CHRIST IS RISEN!

CHRIST IS RISEN! These three words, and the truth they proclaim, change everything. When these words began to spread that first Easter morning, sorrow turned to joy, fear gave way to faith, and crucifixion was overcome by resurrection.

An email I received last week offered these very true words: “It has been said that graveyards remind us of the brevity of life. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us of the brevity of death. His death and resurrection offer us endless hope instead of a hopeless end.”

HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Pr. Dave

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“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see…” –Matthew 28:6 NIV

Holy Week…

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT) As we start a new week, be encouraged by God’s love and mercy that never.

Today begins what is most commonly known in the Christian world as “Holy Week”. The events of this week are recorded in John 12-20, and I’d strongly encourage you to read this passage of Scripture, and reflect on the words and ways of Jesus Christ. In these chapters we see Jesus praised and applauded, ridiculed and rejected, executed and resurrected. It was a week unlike any other before or since. It was a week that changed the world and change eternity, and in the midst of it all Jesus never stopped loving.

In the days leading up to this week, Jesus knew the suffering that awaited him, but instead of avoiding it, he moved toward it. In fact the Bible says Jesus “steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem”. (Luke 9:51 KJV) What compelled Jesus to be so resolved? It was a desire to honor his heavenly Father, fulfill his purpose, and demonstrate love and forgiveness to others.

As we reflect on the sacrifice of Christ this week, a good question to consider is what do you have your face set toward? Whatever it is, may we seek to follow the example of Christ, and be compelled by a desire to honor God and love others.

Peace,
Pastor Dave

Looking Forward…

I have found myself missing my kids a bit more than usual of late.  (I know that God has my family just where he wants us, but sometimes I wish we could be in one country instead of what will soon be four.) This has me looking even more forward to our son’s wedding in July, when we will all be together again. Having things to look forward to is good, it’s just waiting for them to arrive that can be a challenge.

Sometimes I want God to speed things up a bit, and not only give me what I want, but give it to me now. Looking forward is good, as it fills us with hope, but waiting is necessary as well, because it keeps us in the moment.  Heaven is one of those things that can seem a long way off. Paul wrote, “The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children.”  (Romans 8:23 NCV)

Whatever you find yourself longing to receive from God in the future, don’t forget the waiting on God that is required in the present.

Peace,

Pr. Dave

Sharing our Faith

These last ten days of our 40 days of Good News focus, we will be reading together the Gospel of John. John was known as the “beloved disciple”, as his relationship with Jesus was especially close. It is a very different and intimate portrayal of Christ, and a great read.

As I read the first chapter of John, I’m struck by all the introductions taking place that point people to Jesus. John the Baptist pointed Andrew to Jesus, and the first thing Andrew does is to introduce his brother Peter. Later Jesus encounters Philip, and the first thing Philip does is to find his friend Nathanael to say: “you’ve got to come and meet this guy named Jesus…” (John 1:35-49)

Do you see yourself as someone whose life points others to Christ? I know sometimes we can get hung up on sharing our faith, thinking that’s a “private thing”, or “who am I to talk about God”, but God wants to use us through the natural course of relationship and life to point others to Christ. It might be as simple as an invitation to church, telling someone you are praying for them, or responding with unusual love and kindness.

As people cross your paths this week, and conversations come up, be mindful of how you might point someone toward Christ. God wants to use you!
Peace,
Pr. Dave

Goals and Changes

It has been four weeks since we ushered in the New Year, and it’s hard to believe the fist of 2017’s twelve months is almost gone. So how are you doing with your new years resolutions and goals? As I mentioned on January 1, resolutions can be a lot like having children: They’re fun to make, but hard to maintain

I want to encourage you that whatever goals or changes you are looking to pursue this year, that you’ll be intentional about knowing Christ, and making him known. The apostle Paul wrote: “Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever. I don’t run without a goal…” (1 Corinthians 9:25-26 CEV) What are you aiming for this year in your relationship with God? Perhaps the following will help give some definition to your resolutions…

Give: Whether it’s your time, talents, or resources, giving gets to the heart of God.
Obey: Faith without action isn’t faith at all. Do what God is prompting you to do.
Acknowledge God: Invite God to be a part of every part of life, and see him there.
Love well: Be generous in demonstrating love to God and others…it’s what counts.

Have a great week!
Pr. Dave

Expectation x Reality

Have you ever entered into a situation, or relationship, or some new undertaking, expecting one thing and getting another? Probably all of us, right. In Mark 9 (one of my favorite chapters in the Bible), we see this very thing happen to Jesus. He comes up to a crowd of commotion. He asks what’s going on, and the disciples tell him they are trying to help this father’s son, but can’t. Listen to Jesus response: “You people don’t have any faith! How much longer must I be with you? Why do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” (Mark 9:19 CEV)

Seems like a rather “un-Jesus” like response, but I think it was largely due to unmet expectations. It’s clear Jesus was disappointed, however, his response didn’t end there. He went on to encourage the father, heal the boy, and teach the disciples. His love never wavered.

If, like me, you’ve had to deal with unmet expectations of late, let me encourage you to move on from the disappointment, discouragement, or frustration it might have brought. If we stay in that frame of mind, we are only going to miss the opportunities we’ll have to love, serve, and grow. Remember the Bible promises
“that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB) Even unmet expectations.

Have a great week!
Pr. Dave

God is Protective of Us

So my only daughter is getting married in five days! (There’s a sentence that I’ve never written before.) I am really excited about this life change, as God has answered our prayers of 23 years to provide Emily with a godly man, from a strong Christian heritage. To be honest though, it took me a little time to get to a place of excitement. At first I found myself wanting to be overly protective. I mean who is this guy? Then I moved through a bit of a jealousy phase, as I felt rivaled for my daughter’s attention and affection. Then I came around to seeing that this union is a gift from God to be received and celebrated.

Not sure what the moral of this “story” is, but I just felt like sharing a bit of my journey with you. I do appreciate so much your prayers for my family and me in these days. I am also grateful that our heavenly Father is protective of us, and even jealous for us. He is also the giver of good gifts. My prayer is that each of us will know and experience God in these ways.

Have a great week!
Pr. Dave

Beginning of Advent

Today begins the season traditionally known amongst Christians as Advent- a celebration of the four weeks leading up to Christmas, and the coming of Christ. Over the next four Sundays we will consider the hope, peace, joy and love that Christ offers to us. Christ coming, and reaching down into our world, changed everything.

For all its modern day trappings, I still love the Christmas season, and I anticipate celebrating Christmas day.  The message of the angels to the shepherds is still true: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) Christ’s coming was, and still is, good news.

The word advent literally means “coming”, and so I believe the season of Advent should remind us that Christ not only has come, but that he is coming again.  The Bible says when Christ comes again,  “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away… ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:4-5)

Can you imagine a world without tears, and without pain? To be honest it is hard to imagine, but this is our hope as followers of Christ- that He will come again and “make all things new”.  Advent: let us be prepared for Christ’s coming.

Have a great week,

Pr. Dave

Praying Together

 

Jesus said: “if two of you on earth agree about something and pray for it, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. This is true because if two or three people come together in my name, I am there with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20) As many of you know, Bridges has been in a conversation for well over a year to try and purchase the property the church has gathered at for almost 40 years. There have been consistent challenges, obstacles and opposition that we have had to confront, and yet we are confident that God is for us.

My sense is that God is calling our church to grow in our love for him and others, and that He is desirous of using Bridges to impact Brasilia and the nations in increasingly significant ways. Worthy pursuits are never easy pursuits, and so I believe God is asking us to enter into a season of concerted corporate prayer, so that we might be prepared for everything He has prepared for us.

For some of us, prayer is such a private and personal thing, that the thought of praying with others scares us to death. But I have consistently found that when I am willing to move beyond my comfort and fears, God meets me in new and powerful ways. Will you be open to praying with others for God’s blessing on Bridges?

Enjoy the Journey,
Pr. Dave

Our Hope is in Christ

It is the morning after the U.S. election as I’m writing, and it has given me reason to pause. Throughout the political process these last several weeks, many people have asked me my thoughts, and it has been hard to articulate.  I’d like to believe that neither presidential candidate was the best my country has to offer, yet I will pray for my country even as you are praying for yours.  The divisiveness, disrespect, and unkindness, has been disappointing to say the least.  And like so many places in our world, hatred needs to be overcome by love, hurt overwhelmed by hope.

Martin Luther King Jr., someone I regard as a heroic leader, once said: “We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins or our civilization.” As global followers of Christ, I hope that this rings true with us. I’m reminded today that our hope is not in governments, kings, or nations, but our hope is in Christ alone.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

The same “glorious opportunity” presents itself to us today and the week before us. The apostle Peter summed it up best: “Above all, love one another deeply.”

(1 Peter 4:8)

Peace to you.

Pr. Dave

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