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Musings from the Mountain

Showing God’s Love

Wow, it is hard to believe we are already thinking February, the month of “LOVE” and Valentine’s Day and candy and more snow and Super Bowl! However, I want you to think about the greatest expression of love that comes to your mind? Maybe your mind may go to a time when puppy love came on the scene, or you can reflect on those in your life nearest and dearest to you. However, the greatest demonstration of love I find in my life is Jesus, when he was willing to sacrifice everything for me and love me unconditionally that changed my life!
Now, Jesus calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to have a deep love for others that calls us to love our neighbor in new and transforming ways. As we continue to look to 2017 a year of “SHOWING GOD’S LOVE” Our heart’s prayer is to allow Jesus love to shine through us individually and as a body brighter. I was recently challenged by a story of little girl who did just that, may we be encouraged by her example.
A former missionary named Milton Cunningham tells of the time he sat next to a young girl with Down’s syndrome on a flight from Atlanta to Dallas. As soon as Cunningham settled in for his flight the girl asked, in the purity of her innocence, “Mister, did you brush your teeth this morning? “A little awkwardly, Milton replied, “Well, yes, I brushed my teeth this morning.”
“Good, cause that’s what you’re supposed to do,” the girl responded. Her next question was, “Mister, do you smoke?” This one was a little easier on Milton. When he said no, the little girl answered with approval, “Good, cause smoking will make you die. “The third question was even easier to answer. The young girl asked, “Mister, do you love Jesus?” Milton answered with confidence, “Well, yes, I do love Jesus.”
“Good, cause we’re all supposed to love Jesus,” she replied. Just then, another man settled into the seat beside Milton. Immediately, the girl urged Milton to ask the new fellow if he had brushed his teeth that morning. Milton wasn’t about to disturb the stranger, but the girl wouldn’t leave him alone.
Finally, he gave in. He said, “Mister, I don’t mean to bother you, but my friend here wants me to ask you if you brushed your teeth this morning.” When the man noticed the girl, he realized that her question was innocent enough, and he answered that yes, he had brushed his teeth that morning. With a sinking feeling, Milton realized where this was going.
Next the girl urged him to ask the stranger if he smoked. Milton and the man went through the second question. And sure enough, the girl wanted Milton to ask the third question: Did this man love Jesus?
Milton protested that the question was too personal, that he just wouldn’t be comfortable asking it. Remember, Milton Cunningham was a missionary. But something in him made him uncomfortable about pursuing a spiritual conversation with a fellow passenger. But the young girl persisted, and so Milton said, “Now she wants to know if you love Jesus.”
At this, the man’s face darkened. He began to talk about his desire to know God. He was at a point in his life when he was searching for God, for meaning, for purpose in life. But he didn’t know where to turn. So Milton Cunningham finally took advantage of the opportunity God gave him through an innocent little girl to explain to the man the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May each of us take the opportunity to share Jesus love this week.

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year 2017! This time of year, many people look back and evaluate their life in the past year. It is also a great time to take a pause, and reflect how God has been with us during our journey.

Many upon reflection make a decision to make some changes or some new resolutions like try lose weight, or exercise more, or get out of financial debt, or read the Bible through in a year, or have personal devotions every day, or spend ___ minutes in prayer every morning.
As crazy as this may sound they are committed deeply to this cause. Which begs the question, what are you and I committed to this New Year? Our church’s mission is ” LOVING GOD… LOVING PEOPLE.. CONNECTING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS…MAKING DISCIPLES FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST”. What can God do with you and I to make a difference this New Year? How can we encourage those around us in some new and more meaningful ways in God’s love and grace?

Jesus calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to have a deep love for others that calls us to love our neighbor in new and transforming ways. As we look to 2017 a year of “SHOWING GOD’S LOVE” Our heart’s prayer is to allow Jesus love to shine through us individually and as a body brighter. (That’s where the new light house comes in). We just purchased a new light house as a reminder of how we are to shine God’s love all the time and everywhere we go!

Beginning in January we will start a new sermon series on Jesus teachings on the beatitudes called The End of Me. Have you ever come to the end of yourself? Maybe it was that day when your life changed forever. The day that you lost your job, or lost your love one, or you were told your health was deeply in trouble. In those moments, all the plans, dreams and ambitions you had for yourself came to a crashing halt. And you discover that all you have left is Jesus, and Jesus is all you really need!

Our sermon series will be based on the book by The End of Me, by Kyle Idleman. We will explore these difficult moments by looking at beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount focusing on a different teaching of Christ each week. We will look at real-life examples of people who have lived the upside-down life that Jesus describes. Only when you come to the end of yourself will you begin to be transformed into the whole, blessed person God made you to be. Looking forward to explore the blessed happy life Jesus desires for each of us to live!

IMAGINE…What God Has in Store for Our Future

IMAGINE…What God Has in Store for Our Future… Apostle Paul Shares his heart for the future and for the church that those who experience Gods deep love. We can pray to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work with in us, to him be the glory in the church!

As we watched all the events in Orlando this week a sweet young Christian singer, Christina Grimmie  whose life was shorten from our area, with even connections from our church family. The senseless lives that were taken in the night club four days later our hearts are deeply sadden for everyone these tragic events have touched and we lift them up to our God of love grace in such a time as this. My prayer is may the church where ever it be reach and touch these broken and hurting lives as we reach out to the ones the Lord brings our way!

We need to take every opportunity to make a difference for Jesus Christ now out of his deep love for us!

Sharing food at the food bank…helping at the Mayfair…meeting  needs through Life groups…sharing your faith or praying  with a friend…helping at the yard sale to support special mission projects…or wherever God leads you … let’s make a difference!

We have just completed our Vacation Bible School  “Submerged  2016” what a tremendous week of loving boys and girls for Jesus led by a tremendous children’s team..  YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE!  This team was led by Rhonda Fraley that has done another incredible job of leading Vacation Bible School and our children’s ministries here at First church the last 3 years.

The Lord has used Pastor Leon and Rhonda to provide a strong foundation to grow a brighter future growing a number of younger families and children. Now they are entering a well-deserved retirement, we desire to continue to see the momentum God has begun by adding a full-time Family & Children’s Pastor to our staff as God provides! This is huge prayer decision that God would provide the right staff and the resources too for us to move forward! Funding for this for this position will include $ 21,000 for the remainder of the year. We must accumulate these funds before we can make a commitment a new staff position. This staff position is a full time position so we will need to continue to believe God and give to support this full time position up to  $ 60,000.00 which will include a full package each year to replace the Fraley’s. We look forward to see what God has in store, through your faithfulness as God provided for the Fraley’s we believe God can provide for the future.

There are many new ministries and building projects that are around the corner. Right across from the parlor are four beautiful brand new windows just installed a few weeks ago. We need to put in over a hundred windows as we receive the funding. This project alone is way bigger than we can imagine but we can trust God for the resources and maybe with a couple phases we can see our window project competed before you know it!

As we live out our mission of Loving God …Loving people …Connecting with our neighbors… Making Disciple for the Transformation of the World through Jesus Christ. We can make a difference… Just imagine what God can do with our lives as we continually work together for His glory!   We are living in a world and time that continues to experience tragic news, however we can share a fresh hope like we find in God’s word in Lamentations 3: 22  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his mercies are new every morning.” In a day that needs to see hope as a  growing reality may we imagine our church a continual growing place of God’s love and grace to meet the needs of our day! AMEN