Please click on the following link to read an update on our new organ. – Steve B.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12
There is an oak tree in my hometown of Granby that is so majestic and beautiful that I often make it a point to take a slight detour on my way home from work to gaze at God’s masterpiece in awe and wonder. According to a nearby plaque, this monstrous oak is over 450 years old but the local folks will tell you it’s between 200 and 250 years old. Only God knows for sure. The tree has several sprawling limbs that are bigger than most tree trunks as they stretch out horizontally and touch the ground in a few spots.
God has indeed created a beautiful earth 🌏 for our exploration and enjoyment. Why not make it a point to get outside this weekend and enjoy all that God has created!
Please click to view this BLOG post! – Steve B.
The Winds of Pentecost
You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can rarely feel it. And most of the time you forget that it’s even there. And it’s no exaggeration to say that our very lives would end without it. We. Need. Air.
It’s interesting, sometimes The Bible translates air as “breath,” sometimes “wind,” and sometimes “Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit gives us a breath of fresh air — of life-giving air — in bringing us the Gospel. And by that gospel he gives us the ability to share this gift with others and fans into flames our zeal to do it.
Through the Word and through the Sacrament of Baptism, he’s breathed life into us as he created the very faith that’s in our hearts. And with a puff he’s blown away every one of our sins so they’re sent sailing as far as the east is from the west, as high as the heavens are above the earth! What a breath of life-giving, fresh air!
I always enjoy our celebration of the day of Pentecost which we recently celebrated on May 15. Can you imagine, those that heard that particular wind were instantly converted to language scholars, being able to talk in foreign tongues.
As I contemplated the sermon and the day’s scripture, I was stirred to pen a poem about the winds that blew through the room on that day.
The winds roared through the room
All who were present heard
The followers were filled with the Spirit
Their hearts were stirred
Do you hear His voice in the wind?
Is He calling to you?
This Spirit who dwells among us
He still seeks a precious few
The winds of Pentecost are real
They blow with passion and fire
They inspire a certain zeal
A calling to which we aspire
He turned babble into understanding
As the ordinary people spoke anew
The languages once foreign and mixed
And God’s kingdom grew
As we enter the season of Pentecost
Of growth, passion and zeal
Feel the warmth of His Spirit
Inside you and incredibly real
I close with John 20:21-23 because in it Jesus is sending the people out and breathing upon them, as if by the Pentecost wind, and by this breath He tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. The exciting thing is that we are still in Pentecost times and the Holy Spirit is sent to be with us as well. He breathes spiritual life into our lifeless souls, but he also fans into flame our zeal to live for him and to share our faith.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” – John 20:21-23
What difference will the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit’s power make in your life today?
Have you ever thought about the conversion of Saul to Paul? He was probably a well known and well connected, middle aged Pharisee. Then one day, in the blink of an eye, his life and his name were drastically changed. Just think, every acquaintance that he ran into after this time, he would have to retell the account of his name change.
Does God still convert people today? Did He once convert you?
Here’s what Paul says about his conversion:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16
The key phrase to me in the above passage is “as an example for those who would believe.” So God has other people in mind when he saved Paul. It could be our unchurched family member! How far fetched can this be when Paul was such a nasty opponent of Christianity.
But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. – Acts 8:3
Paul is exactly the kind of person that no one expected to be converted. Through Paul’s conversion, God wants us to see that the worst enemy of the church can be completely converted through the work of the Holy Spirit. The voice that speaks to Paul from heaven while on the road to Damascus does not ask for Paul’s decision to believe; it tells him exactly what he is to do.
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:5-6
The fact is that God chose Paul before he was born, in the same way that he chose you and me.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased. – Galatians 1:15
God moved in on Paul’s life and as C. S. Lewis said, “surprised him with joy—and with suffering.”
So may your unchurched friends and loved ones be converted, suddenly, unexpectedly and by the sovereign overflowing grace and love of Jesus and through the works of the Holy Spirit.
My New Year’s Verse
I found my New Year’s verse. Actually, it found me because I wasn’t looking for one – in the same way that Jesus made himself known to me so many years ago. Here it is:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Get that? – I am in Christ and the old has gone! It is exciting! A new year! A fresh start! What will God do with me in 2016?
The truth is that I do not know if I will have health problems in 2016. I don’t know if I’ll lose my job in 2016. I don’t know if I’ll lose a loved one, or if terrorism will strike on US soil. The list of unknowns goes on and on. But I do know that it will be a good year with Christ in my life because He loved me enough to trade His pure and holy life for mine. So my life is important and I do make a difference. My destiny is with Him forever and this changes everything.
So in 2016 I will rejoice. I will trade my life’s minor chords for major chords; no make that Major 7th chords because these jazzy chords have a happier sound. These are major chords that have been blessed.
Today, I pray that you hold tighter to Jesus, your Lord and your Savior in 2016. Cling to Him and to His words and feel the power of the Holy Spirit inside you. He’s there and He’s bursting at the seams to inspire you. Let Him lead you. Pray through Him to God the Father. It will make a difference.
I share with you my New Year’s verse. You also be in Christ. The old is gone and the new is here!
Wishing you all peace – the peace that only Christ can bring in 2016!
This is my church!
I am accepted here.
I hear God’s word here.
I pray collectively with like-minded believers here.
I confess my sins here and know that they are forgiven.
The truth is taught here.
God is present here.
God is glorified here.
I am inspired here.
I matter here.
I receive the Lord’s Supper here.
My hard heart is softened here.
I learn here.
I give offerings to my Savior here.
Love is here.
Peace is here.
Hope is here.
The Gospel is preached here.
There is a sense of wonder and awe here.
For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free, and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
– 1 Corinthians 12:13
My friends are here.
We sing praises together here.
We baptize here.
We are one in faith here.
We chant the Psalms here.
We are blessed here.
We are the church!
All, are welcome here. Christ is reaching out to you with open arms.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body; you were called to peace.
– Colossians 3:15