Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pastor's Corner 9-07 to Easter 2008

Easter 2008

C.S. Lewis made the blatant statement that Christianity is a resurrection faith. It is the keystone of the arch that is all that we are as believers in Jesus Christ.

Many have made this about salvation from hell and the final resurrection and this is certainly legitimate, but by itself it loses some of its glitter. The real issue on this earth is relevance. What relevance does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ have for me today? If we do not know the answer to that question then the "good news" does not result in changed lives, but rather in "fire insurance." Pastor John MacArthur loves to call this "easy believism." The world looks at this kind of Christianity and calls it repulsive, so do I.

The Bible speaks of life and death from a spiritual dimension. Sin or man's evil deeds lead to death while Christ's righteousness leads to life. Life comes from Him. That means life in the now as well as in the life to come. This leads to the opposite of "easy believism." For those walking in the Spirit life is very difficult, not easy. Yet it is also very rewarding as the resurrection power of Jesus reflects in our lives as we unveil His Presence in us. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 3:18 in both a powerful and a mystical way.
CSB 2 Corinthians 3:18 "We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit."
Thus the resurrection becomes real now as we leave spiritual death behind and display life as an unveiled image of the resurrected Christ.

December 2007

As we look toward the coming of 2008 and back on the joys of Advent and Christmas let us remember that Jesus spoke always of the Kingdom of God. Many times we see that God holds back the Kingdom's outbreak until His people pray. We must understand that sometimes it takes time for the King to be accepted.

On December 6, 1865, just months after the Civil War ended, the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery was ratified and became of the law of the land. But that didn't mean every state approved the ratification of the amendment. Mississippi's state legislature, for example, was dominated by whites bitter over the defeat of the Confederacy, and they rejected the measure. 130 years passed before Mississippi took action. By 1995 Mississippi was the only state in the Union that had not approved the ratification of the 13th amendment.

Finally, on Thursday, February 16, 1995, the Mississippi Senate voted unanimously to outlaw slavery by approving the ratification of the 13th amendment to the Constitution.
Senator Hillman Frazier, a member of the Mississippi's Legislature's Black Caucus, said, "I think it's very important for us to show the world that we have finally put the past behind us."

Just as there was a delay in some states ratifying an end to slavery in the United States, so there is often a delay accepting the presence God's kingdom coming ever new here and now. Advent is a reminder we must never stop trying, never stop hoping, never stop preparing for the in-breaking of God's kingdom either into our own hearts or in our community.

God's kingdom will one day hold sway over the entire world. When that day comes, my prayer is we will be prepared for its glory.

Are you praying for the in-break of His Kingdom in your heart and in our community today??

November 2007

My Halcyon Family--

As we approach the holiday season, I am once again reminded of the incredible blessings which the Lord chose to and continues to choose to send our way. Throughout the hecticness of our days, especially with the added activities of the holiday season, we need to be even more intentional about keeping our focus on the greatness and goodness of our Lord. At Thanksgiving we will have a service of praise so we as a church family can come before the Lord to express our thankfulness for all His blessings! And as we approach Christmas, we will celebrate the four Sundays of Advent leading up to Christmas to remind us of our greatest blessing of all—the advent of Jesus Christ, God with us. Born under the shadow of a cross.

Great truths most of us have heard before, yet the power and relevance of God’s blessing in our lives through the gift of His Son NEVER lessens in meaning and significance. Let’s approach this holiday season with hearts open to His love, Presence and purpose in each of our lives!

September 2007

During one of the darkest hours of our nation just six years ago people desperately needed hope. In the process of removing debris from a fallen crosswalk that connected the North Tower to Building Three two days after the disaster, recovery worker Frank Silecchia found two steel beams in the perfect shape of a cross.

The beams, at least six feet high and four feet wide, were naturally bolted together as part of the total structure. When the other beams were ripped away, they were all that remained. The edges of the beams bear no markings of being cut or welded to make the shape. In fact, some of the bolts that once attached the edges to other beams are still intact.

The most heartwrenching discovery was that a silver object melted onto the cross's left side was the remains of a firefighter's jacket who died in the blast. Firefighters say the fire-resistant jacket turned silver and took on the look and consistency of metal when it encountered extreme heat and fire. Now, it is wrapped around the left arm of the cross.

CSB Ephesians 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure...

God often does the strange and wonderful things that we only dream of. His will is often mysterious and the greatest mystery of all is God entering into the darkest hour of history, when man crucified His Son and bringing great light from it. God actually takes pleasure in giving us hope.

As we look back at 9/11/2001 with sadness and the realization that our world is changed in ways that we did not even begin to imagine on that day, let us remember the grace of God and the fact that as His children He delights in giving us hope.