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Love First, Ask Questions Later 3/16/16

Good morning,

There is a scripture passage that, if you are following the Lenten readings for this season, you will be reading tomorrow, Thursday March 17. It is found in 1 Peter 4:8.

Before I write it out for you I want to remind you who it is that is speaking; it is Peter, the apostle. This is Peter who is known for his “act first, think later” actions and attitude. This is Peter, who, if we are honest, would probably be more like us then we really want to admit. Peter, who probably would have been quick to judge someone; Peter, who was the one who spoke first and considered what he ought to say later. Peter, who had so many failings in such a public way – at least in scripture because we seem to see all of them, or at least many, many, many of them. Peter, who is a lot like us.

But listen to what he said and hear it in the context that he says it. The context is that he is talking to us about living for God with the attitude that Christ had; who at the very beginning of these thoughts tells us that we shouldn’t live our lives for human desires (which he actually calls “evil”) but that we should rather live our lives for the will of God. And then he says this: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

If we’re honest, when someone sins, we are more likely to, at the very least, judge them in our minds if not coming right out verbally telling them what they’ve done wrong, why and what they have to do to earn our trust again. But Peter’s words seem to indicate to me that we should “love first and ask questions later.”

Please remember the context. Instead of living our lives according to our “evil” human desires, we should instead seek the will of God. I think what this means is that we should “love first and ask questions later.” This DOES NOT excuse sin; but it also reminds us that God loved us long before we ever deserved it; He didn’t make us clean up before He loved us; in fact, when we were at the very worst that we’ve ever been, He loved us first.

We are just a matter of days away from celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As I have been thinking about my sermon for that day the thought came to me this morning that we are quick to celebrate (and we should be) the Resurrection of Jesus, but maybe what we ought to be concentrating on is WHY He actually did what He did. I’m not going to go into any more detail at this time because this is just in the development stage, but I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going to go on that Resurrection Day celebration of Christ’s sacrifice and victory for us.

But today I want to urge you strongly, “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I want to challenge you to “love first and ask questions later.” I want to ask you to consider that our first reaction in life is to live according to our “evil” human desires, when we ought to be consciously putting those desires aside and seeking to live according to “the will of God.”

I love you . . . deeply!

Upcoming Activities

Wednesday March 16 – We have our dinner tonight at 5:00 and following the dinner the adults who are not involved in other ministry activities well meet in the Sanctuary for prayer. There are children’s activities and teen activities. In the teen service Mike “Pinball” Magill is going to be sharing his testimony. I REALLY do hope to see you!

Sunday March 20 – This Sunday we will have our regular schedule of services and we are going to be looking at what the week ahead of us holds. I hope to see you on Sunday.

Wednesday March 23-Friday March 25 – Holy Week services next week will take place at 12:00 noon each day Wednesday through Friday at the J Bar J Country Church in Ruidoso. There will be a 30 minute service each day followed by lunch. This is a great opportunity to share with the Body of Christ in Lincoln County as we prepare for the greatest day of celebration in the entire Christian calendar.

Resurrection/Easter Sunday, March 27 – Here is our schedule
6:45 a.m. – Sunrise Service at the Prayer Pond – Pastor’s Marco & Betty Sanchez will be preaching and we will be joined by fellow believers from the Grace Harvest and Christ Community congregations.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast in the gym – Our teens will be serving breakfast in the gym for everyone. This is a donation fundraiser as the teens are raising money for the youth group activitiesw.
8:15 a.m. – Children’s Activities – We will have some special activities for our children including an egg hunt, a bounce house and a piñata!
10:00 a.m. – Combined Resurrection Celebration – We will have one combined worship service in the gym at 10:00 a.m. on this incredible day. Bring a friend and come celebration Resurrection.

Resurrection People 3/9/16

Good morning,

I want to remind you today to be relentlessly focused on God!  That thought came out of one of our Lenten readings last week and was the subject of my Wednesday email last week.  I just wanted to remind you that this is the way to find what real joy and happiness are!

So with that in mind, I have loved the last two days readings, days 24 and 25, yesterday and today.  Yesterday we were reminded “though we may feel overwhelmed—we will not underestimate what God is doing through us, through the world.  We repent of thinking anything is impossible, because God is ABLE and He makes us the PossABLES.”  God IS able and He is the One who is working in our lives.  When we are relentlessly focused on Him, the impossibilities suddenly don’t look so impossible – the times when we are overwhelmed, all of the sudden aren’t so overwhelming.

Then this morning I read the reading and was reminded, “today we will practice our faith—because we will Practice Joy.  Practice Thankfulness.  Practice smiling, practice Counting Gifts.  We repent of too often forgetting that we are the Resurrection People and joy is our endless refrain.”  So then, when we are relentlessly focused on God, we are reminded that we are the Resurrection people and joy is our endless refrain.  We don’t have to settle for less than joy.  Now don’t “misread” that and think that I’m talking about happiness.  Happiness is a byproduct of joy.  There are times when we are not happy but we are people of joy because we are Resurrection people.  Sadness, loss, pain, they are all a part of life.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can get rid of all of the problems of life when you follow Christ, because even Jesus told us that we would have “trouble in this world.”  But then He reminded us that HE has “overcome the world.”  The world isn’t going to have the last word, He will!

Don’t underestimate what God is going to do through you.  Be reminded today that God makes us the Possables!  Practice Thankfulness!  Practice Joy!  Today doesn’t depend on you, it depends on GOD and HE IS ABLE!  Please don’t forget that.  (And SMILE!)

I love you!



  Upcoming Activities

Wednesday March 9 – We have our dinner tonight at 5:00 and following the dinner the adults who are not involved in other ministry activities well meet in the Sanctuary for prayer.  There are children’s activities, teen activities and there will also be a Membership Class going on tonight AT 6.  I REALLY do hope to see you!

SATURDAY MARCH 12 – Don’t forget that we set our clocks ahead one hour this Saturday night as we go off of Daylight Savings time this weekend.  That just means that I get to see you one hour earlier on Sunday!  I love seeing you!

And finally let me just remind you that Tim Green had to cancel his weekend here with us this week because of his mom’s health.  He is with her and taking care of her and we are working to reschedule him to be with us in the near future.  Sunday we will have our regular service schedule!

Relentlessly Focused 3/2/16

Good morning,

Wow, we live in a culture that is obsessed with itself.  From selfies to self-promotion, from selfishness that spends its life on “what I want” rather than what is good for me, to thinking that we should elect the person that promises us that he/she will do more for us than the other candidate will do.

I read this morning that only 12% of registered voters in Ruidoso voted in yesterday’s election in which three of the village council positions were up for election – 12%!!!!!  Then I heard that just over 200 voters voted in Capitan where over 900 voters are registered to vote; that is approximately 25%!  Of course yesterday was so-called “Super Tuesday” where 11 states held Presidential primaries or caucuses to vote on nominating the persons who will run as the Republican and Democratic candidates in the November election for President of the United States.  I do not know the percentage of people who voted in those primaries yesterday, but I don’t think I would be stretching too far to say that more than likely, taking the last several years elections into consideration, there were fewer, and probably far fewer than 50% of registered voters who participated in that election.

Then I read an article that describes the online traffic to the pornographic website “Pornhub” and people who “visit that site.”  (No, I do not visit that website; I saw an article on Face Book that referenced this information.)  In January alone the state of California had 187,000 people who searched that website looking for information concerning ONE WORD – please understand, it wasn’t 187,000 people in California visiting that website in January; it was 187,000 people visiting that website looking for information on one pornographic term!

Now the tendency for me is to look at those numbers, shake my head in disbelief, “pass judgment” and leave the subject feeling self-righteous – God forgive me.

I am feeling at least a little less self-righteous this morning because of the Lenten Devotionals that I am reading, especially the one from yesterday.  For those who aren’t following them and also for those of us who are, let me remind you of just one phrase from the devotional thought from yesterday – the writer wrote, “We repent of a heart that is an idol maker instead of making You the sole King of our hearts, repent of stealing Your glory, photo-bombing all of Your fame with this insertion of our selfie-selves, thinking almost incessantly about ourselves instead of being relentlessly focused on You and thinking of ourselves less.”

Now all of that is convicting, but let me ask you for a couple of minutes this morning as you read this not to necessarily focus on how bad that makes you feel (or maybe it is just me), but please focus on the conviction that God is challenging me through this writer to instead be “relentlessly focused on You.”

I have determined that I am going to spend the rest of this Lenten season (and hopefully beyond as well) dwelling on that phrase, copying it and taping it in places where I will see it more than once a day, and then purposefully becoming more relentlessly focused on God!  I am not telling you this to say “look at me,” but I am telling you this to say that I haven’t been doing that enough and I need to make it more of the focus in my life.  I am writing to challenge you to become more relentlessly focused on God!



  Upcoming Activities

Wednesday March 2 – We have our dinner tonight at 5:00 and following the dinner the adults who are not involved in other ministry activities well meet in the Sanctuary to prepare for our Engaged time with the teens.  At 6:30 we’ll all get together in the gym to worship together and then pray with the teens.  I hope to see you here!

Wednesday March 9 – We will have a special Membership Class on that evening at 6:00 p.m.  Sue Hutchison will lead the class and anyone is invited to attend.  If you are interested in membership here at Angus Church or if you just want to know more about what we believe and why, come out and join us at 6:00 p.m. on the 9th.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday March 11-13 – We have the privilege of having Tim Green here with us on that weekend.  Tim is an amazing Old Testament scholar who can make it come alive.  He will be with us on that Friday evening March 11 at 6:30 following the Friday evening Shabbat meal.  Then on Saturday morning March 12th, we’ll meet in the gym at 10:00 – we’ll have some goodies, juice and coffee and Tim will share in this very information setting.  Saturday evening we’ll meet at 6 p.m.  On Sunday morning March 13th we will have ONE COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE at 10:00 a.m. in the gym.  This will be an incredible weekend and I hope to see you here!

SATURDAY MARCH 12 we set our clocks ahead one hour as we go off of Daylight Savings time that weekend.  Please make special note of that!

PRAYER NEEDS – Pray for our Nation