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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Living Water Available 10/23/13

I was having breakfast yesterday with pastor friends in Capitan and as we were talking one reminded me of a verse that I have read many times but had forgotten.  It is Jeremiah 2:12-13 and I want to quote it from The Message:  “Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see!  Throw up your hands in disbelief—this can’t be!  My people have committed a compound sin:  they’ve walked out on me, the fountain of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns—cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.”

I want to be sure that you know the meaning of two of these words:  Cistern – “a reservoir, tank or container for storing or holding water or other liquid.”  Sieve – “an instrument with a meshed or perforated bottom, used for separating coarse from fine parts of loose matter, for straining liquids, etc.”

The entire second chapter of Jeremiah is a record of God’s shock at how His people have turned away from Him.  But these verses brought me up short as I remembered them and as I have looked at the Church and how we have substituted so many things for God.  I love the language of The Message because it is very modern and expresses the feeling of the passage more in the vernacular of our day.  “Stand in shock . . . throw up your hands in disbelief . . .” 

We have been looking at this idea particularly over the last couple of Sundays as we have studied Mark 7, looking at man-made traditions vs. God’s Word.  Jesus condemned the Pharisees for placing their traditions above God’s Word and as we have studied it we have found that we have done much the same thing in our day and time.  We have our “rules,” we have the things that we believe and unfortunately many of them aren’t found in the Word but in our interpretation of the Word.  We push people away from God rather than loving them to God by our man-made traditions, our rules and regulations.  Why we are just like the people that God was speaking to in Jeremiah 2:13 . . . We have traded in the “fountain of fresh slowing waters” that is God, and we’ve dug our own cisterns, we’ve created our own containers for the stale water of our traditions that looks more like a pond that has no outlet and the water is crusted with a layer of scum on top of it.  We’ve traded fresh water for stale; we’ve traded the love of God for rules and regulations.

But I believe God is calling us back to His Word.  One of the things that I’ve learned in my year of studying Jesus’ words and their origin, the original language and meanings that we find in what we call the Old Testament, which was the only “Bible” that Jesus and His followers had, is that God’s Word is fresh and alive and has meaning in the 21st Century.  God has something to say to us that is powerful and extremely relevant for today.  The Word of God is not just a bunch of letters on a page, but it is “living and active . . . it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word of God is alive and it is active in our lives if we will let it.  God will use it to speak to us and it will judge our thoughts and attitudes.  For too long the Church has allowed our “rules and regulations” our “special rules” and our “interpretations” to guide us, to “judge us” and to determine what we believe.  That is not what God intended.  He has intended that His Word do that.

Can we take this too far?  Of course we can; we can use anything that we want for “license” or to “prove our point.”  But if we allow the whole Word, the living, active, penetrating Word of God to fill us, to work in us, and if we will do it honestly before God, then He will judge our thoughts; He will change our attitudes; He will be God and we can be confident and secure in that!

I pray you will let Him be God and study His Word.  I urge you to fall in love with the Word again.  Read it; listen to it; let His Word fill you!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday October 23 – We will be having our Family Dinner tonight, honoring the families of our Wednesday night teens and children.  If you want to come and help get set up, be here by about 4 or 4:30.  Dinner starts at 5:30 tonight.  If you still haven’t signed up to help just show up and be available.  We will have a number of our teens and children whose parents and family won’t be able to come.  If you haven’t signed up to do anything specifically then why not come and sit with some of them?  We hope you’ll come and love these kids and their families!

Sunday October 27 – We are privileged to have Rudy Cervantes, Heavenly Trumpet Ministries, with us this Sunday morning. 

WE WILL BE HAVING ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE THIS SUNDAY ONLY AND IT WILL BE AT 9:30 A.M. IN THE GYM! 

You don’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity to worship and enjoy some beautiful music with us.  Plan on being here and then staying for lunch afterwards.  Our teens will be having their semi-annual Brisket Dinner with Shelly’s heavenly dinner rolls.  (Heavenly Trumpet, Heavenly Dinner Rolls – they just seem to go together!)  The dinner is on a donation basis and then we have some incredible auction items that will be available in the silent auction.  The dinner and silent auction will be immediately after the worship service at approximately 11:00 a.m. and all proceeds will go to our Youth Ministry!

Wednesday November 13 – We will have a special guest, Rabbi Richmond, here with us on that evening.  Rabbi Richmond is from Israel and will be speaking to us about the preparations for building the Third Temple that are being made.  This will be an incredible opportunity and we hope you won’t miss it.  We believe very strongly that as Christians and as a nation that we MUST stand with Israel; they are God’s chosen people and we hope you’ll join with us as a show of support for this incredible people!  More details will follow.



Created in His Image 10/16/13

I have been reading in Exodus in my devotions and have been going through the story of the plagues that God put on Egypt and am at the beginning of the Exodus from their slavery to the Promised Land.  There has been something that has intrigued me as I’ve read the story again.

I am reading from my iPad, I love the convenience and the ability to read it anywhere where I might have a few minutes.  Also I can highlight on the screen and it makes those things stand out.

The things that have intrigued me are the places where God tells Moses . . . “Go tell Pharaoh . . .” and then after he did it the scriptures record something like this . . .  “And the LORD did this . . .” or “ . . . and the LORD did what Moses asked.”  In Exodus 9:5-6 it reads, “The LORD set a time and said, ‘Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land.’  And the next day the LORD did it.”  As I have read this it has been a reminder to me that God is not slack about keeping His promises but it also reminds me that God is in control.

There are some incredible promises in the Bible and some incredible stories about how God is in control.  I could enumerate them but I want to ask you this morning, are you aware that these promises and stories about God being in control are there for you?  Can I remind you that God has chosen you and me to receive His grace, His mercy and to be the recipients of His very great and precious promises? 

You were created in the image of God.  Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’  So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

NO OTHER CREATURE IN ALL OF CREATION WAS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD – EXCEPT YOU AND ME!

I don’t have a lot to say to you today other than that.  I wanted to remind you that the promises of God are for you today.  I am not saying that God is a big vending machine in the sky and He will simply dole out his gifts when we pay the required price – what I am saying is that “. . . we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose: (Romans 8:28).  Everything that happens in your life, God is at work to bring about His good.  It doesn’t mean that everything that happens is good, it isn’t.  We live in a fallen world; we live in a world that is scarred by sin and we face the consequences of choices that we make and sometimes we are affected by the consequences of choices that other people make.  That doesn’t make God any less in control, it just means that God does not take away the consequences of sin.  However He DOES take away the penalty of sin, death, for those whose lives have been forgiven by His grace.  And that forgiveness is free for the asking.  It came at a very high price, just not to us, He paid for it with His life.  It wasn’t cheap and it isn’t received cheaply.  It isn’t about just saying some words or walking an aisle – it is about a life that has been changed by the love and grace of God.  And when that happens He can work in any and every situation that comes into our lives. 

So remember, the next time that you are wondering what good can come of this, “And the LORD did this . . .” or “ . . . and the LORD did what Moses asked.”  In Exodus 9:5-6 it reads, “The LORD set a time and said, ‘Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land.’  And the next day the LORD did it.”

You are special to Him!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Today, Wednesday October 16 – Why not join us for dinner in the gym tonight at 5:00!  The teens and children have their regular activities tonight and the Hispanic Bible study and prayer groups meet at 6:00.

Sunday October 20 – We have three opportunities to come and worship together with the Body of Christ.  We have services at 8:45 a.m. in the gym, 10:30 in the sanctuary and then at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary our Hispanic congregation meets.

Wednesday October 23 – We will be having our Family Dinner to honor the families of our Wednesday night teens and children.  If you haven’t signed up to help, call the office and do so today!

Sunday October 27 – Rudy Cervantes, Heavenly Trumpet Ministries, will be leading us in worship and praise.  We will have ONE COMBINED SERVICE AT 9:30 a.m. IN THE GYM!  Immediately following the service our teens will be hosting their semi-annual brisket dinner with Shelly’s amazing dinner rolls!  This is the teens fundraising effort.  The dinner is on a donation basis and there will be a silent auction with some incredible bargains to offer.  All proceeds go to the youth ministry account.  Come and join us for an incredible worship experience and then stay for an amazing dinner and fellowship!



God Loves You! 10/9/13

My grandson is walking!  Ashley (my daughter-in-law) posted a video on Facebook on Sunday evening.  I know I’ve watched it at least half a dozen times; it’s only about 6 seconds long and it’s only about 5 feet, but he’s walking.  A couple of weeks ago she posted a video of him standing up and grabbing onto his cart and pushing it across the room, that one is about 17 seconds (do you think I’m obsessed with my grandson?)  In both videos his mommy and daddy are there urging him on, yelling their support, clapping and reaffirming him.  If grandpa and grandma were there we’d be doing it too (and probably I’d find a way to take credit).  I wish I knew how to post those videos to this email and send them to you but I don’t know how to do that, I’m sure it would take a lot of memory, or bytes, or RAM, or something like that and besides, most of you wouldn’t want to see it anyway.  You’re more interested in your grandson or granddaughter; as well you should be.  (But if you want to see the videos, come by my office and I’ll be GLAD to show them to you!)

Now I know most of you think I just wanted to talk to you about my grandson, but that really isn’t the case here.  I am proud of my grandson and I love to talk about him, but as I was watching both of those videos this afternoon I thought about how much his mommy and daddy love that boy and that made me think about God and how much He loves us.  I’ve told you this before, but I believe if God had a refrigerator, He would have your picture on the front of it.  He LOVES you!

And as I thought about those things I thought about a couple of passages of scripture:  Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 66.  Look at these scriptures with me.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  Isaiah 49:15-16

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:13

The question in chapter 49 is a question where the answer is implied:  NO WAY!  But then God says, “I’m just like that.  Just as a mother is not going to forget that child, I’m not going to forget you.  But, in the incredible chance that she would forget; in the almost impossible thought that she might forget, why even if a mother actually did forget her baby, there is no way in the world that I’m going to forget you.”  That’s our God.  That’s how much He loves you and me.  And then He goes on and says, “Why look here, I have engraved your face on my hands I love you so much!”  Forget the refrigerator, He tattooed your face right on His hands!  (No emails please about how God hates tattoos . . . please.  I’m just trying to make a point here and who knows J . . .) 

My son and daughter-in-law love their son; there is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!  They are going to do everything they can to show him that and to make sure that he KNOWS that he is loved.  Nothing is going to change that either. We love our son and daughter and daughter-in-law and grandson and we are going to do everything that we can to show them that and to make sure that they KNOW they are loved.  That’s what moms and dads do.  AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT!

God loves you, there is NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!  He has done (and by the way, He is going to continue to do) everything that He can to show you that and to make sure that you KNOW that you are loved.  AND NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE THAT EITHER.  There isn’t ANYTHING you can do to make God stop loving you.  NOTHING – (That’s Greek for not one single, solitary thing at all, no way, no how).  

I believe that God smiles when He sees you in the morning when you wake up.  I believe that God looks at you while you are sleeping and smiles.  I believe that God cheered when you walked for the first time.  I think that you made His day on the day that He created you.  I think that there are times when God literally puts His arms around you and hugs you.  I really do believe that.  You might not recognize Him, but I believe that He does. 

Our children have made some mistakes in their lives.  There were times, when they were younger and at home, that they disobeyed us.  We disciplined them when they did and we did that because we love them.  We wanted to teach them what was right; what was acceptable; what would help them in life.  But not once, never one single time when they disobeyed, when they have made mistakes or done something that we don’t agree with, not once, not EVEN once have we ever stopped loving them or quit loving them nor will we quit loving them because of any of that.  I know that our children will discipline their children when they do wrong and they will do it for many if not all of the same reasons that we did.  But not one time, not EVEN once, will they ever stop loving that boy.

Are there times when we’ve messed up, when we’ve “gasp” SINNED and God has stopped loving us because of what we’ve done?  NEVER – NEVER – NEVER – NEVER – NEVER!  Has He not wanted us to do that?  Of course.  Has He disciplined us?  Absolutely!  Did He ever stop loving us?  NEVER!

Then in the 66th chapter, Isaiah tells us that God comforts us like a mother comforts her child.  There is just something about a mother’s comfort.  A dad can and does comfort, but let’s face it, when a small child gets hurt, just about all of the time the first thing they do is cry for mama!  That is the picture that God is giving us. 

There are going to be times when we need to be comforted, and God will comfort us.  Think about this:  who do you think taught those mama’s how to comfort?  God.  Who do you think is world champion comforter?  God!  Why, do you remember the word that Jesus used to describe “God living inside of us”?  That’s right, Comforter! 

I just wanted to tell you today that God loves you.  He’s your biggest supporter!  He is the One in your corner when no one else is there.  He isn’t going to forget you; YOUR FACE IS TATTOOED ON HIS HANDS!

I love you, just not nearly as much as He does!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday October 9 – Come on and join us tonight for dinner about 5 and then if you aren’t involved in the teen’s or children’s activities you can take part in the Hispanic Bible study or the prayer group, both of which meet at 6.  (I might even show you George’s “walking” videos . . . no, don’t worry, I won’t)

Thursday October 10 – Coordinated Home Healthcare is going to have an Open House on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Our own Mary Nell Washburn is a part of this incredible organization and she would love to have you drop by to see their new “digs” and sit and chat (maybe they’ll even have a cookie).  They are located at 1218 Mecham Drive, Suite C, in Ruidoso; where Two Scoops used to be!

Sunday October 13 – We will be having our regular worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.  We’d love to see you here.

BUT THE REALLY GREAT EVENT ON SUNDAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF OUR HISPANIC WORSHIP SERVICE!  This takes place at 4:00 o’clock in the sanctuary.  This will be a tremendous celebration of what God has done and what He is doing!  Come and join us for an incredible time to celebrate together and then we’re going to have a piñata party and great food!

Monday October 14 – Church Board meeting 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday October 23 – We will be having our Annual Family Dinner for the families of our Wednesday night children and teens.  We will need servers, greeters, table hosts, cooks, set-up and clean-up crews and just plain old people to love these families.  We hope you’ll be a part of it!  There will be signup sheets on Sunday!

Sunday October 27 – We will be privileged to have Rudy Cervantes, Heavenly Trumpet Ministries here with us on that Sunday.  WE WILL BE HAVING ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE AT 9:30 A.M. ON THAT DAY AND WE WILL MEET IN THE GYM!  Immediately following the service our teens will be hosting their semi-annual brisket dinner with Shelly’s famous dinner rolls.  There will also be a silent auction.  This is our teens semi-annual fundraiser and we hope you’ll plan on staying and eating and getting yourself some bargains!