Love From Your Pastor

Michael, To the church of the Brownsvilleians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.  We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (adapted from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3)
A great reminder again today from the apostle Paul (and Silas & Timothy) of the importance of praying for the church regularly, thanking God for your faith, hope, and love!  I was extra motivated today to get on my knees today on behalf of our church.  And thank all of you for doing the same!
This weekend will be a special treat!  David & Hillary Ker of Little Zebra Books will be with us on Sunday morning.  They will be sharing during the Sunday School hour with the adults, as well as making a presentation during the worship service.  David will also be here for the Men’s Breakfast – Saturday at 7:00am.  So make sure you join us for that, guys!
We will have three children baptized this Sunday, and another two the following Sunday!  Praise the Lord!  This is always a great time of encouragement.  Please be sure to be here for this time of commitment and celebration.
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)
I read Philippians 2 today, and of course that entire chapter is fantastic!  Verses 1-11 include some of my favorite truths in all of the Bible.  But I believe I was led by the Lord to meditate today on verses 14-16.  I am especially intrigued by the phrase, “among whom you shine as lights in the world,” (v. 15) as it relates to what I’ll be talking about Sunday.  And I have been really enjoying notes from the Gospel Transformation Bible as I do my Bible reading this year.  Here is what it says about verses 12-18 of Phil. 2:
“Paul does not pretend that working out the implications of the gospel into a lifestyle of practical humility is easy (v. 12-13).  But it is necessary.  When we apply the gospel to ourselves with the radical humility of Christ, we stand out in the world as lights for Christ (v. 14-16).  The application of the gospel is tremendously difficult work.  It requires working out our salvation ‘with fear and trembling’ (v. 12), all the while trusting God to do the work of the gospel in us (v. 13).  Meanwhile, we live with a luminous joy, free of grumbling and complaining (v. 14).
     Paul’s own life follows the pattern of Christ’s humble sacrifice as he faces the prospect of being ‘poured out as a drink offering’ (v. 17).  Rather than dread this possibility, Paul is glad and rejoices and wants the Philippians to rejoice also (v. 17-18).
     As followers of Christ, we cannot expect our path to be one of ease.  Salvation by grace is totally free, but that does not mean there is no personal cost (Luke 14:28).  God is at work, but there is strenuous work for us to do as well.  And yet the strain of living for Christ cannot eclipse our joy.  Jesus’ sacrifice was done in joy, without complaining, and we likewise are welcomed in the glad service of Christ and others.  The gospel that calls us to sacrifice also calls us to rejoice.  The redemption into which we have been swept up is too great to be tepid about.  What a gospel this is!  Reflecting on God’s grace to us, the very ‘children of God’ (Phil. 2:15), our hearts are softened once more.”  (The Gospel Transformation Bible)
Powerful truths!  I hope it blesses, encourages, and challenges you, as it does me.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello FBC,

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:15-21)
What a powerful prayer from Paul and reminder of the hope we have because of the great power of God at work in our lives!  Chew on that prayer for a bit, and let’s pray that the “eyes of our hearts” will be enlightened and we will know the hope to which He called us.
This Sunday I will be preaching on Revelation 21:1-8, “All Things New!”  Please read through that and consider what it will be like when God makes all things new, including a new heaven and a new earth.  There are a number of things that John says will no longer be present.  What are those things?  Oh how we should be looking forward with great hope and joy to an eternal home where there is no more evil, no more pain or suffering, etc.!
We will also be remembering the Lord’s death during our Communion service together.  Let’s be in prayer for all of us to come with prepared hearts.
Obviously, this week we witnessed a horrible tragedy in Roseburg.  May we pray for the families and those affected deeply by this act of evil.  There have already been many various responses by people.  One that I found interesting was by Ed Stetzer, and I have attached it to this email below.  You may not agree with all of his conclusions, but it contains some wise responses for us to consider as Christians.
I’m looking forward to our time together tomorrow.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Greetings FBC!

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
The good news is our hope in Christ is not for this life only!  1 Corinthians 15 is an incredibly powerful reminder of the eternal hope we have because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I’d encourage you to read that chapter today.  I like a note from the Gospel Transformation Bible here: “These gospel truths lead to two major applications.  1st, rather than defining ourselves by the emptiness of ‘this life’ and its pleasures, we must cherish the promise that we will share in Christ’s glory.  2nd, we must embrace this resurrection hope as a source of power by which we may endure hardship and struggle against sin.  Gratitude for the victory that God has given us through Christ must lead us to be ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (v. 57-58).  The gospel therefore combats hopelessness and gives purpose to our daily endeavors: ‘in the Lord your labor is not in vain’ (v. 58).”
Speaking of hope, this Sunday I will be preaching on Revelation 19:11-21, “The Victorious King & the Defeated Beast.”  Jesus is coming back!  What a day that will be.  Please read the passage ahead of time, and especially pick out the names and descriptions attributed to Jesus Christ.  Hope to see you Sunday!
I received this from Aaron Savage (Youth for Christ/Campus Life) – “I’m organizing for blessing the Central Linn staff with food this coming Monday!”  Would you be willing to help Aaron bless the CL staff?  He can use help with food, and someone to help with decorations.  Please contact Aaron at 541-971-6985.  Thank you!
Men’s Roundup starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday.  You can still register there at the registration tent at Tadmor tomorrow.  This is going to be a great weekend.  Contact me or Jeff Stoneberg with any questions.
Friends, I can’t go into details now, but I just found out that we need to be praying hard for Wade & Marianne Doerfler today.  Please be in prayer for them.  Wade is being transported to a hospital in Portland with very serious injuries.  Please pray.
Hoping in Christ for this life AND the next…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

…yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:6)
What a great reminder from the apostle Paul!  Let us keep our focus on what is essential in our lives.  We have one God and one Lord.  We exist for the Father and through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  May all of our lives revolve around our relationship with the One true and living God!
This Sunday I will be speaking on Revelation 19:1-10.  Please read that in advance.  May it move us to praise the Lord (the meaning of “Hallelujah”) as we consider the four “hallelujahs” in this passage!  May we exult in the promise of the coming marriage supper of the Lamb!
Also this Sunday, we will be sharing the communion table together.  A great reminder is found in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.  Let us examine ourselves in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.
 

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Love From Your Pastor

Michael, called by the will of God to be a minister of Christ Jesus, to the church of God that is in Brownsville, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus…

Wow!  We just don’t start letters like that anymore.  We started reading 1 Corinthians in our daily reading today, and the way Paul starts the letter got my attention.  Even though we find out later in his letter that the church in Corinth had a lot of problems, he reminds them from the very beginning of who he is as God’s servant, who they are in Christ, and what the Lord has provided to them by His grace.  While we want to guard against sounding too “super-spiritual” or overly pious, I wonder if we would benefit from more of such reminders in our communication with one another in the body of Christ.  Just a thought!
This Sunday, we will be in Revelation 18, “Babylon the Fallen.”  After this chapter we will really turn a corner in our Revelation study.  Our hopes for Christ’s return and the kingdom of God to come in all its glory, will soon be revealed.  But we need to see the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the downfall of Babylon.  I again encourage you to read Rev. 18 before we meet together on Sunday.  I also intend to share a number of cross-references from Jeremiah 50 and 51, so if you want to do a little extra in preparation for the sermon, you may want to read those chapters as well (those using the Bible reading plan read those on Aug. 21-22, but if you’re like me, it doesn’t take long to forget what we read!).  In the midst of the report of Babylon’s destruction, there is an interesting command in verse 4.  See if you can understand what the readers of Revelation are being told to do, and how it might relate to us as Christians as described in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

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Love From Your Pastor

Hello brothers and sisters of FBC!
 

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! (Psalm 27:7)
There was a little theme that stood out to me in my Bible reading today — the theme of “hearing.”
(A side note: a number of you are joining me in using the “M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan” for 2015.  A few of us are reading out of the “ESV Daily Reading Bible” and the rest are using the printed out sheets that we supplied in the foyer.  The readings should have been the same in both formats, but I discovered this week that for some reason the one I’m reading has us in Psalms, while the printed out list has you in Luke instead.  So sorry about the difference – maybe we’ll get back on all the same readings in the months ahead.)
In Romans 10 Paul reminds us of the essential matter of the gospel being preached, so that people can hear the message, so that they might believe and be saved.  I’ve loved verse 17 for a long time.  It reminds me that what people around me need is not any fancy argument or well-worded presentation.  They need the word of Christ!  Hearing the word of Christ is what is absolutely critical for someone to come to faith.
In Psalm 27, David is asking the Lord to hear him as he cries out in prayer.  You will see this kind of request all throughout the Psalms (and many other passages as well).  One of the great blessings of our relationship with the Lord is knowing that when we pray to Him, he hears us!  He listens!  And He acts!
These two ideas together emphasize something very important for each of us: our faith is not simply some dogma, or some set of religious practices.  No, Christianity is about a real relationship with a real God who really loves us.  We can communicate with Him.  We hear Him, with faith, through His Word.  He hears us, by grace, when we pray.  What a beautiful thing!
It was a blessing to spend some time away with my family.  Thank you for your prayers for us.  I am grateful for the ministry of Bob Reister, Ryan, and Bruce Tissell as they shared the Word with you.  But it is also a blessing to be back here, and I’m excited to see you this weekend!
This Sunday we will jump back into Revelation!  We will be in Revelation 17, discussing “Babylon the Great”.  This is a challenging passage!  But please read it prayerfully before Sunday and let’s ask God to communicate to us what He wants us to hear.
A few other things of note…

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Love From Your Pastor

Hi FBC Friends!

And he (Gideon) said to Him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel?  Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:15-16)
What a great promise from the Lord!  I will be with you.  I did a quick search and found many verses that say the exact same thing.  And of course there are many other verses that say the same thing even if not in the exact same words.  God promises to be with His people.  No matter what the circumstance.  No matter where the place.  “I will be with you” is one of His most precious gifts to us!  I like what the Gospel Transformation Bible says about this passage: “Our God willingly condescends to meet His servants because He understands our fear and frailty – qualities much more evident in Gideon than his heroism… In spite of Gideon’s objections, neither the presence of difficult circumstances nor the absence of God’s dramatic work should be taken as evidence that God has forsaken us.  Neither does a flawed or weak family background impede our usefulness in advancing the kingdom of God.”  Amen to that!
Here are some other great “I will be with you” passages if you want to look them up (and I suggest you do!) — Genesis 26:3; 31:3; Exodus 3:12; Deuteronomy 31:23; Joshua 1:5; 3:7; 1 Kings 11:38; Isaiah 43:2; Matthew 28:20 (slightly different wording – I am with you always…); John 7:33; Hebrews 13:5.
This Sunday I will be speaking on “The Ultimate Super Bowls” from Revelation 16.  It is a very sobering passage.  I’d encourage you to read it before Sunday.  Obviously, these devastating judgments are not something any of us want to experience.  We can be eternally grateful that those who are in Christ will not experience God’s wrath, as it was already place upon His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.  But consider the people in your life whom you know, who have not yet trusted in Him for salvation.  Pray that the Lord will use you as His instrument in bringing those people to faith in Christ.  We don’t want anyone we know to experience these Super Bowls!
If you missed the note from this past Sunday’s bulletin about the All-church lunch and informational and Q & A meeting, here it is:  “Everyone is invited to join us next Sunday, July 26, after the worship service.  We will provide a simple lunch of sandwiches and salads.  This is not a potluck.  After lunch we will meet together as a large group for a time for the pastor and elders to share about the reasons for considering the addition of a new Associate Pastor of Youth & Family Ministries.  A draft of the proposed job description will be available.  Following the large group meeting we will break into four smaller groups for questions & answers and discussion.  The reason for smaller groups is to encourage the participation of as many people as possible, as some people are very unlikely to share in a larger group.  We will have detailed notes taken in each group.  The meeting will conclude with another large group gathering to debrief and share what was discussed in each group.  We hope to be completed with the entire process by 2:00pm.  Please be sure to join us as we discuss this important and exciting step for our church family!”
Childcare will be available – if you will be staying for the meeting and have children that will be part of the child-care, please RSVP to Elizabeth at 541-979-1774 (call or text) or reply to this email.
So please consider joining us for this time sharing together as a church family.  Please be in prayer about it as well.  Thank you!
Thankful for a God who promises to be with us…
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael


Love From Your Pastor

Hi Friends,

This might be a shorter email than usual (I’m a little behind for some reason!).  We read again a lot of great stuff in our Daily Bible Reading.  But I was especially touched by Joshua 24:15, as I am every time I read through Joshua.  We all have a decision to make, and I hope our answer will be, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
Men’s Breakfast – Saturday (tomorrow) at 7:00am!  Mike Riffle from Colombia Grace Foundation will be here to share with us.  And of course there will be lots of great food.  Please come join us men!
Revelation 15:1-8 will be our text for Sunday.  Please read and pray over that before Sunday.  What is the “Song of Moses”?  What is the “Song of the Lamb”?  Mike and Stacey Riffle from Colombia Grace will also be sharing during the worship service and the adult Sunday School.
July 26 – Everyone is invited to stay for a simple lunch and a time of information, discussion, and Q & A regarding the addition of an Associate Pastor.  There is more info in this week’s bulletin about this.
Thank you for continued prayers for Alan Blake and Bruce Landon.  Alan was transfered today to a rehab facility at or near the University of Oregon!  He’s working hard and making great progress.  Let’s keep praying for a complete recovery and for God’s glory.  Bruce is recovering from heart bypass surgery, and is expected to be able to come home Saturday or Sunday.  Thanks for praying!
Thank you to everyone for supporting my adventure coaching the junior high Central Linn baseball team.  The journey came to an end today with our second loss at the State Tournament.  But it was a great season with a lot for the kids to celebrate, including a 16-0 regular season and winning the Valley League Championship tournament!  Also it was a great opportunity for impacting kids and building relationships with families.  Pray for fruit from any seeds planted!
See you this weekend!
Love From Your Pastor,
Michael



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