Another One

Another school shooting ūüė¶

In Freeman, WA yesterday, (about 5 hours to my east) someone opened fire at Freeman High School. As I know now, one student died and three are hospitalized in Spokane, WA and many more people have been affected.

Later on that day, I heard that the middle school in the town I live in was in shutdown mode for awhile because of gun shots that were heard nearby, but off campus. Nothing has come of that as of now and the school was back in normal operation later that day. Happy to hear that the school took swift action to ensure the safety of the kids, even if nothing came of the perceived threat.

And now this morning, schools in northwest Montana are closed due to threats that were texted messaged to officials. I don’t know the nature of the threats, but scary all the same.

How long long, oh Lord!

Please be in prayer for Freeman, WA. I am praying for the family of the deceased student, the three that were hospitalized, the professionals in town caring for survivors, families, students, teachers, staff, etc. I am also praying for the shooter (who is in custody). Yes, pray for them. It is easy to be angry with this person but they need prayers as well. I don’t condone their actions and they need to be punished, but I pray they may confess and repent of their actions. This shooter needs healing. I pray that God changes their heart.

Oh God, we live in evil; sinful times; we always have, but it just seems to be intensifying. Send Your Spirit that we may live our lives out loud that proclaims the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. May we seek peace, not hate. Make we seek reconciliation, not division. May we seek Your glory. Oh God, bring healing to this land. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Bearing Fruit

The follow is a sermon teaser for tomorrow (Dec 18) on Matthew 3:1-12.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance is John’s call for an authentic Jesus following life. It’s one thing to come to worship, confess your sins, put an envelope in the offering plate, and serve in the presence of others, but is your life bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Do you abhor sin? Does what happened in the garden sadden you or are you enjoying the temporary freedom that Satan gifts you with? Bearing fruit in keeping with repentance is about turning away from sin, not just in words but also in deed. It is making a 180 degree turn and fleeing from that which draws you away from God. The fruit is a God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting life that leads people to the throne of God; where the true treasure lies, not some fool’s gold.

May the Gospel of Jesus Christ transform your life to the glory of God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

God, Help Us and Have Mercy

Holy and merciful God,

ALL of scripture is breathed out by You.
ALL of scripture is inspired by You.
ALL of scripture is authoritative.
ALL of scripture is useful for teaching and rebuking and correcting and training in righteousness.

ALL of scripture is life-giving and holy and blessed, but yet, as Your Church, we don’t run to and grasp Your holy Word as we should. We more often than not toss Your Word around as just a tagline or a sound bite or as an arrow to be fired off in an argument/debate. The awe of Your Word is more times than not, lost on us and thus we are lead to actions and thoughts and words that are anything but glorifying to You, oh God.

For this I confess on behalf of me and the Church, but only I can declare my intent to repent and receive Your Word as Your almighty, authoritative Word. My hope is that the Church would too, so I ask that Your Spirit may be sent into Your Church. Bring about repentance and a deep desire to speak Your Word of truth with passion and conviction and honesty and boldness; yet doing so out of love for ALL of our neighbors.

Oh God, have mercy.

May we flee judgmentalism
May we flee idolatry
May we flee hate
May we flee worldly passions
May we flee cultural acceptance

May we see the way of Jesus as our way; fearing nothing but You, oh God. And as curves and bumps and deadly ravines appear along the way, may we cling to Jesus.

We do not live in heaven on earth, far from it, but Your kingdom is coming. May we look with longing expectation for that Kingdom; proclaiming this truth and calling all people to repentance; ALL people.

May Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven and help us to see this through Your most holy Word.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Sanitize and Repent

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
[Luke 3:7-8]

This influenza season has gotten me more nervous than any other I can remember. ¬†The number of people being¬†hospitalized¬†and/or dying is alarming. ¬†People young and healthy are¬†succumbing to this illness…and quickly. ¬†So I have started taking¬†precautions:

~ I’m washing my hands more.
~ Using hand sanitizer more.
~ I am suspending hand shaking during worship.
~ We are wiping down and disinfecting commonly touched surface areas around the church building.
~ I am being very diligent…more so than any other year.

When I hear of a friend or someone I know getting sick my heart skips a beat or two. ¬†Recently…someone I know was hospitalized with influenza A and¬†pneumonia. ¬†I am praying hard for healing.

And I know I am not the only one concerned about this flu season.
I know I am not the only one taking extra precautions.
I know I am not the only one changing my life and routines.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance

And why doesn’t the epidemic of sin cause people to be just as diligent (or even more) about their lives. ¬†I mean…sin is a lot more deadly than any influenza strain nature can devise. ¬†Yet…we often take sin for granted. ¬†We come to worship; confess our sins and then go home feeling some emotion or sense of satisfaction.

But…

is there any life change?
is there any repentance?
is there any running away from that confessed sin?

Or…

Do we continue in our illness, embracing the symptoms, and running to our death?  Sounds dramatic, I know, but sin needs to be taken seriously because God takes it seriously.

How seriously?

Look to the cross; that wooden instrument of death that Jesus was nailed to, suffered upon and died upon.  Jesus died on that cross; taking our sin with him and announcing forgiveness and giving us hope.  But more than that, God gave us the cure to this deadly disease.  God gave us life.

Through confession we expose our disease to God and receive the cure.  But what next?  Sanitize/Repent and produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Why?  Because of fear of retaliation from God?

NO!

Because God has given us an amazing gift.
Because God has shown us amazing grace.
Because God has given us an amazing future.
Because God is worthy.

Be healthy and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Sanitize your life. ¬†Run away from sin. ¬†Embrace the love of God. ¬†AND…praise God always and forever. Sin is deadly, but Jesus is for us.

Have a great day ūüôā

The pastor -|—