Jesus Christ, Faith, and Repentance

It is not a coincidence that we find the Scripture of Jeremiah’s prophesy still challenging us in a very relevant way today even though it was written and spoken to a Nation not our own in a time period much earlier than ours. We have not arrived at a more righteous age or a more spiritually awakened reality today than what has been experienced in past human history. Nor have we “moved on” as human beings from the struggles of the past as if we are able to master our sin on our own strength. The truth is human beings are prone to break the commands and laws of God and therefore we have the same realities true today that were true in Jeremiah’s day. In fact, the only reason we have not been given the exact same words of prophesy saying the nation from the North is coming is because we have been given the message of the New Testament instead! In light of this reality we all must stand amazed at how great our Savior Jesus Christ truly is. The difference in experience between God and His people in Jeremiah’s day and our own is not because we have changed, and it is not because God has changed, it is because the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything for those who believe in Him through faith. During our day, and all other days until Jesus comes again, the patience of God is on display for repentance to be true in our lives thus bringing salvation from an eternal separation from God.  -Pastor Andrew

God Wants Figs and Grapes

I believe one of the greatest evidences of our faith in Jesus Christ is that we have moved beyond asking “what do I want” into asking “what does God want” in the way we live our lives. This is taught all throughout Paul’s letters to the churches and it is seen clearly in the example of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Asking “what does God want” today as we approach Jeremiah 8:13 reveals the answer is grapes and figs. Obviously not in their physical state as if God is hungry, but in a spiritual sense God has planted a vineyard in the world, of which you and I who believe in Jesus Christ are a part of, and He expects this vineyard to produce a crop. We are to bear fruit in our lives, this is the purpose of all the blessings God has poured into our lives. There is a stark difference between the fruit of grapes and figs and thorns and thistles. The difference is just as wide as our selfless acts that are used to expand the Kingdom of God and our selfish acts that are used to make much of us. Today is a day to be honest about the fruit of the vineyard God has planted here. Not for the purpose of trying harder to make something better happen with our lives because we know the words of Jesus, He is the vine those who abide in Him bear much fruit. I pray we would seek out with our whole hearts the vine today.  -Pastor Andrew

Wisdom's True Purpose

Last week, looking back at Jeremiah, God took notice of the fact that even though His people fall and rise again in other aspects of life, when it applies to their knowledge and relationship with God and actions they take from this relationship, His people ignore God’s warning and continue in perpetual disobedience. God says a similar thing takes place among His people this week within the topic of wisdom. The claim of God’s word is that all wisdom is found in God alone. Wisdom is the blessing of God that comes more increasingly the more we understand, submit, and obey how God created the world to work. A wisdom that merely studies and learns for selfish gain and does not end on knowing and obeying God is a counterfeit wisdom unable to accomplish its God ordained purposes in our lives. Wisdom accompanied by rejection of the Lord proves itself to be unwise. I pray God would take us from living in our own understanding and pursuits into trusting in His understanding so we can grow in God’s wisdom and more importantly the benefits of it in our lives. I pray at the end of the storm we will have proven our lives are built upon the solid rock of God’s wisdom in His Word.  -Pastor Andrew

A Persistently Gracious God

Several things are astonishing as we turn our attention once again to the book of Jeremiah. If you will remember one of the final things God said before we began to focus on Jesus’s death and resurrection was in Jeremiah 7:27, “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you”. In so many ways this reality defined the prophecy of Jeremiah. Yet in the middle of this reality filled with loneliness and sorrow, verse 4 of chapter 8 shows God saying this, “You shall say to them”. This portion of Jeremiah teaches us that we are prone to ignoring the clear messages of God. As human beings we are eager to run towards selfish pursuits and ignore the calling of God to bring us back to what is True, Right, and Good for us. Just as clearly as this portion of Jeremiah teaches this, it also reveals a loving God who continues to call out to His people. The approach and attitude of God is not one of abandonment because of our ignorant selfishness, but rather, it is an attitude of endurance, patience, and persistence. Even in the end in Revelation 11 there are two witnesses sent by God who tirelessly and persistently preach the Gospel for salvation to all who would hear. As the conduit for the Word of God to be spoken to His people Jeremiah felt the weight of this Godly characteristic. He was asked to act like God as he told the Truth with a heavy heart. - Pastor Andrew

The "true light" lives and Exposes all things

The Tenebrae Service means "a service of shadows". It is designed to make darkness an important part of the service. Therefore we begin the service while the sun is setting and the candles are lit but end the service with the sun set completely and all the candles extinguished. These simple steps add a visual aid to the reality that set in the day Jesus was crucified. The Gospel of John calls Jesus in John chapter 1, "the true light, which gives light to everyone". This "true light" was brutally murdered on that day resulting in a darkness unlike any other. I say all this to say that the depths of this darkness was equally met with the significance of the light that appeared once again on Easter. When Jesus rose again He proved once and for all that the darkness will always be over matched by the light. One more thought on the resurrection we must discuss is the effects of this light upon our lives. If the "true light" now lives again he lives to expose all darkness, even that which may exist inside of us. I am challenged, and pray you are too, to welcome Jesus' light into the dark places of our hearts. Welcomed or not, the Truth of God's Word clearly states that all will be eventually exposed by the true light. May God grant us to live our lives as open books before our Creator and be mirrors of His light into the lives of others. -Pastor Andrew