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April 2, 2017 - The Women – Jesus’ Supporters - Luke 23:27-30

posted Apr 4, 2017, 12:49 PM by Grant Garber

  • The women followed Jesus even when many of Jesus’ other followers had abandoned Him.
  • Jesus wanted “the women” to have faith in Him as their Savior.
  • Jesus is giving them and us a warning to repent when He says, “Daughters of Jerusalem”.
  • During times of horror and catastrophe it seems better to not have children than to see them suffer and die.
  • From an earthly perspective, Jesus didn’t want the women to experience the horrible siege of Jerusalem by the Romans that would come within a generation when people tried to make the kingdom of God come through military action and violence instead of through supporting the ministry of Christ and the Word of God.
  • From a heavenly perspective, Jesus wanted the women to weep over their own sins, to put their faith in Him, follow Him and avoid eternal judgment.
  • So what about today? From an earthly perspective, Jesus wants us…….
    • As brothers and sisters to live together in harmony
    • To help each other.
    • To bear each other’s burdens.
    • To encourage each other.
    • To pray for each other.
    • Our families and communities to be able to live peaceful and quiet lives.
    • To have our daily bread, that is, our necessities for everyday living.
  • From a heavenly perspective, Jesus wants us…..
    • To have faith, hope and love.
    • To know that our sins are forgiven and we have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven.
    • To celebrate the Lord’s Supper until He comes again.
    • To be filled with the Spirit and worship Him wholeheartedly.
    • To use His powerful Word and love to bring others to Him.
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 23:1-7, 13-24

March 26, 2017 - Pilate – the People Pleaser - Luke 23:1-7, 13-24

posted Mar 31, 2017, 6:17 PM by Grant Garber

  • Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are faced with doing what we think is right and making people angry, or giving in and making people happy and perhaps compromising beliefs we hold or doing the right thing.
  • A person’s past can rise up and confront them and paralyze them. If such a situation should arise, there is only one thing to do -- - to have the courage to face it and its consequences. That is precisely what Pilate didn’t possess.
  • It’s a dangerous road when we make our decisions for the sake of pleasing people instead of doing what we know to be right.
  • When we want to make other people happy instead of God we can end up with nothing.
  • The problem with trying to please people is that we are putting our identity and value in their approval.
  • Jesus entire focus, His whole purpose, was to please His Father in heaven by being the substitute the Father wanted Him to be and not worrying about the consequences for Himself.
  • Jesus does the right thing and pays the price for us.
  • In this story it appears Pilate is getting what he wants, while Jesus isn’t – yet the outcome is so different than first glance. Let us seek to please God, to do His will, and to do what we know is right in God’s sight first….and if that makes people happy then great!
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 23:1-7, 13-24

March 19, 2017 - Peter – the Promise Maker - Luke 22:31-34, 54-62

posted Mar 31, 2017, 6:09 PM by Grant Garber   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 6:11 PM ]

  • One of the major things people will most likely remember Peter for is how he broke his bold promise to Jesus and then denied even knowing him.
  • We make promises to one another all the time – in little things like showing up to a get together, to helping someone out, to participating in one of our congregation’s ministries, to taking vows at your wedding.
  • Let’s put ourselves in Peter’s shoes to see if we can gain some perspective of what Jesus was willing to do for him and for us through his story.
  • Peter was overconfident. Satan attacks the point at which a person is too sure of themselves, for there is where they are likeliest to be unprepared.
  • The person of courage always runs more risks than the person who seeks an easygoing life.
  • People are better at making promises than keeping them. Promises don’t mean a thing if people aren’t able or willing to keep them.
  • If we think it might be to our disadvantage to confess Christ, or even dangerous to show our faith, well – then it’s easier to just hide.
  • While Peter was selling out Jesus, He was keeping a most inconvenient promise that He made. It took everything in Jesus to keep this promise because the weight of carrying it had grown heavier with each sinner born – bearing the weight of the sin of the world upon Himself when He could have walked away from the whole thing.
  • The penalty of sin is to face, not the anger of Jesus, but the heartbreak in His eyes.
  • It wasn’t a glance that said “I told you so”. It was a look calling Peter to repentance, to look at Jesus and see what he was doing for Peter’s sin and for every sin we commit breaking our promises to God, or our promises to each other.
  • Jesus has kept all His promises to us. He has kept them all.
  • When someone keeps a promise to us, especially giving His life for ours, that inspires you and me to keep our promises to Him. It inspires loyalty in us.
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 22:31-34, 54-62

March 12, 2017 - Judas – the Traitor - Luke 22:1-6

posted Mar 31, 2017, 6:03 PM by Grant Garber   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 6:08 PM ]

  • Judas was known as “one of the Twelve”.
  • Judas knew exactly what he was doing and he is judged, as we are judged, by his actions.
  • Satan is working on all of us all the time, especially if you’re an important part of God’s Kingdom as Judas was.
  • Judas knew that things didn’t seem to be doing well at the time of our Scripture reading.
  • Judas not only abandoned Jesus, he took the opportunity to betray Jesus, which led to the wrongful death of the innocent Son of God in the flesh.
  • We are all Judases, actually or potentially.
  • What happened to Judas after he made his plan? Did he repent and go to Jesus for forgiveness?
  • Jesus never abandoned Judas, even to the very end. 
  • We might share in Judas’ weaknesses, but more than that, we share the same Savior.
  • During this season of Lent let us get rid of any thoughts of betrayal. Let us confess any such sins to God, and confess them to any person we have betrayed.
  • Let us follow Jesus. Jesus will never betray. Jesus will take every opportunity He can to pick us up when we fall, until He takes us to everlasting life.
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 22:1-6

March 5, 2017 - The Pharisee and the Tax Collector - Luke 18:9-14

posted Mar 31, 2017, 5:56 PM by Grant Garber

  • Perspective is really important to understanding our relationship with God.
  • The tax collectors did have one appealing virtue. They played a key role in the world of moral values by being someone everyone else could look down on.
  • If we compare ourselves to others by our own standards, we’re going to come out much like this Pharisee did, thanking God for all that is good about us, and putting down people who aren’t like us.
  • The one sin this poor Pharisee could never see in himself, the one that does him in that he just doesn’t understand is pride.
  • The Pharisee did everything right. We couldn’t correct him for a single action he took. And yet, before God he was the one condemned.
  • God simply wants our hearts to despair of ourselves, and to trust in Him.
  • The root problem for good people isn’t simply that they have a holier-than- thou attitude; it is that they are possessed by a holier-than- God attitude.
  • Good people struggle to understand and accept the quality in God’s nature that stands out above all others: grace/mercy.
  • To have this perspective, we have to let go of pride. We can do only one thing -- - cling to the promises of God, to His mercy and love.
  • The very answer to the tax collector’s prayer was the Man telling this story, the Son of Man whose plan to sacrifice Himself on the cross means we will be forgiven and exalted.
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 18:9-14

February 26, 2017 - Battling Against Fear - Matthew 28:10

posted Mar 31, 2017, 5:53 PM by Grant Garber

  • One problem that has haunted people in every generation is how to deal with their anxieties.
  • What Christian faith has to offer all generations is life lived with confidence and the end of the domination of powers that make us afraid.
  1. We are afraid of the past.
    • What happened yesterday is very much alive in our present experiences.
    • The Gospel says we must confess our sins and be forgiven by God.
    • Forgiveness comes as a release from the intolerable burden of guilt.
  2. We are afraid of the future.
    • Upon our society has fallen a shroud of fear of the future as gloomy and depressing as a foggy day.
    • How can we find a cure for our fear of tomorrow? The Bible finds it by considering the greatness of God who makes our life disturbances comparatively unimportant.
    • Thank God Christians believe that the future belong to God whose will is His children’s good.
  3. We are afraid of life.
    • We lose our willingness to say “yes” to the challenges of living and prefer to be half-alive if it means being safe.
    • How shall we be cured of our fear of life? We find our hope in Christ who gives us the glad confidence that we are led day by day into forever-enlarging tomorrows.
  4. We are afraid of death.
    • We are dedicated to the proposition that we must prolong life for just as long as possible, and in this wild desire to emphasize quantity rather than quality, we make it vulgar and cheap.
    • Christ removes our fear of death!
Pastor Jim Spon | Matthew 28:10

February 19, 2017 - Relief for the Weary and Freedom from Our Burdens - Matthew 11:28

posted Feb 25, 2017, 9:21 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 5:53 PM ]

  • One thing perfectly clear is that many people today live under tension and know trouble.
  • Jesus seems to be saying that He will give the weary relief and He will set us free from our burdens.
  1. We aren’t supposed to have it all the time.
    • Life is contrast and experiencing one continual mood would be monotonous.
    • Jesus says that we may come to Him for rest if we have been working hard and that we may find strength in Him if we have tolerated heavy burdens. His promise is rest after toil and peace out of struggle.
  2. Peace of mind is a by-product.
    • There are some things that aren’t suitable human goals, and peace of mind is one of them. If you want to be sure that you will never know it, then make finding it the purpose of your life.
  3. We only live fully when we are being used by a mighty purpose.
    • Life goes wrong when we trivialize what ought to be great, and we have a gift for making great things trivial.
    • As we come together to worship and serve in the name of Jesus, we see once again God’s plan for us and God’s call to greatness.
    • Life is an adventure when the purposes are big, and we find contentment in our souls only when we are involved in an important endeavor.
  4. The Gospel promises a new and lasting experience of peace.
    • The Gospel meets us with high demands for service and sacrifice. It focuses on the Cross of Christ and the cross we are to take up as we follow Him. To many people it doesn’t seem possible that such a focus could lead to relief, freedom and peace.
    • But as we begin here we come to the promise of help and of a power not our own. We are to extend ourselves in such a way that we can’t do it on our own, and we are to live by faith in God.
    • This peace which our Lord offers us is rooted in our faith in God. It is the confidence of people who are engaged in the great struggle for a better world and a redeemed humanity.
Pastor Jim Spon | Matthew 11:28

February 12, 2017 - David’s Affirmation - I Samuel 17:45

posted Feb 12, 2017, 12:01 PM by Grant Garber   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 12:01 PM ]

Observations from our text ---
  1. Goodness always seems weaker than evil.
    • Through 20 centuries the Church has been David against the Goliath of the world.
    • One of life’s greatest mysteries is the persistence of goodness and the inability of evil finally to overcome it.
  2. Humankind is not self-sufficient.
    • The strength of Goliath was only in himself, and his pride betrayed him. David proclaimed that he came in the power of his faith in a mighty God.
    • We seem to need a goal beyond ourselves in order to live with any satisfaction.
    • Goliath represents those who glory in their own strength and their own success but discover finally that it doesn’t save them.
  3. Our meaning is beyond ourselves.
    • Humans listen to voices which seem to speak from….
      • Within
      • Without
      • Above
    • Until a person says “yes” to these voices he/she does not find life.
    • For every person there comes a time when they must ask themselves in whose name they are living.
  4. Power is found through faith.
    • No one does very much until they believe, and nothing becomes strong until it is under-girded by faith.
Pastor Jim Spon | I Samuel 17:45

February 5, 2017 - We’re Welcome, You’re Welcome, Your Welcome

posted Feb 5, 2017, 11:02 AM by Grant Garber

Romans 8:14-17
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

2 Corinthians 2:14-16
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

Mike Nottingham

January 29, 2017 - That Which Is Eternal - II Samuel 6:9

posted Feb 5, 2017, 10:58 AM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
There are some things which are not to be manipulated or interfered with by human beings. There are some things in life which are for us to adjust to and not for us to arrange to suit our fancy. There are eternal realities which cannot be amended. In two crucial areas we need to come to grips with this main thought—
  1. Morality.
    • I believe in the moral law of God. I believe that the only choice we have is to discover what the law is and live by it or to ignore it and to suffer the consequences.
  2. God.
    • God is not someone to use….it is our responsibility to discover His will and yield ourselves to it….without compromise.
    • God is to be found and God is to be obeyed.
    • Let us not forget that God made us in His image but that we didn’t make Him in our image.
Pastor Jim Spon | II Samuel 6:9

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