LOOSING THE CHAINS THAT BIND

Throughout our lives we come up against many things that stop us in our tracks. Things that bind us to the point we feel unable to move forward physically, emotionally or spiritually. It can be as small as an unkind word or as big as the death of a loved one or loss of a job. I see people everyday who are bound—so tied up they are useless to anyone, including God. Sometimes pride binds us. We are wrapped up in what we think we can do and do not think we need to give our lives over to Christ. But, when we come up against an obstacle and are unable to move, it does, actually, give us something positive—time to examine ourselves.

In Mark 5:1-20 we read of a man who was bound in every way possible. He was possessed by demons so completely he had to live in the tombs because no one wanted to be near him. He had been physically restrained by the Gentiles in Gerasenes but was so strong he broke the chains and irons. He must have been weighed down emotionally. I know I would be pretty depressed if I was shunned by everyone I knew because Satan controlled my very being.

After the demons were cast out by Jesus, there were two interesting reactions. The man was so grateful he wanted to get in the boat with Jesus, to leave his home and go with the One who had saved him. A reasonable reaction to a life-changing event. You would think the people of Decapolis would have been overjoyed for the man but those who witnessed the casting out or heard about it only wanted Jesus to leave. “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”

These people knew they could sentence a possessed man to life in the tombs but what should they think about the Unknown standing before them? They were not afraid of the demons they knew, they were afraid of what they did not know—the power in Jesus Christ. Isn’t that how we are? We prefer the known in ourselves to the unknown of God. We hold on to our burdens and try to fix them the best way we know how when we should be giving them to God and trusting in His wisdom to know what is right for us.

 

 

But Your Love

God commanded Hosea to marry Gomer, an adulterous woman who bore children outside of marriage. As difficult as he probably knew his life would be, Hosea did as God said and married this woman, who must have caused him great sadness and despair because of her unfaithfulness. Gomer eventually left this marriage and ended up a slave, at which point Hosea was commanded by God to redeem Gomer yet again in spite of what she had done.

        Aren’t we all like Gomer? We sin in a multitude of ways, telling white lies, not honoring our parents, turning from our spouses, judging the “splinter” sins of others when we have “logs” of our own, lashing out in hurt or anger, turning from God when times are hard. Yet, He loves us just the same, awaits our return and even pursues us with His mercy and grace. Just like Hosea bought Gomer with silver and barley, God bought us with the blood of the Lamb. “But God demonstrated His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
        What joy we should have to know God does not give up on us even when we are ready to give up on ourselves and our chance at redemption. “Be Mine” says God in Hosea 2:19-20. “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.
 
 

Pastor Warren’s Message

WELL EXCUSE ME!
        Doesn’t it just drive you crazy when you have your whole day planned, it’s the weekend and you are going golfing or shopping, maybe you are just going to lay on the sofa and read a book or take the kids for a walk and halfway out the door the phone rings? You know if you answer it you may have to change your plans, you will be late getting back to what you were going to do, or you may never get to do what you planned. What I have discovered is this: God is in the interruptions in our lives. I will have my day planned out with meetings, visitations, planning, sermon writing, phone calls and email, the phone may ring and all my plans will change because someone is having surgery, someone needs to meet with me or there is a crisis in a family. Though I am sad for the circumstances, I am happy to be interrupted because I know I am needed by the family of God to be His hands and feet.
        Even Jesus had interruptions in his ministry. The very first miracle Jesus performed came about because His mother interrupted Him at a wedding to ask that He change water into wine, even though Jesus thought it was not yet time for His ministry to begin (John2:3-4). On the way to heal a girl, a woman interrupted Him so she would be healed (Matthew 9:18). Ten lepers came to him while he traveled to Jerusalem (Luke 17:11) and men broke through a roof while he taught in a home (Mark 2:1-5). Even Jesus’ dying moments were interrupted by the criminals being crucified to His right and left as one mocked Him and the other begged for mercy (Luke 23:39-42). If our Lord and Savior took time for those who interrupted His ministry, surely, we can look around us and stop to be His servant when there is a need. There are so many opportunities to serve. There is something for everyone. When we view service as an opportunity rather than an interruption, we are blessed to be a blessing!
 
 

Pastor Warren’s Message

WHAT I BELIEVE
        What does the church, the power of God, salvation through Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit mean to you? Will you take your beliefs with you when you leave here and make a difference for Him? Do you believe Jesus died for you 2000 years ago, that if you believe in Him and live for him that you will have eternal life with Him in heaven when you die? Do you believe the Holy Spirit is with you at all times and that God’s holy angels have charge over you? (John 14:16, Psalm 91:11).
        Do you believe that when two or more of us are gathered together in the name of Jesus that he is here also? (Matthew 18:20). Do you believe the Bible is more than just a book, that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so the people of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work? ( II Timothy 3:16).
        Do you believe heaven and earth will pass away but God’s Word will never change? (Luke 21:33). Do you really believe Jesus is going to return to earth visibly and every eye will see Him? (Revelation 1:7). Do you believe God knows when each of us is hurting and that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes? (Revelation 7:17). If you believe all these things, then how could anything keep you away from God’s house? We all look to the future and the plans God has for us. Remember this, we need you, you need your church family; we are the power of God together. We gather together to worship Him, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. (Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 21:6). No matter where you go, remember always what you believe.
 
 

Blessed

Many of our students and teachers had their first day today! Hopefully they felt all the love, blessings, and prayers from this moment!

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.