Love From Your Pastor

Greetings Brothers & Sisters of FBC!  Happy New Year!

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him.  They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
 (Revelation 22:1-5)
I think this is a fitting passage to focus on as we wind up the year 2015. On this last day of the year, the last chapter of the Bible speaks words of hope and promise for the future.  I appreciate the note on Rev. 21:22 — 22:5 in the
Gospel Transformation Bible
:  “There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because there is no more need for a building in which humans can meet with God.  We will meet with God Himself directly in the person of the Lamb.  When Adam and Eve fell into sin, the corruption of their hearts and our world created separation from our holy God.  Throughout history, the tabernacle and then the temple provided microcosmic restorations of the fellowship enjoyed in Eden.  In the new earth, we have unhindered access to the fellowship, goodness, and glory of our God (presented here in terms of a new and improved Paradise), for all that is unclean is now outside the new Jerusalem.  All this is because of the gospel.  Jesus was the one clean person to ever walk the face of the earth, but He went to a cross.  There He became ‘unclean’ so that we unclean sinners can be fully and finally cleansed, all by grace (2 Cor. 5:21).”  Amen!
As you consider your hopes, dreams, plans, and goals for 2016, I’d like to encourage you again to join us in reading through the Bible this year.  (By the way, for those who read through with us in 2015, and made it all the way through – way to go!  For those who may have started and not finished, don’t be discouraged – try again in 2016!)  We have provided copies of a reading plan that I and a number of others plan to use this year.  They are located on one of the small tables in the foyer.  I am excited about using this new plan (which was shared with me by Randy Waldie – it’s one that he’s used for many years).  If you haven’t picked one up yet, make sure to grab one this Sunday.  Here are the first week of readings:

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Merry Christmas From Your Pastor

Merry Christmas FBC!

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty!  Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations!  Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?  For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”
 (Revelation 15:3-4)
I know that doesn’t seem like a traditional Christmas verse, but I was reminded in my Bible reading again this morning of just how important and wonderful it is to make Christmas a time of worship of our great God and our Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray that it will be that for you.  May you thoroughly enjoy whatever traditions and celebrations you have with family and friends.  And may you worship the King who came because of His great love for you and me, to save us from our sins!
Once again, brothers and sisters, my family and I are blown away by your extreme generosity.  Thank you so much for the gracious gift and all of the love, support, and appreciation you have shown.  I feel totally unworthy of God’s goodness to me.  But we receive with much gratitude your showing of love toward us.  May God bless you richly out of the abundance of His great riches in Christ Jesus.  We love you and thank God for you!
Wishing you a very Merry (and worshipful!) Christmas,
Pastor Michael, Elizabeth, Molly, Caleb, Micah, and Emily
P.S.  This Sunday you will have the great privilege of hearing from Pastor Garland Rogers as he opens the Word and speaks on the subject “In the Fullness of Time”.  Don’t miss it!


Love From Your Pastor

Merry CHRISTmas FBC!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
 (John 8:12)
What a blessing to be able to celebrate the greatest gift of God to the world – His Son, the Light of the world!  The above verse will be one of the key ones as we look at “The Light of Life” at our annual “Christmas by Candlelight” service this Sunday night.  This will be a blessing for the whole family, so come one, come all, at 6pm Sunday night!
Sunday morning is our children’s Christmas program, “The Night Before Christ’s-birth!”  You will certainly not want to miss this beautiful tribute to our Savior through the talents of our little ones!  Invite friends and family and join us Sunday at 10:30am!
Thank you to those who have agreed to bring cookies for Sunday morning and/or finger foods for Sunday night!  We will still need more, so if you are able to, please help out with some goodies!
Men – tomorrow is our monthly Men’s Breakfast at 7am, come enjoy a great meal and fellowship with other Christian men!
I trust you are having opportunities to reflect on God’s amazing grace through His Son Jesus Christ.  Take some time to slow down, ponder, and worship the King.  Enjoy your friends and family.  Draw near to the Lord and to one another.
Thankful for the Light of the world Who has come to shine through the darkness of our world!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Merry Christmas FBC!

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.
 (Zephaniah 2:3)
I’m intrigued by this verse for a few reasons today.  First, it was what stood out to me during my daily reading this morning.  It is a verse I am chewing on (meditating on) today.  Second, I am planning (Lord willing) to preach on the book of Zephaniah early on in 2016.  But I am also thinking on this verse in relation to Christmas.  Yes, Zephaniah can relate to Christmas!  The Incarnation of Christ – His coming to earth in the form of man, is an absolutely stunning picture of humility.  Those who seek the Lord are seeking the all-powerful sovereign God of the universe.  But they are also seeking the God who became man.  The humble servant.  The one who was placed in a manger, though He belonged in a heavenly palace.  So let us seek Him this Christmas.  Let us seek righteousness.  Let us seek humility.  Perhaps we may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.  And indeed, all who trust in Christ, all who are born again to a living hope, will certainly be hidden from God’s anger – because Jesus took it upon Himself on the cross!
Dave Ezell asked me to share with you about the Central Linn High School staff appreciation project he is heading up.  It is taking place this Wednesday.  They will be providing some goodies for the staff lounge to show appreciation and bless the staff.  He’s looking for a few people willing to help him out.  If that’s you, could you please contact Dave?  Thank you!

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends!

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming.
 (1 John 2:28)
The apostle John gives us a great reminder here, that as little children (Jesus said we must have faith like a child) the key to confident Christian living is abiding in Christ.  In his gospel account, the book of John, he emphasizes the same thing.  We are told that if we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we will bear much fruit.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  Apart from Him we can do nothing.  John here also reminds us of Jesus’ 2nd advent (“when He appears,” and “at His coming”).  We are in a season right now in America where we are remembering His 1st coming, which is a good thing to remember.  But may we never forget what He accomplished around 33 years after His birth – His propitiating death on the cross!  His resurrection from the grave!  His ascension back to Heaven!  And may we live our lives looking forward with great anticipation that great day when He will come again!  The way to be ready for His coming is to abide in Him.  May we all do that well in the days ahead.
This Sunday I will conclude our brief series, “The Chronicles of Prayer” with a message from 2 Chronicles 6:12-42, entitled “House of Prayer”.  God’s house was intended by Him to be a house of prayer for all peoples.  Now we as His church are to be built up as His house (the people, not the building), and we too are to be a “house of prayer” for the world.  Please read 2 Chronicles 6 prior to Sunday morning and be in prayer that the Lord will teach us more about prayer and motivate us to become a true house of prayer!
As you prepare for the celebration of Christ’s first coming, we have a number of opportunities at FBC to help you enjoy a blessed Christmas season.

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Love From Your Pastor

Happy Thanksgiving FBC!

And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:13)
David’s prayer is a great reminder for us as we consider all that we have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I will be speaking this Sunday on 1 Chronicles 29:10-22 as we continue our short series, The Chronicles of Prayer.  I would encourage you to read all of chapter 29 before Sunday to understand the context of his prayer.  Perhaps this prayer in verses 10-22 would be a good thing to read as you gather with family and friends to give thanks tomorrow.  The prayers of the Bible reveal so much and can inform our own prayer lives.
As I contemplate what I’m thankful for this year, you are all a big part of it.  Through some highs and lows, through triumphs and challenges, we remain a tremendously blessed church family!  Let’s thank our God and praise His glorious name together!  See you Sunday!
Thanking God for you…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
Our God is such a gracious gift-giver!  How thankful I am for His provisions, for His salvation, for the abundance of His blessings that we have had poured out on us.
Speaking of gifts, THANK YOU for your giving toward our special missions offering last Sunday!  We received a total of $7,673.21, which our Global Outreach Commission has divided between the three special projects: Haiti Foundation of Hope cafeteria, Teen Challenge in Shedd, and Refugee ministries in Turkey.  The details of the disbursements of the funds will be in your bulletin this Sunday.
Also, please remember to bring in your shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child no later than this Sunday.
As we continue our short series, “The Chronicles of Prayer,” we will be looking at 1 Chronicles 17:16-27, which begins with David’s humble question, “Who am I?”  I’d encourage you to read that ahead of time and be ready for the Lord’s Word to do a work in our hearts this Sunday.
Men – this Saturday is our monthly Men’s Breakfast at 7am in the Fellowship Hall.  Bring your appetite and come ready to enjoy a time of good fellowship with one another.  If you are willing to help in the kitchen, please contact Randy Waldie (541-905-3659).
Thankful for every good and perfect gift that has come down from the Father of lights…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC!

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
I love Psalm 136!  It will be the basis of my message tomorrow at Wade Doerfler’s memorial service.  It is taking place at 1pm at Central Linn High School.  Everyone is invited of course.  Thank you so much to everyone who has helped provide cookies for the reception after the service – I know the family is grateful!  Please be in prayer for comfort for the family, especially our sister Marianne, and for the gospel seeds to be planted well in the hearts of any unbelievers attending tomorrow.
This Sunday I am beginning a new four-part series: The Chronicles of Prayer.  We will look at the prayers/songs of David and Solomon in 1 & 2 Chronicles.  This Sunday’s message will be, “Oh Give Thanks to the LORD” from 1 Chronicles 16:8-36.  It has often frustrated me that in our culture we practically skip right over Thanksgiving, as we are so anxious to get to Christmas!  Let’s take a few weeks to focus on giving the Lord the thanks He deserves and learning to pray from the beautiful prayers & songs of these two kings.
Did you know Monday the 16th is FBC of Brownsville’s 162nd Anniversary?  Just one more thing to thank God for!  He has been so faithful to this congregation for so many years!
As one way to celebrate our church anniversary, we are once again receiving a special offering for Missions during the worship service this Sunday.  Our Global Outreach Commission has chosen these three projects for our special gifts:  1) Teen Challenge, in Shedd, has had a huge impact on the local area.  Teen Challenge helps out those who are struggling with addictions to substances of various kinds.  2) Haiti Foundation of Hope, raising funds to build a new cafeteria to efficiently feed the 1,000 children at the school.  3) Syrian & Iraqi Refugees in Turkey, being served by Frontiers & World Horizons.  Let’s pray and consider generous gifts, as the Lord has been so generous to us.
(This is a separate offering from the regular General Fund offering for this Sunday.)
Also, remember our Christian Adventurers (for those 55+) is having their Thanksgiving Potluck on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Noon in the Fellowship Hall of FBC.  Guests Carolyn Jackson and Roger Ruckert will be sharing about agriculture in the classroom and agriculture on our table from an educator’s and a producer’s point of view.  Ham, turkey, and rolls will be provided, just be ready to share your best seasonal side dish, salad, or dessert.
Giving thanks to the Lord for you…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC Friends,

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.(Philemon 4-6)
Philemon is a short but powerful New Testament letter.  “Philemon teaches us simply yet profoundly that the gospel transforms us from the inside out.  God’s grace in the gospel therefore has the power to reconcile people and transform relationships… Because of Jesus, the ultimate reconciler who made peace on the cross (Col. 1:20), we must let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts in all of our relationships, since we are one body with Christ who is our head (Col. 3:15).” (“Introduction to Philemon,” The Gospel Transformation Bible)  It was interesting to me that this was in my reading today, on the same day that one of my Psalms readings included Ps. 133:1 — Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  “The unity of God’s people has been, and continues to be, a sign of God’s rich blessing.  Here the psalmist reflects on those who are bound together in the worship of Yahweh at the temple, and he revels in their union in faith and practice as the true people of God… As believers on this side of the cross, our minds are naturally brought to the unity we have in Christ (e.g., John 17:21-23).  The basis for our unity is even greater now that the fulfillment of those priestly laws has come, and the true Mediator of God’s people with their heavenly Father intercedes for us.  If there was beauty in the unity of God’s people at the temple, how much more is the glory of our union shown as we, in Christ, display our devotion and love for Him” (notes on Ps. 133, The Gospel Transformation Bible).
I personally found those passages and the notes that went with them to be both encouraging and convicting.  I am encouraged by the hope that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us that we can be not only reconciled to God, but brothers and sisters can be reconciled to each other.  I am convicted because I have not always done everything in my power to pursue peace and unity with everyone.  This Sunday Randy Waldie will be preaching on “Unity Among Believers”, which is one reason I was especially interested in what I read this morning.  I’m sure Randy will have a powerful message for us Sunday.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC!

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight!  Daylight Savings ends (or is it begins? I forget), so we “fall back”.  So thankfully, we get an extra hour of rest tonight!
It’s only a few hours until Trunk or Treat now.  Thank you all of you who are praying for this event.  May we shine the light of Jesus to our community.  Decorating is in high gear, bags for families have been stuffed with a gospel tract, church info, and of course candy.  Costumes are being prepared.  Let’s pray for hearts to be prepared.  I was out at Central Linn Elementary’s Carnival today, and overheard people who I don’t know talking about our trunk or treat and telling people how to get to our church!  I know this is a blessing for the families in our area.  Thank you for your generous giving, your participation, and your faithful prayers.  Any last minute questions, call Elizabeth or me.
Also, since you have an extra hour tonight, you can spend some time looking at our text for tomorrow’s sermon – 2 Timothy 4:1-8.  Three reasons I chose this text for tomorrow: 1) We finished Revelation last Sunday!  2) It is one of the passages in the Daily Reading Bible tomorrow.  3) Tomorrow is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  Persecution of Christians is starting to heat up here in America.  We need to be praying.  But persecution of brothers and sisters in Christ has been happening around the world in full gear.  We need to pray for God’s strength, for His glory to be made known, and for our hearts to be strengthened for the days to come.  This passage of Scripture is a great reminder from the apostle Paul about the need for us to be prepared to endure suffering for the gospel of Christ.
Tomorrow is also Communion Sunday, so please be preparing your hearts for our remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice for us.
I love you and look forward to seeing you tonight and/or tomorrow!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael



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