Where Hope Is Found…

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

-Ephesians 2: 8-10

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

-2 Timothy 3:16-17

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

-Romans 12:1-2

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

-Hebrews 11:1,6

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

-John 13:34-35

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

-Matthew 5:6

As we think about the new year and what hope God has in store for those that are His, I am reminded that it is not about the plans of man…but His.  In me is the desire to know and do the good that God desires, but I cannot do that without listening to the power and authority of His Word.  I want to be a person that accomplishes great things for God and these Scriptures are a reminder of His promises as well as my need for obedience.

My confession is this…I want many things as much as the next person…but does what I want, match up to what Jesus desires for me?  Does it match up to following Him? Does that way that I live show that I love Him, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength?

This is not the cheerest of messages, but there is so much hope in the Scriptures…and that is what we all are seeking in the New Year…Hope.  Let us find it in Christ and His word…and follow.

Pastor Jerome

With Great Power…

…comes great responsibility.  We all have heard the famous quote from Spiderman.  (No, I am not licensed to use the 2002 movie in my post.)  And of course we essentially believe if you are endowed with special powers, there comes a responsibility.  I know that if I had supernatural abilities (which I do…shhh, don’t tell my secret), I would need to use them for good.

We also see this in other areas.  If you are the first one at a red light…you must be responsible to watch for the light at the proper change or make that right turn when it is available.  If you have the special seats (with more leg room) on the planes at the emergency exit…you must know you have responsibility to handle those seats with the care they deserve.

Today, I recently discovered a new-found position of power and responsibility in the church.  There are many we could talk about…but this isn’t about the pastoral role of leadership and teaching the Word of God in a correct way (2 Timothy 2:15).  This isn’t about the Worship Leader making sure that the music chosen not only is relational but theological (and done with excellence).  This isn’t even about the nursery workers that care for our little ones.

No, my friends.  With great power comes great responsibility and there are holders of a power.  Here is it…the person with the Klennex tissue box under their seats.  This parishioners are not spying on you to see if you are nodding off during the sermon.  They are carefully inspecting the watery eyes to see if you need this extra help of two ply softness during an emotional encounter with God.  So do not look oddly at them.  Give them the honor of maintaining responsibility with their powerful seats.  Maybe…even a t-shirt or special name tag (lanyard?).

Thank you Mr. or Mrs. Tissue Box. 

Your contributions are not forgotten.

No parade or balloon animals…

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  – Luke 2:10 [NASB]

Recently, Melinda and I celebrated our little girls’ birthdays.  We had lovely cakes (my wife is a baking genius), balloons, candy, nicely wrapped presents, those little noise makers with the paper rollout thingies (technical name, I’m sure), and a guy making balloon animals (that’s me).  There were lots of children there and it was a great time of celebration for our family and friends.  I would even venture to say that is wasn’t an “overdone” party…but, it does bring surprising humility to another familiar story.

There was no labor and delivery suite with a fancy bed or OB/GYN to make sure things go smoothly.  There were no special balloons (I know…a pre-balloon era) or flowers with cute blue rattles.  And yet, that night was no less a celebration of the Immanuel (“God with Us”).  Jesus, born in the poorest of conditions and bringing us the richest of gifts…Himself.  Who were the attendees?  They weren’t close friends, but strange neighbors…people that Joseph and Mary didn’t even know their names before.  The invitations to this amazing event were not with a parade, or singing telegram, or on fancy paper…

They were angels…holy, mighty beings that scared the lowly shepherds.  There invitation was the greatest news of joy for them and for all.  As we ponder this season…the surprising humility of it and the extraordinary display of God’s love… I leave you with the same message….

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace & goodwill toward men.”