Real Help

This week’s Pastor to Person is Pastor Rich Cathers.

Do you want to help those who are struggling?  Do you want to be a part of the change that needs to take place in their life?  A key to seeing real change and real growth is the element of truth.

Jeremiah lived during the days when the Babylonian empire would level the city of Jerusalem. A few hundred years earlier the Assyrians had attempted to take Jerusalem, but God stepped in and rescued the city.  Would it be the same in Jeremiah’s day?  One prophet, named Hananiah, thought so.  He made a point of claiming that God was going to rescue Jerusalem.  His message certainly cheered people up, but it was a false hope.

Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. (Jeremiah 28:15)

The people needed to hear that it was time for a reset, not a rescue. The people needed to hear a message of repentance and surrender to Babylon.  If you really want to help people, you need to figure out the truth they need to hear and then have the courage to tell them.  Giving out sappy platitudes helps no one.

Growing or Slowing

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

How is your walk with God lately, are you growing in His graces or falling asleep and falling behind? Hebrews 5:12-14 “Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.”

The Hebrew Christians were a church that should have been filled with mature (others-focused) believers! They should have been able to teach others, advance the kingdom, and easily distinguish from good and evil! However, they had stopped growing – you see it was so much easier for them to be milk-fed ones instead of cheeseburger flipping Christians… Think of how easy it is to drink milk(for those of us that like milk) – it’s so easy. It’s even easier if someone pours it for you and lifts the cup to your mouth. Do you see where I’m going? Don’t get stuck in the milk drinking necessity of babyhood! Set your sights on growing mature and strong in your faith, so that you can help, serve and teach others!! Who have you taught, served and helped this week? Engage those faith-muscles, pray and step out while growing deep with the beloved, and know that we stand with you:-)

Attention

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.

…“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2)

People do all kinds of things to get attention.  TV reality shows are filled with people doing crazy stunts, wearing strange clothes, and acting outrageous.  Even in everyday life, people will do all sorts of things for attention.  Some folks who respond in anger, lashing out and hurting others are simply asking for attention.  Some would call this a cry for help.

I wonder sometimes if we are trying to get the wrong person’s attention.  I wonder if we even know whose attention we’re craving.  Let me just say that there is one person whose attention you do want to have.  He’s the one that can fix that deepest hurt in your heart.  He can fill that emptiness that you are trying to cram so many things into.  While others may not pay attention to you, I guarantee you He will.  He is your Creator.  Jesus is the lover of your soul.

So, what is it I must do to get God’s attention?  God says it’s quite simple.  I need to make an adjustment in my heart.  Instead of trying to impress others for attention, I need to recognize my need for God and humble myself.  And I should probably think twice before I pass by my Bible in the morning.  God wants to speak to me if I will take time to let Him.  He’s the attention I need.

We Have Won

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[Isa 52:7 NIV] 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

On April 11, 1945, US forces entered the Nazi camp at Buchenwald. More than 21,000 people were liberated from that camp. Edward R Murrow, whose radio report of his arrival and reception was broadcast on CBS and became one of the most famous: “I asked to see one of the barracks. It happened to be occupied by Czechoslovaks. When I entered, men crowded around, tried to lift me to their shoulders…”

One could only imagine the joy that comes with being set free from the horrors of war and prison. Isaiah captures the moment of joy for those who hear of their salvation. The legend of the marathon, is based on the story of a messenger who ran about 150 miles in two days to deliver the news, “we have won!”

Whether getting the news or giving the news, it is good news! Paul in his letter to the Romans connects this verse to the sharing of the gospel. He has won! Jesus has set us free! What great news we have for all mankind!

Let us take a moment today to celebrate our freedom! To rejoice in the one who has liberated us from our prison of fear, shame, sin and death. May we also remember the privilege we have in carrying this message of freedom to those who are still captive. How far will you run? Who do you need to tell? Jesus has won! We are set free! 

Running Home

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers:

I have this vague memory when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was in kindergarten and remember being very, very upset about something.  Somehow I was able to escape the confines of the classroom and I ran all the way home.  Many years later, my parents told me that my mom was having serious health issues at that time and that more than once I would run away from school and run home. The funny thing is that every once in a while, when I feel so overwhelmed by the things I’m facing, I still get that urge to want to get up and run home to my parents’ house.

King Hezekiah was facing difficulty beyond imagining.  The evil, ruthless Assyrian empire was right outside the city gates, ready to destroy Jerusalem. And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. (Isaiah 37:1)

I think God has put inside of each of us a longing for “home”.  It’s that place where we feel safe and secure. Even those who have wandered from God feel it.  When the prodigal (Luke 15) reached the end of his rope, spent all his wealth, and lost all his friends, he realized that he too needed to go home to his father.

Do you feel like running?  Run home to Papa.  He loves you more than you will ever know.  His arms are open wide.  He’s our refuge.

My Absolute Favorite Chapter

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

This is my absolute favorite passage of scripture, both for teaching and for application to my life. Colossians 3 is one of the best prescriptions for Christian life and attitude I have EVER found.

Paul’s exhortation begins by setting our perspective twice: 1 seek those things which are above,” and then 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Our perspective matters, and it needs to be set daily!

Paul sets up an epic contrast between the people that we used to be and the people that we are to be… We are to put to death the old ways of the flesh “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” And put off “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Paul masterfully sets this list of our old way of life against the new ways of life “12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another” He ties in our motivation which is love – “the bond of perfection” He reminds us to be thankful, and sing from our hearts to God (that’s good news for those of us who can’t carry a tune;)

Lastly, he reminds us of the relationships that we are in and what our responsibility is in each of those. Paul’s summary here of good Christian living is needed for us to re-calibrate our lives around what God has called us to do, and what God has called us to let go of!! Do some Godly re-calibrating this week!

Counselor

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

Sometimes we think of a “counselor” as a person who listens to you tell them your problems.  There’s value in that.  The word that Isaiah uses is one that implies advice.  It’s the giving of direction from one person to another.  Kings had their “counselors” who listened to the king’s questions and responded with their “counsel”.

There are plenty of times in my own life where I’ve needed “counsel”.  In fact, let me share with you a little secret.  I think that I’m often quite clueless on many subjects and situations in my life.  I need good counsel.  Even Moses needed “counsel”, and one of the individuals that gave him advice was his own father-in-law Jethro.

As helpful as some “counselors” are, it’s good to be reminded that there is one Counselor who is “Wonderful”.  That Counselor’s name is Jesus.  It’s not a bad thing to spend time in counseling, but make sure you don’t ignore the Wonderful Counselor.  His advice is found in the Bible.  While I have found that His advice is not always what I want to hear, I have found that it’s always good.  In fact, it’s wonderful.  I would do well to read it and follow it.

Tug of War

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[Gal 5:17] For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Step one in many of the 12-step programs begins with a critical diagnosis, my flesh is powerless to save itself. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is all about how the gospel brings true freedom. So many of these Galatians were trying to live a life of legalism and performance. The gospel had become such a burden and the works of the flesh seemed to be spreading. Like putting water on a grease fire, legalism only made the flesh worse!

Paul reminds us the issue comes down to a battle of “wills”. The good news is that we have help if we are willing to take it. God’s Spirit is ready to empower and direct me to victory. Gal 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  

I am glad that Paul said, “walk”, it allows me to take it one step at a time! Step one for me is about recognizing the power of my own flesh. It helps me to know that even as a believer my flesh still wars against God’s Spirit. Step two is about recognizing the daily presence and power of the Spirit in me as well. Step three tells me because of the gospel I have the power to choose to say no to the flesh (19-21) & say yes to the Spirit (24).

Fighting the flesh in my own strength is still pulling against the Spirit. Let us let go today of trying to save ourselves and grab on to the one who has already done everything to save us!

Futility

“This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.”

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

They say that the big three temptations in life are sex, money, and power. King Solomon knew about these things – he had them in abundance.  He had a thousand wives, gold everywhere, and he was the most powerful king in the region.  Now, at the end of his life, Solomon could look back as he wrote Ecclesiastes, and see that it was all so very empty.

In his search for fulfillment Solomon tried challenging his mind to grow with wisdom and knowledge.  He tried to drink himself happy.  He tried every kind of pleasure he could think of.  And these too were empty.  Meaningless. Vanity.

Could we take a moment for self-examination, beloved?  Have you experienced the true fulfillment that God desires for you?  Are you still walking in that sense of peace and purpose? I find even among Christians, who should know better, an unrelenting searching for meaning and happiness. We can fall into the trap the world sets for us, thinking that we will find answers in the “stuff” and people around us.

Solomon eventually concluded that true fulfillment can’t be found apart from a relationship with God.  If you are feeling empty and unfulfilled, stop your searching.  Look to Jesus.

Job-like Faith and Trust

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant

Job was a man of integrity. He feared God, loved his family, carefully watched over his friends and community. He prospered exceedingly, abundantly, and that in itself was a GREAT test. Job never once put his trust in his flocks, his family, his standing in the community, his abundant wealth, or any of these things. Job’s one desire was to honor God above all, and it showed – everyone noticed Job.

Enter Satan. Satan detests Job’s faith and trust in God and will do anything to disrupt, destroy and steal that away from him. Satan asks for the authority to take away everything that Job has, his vast wealth, his flocks, his sons and daughters, and his relationships. God (who knows the end from the beginning) allows the tempter to take this from Job, and in the midst of the suffering, the pain, the anguish and the loss, Job chooses to worship God. Job 30:16 “Now my life is poured out before me and days of suffering have seized me.” Why did God allow such anguish and great suffering to take hold of Job?

Further on in chapter 30 Job says, “But when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, darkness came. I am churning within and cannot rest. Days of suffering confront me.” When we suffer and hurt we need to stretch out our hand to God, the God of all comfort. We must say, “I trust that even though it doesn’t make sense now, I am choosing to put my trust in the God who knows the end from the beginning. I trust Jesus. He won’t leave me or forsake me”. Hold on to Him with all that you are, don’t cease to worship and wait for the deliverance of the Lord!