Peace

Peace by Annie Lloyd Living in this world, it is difficult for us to maintain our relationship with God. We become so distracted by all of our plans, struggles, worries, doubts, expectations, and all the motions of everyday life, that we often forget that God is always with us. In John 14:27, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” God voluntarily gives us peace in this world full of chaos. The world will never give you peace, because peace is a gift from God. As God said, “I do not give to you as the world gives.” The world gives us pain, struggle, anxiety, uncomfort, death, sadness, and destruction, while God gives us love, joy, peace, comfort, life, and freedom. The world will never give us what God has alreadygiven us, nor will it devote itself to making us happy. In fact, the world will tear you down and wear you out until you feel like you have nothing left to give. As we are living in the midst of this world, Jesus says to us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid .” Jesus reminds us to not let the world consume our hearts and minds. Though easier said than done, we should not be afraid. He gives us peace. Philippians 4:67 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Believe it or not, God wants us to be thankful in any kind of situation. Even in our troubles God wants us to give Him thanks in prayer. When we do this, the peace of God that goes beyond all understanding, will protect our hearts and minds from this troublesome world. All we need to do, in order to obtain this indescribable peace, is to have faith that He will give it to us. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do...

Put on the Full Armor of God

Put on the Full Armor of God

Nov 24, 2015

Put on the Full Armor of God by Pastor Nate Crandall Milton Seventh Day Baptist Church Third in the sermon series by Pastor Nathan Crandall from the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Milton, WI. IF we are to stand against the evil schemes of the devil, we must do so by putting on God’s armor. Last month we learned that the armor of God is simply Christ Jesus himself. When we trust Christ with our lives and our eternity, in the spiritual realm He covers us. Galatians 3:27 says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” That baptism is not the mere act of going under the water but it represents complete trust in Jesus to redeem us. However, putting on Christ or putting on God’s armor is not a passive activity. We must be fully engaged in the process. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” The same command, using the same exact verb, is found in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” It may seem like our goal in the Christian life from these verses is simply to stay away from evil. If this is our only focus, then we will be distracted from our ultimate purpose, which is to bring glory to God in everything. We stand firm against the evil one not simply by resisting sin but by becoming like Jesus. To put on God’s armor or to put on Christ is to become like Him. As we fix our eyes on Him, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, ESV),we become more like Him in truth, in righteousness, in peace, in faith, in the true knowledge of redemption, in the word of God, and in prayer. We are strong in the Lord as long as the Lord is our strength. The Lord is our strength means that He is our armor. Truth is not a concept. Jesus is truth. Righteousness cannot be defined without Jesus because He is...

Top Ten Words: Gimme: Exodus 20:17

Top Ten Words: Gimme: Exodus 20:17

Nov 24, 2015

Top Ten Words: Gimme: Exodus 20:17 Sermon Series by Pastor Dusty Mackintosh, Next Step Christian Church, Thornton, CO     Covet the Gifter, not the Gift Surefire Way to Ruin Christmas Imagine it is Christmas morning. You have your coffee in hand. You are surrounded by family. The presents are all under the tree. Maybe you take out the gifts one a time. Everyone takes turns, maybe…all at once, it’s a frenzy of wrapping paper. This Christmas I want you to do a little experiment. While everyone is opening gifts, take out your smartphone. For every gift that is opened, I want you to do a price lookup. You can scan the barcode or search on Amazon. Loudly announce the price, and then keep a running tally for each person for the value of his gifts. Rank everyone in order of how much he ended up with. Then each person on the list gets to make aggressively bitter comments about the person immediately above him. The person at the top just gets to feel super guilty. For bonus points, they can envy the “guilt-free” Christmas of the person at the bottom of the list. Congratulations, you have absolutely ruined Christmas! We intuitively know that this is a horrible idea. We know it. And yet…there is within all of us, and maybe just a whisper, and maybe only rears its ugly head at certain moments…but we are playing the comparison game. The Comparison Game This comes up especially when you see someone else with something you really want. Your neighbor just had his house painted. It looks really good. You might see the car they are driving: mini-van envy. You see the best face they put to the outside world, but probably not the internal conflicts, the arguments, the disappointments and mistakes. So for starters, you are comparing the sum of all your failures and successes against just their successes. Even if you had the whole story, there are people you would still envy, coveting their circumstances, their gifts, and their possessions. Here is the truth: Life is radically unfair. As far as I can tell it is not a zero sum game where everyone has...

Unavoidable?

Unavoidable?

Nov 24, 2015

Unavoidable? By Katrina Goodrich With the holidays just around the corner, Christians are provided an excellent opportunity to carry out the great commission. We go caroling, put on Christmas pageants, set up nativity scenes, have soup/turkey suppers, make cards for shut-ins and those in the hospital, and provide for the less fortunate through clothing and food drives. During the holiday season we are more focused and inspired than any other time of the year to spread the good news — and people tend to seem a little more receptive. We are accomplished at focusing outwardly and doing little evangelism activities during Christmas to draw people in from the community. But what about those who decide to attend a service? People from all walks of life will be completing their due diligence by attending church once a year. Out of family obligation or misguided belief that as long as they darken the door of a church over the holidays, they’re good with God and He’s good with them. Sometimes people enter seeking, because without a loving Savior at your side the holidays can be daunting and empty. Whatever the reason, churches will make contact with many who may never be seen again or who only show up every so often to carry on a façade. Most of the difficult part is done — I mean the person has already crossed the threshold of the building so what’s the big deal? Since it’s Christmas, the church looks pretty and there will be a good sermon paired with some special Christmas-y things going on. Is it really possible that we’re wasting this opportunity when the church looks attractive and full? The whole ministry part of it should be covered with the advent readings, sermon, Jesus music and Bible passages. If it’s all covered, why do those holiday patrons only come to service once a year? The love of Christ is infectious — never more so than at this time of year when peace and goodwill is foremost in people’s minds. So why is it that when people come through our doors they only want to stay for an hour once a year? I don’t know if there...

Zach in the Sack

Zach in the Sack

Nov 24, 2015

Zach in the Sack By Dennis Coleman SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ Have you ever gotten caught with your hand in the cookie jar? I almost did and, while trying to hide, I wound up taking a long ride in a sack of grain. In the end I met the most amazing human, a baby who would forever change the world. My day started like any other with a slice of mom’s barley bread for breakfast. Mom always mixed in just the right amount of honey, making hers the best barley bread in all of Galilee. Like any other young mouse, I would have liked to have slept in late…but not if it meant missing out on a slice of barley bread. “Zacharias,” my mom called as I finished my last bite, “your father and I will be busy today gathering the supplies we will need while the humans are in Bethlehem.” “I still don’t understand why they are leaving. I’ll miss watching Mr. Joseph working in his shop.” “I know. We will all miss them while they’re gone. But they have to go to Bethlehem by order of the emperor.”     Wiping her paws on her red apron, she gave me the look…the kind moms give when they want to make sure their children are paying attention. “Make sure you stay out of trouble Zacharias.” Mom was the only one who called me by my full name, which was the Greek version of Zechariah. I was named after one of Ms. Mary’s relatives whose name meant “God has remembered.” “The people will be busy getting ready for their trip,” mom continued. “Please stay out of their way.” “I will.” I put my plate in the sink and headed to my room to get my favorite red cape. My shield, made from a coin which had been dropped by one of Mr. Joseph’s customers, was under my bed. The shield and cape make me look like a Roman soldier. Unfortunately, while I had my uniform I did not have my sword. My original sword got broken when I stepped on it by accident. Good thing we live in a carpenter’s home. There are...