Sunday, June 26, 2016

He Who Began A Good Work In You...

Brad began with the classic opening, "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." It's Pastor Shannon's last day here and he reiterated how much he loves us. He also found a couple things as he was cleaning which he brought to give a couple people. Ear plugs for Marlys and a container of Flarp for Leonard. Brad's favorite book of Bible and favorite text.would be the focus of his message.

Before entering into worship Chuck shared a few notes and thoughts. This church has grown into a family these forty years. He shared several verses about God's faithfulness. "No good thing does He withhold from those who love Him." The music team then sang "Through It All., following it with Mighty To Save." Then we all stood and joined in singing several songs from the blue songbook. During the offering they went on to sing "Heaven On My MInd."

He Who Began A Good Work In You

Brad led us in prayer. Then began speaking about his message for us from the Book of Philippians, chapter 1. The opening verses are from Paul to a church community whom Paul loved very much. The verse he wanted to focus on, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it..." God began the work, and God will finish the work.

Paul never intended to go to Philippi, but God blocked Paul's plans and he ended up there. This community became the first church family in Europe.

God has the power to do this because he is God. Brad listed all the moments in history that demonstrate the kind of power God has, from the parting of the Red Sea to the power to roll away the stone and raise Jesus from the grave. God has the power to change hearts, the power to love difficult people, the power to never give up, and the power to complete the work He began in this church 80 years ago.

"He who began..." God began the work in us and He is not finished. When God begins something He is planning to follow up. The key thing is for us to be patient, and trust. As Americans we're not very good at waiting.

It's more important what God is doing in us than this building itself.

"He who began a good work..."  God's work is always good. He doesn't do anything that isn't good. In the very beginning, in Creation, after completing the act of creation it says, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good."

But it's more than about God doing work out there in the world throughout history. "He who began a good work in you."

"Have you ever felt inadequate?" Brad says there is a reason we feel that way. "It's because we are. God is the one who activates our spiritual gifts and makes us adequate, fulfills our purpose in life and enables us and empowers us to make a difference in the world."

"He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Great is God's faithfulness. He is the faithful God, to a thousand generations. "He is faithful in all He does." It is His nature and His character. God does not get discouraged. He never gives up.

It is not about our adequacy. God is the one who is faithful.

"He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it on the day of Christ Jesus."

Our lives is about something so much bigger than what we are doing here. It's global. And it forever.

God doesn't quit and that day is coming. Whatever happens, live in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

* * * *

After the message Pam was invited to come forward to share a few words. She emotionally told how the Pastor Brad not only lived with us but showed his faith by the manner in which Brad and his family lived among us. There were tears among many this morning as they remembered or recounted Brad's time with us.

Duane said a prayer for them and then gave gifts to Brook to help her washing clothes -- a washboard, agitator and wringer as well as a solar clothes dryer (clothesline.) He also gave a saw  which Brad could use for both work and to make music.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


The forecast was for rain this Grandma's Marathon weekend, but the sun proved victorious over the forecasters. This morning it's a blue sky again, and spirits are lifted by this and the camaraderie of friends here in the sanctuary. Brad welcomed us with enthusiasm, and shared that this week was a great week of VBS here. He shared how incredible it was because of how incredible Jesus is.

This is Father's Day and fathers were given a special welcome. The message today will include some of the statements Jesus made about those who are blessed and how to be blessed. In particular he wanted to focus on one in particular, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

An introit by McKinsey moved us.

We sang three hymns with the concluding hymn being Our Father in Heaven. Verse four reads, "Our Father in heaven, bring strife to an end. Where hearts have been shattered your love can still mend."

The offering was taken and we shared a time of prayer

Before the sermon Madie came and performed "Here I Am To Worship" with Brad... "You're altogether worthy" Lord Jesus.


Brad gave a special welcome for father, but also wanted to welcome mothers and talk about families. Today he wanted to apply the Beatitudes to our homes.

Too many families are characterized by conflict. It's all too easy to slide into dysfunctional cycles in relationships.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)

Shalom is the original word for peace. It's more than just an absence of the bad. I wish for wholeness for you. I wish for the highest good, wholeness... positive, not the absence of negatives.

When Jesus said be a peacemaker he was abrogating the Old Testament notion of an eye for an eye. It was radical.

Peacemakers are different from Peacekeepers. Peace keepers make a false peace by avoiding conflict. Too often there is an undercurrent of tension as we put up with things to "keep the peace." This often happens in churches, too.

But peacemakers are not avoidance-centric. There are active, not passive.

Christ-centered homes are different from homes Christian in name only.

Romans 12: 17-18 and 21. Do not repay evil for evil. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live a life at peace with everyone."

In Christ-centered homes fathers "speak the truth in love." This is very different from "yelling the truth in love."

How do we speak the truth in love? First, we do it in non-conflict times. Second, you attack the issue and not the person.

Brad shared a couple examples of

"When you don't listen to me, I feel like you don't value me."
"When you check your phone at the dinner table we feel like we're not important to you."

Another thing peacemakers do is they apologize when they're wrong. We apologize for specific actions and don't make uses. "I'm sorry I raised my voice like that, it was disrespectful. Will you forgive me."

"I'm sorry" is remorse. Remorse is not enough. We must repent and ask, "Will you forgive me?"

Forgiveness is hard, but in Christ-centered homes it is possible. The Lord calls us to freely forgive as we have been forgiven.

Remember this: Your families are worth it. Whatever it takes.

Do you only call yourself a Christian or do you live it?

Family doesn't stop at blood, it extends into the body of Christ.

Brad shared how his children look a little like him. And as we make peace as fathers and mothers, we begin to resemble our Heavenly Father. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Perfect Sacrifice

Blue skies, bright sunshine, all things green waving in harmony with the breeze. Pastor Brad welcomes us. "Good morning!" Brad stated that there is a lot happening here today, and our focus would be on the Lord's Supper. He mysteriously suggested that we may break out into dancing today.

Brooke shared that VBS will be here in a week. We could use volunteers who can drive kids to and from VBS. There is also another need for a volunteer or two who can help lead kids from various stations to other stations. 

Darlene played another beautiful introit to lead us into worship, which was followed by the singing of a number of hymns along with the taking of our offering. During the offering two younger girls in the congregation performed a synchronized dane.

A variety of needs from our church family were shared as we entered a time of prayer.

The Perfect Sacrifice

Brad wanted to reflect today on the meaning of communion because many people do not grow up in the church and don't understand why Christian do this. Or why some churches do this one way, and others another way.

The Bible shows us that history is like a big U. It starts with perfection in the Garden and ends with the perfection of Heaven. But the story is dark, where we live.

It took three events to turn human history around: The Crucifiction, The Resurrection and this meal, the Lord's Supper.

In history ancient peoples from many cultures sacrificed animals. Many were sacrificing to appease or please the gods. Many strange rituals took place. 

Israel did something different with its sacrifices. There was an understanding that sacrifice was different, a visible way to address the problem of sin with a holy God. These sacrifices reminded Israel of the gravity of sin. And Brad explained there were several features of the sacrifice.

1. The animal taken was without flaw, without defect. 
2. The animal was to be blessed.
   See Psalm 51
3. The animal was then killed.
   Sin brings death.
   Exodus 24

Sacrifice was recognized as something costly. Sin was serious and forgiveness wasn't superficial or cheap.

The Last Supper is where Jesus explained what these sacrifices were all about. "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, He gave thanks, He broke it and said...'This is My body. Take, eat. Do this in remembrance of Me.'"

When we come to the table, it's not just us remembering. Something of Jesus comes shining through.

We all have a deep sense in our hearts that the world is broken, and somehow there has to be something done to set it right.

When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God."

Jesus was selected, without flaw or defect. He was blessed, and then He was taken to the cross.

Crucifixion, Resurrection. It was at this meal, the Lord's Supper, that Jesus explained the meaning of all these things.

After He broke the bread, He then passed the cup, saying, "This is My blood..."