From the Pastor

Following Jesus Together - June 2

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share the longer quote I used in Sunday’s sermon from Christian counselor, Curt Thompson. He highlights what the Bible says about all of us, that shame is competing with the grace of God in the gospel and poisoning our view of our Heavenly Father and our selves. It’s the age old, “Did God really say that?” Check it out at the link below:

May the honor of being saved and loved by grace outweigh and cover your shame in Christ Jesus!

Leadership Training – Wednesday, June 9th – 6:30pm  - We are starting the training of those who were nominated in May. You are welcome to join us if you are interested in growing in knowledge of how Jesus runs the church.

Sunday has turned into a missions emphasis Sunday. Check out what’s coming!

Sunday School @ 9:00am – Interview with Ted Turnau via Zoom! Join us in the sanctuary as we chat with Ted and Carolyn in Prague. I hope to ask him some good questions about the goodness of pop culture and how it can be a tool to help Christians engage in spiritual conversations with our neighbors. Bring your questions!

This is our last Sunday School class for the summer. We will resume in September, God-willing.

Worship – 10:00am – 1 Peter 2:4-10 - It’s a communion Sunday. Come and experience the ordinary means of grace, where we proclaim the Lord Jesus’ death until He comes and find strength and nourishment for our faith.

Our sermon passage is all about the role of the church to be a royal priesthood to the nations. The church’s identity is to be Jesus’ public witnesses, includes praising the excellencies of our good God, and how we live among our neighbors. 

Here’s a provocative testimony by atheist Penn Jillette, who was moved by the compassion of a Christian who gave him a Bible:

After communion we get to hear from the Emersons and their ministry in Asia.

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

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Following Jesus Together - May 26

Dear Friends,

Our gospel meditation for this week comes from the 2nd commandment in Exodus 20:4-6 

 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

It’s good to ask, why this commandment? God, why out of all the things humans do in the world, do You prohibit the making of idols and images? Here’s a few reasons:

1 – You and I are made in God’s image and likeness! (Genesis 1:26-28) God designed humanity to display His glory and likeness together, male and female. It’s a distinct privilege for us! To create a carved image and worship it demeans and ignores the gift of honor given to us as God’s image-bearers. 

2 – “At the root of idolatry is a human rejection of the God-ness of God and the finality of His authority.” (Christopher Wright) – To serve, to worship anything other than the LORD, our God, is to show Him and the world, we do not see Him as God. Nor do we love Him as our God. Go read the book of Judges and see what kind of moral and spiritual chaos that is caused by carved images. It’s not pretty. 

3 – God is a jealous God. He’s passionate. Zealous. To treat anything other than God as God – is to commit adultery, spiritually. As the Scriptures say, “He yearns jealously over the spirit he has made to dwell in us.” (James 4:5) In other words, keep the 2ndcommandment, because God desires your affections! Don’t tramp on them.

4 – How do you measure up to this portrait of commitment to the LORD, your God? We all fall short (Romans 3:23). Welcome to the purpose of the law!

5 – Last reason for this commandment. God has not yet, in Exodus, sent His exact image and radiance down to earth! Hidden in this commandment is God’s plan and purpose. He planned to send, Jesus, the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). For if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (John 14:7). Only Jesus, the perfect beloved Son, perfectly images and reflects the radiant glory of God and is the exact imprint of His nature. Take up your cross and serve Him!

Pause and meditate on implications this command has on our life together as God’s people. This is huge for our mission in the world. 

When you worship and trust Jesus and make Him your Center, you are keeping the 2nd commandment! 

When we publicly love others as Jesus has loved us, forgiving as we have been forgiven, we are reflecting the glory of Jesus and our Heavenly Father (See point 1). 

When we don’t make anything other than Jesus our functional god, you and I are showing others that God’s love is a jealous love. 

And when we refuse to make politics, romance, money, comfort, etc…our god – we actually reflect God’s image, showing our neighbors that Jesus is worth serving with everything we have, for He first loved us. We will be strange, yet faithful followers of Jesus. 

Some announcements:

Memorial Day Picnic – 3:00pm till pumpkin time (whenever)

You are welcome to join us at the Thompson home anytime after 3:00pm for our Memorial Day picnic. Please bring a side or dessert. We simply ask that you do not bring any nuts, especially peanuts because of Jonah’s allergies. We will provide and cook hot dogs/hamburgers. We also have some soda and waters available. 

I’ll have the cornhole set up. Dinner will be at 5:00pm. We can set up a campfire after we eat.

Sunday, June 6th  Come ready for a missions minded Sunday! At 9:00am we will be interviewing and hearing from Ted and Carolyn Turnau, live from Prague! We are planning to hear about their ministry, pray for them and also discuss the Christian’s relationship to pop culture. Ted just co-authored a book on the subject for parents:

God-willing, the Emerson family will be here as well. 

And the sermon will be about our identity and work as missionaries in our community from 1 Peter 2:9-12. 

Sunday School – 9:00am – In prayer, God gives us the ‘dignity of causality in His world’ (Pascal). In other words our prayers are one way we rule and reign on the earth. It’s a gift in Christ. Come and hear the conclusion of our series on God’s Providence a.k.a God’s all powerful every moment care and governance of us and His world. We are going to walk through Revelation 5-8 together. 

Worship – 10:00am – Join us as we meditate on the biblical portrait of what the church is and what we are here for. This is Part 1 of the Mission of Jesus’ Church in 1 Peter 2:4-8. One of the marks of the early Christians was their passion to evangelize, telling others the good news about Jesus. 

Michael Green, a historian describes the early church this way: “Men and women of every rank and station in life, of every country in the known world, were so convinced that they had discovered the riddle of the universe, so sure of the one true God whom they had come to know, that nothing must stand in their way of passing on this good news to others…They might be slighted, laughed at, disenfranchised, robbed of their possessions, their homes, even their families, but this would not stop them. They might [even] be reported to the authorities as dangerous atheists…In Christianity they had found something utterly new, authentic and satisfying.”

See you Sunday!
Nate Thompson

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