April, 2022

Elizabeth and I were driving the other day and we passed a church sign that read, “Easter, the Rest of the Christmas Story.” What I love about that message is it reminds us of the complete story of the saving mission of Jesus Christ. It’s a reminder that we should not only celebrate the great things that God has done for us two or three times out of the year, but all through the year. All throughout our lives! After all, Jesus’ entire life was given for our complete salvation.

The story of Jesus saving us is not just the time when he was born into the world and then around 33 years later, being resurrected from the tomb after dying on the cross. While we don’t know much about Jesus’ lifetime outside his ministry, we know that during the years before the crucifixion he was severely tempted by Satan. After the temptations in the desert, scripture reads that the devil left him until an opportune time. From this passage and others, it is believed that Jesus had to endure temptations at different times throughout his ministry, and those temptations had the whole of hell bent on Him. No doubt, the temptation Jesus felt was beyond anything we have had to endure. The moment praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweat pouring from him “like drops of blood” shows the agony he must have been in, knowing what was coming. And yet, He said, “not my will, Father, but yours.”

This doesn’t diminish our own struggle with temptation, but it does help us to know that Jesus, in saving us, gave us the ability to overcome sin. The fact that he went through temptation gives us comfort that Jesus understands what we are going through. He endured it, overcame, and rose to final victory for the whole human race!

So in celebrating Easter this year, when we declare, He Is Risen! (He Is Risen, indeed!) Let us rejoice in, not just the moment of resurrection, but in the completion of the whole story, from the virgin birth, to the miraculous healings, to the suffering of torture, crucifixion and death, to the rising from the grave and conquering the “so called” power of sin and death, and giving us new life.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Peace and blessings always!

Pastor Brian

March, 2022

Greetings in Christ! Welcome to the Lenten Season. I hope everyone got through the cold, grey days of February and now ready for the unpredictable weather of the month to come!

Speaking of unpredictability, has anyone ever been caught off guard by temptation? I know I have been guilty of making a decision to avoid certain things during times like Lent or just trying to do certain diets, and, shall I say, had a moment of weakness. The invention of the cookie is a blessing and a curse! 

What is interesting about those times when we make a commitment to avoid certain things in the spirit of  repentance or better health, is this. We KNOW a time will come when we will be tempted to stray from the “straight and narrow.” It’s inevitable. If it was not going to happen, we could hardly call it a time of           repentance. It is during those times when we are trying to remember the spirit and the feeling when the commitment was made. But let’s be honest, most of us usually have that moment of backslide.

And that is ok. That is when true repentance happens! It’s then that we come to the Lord and ask forgiveness. We forgive ourselves and not get down on ourselves for being, well, just like everyone else! We all fall short of the Kingdom.

So instead of using the energy to feel bad, why not use that time to focus on God. Jesus loves us no matter what. There’s nothing we could ever do to lose that love. So use that time to realize that you are doing the best you can and recognize that Jesus does not condemn us for our moments of weakness, but loves us despite them.

Have a blessed Lenten season as we look forward to Easter!

Peace always!

Pastor Brian.

February, 2022

Greetings in Christ! An author once called this month “The Great, Grey Beast of February.” That can feel so true depending on our state of mind during this time of year. The sweet memories of Christmas are fading and the warmth of spring and summer feel like they are nothing short of an eternity away.

The good news is that the Lord has granted us the seasons so that we may  appreciate the times when all seems right with the world. It would be hard to truly appreciate the warmth of a spring day and the beauty of the buds starting to open on the bare branches of the trees without them.

Could you imagine if we didn’t know about the season changes and what happens to the trees every year? One day, the leaves start to turn colors and we might find it wondrous and beautiful! Then soon, it would start to get cold, and they would begin to turn brown and fall off. Not knowing about the cycle of seasons, we would be worried thinking the trees are dying! Then, a few months later, the leaves begin to grow back and all the foliage looks green again and full. The flowers begin to bloom and the world looks beautiful again!

What a miracle! That is very much like God’s Kingdom. Our lives have seasons, and it can seem like everything is perishing around us and the “Great Grey Beast” is going to devour us. But praise be to God, it is not like that. Because we know how God works, we know that the trees are not dying, their beauty will return, the flowers will blossom again, and the fruit will appear.

It’s never easy when we are experiencing a spiritual “winter”, when life is hard and it seems like it will never get better. But let us try to remember that God is faithful and will always provide. Let us do our best to look forward once again to that season of warmth and sunshine and to realize that the fruit that appears is the    wisdom and strength that we gained.

Have a blessed day, week, and month to come!

Pastor Brian

January 2022

Greetings in Christ and Happy New Year! It’s resolution time! So what’s it going to be this year? For me, it is walking. As a restaurant server, from   Denny’s to fine dining, over the past 30 years, I always walked several miles a day. I had to. It was my job to walk. I walked from the table to the kitchen, to the food window, back to the table, to the register, to the table again, to the kitchen…for 8 hours a day.

And now, I sit and write, then walk over to the church (about fifty steps) back to the house, then sit and study, then go to the fridge, then sit and write, then sit and make phone calls. You get the idea. So, my resolution is to walk. But I’m not going to walk a lot. I am going to start with one mile, three days a week. The next week, I’ll walk a mile four days. The next, I’ll make it five days and so forth, with my hopes to walk five miles a day. What I have learned about taking on anything like this, is to start small.

It’s like a train. It starts with a crawling forward and seems like it’s never going to pick up speed. Then it goes a little faster, and a little faster. Soon, the train has built up a lot of speed. Try to stop it now. It has   MOMENTUM! That will be my focus word this year. Momentum takes time and patience. Our church is gaining momentum. Our Wednesday night Soup and Study is gaining momentum. How do I know? Because we are moving. Sometimes we move so slow, it’s hard to see. But we are moving, and that’s what it takes. Movement is the beginning of momentum.

When the Christian Church first started, it was very small. It started slow. And look at it now. Christianity is still spreading today. It has to. It is based in Divine Love and Wisdom…but it took time and it’s still spreading. So, as a church, let us continue with our motivations based in goodness and truth. Let’s keep   moving, even if it seems a little at a time and let that momentum build. As 2022 turns old in December, we will look back and marvel at the ground we have covered, and how far we have come as a church compared to where we were in January. It’s exciting to think about!

May you all have a blessed New Year!

Peace and blessings,

Pastor Brian

December, 2021

From the Pastor’s Desk,

Greetings in Christ! It is the season of Advent and a wonderful time of anticipation for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. For many thousands of years, the people waited for the birth of the Messiah. They waited in anticipation for the coming of the One that would save them, yet they didn’t know in what way this was to occur. The books of what we now call, The Old Testament, contained many clues to what was to come, but they still didn’t know for sure. By the time Jesus was born, there was an expectation that when the Anointed One came into the world, He would overthrow the government, destroy their enemies by the might of the sword, raise up the Israelites into a high status, rebuild the temple to its glory and peace would reign for them.

During the ministry of Jesus on this earth, his disciples and many others had witnessed the miracles and the wonders he performed. You can imagine the joy the people had. At last, their savior had come! Now, let’s show these Romans a thing or two! They had set up an expectation in their minds that their savior was     going to be a mighty king and warrior. So when it became clear that Jesus was not there to establish a kingdom in that way, they rejected him. They began to watch him carefully, to catch him breaking the law so they could accuse him, have him arrested, and finally execute him so that they could be rid of this meddlesome troublemaker who stirred up the people.

We know that what they didn’t anticipate was the Messiah coming and establishing a Kingdom of Love here on earth; a Kingdom that can be found within ourselves. It is a Kingdom of the Spirit that can continue to grow in breadth and depth, as we discover more spiritual truths and delights. As this Kingdom is revealed more and more to us, our happiness increases and that peace that Jesus brought to us will be fully realized and will spread. Maybe there will truly be peace on earth, and good will toward all the people.

So let us, as individuals, as a church, and as a community, as we wait in anticipation of the coming of our Savior, try to remember that it may come in a way that is unexpected. Let us be aware that as we anticipate the growth of our church, it may take the form that we didn’t expect. As we pray for guidance into new   ministries, try not to have an expectation that it will be an exact certain way, because it is not our will that we are doing, but God’s. We should absolutely move forward, but let God do the steering and the correcting of the course. This Advent season, as we prepare for the birth of Christ in our hearts, have an expectation of something wonderful, of renewal, because with God in charge, it will truly be amazing!

Peace and Blessings to you all,

Pastor Brian

November 2021

Greetings in Christ!

We are coming into a wonderful time of the year. November is a month of Autumn with colorful leaves, the smell of wood smoke, and the celebration of Thanksgiving. (It’s also the month of my wife’s birthday. Yes, I remembered.) As I write this, it is a little early to be celebrating Thanksgiving, but it’s never too early to be thankful, and with so much happening in our church, I wanted to take this time to give my sincere gratitude to our members who have been so giving of their time and resources.

First of all, thank you to everyone who worked hard and continue to work hard getting everything together for Charge Conference. It was a LOT of meetings, paperwork, and reports. I am amazed at your willingness to serve the church and, ultimately, the Lord in this way.

Second, thank you to all who have contributed to the outreach of our church as well as the “in-reach”. The Back Pack Program, Wednesday Night Soup and Study, Blessing of the Pets, Choir practice and performances, Sunday School, The Sewing Club and The Pumpkin Carving Contest are some of the many ways we are showing our love for God, our community and our church family.

And finally, but not at all least, thank you to those who help out with the details of the church. The ones who help with music, with communion, help decorate the church, keep up the inside of the church and the grounds, the administration, the greeters, the ushers, and certainly those who offer refreshments for after service. These acts and so many more happen every day, and I am grateful. Thank you all so much.

So, as we continue to grow and thrive in our own unique spiritual identities, and as the body of Christ in our church during this beautiful, yet busy time of year, let us also seek out and realize the blessings that the Lord has surrounded us with in our community and with our church family.

We give thanks for all of this, in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

-Pastor Brian