Our Muddy Glory

Holy God,
the beauty of your glory is something to behold,
yet we seek after a glory that is dim in comparison;
a glory that only reflects from the muddy water of our sin.
And we have no idea how bad it is
until we drink from the water
and taste that we are drinking unto our death.

May we come to the well that is pure and life giving.
May drink that we may never thirst again.
May we seek to know Your Law better and better.
May we soak in Your precepts that we may shine forth Your glory.

Oh God,
You are the holy law giver
but you are also the glorious one
who redeems our lives through Jesus Christ.
May we taste and see that You are Good
and may we ever seek Your ways.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Think of You

To think of You,
oh God,
is to be reminded of my sinful estate;
my fallen nature;
and my constant disobedience.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to run to You in confession;
to seek Your mercy;
and to fall at Your feet.

[Enter Jesus]

To think of You,
oh God,
is to hear forgiveness;
to know grace;
and to feel Your love.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know peace in chaos;
hope in despair;
and tranquility in upheaval.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know everything will be alright;
to be reminded that You are in control;
and to be filled with joy.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know that I am Your child,
wrapped in Your arms,
and keep safe for all eternity.

To think of You…
🙂

The Pastor -|—

Standing

I stand.

I stand condemned under the weigh of my sin,
with no logical defense to make.
I stand condemned as a violator of Your holy law,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

I stand condemned as glory-stealing,
honor-withholding sinner.
I stand condemned as an non trusting kingdom builder,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

And as I stand condemned I see my Savior,
my Lord,
my advocate,
my Jesus.

Jesus stands with me.
Jesus intercedes for me.
Jesus takes the judgment for me.
Jesus dies for me.

And…

Jesus rises for me.

I now, through faith, I stand liberated,
I stand free,
I stand hopeful,
I stand forgiven.
For Jesus, my Lord, took the weight of my sin
and made my defense before You,
oh God.

And now I no longer stand,
rather,
I fall on my face to worship You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to honor You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to praise You,
oh God…

as I stand on Your promises.

The Pastor -|—

To Silence Satan’s Laugh

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.[John 17:11]

I listened to a sermon recently where the pastor talked about oneness as the Father and the Son are one; using the above text. But something he said really caught my attention. He said that when we, as a church, get caught up in disputes or controversies or anything that takes our eyes off of Christ, Satan laughs.

He laughs.

Why?

Satan laughs because he won as he managed to get the church to take their eyes off of Christ. And ultimately that is what Satan is trying to do with all people. For you see, sin is a turning inward to see yourself as god; trusting oneself over God almighty. And when we look inward, we see only our agenda and our will. And let me tell you, our agenda and our will is not God’s.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9]

And Satan knows this and thus tries get us to focus on ourselves. For if Satan can divert our attention away from Jesus, then the church is not going to be the church as God wants. In scripture, the relationship of Jesus and the Church is like that of a husband and a wife, but only better. But if a wife (the Church) is not focused on her husband (Jesus); or worse yet, looking for another, the marriage is in trouble. And therefore, as the Church, we need to be one with Christ. For it is only by looking to Christ that we see his purpose and will for our lives. And that purpose? Is to be one as the Father and the Son are one. And when we are in one accord with the Father, the Kingdom of God is advanced. We are called to glorify God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whereby letting the Holy Spirit add to “the numbers”.

But that won’t happen if the church is turned in upon itself. The Church MUST be Christ focused. The Church MUST humble itself before the throne of God. The Church MUST lay it’s burdens down and trust God to care for it’s needs. The Church MUST remain focused. The Church MUST be one as the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) are one.

And so my prayer for the Church; the congregations I am leaving and the one I am heading to shortly, is that we are one; one in purpose. May our eyes remain fixed on Jesus, so much so, that we give no occasion for Satan to laugh.

All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

P.S. If you want to listen to the sermon I referenced at the beginning, follow the below link.

Sermon by Pastor Gary Jepsen, May 1

Grace and Mercy ~ A Prayer

Father God,

Your grace and mercy is something that doesn’t make sense.
I mean, sinners, us, receiving mercy and forgiveness.
Sinners receiving chance after chance to change our ways and be obedient.
Sinners who constantly turn on You.
Sinners who would much rather be their own god
or acquiesce to weak worldly gods.

To reflect on such depravity sends chills up and down my spine.
But it is because of such depravity
that Jesus comes.
It is because of such darkness within
that Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
It is because of such self-glorification
that Jesus dies and rises,
FOR US.

Oh God,
may Your Spirit continue to shine the light of Truth in our hearts
that we may always run to You.
And once in Your arms
may all worship and thanksgiving be given to You
for Your incredible grace and mercy.
Oh God, there is no god like You
and therefore You are worthy of all praise.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Why God, Why

This pastor’s heart is heavy this morning after reading news about a reporter and her cameraman in Virginia being gunned down and killed on live TV this morning. I won’t go into details here as you can click the link above.

As I read this story, my heart broke and immediately send me into a series of questions, many consisting of: “Why God, why?” as I instinctively started looking for answers. It’s a natural response to a tragedy as one seeks consolation, comfort, hope and maybe even an explanation. Something, anything to help make sense of the evil and sin in the world. I hear this “Why” question a lot and ask it myself.

And there are no good answers to explain why this tragedy happened, but there IS hope. The hope? OUR hope?

OUR AWESOME GOD THROUGH CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD

[Isaiah 43:1] But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

[1 Corinthians 15:55-57]  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Romans 8:35-39, but really, read the WHOLE chapter] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

[John 11:25-26]  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?

…and there are many more, but hopefully this is a start for you. This world is nasty, sin-stained, filled with death, but…

Our God is love, pure and perfect, and filled with Life; a life that is your’s through faith in Jesus Christ. So as chaos reeks havoc in this world, cling to Jesus. May the only answer you search for and cling to be

JESUS.

Mighty and holy God, I lift up to You those affected by this tragic shooting. May family, friends and loved ones know Your love and the hope of the resurrection. Evil may have it’s day in this world but You have overcome this world. May we cling to THAT reality. All praise, glory and worship be to You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Jesus Is

Jesus is my Lord and Life;
Jesus makes my dark as light.

Jesus is my Savior now;
He’s the one to whom I bow.

Jesus blots out all my sin;
He’s the one my faith is in.

Jesus loves my dreary soul;
Jesus makes me feel so whole.

Jesus, you’re my all in all;
even when I feel so small.

So…

Jesus, this rhyme is for you;
for all my praise, is your due.

May you lift your praise and worship to God our Father each and every day, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—