Called Into Fellowship

What is the point of the Christian life? What is it all about? Paul reminds here in I Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”.

He says here that we are called INTO FELLOWSHIP. Not just that we are called to “heaven”, or into “prosperity” or to a “state of blessing”; he says we are called into FELLOWSHIP with Him. Continue reading

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Conspiracy Theories?

“Conspiracy theories” are popular with many people, and some of them gain traction among the Christian population as well. It should be instructive to us that scripture actually has a word that speaks to these, in Isaiah 8:12-13:

“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, and you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.  It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy and He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.” Continue reading

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When We Don’t Know

“The seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know.” (Mark 4:27)

Jesus relates a parable here in Mark 4, of how a man sows seed, and a plant comes up as a result, although the man himself does not know why.  This verse should help us to trust God in times when our knowledge is lacking:  Continue reading

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It’s Not Always Good News

God’s men don’t always have “good news” to share.  If they do, they are certainly not God’s men!

We see an example of that in Isaiah 7. God has just told King Ahaz that he does not need to fear two kings who are invading his land.  God calls them “two stubs of smoldering firebrands” who are not worth fearing.  But this didn’t mean that all would be well for the land of Judah. Continue reading

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“This Is My Story” Series Introduction

Just this week, the pastor who married Cheryl & I, Bill Elliff, who is now pastoring in Arkansas, shared a testimony about a man who came to their church 4 & 1/2 years ago, looking for a handout. One of their associate pastors ended up talking him, and soon the man, named Gary, found himself on the floor, crying out to God for salvation, with one pastor holding one hand, and another pastor the other. Bill said that Gary “used the only language he knew as he prayed, laced with profanity.” He said, “He’s the only man I know who literally cussed his way into the Kingdom! But God heard him and saved him from to toe.” Gary started coming to church every week, and sat on the front row — usually with 4-5 of his friends from the street that he would bring with him. As you can imagine, Gary had quite a ministry on the street from that time forward.

Bill shared this testimony because Gary passed away this week, at only 63 years old. But Bill and all those who knew Gary are comforted by the testimony he had, and how his life had been changed since the time he was saved.

That is quite a “story” about Gary, and how he came to follow Jesus. But if you are a Christian, you have a “story” too. And it is a story to which you should give some thought and attention. First of all, do you HAVE a “story”, and are you ready to share it with others? And then, do you know if the people you love have a “story” as well?

This morning, I want to introduce an emphasis we are going to be focusing on in the next few weeks here at Pleasant Ridge, called, “This Is My Story.” The title actually comes from the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine … this is my story …”. That hymn talks about how the person knows that they belong to Jesus, and that they are confident in the relationship they have with Him, so they can sing, “This is my story …”. I want us to spend just a few moments this introducing this series, not by focusing on any one scripture, but by thinking about the importance of having a salvation “story”, and how God can use your own “story.” Continue reading

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Curing The Fear of Man

If you have been struggling with the fear of a person or persons, God has a word for you in Isaiah Chapter 7 which will give you a better perspective:

Isaiah 7 begins by relating how how two kings, Rezin of Aram, and Pekah of Israel, went up with their armies against Jerusalem.  When the king of Judah, Ahaz, heard of it, :2 says “his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.”

Perhaps you have had an experience like that: you have received news that just made your heart “shake” as soon as you heard it.  What kind of word does God have for you in such a time? Look at what He told Ahaz: Continue reading

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“Strategically Planted At Your School” (I Peter 1:1 devotion for teachers)

One of the biggest decisions a person makes in life is whether they believe they are here by accident, or whether there is a God who has a plan for them. I think you are here today because you believe the latter — and the Bible teaches us that outlook. Continue reading

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