Posts by matt

Christmas Eve Service 10 am

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Christmas Eve Service 10 am

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—or so the old song goes. Yet we have to admit that it doesn’t always feel that way. We can all rattle off a list of the reasons why we feel a twinge of stress or sadness mixed with happiness or excitement when the carols start playing in every public setting. Hectic schedules, rampant materialism and reminders of personal wounds are just a few of the reasons.

Whether you are the person who is ready to relax and savor the season because you did all your shopping and preparations months ago (not likely) or the person who dreads the busyness, responsibilities or loneliness that steal your joy this time of year (much more likely), the Christmas season offers a unique opportunity to experience God’s love and grace in the midst of real life.

Christmas can still truly give us a taste of the most wonderful time of world history. Jesus—the Messiah, the Savior—came as the light into the darkness and stress and pain of the world—our world. That world then, just like our world now, including our lives, needs the light to illuminate, clarify, guide, and heal. Christ’s coming brings that ultimate light and His peace, joy, and all-consuming love. Those are the true gifts of Christmas. And He is worth celebrating.

Please join us for our Christmas Eve service at 10am.

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Ecclesiastes (Part 1) – Joel Ericson

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Ecclesiastes (Part 1) – Joel Ericson

Ecclesiastes (Part 1)

I have to admit that  among all of the Bible, I find myself reading Ecclesiastes more than any other, possibly because it is full of so much practical information and discovery; possibly because of the conclusion reached by “the student” (likely Solomon). The world can be hard to understand and we all need something to hold on to. Solomon realized that and spent the latter portion of this life, 1 – trying to atone for his early indiscretions, and 2 – seeking to gain the knowledge and understanding of all things. He had access to the greatest fortune, the greatest minds, the most power and authority in the known world, and he had experience. He was a professional hedonist but he humbled himself and addressed the concepts that we wrestle with, as has every generation.

In the beginning we learn that “All is vanity.” Everything under the sun is vanity apart from God. Everything in this world, everything in this earthly sphere is incapable of satisfying the deepest part of our soul apart from God. As Christians we know it well, yet we see the endless striving after earthly pursuits. “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” This is his assertion of the human situation without God. Significance, meaning, purpose cannot come from any earthly endeavor.

Here is life without God:

(1)All is vanity/meaningless/useless…

(2)There is nothing new under the sun…

(3)Everything we do to satisfy ourselves is “is a striving after the wind”…

(4)Wisdom for its own sake brings sorrow and grief…

(5)Pleasure seeking is futile…

(6)And God has designed it to be this way…

Life with God:

(1)God makes everything beautiful= “appropriate” in its time.

(2)God has placed eternity/forever in the hearts of man…this is another way of saying that all men know there is a God and that this God has a plan that has a future

(3)God gives us 4 gifts:

The ability to rejoice and enjoy life

The ability to do good in our lifetime

God gives us an appropriate appetite to eat and drink

The ability to see good in our toil

Are his observations contemporary?

(1) Does:The world seems to be out of control.

(2) Does:Justice seem to be broken. Evil judges abound.

(3) Are we:Calling right –wrong and wrong right!

(4) Does: evil seems to triumph …death, corruption, oppression, sinful behaviors seem to abound while the truth seems to be fading into the background.

(5) Are there: corrupt and unbelieving church leaders.

A fair and apt description of the world today, we hear it in the news every day.

What then is our hope?

I’d like to continue next time for there is a lote of wisdom found in the latter chapters, including the ultimate assurance and instruction.

Now a prayer from Ecclesiastes

Dear Lord I know from your word that there is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

Protect us in the time to give birth and comfort us in the time to die;
Give us strength and fortune to plant and fortune in the time to uproot what is planted.
Restrain those who would kill and grant skill and success in those times to heal;
Tell me when and what to tear down and strength to build up.
Comfort in the time to weep and grant me plenty of time to laugh;
Comfort in the time to mourn and give me joy in the time to dance.
Show me the time to throw stones and the time to gather stones;
Bless me with a time to embrace and educate me when it is time to shun embracing.
Help me in the time to search and reveal the time to give up as lost;
Show me what to keep and what to throw away.
Help me if it is time to tear apart and again when it is time to sew together;
Tell me when to be silent and give me confidence when it is time to speak.
Fill me with love and turn me from hate;
Restrain any time for war and fill the world with peace.

In your blessed name

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New Normal – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

New Normal – Pastor Matt

Like all Americans, I am sad and angry about the violence in Las Vegas. I keep asking myself, “When is this going to stop?” It tares me up thinking of the blood shed and loss. I struggle thinking about those who died without knowing Jesus. And I want nothing more than to have everything reversed to find everything normal again. But what happens when the bullet casings cool and we find ourselves back to the way we once were?

I’m like most people; I take great joy in normal. I love the consistency of a quiet morning with my children warming pancake syrup in the microwave while annoying cartoons are blaring in the next room. But what if the shooting in Las Vegas isn’t an exception to our normal? What if the gun violence is not just a bitter anomaly to our every day life?   What if it is a symptom of our normal? What if our normal is damnable?

Throughout scripture, we see God trying to get the attention of his people. We see the pattern over and over again. God blesses his people; they fall away and worship other gods. God punishes his people; they fall away and worship other gods: rinse, wash, repeat. The normal for Israel, wasn’t faithfulness to God but idolatry. Their normal killed the prophets and stoned God’s messengers.

I don’t pretend to know God’s greater plan for Las Vegas and the people involved. I do know that God does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). I also know that God saves and is near the brokenhearted (Psalms 34:18).

I also know that what has happened is a wake-up call for all of us. Jesus says that we must be born again. Why? Because what we call normal, God calls sin. Our old normal is a blind and stuttering man who is only concerned about himself. We need a new normal. We need God’s grace and Holy Spirit, to make us into a new, beautiful and righteous normal.

Our new normal is completely trusting in our Father in heaven. Our new normal is no longer fearful because of our Father. Our new normal is painfully aware of our potential to fall back into our old sinful ways. Our new normal grieves with those who are grieving. Our new normal is quick to repent, slow to anger and lovingly patient. Our new normal is ready for Jesus Christ to return and we orient our lives around that fact.

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Fruitful Waiting – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Fruitful Waiting – Pastor Matt

How many times have you been described as someone who is good at waiting? I can say with 100% certainty that I have never been called a good waiter. I have had my moments of being patient, but that’s not the same thing. Waiting means to remain inactive until something expected happens.

I remember those final weeks of my wife’s first pregnancy. We were both miserable in our waiting. It probably didn’t help that she flew past her due date without a hint of labor signs. We both knew our baby was coming, but the anticipation was painful and seemed to last forever. Looking back on that time I realized that we were actually quite active in our waiting. We were both very attentive to Leah’s body. If she had a cramp or a sharp pain, we immediately thought LABOR! And when our little one finally decided to come, we were more than ready.

Before Jesus was taken to heaven, he was teaching his disciples. He taught them that he would be gone soon and that they were going to continue what he started. I could imagine that the disciples would feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of doing what Jesus did. I’m sure they were anticipating all the work they were going to have to do. But then Jesus gave them their first task. They were to go to Jerusalem and wait for a gift from God. What? Wait? That doesn’t seem right.

The disciples did what Jesus told them to do, and they waited. They went to Jerusalem, and were in constant prayer. See, Jesus told them to wait, not to be inactive. So they prayed and listened to teaching all the while their sense were sharply tuned for the coming gift.

One of the benefits of waiting is that you are aware. In our busy lives we have very little waiting time. We can fill every waking hour with work, or entertainment. And yet Jesus has called his disciples and us to wait. So when he moves, we are more than ready.

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M.O. -Pastor Matt

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

M.O. -Pastor Matt

There is a great Latin phrase that I like: modus operandi or M.O. for short. It means a method of doing something. For example, when certain people want to learn something their M.O. is to go find an expert and ask them questions. When other people want to learn something their M.O. is to go to the library and read everything they can get their hands on for that specific topic.

In the book of John, Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection. They are thrilled to see him. Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Jesus is calling his disciples to live like he lived and to do what he did on earth. They are, for lack of a better term, called to be Jesus to the world. In effect, that is what we are called to do as well.

So the question is, how do we do what Jesus did? For starters, we observe Jesus’ method of living, his M.O. What are the foundational things Jesus did every day that accomplished his ministry? We see that Jesus lived his entire life in the presence of his Father. He was in constant prayer. Jesus often left his disciples to be with his Father. As a child he was drawn to the temple because that was his Father’s home.

Another foundational M.O. was the constant building up and training of others. Jesus was always with people. Why? Because Jesus’ purpose was to save people from their sin and teach them how to follow him. He couldn’t very well do that if he wasn’t around people.

Jesus M.O. is a constant pursuit of his Father with others. That would be a good M.O. for us as well. What other foundational things did Jesus do?

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