Real Hope for Real Life

hope

The Scriptures paint a very bleak picture of the spiritual condition of man.  There is no soft-selling it nor candy-coating it, or even dunking it in the world’s most expensive perfume.  Take a look at the picture painted by the Scriptures, the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:1-3

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ouch!

If that doesn’t shock your system, how about this:

Romans 3:10-12

“No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned asid; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Even by our own personal experience, everyone of us could testify that our thoughts, intentions, plans and desires are often times not what God would approve.  We are trapped by our own desires seemingly unable to escape their consequences.

What do we do?  How do we free ourselves from our sinful human nature?

Enter the scene help from the outside. We know by our own frustrations to “dig ourselves out of the ditch”, as it were, on our own we can’t do it!  The harder we try, the deeper we feel the desperation of our helpless situation. For that reason, Easter happened.

Christmas brings us the celebration of the arrival of the hope we desperately need. Christmas would make no sense whatsoever without the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Hope was renewed at Christmas and sealed forever at Easter.  Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)  That sealed sin’s fate. It was rendered powerless. The Apostle wrote, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

The hope that Jesus gives us real hope, not just a hopeful wish.  Jesus actually suffered on the cross, he actually shed his blood for the forgiveness of sin, he truly died and then he was resurrected to life again. This is such great news that we read the following words, “But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:57)

My friend, is that hope yours?  Are you tired of trying to find the solution to life on your own? Reach out by faith to the forgiveness that God offers you in Christ!

In the first ever sermon that was preached in the first church, the invitation to embrace the Gospel of Jesus was expressed by the Pastor in these words,

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 2:38)

That, my friend, is the hope we need today! Embrace it, love it, receive it, live in it!

For His Glory,

Pastor Bill

The Hope We Need

“What in the world is going on?” Have you said that to yourself or out loud recently? I have for sure! If you read the headlines, if you watch your favourite news channel on television, there is an inundation of frightening revelation of sin that for decadesthehopeweneed remained hidden and silent. We are reading of major political, television and sports celebrities whose past behaviour is now coming back to haunt them. There seemingly is no hope for them. For the victims of their crimes, there is finally hope that they no longer have to live in the shadows of past events that robbed them of hope.

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Real Hope in Real Time

It has been a very difficult week. Much harder than most. We have witnessed the absolute horrific tragedy of the church shootings in a tiny town deep in the heart of Texas.  How in the world do we make sense of that? Dear people who left their homes as they usually have done to attend church completely unaware what the next hour would bring. Their lives, and ours, have been  changed forever.  Continue reading

Does it Hurt? 

“Does this hurt?” “How about here?”  At certain times all of us have heard those words from a Doctor who is checking out what physical problem we may have. I recall running across the lawn of a neighbours’s yard and not seeing the little wire fence in the dark of night, tripping over it and breaking an arm! It wasn’t difficult for the emergency room nurse to tell I had a problem as my arm twisted in the wrong direction!

Less obvious are the spiritual wounds we carry around that come as a result of our own sin, and that of others. Emotional wounds that were inflicted by a parent, a spouse, or another person we trusted, carry their own set of damages that leave scars. We human beings have an uncanny knack of hurting one another, sometimes we don’t even realize that we do so. But when we put our needs and wants before serving God and others, we cause damage. And, the result is that we ourselves become twisted emotionally and spiritually.

The twelve men who followed Jesus Christ were not exempt from this malady.  You will recall that one of their most heated discussions had to do with which one of them would be the greatest, the most important, when the kingdom of God reigns on the earth! Really? How could it be that after the Lord announced to them that he was going to be delivered to the Jewish authorities to be killed, that these men thought it correct to discuss the place of their importance! However, without them even knowing it, these men, in a spiritual sense, began to inflict themselves with a world of hurt. 

Whenever we begin to think about “me first”, like the disciples did in Jesus’day, we unknowingly begin to hurt ourselves. We convince ourselves in thinking that this is something we deserve! But unless God is the one who gives it to us, our striving for position or priority actually hurts ourself, and those closest to us. We unknowingly trip over the neighbour’s invisible wire. Our attitude needs to be that which places God first, others second and me last. 

Here is the sad thing we need to acknowledge, repent of and confess: the church has been the cause of this type of pain. To be specific, I’m not talking about the church as in the building, rather the church as in people who have knowingly hurt people. We have run over people in our effort to establish our agenda (we use “spiritual” language to do so!).  We turn member against member. Sooner or later God will call us to account as to what we have done! 

A Holy Spirit led, driven movement of God is not that. It is one where God’s people confess their sins one to another, and they don’t allow hurts to trip up God’s agenda. It is a movement in which the fruit of the Spirit is evidenced and God’s agenda takes first place. Nobody needs to ask who gets the credit but rather everyone knows it is God who gets the glory all day, everyday. 

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! May we treasure him, and may that be reflected in our desire to encourage others to do so as well!                                                                

It’s Not Over Yet!

It’s not over yet! There are times in life when we think that we have it all figured out and just then God throw us a curveball that knocks us right off our feet! We are left wondering, “What was that all about?”  Because we are frail creatures who have a limited sense of understanding we want to know all the details all at once! Thankfully, God has not designed life that way! 

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