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October 18, 2016, 12:37 PM

October 19, 2016


“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.  Therefore, say to them, ‘this is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction.  Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips’.”  Jeremiah 7:27-28

                Can we handle the truth?  Think with me for a few moments about our current situation.  Why are we facing the trouble we see all around us?  Why have we succumbed to the ways of the world?  Why have we seen this influx of wickedness over the years?  The answer to many questions like these reveal the daunting truth about the church in the United States.  In his book, Vertical Church, James McDonald shares some very staggering statistics.  “Six thousand churches close their doors every year.  Thirty-five hundred Americans leave the church every day.  Only two percent of growing churches are effectively winning converts to Christ.  Fewer than twenty percent of Americans regularly attend church.”  McDonald calls this a major meltdown; an epic failure.  We know that statistics can be substantially erred yet if these numbers are anywhere close it reveals serious problems.

                Why focus on so many negatives?  Aren’t there some good things going on in some churches today?  There are some good things happening but the trend is certainly not positive.  A close examination of the Old Testament reveals, in detail, the downward progression of a nation (Israel) who pushed God aside.  The truth is, we see it happening in our own nation today.  Why?  Because we, as Christians, have become anything but excited and enthusiastic about our relationship with the living God.  We are being backed into a corner and warned to stay quiet as the ways of the world dominate our culture.  Where is the boldness of Peter, John and Paul?  There are a few “watchmen on the wall” but their message seems to be falling on deaf ears.  We have allowed the enemy to infiltrate the camp!

                So, what can be done about our current situation?  Have things gone too far?  Unless we acknowledge the problem, we will never take steps toward correction.  Look again at the passage above.  We must respond to God’s continual warnings around us.  Our only answer is to turn to Him in repentance, obey Him and separate ourselves from the ways of the world.   The Church will continue to be here until God calls us away.  However, it will be very different from the “country club” atmosphere we have experienced.  As persecution escalates, the Church will grow stronger but not necessarily larger.  Are you ready for the times?  Buckle up and stay close to God and in fellowship with His people.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




October 12, 2016, 9:36 AM

October 12, 2016


“All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.”  Deuteronomy 28:2

Are you thanking God daily for your blessings?  We are all very blessed in spite of current circumstances in our nation.  We sing the hymn, Count Your Many Blessings, but do we really listen to the words?  We should focus on those words as we face trials and obstacles in these uncertain days.  Look at the following words:           

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the LORD hath done.

 

The billows certainly rage all around us and the times appear bleak.  We can easily become discouraged which makes us easy targets for the enemy. 

                When God blesses us, as He continually does, what is our response to His kindness toward us?  Do we keep it all to ourselves or do we share God’s kindness with others?  Sometimes we feel as though we can just bask in what God has done for us without any concern for others.  Yet, God so often blesses us so that we will be a blessing to others.  If you are discouraged or frustrated, take a few moments to remember the many blessings you have received.  You will be truly amazed at what God has done for you.  Then, go and share those blessings with someone else.

                On another note, we are looking forward to New Desire being back with us this Sunday morning.  Please make plans to be with us a little early (10:30) as we share in worship together.  We are praying that you are experiencing God’s blessing in many different ways. Also, please remember to pray for our nation as we are experiencing some very difficult days.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




October 5, 2016, 10:41 AM

October 5, 2016


“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”   John 10:9

    Do you remember a simpler time?  A time before remote controls and fancy electronic equipment?  I can remember a time when I was the remote control for the television, air conditioner and the farm gate.  Many times I went to the farm with my dad and at least 95% of the time it was my job to open the gates.  The gates were narrow, being just wide enough for the pick-up truck.  I can remember looking at two well-worn tire tracks that sufficed as the road to the pond.  The gate was rusted and worn but always seemed to have a welcoming impact on a young boy.  It was a much simpler time!

    As we read through the Bible, it describes several gates.  One passage in Matthew 7 describes two gates representing two different life paths.  One gate is wide with many people traveling that way.  The Bible describes that gate as certainly leading to destruction.  The other gate is narrow and much less travelled.  Yet, it is the narrow gate that leads to real life. 

    Have you ever been on a four-lane freeway and, because of road-work or an accident, the traffic narrowed to only one lane?  People quickly become bitter, angry and frustrated.  That describes so many people who are travelling the broad and destructive way.  At first, it seems like the right way because everyone else is heading down the same path.  However, with each passing life event, the people become ever-so-surely boxed in to a defeated life.  The Bible is very clear that the broad way leads to destruction (difficulty in this life and eternity apart from Christ).

    What about the narrow gate?  If the narrow gate leads to life, then why are so few people entering through it?  It is because the enemy has blinded their eyes to the truth.  The enemy says to follow the crowd and become involved with them.  Jesus says to follow Him and experience real, lasting life.  I am constantly amazed at the people who claim the Christian life must be boring.  The problem is: They have never experienced it!  The Christian life is “joy unspeakable and full of glory”.  I cannot help but reminisce a little about the old, narrow farm gate and the worn narrow path.  Those narrow tire trails led to real fun and great experiences as a child.  However, the real narrow gate is the way of Jesus that leads to the greatest life of all … heaven!  Are you on your way there?

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




September 27, 2016, 4:29 PM

September 28, 2016


“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”  Psalm 32:1

    Fellowship among believers is very important for us in the Body of Christ.  Yet, there are many today, who neglect the opportunity to fellowship with brothers and sisters.  A recent article examined 30 ways that Christians are missing fellowship with each other.  You can probably name several of them.  As the days become more chaotic, Christian fellowship becomes more and more important.  The opportunity for fellowship should never be taken for granted.  However, there is a much deeper issue in the Church today.  It is characterized by a distant fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

    One of the quickest ways for our fellowship with God to be compromised is due to disobedience.  Disobedience is sin and sin disrupts the peace and security we experience as we walk with Him.  Remember, it is the enemy’s desire to disrupt our walk with God.  Why?  Because the enemy thrives on making our lives miserable.  There are many Christians who are living miserable lives today because they are experiencing a distant fellowship with God.  In other words, their walk with God has become very weak and shallow.  As a result, they are experiencing guilt and frustration.  God does not intend for His children to live that way and always offers an avenue of correction.  It is called confession.  Psalm 32 reveals to us the way David felt when there was unconfessed sin in his life.  The same is true for all of us.

    Is there something (maybe some unconfessed sin) that is wreaking havoc in your life?  Do you feel, as did David, like your “bones are wasting away and that your strength is sapped as in the heat of summer”?  We cannot be like Adam and Eve and try to hide from God.  He knows everything about us including the very things we may be trying to cover up.  David said, “then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity”.   What happened next?  God forgave him and restored the fellowship!

    Our fellowship with other believers is certainly important to us, and we must not neglect it.  However, our close walk with God is absolutely vital for our well-being and for the Christian impact we have on others.  Let us all examine our lives and determine if there is anything that is affecting our fellowship with our Father.  Praying you each have a blessed and prosperous week!

                                                                                               

                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia         




September 21, 2016, 9:45 AM

September 21, 2016


“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”  John 3:19

    Missing pieces:  Do you like jigsaw puzzles?  Some people, including me, stay away from them because we are afraid we will get close to having it all together only to find a piece or pieces missing.  That would really make some of us very uneasy!  Would you frame a puzzle picture that had a piece or several pieces missing?  We live in a world of missing pieces.  As Christians, it should make us very uneasy because the missing pieces represent a multitude of problems we face as well as a multitude of lost people.  Our nation is much like a puzzle with pieces missing.  The largest, most prominent piece in the center of the puzzle is about to be missing as well!

    Picture our nation as that puzzle.  Many of our citizens are very aware of the missing pieces, know the reason they have fallen off, understand the solution and strive to tell others.  Other citizens see that pieces are missing but, unfortunately, fail to understand the real problem or solution.  Still others seem way too busy to notice the missing pieces and really do not care about them.  What we really see are pieces of a once great puzzle one by one falling away.  It would look very similar to our community mills coming down brick by brick.  Yet, the largest and most important piece in the very center has not completely fallen away but is only holding on by mere threads.  That particular piece is the only reason any of the other pieces could possibly hold together.

    We develop plans, strategies and technological wonders in order to put all of the pieces back together.  However, our strategies are backwards and have little impact on the rest of the puzzle because the large, most important piece has been neglected.  We must focus on that particular piece!  That piece is Jesus and apart from Him being in the most prominent, important place none of the other pieces will ever continue to hold together.  It is so sad that we do not recognize the seriousness of our problems.  The passage above really says it all.  “Light (Jesus) has come into the world but people loved the darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil.”  Be thankful if your eyes have been opened so that you see, understand and personally know the Light that has come into the world.  The world fails to understand that without Him the puzzle quickly crumbles apart. We pray that you will be diligent to tell others the reason for so many missing pieces around us and the importance of the most prominent piece … Jesus!

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia


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