Beautiful Feet – June 15, 2018

feet-walking3-900x601The Apostle Paul, as he pours out his desire to see his brethren embrace the Gospel, paraphrases Isaiah 52:7 – “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that verse as we prepare to take nine of us to Papua New Guinea. Our hope is to encourage and learn about the ongoing mission to bring the Gospel to unreached tribes in those virtually unreachable mountains.  We know that God sees the feet of those front-line missionaries as beautiful! I’m certain He also sees the feet of their co-workers at the missions base (where we’ll be staying) as beautiful, as they make it possible for the tribal work to occur.  But what about an encouragement team? Pray with us that we will “bring glad tidings of good things” to our co-workers in the Far East. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us – but I assure you it’s not the only opportunity this summer (or even this week) to get your own feet blessed!

To put it in context, Paul says, in Romans 10:12-15

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Their feet are beautiful to God because they are carrying His #1 message – the message of redemption – to those who haven’t believed.  In 21st-Century middle America we too are surrounded by those who have yet to believe!  I believe it’s incumbent upon all of us to use our feet to carry that message to our neighbors and friends.  Since it’s often easier to carry the message as a team, would you consider joining us tomorrow, Saturday June 16, as we “bring tidings of good things” to our neighbors by washing their cars, fellowshipping over hot dogs, and inviting them to VBS? Speaking of which, next week (June 18-22) we have an opportunity to bless whole families with our beautiful feet by preaching the good news to their children.  If you can help call Carolyn Bradley or Lori Diffenderfer and, even if you can’t help in person, consider making your knees beautiful this week as you pray for the workers (and for the Adult Missions Team in PNG)!

Pastor Scott

Why Study the End Times?  June 8, 2018

When I got my first ten-speed, I took it over to my Elementary School to figure out how to shift gears without fear of cars.  I was riding back and forth shifting through the gears and watching the sprockets down by my ankles.  As the ride progressed, I got increasingly focused on that front double sprocket (every ten-year old in the 70’s needed to know how to shift on the fly).     As my speed increased and my attention gaze stayed down, I ultimately ran into a light pole and messed up my front wheel and my face!  I had to push my bike home while bleeding down my shirt – a very inglorious lesson; but a lifelong one.  If my focus is ever and only on what’s going on down here; I WILL crash. God’s word tells us to look for Jesus and hope ONLY in Him – not, only, the stuff of this world (politics, job, house, $ – even family)!

We study prophecy because it gives us Hope (see verses below)!

We study prophecy to remind us that we need to Love each; other more and more as we see the day approaching (1 Peter 4:7-8).  The “Great Commandment” isn’t just a cool slogan – it’s a mandate made by God’s Son and it is our greatest need in times of trial.

Finally, we study prophecy because it reveals, in graphic detail, the fate of those that never put their trust in Jesus.  We study prophecy because it doesn’t let us half-close our eyes and pretend that our unbelieving friend isn’t going to die in her sins.  We study prophecy because it should motivate us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Praying for you all, as I know you pray for me,

Pastor Scott

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”  —1 Peter 1:3-4

“Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
—Philippians 3:20

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”  —Psalm 39:7

“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” —Titus 2:13

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” —2 Corinthians 4:17-18

“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  —Romans 8:18

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
—Romans 15:4

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  —Revelation 21:4

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  —Lamentations 3:21-23

“Behold, I am coming soon.”  —Revelation 22:12

What if? June 1, 2018

I’m in the middle of preaching on the seven churches in Revelation.  I take the literal view that these letters were written to and about churches in the seven cities named.  The application of these passages is to evaluate our own church and, in the context of Sunday Morning, our own lives.  But what if the naming of those seven cities was just figurative and the real literal meaning was to deliver a prophecy about the church age between John’s time and ours?  It’s an intriguing thought and one held by many theologians over the years.

What if the Ephesian Church (2:1-7) represented the church at the end of the Apostolic Era, continuing to function with a certain militancy but with a receding first love?  What if the Smyrnan Church (2:8-11) is the years of Roman persecution, beginning approximately with Trajan (AD 98) and ending with the reign of Constantine (AD 313)?  What if the Pergamian Congregation (2:12-17) describes the period following Constantine’s embracing of Christianity during which the church became increasing married to the world and eventually theologically and morally apostate?  What if the church at Thyatira (2:18-29) is the church of the Middle Ages, immersed in heretical teaching and moral turpitude?  What if the Sardines (3:1-6) is the church of the Reformation when some are found who have not defiled their garments, even though the majority of the church is still dead?  What if the church at Philadelphia (3:7-13) is the church of Missionary Expansion, beginning with William Carey (1792) and continuing up to the contemporary period?  And what if the lukewarm church at Laodicea (3:14-22) is now?  What if we, individually and corporately, are one of the relatively few places people can find the cool refreshing water of love and acceptance (Great Commandment) and the hot water of truth for growing up in Christ (Great Commission)?

As widely popular and as wonderfully fitting as this view* is, it’s just speculation.  It could be exactly what the Lord Jesus wanted the Angel to communicate or it could just be a fun exercise in historical correlation, but either way our mission is the same!  We all need to return to our first love and be about His teachings; to love each other and disciple each other in His truths!

Pastor Scott

*Credit to Paige Patterson, New American Commentary on Revelation, for this summation