OH, VICTORY IN JESUS,-MY SAVIOUR FOREVER
HE SOUGHT ME -AND HE BOUGHT ME
WITH HIS REDEEMING BLOOD
HE LOVED ME-ERE I KNEW HIM
AND ALL MY LOVE-IS DUE HIM
HE PLUNGED ME TO VICTORY
BENEATH THE-CLEANSING BLOOD
That time honored chorus speaks volumes. Notice it does not say victory FOR Jesus; rather victory IN Jesus. It was not Jesus who needed a victory. It was not Jesus who had a sin problem. It was not Jesus who was powerless against death. It was not Jesus who was helplessly separated from God…..but God loved the world so much He gave His only begotten Son to accomplish what we could not; conquer sin and death; restoring man’s relationship with God. We can be victorious in Jesus because the Victory was for us; a profound expression of a God’s undying love for His children.
When we come together for holy communion; we reflect on Christ’s life and what it means to us as individuals and what it means to us as a body. Today we celebrate His glorious resurrection; evidence that He was all that he said He was. That he is able to save. That he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. That he is Love. That He is the Word. That he is the Light. That he is the Good Shepherd,...Our King, Our Priest, Our God, and Our Salvation!
With communion we recognize that Victory was not free; it came at a price. Jesus willingly suffered unspeakable humiliation and pain on the Cross. It cost a body broken and innocent blood to be poured out for the redemption of sins. We remember His broken body with the bread. We remember the His Blood poured out for us with the cup. By doing this we proclaim his death and claim Victory In Jesus.
At the end of today’s service; Pastor Gears will deliver an invitation to all here today. This invitation is over 2000 years old and issued directly from Jesus Himself.
Jesus said “Believe in me,
Jesus Said “Follow me”,
Jesus said “ Remain in Me.”
to some he might be saying “Return to Me”
This is how we can all claim Victory in Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your Victorious Son who suffered, died on the cross and rose three days later.
This week we recognize the events leading up to our Lord’s death and resurrection.There are many man-made traditions in today’s Christian Church; but communion is not one of them. This holy institution was initiated by Jesus himself during the Passover, Seder meal; just hours before his crucifixion. This was a God ordained ceremonial meal comprised of symbolic food used to commemorate the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt. Using these symbolic foods; Jesus revealed that God would once again deliver his people; but instead of from physical bondage and slavery it would be from spiritual bondage and the slavery of sin.
In a Seder, a cloth bag with separate compartments holds three sheets of matzoh, or unleavened bread. The middle matzoh is removed and split. One half is broken and distributed; the other is wrapped in a napkin, hidden, and bought back after it is found.
Breaking the bread, Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is My body”. In Scripture, leaven symbolizes sin, so bread without yeast represents a holy God. In the divided bag, matzohs are unified yet distinct—a picture of the Trinity. The middle bread signifies the Son, who left His Father’s side to dwell among us and was broken for mankind, wrapped in a burial cloth, hidden in a tomb, and resurrected.
Wine, the other symbol Jesus highlighted, is poured four times at a Seder. It is believed that it is the the third cup—known as the cup of redemption that He called “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins”
These emblems have existed within the Seder meal for hundreds of years just waiting for Christ to reveal them to his followers. Once revealed; he instructed us to continue to share in these emblems in remembrance of Him and we call this communion; we call this the Lord’s Supper. So, today as we approach the Lord’s table entering into this most holy of weeks; let us reflect on his perfect, sinless body that he allowed to be broken for us and His redeeming blood that he willfully poured out for our salvation.
Like many of you, I find myself inspired by the recent parenting seminar we had. The Discipleship Team put on a great event featuring the parenting instruction of Dr. Kevin Leman. It was a day filled with humor, reflection, and prayer aimed at pointing our parenting compasses closer to Christ.
That got me thinking: what are the key qualities that we want our families to show to each other and the world? I’m sure if we all took a few minutes and reflected on this that we could compile quite a list. Scripture itself is replete with lists of virtues and commands to exhibit godly characteristics. Paul himself wrote, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:14-16a). Indulge me as I take the next few months and examine a couple themes that I think we would all like our families to embody.
In a world of chaos, (particularly for me as a man,) is there anything that feels more fulfilling and encouraging than to be respected? To have someone verbally or emotionally support an idea or decision I make means the world to me. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Our world is out of control. If there is any doubt, consider the fact that odds are either Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton will be our next president. Our world is beyond reason. Unbelievable! There is so much we have so little control over, so for a family member to show respect for our opinion is really significant.
We naturally focus (like I just did) on how we want respect to come back at us. And yes, children should certainly respect their parents. We should not tolerate otherwise for our good and theirs. But also consider the significance of showing respect for your kids and spouse. I’ve worked with kids long enough to know that when they feel heard and respected, they open like flowers before you. It requires a special maturity to allow kids and teens to be themselves. OF COURSE their opinions are going to be off the wall, goofy, and just plain wrong. But if you want a chance to shape that will and stay on good terms, try showing respect.
Respect isn’t about letting others have their way all the time, but it is about having an underlying belief that all people deserve kindness and are valuable—even when you disagree. Whether we’re dealing with a creative six-year-old or a weary grandparent, “in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b).
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
I have often said that if God does not seem real to you; if you can’t see him working in your life; then you probably have not been real with him. This book, the Bible, is a Love story and it is not without its share of passion and drama...and like it or not; you are one of the main characters in it! You are part of the Church; the Bride of Christ. We should be desperately trying to know the heart and mind of Christ just as any bride would her groom before the wedding day. A marriage is not a casual event and we should not be entering into it lightly. We should be passionate. We should be Real! We should be real angry when God is mocked; real Sad at the things that break his heart and real joyful when he is glorified. We should be real; real hungry for His Word and real thirsty for His presence; real obedient to his commands and real willing to follow Him.
I can go on, but you get the point; Being real; this is what it means to be Hot or Cold.
I don’t know what your 2014 was like…..but, looking back, I know I could have been more real. I could have spent more time with him in Word and in Prayer and less time watching TV programs that do nothing to further the kingdom of God.. I am sure that sometimes God feels like He is taken for granted by me and maybe I have take advantage of His patience and grace. 2014 certainly had its “luke warm” moments from me.
So here we are, on the precipice of 2015. We can reflect back on the things that stood between us and a more meaningful relationship with God. …..And we can decide today to make some real changes moving forward into the new year. We have done well to put Christ back into Christmas, but let’s also put Christ back on the throne of our hearts; let’s reestablish His Kingship over our lives.Let’s be Real to Him in 2015 and experience His real transforming power.
Dear Father in Heaven;
Thank you for your Son Jesus. Help us to follow Him.
1 John 16……….... God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17-By this, is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
This time of year, countless people embark on their annual quest to create the perfect Christmas. They search out the perfect Christmas tree with the perfect ornaments and perfect decorations to match. They try to hang up the perfect Christmas lights outside and the perfect Christmas wreath for the front door. They search for perfect gifts for their loved ones then force them to pose for the perfect Christmas post card…..finally giving way to an attempt to serve the perfect Christmas dinner.
These people search in vain. There was and ever will be only one perfect Christmas;.... the first one. When a perfect God….sent His perfect Son to be the perfect Lamb that would become the perfect Sacrifice for our inability to keep His perfect law; a perfect plan designed to fulfill His perfect will.
We can participate in that perfect Christmas even unto this very day by accepting His perfect gift and entering into His perfect Love. This is what makes that perfect Christmas so perfectly complete.
Dear Heavenly Father;
Thank you for your perfect Love embodied in your perfect Son. Help us to be more like Him.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Billy’s mom gives Billy $20.00 and sends him off to “Santa’s Workshop” to pick out a gift to give to her. This scene is played out around the world as we near Christmas. Tens of thousands of eager kids are given money from their parents so they might also experience the joy of giving gifts to their loved ones. Occasionally, you will have a child who is “Giving Challenged”. They enter Santa’s Workshop and are tempted to buy a gift more pleasing to themselves than to whom the gift is purposed.
Isn’t this truly the nature of our existence here on Earth. We are first given life. We take possession of it even though we did not do anything to earn it and do with it what we will; but life is a gift with a purpose. Not our own; how we choose to spend it is of the utmost importance. We can be “Giving Challenged” and spend it on selfish pursuits or we can experience the Joy of presenting it back to the Lord as a pleasing offering.
As we enter this season of giving, let us remember that God has given us everything. When we made a decision to follow Jesus; we are presenting Him with a gift He had already purchased with His own blood and in return; He lovingly gives us a greater gift ….an everlasting life with Him..
Dear Heavenly Father,
Today we present ourselves as an offering. As we share in the cup and the loaf; let us remember that your Son’s sacrifice purchased us.We no longer belong to ourselves. Lord help transform our lives into a gift your Son will find pleasing.
In your son’s name we pray.
Psalms Ch 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
I can remember as a child, before facebook, before twitter and all other social media, before the cable and internet as we know it today, before smart phones,ipods,laptopts, tablets and phablets and the myriad of technical gadgetry we have been introduced to over the last 30 yrs…..before all of this….kids used to go out and “play”. One of my favorite games was tag. The basic premise of this game was to run away from the person who was “It” and not get tagged. Prior to the start of the game; all the kids participating would decide on a base. As long as you made it back to “base”, you could not be tagged “It”. I always found it particularly exciting to slowly drift away from base and taunt the person who was “IT” into chasing me; being careful not to drift so far away from base that I would risk getting tagged. Most of the time, I was able to do this successfully. However, every now and then I would miscalculate the distance or the speed of the the person who was “IT” and get caught. It was a risky tactic wherein the slightest miscalculation or stumble would result in me being “It”.
This can also describe my early Christian life. I wish I could say that from the moment I first believed that I embraced God and remained steadfast in love and in action. That simply would not be the truth. Instead, even though I found salvation in Jesus, I would drift away from Him from time to time always trying to keep Him just close enough that I could return to him if I needed to. One foot pointed toward base and one foot pointed toward “IT”, One foot in the light, one foot drifting into the darkness, one foot with Jesus and the other trying to tiptoe back into the world.
If this describes where you are at today. Please take this opportunity to recommit your life to Christ. You will find it so much easier to follow him once you get both feet pointed towards him.
I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed since you all took a chance on me, a part-time Baptist youth pastor from Pennsylvania. When I see the passion, creativity, and energy with which so many of you serve the Lord it regularly humbles me to be on staff and considered a leader among you.
Five years ago I was hired at ACC and thrown right into the mix, helping Jen Knowles execute Trunk-or-Treat/Harvest Party within my first week in town. I fondly remember driving back and forth 45 minutes from Girard, PA to Andover every day to setup my office, try to get to know the students in Andover, and praying for God to give me grace in a new church, school system, and state. If you’ll pardon the nostalgia, I’d like to share a few things that I have learned since I joined you five years ago.
1. Conventional wisdom doesn’t always work. The number of youth pastors who served before me could easily have been a “red flag” to my coming here. But I can honestly say that I love our church, have felt accepted since day one, and honestly look forward to coming to the office every single day.
2. God leads His church through its leaders. Youth pastors as a group tend to have an “Us vs. Them” mentality and can see other church leaders as opposing their work. Since I have been here, however, it has been enriching getting to serve with Bob and a team of elders that empowers the decisions I make and help me feel supported and helped, even when I (frankly) don’t know what to do.
3. The church is the people (d’uh). When I was interviewing here, I heard legends of people handing the youth pastor cash for events and asking to sponsor kids for camp and trips. Part of me thought, “Yeah…right.” But the generosity of adults of all ages and willingness to pitch in and help (read: Awana, VBS, etc.) has left me encouraged and proud not only of our kids, but our leaders and sponsors, too.
4. It is easier to serve where your family feels loved and supported. I don’t share this often, but I came from a pretty dysfunctional leadership system from my previous church. It left Melissa and I feeling skeptical of being leaders and wondered if we would always feel so lonely and isolated at the “top” of a church. Through meals delivered, texts sent, and hugs given, many of you have shown your support and allowing us to be a non-perfect family has enhanced our trust in the church and community.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to making these last five years a safe landing spot for us and enabled us to live out God’s precious calling on our lives. We love you.
I believe the way a person receives Christ is by believing in His saving work, repenting from sin, and being baptized. I grew up being taught only saying a prayer as being necessary for salvation. As I examined the Scriptures, however, I couldn't help but notice there are no sinners prayers in the New Testament and that universally baptism is an event that either accompanies salvation or occurs as close to faith as possible. To me the clearest indication that this is for us is Acts 2, where the listeners of Peter's first sermon gain some kind of faith, as they are effected by His message. When they ask him what should they do, he answers, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38-39). It seems to me that Peter had the perfect opportunity to say something like, "You already believe so you are saved!" or "Believe in the Lord Jesus, period."
That being said, I do not believe that water baptism is magic. One can be baptized without faith and repentance and in that case, a person is not saved--they "just get wet." Being baptized, in my way, of receiving and participating in Christ's saving work--it is not a work that earns salvation, it is an act of admitting one's helplessness and consciously transferring faith from self to Christ as Savior.
Also, I don't believe that ONLY baptized people are Christians or the only saved people. I realize that God is infinitely gracious and many people only hear of faith being necessary for salvation and there is a "wideness in God's mercy" to accept and receive Him as they know best how to do. While I believe it to be the biblical command and model through Acts, in no way do I exclude other Christian positions on the issue. God is the judge, we aren't. I just try to live and serve as closely as possible to the Bible's way of doing things, which seems to me to be confession of Christ and believer's immersing baptism.
by Josh Peyton
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
What does it mean to follow Jesus? This has been a point of contention within Christ's church for centuries. This matter
may divide the church
body more than any other topic. To some degree, this is a personal question. What following Jesus means for you may be very different than what it mean for me. God has different expectations for all of us and this is typically commensurate with the gift, talents, and abilities he has bestowed upon each individual. Therefore, it is not a simple thing to define; I will leave that up to Pastor Bob and Pastor Josh. Rather, I just simply want to leave you with The Question. I believe that when we stop asking ourselves questions like these; we stop growing spiritually. It is part of the refining process as God performs His transforming work in you. Therefore, today, ask yourself that question; "What does it mean to follow Jesus?" and as you pray and read His Word, I know God will begin to light the path for you.