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!

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.

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?

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.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

From our Region Minister...

 "Glory to God in the highest . . . . and on earth peace to all in whom he delights.” (REB) 

        The ultimate correction of the human heart occurs in the receiving of Christ.   The heart left to its own devices can sometimes reach heights of visible good, but also drift into evil places.   These last few months I have been struck by how easily it is for the human heart to drift into hatred.   How much fear is spawned in people, and how from fear hatred grows against those who cause that fear.  And in a great chaotic circular motion fear and anger both produce each other and run together.   If we as fallen human beings did not fear so quickly, would our hatred of each other grow so much?   To paraphrase Dallas Willard, when we cannot force our will on another person, we turn to frustration, and then to anger.    I would add that anger then solidifies itself into hatred and we begin to believe others are not created in God’s image as much as we ourselves.   Frustration, plus hatred, destroys both internal peace within the individual and external peace among people and peoples.   And hopefully at this point, we beg God to intervene. 
        The Gospel, the good news is that God in the person of His son, intervened and is intervening in the tragedy of human experience and actions.   The Incarnation, and a Triune love, breaking into human history is the remedy and redemption for our propensity toward evil.   Jesus’ birth is an invitation to grace and transformation, here and now, looking forward to the ultimate peace of being eternally in God’s presence.    I believe if the human heart can be consumed by hatred, in Jesus name how much more it can be consumed by grace.   If the more we who live within the borders of Christ kingdom allow a heavenly authority to mold our hearts, there will be less room for fear, anger and hatred.
        Jesus is born into a very messy complicated world where sin abounds.   But Jesus’ birth sets the  boundary on evil's affect and sin’s fruit.    The good news is God has not left us in bondage to our baser nature, but has sent His son to restore in us the full Image of God, in the likeness of his Son, as we work to live out Christ’s character within human history.     Peace, salvation, transformation, wholeness is all there when we receive the same Christ the shepherds greeted.  If we can just live out the way of Christ, how different would our world be?  
        All glory to God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, for you haven’t left us alone, or to our own devices.   

Merry Christmas, in Jesus name,