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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Are We Listening? 4/1/15

Good Morning,

“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’  When he had said this, he breathed his last.  The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’”  Luke 23:44-47

The verses above are Luke’s narrative on the last few moments of Jesus’ death on the Cross.  There are two things that I want to highlight briefly this morning out of that narrative.  I won’t elaborate very much, more than anything I want to ask you to consider what God is saying to you.

The first is the darkness that came over the land.  The Bible tells us that God uses signs in the heavens to speak to us.  It also tells us that everywhere we look we can see the hand of God.  It is obvious that this darkness was an indication of the horror of what was taking place; the Son of God, murdered like a common criminal on the Cross.  And yet, it was and is God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.  God loves us so much that He went to the most extreme measure to pay the price for our salvation.

Over the last two years we have seen some incredible signs in the heavens that I believe are indications that God is speaking to us.  Last year and this year there have been four “blood moons” or lunar eclipses – and as incredible as that is, the timing of each of these eclipses is not haphazard; both years the eclipses have and will take place on the Jewish Feast of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.  This is not a coincidence.  We have already had a solar eclipse this year and another one will occur just before the Feast of Tabernacles.

The second thing that I would highlight out of this passage is the centurion’s recognition of Christ.  He had, no doubt, been a part of this execution from the very beginning and more than likely had been a part of many executions in the course of his service as a Roman centurion.  He watched the participants here on this day and had probably watched many others who had been executed as well.  But this one was obviously different.  Something happened, or a collection of “somethings” that affected him deeply.  He recognized that Jesus was different; he recognized that this was not a normal execution.  We don’t know anything about his life after this and I will not speculate as to it, but at this moment in time there was a realization that God had stepped into time and this man was greatly affected by it.

God is speaking . . . are we listening?

I believe with all of my heart that God is trying to get our attention.  God doesn’t play “hide-and-seek” with us; He isn’t trying to baffle us; He doesn’t want to hide His will from us; I believe with that God is “shouting to us”, as it were . . . are we listening?

This week gives us a pointed reason to listen.  This is what we have called Holy Week – it is the week that we commemorate the last week of Christ’s life before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  There are special opportunities to “listen.”  The Ministerial Alliance has scheduled special mid-week services at noon today, Wednesday, and on Thursday and Friday as well.  These services will take place at Mt. Annie’s in Ruidoso mid-town where the Body of Christ will come together and remember.  Pastor John Marshall, pastor of Calvary Chapel will speak on Wednesday; Derick Jones, the preaching minister at Capitan Church of Christ will speak on Thursday, and Father Juan Carlos, priest at St. Eleanor Catholic Church will speak on Friday.  It would be a wonderful time for us to come and “listen.”

On Sunday morning we have a special schedule for the day.  We’ll begin at 6:45 a.m. at the Prayer Pond for our Sunrise service together with our brothers and sisters from Christ Community Church in Capitan and Grace Harvest Church in Ruidoso.  We have a special breakfast planned for 7:30 in the gym and then we have a combined Resurrection Celebration Service at 9:30 in the gym as well.  There will be special children’s activities from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. as well.

God is speaking . . . are we listening?

I love you

Rick

____________________________________________________________________________

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday April 1– Holy Week service at Mt. Annie’s in Ruidoso at noon – we will have a worship service and then lunch will be served.
There will be no activities here at Angus Church tonight due to Spring Break.

Thursday April 2 – Holy week service at Mt. Annie’s in Ruidoso at noon – worship service & lunch

Friday April 3 – Holy week service at Mt. Annie’s in Ruidoso at noon – worship service & lunch

Sunday April 5 – Our Resurrection Day (Easter) schedule will be as follows:  Sunrise Service at the Prayer Pond 6:45 a.m. – Donation Breakfast in the gym at 7:30 a.m. – Combined Celebration Worship Service at 9:30 a.m. in the gym!  There will be special activities for the children from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. as well.



The Least of These 3/25/15

Good Morning,

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  Jesus, Matthew 25:40

When we minister to the “least of these” it is going to be messy.  We have talked so much about what God has called Angus Church to be and to do and it is obvious that God has called us to minister to our community.  That community isn’t always going to be nice and clean and “pretty.”  Sometimes it is going to get “ugly.”  Sometimes it is going to smell – sometimes it is going to mean that we’re going to get our hands dirty.  Sometimes it is going to be very, very inconvenient.

Sometimes God is going to test us to see if we really mean it!

I think that the last statement I wrote there is going to make some people very, VERY uncomfortable.  But I believe it is true.  Folks, if we are really going to minister to our community it isn’t going to nice and neat – in fact, most times it is going to be anything but that.  BUT WE STILL HAVE TO MINISTER.  And we are going to – the question is, are you going to?

It was during the time that Rome basically ruled the world that the black plague hit.  The elite, the well-to-do, the leaders and the people who could, fled the cities, ran away from the people who were dying because they were afraid, and they didn’t want to die.

It was the Christians who stayed.  It was the Christians, the followers of Jesus Christ who risked life and limb to stay and care for the dying.  Many of them, the Christ followers, many of them died too.  But still they stayed.

Have you ever noticed that the atheist organizations do not have nor do they run the homeless shelters, the orphanages, the places where the needy, the sick and the dying are?  If I were to ask you to name an individual who literally gave their life “for the least of these” many if not most of you would come up with names like Mother Theresa.  It is the church that runs the homeless shelters and food kitchens; it is the church that founds the orphanages and hospitals.

Now folks, the church is BY NO MEANS perfect – in fact it is popular today to bash the church and demean the church.  The church has made its fair share of mistakes and has blown it way too many times.  But God established the Church and Jesus said that He would build His Church and that the gates of hell could not stand against it.  For all of her faults, the church is STILL God’s and He is still in control.

It is going to be messy.  I can guarantee it.  We are going to be tried, tested and pushed to our limits – will you still help?  We are going to be slandered, mocked, perhaps even persecuted or prosecuted – will you still help?  As long as I am pastor here that will be one of my clarion calls and it will be one of the things that I will die for.  I am not trying in any way to threaten or draw a line at all, I’m simply telling you that I believe that this is God’s call for Angus Church.  Will we STILL care “for the least of these”?  Let me just give you one example of why I feel this way.

Over the last 6 months I’ve had two people come to me and tell me something VERY, VERY similar.  What they have said, in effect is this:

“I came to this church to satisfy a friend who kept asking.  I had given up on church and thought, ‘I’ll go once and then I can say I’ve done it and they will shut up.’  But I’m still here and I’m going to stay here because this church really loves people.  THIS IS MY CHURCH!”

And it has been and it will continue to be messy – and I thank God EVERY DAY that He has counted us worthy to be a place where messy people come.

Angus Church will continue to make this a priority – will you?  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”  Jesus, Matthew 25:40

Finally, I want to encourage you to make two phone calls today.  One is to our Governor, Susanna Martinez.  I would like to encourage you to call her and ask her to be sure and sign HB 463, the Barber Licensure after Apprenticeship bill, This is a very important call to make, letting her know that this program will help those in rural NM as well as those in Domestic Violence Shelters to be able to get a job that will help them to find a career and make a living.  The number for the Governor is 505 476-2200.  Please do this today.

Also, today is Feeding America Day.  Roadrunner Food Bank, the organization that we buy food from to give out food boxes, has encouraged us to call Congress in Washington, D.C. and say something similar to the following example:

As your constituent and supporter of Roadrunner Food Bank,  I am calling you today to ask you to vote against any efforts to cut or block-grant hunger-relief programs like SNAP when you consider the budget resolution.  SNAP benefits have already been cut twice in the last two years.  Our clients rely on these programs, and our food bank will be unable to meet the need in our community if these programs are cut.  Please find a more responsible way to balance the budget. 

Thank you for making the time to make these two calls.

I love you

Rick

____________________________________________________________________________

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday March 25– Join us for our regular Wednesday evening activities tonight at 5:00 for dinner and activities following.

Friday March 27-Sunday March 29 – The NM District Church of the Nazarene Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park – Ladies there is information available in the foyer or you can call the church office 336-8032.

 Sunday March 29 – We will have our regular schedule with our 8:45 a.m. service in the gym and our 10:30 in the Sanctuary as well as the 4:00 p.m. Hispanic service.

Sunday April 5 – Our Resurrection Day (Easter) schedule will be as follows:  Sunrise Service at the Prayer Pond 6:45 a.m. – Donation Breakfast in the gym at 7:30 a.m. – Combined Celebration Worship Service at 9:30 a.m. in the gym!  There will be special activities for the children during this morning as well.



God Is In Control 3/18/15

 This may be a little overkill, but I’m going to take the chance.  Jesus words as recorded in John 16:33:

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” The Message

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  New International Version

“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.”  The Living Bible Paraphrase

“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me.  While you are in the world, you will have to suffer.  But cheer up!  I have defeated the world.”  Contemporary English Version

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage:  I have overcome the world.”  New American Standard

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  King James Version

“I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in me.  You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world!”  Phillips Translation

“I have told you all this so that in me you may find peace.  In the world you will have trouble.  But courage!  The victory is mine; I have conquered the world.”  New English Bible

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!  For I have overcome the world.  [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”  Amplified Bible 

I have at least 3 different versions of the Bible that I did not include and there are plenty more that I could find online, but I think you get the point – at least I hope you do.

I have listened to Christians over the last several years as they are wringing their hands, complaining, whining, sometimes crying over the things that are happening in the world AS IF somehow satan is in control and God has lost it.  I’ll be honest with you, I’m through listening to them (and to you if you fit into this category) whine, complain, moan and go on AS IF somehow, someway God has lost control of the world, quietly!  From now on I’m going to speak TRUTH back into your life.

Please go back and read at least one of the versions above, if not more or all of them.  These are the words of Jesus himself.  He TOLD US that there are going to be troubles, tribulations, trials, distress, frustrations, difficulties, sorrows, and that we will have to suffer in the world.  Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is going to go our way; in fact, following Christ means just the opposite according to Christ Himself!  It DOESN’T MATTER who is in the White House or the Governor’s Mansion; it doesn’t matter who controls the House or the Senate or for that matter who is or isn’t Prime Minister, King, Potentate, Grand Imam, sitting on the Supreme Court or who is mayor, commissioner, councilor or manager.  We are going to encounter problems in this world.

BUT . . . TAKE HEART, TAKE COURAGE, CHEER UP, BE OF GOOD CHEER, NEVER LOSE HEART, COURAGE, BE CONFIDENT, CERTAIN AND UNDAUNTED . . . JESUS CHRIST HAS CONQUERED THE WORLD, OVERCOME THE WORLD, DEFEATED THE WORLD, DEPRIVED IT OF POWER TO HARM YOU AND CONQUERED IT FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!

Folks, I don’t want you to have the impression that the world is going to change for the better; it isn’t.  Mankind, left to our own devices without God is going to get worse.  Even in a Republic that was founded on the principles of the Word of God, like the United States of America, when we lose the moral foundation that we started with, which we are losing and will continue to lose, the government and the people are not going to just automatically get better.  It doesn’t matter who we elect because what we are trying to do now is govern by our standards and our laws and we are discounting the laws of God or even worse we are destroying the laws of God.

BUT THAT IS JUST EXACTLY WHAT THE BIBLE SAID IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  JESUS SAID IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

But Christ has overcome the world.  You are going to have problems and troubles, but Christ has overcome the world.  If and when it all falls apart, Christ has STILL overcome the world.

God IS in control; satan will NOT have the last word.  Of all people in the world we have HOPE!

Please, I urge you, I challenge you, I exhort you as your pastor, as your friend, as your brother, the time for hand wringing is done.  There are going to be hard, difficult and dark days ahead, but Christ has “defeated the world, deprived it of power to harm you and conquered it for you.”

There will be problems, but He will have the last word!

I love you

Rick

____________________________________________________________________________

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday March 18 – Join us for our regular Wednesday evening activities tonight at 5:00 for dinner and activities following.

Saturday March 21 – We will continue our work here at the church beginning at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday and finish out the addition in the gym.  Thank you to everyone who can come out and help!

Sunday March 22 – We will have our regular schedule with our 8:45 a.m. service in the gym and our 10:30 in the Sanctuary as well as the 4:00 p.m. Hispanic service.

Friday March 27-Sunday March 29 – The NM District Church of the Nazarene Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park – Ladies there is information available in the foyer or you can call the church office 336-8032.

Sunday April 5 – Our Resurrection Day (Easter) schedule will be as follows:  Sunrise Service at the Prayer Pond 6:45 a.m. – Donation Breakfast in the gym at 7:30 a.m. – Combined Celebration Worship Service at 9:30 a.m. in the gym!  There will be special activities for the children during this morning as well.