Don’t Forget to Pray for Mothers!

Yes, this Sunday is Mother’s Day!  There is no greater way to honor your mother than to attend church.  I urge you to join us for Sunday School at 10 and Worship Service at 11 – I guarantee your mother would approve and that you will be blessed!  Mothers are a blessing from God, but (The) Father knows best: (Ephesians 6:1-2).  :)

-Pastor Dave Jones

The Case for Christ

An Encouraging Note

We “mature” (see also AARP-eligible) people seem to spend much of our time bashing what we deem to be the “irresponsible, self-centered, short-sighted actions” of the  younger generation. By the way, if you haven’t watched it yet, there is a fabulous YouTube video by Micah Tyler called “You’ve Gotta love Millennials,” a must-watch for those born before 1980. :) Anyway, I was reminded today of the dangers of generalizing as I witnessed one phenomenal young lady’s act of deep faith and heroism as she very publicly (facebook) confessed her personal struggles with anxiety and depression. While many of her peers complain about their woes because of the “unfair” way they perceive the world treats them, this young lady used her situation as a platform to profess her faith, thank her supporters and glorify her God. I’ll let her tell you her story:

“I have clinical depression and anxiety. I get panic attacks sometimes. In those moments, everything just kind of washes over me and I don’t want to exist; all I can do is lie there and cry and feel miserable. They’re really awful because your basic instinct as a human is to stay alive, and in that moment my brain is trying to do the exact opposite; it’s telling me I don’t want to do that and it’s really scary.

I don’t like talking about this – about what I’m struggling with people because it makes me feel weak. I’ve always felt like I was independent and strong and could do things on my own, and suddenly I can’t. Something I struggled with for a long time was I was afraid to think about getting medication because I was like, “God can fix me,” and yes He can heal me, but God also created medication for a reason. I’ve begged God to heal me of this; I’ve begged Him to take it away. Honestly, it can be really painful to think about God sometimes right now because I have asked Him to take this away; I’ve sought Him so much, but I think kind of what I’ve gotten out of it is God really does act in His own way. Maybe He’s not going to show up in a big way and suddenly cure me of these things, but He’ll show up in my life in other little ways. He’s given me people who let me just cry on their floor until 2 a.m. and comfort me and pray over me. He’s given me incredible friends who love me beyond what I ever felt like I deserved. He’s given me so much in little ways. Maybe He won’t heal me of this and maybe it’s something I’ll always struggle with, but that doesn’t mean that He’s not there; I always have to stop and remind myself that. I really want to make people feel loved and cared about and heard and understood, because I know I’ve spent so much of my life feeling like I mattered to no one: feeling like I’m not loved, feeling like I just am nothing. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like that, because it hurts so bad.”

This young lady, all of 20 years old, has only been a Christian since High School.  She grew up in a non-believing single-parent home and, besides my wife, is the first person in my wife’s family to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Please be in prayer for my very brave and courageous niece, Juliet. She is an inspiration to us all as each of us struggles with our own demons.  May we learn and be encouraged by the deep faith of this remarkable young child of God.

-Pastor Dave Jones

Relative Matters

Order in the Court!?

Over the past six weeks I have seen more drama concerning the court system than I care to recall.  First, there was the District court in Washington state which opined that the President’s executive order on travel was unconstitutional.  Then, the appellate court failed to overturn the district court.  After that, a sitting federal judge was accused of abetting the escape of a defendant charged with illegal immigration practices.  To top it all off, the senate is still fussing about the confirmation of the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court.  Why all this furor over the selection of judges?  Because we have given judges great power and authority to uphold the law and ensure justice is done.  Judges have a sacred duty to uphold the law and the people have a right to expect that their judges are above honorable and above reproach.

This is nothing new – judges have been part of cultures for thousands of years.  While much has changed over the centuries, the expectation that a judge’s character and conduct are above reproach has remained constant.  Sadly, there have always been instances of judges who lost sight of their sacred duty and allowed their own pride and prejudices to blind them to the injustices they were committing from the Bench.  This week we’ll discuss one of those infamous judges.  His name is Caiaphas and he was Israel’s High Priest and President of the Sanhedrin (their religious court).  I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we review the cataclysmic damage which can be done when a judge loses sight of his duties.  In the meantime, I ask you to pray that we may all remain strong in our faith and not succumb to the temptations of the World.

-Pastor Dave Jones

Time to Think About the Garden

Yes, I know it is currently -3 degrees and there is still a few feet of snow on the ground, but hey, it’s March! And March, to Gardeners, means preparing seeds for sowing and earnest planning and preparation for produce! Garden shops and news articles are already inundating us with ideas they hope will inspire us to new heights of gardening expertise. While planning to play in the dirt is a pleasant and useful undertaking (sorry about the pun), it is also the season to plow and prepare our hearts as we follow Jesus on His Road to the Resurrection. For the next six weeks leading to Easter, we’ll be studying the actions of Jesus in His final week on Earth. This week we begin by looking at the night of Passover as Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before He was arrested by the authorities.

Scripture tells us that Jesus went to the Garden to pray because he was overcome with grief and sorrow knowing what was about to befall Him. In the Garden we see that Jesus underwent a transformation from being grief-stricken to being God-driven as we witness His countenance moving from one of trepidation to one of resolve. I hope that you can join us this week as we begin to travel the Road to Resurrection to see how trusting God in EVERYTHING will bring us peace and Him Glory. As you prepare your gardens in the promise of the coming new life of Spring, please also prepare your hearts for the celebration of the new and eternal life promised to us by the One who has NEVER broken a promise. Pray without ceasing!

-Pastor Dave Jones

Prayer Requests

Most of you will be comforted to know that I have officially QUIT praying for snow!  I am running out of places to push it and had to put new brakes on my truck from all the plowing work so I will now begin praying for a gradual break-up and a nice summer!  Aside from my personal pleas for idyllic weather, please remember ALL our praises and petitions to our Creator and Lord as you go to Him in prayer.

-Pastor Dave Jones

Praying for Healing

As our nation continues to bicker and sow seeds of discontent with the leadership, Christians need to remember that our job is to  pray for peace and ensure we neither engage in nor condone the ungodly dialogue and protests occurring in the wake of the presidential election.  Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion about our elected officials and I am not concerned about your view (positive or negative) of our President.  My concern is strictly for your Spiritual fitness.

I have seen a number of posts which advocate Christians protesting against Civic leaders using the justification that Jesus Himself was a radical protester and protesting against tyranny and injustice.  I completely agree that Immanuel participated in one of the greatest revolts in human history; however, that revolt was against the Jewish religious leaders who had misused their position and led the chosen people away from God.  There is not a single reference in Scripture of Jesus protesting ANY Civil authority.  On the contrary, He instructed us to obey civil authority (e.g., Mark 12:17; Matthew 5:41).  Both Paul and Peter addressed the issue of the relationship between Christians and civic leaders in Romans 13:1-2 (Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.), and 1 Peter 2:13-14 (Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.).

Scripture provides NO JUSTIFICATION for Christians protesting against civil authorities and Jesus certainly never advocated or endorsed such actions.  ALL people (men, women, and children) should be protected from abuse and provided fair treatment from the government, but when that “fair treatment” becomes the “right” to violate God’s laws under the guise of “personal choice,” Christians must stand opposed. 

Additionally, there is the issue of unity.  Scripture emphasizes the importance of unity in the Church (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:10, Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:11), and also requires us to be obedient and submit ourselves to civil authorities.  Many of the signs and speeches in the recent Women’s March clearly denounced the legitimacy of elected officials and openly declared the protester’s rebellion against them.  Not what Jesus told His followers to do.

Praying Christians:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

We are commanded to pray for our civil authorities.  We are also commanded to care for the widow, the orphan and the refugee and to seek justice for the oppressed.  However, those commands are given to us (Christians) as the responsibility of the Body of Christ; not as citizens of any earthly nation.  In other words, Scripture tells us it should be Christians helping those in need.  By all means, when we as the Church see someone in need, we should help them. 

Grace and Truth:

God loves EVERYONE.  He will forgive EVERYONE who repents, puts their faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ, and commits to make Him the Lord of their life.  Christians should love EVERYONE and forgive EVERYONE, but that doesn’t mean we should endorse or condone their sinful behavior.  The world will accuse Christians of being narrow-minded, bigoted, and unloving because we don’t accept their “alternate lifestyle” of homosexuality or their “personal choice” of abortion.  That’s ok, Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because the world hated Him (Matthew 10, John 15).  As followers of Christ, we must choose truth and life over deception and death.  God will always provide Grace, but not at the expense of righteousness and justice.

So, this week as we pray for our brothers and sisters, please also remember to pray for our Nation.  That we may become once again, “One Nation UNDER God.” 

-Pastor Dave Jones

Prayers for the Body

As we study how to Love like Jesus, we must remember how much time Jesus spent in prayer.  If we truly want to love others as He loves us, we should be constantly praising God and praying for others.  We have many prayer needs this week – please join me in lifting them up to Our God.

-Pastor Dave Jones