July 14, 2019: Living In The Posture of Gratefulness

Presented by Pastor Casey Kluver (0:36)

 

This morning we begin with the familiar story from Luke of the ten lepers.  Pastor Casey points out that this healing took place in the midst of obedience to Jesus’s command. Luke 17:14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.  Pastor Casey goes on to point out that one of the ten, felt a responsibility to live in response to what Christ had done for him.  It seems a reasonable service, to return with thankfulness and praise. This former leper did not hurry off to carry on his own life.  Pastor Casey urges us to be the one that lives a life of response to Christ.

 

Scripture reference:  Luke 17:11-19

 

 

Sherry Benner shares a word with us from Hebrews 6:19, The Passion Translation

 

July 07, 2019: “This Same Jesus”

Presented by Pastor Casey Kluver (0:39)

 

Pastor Casey begins his simple sermon with specific emphasis on verse 11 of Acts chapter 1. “…This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go.”  “This same Jesus”- the sameness of our Jesus; the assurance of His return; the reality of His finished work on the cross.  We need to recognize that the enemy can never undo the work of the cross.  Satan’s only power against us is to try and convince us that; Jesus didn’t really do what the Word of God tells us or the Word doesn’t really mean that. This is an effort to get us to stray away to a different Jesus, a different Gospel. We need to know that Jesus is ever and always the same. He always loves us. Jesus is always near us.

In Hebrews 13:8-9 We are told, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established by grace,…”.  Our perspective can change and things may look different.  Our emotions change and we may feel differently, but Jesus never changes! Pastor Casey reminds us that our lives must be based on the consistency of our God. He goes on to encourage us with other scriptures and examples.  Listen in, you’ll be blessed.

 

Scripture reference:  Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 13:8-9; Romans 8:7-11

 

 

Evan Stewart shares an update before leaving to Tanzania

 

Sing Along in Hope

When you see news reports about devastating events happening around the world, how can you not cry out for help?  Why does it happen?  Why does evil continue?  There are many answers offered to these questions.  We seek answers because we all ask the same question.  Why?

When asked what he thought was the greatest commandment of God, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV)

The question, “What is the greatest commandment?” is really a question of “How can the world be perfect?”  When God gives a command, it is never to oppress humanity.  The Bible presents God as a loving, caring Father only wanting what is best for the people he created.  God gaves us rules because sin entered the world (through people’s own choice!) turning every person’s heart inward and downward instead of outward and upward.  The rules He gave were meant to remind us that evil exists and must be avoided, but also to give us boundaries to keep us safe from the clear and hidden dangers present in the world.  The fact that each one of us breaks these rules is meant to teach us that we are in need of a Savior.

Why do bad things happen?  Because the person who committed the evil stopped pursuing a love for God and a love for neighbor.  Lest you think only certain people stop loving others, personal experience is clear that we all do it to some extent or another.  Not everyone will sink to the depths of hatred, but we all will experience a spark of hatred against our God and our neighbor from time to time.  If we aren’t watchful, that spark will turn into a blaze destroying our soul and blinding us to the love of God made free to us through the work of Jesus Christ.

The Way of Jesus is the way out of sin and hatred.  The way to combat evil in the world is to intentionally pursue the Way of Life as lived and exemplified by Jesus.

Where else would you turn?  What is lacking in Jesus’ teaching?  Jesus taught to love your neighbor as yourself.  He acted in love toward his enemy even as his enemy nailed him to the cross.  He showed his audience that seeking God is a good thing with good results; not a blind religion of self-hatred and exclusion.  Do followers of Jesus get this wrong?  Yes!  But does a Christian’s mistake prove Jesus wrong? No!  Jesus expected that each one of us is a work in progress.  He accepted everyone without reservation, he loved unconditionally, and forgiveness is free for the asking.  Each of us is a work in progress.  Jesus is calling anyone who will listen to start the progress by joining him in walking the Way; His way.

As you encounter evil in your community, remember Jesus.  As you cry out in sadness, also rejoice in praise for the great God we have.  He has not abandoned nor will he forsake those who trust in him.  Do you want war to end?  Follow Jesus.  Do you want love to reign?  Follow Jesus.  Do you want crime to cease?  Follow Jesus.  If everyone were intentionally following Jesus and trusting in God, the world would immediately be a better, more loving, and safer place.  Whenever anyone fails to love God and their neighbor (and we all do it) is when evil spills out.

It’s your choice.  You want to stop evil from ruining your life?  Then start walking in the Way of Jesus.  You want your neighbor to change direction?  Then start loving them as Jesus loves them.  Be involved, be intentional, be resolved to learn how to love God and love others as Jesus did.  Don’t cry out in despair, rather look to Jesus and sing along in hope!