A Christmas Question (perhaps three)

Businessman signing documents

Pastor’s Message Notes from December 10, 2017

Isaiah 9:6 & 7

“The government shall be upon his shoulders.” This is often overlooked in reading this passage from Isaiah. We know of the birth of Jesus but do we actually understand his birth was via God himself through Mary? Does that somehow sound illegal or below God to do? Do we catch that the government upon his shoulders is an End Time statement? Jesus will be on the throne in JERUSALEM. The capital of Israel had to be returned to Jerusalem as fulfillment of End Time prophecy and the Second Advent of Christ [his return]. This was fulfilled when the President of the United States ordered our embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Did we even recognize this as a partial fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy? If not, why not? The bible is real, not a story book!

Angels celebrated the birth of Jesus not for his birth but for why it had to happen. Last week we learned that without the birth there would have been no cross. Job 38:7 calls angels “the morning stars.” Genesis 2:1 calls them a “host.” Luke 2:13 says “there was with the angel a heavenly host” [of angels]. Ephesians 3:10 identifies them as “heavenly places.” Revelation 2:8 identifies them angels as minister or messenger. They are most like the star that guided the Three Wise Men from Persian to Jesus.

Is It so?  History proves itself as part of scripture, not a different or separate history.

If it is so, what then” The world will always question the authority of God and even his existence. Get our church-act and personal lives inline. Be united with God, not divided as in denominationalism.

If not so, what then? Then why ever pray; to whom? If not what is the purpose of life? If there is no judgement then what is the purpose of law? Simply put, man is naturally sinful. We need God to give us a standard of right and wrong. We might conclude this third point by asking; If NOT SO, then man would be soulless and destined for only a grave and marker. But then, from where did life itself originate? Genetic markers cannot create new genetic markers. They can only replicate, not add a different marker.

The First Christmas Carol

Pastor’s Notes
December 3, 2017

Are there those who want to or actually worship angels? When we identify one who has died as “now being an angel” in a real sense that is precisely what we are doing. We elevate him or her to a level never stated as so in the bible. We have a soul…angels don’t. Christ died for our soul, not his created angels. How do we know this about angels? Find one verse in the bible that says it differently. You won’t find it. Satan rebelled and will not be forgiven yet he was/is and Angel.star

We miss something per angels.” The word also means star! Light! Messenger! By implication it also means “pastor.” We tend to be boastful of our worship habits or Christian living, but will come in less than our perception of our self. The angels actually saw all of creation as it happened; the heavens, earth, inhabitants, man, their own creation. However, they are not boastful. They give total allegiance and praise to God. The only exception is the fallen angels who Lucifer leads. We need to sing all praise and worship songs with joy. His angels did and do. This is evidenced at the First Christmas Carol sung by the angels to a rather surprised cluster of shepherds.

Can we see angels? Even if we have or think we have, they are not the objects of worship. We need to ask, “Where is Christ in our daily living?” Morning prayer; evening prayer; meals only; middle of our day; weekend Sundays? Christianity is a way of life; not a religion.

Angels gave all glory to God for the birth of Jesus. Why? They knew his purpose was for the salvation of mankind. They also understood their position within creation.

Angels sang a song never before sung, We can still sing it today. Shepherds had little to boast about per their careers in the outer pasture lands guarding their sheep.  Just because the angels first appeared to them they didn’t boast of that fact. They declared the Messiah had been born.

There was a third note within these events. Without the birth of Jesus there would have been no cross. No cross is our loss. We would be no better off than the fallen angels under Satan’s thumb. The peace (on earth) of God is not a political peace. It is a personal peace regardless of the events that surround us. God first, last and I the middle.

Jesus and cross

Pastor’s Note November 20, 2017

Psalm 121

Like the bricks that make a building, each one has its responsibility for the integrity and function of the entire building. So it is with the local church body. As a true believer we are all a part of “the church.” Just because one goes to another building to worship does not nullify his or her membership in the Body of Jesus Christ. As the local body of Christ we all have given talents, responsibilities and spiritual gifts to be used. Like a canvas of art, each color is necessary. If part of the painting is missing, it is noticed.brick

We can backup to Psalm 120:1 and read, “Save me Lord from lying lips.” Those can be lips of bad or false counsel and our own lips.” We MUST exercise our spiritual gifts, talents and abilities to sustain the spiritual fabric of both a building and a canvas painting. Deceitfulness has no place in the church. Am I an occasional Christian or one that is little more than one who claims the title? Do we sometimes see God as in the way of our careers, lives, ambitions?  Why would we conclude that?

There are over 4,000 churches closing each year in the United States. What is going wrong? Part is the one brick that refuses to be part of the total building; the one color that refuses to complete the canvas. Another reason is too many so-called Christians are living a life of spiritual dormancy. Gods’ instructions to us as a part of the building of the local church body; i.e. the body of Christ, is not a way of life, It is THE WAY OF LIFE.

Might God be happy and delighted or hesitant of what we plan to do for and with him in 2018?

May we be Thankful always

thanksgivingTHANKSGIVING is one day a year. Pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and assorted goodies fill our table.  Families get together and catch up with each other. The preparation for the meal can stretch over days, but the actual meal is over in less than 30 minutes. 

I truly believe we are thankful for our many blessings. I even believe we praise and glorify God for all that He has done for the world of sinners; thank you Lord Jesus.  

We cannot deny that our traditions are changing, can we? The younger generations will not recognize the changes unless taught by those who are their elders. Our everyday life is tied up with electronics, cars that drive themselves, instant news everywhere ….mostly tragic news unfortunately. We have a love/hate relationship with cell phones, video games, Social Media. It was fun at first. Then it had a good purpose. Now we are seeing the dark side and it is scary.  

What I want to stress (not a good choice of words) today is, let’s all love family more this Thanksgiving. Let’s love and glorify our Lord and Savior every moment and feel eternally grateful for His death on the cross and resurrection to provide a path to salvation from hell; for His resurrection and the miracles of His Word. Pray and study The Bible. Peace and joy awaits us in those words. 

How do we “love family more?” Easy words but too often it is a task. One way is to think of something positive for each person within our Thanksgiving circle. The best way is to honestly pray for them be it their salvation or walk in life. 

May we all have a meaningful and loving THANKSGIVING.  

Gina Tuch

 

Final Beatitude -Pastor’s Note

Matthew 5:10 is the eighth and final beatitude. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven.” [KJV]

Pastor Mike asked the congregation “Do you feel persecuted?”  Don’t we all at times?  But this verse is speaking about being maligned for Jesus’ sake.   Can you withstand torment for Jesus?  Can you remain faithful and stay the Christian course?

vandalism-There are martyrs who give their lives for their faith. We hear of students in the Mideast who are killed for saying they are Christians. In the years of old many men of faith died horribly and painfully. Could we?  I want to say yes. In the days ahead I feel we will be tested to limits unknown to us thus far.

“Thank you my Lord and Father for your love and faithfulness. May we put on the armor of God as we go forward.”

Rev. Gina Tuch (10-2017)

PS: (JIV) Persecution can come in many forms. It isn’t always the gallows or the end of a sword.

In this Matthew passage the Greek is diōkō. It can mean “to be forced to flee, suffer, be chased or pursued.” In a real sense it is like living a life under the thumb of a bully; always keeping an eye open for the next guaranteed encounter. This becomes clearer when one reads the next verse (5:11)…”to be reviled or disdained of men.”