What kind of church really pumps Jesus up? What is Jesus’ favorite church? Is it an attractional church? Missional church? Rural? Urban? Jesus says that the church of Philadelphia kept his word, did not deny his name, and kept his word about faithful perseverance. It’s faithfulness, not perfection. There is no perfect church. Do we keep our commitments to Christ? To his church? To his people and to the community that he loves? We can delusionally mask our half-hearted faithfulness. The church of Philadelphia took advantage of the evangelistic opportunities while focusing on the open doors that God provided. The absence of obstacles is not the clear indication of open doors. Faithfulness focuses on the opportunity more than the obstacles. It focuses on loyalty to God over being liked by everyone around. The more we treasure our loyalty to God over being liked by others the more we can love people the way God loves them. Faithfulness focuses on the eternal over the temporary. Jesus is coming soon and he calls the church to faithfulness by telling them to hold on to the eternal realities. You can listen to this message on the church of Philadelphia by Pastor Mike HERE!
Are you more swag than substance? Are you sleepy in your faith? Are you half-hearted; all duty with no delight? Are you aware that the first step to losing your faith is losing your fire? In His great kindness Jesus both awakens sleepy Christians and makes alive those who are still dead. Listen HERE to His call from Revelation 3:1-6 for us to WAKE UP!
With the help of 40 teens from BUMP, we are holding a VBS Monday through Friday 10AM – 1PM at the Post Office. Bring some kids and come on down to help out. Please pray for lasting fruit from this week’s effort.
Huge shoutout to Pastor Clete for leading multiple teams hauling off multiple tons of debris in last week’s demolition project on a building next door that we recently purchased. Check out the pictures and video below. A lot was accomplished! Also, thanks to Peter Ashmore we now have a ladies room on the first floor! This “luxury” was quite timely as the BUMP team pushed attendance over 200. More projects coming soon in our renovation process!
The racially motivated murders during a Bible study followed by several church burnings remind us that racism both individually and institutionally continues to exist today. Not only has the historic definition of marriage been struck down but more and more Christians today support same sex marriage and believe that one can be a faithful Christian and live a homosexual lifestyle. Do you form your views from the changing winds of culture or the unchanging truths of God’s word? Our search for answers cannot begin with our experiences… how we feel, who we know, or what we think. Faithful followers of Jesus, those who believe Jesus is Lord and take the Scriptures seriously, stand against racism and for biblical sexuality. We cannot be vocal about one issue and then be completely silent about the other. You can listen to this message on racism and biblical sexuality by Pastor Mike HERE! Yes, these are hot button topics but as we read and study the Scriptures, let us pray for open hearts and minds, that God may teach us his ways and not ours!
What do I do when I fall? How do I respond when I sin? What do I do when I fall short of the life that God desires for me? True repentance is not just saying “God, I’m sorry.” Authentic forgiveness requires genuine repentance. David did not just have a fall from grace, but a life and generation-altering collapse. So how could David ask for forgiveness? He requested for forgiveness solely on the basis on the Lord’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. When we fall short, we need to first acknowledge the need for mercy. There is nothing we can do to earn or deserve our forgiveness – we can’t fix it. It’s about his mercy. The only lifeline when we are drowning in sin is the mercy of God found in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to own our sin, confessing that we stepped outside of what God designed for us. To receive mercy from God we must acknowledge our sin. We minimize our grace when we minimize our sin. Explanation and rationalization is not confession. “God knows my heart.” Culture views sin as an alternative lifestyle and personal freedom. We need to align the view of our sin the way the holy God views our sin. David hurt and damaged a lot of people but his sin was ultimately against God. There is an internal problem within us: we were all born with a corrupted hard drive. How do we fix the problem where we are all messed up inside but God desires integrity and purity? The blood of Jesus purges us of our sin and cleanses us once and for all. We don’t need behavioral modification or a 3-quick-steps and do better. What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! When sin happens it has an eroding effect with our relationship with God, distancing us from God. Sin oversells and under delivers, and it drains us of our joy in and intimacy with the Lord. It gets in the way in our effectiveness to live and declare the gospel. True joy is only found in Jesus Christ. The blood that Jesus shed on Calvary is the same blood that will wipe away the guilt and condemnation and restore our joy. We need to be a people who constantly repent and turn from our old ways. Everyday is a day of repentance, turning from sin and turning to God. You can listen to this message on Psalm 51 by Pastor Tyler HERE!
The city of Smyrna was a hot bed of Caesar worship, which then presented a conflict for the Christians. As we saw with the early church leader Polycarp, whose faith lead to martyrdom, suffering was not a matter of if, but a matter of when and how. Polycarp or punk-out? Courageous or cowardeous? Stand fast or sit down? When we take our faith in Christ public in a pagan world, we will suffer. The letter to the church in Smyrna gives us three reasons we can stand stand firm in our faith in times of suffering. Because Jesus knows our suffering we can stand fast. We don’t serve a distant deity. Jesus is near to us and he knows all about our suffering. The church of Smyrna was impoverished because of financial persecution they were experiencing, due to their faith in the Savior and not Caesar. How can Jesus say that this impoverished and afflicted church is rich? Because when Jesus is all we have, we learn that Jesus is all we need. Suffering strips us of everything and all we have left is Jesus, who actually first got a hold of us. We will be slandered for our faith in Jesus Christ, and he knows all about it. It was his rejection and suffering that has allowed our salvation. Because Jesus controls our suffering we can stand fast. Behind all opposition there is demonic opposition, but Jesus harnesses that opposition with a purpose. Suffering is a separator, testing the reality of our faith and whether or not we truly do put our faith in him and in him only. He controls the purpose of our suffering and he limits the extent of our suffering. Lastly, because Jesus has a promise for our suffering we can stand fast. This crown of life is not only for exceptional super Christians, but for all Christians, everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ. There are no prizes for how we start the race, only for how we finish. And we can finish well by looking to the one who ran and finished the race perfectly and won the victory on our behalf! Jesus doesn’t promise us roses, but commands us to be faithful unto death for he will give us the crown of life. We are called to take daily doses of martyrdom through daily doses of self-denial for the sake of His name! Sadly. we’ve all punked-out, been a coward, and sat down rather than stood fast. But just like Jesus restored Peter when he pinked out, he can restore and use us even after we punk out! This should give us massive encouragement. It’s all about Jesus, and the perseverance of the Savior! You can listen to this message on the church of Smyrna from Revelation 2 by Pastor Mike HERE!
We’ve all received report cards from school and many of us may have received evaluations from our work places. As we saw in the letter written to the church in Ephesus, the Ephesians are similarly given a report to how they are doing and how they should be doing. This letter to the church of Ephesus from the book of Revelation is comprised of a relevant introduction, a penetrating evaluation, a corresponding exhortation, and a motivating benediction. What good is a tasty salad with steak strips if dry cow manure is sprinkled over it? In a similar way, the church is acknowledged for the good work they were doing, but what was lacking was their love for God, their first love. It’s not enough just to be right and to do right. When our hearts are in the right place, our actions follow through and we are led to doing the right things. We need to remember the times when it was a joy to discover more about who God was and what he wanted from us, how we would do things we never used to do.We are to remember who it is that we actually serve, the God who created this universe and has authority over all things. We also need to repent, owning our sin of lovelessness and confessing our hearts. We will then see it is actually God who is the one running towards us, the one who always has been pursuing after our hearts. Lastly, we must resume, continuing with the good that we do for the glory of God. We must not stop when things are not going well. In Jesus Christ, there is much grace and mercy. Where is your heart today? What motivates you to do the things that you do? You can listen to this passage on the letter to the church in Ephesus by Pastor Clete HERE!