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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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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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