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9/17/2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie
 
Prayer.
If there is a greater privilege than prayer, I don’t know what it is. The opportunity to talk things through with our Creator with the confidence that our Creator cares is beyond amazing.
Jesus has said a lot about prayer in his famous Sermon on the Mount. He told us how not to pray. Then He gave us a model upon which to build a life of prayer. But Jesus has more to say. Read the text for yourself:
Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matt. 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
These powerful words from the Savior call us to a life of prayer. In that prayer-centered space we experience personally the goodness and generosity of God.
 
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Septemeber 11th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
If you’ve heard that verse quoted once, you’ve probably heard it a hundred times. For Christians, John 3:16 is the most known verse. For antagonists of Christianity, Matthew 7:1 may move to the number one spot.
In the world’s eagerness to believe that anything goes, there is in the popular mindset no absolute truth, and no one has any right to disagree with anybody. If you dare disagree… you will likely be labeled as ajudgmental hypocrite.
So much for tolerance!
Of course the Jesus calls us to be spiritually discerning people, while at the same time we are to avoid hypocrisy and treat people with civility. How can we learn and what can we learn about spiritual discernment from Jesus words?

Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matt. 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

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August 27th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Jesus prayed. In fact, he was and is the authority on prayer. He knew intimately the one to whom he prayed. He was always in perfect alignment with his Father’s will. He was never too busy to pray. He prioritized prayer over sleep. Jesus prayed.

Prayer is easy to talk about. It is harder to do. That is, it is harder to do well, consistently, fervently, and wisely.

Jesus does us all a big favor when it comes to prayer. He gives us a prayer model that allows us to begin with confidence and build with wisdom. This model prayer has been titled, “The Lord’s Prayer” for centuries. Christians around the world have spoken, recited, and implored God with these words more than any others. It isn’t hard to understand why.

The Lord’s Prayer is simple, personal, and comprehensive. A child can speak this prayer while the aged saint explores the mystery and majesty of prayer. Circumstances can influence how we pray this prayer and this prayer can influence how we pray in our circumstances.

Jesus said, “Pray then like this…” and to one degree or another, Jesus’ followers have been doing just that. Not that the praying has come easily, nor that the words haven’t become repetitious in certain seasons of our lives. Nevertheless, the prayer has helped many a struggling worshipper to have words to express their heart’s longings and desires.

Read the words of Jesus with fresh eyes. See the bread and depth of our saviors’ words. Jesus said…

Matt. 6:9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,

12 and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

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August 21st, 2017 -Pastor Daniel Chapin

People would rather be around someone who is authentic than one who is fake. The hard part is that we don’t always know fake people when we see them. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God says to Samuel, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” We can hide from everyone but God.

In our series going through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is calling his followers to a high level of discipleship. He calls his people to follow not just through actions, like the hypocrites but through a heart that is authentically transformed through three spiritual disciplines.

 

 

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August 14th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Ever ask yourself, perhaps in a moment of exasperation, “What does God want from me anyway?”

You are trying your best to be the kind of person that God wants you to be. Then some jer…, er, fellow human being acts in a hurtful way. Then the pressure is on. How will you react? Will you stew and steam behind the scene? Will you give that person a piece of your mind that you can ill afford to lose?

We live in a broken world. You don’t need me to tell you that. You don’t need anyone to prove that. We simply consider our own performance and realize we’ve got a long way to go.

But what is the standard? What does God expect of us?

We will be answering that question from the teaching of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (text included below). Jesus has been challenging our basic assumptions about our views on righteousnesswhile at the same time laying out the path that he himself will follow. What a teacher! What an example! What a Savior!

 

 

 

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“Yes and No.”

August 7th, 2017 -Tom Kirkendall

I am pretty excited. I was digging through my spam folder and discovered an important email. Apparently, I am somehow related to royalty. There are several million dollars waiting for me in the Bank of England and all I have to do is provide $10,000 and all my banking information. Perhaps I should also invest in those ocean-front properties in Nevada.

As we use to chant, “Liar, liar your pants are on fire.”
This Sunday we continue our series in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus continues to paint the picture of just how different the Kingdom of God is. Jesus has put anger with murder, lust with adultery and instructed on marriage and divorce. Now he comes to swearing – making oaths. Fitting that it comes right after marriage and divorce, isn’t it?

Here is what Jesus says: 
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, ‘Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.’” Matthew 5:33-37

 
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July 31st, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

Jesus turned some heads when he told the disciples and others who were listening in…unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20)

I wonder if His listeners thought to themselves, “How are we ever going to get into the kingdom? The scribes and the Pharisees were the experts, the professionals. They tell us what the Law means and how to obey it.” Whatever they thought, Jesus at least had their attention.

We need the same message today. The reason: performance-based religion leads to moral checklists left incomplete and spiritual report cards marked D for discouraged.

Jesus was trying to reclaim people by offering new life, new relationship with God through His own righteousness. It was Jesus who would make it possible for our sins to be forgiven. It was Jesus who would show us how to live out of that forgiveness in ever increasing measures of glory.

However, Jesus had to convince people then, just as he does today, that our own religious performance just can’t pass muster. So, in a series of six examples, Jesus shows the futility of measuring our lives solely on externals. Read the following section of Jesus’ sermon. You’ll see both the pattern and the focus of our study on July 30.

Matt. 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matt. 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matt. 5:31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Yes, Jesus moves into the home and talks marriage and divorce. So will we. These are tough topics for sure. Yet, we can see the truth Jesus is driving at related to the permanence of marriage, while at the same time see the grace and the truth that will help us keep our relationships in top shape.

Be praying and preparing your heart to hear grace and truth from our Lord.

 

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July 24th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

When the preacher goes for the jugular, the old saying was, “The preacher quit preachin’ and went straight to meddlin’.” When the subject of the sermon turns from comforting the afflicted to afflicting the comfortable, we sometimes react the same way.

If we have discovered anything about Jesus from his Sermon on the Mount it is that Jesus is always willing to go from preachin’ to meddlin’. No one escaped His penetrating truth delivered with strong grace. On the one hand, Jesus is assuring us that He will fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law. On the other, Jesus is pointing to the multiple layers of sin that capture our hearts and keep us hostage.

For example, Jesus started with murder and went straight to meddlin’ with a discourse on anger. Next, Jesus restated the command against adultery and then went straight to meddlin’ with a discourse on lust. Frankly, there are four more of these examples of meddlin’ that are coming in the next few weeks.


Do we really mind Jesus going for the jugular? Don’t we really, in the deepest part of our soul, want someone to tell us the truth and show us that there is hope for a life of love, joy, and peace apart from religious rule-keeping?
That is the message that Jesus wants us to hear. There is hope! That hope is found in putting our full trust in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let’s decide again today that Jesus’ words will not be considered meddlin’. Let us receive his teachings as truth and grace from Heaven.

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July 16th, 2017 - Pastor Tom Kirkendall

“It is hard to be a Christian on Highway 5.”

I said that to a couple of people last Sunday after returning from our trip to San Diego.

The crawl through LA is always less than invigorating and then there comes a choice: 101 or 5?

On 101 you can enjoy a time along the ocean, stop in Santa Barbara, frolic in the green hills, and enjoy the melodious birds. It takes a little longer, but it might just be worth it.

Highway 5 enters no man’s land with dead fields, the sun seems hotter, and the pungent odor of manure. (I did not hit the recirculate air button in time.) It is where the living dead are given driver’s licenses and tasked with driving as fast as they can, passing on the right and cutting in front of minivans.

Okay, truth be told: Highway 5 makes me angry.

I allow people who I don’t know and will never ever know, to get to me. Oh, the stories I concoct in my mind about who they are and why they are such jerks, idiots, heathens! “I will show them”; somehow, I think that putting my own life in danger by tailgating is the proper response. Then that still small voice comes…it’s my wife reminding me that I am not much different, “Tom it is not worth it.” A quick look in the rearview mirror reveals this huge log protruding from my eye. Hadn’t noticed that before.

In our series on the Sermon on the Mount, we come to Jesus putting anger in the same category as murder. (See Matthew 5:21-26) Though not many of us have committed physical murder there are many times that we have done so in our heart. Jesus wants us, His disciples, to understand the difference between living in man’s kingdom and living in God’s. And it is not just about switching highways.

 

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July 9th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

"Jesus was always full of surprises. Jesus healed people in surprising ways… his voice… his touch… his spit?

Jesus is associated with surprising people. Uneducated and wealthy, the religious, as well as the political activists and tax collectors, and the moral and the immoral; all had life transforming encounters with the Savior.

Jesus also taught surprising truth. Nowhere do those surprises become more evident than in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus refuses to teach like every other rabbi, leading off with a lecture on the rules of religion. Instead, Jesus began with the condition of our hearts. The blessed life, Jesus claimed, was found in being poor in spirit, mourning, meekness, and a host of ever increasing heart qualities.

The surprises just keep coming. This week Jesus moves his focus to the religious language that the people were used to hearing from one’s local rabbi. This time, however, Jesus made an astounding claim. Well, read it for yourself.

Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

 

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