Just Another Invented Holiday?

In our modern desire to commercialize everything, and invent ways to take your hard earned money and put it in the hands of those who would sell you things you don’t really need, there have been a number of special days that have been invented to facilitate this process. I tend to resist such efforts with great vigor. Father’s day could easily fall into this category. In fact, according to Wikipedia (which has to be right its on the internet) the commercial concern of Father’s day was indeed one of the things that helped it finally reach holiday status. But does that disqualify it from being significant? Or maybe more importantly does that mean that we should de-emphasize it?

In addition, there are a lot of families in pain. These families either have issues of divorce, abuse, , substance abuse, or even just abandonment.   Should it be that in order to not awaken these wounds in people, because they are so prevalent, the church would be better off just barely mentioning Father’s day, and then quickly moving on to things that don’t so personally impact us.  

I continue to reject these suggestions.

The culture around us is moving more and more toward family dysfunction and labeling that dysfunction as normative. Maleness is under assault as if it is something to be fixed or medicated. There is a sneaking suspicion by the radical feminists that everything that is wrong in the world is probably as a result of males. After all, most violent crimes are committed by males, males are in charge of most countries in the world, etc etc etc.. Additionally, everyone anticipates marriage will become defined as two humans (person A and B on the marriage license) by the US Supreme Court, further eliminating the need for these gender normative descriptions emphasizing fatherhood.   All of this is occurring in the face of overwhelming statistics that demonstrate the vital role of a father.

In light of these lies of the evil one, we should be proclaiming truth and life as loud as we can! If the church is to be an essential and life giving institution in our communities we must promote, honor, and encourage Biblical fatherhood. It is both our opportunity and our responsibility. If we don’t do it who will?

In this weeks sermon I will honor the fathers in our congregation and promote the vital roles fatherhood plays in our lives. Come help me honor our dads.

See you at church,

 Pastor Chris

The Age To Come

The Age To Come

The hope of Christ is freedom:  Freedom from the pain of this world, freedom from the curses caused by sin, freedom from fear, punishment, and brokenness.    Our world and all of its problems can sometimes overwhelm, it is at times like this that we should think of the Age to Come.  

The Age to Come is what happens at the end.  It is so fantastic, so spectacular that what it will be is beyond our conception.  We do not know what it will be like to have God be all in all.  We do not know what it will be like to no longer struggle with sin or encounter the sting of death in any way.  We can only begin to imagine it.

But is it believable?  

The practicalities of Christianity with its moral precepts and Fruit of the Spirit we seem able to grasp. Maybe we mistakenly believe that because we can perceive them they are somehow more “real”.  But this is the encouragement we can have from scripture, that if these smaller more believable things are true, we can  rest assured in the more fantastic. If the realities of the Beatitudes work, then we can know that death will be swallowed up in victory.  If we are confident in the resurrection of Christ then we can be assured of our very own resurrection.  

 Come be encouraged as we look at the final sermon in the series and discover what is in store for the Age to Come.

Pastor Chris

The Reality of the Improbable

Sometimes when we start talking about Last Things it is hard to imagine it really happening. Even though we know it is coming, to have it actually arrive will still be stunning. As my children and their spouses’ are beginning their families, it is amazing to watch the whole pregnancy experience. The baby bump stage, the kicking stage, the growing to mondo size stage, but then the moment for delivery finally arrives.

You see the evidence of it happening, evidence of the arrival, but you still are amazed when it finally happens.

Our bias toward everything continuing just as it always has is hard to break. You watch people when confronted by extraordinary events like tsunamis or earthquakes, and there is always that pause where their brain has to come to grips with the reality of what is happening. We are in just such a pause.   It is the pause between when Christ went back to heaven and when he shows up again.  But even realizing that doesn’t make the coming events more believable.

Ultimately our trust in the return of Christ is dependent on our trust of his first appearing. Is it believable that God would reveal himself to us? Is it believable that God would work a plan of saving humanity that takes thousands of years? Is it believable that a virgin conceived and delivered a boy? Is it believable that a homeless former carpenter would change the world? Is it believable that that Jesus died and rose again? Is it believable that God would pour out the Holy Spirit so we can be in relationship with Him? None of these things are probable, yet all of them have enough evidence, historical eye witness accounts, and even personal experience to corroborate their reality. They are the foundation upon which we can assert that the events that are coming, while improbable, are equally real.

Faith is a rational choice considering the overwhelming evidence of the reality of the improbable. This week we will talk about what happens when Christ comes back and his reign breaks into our future. What is coming will be amazing.

See you at Church!

Pastor Chris

Ready or Not……

Do you remember the giddy feeling you had when you heard those words?  Your spot was all planned out.  You had squished in behind the couch and pulled the blanket over, you knew you would never be found, and then you heard those words,  …” Ready or not here I come!”  You knew the searcher was coming, but you  never quite knew when she would show up.  When you think of the return of Christ is that the feeling you get?  Is it eager anticipation?  You know He is coming back but you are not quite sure when that will be.

Gallop’s latest religion poll is telling us that those who consider themselves agnostic or atheists are growing larger and larger as a group.  These are folks who do not anticipate Christ’s return.  In fact, they have pretty much rejected the whole idea as ludicrous.    In contrast, I was raised in Christian home.  I never experienced a time in my life where I did not anticipate Christ’s return.  In between these two perspectives are those who have heard of the idea of Christ returning but they don’t really pay attention to it.  It holds the place of some future far off event that we can’t do anything about, so why let it consume our brain?  

The answer is because Jesus dis not want us to be of the sort who were surprised.  God wants us to know.  Not to the exact moment, year or day.  We can’t start a dooms day clock that is ticking away and just check on it once and a while, or somehow solve a mystical mathematical code so that we can sell our houses and dawn white sheets and head up to the top of the hill. But neither did He leave us blind, so that it could show up at any moment.   He told us about signs that would be obvious (for those keeping watch) to know when the time is close. 

What are the signs and events that will precede the return of Christ?  What did Christ tell us? What did the apostles understand and tell us?  What will His return be like?  That is the topic for this weeks sermon.  

Come be encouraged as we watch!

Pastor Chris 

Believable III

 The proclamation of Jesus Christ is a proclamation of the gospel of God.  It is not just a proclamation about a baby that was miraculously conceived.  It is not just the proclamation of a wise and moral teacher who has come to show us what God had in mind all along.  It is not only the proclamation of the Son of Man who was with God, from God, but came to be God with us.  It was not only a surprising proclamation about a Suffering Servant who would take on the sins of the world and pay our ransomed. It is not just the proclamation of a resurrected Jesus who went back to Father in glory.  While all of those are true, there is even more.

The proclamation of Jesus Christ is a proclamation about a kingdom and its King.  He is the King of King, and the Lord of Lords.  Yet as we look around it is difficult to see his reign.  His enemies seem to be increasing not decreasing.  Christianity seems to be in decline and defeat?  Chaos is growing, and how can this be if indeed the King has come?  How can we believe this?  Because He told us in advance that this would come.

In Believable III we will look at final proclamation about Jesus.  It is how it all ends up.  It is a proclamation about the future of God, the future of man, and the completed plan for restoring creation so we can enter into the age to come.  While there is great diversity of opinion regarding the events that are on the way, that should not cause us to shy away from proclaiming it.  In fact, just as in all things where there is diversity in Christian understanding, we discover the source of that diversity is the decision one makes on just a few key scriptures.  This week we will begin to look at some of those very scriptures and how they help reveal our King who was and is and is yet to come.

Hope to see you at church.

Pastor Chris

Youth Invasion!

Hi Everyone, 

I am excited for today and all the great things that are happening. The youth are doing the sermon so I can’t really tell you what it is about or even get you thinking about what it will be about. I will be surprised along with you. But I can tell you I am excited to be a part of it. What a great opportunity for the youth to invade and take over the service. Youth are an integral part of our church. They are not just some future church, they are the church right now! I hope you can come and be a part of what they will bring to us! 

I am also excited for our Annual Special Offering. I know that you will give what the Lord has laid on your heart to give. I don’t need to cajole you are push on you. I mention it because I wouldn’t want you to forget that it is tomorrow, but I am confident that you will give from your heart! I look forward to what we as a church can do with it and the exciting new tools that will enable us to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Finally what a great opportunity to also celebrate a 35 wedding anniversary of Buddy and Theresa! All of this and potluck! Looking forward to a great day! 

Pastor Chris

Mixed Messages

It is a confusing time to be a mom. Probably no other time in the history of humanity has made it so challenging for moms.   The expectations are incredibly high with most moms having to work full time outside of the home, yet often the unrealistic commercials of the 1950’s with the perfect house is also being thrown into the mix. On one hand motherhood is honored, yet on another hand it is often denigrated as being somehow a copout by the radical feminists of the late 60’s.   Then there is the recent “Mother of the Year” nominee who was filmed in her explicative laden smack down of her 14 year old son who was throwing rocks at the police in Baltimore. While I recognize there are times when every mother of a 14 year old man child might be tempted to also try for a nomination,…… really? It is very difficult to discern the message in that one.

Then there are the conversations that moms have with themselves. I am not talking about the conversations that occur as a result of the first years sleep deprivation, but rather the internal conversation that moms have about what kind of a mom they are. Are they doing a good job? Is this the right decision? Did I do enough or too much? Do they really respect me? Do they really appreciate everything I am doing? Do they love me? These questions and the answers that they give in their own minds create an interpretive lens for every circumstance that comes along. If their kid is making great decisions they may in their mind say “Well maybe I am not so bad after all?” But if things go poorly then it is interpreted as confirmation of their long suspected inadequacy.

In a confusing world with mixed messages abounding on every front, the church should be communicating a very clear message. In fact, children, husbands, and all the people of God should be encouraging and supporting. We should be leading the parade in honor of moms! Not only on Mother’s day but everyday! This Sabbath as we come together for worship we will focus our attention on honoring moms. Come and learn the three messages that we should be telling these priceless ones we call mom.

See you in Church.

Pastor Chris.

Empowered For What?

Empowered For What?

In every modern super hero movie, some person discovers that somehow they were bestowed with super powers.  Maybe they fell into a vat of toxic waste (like the bus driver on Sky High) or were from another planet, or it was a family heritage, but one thing is always consistent, when they discover this great power of theirs, they have to decide what to do with it.  With great power comes great responsibility, at least according to Uncle Ben (by way of Voltaire and Jesus (Luke 12:48).

 For the last three weeks we have been talking about what it means to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  We have had to confront the amazing statement by Jesus that we will do even greater things.  We have talked about what it means to be filled, to know how to be filled, and even how we are to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  But if God is so pleased to pour out the Holy Spirit on all humanity, and the Holy Spirit is indeed coming inside of us and living in us, then what should we be accomplishing?  What mountains should we be moving?  What does it mean if we are not?

 When we read the book of Acts like a highlight film, and look at the apostles as more than ordinary, we are succumbing to a very scary and dangerous lie.  We are succumbing to the idea that somehow, the Holy Spirit is diminished in this the last age or that somehow we are incapable of experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in our life as was promised in scripture.  To believe this is deny not only the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in our life but to make useless the testimony of the early church and the direct words of Jesus Christ Himself!  MAY THAT NEVER BE TRUE IN US!! (X1000) 

 Instead we need to lift up our eyes and discover the amazing life God is calling us to and empowering us to demonstrate to the world.  It is not a life of ease, wealth, pride and possessions, but it is a life of strength and power made obvious by our very weakness.

 Come and be encouraged to discover the life we have been empowered to live!

 See you at church.

Pastor Chris

Youth Group Pizza & Bowl Night

Our Wellspring Fellowship youth group (W.A.Y.) enjoyed a night out together post our worship service Saturday afternoon. What a fun night savored with good friends, pizza and much soda!!  A recipe guaranteed for success!!

We took to the lanes and did our best to break any and all bowling records, however we are reasonably certain we broke a record for having the most fun!! Thanks to all that participated, we have a spirited group as evident from the photos posted.

We meet every Wednesday night from 6:00-8:00pm, which included a home cooked meal along with tons of meaningful fellowship!!

DSC_0050 DSC_0048 DSC_0047 DSC_0046 DSC_0044 DSC_0043 DSC_0042 DSC_0038 DSC_0037 DSC_0036 DSC_0035 DSC_0034 DSC_0032 DSC_0031 DSC_0029 DSC_0027 DSC_0026 DSC_0025 DSC_0023 DSC_0022 DSC_0019 DSC_0018 DSC_0017 DSC_0016 DSC_0015 DSC_0013 DSC_0011 DSC_0009 DSC_0007 DSC_0005 DSC_0004 DSC_0003 DSC_0002 DSC_0001 1

Keeping In Step

Have you ever seen one of those amazing ballroom dance contests?  I am always so impressed with the fluid motion, grace, and pure unity of the dancers.  It is not like I watch them all the time, or participate in a fantasy ballroom dance league, but I do truly appreciate the art.  They make it look so effortless, but I know different.

Susan and I took a couple of ballroom dance classes.  It was a really fun date night activity and I would highly recommend it. (All you guys can thank me later for throwing you under the bus-lol)  But one of the things I learned is that staying in step was really tough. At first you learn a basic pattern.  Deviation from the pattern almost always leads to complete chaos.  I also learned that one has to lead and the other follow.  The leader has to know how to indicate what is coming next.  The follower has to sense or read the signals as to when to turn and what direction. Unclear leading or unclear reception of the signals also leads to complete chaos.  At first, that is what happened more often than not.  But with more instruction, more practice, more time spent, we learned to how to stay in step. 

Paul says that if we walk by the Spirit (that is being empowered by the Spirit) we should stay in step with the Spirit.  It doesn’t come naturally or instinctually, in fact, just the opposite.  We have to learn to follow, instead of doing what we want.  It  takes instruction, and a lifetime of practice, but the results are amazing.

 This week at church we will talk about what happens in our lives, as we learn to walk in step with the Holy Sprit and the beauty of the fruit it produces.

 Come be encouraged!
Pastor Chris