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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

It is HIS Word 4/9/14

“Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:7-8a

Some pretty incredible words, if you ask me.  James, evidently the brother of Jesus, wrote these words.  We are told in the Gospel accounts that Jesus’ brothers and sisters didn’t believe in Him . . .  but obviously something changed.  James became a leader in the early church and his words in this little “book” that bears his name is challenging, to say the least, and pointed.  These few words above, are simply 1½ verses out of 108 verses that he writes.  He talks about faith, wisdom and patience, as well as many other things; he warns us against favoritism, talks about deeds in conjunction with our faith, warns us about taming the tongue and about boasting about tomorrow.  But these 25 words in the middle of chapter 4, are some of these most incredible words that I think he’s written.  Look at them with me.

First, he gives us some very good words of advice, telling us to submit ourselves to God.  To submit, according to the Dictionary, is 1. “to give over or yield to the power or authority of another;”  2. “to subject to some kind of treatment or influence;” 3. “to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others.”  If we are going to submit ourselves it seems to me that it would be a good idea to make sure that the person we are going to submit to is someone we trust.

I would “submit” to you that God is more than trustworthy and more that worthy to submit ourselves to.  After all, He is the Creator.  He made us; He made the world that we live in; He made everything that brings and sustains life into the world.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1.  “In the beginning was the Word, [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made” John 1:1-3.  He is the initiator of a relationship with us.  “No one can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent me draws him” John 6:44.  He loves us and He did everything He could to prove that is true.  “God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might have life” John 3:16-17.  So I would “submit” to you, again, that it would be a very wise thing to submit to God.

Second James tells us that we should “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Remember that the devil is God’s enemy, man’s enemy, from the very beginning.  It was the devil that first tempted Eve and Adam to disobey God by causing them to doubt what God had said.  “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1.  Now then, look at James words:  “Resist . . . and he will . . .”  I’m not sure you can get much clearer than that.

We have bought into two lies folks!  We have bought into the lie that temptation is sin, and that we are powerless against the devil.  I hope you’ll stick with me here.  Most of you are going to say something to the effect, “I know that’s not true, I know that ‘. . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).”  But the reality is, that is NOT how most followers of Christ live and act.

ALL THAT SATAN CAN DO IS TEMPT YOU TO SIN!  (Please stop and read that again.)  The enemy, satan, CANNOT make you sin.”  The ONLY power that satan has in your life is the power that you give him.  There are a few verses that you need to remind yourself of.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he WILL also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  (Emphasis mine)  I would encourage you to read that once again.  ALL that satan can do is tempt you – he CANNOT make you sin.  And God WILL provide a way of escape for EVERY temptation that satan throws at us . . . EVERY ONE OF THEM!  Here is another scripture we need to be reminded of . . .

James 1:13-15, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  (Emphasis mine)  I would encourage you to stop and read that once again.  A temptation ONLY becomes sin when it is conceived, or WHEN WE GIVE IN TO THAT TEMPTATION!

The lies that we have bought into:  1) that temptation is sin, and 2) that we can’t overcome temptation, that we are powerless and that we HAVE to sin!  I have one more scripture that I would like for you to read.

John 8:44, “You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  Once more I would encourage you to stop, take the time and read that again.  Let me remind you that Jesus was speaking to the religious people who were trying to destroy Him.  The first part of that verse where He is speaking about “You” belonging to “your father the devil” He is NOT, I repeat, He is NOT telling us that we are all powerless.  Please take note of the fact that the devil, satan “is a liar and the father of lies.”  He will do everything that he can to tell you that when you are tempted, when that thought comes into your head that you have sinned and are hopeless.  He will lie to you and tell you that you can’t overcome temptation, that it is built within you, that you HAVE to give in and you HAVE to sin . . . IT IS A LIE, IT IS A LIE, IT IS A LIE, IT IS A LIE!  I Corinthians 10:13, “. . . And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

So go back to James’ words again, after you have submitted to God, “Resist the devil, and HE WILL flee from you.”  It isn’t a hypothesis; it isn’t conjecture; it isn’t “every once in awhile;”  it is “DO IT AND HE WILL!”

Okay, here’s the last part of it.  After we have resisted and the devil is gone, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  I think that about sums it up.  I think that says it pretty well.  I LIKE that!

Some pretty incredible words, if you ask me . . . some pretty incredible words!

I love you!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday April 9 – We will have NO activities here at the church tonight – it is spring break and all activities are cancelled.

Friday April 11 – TURN HUNGER INTO HOPE – Feed My Starving Children is having another fundraiser event here in our gym this Friday evening from 5 until 8 p.m.  Admission is free and when you come you can buy tickets for the Food Court or the games that are available.  Below is a layout of what is taking place.  We encourage you to come out and support this incredible cause!

Food Court Menu at least 22 cents of each dollar donated to FMSC

Raspberry Lemonade, Tropical Jasmine Iced Tea, and Canned Soda $1
Kona Cowboy Coffee $1
Project 7 Bottled Water $2
Nachos $3
Edamame Salad $____
Pulled Pork Sandwich & Potato Salad $6
Hot Dog & Chips $2
Optimist Club H.O.G. Salsa and Chips $1
Buttermilk Pie $2
Ice Cream Cones & Dishes $3
Baked Goods &Treats $1, $2, & $3 

Provided by Chef Shawn’s Eatery, Coyote Howling Shop for a Cause,
Kona Cowboy Coffee Company, Optimist Club, Two Scoops, Village Buttery,
and FMSC Team Leaders (ALL volunteers donating 100% to FMSC).

Live Stage Music with Thomas Radcliffe, Blake & Deanna Martin, and many more …
Jumping Bear Jumping Balloon (15’x15’) provided by Martin & Martha Reyes
Knock Out Hunger Punching Bag provided by the RAC
Target Hunger Nerf Shooting Ranges  •   Turn Hunger into HOPE Coloring Contests
Jeopardy Challenges  •  FMSC & Global MarketPlace
Feed My Starving Children T-Shirts
 @ $25 feed 75 children
Game Tickets
1 for $1.10 (feeds 5)     12 for $11 (feeds 50)     25 for $22 (feeds 100)
FREE game tickets for donations to Lincoln County Foodbank and TerraCycle!
100 Raffle Items with Tickets1 for $2.20 (feeds 10)
5 for $11 (feeds 50)        10 for $20 (feeds 91)       20 for $38 (feeds 173)

Sunday April 13 – We will have our regular services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m., our Hispanic service at 4:00 p.m. and A VERY SPECIAL BABY SHOWER for Zach and Sarah Reynolds and their soon-to-be-here daughter here at 2:30 p.m.  Ladies come out and let’s love this family!

Wednesday April 16-Friday April 18 – Holy Week Services at Ruidoso First Baptist each day at noon with a meal to follow.

Friday April 18 – We will be having our Passover Seder here at the church at 5:30 p.m.  YOU DO NOT want to miss this incredible celebration.  Valerie Moody will be leading our Seder and it will be an incredible time of worship and celebration and we prepare for Resurrection!  The cost of the meal is only $5 or $20 for a family of four or more, and tickets are still available.  Plan on being a part of this very special evening.

Sunday April 20 – RESURRECTION/ EASTER SUNDAY!  Sunrise service at the Prayer Pond (weather permitting) 6:15 a.m.  Breakfast in the gym at 7:30 a.m.  ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE in the gym at 9:30 a.m.



Grace Works 3/26/14

This journey through the book of Colossians that we’re going to go on together is going to be an amazing ride.  I spent most of yesterday afternoon looking at one word:  GRACE!  We find that incredible word in the second verse of the first chapter.  I told someone that if we go through this book 2 verses at a time we’re gonna be here awhile!  I don’t think it’s gonna be that slow but I have to tell you after spending that time studying I think I could preach 5 or 6 weeks just on grace and not even scratch the surface.

Max Lucado wrote a book entitled In the Grip of Grace:  You Can’t Fall Beyond His Love.  One of the chapters is entitled, “Grace Works.”  I’m going to quote a story from that chapter.

“Sin put you in prison.  Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear.  Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery. . . .  The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty.  In this case the penalty is death.  Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute.

“Near the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, is a remarkable facility.  Twenty years ago the Brazilian government turned a prison over to two Christians.  The institution was renamed Humaita, and the plan was to run it on Christian principles.  With the exception of two full-time staff, all the work is done by inmates.  Families outside the prison adopt an inmate to work with during and after his term.  Chuck Colson visited the prison and made this report.

“‘When I visited Humaita I found the inmates smiling—particularly the murderer who held the keys, opened the gates and let me in.  Wherever I walked I saw men a peace.  I saw clean living areas, people working industriously.  The walls were decorated with Biblical sayings from Psalms and Proverbs. . . .  My guide escorted me to the notorious prison cell once used for torture.  Today, he told me, that block houses only a single inmate.  As we reached the end of a long concrete corridor and he put the key in the lock, he paused and asked, “Are you sure you want to go in?”

“‘Of course,’ I replied impatiently.  ‘I’ve been in isolation cells all over the world.’  Slowly he swung open the massive door, and I saw the prisoner in that punishment cell:  a crucifix, beautifully carved by the Humaita inmates—the prisoner Jesus, handing on a cross.

“‘He’s doing time for the rest of us,’ my guide said softly.’

“Christ has taken your place”

Christ HAS taken your place.  In the book of Romans chapter 5 Paul wrote these words:  “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, [he is speaking of Adam] how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”  It is NOT a question, it is statement, “HOW MUCH MORE!”  Then in verse 20 of that same chapter he wrote, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”  The “HOW MUCH MORE” is enough!

Grace works; Grace is enough.

When I am tempted to “judge” someone because they are so terrible, so horrible, that I wonder how God could EVER love them, I am reminded of the story of King David in the Bible.  He committed adultery, more than likely raping Bathsheba because she would have had absolutely no say whatsoever, then he did his best to cover it up with a ruse to get her husband, who had been away in battle, to sleep with her because she became pregnant, and ultimately ordered the murder of her husband.  This King David is spoken of in Acts 13:22 by God, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart.”  If a rapist, adulterer and murderer can be called “a man after God’s own heart” then I realize I have no right nor platform to judge ANYONE.  In fact the Bible explicitly tells me that judgment belongs to God alone!

Grace works; Grace is enough.  It is not cheap.  It isn’t something to be dallied with or taken lightly; it isn’t something that we should take lightly.

Grace is expensive; it cost Jesus His life.  But He gave it willingly and He did it so that you and I might find grace.

It works!  It is enough!  “He’s doing time for the rest of us!”

Rick

Upcoming Activities

Tonight, Wednesday March 26 – Regular Wednesday evening activities begin with dinner at 5 in the gym.  Children’s and teen’s activities as normal, Hispanic Bible Study and Prayer time.  Come and join with us!

Sunday March 30 – We will have our regular worship services, 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. and the Hispanic service at 4:00 p.m.

The Teens are hosting a Fund-Raiser Dinner at 5:30 in the gym on Sunday evening.  There will be GREAT food, games and fun and Shelly’s famous dinner rolls!  YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS!

Friday April 4-Sunday April 6 – NM District Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park – Ladies there is still time to register – please see Sandy Pape.

Friday April 11 – Feed My Starving Children Fundraiser in the gym 5-8 p.m.

Sunday April 13 – Baby shower for Sarah Koehler Reynolds 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday April 16-Friday April 18 – Holy Week Services each day at noon at First Baptist Church Ruidoso

Friday April 18 – We will be having a Passover Seder at 5:30 p.m. in the gym

Sunday April 20 – RESURRECTION SUNDAY – Easter Sunrise Service at the Pond at 6:15 a.m. – Breakfast at 7:30 in the gym – COMBINED WORSHIP CELEBRATION 9:30 a.m. in the gym!

Friday April 25-Sunday April 27 – NM District Man Camp – Men, don’t miss this!



We Are the Body 3/19/14

I am still thanking God for the incredible weekend that we had with Tim Green.  We were reminded that “we” are the Body of Christ.  We are a part of this together and God is doing something incredible in us and with us and through us.

Sunday afternoon I dropped Tim off at the airport in Roswell and when he got out of the car he reminded me to “finish his story” from the second service on Sunday morning.  He started off the sermon telling us about the defining moment in his life.  It had to do with a young man named Michael who was a teenager who started coming to the youth group where Tim was a youth pastor right out of college.  Michael was not your typical church teenager; in fact, each Wednesday night when he came to the youth group his clothes reeked of the smell of Marijuana.  Finally at one point Tim, the youth pastor, was told that he needed to tell Michael that he wasn’t “welcome” at church.  He said that he knew that his ministry and future there at the church were probably on the line if he didn’t do it. 

He told us that he prepared the speech; he even went so far as to write it down and he memorized it.  Then he sat Michael down and began to recite what he had written down.  It was at this point in the sermon on Sunday that Tim switched gears and went another direction, fully intending to come back to the story and finish it.  He told us that when he got back to the house and was changing clothes that it hit him that he hadn’t finished the story.  He said that at the end of the sermon he looked at the clock and knew that he needed to finish the sermon and completely forgot to finish the story.  So he told me to please go ahead and finish it in my Wednesday email, so that is what I’m doing.

As Tim sat down across from Michael he started the prepared speech he had written, fully intending to tell Michael that this wasn’t the place for him and he said that he stopped and realized what he was doing.  He ended up telling Michael that they were so glad that he was coming to the youth group and that if he could do anything for him he wanted him to know that he would.  The end of the story is that today Michael is a pastor in the Church of God Anderson.  It was truly the defining moment in his life and ministry.

I want to encourage you again to go to the link that I sent out yesterday from Korey and download the sermons from this past weekend, and especially if you didn’t have the chance to be here.  I told you on Sunday in both services that I felt like this weekend was a defining weekend in the life of Angus Church.  I’ve had a couple of people come to me and ask me what we were going to do now with what we have been given.  I am having breakfast with a couple of our men and we will no doubt talk some about what Tim shared with us and what it means to us.  I have already begun to put together a list of names that I would like to sit down with and talk about where we go from here.  I think there is so much more to this than just another weekend meeting bringing in a special speaker and then going on as we have up to this point. 

What does God want to do with you . . . with us . . . in you and through you . . . in us and through us?  We have talked a lot about what it means to be a part of the Body of Christ and how it affects our philosophy of ministry here.  I don’t want to be content to just do what we’re doing.  I don’t want to settle for what’s already done or already begun.  I believe that God has something new, something fresh for us, something that will challenge us to be more like Christ every day!  I STILL believe that Puerto Esperanza is a part of that, but at this point that is still in the future and I believe the challenge is for now.  In fact, at breakfast we talked about the fact that if we don’t sit down and try and figure out what this means now then chances are we won’t . . . at all.  Please pray with me about this.

Let me remind you that we talked about this three weeks ago and Tim hit it again on Sunday morning.  It is in 1 Corinthians 12, beginning in about the 12th verse and culminating in the 27th verse:  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  Let me remind you of the meaning of that word “you.”  In Tim’s vernacular it is “Now ya’ll are the body of Christ, and each one of ya’ll is a part of it.” 

We are in this together.  It isn’t the staff that is going to bring about the change that God is ready to implement.  It isn’t the Board members and the staff; it isn’t those who are working in some capacity somewhere in the church.  We are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER – WE NEED EACH OTHER – WE ARE ALL A PART OF THIS.

I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you weren’t here this weekend; you are still a part of this.  I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you missed one or more of the services, you are still a part of this.  Really, we are all still a part of this.  I want to remind you that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done anything up to this point except come and sit in the seats and take it in, we are all a part of this.  You may only be a little finger in the Body of Christ, but for those of us in the first service on Sunday that has a new meaning.  (And I hope you know that I italicized the word “only” on purpose . . . there is NO “only.”)  You are a vital part of the Body of Christ. 

If you get mad and walk away, the Body hurts.  If you are hurting and struggling, the Body is hurting and struggling.  If you are missing, then part of the Body is missing.  And if you don’t think that you are important, that you are such an “only” part, a pinky finger, a big toe, an ear or a nose, then talk to that person whose pinky has been cut off, or who lost their big toe.  Think about how much it hurts when you hit your thumb with a hammer – your WHOLE BODY suffers when that happens. 

Could I invite you, could I encourage you, don’t walk away; don’t just decide not to do your part; don’t just drop out; please, please, please don’t think that you aren’t important, because YOU ARE VITAL!  Remember, “ . . . those parts of the body that seem to be weaker and indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. . . .  But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:22-25). 

I believe there is a Michael in all of our lives who is waiting for our defining moment!

I love you . . . really, I do.  Really!

Rick

Upcoming Activities

 

Tonight, Wednesday March 19 – We have dinner at 5, with regular teen and children’s activities this evening.  The Hispanic Bible study will be meeting in Marco & Betty’s office, prayer in the sanctuary at 6:00 and the Men’s Bible study will meet at 7.

Friday and Saturday March 21-22 – The teens will be going to Clovis for the District Activity Days

Sunday March 23 – We will begin a study of Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae in our morning worship services at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.  Our Hispanic service meets at 4:00 p.m.

Sunday March 30 – Our teens are going to be having a special fundraiser dinner here at the church Sunday afternoon March 30 at 5:30 p.m.  The teens are raising money to go to the Regional Activity Days at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego at the end of May.

April 4-6 – NM District Women’s Retreat at Bonita Park

April 18 – We will celebrate the Passover with a Passover Seder led by Valarie Moody.  This will be a very special evening and tickets are available

April 20 – RESURRECTION SUNDAY – We will celebrate Easter and the Resurrection with an incredible day of celebration.  We will have our sunrise service at the Prayer Pond at 6:15 a.m., breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and a Resurrection Celebration at 9:30 a.m. in the gym!

April 25-27 – NM District Man Camp at Bonita Park