Sunday, February 22, 2015


The message this morning is titled Self-Examination, which is something many of us do when the temps drop to near thirty below zero like today. We ask ourselves why we are living here in Northern Minnesota. Nevertheless Pastor Brad Shannon greeted us warmly to call our service to order. 

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, ushering in a season of repentance and renewal as we look toward Easter. One of the challenges in life is that in our efforts to overcome sin we learn how powerless we are. At an unimaginable cost to Himself, our Lord's grace and mercy have been showered upon us.

~ If you are interested in becoming a member, we'll be having a Membership class soon. Contact Pastor Brad.
~ Wednesday and Thursday will be another pair of work days at the church. Much progress has been made.
~ Tuesday afternoon there will be several from our church family singing at the Wesley Residence nursing home at 2:00 p.m. Contact Chuck or Darlene if you would like to join them.

Chuck opened the service by reading from Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom 
or the strong boast of their strength 
or the rich boast of their riches, 
but let the one who boasts boast about this: 
that they have the understanding to know me, 
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
 justice and righteousness on earth, 
for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

The trio sang a new song to usher us into worship. Brad then prayed and the trio sang When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder before we sang a number of songs together. They also sang a Dallas Holm song during the offering.


Brad began by reading Romans 7:15-25

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Brad noted that this is a message that springboards off the Ash Wednesday message.

Brad asked, "Why is sin so devastating?" Harry Eliason answered, "It separates us from God."

Pastor Brad then pointed out that sin is the only thing that can destroy us from the inside out. Sin is the one thing that can destroy what is eternal.

Psalm 24:3-4a states
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? 
Who may stand in his holy place? 
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart...

There are actually laws in this country about cleaning hands, but how do we gain a pure heart?

In Genesis 3 we see how it happened with Adam and Eve.

What Brad points out is the manner in which the serpent deceived Eve, by misrepresenting God so that they question His character.

Temptation is not sin, but when we are tempted Brad says we need to invite God into the situation. That was the big failure of Adam and Eve.

God's concern for us is that we develop character. In the Garden of Eden the first couple did not have character, rather they were innocent. Character is develped when we are tested and make choices ourselves.

In verse 8 it states that they attempted to hide from God after this violation, eating the fruit fo the forbidden tree. God says, "Where are you?" Adam answers, "I heard you, I was afraid and I hid." Not exactly a lie but not coming clean.

God asks a more direct question, "Did you eat from the tree?" Adam blames Eve and actually blames God for having made her.

When confronted, Eve blames the serpent.

In verse 21 God made garments of skin to cover their nakedness. What's interesting that this is the first time blood was shed, a foreshadowing of the sacrifice that would be needed later to atone for sin, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

Brad moved on to the story of Cain and Abel, another early story of failure. Once again a situation emerges and God asks a pointed question to help Cain understand what is going on. "Sin is crouching at your door." Cain doesn't like it, ignores the warning, then takes his brother's life.

Now to us. Confession and repentance are a necessary part of the Christian community. Today we need people in our lives with whom we can be transparent and accountable.

Galatians 6:1 states, Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Cain and Abel is not a Sunday school story. It addresses the radical nature of sin in our world. And how much pain and tragedy that occurs in this broken world of ours which occurs in secret.

The Good News is that at the center of the Bible is the Cross of Jesus. For God so loved the world...

What is it that you need to confess to God?

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