Thank Heaven

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

There are many things about heaven that Christians can thank the Lord about. While living on this earth they have to suffer the consequences of sin just as Job came to know the sufferings of this world. He lost children, possessions and knew bad health. Knowing that at the end of his life something wonderful would take place, he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes… How my heart yearns within me!”(Job 19:25-27)

 

The children of God may very well be afflicted with disease, or loss of property. They may be forsaken by their friends as Job was. However, there is going to be a day when their body will be resurrected and they will have a physical body that is healthy, not subjected to sickness, pain or death or overcome by sin. Christians can praise God, for in heaven there is going to be a perfect city where there is no crime, no homeless, no unemployment, no pollution, no corruption in city councils or government. Heaven is victorious with no civil unrest, no terrorism and no more wars. There will be fairness, truth and goodness, and God’s holiness will reign. Everyone will be upright and honest.

John Newton wrote, “When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there: The first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see; the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there.” Be grateful this Thanksgiving that God, although he allows to go through difficulties in this life, has an amazing plan in store for us. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (! Cor. 2:9).

 

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on November 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Donut Shop Faith

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

With all of the conflict between the Church and those attempting to squelch our voice in this nation, I thought it appropriate to share a story that I came across this week.

THE PATRIOT LEDGER REPORTS:

Tuesday, the city’s licensing board approved a plan to open a Honey Dew Donuts at the café counter inside the new $30 million YMCA … It will be the only Honey Dew store in Quincy. …Because of the Y’s focus on physical fitness, the vendor won’t sell doughnuts, said Sara Trubiano, spokeswoman for the South Shore YMCA said. …

The new Honey Dew will sell coffee, low-fat muffins, salads, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit cups and smoothies, Trubiano said. All menu items first must be approved by Y leadership. How ironic, a donut shop that agrees to sell no donuts! Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But isn’t that exactly what we do when we compromise our beliefs in order to please the world? A donut shop should sell donuts, and a believer should seek to please God! “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them” (1 John 2:15). As believers in Jesus we need to take a stand against those who would seek to silence and even banish us from this nation. I applaud the five Pastor’s from Houston who took a stand, and by the grace of God, overcame the opposition to their freedom and Constitutional Rights. Let us learn a valuable lesson from this episode in our history and stand firm for the truth of the Gospel.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on November 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Persecuted Church?

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Romans 12:1 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

 

There is a lot of talk in the Church these days about persecution. However, to us America we see persecution as not being able to pray or read our Bibles where we would like. A recent Face Book post by a Pastor friend of mine in Pakistan about a Christian family who was burned alive for their faith in Jesus was a sobering reminder that we do not have a clue when it comes to persecution. I ran across this story that gives the true meaning of being a living sacrifice. “History knows them as the forty martyrs of Sebaste. They were soldiers in the famed Twelfth Legion of Rome’s imperial army, around A.D. 320. One day the captain informed his troops that Emperor Licinius had sent down an edict commanding all soldiers to offer a sacrifice to his pagan god. Forty of the soldiers were followers of Christ, and they refused. ‘You can have our armor and even our bodies, but our hearts’ allegiance belongs to Jesus Christ,’ they said.  “The emperor decided to make an example of the soldiers, so in the middle of winter he marched them onto a frozen lake and stripped them of their clothes. ‘Renounce your God and you will be spared from death,’ he told them. Not one man came forward. So he left them there, huddled together to contemplate his offer. Throughout the night the man stayed together, singing their song of victory: Forty Martyrs for Christ. When morning came, thirty-nine of the men had frozen to death. The one survivor finally relented and crawled to safety, recanting his confession of faith in order to live. The officer in charge that night had been so moved by the scene that during his watch he’d come to Jesus, so he broke rank and walked out onto the ice. Stripping his clothes he openly confessed his faith in Christ. The furious emperor demanded that he renounce Jesus, but he refused. When the ordeal was over, the Roman soldiers carried forty frozen men off of the ice” (Lahaye, Tim, Jerry B. Jenkins and Frank M. Martin ed., Embracing Eternity, Living Each Day With a Heart Toward Heaven: The Persecuted,. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004).

The next time you think that giving up a bad habit or getting up earlier to spend time in prayer is difficult, remember what others are going through and remember what it really means to be a living sacrifice.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ring At The Bottom

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Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

John 2:11 (NLT)
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

A Persian legend tells us that a certain king needed a faithful servant and had to choose between two candidates for the office. He took both at fixed wages and told them to fill a basket with water from a nearby well, saying that he would come in the evening to inspect their work. After dumping one or two buckets of water into the basket, one of the men said, “What is the good of doing this useless work? As soon as we pour the water in, it runs out the sides.”

The other answered, “But we have our wages, haven’t we? The use is the master’s business, not ours.”

“I’m not going to do such fool’s work,” replied the complainer. Throwing down his bucket, he went away.

The other man continued until he had drained the well. Looking down into it, he saw something shining at the bottom that proved to be a diamond ring. “Now I see the use of pouring water into the basket!” he exclaimed. “If the bucket had brought up the ring before the well was dry, it would have been found in the basket. Our work was not useless.”

When God’s blessing does not fully coincide with your expectations, remember to wait until the well is dry. There may be something precious at the bottom. Expect a miracle and believe!

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

Published in: on October 29, 2014 at 8:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Give Them Salt

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)
13  “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14  “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
15  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, sometimes talked about his days when he was a student at the same seminary. In one of those stories, he tells about the time he was invited to preach in west Texas. “You’ve all heard of Nowhere? Well,” Hendricks says, “this was 25 miles beyond that.” The teeming crowds were gathering — all 17 of them, but Hendricks preached with all the fervor and passion of his heart. When he got through, a tall Texan came up to him and said, “You were wrong.”

“Well, sir,” Hendricks said. “I’ve been wrong on many occasions. Give me the information.” The Texan replied, “In your sermon you made a moronic statement. You said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And that ain’t true, ’cause you can feed him salt.”

How do we feed people salt? According to Jesus we feed people salt by what we do and what we say. The book of Revelation says, “They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). However, if our testimony is blemished because of something we did our said it loses its power and effectiveness. How salty is your life in front of others?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Lamb

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

John 1:29-31 (NLT)
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”

Found this little poem this week that I thought was very profound. So I wanted to share it with you.

“Mary had a little Lamb, His fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, The Lamb was sure to go. He followed her to school each day, When it wasn’t against the rules. He made the children laugh and play, To have a Lamb at school. Then the rules were changed one day, Against the law it became. To bring the Lamb of God to school, Or even speak His Name. Every day got worse and worse, And days turned into years. ’Stead of hearing children laugh and play, You heard them crying tears. What must we do to stop the crime, That’s in our schools today? Let the Lamb come back to school, And teach our kids to pray.”

Have a blessed week!

In Christ,
Pastor Mark

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Theological Misunderstandings

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

John 1:14 (NLT)
14  So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

 When we were pastoring in Yellville, AR I met a group of Christians from another church in town. They were wonderful people but from time to time they would say things that just didn’t set well with me. One day one of them said to me, “We don’t want to talk about doctrine, we just want to talk about Jesus!” So asked them, “What do you believe about Jesus?” They replied, “Well He is the Son of God!” To which I commented, “So you believe in the doctrine of the Deity of Christ?” The brother looked at me and said, “Well I guess so.” Then I asked him what else he believed about Jesus? He said, “I believe that he died for my sins.” Then I replied, “Oh, so you believe in the doctrine of the Atonement of Christ?” By this time he was getting a little aggravated with me, but I kindly pushed him a little a bit further and asked him what else he believed about Jesus? He said, “Well I believe that he came to earth and became like one of us!” So I piped up, “Great you believe in the doctrine of the Incarnation!” After a while I think my point was getting across to him that it is impossible to talk about Jesus and not talk about Christine doctrine because it all revolves around Jesus. People get bent out of shape about theological terms, however, if someone takes the time to explain the doctrines to them in ways terms they understand they discover that theology isn’t as evil as they suppose. Take for example the doctrine of the Incarnation. Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer once said “The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” The theological word for all of that is incarnation, meaning “in the flesh.” Jesus was the incarnation of God. Jesus was the way that God sent His “idea” to humanity; there was and is no better way! Like the little girl who said, “Some people couldn’t hear God’s inside whisper and so He sent Jesus to tell them out loud.” If we simplify big theological words they make perfect sense.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Published in: on September 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Defining Momenet

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Luke 22:42 (NLT)
42  “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Several years ago Jeff Strueker was a US Army Ranger posted in Mogadishu, Somalia. Today he is a master of divinity student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. For him Oct 3-4, 1993 were the defining moments of his life. He was one of the troops called on to go into the center Mogadisu to secure a building as part of a larger operation. The movie “Black Hawk Down” came out about a year ago chronicling the events of those two days. In the first trip into the city he and most of his friends got out through a hailstorm of bullets. One man was shot and killed. It was then that he felt the fear. He began to pray. The Humvee was painted with blood as they escaped the city with their dead and wounded comrades. The news soon worsened. A helicopter was shot down. The team received orders to return to the melee. Yet, his men understandably couldn’t fight in the bloody Humvees. Struecker spent the next 30 to 45 minutes cleaning. No running water; only sponges and buckets. “I began to talk to the Lord. I thought I was going to die,” he said. Feeling his fear grow, he began to ask God to protect him. But his prayer soon changed.  “I’ll never forget this for the rest of my life. … A scene appeared in the landscape of my mind. The scene was Jesus in the Garden. … He clearly and honestly knew that he was going to die. … He also showed that he did not want to go to that cross and die. And I knew that I didn’t want to die that night. But Jesus courageously said, ’God, not my will, but yours be done.’  “If I die tonight, that’s fine, as long as your will is done,” Struecker said. For the first time in his life, Struecker — who had been a Christian since age 13 — was prepared to die. “God spoke to my mind and my heart and said, ’I’ve been protecting you every day of your life,’” Struecker said. “He did not tell me, ’You will live through the night.’ He simply showed me my life has always been in his hands.” Struecker and his men returned to the field of fire in Mogadishu that night and fought with a God-given courage. The sergeant first class would later be awarded the Bronze Star Medal “V” for valor. “I fought differently that night than everybody else … because of my faith,” Struecker said. God had given him a “supernatural peace” in the midst of pandemonium, further firefights and an ambush that nearly blew his Humvee off the road. “I began to understand God’s omnipotent power,” Struecker said. “He was orchestrating every single bullet that was fired that night. … The peace that I had was not only for my own life, but for the lives of my soldiers. If any of them were to get shot, then that was part of God’s sovereign plan.” And God chose to preserve Struecker that night (CITATION: http://www.family.org/teenguys/breakmag/features/

a0023481.html).

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Valuable Lesson

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Romans 12:21 (NLT)
21  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” [Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity. He is regarded as the father of modern physics.] Albert Einstein’s words were spoken at a time when evil seemed to have an upper hand in the world. Communism and Fascism marched across much of Europe, while the rest of the world was left to choose how to respond. The same struggle continues today. By God’s design, there continues to be enough evil in the world to test those who have it in their power to do good. And by God’s design, there continues to be enough good in the world to overcome those who have it in their hearts to do evil. So, the question is this: Will those who love good do what is in their power to do to overcome evil? God does not place the fate of the world in the hands of evil men, but in the hands of those who can and must do something to stop them. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21). Our church learned a valuable lesson this week; sometimes it’s a challenge to minister to people who come from a different mindset than ours. We had the privilege this past week to minister to a group of children who aren’t used to being in church, and are in some ways very different than those we are used to having with us. At times it was a challenge to deal with them in a manner that is in keeping with the character of Christ. However, in my opinion we did an exemplary job with the young people we had as our guests, and in doing so we won many of them over. In fact, a number of them were asking, “can I come to this church all the time?” We had the choice of showing love or being harsh with them; of overcoming a difficult situation by doing good. The fruit of our actions have only just begun to materialize. When you show the love of Christ people respond in a positive manner.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on August 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holy Boldness

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Acts 4:31 (NLT)
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

In the original television series, Superman, our favorite super hero would confidently posture himself, legs spread, fists on his hips, chest pushed forward, while he stared down the barrel of a gun.  As the bullets bounced off his chest, Superman would smile, with no thought of retreat.  Then something would happen that defies explanation.  Once the rounds were spent, the bad guy, in desperation, would hurl the gun at Superman, and the caped super hero would duck!!!  Superman, the man who was fearless in the face of oncoming bullets, would cower to avoid being hit by an empty gun! Just like Superman, we cower and duck at things that shouldn’t intimidate us.  As believers, we are perfectly loved and accepted by an all powerful, all knowing, all everything God. And as if this weren’t enough, we are promised “all things will work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). So, what should cause us to fear?  What else matters when compared to the assurance of God’s love? In truth, God has given us every reason to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out. Nevertheless, we duck at small things.  We fret over a setback in our plans, or become discouraged at a disappointing turn of events, or we hesitate to speak boldly of our faith for fear of the reaction it might incite. Our fears send us reeling, even though we live in this world with the certainty of God’s eternal promises.  Life makes us flinch in a thousand little ways.  Like Superman, we duck when we should fearlessly stare them all down. On the night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter cowered in fear of being associated with Him. “I don’t know the man,” he claimed. Three times he denied his relationship with Christ. Three times he flinched as the empty gun of man’s threats was hurled his way. But years later Peter would eventually overcome his fear of empty guns. As a more mature, more courageous follower of Christ he would write, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).  In other words, Peter is telling us to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out, fully assured of God’s great love!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Published in: on July 30, 2014 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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