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