The Love of God

One of the central themes of Scripture is the love of God.  We must see how God has woven a thread of redeeming love through the Bible, culminating with the greatest expression of love, Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus came for a people who needed to be redeemed. The definition of redemption is to be bought back, to be reclaimed usually through some cost, or to be recovered or rescued. God sent Jesus on the ultimate rescue mission, one that would cost Him his life. He knew all of it and yet he still came and gave his life for you and me. True love requires sacrifice, is selfless, and is honorable. 1 John 3 describes the amazing love of God that needs to be present in all our lives. “We love because he loved us first.” He revealed that love by giving His life as a ransom for many. How has God’s love been present in your life? Are you revealing that love daily?

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

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Abide in Christ

All throughout history mankind has attempted to pinpoint when Jesus Christ will return to earth. The Truth from Scripture is that, “not even He knows the time, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) The one sure thing we know is that He is coming back, and He instructs us, “to be abide in Him.” (John 15:4-5) He describes the return like a thief in the night, or a sudden event.  However, his church has been summoned to set the example of abiding in Christ. He comes with salvation for, “all who believe and judgment for those who reject His message of hope and forgiveness.” (John 3:16-17)

He wants us to be a faithful servant who prepares by abiding in the vine as a growing branch.  Jesus’ return will not be a silent one either, it is described the Apostle Paul as a “trumpet blast and shouting.(1 Thess. 4:15-17) It will be a time of reckoning for some and time of joy for others. There is no middle ground, we are all responsible for our own decisions to follow and trust Christ. Religion won’t save you, good works won’t save you, and you cannot save yourself. Abiding in Jesus will be what matters and you just need to be ready.

Abiding In Christ,

Pastor Johnny

A Global Gospel

The gospel means “good news”. It is literally the best news anyone could ever receive. Why do we keep it to ourselves so often? The good news is that the sin we all struggle with is already conquered in our lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The good news is for everyone. Jesus came to sacrifice His life so all who would hear and believe could be saved. The gospel is global because Jesus told His disciples to go to all the nations, people groups, and nationalities to make disciples. The Church’s main goal is to multiply. This happens when disciples make disciples who make disciples. The point is simple, we have a command from our King and there can be no surrender and no retreat. Join us in going across the street and around the world with the good news of salvation for all who will believe. (Matthew 28:18-20 & Acts 1:8)

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Is He Your King?

The Christ child did not merely come to earth to be born in a manger, live a normal life, and die of old age. Jesus came to bring redemption for all mankind. He came to be the son of man, Emmanuel, and Son of God! He came as a servant, but will return as a King. The Magi brought gifts fitting only for a Prophet, Priest, and King for they understood the brevity of His life. The baby in the manger would grow up and teach the world what it meant to love sacrificially, and write eternity on the hearts of all who would believe. Philippians 2:10 states, “one day every knee will bow, those who are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” All will recognize Jesus as their rightful ruler. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Answer these questions. Who or what is Lord of my life? Have I pledged my allegiance to another King? Do I humbly serve my King with my whole heart? How you answer these questions will determine your place in the Kingdom of God. The Advent season should remind us of the most important decision one could ever make – making Jesus your King. He is worthy of all worship and praise, and He died so we could live. Live for King Jesus today! (Revelation 19)

On Mission,
Pastor Johnny

Thanksgiving History

“In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” — although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time — the festival lasted for three days. ” Thanksgiving Day stands to commemorate the religious and political freedom sought by those oppressed by the English government. Modern day traditions may vary, especially from the original celebration, but one thing remains. It should remind us to be thankful for our freedom to worship and live in a free nation. God gave the first Puritan and Pilgrim settlers the courage and wisdom to seek after freedom. May we never forget the sacrifice many gave to preserve the freedom to worship our great God! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (1 Chronicles 16:34)

(http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving)

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Thankful Generosity

When is the last time you recall giving generously or sacrificing your time, talent and treasure for someone else without expecting anything in return? How did you feel? How did the other person respond?  Patrick Johnson writes, “Genuine Christianity compels us to become a generous person because the central act of our faith is an act of thankfulness.” The Apostle Paul explained it best in 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”  There are some key generous aspects of these verses. First, Paul establishes grace as the core of God’s generous love and is not out of coercion, but a voluntary act of sacrifice and redemption. Second, he encourages us to model God’s grace that He has given to us freely. Finally, it is our goal as believers to live out His generosity, which is the very heart of God, to those around us.

Thankfully,

Pastor Johnny

Life of Sacrifice

Have you ever lost something super valuable to you? I heard about one story of a lost wedding ring in a lake, later found by a couple in shallow water. One day, while asking a local jeweler what they should do with the ring after four months of searching for the owner, he asked, “Where did you find the ring?” Sure enough, a couple had just inquired if anyone had found a lost wedding ring in the same lake. Rings can be lost and found, just like a fruitless wandering life can be lost and found in Christ.

After trusting in Christ, Jesus gives us a picture of what our new life should resemble in Luke 9:23. First, self-denial – we must seek after the things of God, not our selfish gain. Second, self-sacrifice – the cross is a place of death; there is no making it out alive. The cross symbolizes in our life all that must die in order to become a disciple of Christ. Jesus is not just an add-on to our life. His journey becomes our journey. Finally, we must be self-motivated. We must desire to follow Jesus’ example; it cannot be a casual relationship. Following Jesus means that we consume our life with His directives, and He will make our path straight. Ask God to help you live the sacrificial life!

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Finish Well

It has been said, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.” Well that is partially true, but the Apostle Paul included both the start and finish in his description of his life and the challenge he brought to Timothy, whom he mentored in life and ministry. In 2 Timothy 4:1-7, the Apostle Paul exhorts young Timothy, as well as all believers in Jesus, “preach the word, be ready, teach the Truth of God, and fulfill your ministry.” In other words, start and finish well. He goes on to say near the end of his ministry three keys to finishing well. First, “fight the good fight” (v.7). The Christian life will be a struggle and even a battle, but it is worth the fight to honor and follow Jesus. Second, “finish the race”. It is said that the Christian life is a marathon not a sprint; there will be hills, slipups, blind curves, and pitstops, but the goal is to finish the race and finish well. Finally, “keep the faith”. This is the ultimate compliment a follower of Jesus can receive, “well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) Finish well!

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

ACTS of Prayer

What are you devoted to? Most of us have a handful of things we spend our time and energy on. Where does prayer fit into your spiritual life? Sadly, I know in my life prayer often becomes a last resort instead of a first priority. I believe if we are to see spiritual awakening in our Land and revival in the Church, prayer must become a central priority in our lives.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. We have that prayer recorded in Matthew 6. The key is our prayer must also be followed up by action. We must pray and then love, serve, and go wherever God instructs us. Prayer without obedience is just wishful thinking. As believers, we cannot sit idly by and not act on our prayers.

The outline of the ACTS of Prayer is a great way to specifically remember key points on prayer and how to pray effectively.

Adoration: Praising God for WHO He is and His awesome power! (Psalm 31:23-24)

Confession: Confessing our need for His forgiveness, love and cleansing! (1 John1:9)

Thanksgiving: Thankful for God’s provisions! (Psalm 100:4-5)

Supplication: Praying for Others! (1Timothy 2:1)

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Young Lives Ablaze Kids Camp 2018 by Beth Aultman

What an incredible week of growing in the Lord our kids and I had at camp this year!  Our camp Pastor Colby King challenged each one to share their story with friends and family.  He is a great evangelist when it comes to relating to kids and the way he accurately and concretely demonstrates what it means to be a Christian.  Throughout the week kids would ask, “What time is it?”  Pastor Colby shared it is always 3:30.  This is their ministry theme verse. “He must become greater, I must become less” John 3:30.  Pastor Colby also shared a very simple way to have a conversation with those around us.  It starts with a question.  Can I tell you about the greatest thing that ever happened to me?  Then after sharing your story, you end with, “and that’s how I know I’m going to heaven, what about you?” I encourage each of you to give that simple way of sharing Christ with someone you know or have an acquaintance with a try.  Thanks for taking time to hear a little bit about our camp week.  It was terrific!