertions regarding God and the Bible, and accept his or her statements as truth, not bothering to ask: "On what empirical facts do you base your unbelief?" or "How do you know what you assert is true?" we may be following the path of misplaced authority.
     It should be obvious that simply because someone is "successful" in one field (or a "celebrity") this does not automatically qualify them as an authority in another. This includes many scientists, philosophers, and other "professionals," who imagine themselves authorities on everything; especially "religion."
     Those who choose to place their trust in the unproved ideas and theories of sinful men rather than the Word of God should heed Jesus' grave warning, that many build their lives on "sand," which symbolizes a life lived and lost because individuals hear but refuse to heed His words as foundational for the knowledge of eternal truth and life. Matthew 7:24-29
     For those who do not live their daily lives experiencing the Presence and power of God through a life-giving faith in the living Christ, it is natural and necessary to place ultimate trust in their own wits; their ability to reason, in order to get by in dealing with life in this world.
     The fact remains; those who make a "rational" decision to reject the Biblical record do so on the basis of faith alone; a faith whose presupposition leads to blind atheism, or innocuous forms of religion, which leave spiritual emptiness, moral confusion and ultimate meaninglessness.
     Many willingly allow themselves to be conditioned to live with this spiritual vacuity in order to settle for the temporary satisfaction of their sinful desires, until their "inborn sense of deity" becomes so stunted and distorted that either their atheism, some bogus idea of humanistic "spirituality," or baseless superstition, actually suffices.
     In the words of Isaac Asimov: "I have faith and belief myself. I believe that the universe is comprehensible; that nothing beyond those natural laws is needed. I have no evidence for this. It is simply what I have faith in and what I believe in." Again he writes: (We don't) "have the information to prove that God doesn't exist... emotionally I'm an atheist."
     Freeman John Dyson is a world-renowned theoretical physicist and mathematician, called "the heir to Einstein, known for his seminal work in quantum electrodynamics, sold-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. While not claiming to be an evangelical Christian, Dr. Dyson is living proof that to be a brilliant intellectual and successful scientist in no way must logically lead to skepticism and atheism. 
     He writes: "To me, to worship God means to recognize that mind and intelligence are woven into the fabric of our universe in a way that altogether surpasses our comprehension. The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming."
     Dyson beautifully dismantles the famous remark by atheist, physicist, Steven Weinberg that; "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion." Dyson responds: "Weinberg's statement is true as far as it goes, but it is not the whole truth. To make it the whole truth, we must add an additional clause: "And for bad people to do good things - that [also] takes religion." The main point of Christianity is that it is a religion for sinners. Jesus made that very clear. When the Pharisees asked his disciples, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" he said, "I come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance." Only a small fraction of sinners repent and do good things but only a small fraction of good people are led by their religion to do bad things."
      New Testament "repentance" is literally a change of mind. Again, it is the first proper response to the call of God through the Gospel; the good news of Jesus Christ's death for each of us on the cross; it is the inward turning from sin and self, with a willingness to be empowered to do His will. 
      New Testament "conversion" is a once-for-all experience. It is the miraculous work of God in the heart that makes possible the progressive change toward a Christ-like life. Spiritual life is evidenced by spiritual growth toward Christian character.
     It is not an intellectual belief of religious ideas, or mentally accepting Biblical facts or teachings. Eternal Life comes when one repents and the heart trusts the living Person, Christ Himself, the One Who, through our hearing the Gospel message, by His Holy Spirit, supernaturally stands before that hearer, calling for the unconditional "Yes," in order that He Himself may enter the heart and begin his process of glorious transformation. "Strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith...." Ephesians 3:16,17 (NKJV) "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27
     Mental assent to creeds and catechisms must be accompanied by a personal encounter with the living Christ, in a prayer of true repentance, which is the expression of a heart-willingness to allow God's process of spiritual and moral cleansing, as well as a desire to be forgiven.
     Giving intellectual assent to propositional truth and historical facts about Jesus without true repentance can too easily become a fatal simulation of a true surrender of the heart to Christ. Here preachers must beware of preaching "faith alone" without genuine repentance. New Testament saving-faith clearly includes, not only the desire to be forgiven, but a willingness to be empowered to a life of obedience to God's Word; to begin, by His Spirit,  to be made holy as He is holy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From The Pastor...

When God sent His Son into the world in our nature it was that He might work out in His life a holy nature and disposition, which might be imparted to him who believes in Christ as a thing already prepared and brought into existence for us. When Christ died, it was that He might lay down His life, and then, just as the kernel of corn dies and reappears in the full ear with its hundred-fold reproduction of the seed, live again in our lives here upon earth. To this end the Father gave Him, when He ascended to the throne, the Spirit to pour down as His own life in the heart of His people. "God gave us the Spirit of His Son, crying, Abba, Father." The Spirit communicates the holy nature and tempers of Christ with a divine power to all who believe, and in such measure as they believe. They live by the Spirit and are led by the Spirit; the Spirit is their life.

In the wonderful union of the divine and the human life in the believer everything depends on the true relationship being maintained between God, working all in all, and man receiving all from God to work it out in trust and obedience.

- Andrew Murray

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From the Pastor...

"A little lifting up of the heart suffices; a little remembrance of God, an interior act of adoration, even though made on the march and with sword in hand, are prayers which, short though they may be, are nevertheless very pleasing to God, and far from making a soldier lose his courage on the most dangerous occasions, bolster it. Let him then think of God as much as possible so that he will gradually become accustomed to this little but holy exercise; no one will notice it and nothing is easier than to repeat often during the day these little acts of interior adoration. He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think."  - Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Thursday, August 13, 2015

From the Pastor...

"Man has GOD or false gods." - Martin Luther

One crucial effect of the practice of modern idol worship is the unconscious stunting of the human spirit. Although a continual pursuit of "the things that are in the world" does not completely destroy man's deep longings for the transcendent, these longings become darkened, distorted and debased.

Bereft of the true knowledge of that for which he has been designed and created; to be the Spiritual dwelling place of the true and living God and to enjoy His favor and love forever, natural man's heart
is doomed to anxiety and restlessness.

His search for peace and happiness drives him to pursue the numerous false-gods of this world: status, power, career, money, things, illicit sex, partying, alcohol, drugs, music, sports, and whatever else is within his reach. The human mind becomes a virtual pantheon of secular deities.

As a result, secular-minded moderns are ever seeking their identity, sense of worth and significance in discovery of their "inner selves" and attainment of personal "fulfillment", social relationships, real and vicarious carnal pleasures, careerist goals, the pursuit of egoistic empowerment, and the ongoing acquisition of material possessions.

Many Americans, reading these lists today, are so completely this-world oriented they would probably ask: "What else is there?"

To compensate for the inevitable failure of these lesser gods to perform as promised, a higher-minded assortment of idolizations, such as political and social causes humanitarian world-saving efforts, rabid environmentalism and pacifism and a multitude of other pseudo-religious beliefs and movements, are also readily accessible to provide moderns with opportunities to congratulate themselves. These are pursued in a continuous, but often unconscious, attempt to find personal fulfillment, a sense of worth, a justification for existence and very often a conscience-salving compensation for violation of the Biblical sexual ethic written in the human heart. (Romans 2:15, 1:18)

This confessedly negative, but Biblically based factual exposure of human motivations and rationalizations can only be honestly acknowledged by those who know the wonder of the Father's forgiveness and in whom the fullness of Christ's spirit dwells. For them the void has been filled, spiritual vision restored, and eternal hope secured. Living in the gracious acceptance and a "good conscience" toward the true and living God, they have no need for false-gods. (1 Peter 3:21)

In the midst of this maelstrom of inducements to pursue worldly happiness and carnal fulfillment, Scripture declares, every person, sometime, somewhere, hears the inner Voice which calls, through the spiritual darkness from beyond, to something beyond, which is not something but Someone, Wholly Other: God the Creator-Redeemer, through Christ, "the Light of the world." On hearing that Voice one must turn toward the Light or go deeper into the darkness.

"Then spake Jesus...unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  (John 8:12)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Hello All,
We are back from vacation and need to catch up on blogs, videos, etc. Here is this week's...

From The Pastor...

You Have No Right

My little voice is speaking out
It's time for you to hear
I was never given a chance at life
What could have been became only my tears

The news man announces the murders
Of these other children older than me
But never mentions my dying day
Little babies killed in the land of the free

There are millions of us you never met
As you preferred to choose and lie
So easy for you pretending we weren't real 
You never heard your newborn cry

Hopefully we haunt you in nightmares
Even our tiny souls know it is wrong to kill
I would have been your child to love
Even if we had struggled I would love you still

Other mothers manage to make it
Their little child can give them joy each day
Some mothers grieve the loss of their children
But you got up and went on your way

You threw away a lifetime of memories
You never saw me giggle or smile or grow
A precious little boy or girl with a name
My fragile feelings you didn't even care to know

Thank God there is a heaven for the innocent
And our little spirits live on without you
You strangled, crushed and destroyed our infant bodies
Making us just someone you never knew

Remember this mommy dear
When you're complaining that life is so hard
God gave you and me a life to live for years
But you put an end to me with disregard

So I sing with the angels every day
I enjoy the company of hearts filled with love
I didn't have the opportunity to live in your world
But I'm always safe here in heaven above

You have no right to take a life 
You have no right to forget your wrong
You hurt and broke my tiny little heart
But I live on here knowing with God I belong

Gina Cerrato
©July 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

From Pastor John's book...

Clearly right and wrong is not a question of knowing or not knowing. It should be obvious from man’s history, and our own, that no amount of education or self-knowledge alone brings moral and ethical power. This, however, does not diminish the value of Christ’s followers having as accurate a self-knowledge as possible.

Honest introspection, when done in the light of God’s standards of righteousness, is necessary for spiritual progress, but we must never introspect without a strong sense of His love and grace. The quickest way to despair is to look into the darkness of your own heart without the light of the Heavenly Father’s love.

The Word of God is the mirror which gives us the true reflection of our spiritual condition and the way to experience his gracious pardon, Presence and power.

While knowledge of ourselves is not a guarantee of personal moral progress, it is evident that widespread acceptance of false ideas regarding human nature may well be one of the leading causes of much confusion in the Church and the madness loose in many parts of the world today.

Once the heart has surrendered to the call of God to trust His Word of love made real to that heart through the New Testament Gospel message, the content of that Word becomes more than verbal communication and spiritual ideas. It develops into a deep inward knowledge, increasing in certitude and life changing conviction.

"Third Millennium Antivirus" by John Cerrato, Jr.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

From the Pastor...

Ben Franklin, at a critical impasse during the Constitutional Convention in June 1787, attempted to introduce the practice of daily common prayer with these words:

...In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor... And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance. I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: ...I therefore beg leave to move - that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberation, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

As I leave the position of secretary here at First Baptist it should free me up to do more on this blog... including prompting Pastor John to start a weekly blog series for this website. Look for that as we move into the summer months. Hopefully you are exploring the site enough to find the different weekly sermons, monthly news and occasional posts. If all goes as planned, there will be new posts  of different kinds every week. Hope you are enjoying the summer so far!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spring is here, and almost gone! School is almost out and the leaves are full size already. Even the temperatures have been August-like lately. I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather! We had a couple of Sundays with guest speakers in April and May, but we're back on schedule with sermon videos again. Check them out...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The ABC/VNH Annual Gathering was last weekend and we went early to get a little time off away from home. We came back to a full-on schedule as soon as we walked through the door so did not get to post last week's sermon. This week has been exceptionally busy also but I will get the last two sermons posted this week. Never fear! Hope you all are adjusting to the sudden summer heat we've gotten the last couple of days; I'm not sure what happened to spring. It felt like it hit 90 degrees downtown today!

May the SON of God be with you as intensely as the Sun was with us today!   :-)

Friday, April 10, 2015

To Be or Not to Be? - That is the Question!

Just as everyone was starting to put away the snow blowers and rake the winter debris off the front yards, in typical New England fashion, it snowed again. Enough to turn everything white for a few days. So is spring really ready to come? God is faithful and He will do it!

On Easter Sunday our sister Church, The Slavic Baptist, had a beautiful Easter concert/service in our sanctuary at 5 pm. If you weren't able to attend, here are 18 clips of the service - songs & message. Some of the songs are in Russian/Ukrainian and some in English and the sermon is in both. Dimitriy is a wonderful preacher and our folks said "the service just gets better every year!" Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is coming!

The mailboxes are starting to show again - spring must be on the way! Also, two weeks ago there was a flock of robins in the front bush and a possum in the back yard the other day; out from hibernation and eating the squirrel food. The smell of skunk was in the air last night. All sure signs of spring being just around the corner.

Just a reminder: There are about 200 of Pastor John's sermons on the church website for your viewing pleasure. Catch up on the sermons you missed while it's still cold outside.     :-)

Friday, February 13, 2015

ALERT:  Another snow storm is headed our way for the weekend. Temperatures are scheduled to be in the sub-zero range also. Ahh... the joys of winter. As a skier, I actually love it all. The more snow the better. Most of my non-skier friends aren't so enthusiastic about it, but don't forget - God is in charge of the weather! So who are we to complain. HA!

(A google image connected to Kushtrimthaqi)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to 2015 and Happy New Year to you!

Pastor John will be doing a Comparative Religion study on Saturday mornings for the next 10 weeks or so. For those of you too far away to attend, we will try to post a link to the mp3 files at the end of the series.

Now that the temperature has finally started to drop, and some snow has actually stuck, it's starting to look a little more like winter. Now is the perfect time to commit to reading through the bible in a year, or spending some time with your bible and a good commentary studying the Word in front of the fire with a cuppa joe!