Why do you love me?

Imagine it is an ideal summer day, which is not too much work on a day like today. You have the picnic basket packed and you are walking in a beautiful park. You find a spot with just the right amount of sunshine and you and your beloved enjoy the most wonderful lunch. Afterwards you lay back on the red and white checkered blanket you have brought just for such an occasion and look into the incredible blue sky. Your hand moves over and catches hers, and you sigh, “I love you.” Then it happens. She sits up on one elbow and with a twinkle in her eye says, “Why?”

Oh no it’s a trap! Red alert, just the right words are needed here! Your heart races, the options are endless but often lead to deep trouble. Your mind is spinning in circles, because if you pause too long, it will look like you are having to think too hard! You only have a few seconds before you had better say something! Cooking and taking care of the kids! NO that won’t work to utilitarian are you trying to get stabbed with a cheese fork! You could go with the physical characteristic and mention some of your favorite ones even quote scripture “your hair is like goats….. “ Buzzz – to shallow and very likely to get you in trouble! Time is up! Time to man up and wax loquacious. Time to think of all the things that make her unique, all the things that cause you to love her.….

David said this in Psalm 119:97 –“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” What if suddenly God asked; “Why?” What would you say? It is fairly easy to say you love the Bible, but we also say things like we love Carl’s Jr. or Seabeck pizza. Have you ever stopped and pondered if it you can say like David did. “I love your word”? And if you did, could you say why?

 This week we will be talking about Next and our goal to have the word of God saturate every aspect of our church. Rather than talking about how we will accomplish this with classes, discipleship, and personal devotion, I will be talking about why. So spend some time before church thinking about how you would answer the question; “Why do you love the Bible?”

See You at church,

Pastor Chris



A New Beginning

 

I do my best to try and live my life with no regrets. Regretfully I am not always perfect at that. When I think back to decisions I have made or courses of action I have taken that didn’t work out, caused pain, or were just simply stupid, I kind of wish I could do that over.

I am reassured that God can take the mistakes I have made and use them to His glory. He can take the scars and help me teach others. He can clean up messes and bring humility, gentleness and forgiveness to bear. And how beautiful it is when we have a new beginning.

This week we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Christ who bore our sins so that we would not have to. Christ who was crucified in our place. Christ who was through the resurrection demonstrated to be the Son of God. Christ who laid down his life, and picked it up. Christ who has made a way to a new beginning.

What humanity was helpless to do for itself Christ has done. A new and living way has been made for us to be restored to a right relationship with God. We are purified from unrighteousness. While we lean on that reality every day, the new beginning I speaking of is still to come.   It is a future event.   Christ’s resurrection was merely the firstfruits, it is the anticipation of the announcement, “It is finished” when every enemy has been made his footstool. When death is ultimately destroyed. It is only then that the full reality of our new beginning will be realized.

What a glorious day that will be.

I hope you will come and celebrate the resurrection with us and celebrate our anticipated new beginning.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Lord’s Supper Tonight

Tonight we participate in one of the most beautiful demonstrations of the humility of Christ. He did the job of a servant even a slave, demonstrating that he was not above such service. We are forced to recognize that neither are we. He put forth the example that prevents the church from becoming stratified and hierarchical. We are all just servants willing to serve each other in worship of our savior. Following his example we also will wash one another’s feet. We also wi

ll participate in communion together, remembering the sacrifice that he made.

Please come and participate in this beautiful worship. 

Tonight at 7pm. Don’t forget to bring a towel and a basin.

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John 13:5-17

5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.



Living For Today

As we consider the Resurrection, we are often tempted to allow it to be a remembrance without relevance. We like to think back to what was happening then and how dramatic and amazing it was. There is nothing wrong with that and the words of Jesus to remember are clearly an instruction. But the point of remembering was not nostalgia but that our remembrance would impact us today.

Living for today is often thought of as a “Don’t worry be happy” kind of lackadaisical approach to life. That is not what I think of. I think of making the most of every day. Living for today means that I have this moment, so passionately grabbing onto it and living into it. I will admit not everyday is one where we feel much like living that way. When you have the flu or need to clean the moss off your roof, making the most of the day does not seem very passionate.   Sometimes the constant grind of work can take it out of you as well. But those are exactly the times we need to remember the Resurrection.

The Resurrection changes everything and it especially changes how we live for today.   When we embrace its reality and all that means, it will change every day of our life from that point forward. If you know what I mean then smile and remember the Resurrection today! If you don’t know what I mean, come to church tomorrow and find out!

God bless,

Pastor Chris



I Was There…..

When you are an eyewitness to some event, some happening, it really can change you. I can talk about being in a car accident, but if I have never been in a car accident then I really don’t completely understand all of the feelings. The feeling of hopeless realization this is really happening. the shock , the panic, the pain etc. unless you have been in one you don’t really understand.

The disciples experienced the most incredible week. From the grand entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through trial, torcher, crucifixion and ultimately resurrection, I cannot imagine the roller coaster. I bet they were an emotional mess! I would have been.

Still it was their front row seat, their eyewitness accounts that added so much credibility to the whole proclamation of Jesus and the resurrection. The Holy Spirit came down in power and took those eyewitness accounts as fuel for the movement of Christianity across the known world and ultimately across the entire globe. The gospel was proclaimed everywhere, and everywhere it was proclaimed it changed everything.

Has the resurrection changed you?

This week we will see how it changed the early church and hopefully you can answer that very question.

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



This Changes Everything

There are moments in life, events, occurrences, experiences and realizations that so impact us we are never the same afterwards. Some things you cannot unsee, or undo or redo.   They will forever be a part of you.

They can be good moments. Some have great weight. Things like kindergarten graduation, or when you drive for your first time. That moment when, with ring in hand, looking up into her eyes, she says yes. That moment when the nurse says “It’s a boy!” or It’s a girl!”. When you sign the 45-page document that and they hand you the keys to your first house. Other moments can have less weight, like a new flavor, seeing the ocean for the first time. Sometimes it can even be great events that happen around you like the moment when man first stepped out onto the surface of the moon.

Other moments can be bad. You throw up on the airplane. You experience an unplanned wardrobe malfunction. You are at an event that goes terribly wrong. Tragedy strikes your family and someone dies. D-day, JFK, or September 11

th. The list is virtually unlimited as to what can happen to us that forever changes us.

 If they are good things you lean back and remember them fondly. They buoy you up in times of despair. You can close your eyes, and go there in your mind. If they are negative then you have to work through them, heal, and grow scars. Some of the negative things never really leave us, we just get along as best we can after we experience them.

 The events that surrounded the death and resurrection of Jesus must have been of the sort that changed everything. It must have been so incredibly shocking to see Jesus on a cross, to see him die. Shock and confusion, denial, anger, all eventually led to resignation, acceptance, and a fear that the disciples might be next. Only to be blasted with the most joyous and hopeful event in the history of the cosmos. The depth of those moments on the people who were there is unimaginable.

 When Mary discovered the tomb was empty, when John beating Peter to confirm it, and when Jesus Himself showed up, their lives were forever change. It changed everything. It is time for us to focus our eyes on Jesus. To consider and remember the resurrection.

 It changes everything. 

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Informed Consent

If you have been in a hospital and had an operation you know about informed consent. As it turns out, when they talk about practicing medicine they really mean it when it comes to surgery. They are practicing! We would like to think that the results are guaranteed but often they are not. Often they are giving us the best chance for success, but they always have to mention all the potential things that could go wrong.   We still go ahead with it, but somehow they feel better by telling us.

There is something about knowing all of that stuff up front that makes us feel better as well. We kind of have the opportunity to back out at the last minute. We seldom do because usually whatever has caused us to submit to the insanity of being knocked unconscious while people cut on us is far worse than the remote potentiality of experiencing the negative side effects. They are just potentialities we figure, and the chances are they won’t happen. Happily that is most often the case, which inspires great trust in the medical profession.

It is a far different situation in our spiritual lives. The biggest reason is that we are not given a set of potentialities we are given what the actual results will be. On one hand if we go this direction we will have life. If on the other hand we go this other direction we will have annihilation.   There is no 75% chance of life, or .01% that you might not experience annihilation. The results are completely certain, 100% in both directions.   Ultimately it is up to us.   The way is provided for us to experience 100% life or 100% death. The only question is , when given such a choice what will we choose.

“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

~ Ezekiel 18:30-32

See you at church

Pastor Chris



Can you hear me now?

Do you remember the commercials where the guy was walking around saying “Can you hear me now?” The more cell towers there are the less relevant that commercial got.   Now it seems that there are few places where you can’t get at least some reception. For those out on the Key, you probably know the spots. Like Ravensara where you dip into that corner and your calls drop. Just as with cell towers, we have a need to be in the right spot with God to be able to hear him and it is always me that needs to move.

I find that I have a difficult time hearing God because I am often just not listening. Like being in a crowed room where everyone is talking at once, it is sometimes difficult to make out God’s voice amongst the chaos. It is not that I don’t want to listen it is just that I am too busy, or too tired, or too x, y, x. There are all sorts of reasons we tend to come up with as to why we are not hearing.   We need to work on listening.

Listening is not a very exciting thing to talk about. It is often considered quite passive, yet it is vital if we are to accomplish all that God is calling us to do. We can be zooming in the wrong direction, not relevant to God’s purposes, and doing things in our own strength, and the results (or more likely lack of results) show up. But when we listen we begin to not only accomplish things , but we accomplish the right things at the right times.

This week we are going to be talking about “NEXT: Three Significant Ministries.” We will be exploring some of the opportunities God is calling us to, and answering the question: “Am I Listening?”

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



A Clean House

Don’t you just love a clean house? I love a clean house. It smells nice. Cobwebs are gone, dust is gone, everything is all sparkly and clean. Feels great. Thing is I love a clean house but I just don’t love it enough. I am just not wired that way. As an old dog I have learned some new tricks, but the reality is that I am a fairly messy person. When it comes to priorities cleaning comes somewhere quite a bit lower than duck hunting, fishing, and any number of things. I would rather not clean the house.

 That being said, I do try and do my part. I am not one of those men who sit back and expect to have the wife feed me grapes and fan me with the palm leaves. My mom made sure I knew how to cook and clean as a matter of course. So when I reflect on cleaning the house it is not a reflection from a theoretical stand point. Cleaning the house is hard work. It is not fun, and it is not pleasant. But it is necessary and it feels good when it is clean.

In this last week on Nehemiah we will be looking at chapter 13. He had gone back to his king for a bit, and coming back to Jerusalem he discovered the kids had trashed the place. He needed to clean house.   Sometimes our spiritual lives are in the same spot. We have gotten sloppy, messy, and we know what we need to do.

Come find out how we can follow Nehemiah’s example and experience that wonderful feeling of a clean house.

 See you at church,

Pastor Chris.



Some Assembly Required

If you have kids or grandkids, or even nephews or nieces, you probably have a really good understanding of that particular phrase. Some toys are so bulky and awkward that they have to be packaged in such a way that we get the joy of putting them together. Usually this is not too big of a deal. The man in me makes me briefly look at a few pictures and then put it together. But occasionally when I don’t pay attention, or accurately predict the order that things should go in…. It can get ugly.

Sometimes I have to take the entire thing apart and start over.

Usually before I go to that extreme measure I try and figure out some work around. I try and see if there is any way it can still work. I struggle and think unjustified bad thoughts towards those who designed this, even though they provided simple instructions. Ultimately I have to give in and realize it was entirely my fault.

Nehemiah had completed the wall but the construction wasn’t done yet. More work was needed on the people. The people would be confronted with the reality that they had not followed the instructions. They would hear them and understand them for the first time. They would need to undo what they had done. They would have to commit to building it right.

If we are passionate about building our walls and building our people we must share in that same process, come discover how. 

See you at church,

 Pastor Chris