Thursday, July 5, 2018

THURSDAY'S THRILLS


CONTEST
Please submit a header for my blog and almost daily letter
July 19 - deadline
one banner has been submitted
another banner has been sent to me as a drawing
submit yours this week
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DOES IT REALLY MATTER?


As Christians, does it really matter what we do as long as we don't hurt anybody else? The simple answer is... Yes, it matters what you do. Romans 14:13 and 1 Peter 2:8 speak of stumbling blocks and do so to tell us that we are not to be a stumbling block to others. 1 Peter 2:8 even defines it as a rock (something in our life, unintentionally or not) that makes someone fall (desire God less because of our behavior). In simple terms, we are to do those things which build people up and draw people to Christ... not the opposite.

Some reasons for why we are stumbling blocks.
  • We think God wants us to be happy with the things we think make us happy. This is a lie. God wants us to be happy, in Him. The truth is we are to have our desires laid aside and His desires (for us) embraced and lived out.
  • We think God is supposed to be fair (in the way we define fair). This, also, is a lie. Using the term fair, we must define it in the light of holiness. Everything God does is fair because everything God does is holy. The reason we think things are unfair is that we want to define fair on the basis of our selfishness. It is almost like believing God has a set of holy rules for everyone else, but the rules for us are set on our personal dreams and wishes. What is unfair is when the Christian treats God and expects God to lesson holiness for us so that we can be what we want to be.
  • We do not think about others much, if at all. This is a sin. The Great Commandment says we are to love Jesus with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love others as we love ourselves. (Matt22:36-40). Let me be clear, we do think of others but we easily find us thinking about them in how they can benefit us... not how we can be a benefit to them.
  • We just don't care. This, also, is a sin. I have been in ministry long enough and lived long enough to see that the care and concern for others are dwindling fast. I am not talking about short-term caring but investment caring. It is easy to care for someone while others are watching and we have to put on a good face so that people see us as good (a wrong motive to have).
Some ways we can be stepping stones.
  • Understand and accept why we are here. Hebrews 3:3-6 teaches us that you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. God brought us into his world for a purpose far greater than we can imagine. We are to be living stones... building spiritual things... acceptable to God.
  • Be grounded in the things of Christ and His word. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. These things are taught in Ephesians 2:19-22.
There is much to learn about being a stepping stone... a Christlike example in our journey. Don't let yourself get in the way of knowing and enjoying the better things.
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HERE WE GO AGAIN :-(

Every Pastor knows the gut-punching feeling when people leave the church. For me, I have never dealt with it well, even if the reason for leaving is me (Yeah, I know that's hard to believe but... I'll leave it at that). I will say this, even if the reason is me (right or wrong), it hurts more than anyone can imagine. I will leave that subject for another day.

This Saturday, we say goodbye to some of our dearest members who are leaving the country or Emirate and we must show our thankfulness to God for allowing us the honor to have these people in our lives as long as He allowed. Please be at DECC with us as we celebrate God's goodness and present our farewells.




I want to scream at God and say it isn't fair. Yet... I can't because who am I to blame God for causing or allowing these things to occur. In the scheme of things, those who leave without God's calling, I am assured God will keep us covered. Those who leave as God is calling, I am assured God will keep us covered. I rejoice - God is keeping us covered. Psalm 91:4.
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HERE WE GO AGAIN :-)

Baby Dedication... As we say goodbye to some, we will welcome a young child and his parents into our church fellowship as they come to make a public commitment to be the best and most godly parents they can be for their precious gift from God... Noah Skyler.

Make sure you are with us to make your promise, before God, to be the best and most godly church family for this child and their parents.
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Communion... We celebrate the Lord's Supper this Saturday. Come and be a part of the reminder that we are to remember that Jesus Christ gave His life so that we could have life.

There are two elements in the Lord's Supper... the bread and the cup. I want to take some time in this letter to address the bread. When Jesus says... this is My body broken for you, do this (eat this) in remembrance of me, Jesus is not speaking of eating His flesh. It is a spiritual lesson, that even the disciples had a hard time understanding. Below is a great excerpt from John Piper on the subject.

What Does "This Is My Body" Mean?

So if the words, "This is my body," does not mean, "the physical body of Jesus materializes in this bread," what then is the positive meaning of "This is my body"?

Here are three things the words mean (and there are more).
1. Proclamation (1 Corinthians 11:26)
1 Corinthians 11:26, "As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." "This is my body" means: By this representation of my broken body you proclaim my death for sinners until I come. You proclaim the gospel. The bread and cup proclaim the saving death AND resurrection of Christ (because "until he comes" implies the resurrection).
2. Remembrance (1 Corinthians 11:2425)
1 Corinthians 11:24 and 25, "Do this in remembrance of me." "This is my body" means: Let this representation of my body and blood remind you of me. First, the death of Christ is proclaimed. And then by this proclamation we are reminded of Christ. Remember me, Jesus says, sitting with you in fellowship. Remember me being betrayed - and knowing all along. Remember me giving thanks to the God who ordained it all. Remember me breaking the bread just as I willingly gave my own body to be broken. Remember me shedding my blood for you so that you might live because I died. Remember me suffering to obtain for you all the blessings of the new covenant. Remember me promising that I would drink this fruit of the vine new in the kingdom (Mark 14:25). Let the memories of me, in all the fullness of my love and power, flood your soul at this table. Which leads to the third and final meaning of the words, "This is my body."
3. Feast by Faith (John 6:35)
John 6:35, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." "This is my body," means, as you eat this bread and drink this cup come to me and believe on me. That is, sit with me at table and trust me to be your life-sustaining food and drink. Let the proclamation of my death and remembrance of all that I am for you awaken faith and draw you into deeper communion with me. "This is my body," and "This is my blood," mean eat spiritually, that is, eat by faith. That is, feed your soul on all that I am for you. Nourish your heart on all the blessings that I bought for you with my body and blood (see 1 Corinthians 10:16). That is what faith is: faith is a being satisfied in all that God is for us in Christ. Christ has given us the Lord's Supper to feed us spiritually with himself.
So, even though I think it is dangerously wrong to say that the bread and the blood turn into the physical, incarnate body of Jesus, nevertheless, I am not saying that what happens in the Lord's Supper is mere, intellectual recall of facts. The supper proclaims. And faith comes by hearing and seeing and tasting that proclamation. And faith is a spiritual feasting on the risen, living Christ so that all that God is for us in him satisfies our soul, and sweetens our love for him, and breaks the power of sin in our lives.
Let's love the Lord's Supper together. And let's love Christ more and more as we meet him there together.
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Reference for this section of my letter is from John Piper's lesson on the subject.

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