I’m There For You!
Have friends ever stated, “I’m there for you”? Perhaps you have said those words to others with a sincere heart to help, encourage, and even share in the difficult journey another friend may be experiencing. It is comforting to know that you are not alone in adversity and that friends are willing to assist. What a blessing and a gift from God to be loved by friends and family in this way. But their strength is limited. They see only part of the situation. They do not have the power to meet all our needs and may even fail us in our darkest moments.Continue Reading
Five hundred years ago on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg. Luther intended these theses, or propositions, for theological debate, but instead they provoked a firestorm in the religious community. Historians point to this event as the symbolic beginning of the Reformation, although men like John Wycliffe and John Hus prepared the ground for Luther, Calvin, and other reformers after them.Continue Reading
Lord, this morning we bow our hearts before you in worship. It is our duty, right, and joy to come together in your presence. Sundays for us are like a weekly family reunion.
But, it was not always like this. At one time we were lost in our sins, separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. This was a dire situation, and we could not rescue ourselves nor work our way in to your favor. In fact, if we were honest, we were not even looking for you. In sin, we were running the other direction.Continue Reading
“So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13).Continue Reading
Autumn is a season of change. It arrives suddenly when the hot summer breeze turns into the crisp, fresh air of the fall. School starts before we know it, the football season gets under way, and it’s time to pick apples. Autumn has cropped up with its blowing wind, changing colors, and falling leaves.Continue Reading
Oh gracious, merciful, and sovereign God, we are so very humbled to think that you delight in us. It is hard for us to believe because we see our sin and know our unrighteousness. We are drawn away by pride and our hearts are filled with anger. We look for satisfaction and contentment in created things rather than in You—our Creator. God, we need to be reminded how you see us in Christ. We need fresh eyes to see all that we have been given in Him.Continue Reading
I doubt anyone ever took Simon and Garfunkel for theologians. It’s a good thing, too, because the words of their well-known hit, I Am a Rock, remind me that I don’t want to be a rock, let alone an island.Continue Reading
Membership classes are remarkable. Every class I've attended through the years has been both refreshing and delightful. Last Friday and Saturday’s “Redeemer 101” was no exception.Continue Reading
When the topic of church membership comes up, some immediately think about a loving faith family that has served them sacrificially in times of pain and difficulty. For others, the immediate sentiment is not something so positive. Rather than a means of joy, the church has been a source of hurt.Continue Reading
Our spiritual condition before salvation is described many ways in the Bible. For example, we are described as once being spiritually dead, enemies of God, lost, slaves of sin, children of wrath, etc. We could add to that list, debtors – debtors to God. In Col. 2: 13b-14, Paul says that God forgave us our sins “by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.” That means before we were saved, we were debtors to God because of our sin, having violated His law. Our sin debt to God is also seen by comparing the two versions of the model prayer the Lord gave us in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In one version we are to pray, “forgive us our debts” (Matt.6:12), and in the other, “forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4). So our debt to God is indeed our sin.Continue Reading