Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Be Rich Toward God

Be Rich Toward God

You may recall a series of messages I preached in January about Being Rich Toward God. The text was found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Our church leadership said that we would give away everything that came in over our need for the next three months. In February, our tithes and offerings came in just below our need. We designated $1,000 in faith, believing that the Lord would provide through His people. The month of March came and the Lord blessed us with $11,000 over budget to give away to others. Our We Care Committee met together and researched where the money could best be used in our community. We don’t want to duplicate different ministries that God is blessing in our community. We want to be a partner in ministry not a competitor. Generosity is powerful. It tears down walls. It is central for the Gospel to spread.

The first century Christians had leverage because they were compassionate and they expected nothing in return. They gave from the heart. They were known as a generous people. We want to be known with the same generosity for which they were known.

The month of April is looking like it is going to be another miracle giving month. We are $15,000 over our need so far. God is truly blessing our church above and beyond what we have ever imagined.

The Scripture also talks about being rich in good deeds. We have adopted Northview school and have many volunteers from our church help in many different ways. People are serving at the City Mission and there are too many odds and end things to mention that our people are involved in on a daily basis. This Saturday we are going to be participating in the Findlay Backyard Mission. I believe there are 30 people scheduled to help. If you are not on that list and want to be then call the church office and we would be glad to include you. Inquire about other opportunities to serve as well.

So many wonderful things are happening at our church as a by-product of our people giving, serving, and loving. Exciting days are upon us. If you haven’t had the opportunity to lay up treasure in heaven and take hold of life that is truly life, then what are you waiting for? Plan to give and be faithful with your tithes and offerings. Plan to be faithful with your time and come and be rich toward God with us…

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nothing Like Jesus

“Nothing Like Jesus”

I can remember attending Billy Graham Crusades as a child and then I participated in one during the mid 1990s. It was a sight to see the many people who responded to the gospel in large stadiums. What a sight to see. It brings chills to me even to this day recalling the empowering spirit that was evident. Another memory is of the gospel singer, George Beverly Shea. His powerful baritone voice would vibrate all over the stadium. George opened up for Billy Graham Crusades for 60 years starting in 1947. George went home to be with the Lord yesterday after a brief illness. He was 104 years old. What a long life he lived for the Lord. At age 23, he composed an arrangement of, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” He lived his life in that manner. Let’s look at the words today and be reminded that there is nothing more fulfilling than having Jesus – nothing!

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by his nail pierced hand.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs.
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

Than to be the king of a vast domain.
And be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
this world affords today.

Words by Rhea F. Miller
Music by George Beverly Shea

May that be your prayer today. I want to invite you to come on Sunday for a powerful service. God’s Spirit is moving and we are enjoying His presence in our services.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Too Busy Not To Pray

Too Busy Not To Pray

Have you ever had one of those weeks when you thought things were going to be smooth and then things start piling up and it ended up being out of control? Am I allowed to admit that this week has turned into one of those weeks for me? Does that happen to pastors? We only work one day a week so how can that happen? I am just as shocked as you are, but let me tell you what I am going to do about it. I will make myself accountable to whoever reads this.

“The end of all things (week) is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If you speak, you should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If you serve, you should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:7-11

Don’t get me wrong. The things that are taking place are good things. But it’s the amount that is taking place. Too much of anything is too much. So if you are experiencing “too much,” turn to God and pray right where you are. Love deeply, serve extravagantly, encourage generously, speak godly, and serve always. You can never go wrong with allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through your freshly filled heart.

This weekend will be Faith Promise, “Love In Any Language.” Rusty and Diane Robbins will be here from the JESUS Film Harvest Partners. Saturday night there will be a missions focus and a meal at 5:30 p.m. with a guest music group singing. Come and learn about what God is doing all around the world.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Resurrection or "YOLO"

Resurrection or “YOLO”

There was a new acronym in 2012 that hit twitter and facebook by storm. It is the modern Carpe Diem. The acronym is “YOLO.” It stands for, “You Only Live Once.” It is a cry of a generation living for the here and now. They want to squeeze all the goodness from life now since this is the only chance they will have. To me it sounds like whoever lives by this philosophy isn’t living in light of eternity.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul took on this very train of thought. Many times we think these new patterns of thinking about life are brand new when, in fact, they have been around since the beginning of time. We just came from our Easter Sunday Morning services. What a power-packed day it was. To celebrate together our Risen Lord and King was priceless. We had over 419 in attendance. Praise the Lord!

As I mentioned on Sunday, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They thought that people would only live on in the memories of their children and loved ones. Paul says, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-14

Paul goes on and says, “Christ has been raised from the dead. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” That is what we celebrate each and every Sunday. In Acts the church calls Sunday, “Resurrection Sunday.” We serve a Risen, Personal God. He chose to make our hearts His place of residence. Jesus conquered death and the grave and we are the benefactors. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15

So for those who believe death has the final word, to embrace life from a “you only live once” perspective makes perfect sense. But for my family, for my church, we are going to live in light of Christ’s resurrection. Nothing in this life is worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday. It marks the first day we will go to double services. Remember, the first service and Sunday school begin at 9:15 am. We will share in communion and celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection by baptizing several believers. We will hear from the young ladies quartet that sang for BLAST, and the Kinder Choir will end the service on a high note. I can’t wait for Sunday to come. Great things are happening. Bring seat belts so you won’t fall off your seat. Christ is Risen and we ought to live that way.

Joy in Jesus!

Pastor Mike