March 5, 2018, 2:38 PM

Invite a Friend

Are you troubled, burdened, tired, ready for Jesus to come and take you away from this life? Most of us would say yes! We would eagerly jump at any kind of relief from the strains of life and would consider it to be pure perfection if Jesus took all of our stress away. Many people today are looking forward to the second coming because they believe the promises that their struggles will end when he comes. This is a great and true promise from the word of God and it will come to pass and we will live with Him in paradise.

But isn’t the rest we seek from Christ already there for us? We know The truth is that Jesus has already come to us to ease our burdens. He invites you to come to him in faith so that you can be relieved of stresses of life.

Jesus came from heaven over 2000 years ago to save you. In your lifetime He has called you many times to come to him. He has done miracle after miracle in your life in order to bring you to faith in Him. The Holy Spirit is working in you to bring you to faith make you into the person he means for you to be. He gently calls you into a continuous relationship with him through which he promises to ease your burdens.

You know that you should be thankful to receive his grace, yet you still have a hard time fully living by faith in Him. You know you should come to him and rely on him always, but you have a hard time doing it enough? Why do you think that is?

It’s because your brain is not wired to rest in Jesus. You inherited a relationship with God that is broken by sin. Your heart of flesh does not want to trust anyone but itself or something it can control. You have lived your whole life not depending on him. One miracle, or a series of miracles, will not change the fact that you are physically handicapped in your ability to trust him. You certainly know that miracles have been done for you, and you know God calls you to let him carry your burdens but when you are under stress; but when you are stressed, your new knowledge will be easily overcome by old experience. You will not act

in faith, but in accordance with the dominant programming of your brain. The answer is that He calls you into a continuous abiding relationship with Him so that He can renew your mind by grace so that you will thrive in life with Him.

This calling is for you and for people around you to know the grace of God in their lives. Holy Week gives us the opportunity to reflect on the humiliation and agony that Christ suffered for us, so that our burden of sin would be lifted and we can know the love and salvation of God.

Maundy (Holy) Thursday March 29th events will be a little different this year. We will hold a meal and meditation time with the theme of the last supper at 6:00pm and then view the movie The Passion of the Christ in the sanctuary starting at 7pm. Please invite your friends and family to join us for this special event! 

February 1, 2018, 10:26 AM

From the Heart

We all know the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second is like it: to love your neighbor as yourself. Love is emotion, love is action, but love is most complete as a relationship. God so loved the world. He was in such a committed relationship to the world that includes you and me; that He sent his only son to seek and save lost sinful people. Their relationship with Him was broken by human sin so God took action to recreate the love relationship. God lavishes unconditional love on His children. He bids us to receive His love and live with Him by faith in His love.

This is a strange thing for us. We do not understand unconditional love. Humanity places all kinds of conditions on love. We are capable of loving someone if we expect them to perform well, and we are definitely capable loving those that perform well for us. It is easy to stay in relationship when a partner performs well. Whenever performance is lost, too many human relationships get strained; and then broken if performance is not corrected. Unconditional love seems wasteful and futile because we do not believe it inspires better performance.

Most relationships, including marriages, parent-child relationships, friendships, and all professional relationships have a powerful per- formance dependency.

If someone does not maintain a certain performance level, the relationships become strained and broken. Even usually loving, committed re- lationships involve threats, coercion, and manipulation of various forms to motivate the partners to perform as expected. Without unconditional love these relationships are weaker and there is less life in them than should be.

Wouldn’t it be great to find a high performing and loving relationship partner? One who could always be relied upon to deliver both performance and love reliably? As technology advances there are some who believe that the reliable love we need can come from a robot. David Hanson, the founder of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, says “We are building the AI architecture for genuine love”. The willingness to invest millions in technology to achieve genuine love exposes both the great human need for love and our willingness to pursue love in futile and misguided ways. The eternal love that heals our brokenness will never come from technology.

The nurturing, tender and inspirational love we need and crave comes only from God. Despite all your sins and failures, God continues to believe the best about you and invests in you so that your best can become a reality. He sees you were you are and loves you as you are. That said, he loves you too much to leave you as you are so he shapes you into the glorious being that you were created to be. God loves you and blesses you every day in accordance with His truth. It is His love that you crave. He feeds you with his love and will do so the more you ask. In performance based relationships there is little interest in investing time or effort in order to help someone develop. God’s unconditional love meets you where you are, heals you, and enables you to become the person you were meant to be. He calls you to come to Him for rest, for peace, for love and to become all you can be with Him.

The problem is that there is a human tendency not to ask out of a desire to achieve love on our own merit. We want to perform to earn love instead of receive it unconditionally. This is our natural unfaithful state, but if you truly want more love in your life the way is open for you to come to him and ask him every day. Please seek the unconditional love of God and learn what it means to trust Him more and more. 

January 8, 2018, 3:27 PM

Pastor's New Year Message

Welcome 2018!! Does it seem to you that we all blinked and 2017 became history?  President Trump has been in office a full year, Easter, Christmas and every holiday were here and gone in a flash.  It will seem like 2018 will go even faster.  Since the pace life seems like it is accelerating it is all the more important to take time to slow down and assess what is happening around us.  When life is fast and furious we crave peace and comfort, when life is depressing we yearn for encouragement, when life is exhausting we crave rest.  As we embark on a new year, it is important to ask where peace, encouragement and rest can come from? If we seek and trust Him, God is the source of these life giving things and more for us and for those around us. 

As Paul attests God is the source of grace, peace, comfort and encouragement even in the midst of the harshest trails and tribulations of life. In the beginning of his 2nd letter to the church at Corinth Paul writesGrace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.   Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.   If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.  

We do not want you , to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.   Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.   He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us..(2Co 1:2-10). The word translated as “comfort” in the NIV could also be translated as “encourage”.  God gives comfort and encouragement to us so that we are blessed and are a blessing to others. That fact is that everyone has a constant need for encouragement during the daily trials of life.  Encouragement requires understanding of truth and love together.  Encouragement fully acknowledges the truth of hardship but then adds love to inspire people to hope and action. Paul makes it clear that the God of love and truth is the perfect source of encouragement. People are so needy for encouragement we are capable of seeking it from many things. Hardships put the sources of encouragement to the test.  Death is the ultimate test.   All sources of encouragement other than God may hold for a time but ultimately collapse under the pressure that Paul calls deadly peril. Christ sought His encouragement from God even through the hardship of the cross and emerged victorious from the tomb.  Paul received the sentence of death but sought encouragement from fellowship with Christ. 

Every one of us faces tribulation in life and ultimately will face death. Every source of encouragement other than God will fail, but the encouragement and comfort that come from God will deliver us and continue to deliver us as Paul attests.       Life seems to becoming more and more fast and furious. We face a sense of futility and may even feel sentence of death threatening our comfort and encouragement.  If that is the case we may be encouraged by something other that the God, the Holy Spirit, the God of all encouragement and comfort. As the chapter of our lives is written in 2018, I seek the eternal encouragement and comfort from God that gives life to us and to others through us as we live in His encouragement.                Jon

December 9, 2017, 1:40 PM



     People are naturally empty and trust themselves to be filled.  A perfect Christmas season includes being filled and is the top priority for everyone.  We expect to be filled with food, good cheer and certainly Christmas gifts!   It is so easy, and even natural, at Christmas for us to be self centered and driven by the desires of our hearts to be filled by many other things other than God. 

     But Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of God’s love that was embodied in the gift of Christ.  Our sinful hearts covet things, people, and feelings of fulfillment that are temporary.   A heart turned toward God celebrates the precious gift of the love of God and relishes an eternal relationship with Him. The love of God fills a faithful heart and His love over flows through to others.

     A perfect Christmas season certainly involves physical, tangible gifts;  but the true power of perfection is the love of God given through Christ.  As we gather together with friends and loved ones this Christmas, I pray that you will truly remember that Christmas is all about His perfect love. Ask Jesus by the power of the Spirit to show His love to you because His love is truly what your heart desires.  In that same conversation, ask Him how to show His love to others because His love is what every heart truly desires. 

      Your children,  spouse, friends, neighbors, the hungry, the homeless the sick, the lonely, and everyone ask for things at Christmas; but what every heart truly needs is love.  People in need ask for what they think will stop their pain with intensity determined by the need they feel.  Even deeper then, any felt need is the need for Jesus’ love.

     So as you give to others this Christmas, ask God to show you how to come alongside others to love them as deeply as he does.

     Coming to God for love and truth should be for us like breathing.  The gift of Christ, the word of God incarnate, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are to once a year gifts, they are gifts that are given again and again.  They also are meant to be received again and again.  If we refuse to receive and give love from God, then we may continue to breathe for a while, but true life will not be in us.  May we all give and receive abundantly this Christmas and in the New Year!

     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Sharpe Family! 

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