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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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July 3rd, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

One of the most important factors in predicting the quality of a road trip is purpose.

There are other factors. Does the car break down or run smoothly and efficiently? Is the car packed full with people or is there space to stretch and change position? How far do we have to go today? Weather… road conditions… time available… how many times the kids ask, “Are we there yet?”

I still think that the most important determiner of our experience on the road is purpose. Are we traveling for vacation? …a wedding? … a memorial service? …moving to a new city?

Our study of God’s word will point us to our purpose as we journey together through life. As followers of Jesus, there is indeed an important purpose that God has designed into His plan for our lives. Consider Jesus words:

Matt. 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 

Matt. 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

No doubt about it, in God’s economy, we are intentional influencers in the world in Jesus' name. Let’s explore our purpose together.

 

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June 26th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the most famous of all Jesus’ recorded teachings. Jesus proclaimed profound truths to rescue us from the tyranny of religion and return us to the security and wonder of a grace-based relationship with our Heavenly Father.

The sermon begins with a call to experience blessing. The body of the sermon is filled with demanding, life-changing truth. The conclusion of the sermon is an invitation to build our lives on the teachings of Jesus. The response from the audience was one of amazement at the authority with which Jesus taught. We owe it to ourselves as followers of Jesus to pay close attention to His authoritative teaching. It is the pathway to God’s blessing.

We begin a journey through the amazing teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s Gospel chapters five through seven. Jesus will guide us into life transformation on such a level as only the Son of God could do. Prepare to make progress in your love for our Lord and for His people.

You can best prepare by reading the scripture text included below.

 

Matt. 4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Matt. 5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

Matt. 5:2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Matt. 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matt. 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Matt. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matt. 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Matt. 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Matt. 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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June 18th, 2017 -Pastor Tom Kirkendall

I use to do this test with each of my 3 sons. Walking in public I would reach down and grab their hand. A young child would willingly grab on but as the teen years encroached that changes: the point of no return. I remember it clearly with one of my boys walking in an outdoor mall. With no one around we walked hand in hand: laughing, smiling, birds singing. Then as we rounded the corner, birds went silent, a chill was in the air. Dead ahead were people. You already know what happened: he pulled his hand from mine. Life was about to change; my baby boy was growing up. Gone were the moments when I would arrive home and be greeted with squeals of “daddy”.


As a son, a father and now a grandfather I am thankful for the “daddy moments.” Though we know that life never stays still and our kids grow and develop and change, we treasure those moments of joy and connection. I think God has those moments with us as well.


We will look at what I am calling the “Daddy Directive” from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” It will be a continuation of the encouragement from last week’s message on the Great Commission. God calls us to initiate “daddy moments” and make disciples in and through our home.

 
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June 12th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

 What ever happens in the next game of the NBA Championship series, the one unmistakable, undeniable fact is that every player on the court or on the bench has the same goal…win the championship. Individual accolades and records mean little with out the ring. Armed with that single-minded purpose every player’s focus is clear, his motivation is strong, and his decision-making is purposeful.

 That is true in the Christian life as well. We want to hear, someday, our Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” If we want to hear our Lord’s affirmation at the end of the game of life, then perhaps we ought to tune into the pregame huddle and listen carefully.


 Matthew’s gospel contains a clear reading of the game plan that Jesus expects us to implement. There is no bench player on Jesus’ team so we all get to play. But we do need to stick to the Master’s game plan. Here it is as
Matthew recorded it:
Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


 Jesus set the bar of expectation quite high. So it will take all of us, living unselfishly, to accomplish the goal Jesus has set before us.

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June 4th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie, Tom Kirkendall, and Tom Beasley

We said our farewell to Pastor Tom Beasley and his family. 

We also will take time to remember that Jesus is the head of the Church. We, the followers of Jesus are the hands and feet of the Savior. There is much to do. Sometimes Jesus surprises us by what He is doing, how He is doing it, and who He uses to accomplish His purposes.

The Apostle Peter got a big surprise one day when Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter’s confession gave way to a promise from Jesus. Here is the report from Matthew’s quill:

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:16-18)

We all need the reminders from our Savior contained in those verses.

Remember… Jesus has promised to build His Church

Remember… Jesus has promised to use people to build His Church

Remember… Jesus has promised that His power will build His Church

 

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May 28th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

 We finish our series of messages, Live God’s Promises. Many of you deepened your understanding of God’s commitments by participating in a Life Group. New friendships were made and truth was shared so that we are all stronger in our faith and in the church family.

I’m so thankful for the promise of Jesus’ return. The launch text is included below. John 14:1-6 and a host of other passages will provide a clear picture of Jesus’ promise as well as how we are to live in the light of that promise.

The study of Jesus’ return to earth often produces more heat than light as folks argue about details surrounding that glorious event. But the real hope is found in Jesus’ foundational commitment to go to prepare a place for us and then to return to receive us to himself.

 

 

 
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May 21st, 2017 -Pastor Daniel Chapin

We will be celebrating our seniors who are graduating from high school. With this celebration comes a lot of anxiety. Parents are trying to organize graduation parties. Students are trying to finish those last minute papers and preparations for finals.

When graduation is over there is the added stress of moving to college.

Perhaps the biggest source of anxiety is for parents and graduates asking the question, “How are we ever going to provide for our child to go to college?” In Matthew 6:33 there is a promise that can help with our anxiety in time of need, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

 
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May 14th, 2017 -Pastor Keith Cromie

The world runs on the backs of tired people.

Just ask any mother of a couple preschoolers. The constant demand for attention, the unplanned bumps and bruises, and the myriad of training opportunities are enough to drain the emotional and physical tanks of the best-prepared mother.

It’s Mother’s Day. Okay technically Sunday is Mother’s Day. It is also true that moms need encouragement and support, strength and restoration, as well as, peace and rest for the soul…every day!

The fact is that we all need rest for our souls. Jesus knew that. He made some amazing promises about rest, pointing to himself as the only true source for that rejuvenation and renewal for our lives. Check out the promise for rest:

Matt. 11:25-30 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Eugene Peterson, in his work called The Message, paraphrases a portion of Jesus words this way:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Sometimes we get confused about how to find rest, where to find rest, and who to seek for that rest. Jesus clarifies all that. His simple invitation is to come to him, learn from him.

 

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