Restored Ethics

Money and the opportunity for money can do strange things to people.   It can turn the seemingly most gentle soul into a blood thirsty shark faster than you can say “last day at the garage sale.”   Humans just seem to have a hang up with stuff. It is often used to evaluate importance or success, when in actuality it is just another example of correlation not being causation. And the opportunity seems to be just as infectious as actually having money. How many get rich quick, pyramid (or the much more effective “funnel” – a pyramid turned upside down) schemes, continue to attract followers by the millions   If it was that easy, don’t they think everyone would do it? (by the by, send me a million dollars and I will tell you how to become a millionaire) And if having it and pursuing it is not enough in itself, there is what people are willing to do to other people to get it.

Nehemiah was not just restoring a wall and putting up some gates. He was not just organizing people and resources to achieve a goal. He also found that he had a bigger problem. He had to restore their ethics.

Somewhere along the line, the people had begun to take advantage of each other. The poor had come upon hard times with a poor growing season. Rather than lending a helping hand those with means saw this as an opportunity for profit. Rather than build loyalty and unity, they used it grab lands, and daughters. After all they had been through, then they do this? Nehemiah was justly angry.

 How about us? How about our people, the people of our community? Is worth measured by wealth? Is personal chaos in someone’s life just an opportunity for profit? Are we focused on our wealth, instead of being focused on God? Are we building bigger barns, or giving it away? How should the church look different as we passionately pursue our people and our walls? Come be challenged to consider your ethics as we explore Nehemiah 5.

 See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Under Attack

I  am a science fiction nerd and one of my favorites is the Star Trek universe created by Gene Rodenberry. And almost no matter which one you watch, there is inevitably a scene where the crew is on the bridge and there is some kind of noise and they all jolt around. (one of the unanswered questions of this universe has always been if you can travel the speed of light, why can’t you figure out how to make a seatbelt?) and someone always says with great gravitas. “Captain we are under attack.”  Now one might wonder what other possibility there would be. Traveling through space you don’t exactly have turbulence, hit a pothole, and to the best of my knowledge no one ever says “Captain, we hit a possum.” which would be much more likely if they were traveling the dark wet roads of the Key Peninsula. Nehemiah probably never heard those words either(I am not sure they even have opossums in Israel) but he most certainly heard the words “We are under attack”. It was not enough that he faced the daunting task of encouraging a broken down and discouraged people to rebuild a broken down wall, but he had to do it all while being under attack.

 Jesus said that we should not be surprised when we come under attack. In fact, if we are doing what he was doing, we most certainly should come under attack. The world after all hated him first. We live in a country where we are free. We live where currently, we are able to worship, share the gospel, and enjoy what was hard won at our founding. Yet even in all of this we still experience attacks. The reason being is that the evil one does not abide by our constitution. He uses the same lies over and over again because they can often be so effective. He used some of those lies in Nehemiah’s time and put them in the mouths of his followers. He first used the good ole verbal attacks like; “you can’t rebuild your wall” or “Even a fox could break that wall down” and I am sure Nehemiah was not comprehensive in listing all the attacks. When discovering that the verbal attacks were not enough God’s enemies always step up to the next best thing, physical attacks.   Yet in spite of all the attacks, Nehemiah built the wall.

I find great encouragement from Nehemiah, and hope you can too as we talk about how we can still build our people and our wall, even in the face of attacks.

 See you at church,

Pastor Chris.



A Task Too Great?

From the reports that Nehemiah had received the task must have been overwhelming. A people in disgrace, a city broken down, and him far away. It would have been easier just to maintain the status quo. Feel bad but not bad enough to disrupt his live. Feel discouraged but maybe get over it by doing something fun. After all this was geopolitics, what could he do? But he did not succumb to such discouragement.

When he got there and made his assessment surely it was probably worse than he had been told. Parts of it he could not even ride through. Who were the people there and what could they do? How would he organize all this. How could it be accomplished.   But Nehemiah was not to be deterred. Instead after facing the reality of the situation, assessing what needed to be done, he inspired the people.

Sometimes we might look at where we are. We are few in number, and we don’t even have any walls, let alone some broken down ones. We live in culture where 76% of the people do not care to attend any church and a whole bunch of them fairly hostile to the idea. The regulatory and financial circumstances that govern this world make the possibility of a small church building , well sort of small. However, just like Nehemiah, we too should not be deterred. God impassioned him for his people and for his city and his walls. We too should be so impassioned. God equipped him and those around him to accomplish the task even though it wasn’t their regular jobs or even something they were experienced at. What must have seemed overwhelming was accomplished. Nehemiah is a testament to what can be done and he is an example for us.

Come be encouraged with how Nehemiah got it done.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



A Time For Building

How long? That was the question that Daniel had when he enquired of the Lord about the captivity. How long was also the question as the people went into captivity. The answer was plant gardens, have children, make a life because you are going to be here for a while. That is indeed what they did, and generations went by. However, they never forgot who they were. They never forgot where they should have been. They never forgot Jerusalem.

Nehemiah was a man with a mission. Rebuild the walls. Return the city to a place of security and honor instead of a place of shame. Return God’s people to the city where he placed his name. Yet the circumstances were grave. The gates were torched. There were gapping holes in the wall. Yet Nehemiah was the man to build it back up.

There is much we can learn from Nehemiah and the challenge he faced. There is also much we as Wellspring Fellowship share with him. In the next few weeks we will be talking about what Nehemiah faced and what we face. We will talk about what moved him and how he approached his task. We will talk about what he accomplished and be inspired toward what it is God is calling us to do.

 It is a time for building.

See you at church

Pastor Chris



NEXT

Next….

 Happy new year! It is always amazing to start a new year and wonder what will come this year?   It is great to anticipate all the exciting things. It is awesome to have our new years resolutions and even more exciting to keep them!

Turning the corner on 2015 and heading into 2016 means we are one year closer to 2020. This week I want to remind us of what God is calling us to, specifically the second target:

By December 31, 2020 we will ………. be ready to launch our first daughter church, Wellspring Fellowship of __________.

It might seem funny or at least overly optimistic to think about planting a church when what we are doing currently is building up and growing the church we have, but it is vital! As we grow as a church we have to be prepared for reproduction, that is, the natural fruit that comes out of being who God is calling us to be! A tomato plant never achieves all of what God is calling it to be unless and until it produces tomatoes. We are called to be a church planting church which produces and plants other church planting churches!

This week at church we will talk about why it is and how it is that we are called to be a church planting church.

I hope you can come and be encouraged as we consider how we can live into what God is calling us to NEXT

God bless,

Pastor Chris



Amazed

“….and all who heard it were amazed”

Is Christmas still amazing to you? Not all the trappings and the family fun. Not the lights and sounds and food of the season, although all of these things continue to be amazing. But the historical reality of the incarnation. Jesus leaving his thrown in glory that He shared with the Father and the Sprit and coming to be found a human child. Carried in a womb for 9 months and born to a young woman and placed in a manger.

Does it still drop your jaw when you think about it? 

Isn’t even more amazing that He did all of this knowing that what he would be asked to do is die on a cross? He knew going in what the rescue plan would require of Him, and yet he was willing. You might be tempted to think even briefly, “Yeah well he knew he would be resurrected”, but the reality is we have no conception of death. We have no way of understanding what the death of Jesus even meant in terms of the spiritual world. To even think such a thought is foolish and we should run quickly from such speculations. The scripture tells us that the prospect was so terrifying that Jesus asked His father three times to avoid it. This is the same Jesus that knew he would be resurrected. 

We should never allow the miracle of Christmas to become ordinary. We should never let the trappings and wrappings distract us from the spectacular miracle and all that it meant.

We should never stop being amazed.

Have a blessed and merry Christmas.

Pastor Chris Henderson.



Proclamation!

Do you ever stop and think about the proclamation of Christmas? It is really kind of amazing to me during this time of year to go around in the stores and hear the worship music and to see the story of Jesus in nativity scenes all over the place. In a world that is so PC you can hardly say anything without it offending everyone, it is sometimes shocking to hear things like “Glory to God in the Highest” or songs proclaiming Jesus as Savior and Lord. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great. I just think for a lot of people it is background music and doesn’t yet hold a lot of meaning.
That is where we come in.

For us, those who know Jesus and call on Him as Savior and Lord, these songs and these proclamations have great meaning! We can say amen to them. We can thank God for their expression and for us they are worship! But even more than that they and all the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ provide us with opportunity. Opportunity while people are thinking of Jesus to explain why the birth of Christ is so important. Why it is that we celebrate Him. Why we worship Him. What Christ means, and what Lord means. It is an opportunity to explain that true love is demonstrated in Christ’s self sacrifice. It is to talk about sin and its solution.

Maybe you have been cautious in the past in your sharing. Maybe you have been embarrassed or afraid it might be awkward. Well here is your chance. At a time when everyone is talking about Him, yet few actually know what they are talking about, take the chance and proclaim Him.

Proclaim him like the shepherds did!

See you at church,

Pastor Chris


It’s Snowing!

 

It is not actually snowing where I am, and if we see some snow this year, (which is in no way guaranteed) we probably won’t see it for another month. However, isn’t amazing that when someone says it is snowing you just have to go and look! If you wanted to all the kids in an elementary classroom to drop their work, jump out of their desks and run to a window, all you would need to do is go to the window and excitedly exclaim; “It’s snowing!” Mission accomplished most would rush to the window.

Now I will make a disclaimer if they happen to live in an igloo they may not . It might be like exclaiming its raining to us. Not exactly earth shattering news, especially of late. But for us at least, when it begins to snow it is still and exciting moment!

When the angels came and proclaimed that the Messiah had been born, even though it was not snowing, the shepherds didn’t just sit there. They got up and went to go see. When you believe, you can’t just sit there. You have to act. When you reflect on Jesus being born, does it cause you to act like the shepherds did? Or is it like announcing it is raining?

Come be encouraged to believe and act, celebrate like the shepherds did!

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Have you heard the good news?

We are entering into the beautiful time of year when we focus our attention on the first coming (advent) of Jesus Christ into the world. Amazingly, even though everything about His coming was predicted, it was still surprising in almost every way. One of the more surprising things was how the announcement of his arrival into this world was actually delivered.

When a big event happens, or when someone is going to make a dramatic entrance, you want to broadcast it to the world! Sometimes at grand openings they have spotlights, inflatable gorillas, bands, and fanfare. There certainly was a bit of excitement and drama concerning the initial events that surrounded the incarnation. But they are only truly dramatic from the eyes of faith, and from hindsight. All the goings on at the Temple with Zachariah (John the Baptists dad) and his barren wife were no doubt a considerable topic of conversation in certain circles. But I dare say, the emperor didn’t hear of it, and in reality probably not many people out side of the priestly caste did either. I am sure it was a conversation among his family, but ultimately it was just someone getting surprisingly pregnant, and dad had nothing to say about it until later. Not exactly a direct mailer to all the people of Jerusalem and I don’t think that Elizabeth even had a t-shirt printed, at least it is not mentioned.   Then you have Mary, a virgin who becomes pregnant by a miracle, an act of creation by the Holy Spirit. Thing is, that is tough to prove. Joseph believed her (after the angel in the dream), and no doubt Elizabeth did too. But others? That Joseph took her to be his wife, and thus adopted and legally made Jesus his son, probably did not really change the thoughts that no doubt went through many heads. So all things considered, there is barely a ripple in the everyday life of people alive at the time.

 9 months later, at the moment of His arrival into the world, you might think that this would be the time to let all of Israel know that Messiah had come! But curiously, (at least by our reckoning) the angel hosts did not appear over Jerusalem, Rome, and Alexandria, all proclaiming at once the Messiah was here. There were not peals of thunder and lightning, or trumpet blasts, turns out that those come with the next advent! Instead the angel host appeared and announced the savior being born to two shepherds in a field. These two shepherds were the first ones to know what had really taken place, and were given an incredible opportunity, the were the first ones to be able to say, “Have you heard the good news about Jesus?”

For the next 4 weeks we will look at Christmas from the eyes of these two shepherds.

Come be encouraged to hear the good news about Jesus!

See you at church.

 

Pastor Chris



Finishing Well!

You know how you approach and new project, one that you are truly passionate about? Like Dwayne for example, when he commits to one of his kayak projects. He is totally passionate about it and every detail is important, if not critical. Or how about any of the Henderson clan when they go duck hunting or fishing, say what you want but they are all about the end result. For others, fantasy football at Wellspring Fellowship seems to generate a lot of passion!!

Our walk with God should be no different; it too should reek of passion along with all the effort of a mighty warrior seeking victory in battle. In truth, isn’t our walk in this world parallel to a battlefield? We simply tend to comfortably call it the ‘mission field’ but the reality is we will always be in constant battle.

The key to any battle is to finish well (that means to win)!! In Philippians 3:14 Paul says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul says that goal is to know Christ – to be like Christ – And to be all Christ has in mind for him. That’s the goal we are challenged with everyday. We all desire to achieve ultimate victory with God at the highest level, but will we commit?? Come and be encouraged as we discuss 3 basic principles that will help us to finish strong in Christ Jesus.

Elder Glen Ehrhardt