Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

 
As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered.  And I will manifest My holiness among you in the sight of the nations.  And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your fathers.
(Ezekiel 20:41-42)
 
Ezekiel’s prophecy is filled with numerous warnings of coming judgment.  But even in the midst of that, God continually displays His grace in His promise to save His people and restore them to their land.  He saves them not because they deserve it, but in spite of the fact that they don’t deserve it.  He saves them to display His holiness and His mercy.  The same is true for us today in Christ.  He saves to the uttermost, we who are the uttermost sinners!  He does it because of His holiness and grace, and in spite of our failings.  God displays His grace in the greatest way by saving those who deserve it the least.
 
Men – this Saturday is our monthly Men’s Breakfast at 7am.  We will as always enjoy some great food around the tables.  We will enjoy one another’s company.  And we will watch the 2nd part of the video “Clouds without Rain.”  Following the breakfast, there will be a Work Day at both the cemetery and the church.  There is plenty to do, so if you can stay and help that would be great!
 
Remember that Sunday night at 5pm is the Awana BBQ & Awards night!  We will celebrate the accomplishments of the kids and express our appreciation for the many faithful workers.  It is an opportunity to bless the children, and to meet and greet the parents, many of whom don’t attend FBC or any church.  So please be in prayer for this special time.
 
Sunday morning we will continue our series on the life of David, looking at 1 Samuel 25.  The message is entitled, “Dealing with a Foolish Man.”  Now ladies, no comments like “Well that’s what I deal with every day!”  We will look at Nabal, whose name means “fool” or “folly”.  We will see David’s temptation to get revenge.  We will discuss Nabal’s wise wife Abigail, and how the Lord used her to prevent David from taking revenge.  But I also want to consider what the Lord has done for us, even though “we ourselves were once foolish…” (see Titus 3:3-7).  So we look forward to seeing you Sunday and sharing in the study of the Word together!
 
May God grant you many blessings along with His grace and peace!
 
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!

“You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
(Numbers 35:34)
“The Levites received no land inheritance, as the Lord Himself was their inheritance.  Therefore, every tribe was to allot cities within their various territories for the Levites (35:1-8), some of which were also to be designated as cities of refuge for those guilty of unpremeditated murder (35:9-34).  Like salt, the Levites were thus sprinkled about the Promised Land as a reminder to the rest of God’s people of their high and holy calling, that the Lord was their refuge, and that, ultimately, all land belonged to the Lord who dwelled in their midst (35:34).
Knowing that, through Christ, God Himself is our inheritance, we, like the Levites of old, live
in this world without being of it.  We are looking rather for the city of God to come in the new creation (Hebrews 11).  There the Lord God Himself will dwell in our midst (Rev. 21:22 — 22:5).”  (Gospel Transformation Bible
, note on Numbers 35)
We are thanking the Lord for the safe arrival of Pastor Justin & Lynsey and family!  Thank you for praying for them, for the long drive for Justin and the flight with the kids for Lynsey.  And a big thank you to so many who came out on Tuesday to help with the unloading of the moving truck!  We had a great crew and had the truck unloaded very quickly.
This Sunday we want to encourage everyone to wear name tags, to help the Hostetters a bit as they try to put our names with our faces!  So as you come in Sunday morning, look for someone handing them out and write your name (and please make it readable!) on it.  Thank you also Ron Whitted for setting him up with a nice desk, chair, and bookshelves, and for Rosemary for getting him started with his supplies.  Let’s keep praying for a smooth transition for the Hostetter family and for His perfect plan and timing for a more permanent housing solution.
After the worship service we will be having a membership class.  Lunch will be provided.  We have a few signed up already, but if you are interested in finding out more about membership at FBC, please let me know today!
I plan again to preach on 1 Samuel 24 this Sunday, a message titled “My Hand Shall Not Be Against You.”  This time I hope to actually deliver the message and not take off for Salem!  But only the Lord knows what His plan is for each day!
Thank you for praying for my mother-in-law Judith.  She seems to be doing better than we thought.  She is home from the hospital.  She does have COPD and has to be on full-time oxygen.  Elizabeth and her siblings are working on a schedule for being there to help her out, along with some of Judith’s friends.  Please keep praying for the family.  We have nieces and a nephew from Texas going to stay with our family for a few days, so that should be fun!
So thankful for each of you… may the Lord continue to bless you and our church family… and hope you are able to enjoy the sunshine!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters of FBC,

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. (Num 21:7 ESV)
On this National Day of Prayer, the above verse is a tremendous reminder to us of the power of prayer!  Notice that the man of God here prayed for the people in response to their confession of sin.  The answer to the prayer was the Lord telling Moses to put a serpent up on a pole, and all who looked at it would be healed.  In John 3 we see the beautiful parallel in the message of the cross.  Whoever looks to Jesus and His atoning work on the cross, will live!  Let’s be in prayer for our community and our nation, that there would be a genuine revival which leads to repentance and turning to Christ by faith!
I want to thank you for so many words of encouragement and prayers for our family this week, as we’ve dealt with the serious downturn of Elizabeth’s mother’s health.  She remains in Salem hospital, still struggling to breathe.  There has even been talk by one of the doctors of sending her home in a day or two and calling in hospice.  So please continue to pray for Judith, and for all the family.  This is certainly difficult for Elizabeth, so thank you again for your love and support of her.
This Sunday of course is Mother’s Day.  We are once again having our annual Brunch in honor of our ladies.  Thanks to the men who are heading up the cooking, etc.!  Please come and join us with the whole family, or by yourself!  This Sunday from 8:30 to 10:00 am.
I will be speaking on “Waiting on the Lord” from 1 Samuel 1:1 — 2:11.  Please read this wonderful true story of Hannah’s prayer for a son, of her dedication of that son to the Lord, and of her song of praise as a response to His gracious provision.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.
 (Numbers 7:89)
Have you been entering into the Lord’s presence to speak with Him?  Are you hearing His voice speak to you through His Word?  I don’t think there’s a better way to mature in our faith than to meet with Him regularly!
I appreciated what one of my devotional Bibles had to say about Numbers 7:  “Then lengthy, repetitive description of the offerings of the 12 tribes throughout 12 days for the dedication of that altar serves to underscore two points.  1) The altar was the focus of worship, where God was encountered through the blood of sacrifice.  2) Every tribe of Israel had a vested interest in the worship of God and was responsible to support the ministry.  Even these gifts, however, were out of God’s gracious provision, as He enabled the Israelites to ‘plunder Egypt’ upon their deliverance.
The grace signified by the altar has been fulfilled by the cross as the heart of the church’s worship (Heb. 10:19-22), spread through the church’s proclamation (1 Cor. 1:18-25), and reiterated by the church’s sacraments (Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:26).  Out of God’s gracious provision in Christ, we all the more gladly support the ministry of the church (1 Cor. 9:13-14; 2 Cor. 9:1-15).”
This Sunday we will have opportunity to reflect again on the cross and what that has accomplished for us, as we partake together of the elements of communion.  Please be there for that important time of remembrance.
We’ll be continuing in our series on the life of David with a message from 1 Samuel 24, “My Hand Shall Not Be Against You.”  As you read the passage in preparation for Sunday morning, consider the differences we can see in the consciences of David and Saul.  How can we develop a conscience that is more sensitive to the ways of the Lord?  I hope you’ll join us for this message!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello Friends!

He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
 (Luke 20:25)
This passage in our reading in Luke today (20:19-26) is intriguing.  Notice what the Gospel Transformation Bible says about it:  “Despite the crafty intention of the religious leaders, the great wisdom of God incarnate in Jesus is on clear display here.  Jesus takes the politically charged question about paying taxes to Caesar and turns it into an opportunity to stump His opponents and to draw more people to marvel at God’s ways.  Jesus’ answer also raises the matter of the Christian’s experience of living as citizens of two very different kingdoms, the earthly and the heavenly (Phil. 3:20).  This reality of our dual citizenship is the source of great conflict internally and externally.  From within, we struggle to reorient our lives toward God’s radically different present and coming kingdom, even while living in this world.  From without, we encounter persecution and discomfort in this sinful and God-opposed world (2 Tim. 3:12).  Jesus does not eliminate this dilemma of our existence, but He does give us a vision of how to approach these matters.  All of the world is God’s, but in this overlapping age we must acknowledge that there is an authority and order to society that must be obeyed (Rom. 13:1-7), even while our ultimate allegiance is to God.”
We are certainly dual citizens!  While we live
in this world, we are not to be of
 this world.  Are you faithfully rendering to God all the things that are His?
This has been a rough time of sickness for a lot of people.  I myself have been hit with it pretty good this week.  I pray you are all doing well, or at least, are on the mend!
This Sunday I will continue our series on the life of David.  We will look at 1 Samuel 20 and the friendship between Jonathan and David.  I’d encourage you to read it ahead of Sunday.  What kind of qualities do you look for in a good friend?  What kind of a friend are you?  Do you have someone of whom you can say, you love them as your own soul?  Beyond that, what does it mean to you that Jesus calls His disciples “friends” (John 15:13-15)?  Are you His friend today?
Speaking of friends: in 1993 I was a new student (as a junior) at Western Baptist College (now Corban University).  I became good friends with a young lady.  It truly did start out as simply a friendship, and we referred to each other as “buddies”.  It wasn’t long though, until that young lady grabbed ahold of my heart.  I look back now 23 years later and thank God that this beautiful young lady is not only my best friend, but also my amazing wife!  As we celebrate her birthday today, I am amazed at the incredible person the Lord created when He made her, and how He has caused her to grow spiritually so much that she is more wonderful to me than ever.  Happy Birthday Elizabeth Beach!
Happy to be a friend of God and of all of you!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michae


Love From Your Pastor

Happy Friday FBC!

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 ESV)
These two women are a challenging reminder of priorities.  This is not a statement by the Lord telling us that serving is bad.  Obviously the Bible has a lot to say about serving the Lord, serving others, and so forth.  What is emphasized here is the attitude and mindset of the person who serves, as well as the incredible value of sitting with the Lord and listening to Him.  Martha was distracted.  Jesus says she was anxious and troubled about many things.  Do those words describe you today?  They often do describe me.  What was the good portion that Mary had chosen?  She sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.  Are you busy, busy, busy – all with good things?  Are these good things that you are busy with distracting you from the most important thing?  I’ve seen a book title (though I haven’t read the book) that is, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.”  That’s the challenge for us today, isn’t it?
A couple things I want to remind you of this week:

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!  (Hope you’re enjoying this sunny Thursday!)

Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace!
 (Lamentations 5:1)
Some of us are using the same Bible reading plan this year, and we finished up Lamentations today.  I preached on Lamentations a couple years ago, but every time I go through it I’m again reminded of some of the great lessons for us today from this often-neglected prophetic book.  Once again I love what the Gospel Transformation Bible says here:
“As chapter 4 mirrors chapter 2, so chapter 5 returns to the desolation of chapter 1.  But there is a significant difference, for here hope is a constant theme.  This hope grows out of the realization of guilt, the confession of which leads to hope in God’s mercy (5:1-18).  The plea that God should remember (v. 1) becomes a plea for restoration (v. 21).  The author realizes that Israel’s sin is not momentary.  The reference to the sins of the fathers (v. 7) only demonstrates this people’s continuing lineage of sin and in no sense diminishes their guilt (v. 16-18)
Though Lamentations focuses on one particular horrifying event, it becomes relevant for all time.  Its darkness reveals the utter lostness of sinful humanity.  But through the storm clouds streams a bright beam of hope that stems from God’s mercy.  This hope in the covenant faithfulness of God finds its full realization in Christ as He takes the weight of our rebellion upon Himself on the cross of Calvary.

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Love From Your Pastor

Greetings FBC!

“I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”
 (Jeremiah 15:21)
I love that our God is a DELIVERER and a REDEEMER!  But interestingly, this promise from the Lord to Jeremiah came as part of an admonition to repent.  I liked what Paul House says:
“Did Jeremiah want to keep standing with God?  If so, he had to repent.  Happily, Jeremiah did repent.  His willingness to hear God’s Word and change his ways set an example for all God’s servants, including His best, such as Peter (John 21:15-19) and John (1 John 1:9-10).  Daily repentance is part of walking with God.  It provides a bridge from self-service to renewed service of the living God.” (ESV Men’s Devotional Bible)
So let’s walk with our Deliverer and Redeemer in daily repentance!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.  Keep My statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
 (Leviticus 20:7-8)
Sometimes wading through Leviticus can be challenging, I admit.  But there are also amazing truths that help us understand powerfully the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and the efforts God goes to in order to bring His people into restored relationship with Himself.  I like what the Gospel Transformation Bible says about Lev. 20: “Leviticus 18 listed unholy practices the Israelites were to avoid in the realms of sexual immorality and illicit worship.  This chapter now describes the penalties that come from engaging in those practices.  These penalties emphasize the seriousness of sin, the importance of addressing it among the Lord’s people, and the reality of the Lord’s justice for those who persist in it (see Acts 5:1-11; Gal. 6:7).  But Grace is not absent.  The penalties serve as warnings of sin’s consequences and of the pain of distance from fellowship with God.  If God did not love His people, He would not so warn them… The chapter also emphasizes that experiencing these penalties were not the Lord’s intent for humanity.  His desire is that people experience His blessing and good pleasure as they walk in close fellowship with Him in His ways.  It is this same desire that prompts Jesus to call us to take His yoke upon us, learning from Him how to walk in God’s ways, in this way finding rest for our souls (Matt. 11:28-30).”
This Sunday I will be starting a new series — “DAVID: A Man After God’s Own Heart”.  The first message will be from 1 Samuel 16:1-13, “The LORD Looks at the Heart.”  I am excited about what God will show us about our hearts and our relationship with God through this series on David!  I’m even more excited about how the stories of David point us to the ultimate Son of David, our Lord Jesus Christ!  Please read the passage prayerfully in preparation, and join us Sunday at 10:30!  We will also be remebering the Lord’s death together as we partake of communion.  Another good thing to read and meditate on in preparation would be Isaiah 53, which I plan to read from on Sunday.

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Love From Your Pastor

Greetings Brothers and Sisters of FBC!

“It’s Friday… But Sunday’s a comin’!”  I heard part of a great sermon earlier this week, and that was the often-repeated statement.  What is it about “Good Friday” that makes it “Good”?  As we reflect on our Savior’s bloody and humiliating death for us, we must come to grips with the purpose and the results of His death on the cross.
Some of us are using the same Bible reading plan this year, and the last two days we’ve been reading the first 7 chapters of Leviticus.  A number of different offerings under the old covenant are described, including the sin offering (chs. 4-5).  Listen the the Gospel Transformation Bible note on this passage: “The Bible often uses the metaphor of impurity to describe sin.  It is a metaphor we can identify with: sin often makes us feel dirty (Ps. 51:2).  For the Israelites, their sin defiled both themselves and the Lord’s holy dwelling place in their midst.  Because of His great purity, the Lord could not allow such defilement to remain in His holy camp.  But because of His great mercy, He provided a way for the Israelites to remove this impurity: the sin offering, in which the lifeblood of an animal without blemish ransomed sinners from the Lord’s just punishment and cleansed the defilement of their sin.  The sin offering prefigured for God’s people the mercy we see in a far greater way in Jesus’ sacrificial death.  This was the ultimate sin offering (Rom. 8:3; Heb. 1:3; 13:11-12), and it was great enough to cleanse all our sins (Heb. 9:28; 10:10, 12, 14; 1 John 1:9).  Because of this, we can boldly draw near to God, knowing that because of Jesus’ sacrifice we are fully cleansed of all sin and impurity and therefore fully accepted by the Father (Heb. 10:19-22).”  Amen!  What a great truth.  Jesus has become our sin offering, once and for all!  I’d encourage you to read again Mark 15:21-39 on this Good Friday, and reflect on the subsitutionary suffering of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  Also, consider how significant it is that the curtain in the temple was torn in two, top to bottom.

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