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Friday, December 16, 2016

Our Church Will Have Services This Next Sunday

Church services are a leisure activity for most people who call themselves believers. Corporate Christian worship can be trumped by any number of things. Sports is a common excuse. It is used with impunity. It appears to be a justifiable reason to miss worship. I just don't think "I was there when the Redskins won the Super Bowl" is the answer the Lord is looking for when He asks why He should let you into His heaven.

Church services are often cancelled by churches during bad weather. This would not have been possible a hundred years ago. Then, we would have expected that people would have used their own good sense to determine if it was safe to come to church. Those who are closer can generally make it. Those who live farther away have a more difficult time. Conditions are not the same all over a city. They are worse in some areas than in others. I do not berate people when they tell me that they didn't feel safe coming to church. That would be true if it were merely a rainstorm. People have to use their own good sense.

Our freedom to worship was paid for with blood. Cancelling services minimizes the importance of those deaths. That freedom is extended to those who do not want to come to worship. I get that. But I want to continue to open that freedom up to those who do want to come to worship. I make it a point of being here in bad weather. We continued to have services during the last hurricane that came through. (It was a tropical storm by the time it got to us but dropped a huge amount of rain.) Many of our people couldn't get here. We have a few over a hundred. The church across the street had about fifty. The restaurants in the area were packed that day. Most, if not all in some cases, of their employees made it into work. The police told people to stay in. I really doubt they would have said that if it were Monday and people "had" to go to work. Yes, there were places that people didn't need to venture into. They could use their own good sense to know they shouldn't go there. The authorities could say "stay in" because they knew they could get away with it. The more prudent thing to say is, "There are some very dangerous areas in the city. Please use extreme caution if you are going to be out today."That's what they would have said if it were a Monday.

Worship rarely "just" happens. It is a commitment that is made. It rarely happens for those who treat it leisurely even when they come to church. They are expecting to be "wowed" by the worship service. However, worship is us saying "Wow!" to our God. They are completely unprepared for that. They think the Lord owes them a good time just for showing up. Their lack of worship when they come justifies when they miss. Because they are unchanged by worship,  they can't see the reason to worship.

(I have heard there are some churches who aren't having worship services on Christmas Day this year. They are telling their members that they should spend that time with their families. Does worship keep families apart? I actually thought it brought them together. Silly me!)

So, the next time the weather is bad you can be assured (unless their is a mandatory evacuation) that we will have worship services as scheduled on Sunday. Be safe. Use your own discretion and if you believe it is safe carefully come to worship. Oh, and by the way, the Methodist church across the street will have services, too. They have a new young pastor who gets it.

Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)
37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38  This is the great and first commandment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From Natural to Miracle

God uses ordinary people to extraordinary things. This message tells the story of Mary's acceptance of what God would do with her to bring His Son into the world. God will never act in this way again but He could be calling you to do something extraordinary too.

Preparing for Christmas

God spoke to Zechariah while he served in the Temple through the angel Gabriel. Zechariah just couldn't believe that God would be so good to him. He failed to realize: God knows what you need. God has what you need. God is always loving toward you. God is doing something with you. Afterwards, Zechariah realizes that when his son is born. Have you realized these things?

When Jesus Comes

Jesus came and many people missed Him. They didn't recognize who He was. They didn't realize that He was not one who come be rejected. Today people reject Jesus, too. They don't recognize who He is nor do they realize that He must be accepted. They seek peace in their lives yet have no peace. The good news of Jesus is that He brings peace between man and God, man and man and within the soul of those who know Him. When Jesus comes their is peace.