Community Reformed Church

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A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR PAUL

                   

A WORD FROM THE PASTOR - JULY, 2014 SPIRE

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE GOSPEL IS?

In a Constitution Poll commissioned by the National Constitution Center, fewer than 50 percent of the respondents knew how many U.S. Senators there are; only 6 percent could name the four rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; and 84 percent thought the Constitution states that "all men are equal." Two thirds didn't know that the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia and one-third didn't know that the Fourth of July is celebrated to mark the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. All of this is basic stuff that any American citizen should know about their own country. It is discouraging that so many Americans don't even have a basic understanding of how or why our nation is so historically different from every other nation in the world.

But it is also true that the average Christian cannot explain the Gospel to someone. Some would say the Gospel is if you go to church and live a good moral life, then you will be saved. But that is no different from most other religions in the world. Christianity is very, very different.

The following comes from "How to Share Your Faith," by Dr. Kent Tucker. God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us (Jeremiah 31:3). However, we have chosen to go our own independent way and our sins have caused a separation between us and God (Isaiah 53:6). Most of us are aware of this separation and we try to do good works to get back to God, but we all fall short (Romans 3:20-23). The penalty for this failure is death, that is, eternal separation from God, (Romans 6:23). But God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He provided a bridge to help us get back to God, (1 Peter 3:18). When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sins. He died so that we would not have to, (Romans 5:8). But it is not enough just to know this. To cross over the bridge you need to receive Christ by acknowledging and accepting God's forgiveness and asking Jesus to come into your life as your personal Lord and Savior, (John 1:12). This is the Good News . . . "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,"(John 3:16). Armed with this simple information, you could easily explain this Good News with anyone in one minute or less.

Pastor Paul

A WORD FROM THE PASTOR - JUNE, 2014 SPIRE

THE DEFINITION OF A CHRISTIAN

Words are important. They have meaning. What many people don’t understand is that words can have different meanings depending upon the context. The following are examples…

ABDICATE: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

BALDERDASH: A rapidly receding hairline.

COFFEE: A person who is coughed upon.

FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when the baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots.

VEGETARIAN: An Old Indian word for a bad hunter.

It seems everyone has their own definition for their favorite words, even the word “Christian.” Some people think a Christian is only someone who goes to the church they go to, or believes everything they believe, or who doesn’t do everything they don’t do. But Jesus has his own definition for “Christian”. In John 13:34-35, He describes a Christian as someone who loves others as Jesus loves us.

But, then again, some people have their own idea what love is. So does the Bible. If you read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, then you’ll learn that Jesus defines love as valuing people above all else… above ideas, concepts or theological constructs.

Love not only defines who we are as Christians, it defines how we know we know God. 1 John 4:7-8 says this… “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Love, from God’s definition, is all encompassing and complete, just as God’s love is for you in Jesus’ name.

                            Pastor Paul

                   

A WORD FROM THE PASTOR - MAY 2014 SPIRE

THANKS TO YOU WE ARE ALIVE

Tom Brokaw, in his book, The Greatest Generation Speaks, tells the story of Weika Coenraad, who currently lives in Georgia, but lived in Holland during WWII. She has vivid memories of the American soldiers who liberated her town in 1945. She writes… "I was just a little girl during the Second World War, born in Haarlem, Holland, in 1937… The most severe winter in decades was the winter in 1944… Everybody was hungry and our daily meal consisted of sugar beets, which we now feed to the hogs, and tulip bulbs… Suddenly there was spring, the bad weather was gone, and it was May 1945. Big tanks rolled through the streets and for the very first time I saw people who smiled and waved to us. They were soldiers! It was like a miracle, they were supposed to be scary, and now they were friendly and smiled. They threw Hershey’s Chocolate bars and chewing gum into the crowd. Something we had never seen or tasted before… My husband and I and our two children emigrated to the U.S.A. Every time I meet somebody who served in the Second World War, I give him a hug and say, ‘Thanks to you we are alive.'"

During Memorial Day we remember the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, throughout our American history, who fought and suffered so that others might be free. War is a horrific thing, to be avoided if possible. But in every case where we have sent young men to fight, we sent them there as liberators, not conquerors. That was true of Germany and Japan. It is true of Iraq and Kuwait.

There will always be those who claim America only sends troops to war in order to suffer and die for oil or some other nefarious reason. But there really are some things worth suffering and dying for that have nothing to do with gold or power. John 3:16 reminds us, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

As a nation begun by Christians, we have always believed that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," are gifts from God. This Memorial Day remember to give thanks to the one, who saved your life.

                            Pastor Paul

                   

A WORD FROM THE PASTOR - APRIL 2014 SPIRE

EASTER WAS PLANNED

Joseph of Arimathea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the council, and a secret follower of Jesus. It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion. And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus’ burial. Well, it seems that someone pulled him aside and said, “Joseph, that was such a beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone else to be buried in?” Joseph just smiled and replied, “Why not? He only needs it for the weekend.” This little piece of humor can point our attention to many different directions.

First, “why on earth” would you build your own kingdom of wealth and power, when, at the end of life, you can’t take it with you. “Naked we came into the world and naked we will leave it.” Jesus made the same point in a different way… “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). For a Christian, the whole point of life is to give it to God and our Savior. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:34ff).

Second, Jesus’ whole purpose for coming into the world in the first place was to die on a cross for our sins and rise again. As it says in Mark 8:31ff, “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.”

Easter was no accident. It was planned “before the foundation of the world.” It is God’s way of redeeming “all who believe.” That is why the Apostle Paul could write to the Roman Christians, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,” (Romans 1:16).

Pastor Paul


                   

A WORD FROM THE PASTOR - MARCH 2014 SPIRE

LENT: GIVING UP OR SURRENDERING

Lent, traditionally, is a season of giving up. People give up chocolate for six weeks or smoking for six weeks or anything that is considered a “sacrifice.” If you haven’t made up your mind about what you’d like to give up during lent, then Craig Gates has a few suggestions…

“GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, ‘In everything give thanks.’”

“GIVE UP looking at other people’s worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points.”

“GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding.”

“GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead learn the discipline of love.”

“GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! Instead, trust God with them.”

“GIVE UP judging by appearances and by the standard of the world! Instead learn to give yourself to God. There is only one who has the right to judge, Jesus Christ.”

Good stuff, but, I’d say… Lent isn’t really about “giving up” anything. It is all about intentionally “surrendering” yourself to God. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

What I suggest is that you don’t “give up” anything. Instead, “surrender” all you have and all you are to your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Paul


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To send us an email, with any questions or comments, just click on the church name below.

Community Reformed Church

This page was last updated on 06/23/14.