Pastor’s Blog

Attached to the Vine

Thriving On The Vine

  1. Hayden 6-25-16

 

Growing up in my neighborhood was an absolute blast at times. We had a ballpark right across the street from my house where all of the neighborhood kids would gather to play and find out how much trouble we could get in to. We also had this huge pear tree right in our front yard which became the focus of many an activity as neighborhood kids would work to pluck one of those juicy pears for their spoil! The tree had grown old and so large that there were no low limbs by which small children could begin to climb. Only the oldest and best climbers were able to get to the hanging fruit. Most of us had to wait until pears fell from the tree. One thing we noticed is that if we waited too long, the fruit that made it to the earth, would begin to rot no longer being attached to the source of sustenance, namely the old pear tree. I can remember often going through the old rotten pears on the ground in the hopes of finding a healthy, eatable, deliciously green pear to munch on. It was hit and miss as I spent time navigating all of those rotten pears in search of one that was good.

 

That is what happens to us when we detach ourselves from the source of our salvation. In the Gospel of John, 15th chapter, we read what it takes to really thrive as a believer in Christ. John 15:1-5 says this, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” By not remaining in the vine, staying in relationship with Christ, our faith becomes stale, stagnant, and stained with decay.

 

The “Good News” is that this need not be a picture of us. We can THRIVE by remaining in the vine. Jesus tells us that if we will remain in the vine, we will produce much fruit. And that fruit will be healthy and delicious for all the world to partake of. Have a wonderful time as you continue in His Word and prayer throughout the week…abiding in the Vine! Detached from the vine…we die; attached to the vine…we THRIVE!

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

Spiritual Warfare for Dummies

 

First off, “spiritual warfare” or power over the demonic, is reserved for those people who have taken the time to understand what this phrase means. I’m not talking about simply praying occasionally. I am talking about going to war spiritually against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6). They study the manual on “Spiritual Warfare for Dummies” or the Bible. That is they are able to understand what Hebrews 5:12-14 is referring to that says, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Not everyone is in the place where they are comfortable dealing in areas that go beyond natural understanding. Maybe it is time that we start serving a little more Spiritual meat!

 

There was a time recorded in Scripture where the Apostles were not able to cast a demon out. After Jesus’ resurrection, they became masters of it. When asked why they lacked the ability, Jesus told them in Matthew 17:20 that it was because of their unbelief. In Mark 9:29-30, it was because they needed to pray and fast to cast out the entity. So what have we learned by these two Scriptures? That we need to have mature faith that has engaged in, not only ongoing prayer, but fasting by which we might grow spiritually through the practice of these Christian disciplines. And just as important, you must believe. If you lack faith in the practice, or faith in God’s power to do so through you, go no further…you will be unable to be used by God in this area.

 

Lack of faith and an anemic prayer life seems to be the primary reasons we fail in spiritual endeavors. When Jesus heard that the disciples failed to deliver the demon-possessed person, He lamented, “You stubborn, faithless [or, unbelieving] people! How long must I be with you until you believe?” (Matthew 17:17). Also, when the boy’s father asked Jesus to help him if He could, Jesus responded, “If I can?…Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23). In James 5:16 we read, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

 

Do you believe? And more specifically, do you believe God’s Word? Do you have an ongoing prayer life that affords meeting with God regularly? Do you deny your fleshly self through Christian disciplines such as prayer and fasting? If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you are a candidate to be used by God in these areas of spiritual warfare. If you desire God to use you fully in the things of the Spirit, remember what we found in Mark’s Gospel…”Anything is possible if a person believes.”

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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Be Prepared

Be Prepared

  1. Hayden 6-25-17

 

People prepare for a lot of things in life. We save up money for a variety of foreseen needs from next year’s vacations to college expenses for our children to that wonderful day when we can retire from that regular 40-hour, or more, work week. It is natural to want to get ready for the possibility of future hardships or future blessings.   We can see natural events and/or ominous possibilities that we prepare for regularly. That is why whole industries are built on companies that sell such commodities as life, automobile, and health insurance. The wise person prepares for the possibilities!

Why is it that we go to great lengths to prepare for everything except spiritual things. The book of Proverbs gives us these wise words, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3 NLT). Just as it is unwise to neglect prudent actions that avoid dangers involving our physical existence, it is extremely foolish to neglect our spiritual health and prepare for what God is doing in the earth and wants to do in our personal lives.

It is so important that we are preparing now for the things God has in store for the world and for us individually. Matthew 24:42-44 NLT says this, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” We need to prepare ourselves through pray, prepare ourselves through ongoing Biblical learning, and prepare ourselves through the sharing of the Gospel with our family and others. If we take seriously the warnings given to us in this passage, we will be well prepared for Christ’s coming as we see in the next two verses: 45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward” (Matthew 24:45-46 NLT).

 

Be blessed even more!!

 

Pastor Chris


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Beautiful Harmony

Beautiful Harmony
C. Hayden 6-05-17

I love music.  I really “loooooove” music!! I love the old hymns for their intricate arrangements and deep doctrinal word-smithing.  I love contemporary songs for their simplicity, ease of directing worship to this culture and their ability to connect worshippers to God on an ever-increasingly emotional, heart-felt level.   I love playing worship music and have led congregational singing from my guitar.  I have recently taken up learning to play songs on the piano.  Someday I hope to be able to lead worship from the piano as well.  There is something about the guitar and piano, that when played well, can bring people into a new place of love, peace, and joy.  That is why worship music is so vital in bringing us into the very presence of God.  We can be down and depressed, but let us begin to worship God to one of our favorite hymns or songs and we can find ourselves transported into the very throne room of God’s grace.
One thing about playing the piano is that if you do not have a basic understanding of music structure, one can easily get off into sounds that are unpleasant and un-worshipful!  There are rules and patterns to music.  There are also rules and patterns to the piano’s keyboard that, if you follow them, can make beautiful harmonies come forth.  If you do not, it just does not sound right.  Music has patterns and intervals that harmonize and compliment each other.  Chord progressions, thirds, fifths, octave intervals, scales and alternative scales lend themselves to diverse yet unified harmonic patterns that are able to inspire.  But the notes must work together to provide wonderful music to inspire; lone notes do not (at least not for long).
The Body of Christ is similar.  If we recognize our need to work together, and act on this knowledge, we can produce fruit (or music) that is beautiful and glorious to all who choose to partake.  But if we are only concerned with our own desires and preferences, we begin to play sour notes that do not harmonize when played together.  1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12-14 says, “4 There are diversities of gifts (notes and tones), but the same Spirit (piano). 5 There are differences of ministries (chords and keys), but the same Lord (instrument). 6 And there are diversities of activities (music), but it is the same God (Music Director) who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:… 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.”  Together, we can make beautiful music for the Lord…apart, we sound like an out of tune piano!

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


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In Loving Memory

This morning I received word that Linda Hall’s father has gone on to be with the Lord. Her message to us was an uplifting one, honoring his life and realizing the blessing of his opportunity to go home to where the glories of heaven are ever present. Our prayers and condolences go out to Linda and several of our members and their families as they have said goodbye to a parent, grandparent or other loved one who has passed away in the last couple of weeks. Along with Linda, we want to pray for Mike Gregerson, Bob Harlan, Rob Jones and their families (and others) who have lost a parent, grandparent, or other relative recently. I, myself, said goodbye to a well-loved aunt of mine who went home to be with Jesus two weeks ago. While I know my Aunt Norma is now at home with Jesus, there is still that sense of loss we feel knowing that we are separated from those we love while living on this planet.

 

In light of the recent passing of these loved ones and as we remember loved ones we remember this Memorial Day, I want to send an encouraging word to all who have lost family and friends in Christ. I Thessalonians 4 says this, 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

While we sorrow and grieve when we experience the passing of those we love, we need not do so as people who have no hope. We have the hope of eternal life and know that we will be together once again with those who have died in Christ. Our prayers go out to all those who continue to grieve and sorrow over the recent loss of that special person in your life. We know that death has no hold on us, for Jesus died on the cross and rose again that all those in Christ shall never die! Hallelujah! As Paul reminds us, “…comfort one another with these words.”

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris


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