Can Anyone Tell Me What Christmas Is All About?

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

John 3:16-17 (NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

A television interviewer was walking the streets of Tokyo at Christmas time. Much as in America, Christmas shopping is a big commercial success in Japan. The interviewer stopped one young woman on the sidewalk, and asked, “What is the meaning of Christmas?” Laughing, she responded, “I don’t know. Is that the day that Jesus died?” There was some truth in her answer. At Christmas we need to ask ourselves this question, “Why did Jesus come to earth?” Did he come to be born? Did he come to teach? Did he come to heal and do miracles? No, he came to die! As the writer of Hebrews tells us, “…without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22), which tells that Jesus didn’t come just to be born, but he came to die for us. Unless he died nothing has changed and we are still lost in our sin and destined for hell. However, because he came and was born as a human, and sacrificed his life on the cross we have the hope of new life. Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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Walking In The Light

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

1 John 1:7 (NLT2)
7  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

“In His powerful book The Holiness of God, R. C. Sproul observes that unbelievers often feel uneasy in the presence of an obedient Christian. The holiness of God reflected in a believer’s life makes the non-Christian uncomfortable. Sproul then shares this truce incident to make his point. “A well-know professional golfer was playing in a tournament with President Gerald Ford, fellow pro Jack Nicklaus, and Billy Graham. After the round was over one of the other pros on the tour asked, ‘Hey, what was it like playing with the President and Billy Graham?’ The pro said with disgust, ‘I don’t need Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat!’ With that he headed for the practice tee. His friend followed, and after the golfer had pounded out his fury on a bucket of golf balls, he asked, ‘Was Billy a little rough on you out there?’ The pro sighed and said with embarrassment, ‘No, he didn’t even mention religion.’ “Sproul comments, ‘Astonishing, Billy Graham had said nothing about God, Jesus, or religion, yet the pro stomped away after the game accusing Billy of trying to ram religion down his throat.’ What had happened? Simply this: The evangelist had so reflected Christlikeness that his presence brought the same feeling to the pro as experienced by Isaiah. He knew he was ‘lost, a man of unclean lips, and living among a people of unclean lips.’ In the life of Billy Graham, the lost pro had sensed the presence of our Holy God.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

 

Experiencing Jesus

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

1 John 1:1 (NLT2)
1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.
We can love him with our mind by reading all the great things he has done for us, we can have warm loving feelings toward him because of these things, but may I suggest that this is where many Christians are stuck. The part that is lacking is an experience of Him that makes the thoughts and feelings about Him real to us. By letting him use us, do we really experience who he is, and the extent of His love?

The best example I can think of is when people fall in love by chatting on the Internet. All they have experienced are words and possibly pictures of the other person, but have had no real experience of them. Most of the time when they finally do meet in person the experience is very disappointing. It’s the same person but the actual personal experience of them leaves us uncomfortable and disappointed. Anyone can look great on paper, including God, and if that is all we have without personal experience of Him, it will be a shallow love. Have you had a personal experience with Jesus?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Life Together

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Acts 2:42 (NLT2) 

42  All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 

“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Doing What Jesus Did

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

John 13:14-15 (NLT2) 

14  And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 

We serve Jesus by serving people. A wealthy American traveler visited a hospital in Southeast Asia. He walked in just as a young missionary nurse was cleaning the sores of a sick, dirty, elderly man who had been found lying in a gutter. The rich man said to the nurse, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” She answered quietly and firmly, “Neither would I.” Money couldn’t buy her extravagant devotion to Jesus. Her life was broken and spilled out for the love of Christ.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Taking The Mystery And Fear Out of Sharing Your Faith

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Mark 16:15 (NLT2) 

15  And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 

In court, bearing witness is telling the truth about what you’ve seen and heard. John the Baptizer was doing the same about Jesus. If we witness, we can tell others about something the Lord has done in our lives, whether relating to Salvation or some other matter of His provision. We can witness to others about His healing, His sustenance (He gets us through things), His grace, etc. The purpose of bearing witness about Jesus is so that others may find Him and believe to eternal life. ‘Wit-ness’ literally refers to having a knowledge about something, and we need to share what we know about Jesus!

Application: Do we bear witness of the Light? Note that the purpose of both the testimony of the Apostle John and John the Baptizer was to bring people to believe in Jesus. Are we doing this? Witnessing is literally telling others what the Lord has done and who He has been in your life. What has He done in your life? How can you tell others?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Bucking The Individualist Mindset

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT2) 

19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls “radical individualism.” They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is “Jesus and me,” but in doing so, miss the point altogether. For Christianity is not a solitary belief system. Any genuine resurgence of Christianity, as history demonstrates, depends on a reawakening and renewal of that which is the essence of the faith—that is, the people of God, the new society, the body of Christ, which is made manifest in the world—the church [Chuck Colson, The Body, 32].

In Christ,

Pastor Mark