A Changed Man

Indians Game

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Acts 9:19-21 (NLT)
19  Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20  And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” 21  All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?”

 The Christian life is all about transformation. We can look at a classic example from Scripture in the Apostle Paul. He was so zealous that before his conversion he dedicated his life to stamping out the Christian church. The Book of Acts records his attitude towards them as uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest” (Acts 9:1, NLT). However, after a personal encounter with the risen Jesus his life was forever changed, and he became the greatest evangelist the world has ever seen. We can also look at someone in history a little closer to our time, John D. Rockefeller. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was strong and husky when he was a youth. He early determined to earn money and drove himself to the limit. At age 33, he earned his first million dollars. At age 43, he controlled the biggest company in the world. At age 53, he was the richest man on earth and the world’s only billionaire. Then he developed a sickness called “alopecia,” where the hair of his head dropped off, his eyelashes and eyebrows disappeared, and he was shrunken like a mummy. His weekly income was one million dollars, but he digested only milk and crackers. He was so hated in Pennsylvania that he had to have bodyguards day and night. He could not sleep, stopped smiling long since, and enjoyed nothing in life. The doctors predicted he would not live past another year. The newspaper had gleefully written his obituary in advance—for convenience in sudden use. Those sleepless nights set him thinking. He realized with a new light that he “could not take one dime into the next world.” Money was not everything. God was displeased with his sinful life. Then and there he surrendered His life to Christ, repenting of his sins and pleading for God to change his heart. The next morning he awoke a new man. He began to help churches with his amassed wealth; the poor and needy were not overlooked. He established the Rockefeller Foundation whose funding of medical researches led to the discovery of penicillin and other wonder drugs. John D. began to sleep well, eat and enjoy life. You could say he began to live life to the fullest! The doctors had predicted he would not live over age 54. He lived to be 98 years old. Never underestimate the transforming power of the Gospel!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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Just Sign Your Name

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
8  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

There is a great article that illustrates the concept of grace written by Charles Stanley. “One of my more memorable seminary professors had a practical way of illustrating to his students the concept of grace. At the end of his evangelism course he would distribute the exam with the caution to read it all the way through before beginning to answer it. This caution was written on the exam as well. As we read the test, it became unquestionably clear to each of us that we had not studied nearly enough. The further we read, the worse it became. About halfway through, audible groans could be heard through out the lecture hall. On the last page, however, was a note that read, “You have a choice. You can either complete the exam as given or sign your name at the bottom and in so doing receive an A for this assignment.” Wow? We sat there stunned. “Was he serious? Just sign it and get an A?” Slowly, the point dawned on us, and one by one we turned in our tests and silently filed out of the room. When I talked with the professor about it afterward, he shared some of the reactions he had received through the years. Some students began to take the exam without reading it all the way through, and they would sweat it out for the entire two hours of class time before reaching the last page. Others read the first two pages, became angry, turned the test in blank, and stormed out of the room without signing it. They never realized what was available, and as a result, they lost out totally. One fellow, however, read the entire test, including the note at the end, but decided to take the exam anyway. He did not want any gifts; he wanted to earn his grade. And he did. He made a C+, but he could easily have had an A. This story illustrates many people’s reaction to God’s solution to sin. Some people look at God’s standard–moral and ethical perfection–and throw their hands up in surrender. “Why even try?” they tell themselves. I could never live up to all that stuff. Others are like the student who read the test through and was aware of the professor’s offer but took the test anyway. Unwilling to simply receive God’s gift of forgiveness, they set about to rack up enough points with God to earn it. But God’s grace truly is like the professor’s offer. It may seem unbelievable, but if we accept it, then, like the stunned students who accepted the professor’s offer, we, too, will discover that, Yes, God’s grace truly is free. All we have to do is accept it.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

In All Circumstances

Mark Office

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
16  Always be joyful. 17  Never stop praying. 18  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Often I have heard people say, “How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic and look at the lovely weather!” Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp. I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. “No, Corrie,” said Betsie, “He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.” Corrie concludes, “There is an ocean of God’s love available-there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love-whatever the circumstances.” You might say, “but it’s hard to give thanks for what I am going through right now! How am I supposed to be thankful in this mess?” God never said it would be easy, however, he did say that he would be with you no matter what you are going through, and with his help you will make it. So always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark