I want to focus this week on how we carry out the work of ministry in our church. Engage: we engage God in worship and engage the lost by sharing the gospel. The primary mission of the church is worship and evangelism. Connect: we connect people to God’s Word for cultivating spiritual growth and for developing an authentic community environment. Serve: we serve in the church, our local community, and the world. So, how does Engage, Connect and Serve function on a practical level? As ministry teams meet to discuss events and make plans, the focus should be on how to include engage, connect and serve. For example, if the team is planning to have a special meal (e.g., Valentine’s Day dinner), there are numerous possibilities. The team could invite someone to speak on evangelism (love of God) or have a Bible study or request food for a local food bank. Anyone of these ideas would fit Engage, Connect or Serve. So, I would like the encourage all teams to begin thinking about how your team’s ministry plans will fit into the Engage, Connect and Serve model. Don’t be afraid to be creative! If you need help, please do not hesitate to talk to me. God Bless and thank you for serving Christ and the church!
Ever since the shooting in Las Vegas, the news media can’t provide enough coverage it seems. Reporters keep asking why such a tragedy happened. Of course, many of the talking heads have endless theories and ideas. Hours and hours of television devoted to the shooting. Yes, the tragedy is horrible because lives were changed in the twinkling of an eye. God bless those who are suffering today for the senseless act of one man.
But, the Bible makes clear why things like this happen. Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). The media outlets are chasing the wind in seeking answers to why. Furthermore, Paul writes, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18). Since mankind is separated from God, we are capable of all sorts of evil. The solution? People need to get saved, and Christ will transform their hearts. Only Jesus can do this, not laws or regulations.
In Christ, Pastor Mike
I am currently reading Edwin Gaustad’s book, “Sworn on the Altar of God.” The book is a biography of the religious life of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas grew up during the period known as the age “Enlightenment.” Reason and nature were the capstones of this period. A portion of the book addresses the issue of the depravity of man, which came under severe scrutiny in the late 1700’s. Was man so depraved, that he could not reason his sinful condition before a holy and righteous God? Ethan Allen, a critical genius, in my opinion, noted: “if reason were totally depraved, how then do we distinguish between a rational being and a madman?” Furthermore, Allen explained that those who argue for the total depravity of mankind, do so by way of reason which they claim is depraved. So, where am I going with this?
Faith, by its very definition in the Greek, is trust or complete reliance in something. In our case, it is complete trust in Christ – his nature, his miraculous birth, his sinless life, his substitutionary death on the cross and his glorious resurrection from the dead. But, it is not a blind faith, nor should it be only a blind faith. For example, the Bible reveals that there were over 520 witnesses to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. We have clear evidence from historical records that Jesus was a real person, who performed miracles and taught about the Kingdom of God. Christians have not only a strong faith but a faith that can be argued in a sinful culture. The Apostle Peter wrote, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15). No, brothers and sisters, we do not have a blind faith!
Children in Action and Missions Friends will be packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They kicked off the mission by filling a cross with 38 empty boxes with hopes to fill them all and deliver them to the processing plant. They will be collecting donations, either items for the box or cash for the $9 processing fee for each box. Deadline for donations and packed box is November 5.
Trees provide oxygen for our lungs. Without trees in the world, we simply wouldn’t be able to continue living. Therefore, trees are vital for our existence. Beyond this basic understanding, trees are often used as theological images for theology. This series will explore famous trees in the Bible and examine how these trees help shape our theological roots. My prayer is that our faith will grow deeps roots!