Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bethany Bullet - June 30, 2015

This past week (June 22-26) at VBS our theme was Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s mighty power.  One of the challenges of the week happened on Friday.  I brought a mobile climbing wall for the kids to climb and to talk about the many challenges we face in daily life. 

Of course I decided that I could climb the wall as well.  I got pretty far for someone who does not like heights but on my way down, I landed hard on my leg and twisted my knee, re aggravating an old injury.  A doctor’s visit and a cortisone injection occurred and I am on the mend.  God’s mighty power was displayed once again in my life.  I also was reminded that although my brain thinks I am 25, I’m really 45. 

There are many challenges that we face on a daily basis.  This week one of our younger volunteers said to me, “I have snot on my shirt and it’s not mine.”  Well, that is another one of the challenges of working at VBS and loving kids in Jesus name.  But God’s mighty power can help us conquer much greater challenges than that. 

In the beginning of his ministry, Jesus was starting to get a reputation for his mighty power and amazing miracles.

The Gospel writer Mark has chronicled what Jesus had done on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  He calmed a storm, he healed a man filled with demons, displayed God’s mighty power, and as our text begins, Jesus is on his way back across the water to the western shore

When he arrives something interesting occurs.  I’ll let Mark tell the story.
In the crowd was a woman who had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years. Although she had been under the care of many doctors and had spent all her money, she had not been helped at all. Actually, she had become worse. Since she had heard about Jesus, she came from behind in the crowd and touched his clothes. She said, “If I can just touch his clothes, I’ll get well.” Her bleeding stopped immediately. She felt cured from her illness. At that moment Jesus felt power had gone out of him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:25-30)

Of course now the disciples start asking questions and making excuses, but Jesus was not unaware of the identity of the woman, but was providing an opportunity for the woman to confess her faith and serve as an example to the pressing crowd. 

Power had gone out of Jesus.  His mighty power was there to provide for her needs, to comfort her distress to heal her illness to forgive her sins and love her forever.   In that one display of power Jesus showed his true character and his identity. 
At VBS this week we heard the same five powerful things from God’s Word.
1.       God has the power to provide…Hold On!
On Monday the kids experienced the story of Elijah and how God provided for him in the wilderness.  They learned that God can provide everything we need.  He may not provide everything we want, but generously gives us everything we need. 

Martin Luther said it this way in his small catechism, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.  This is most certainly true.

2.       God has the power to comfort…Hold On!
On Tuesday the kids revisited Elijah and saw the comfort that God gave him during a very difficult time.  When Elijah was in the wilderness God comforted him with his word that came in a whisper.

We read in the Bible that God, “…comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

3.       God has the power to heal…Hold On!
On Wednesday at VBS the kids experienced the story of Naaman who had a disease called leprosy.  God’s power healed him, but not quite the way he was expecting. 

Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds.”

4.       God has the power to forgive…Hold On!
On Thursday the kids heard the powerful story of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.  This powerful story has been told throughout the centuries and still has the power to change lives. 

In Christ, God forgives all our sins and shortcomings and shows us his incredible, powerful love.

5.       God has the power to love us forever…Hold On!
On Friday we got a sneak peek at heaven and learned a truth about Jesus found in John chapter 3, “Everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.” (John 3:15)

These same five powerful truths are for all of us as well. 

God provides everything we need.  He may not provide everything you want but he does give us his Word which can sustain us.  He promises to call us his own in the waters of baptism and he feeds us a life giving meal in bread and in wine in communion.

God comforts us.  Life is hard, things don’t go the way we think they should.  We feel grief in death and the guilt of our sin, but God comforts us in the presence of his people gathered in the church who become the hands and feet of Jesus offering help and hope and life. 

God heals us.  Illness and disease, sickness and death are something we deal with every day as we live in this sinful world.  But God offers us healing.  It may not come the way we expect but his healing is perfect.

God forgives us.  The Bible is clear, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)  “But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

I’m not sure what things you are carrying around with you.  It could be pain our doubt, grief or guilt.  Our powerful God is here to offer your forgiveness and freedom and his words to the woman that day are also for you, Go in peace, you are freed from what ails you.

God desires to love you forever.  Listen to the words of Jesus himself, “Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me. My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. Then I will bring you into my presence so that you will be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going. So how can we know the way?” Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6)

In heaven we will be with God forever.

Our theme song for VBS had the following line,
My God is powerful,
he stands invincible,
I will hold on to Him!

With the gift of faith, we are able to hold on to the mighty power of God who provides, comforts, heals, forgives and loves.
Let us pray…

-Pastor Seth Moorman

Monday, June 29, 2015

The One Year Bible, June 29th

With the calendar in my office reading the end of June, I wish to congratulate you on reading half of the Bible!! The year is half way done and we are well on our way to reading all of God’s Word this year. This may be the time to evaluate how you are doing in your reading plan. Is everything going well? Do you need to make any adjustments in your reading plan? Do you need to find a buddy to read with? Let me know how I can help. Keep up all the hard work! On to the study today...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
We finished up the book of 2nd Kings this week with a flurry of Kings, most of them bad. We read quite often, “but he did what was evil in the LORD’s sight...”. Over and over the kings continued in the sins of the previous rulers. Remember God’s word to Joshua way back, “Make sure you drive out all the people living in the land and do not worship their Gods” (my paraphrase). Well the kings did not do a very good job and now the consequences are going to set in. First it was Israel’s turn to be exiled. The author of 2nd Kings does a great job telling us why, “This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the LORD...the followed the practices of the pagan nations...they build pagan shrines...they set up sacred pillars...they offered sacrifices on all the hilltops...they worshiped idols despite the LORD’s specific warnings” (2 Kings 17:7-12 NLT). What were these warnings? Sometimes it is helpful to look at the whole picture. The Old Testament is not in complete chronological order. So far it has worked out, but we will soon see, in the books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles, that this is not always the case. One thing that is difficult is the warnings most often came from the prophets. God sent his holy men to warn the kings and the people what would happen if they did not turn back to YAHWEH. Isaiah and Jeremiah are two prophets who gave many warnings. We must remember this context when we get into these two long books a bit later in the year. There are some Bibles out there called “Chronological Bibles” that insert the warnings of the prophets into the narrative story. This can be very helpful to remember the context of the prophets. We do get a couple of good kings, Hezekiah was pretty good Josiah was even better, but even these two kings could not stop the exile from happening. One neat thing from 2 Kings 19, when Isaiah speaks he mentions “The Holy One of Israel”. Remember this term. We will see it over and over again in the prophetic books. Almost always it is used in reference to the promised Messiah (Much more on this when we are in the book of Isaiah later this year). One really great thing that happened during the reign of Josiah was that the book of the Law was found. How did it get lost? This does answer some of the questions about how king after king did not follow the Law of YAHWEH. Josiah had the book of the Law read to the people and they began to come back to the LORD. I am of the opinion that God used Josiah to get the people ready for the exile. God had promised that a remnant would return (through the prophet Isaiah). This remnant will build the city up again. Israel went to exile never to be heard from again but Judah had the promise of the Davidic covenant and we will soon see how God will be faithful even to his unfaithful people. The city of Jerusalem lies in ruins, the people have been exiled and all hope seems to be lost.

The New Testament
We continued the story of Paul at the end of his third missionary journey. It seems that everywhere Paul went, there was some sort of trouble. There was trouble in Ephesus, and then big time trouble in Jerusalem. Even in all of this trouble and turmoil, Paul remains calm and cool. He stays focused on his mission, to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Paul knew that he was to go to Rome. It will not happen the way he wants it to but I am getting ahead of the story. You can tell a lot about Paul by from this quote, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (Acts 20:24 NIV). May we all have the same conviction as Paul!! We read just one chapter later, “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13 NIV). I am truly humbled when I read of the conviction of Paul. Paul gets into some hot water with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and they try to kill him. Paul gives a great sermon and testimony on the steps of the governor’s palace. I am sure that there were some who heard his message and believed but many still wanted his head. The Roman commander ordered Paul to be whipped but once it was learned that he was a Roman citizen that was stopped quickly. Paul almost incites a riot between the Pharisees and the Sadducees when he was on trial and the Romans took no chances in losing control and secretly sent Paul off to Caesarea. Paul will never again live his life as a free man. Not only was he in physical chains, he also believed he was in chains to the Gospel and was a slave to Christ. We will see these patters emerge when we read some of Paul’s letters.

Bits and Pieces

The Old Testament
We will start 1 Chronicles the week but before we do we need to get some context to the book before they will make any sense to us. Both 1 and 2 Chronicles were written after the exiles returned from Babylon. They parallel many of the stories we have already read. Don’t get confused by hearing the same story again. These books are like commentaries on the books that preceded them. They are also like history books that were written by people who were not eyewitnesses to the events.  Here are the vital stats for 1 Chronicles:

PURPOSE: To chronicle for the exiles the rule of David’s house and appointed services of the Levites as a record of how God’s people “keep the faith”
AUTHOR: Ezra, according to Jewish tradition
TO WHOM WRITTEN: All Israel (the nation is once again called Israel)
DATE WRITTEN: Approx. 430 BC recording events that took place from about 1000-960 BC
SETTING: First Chronicles parallels 2 Samuel and serves as a commentary on it. Written after the exile from a priestly point of view, 1 Chronicles emphasizes the religious history of Judah and Israel.
LAW THEMES: Breaking faith, exile, failure to follow God’s Word, seek the Lord.
GOSPEL THEMES: God’s blessings and rule through David, the Lord’s rule through David’s house, God with His servant, atonement at the tabernacle.
KEY VERSE: “And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel” (1 Chronicles 14:2).
KEY PEOPLE: David, Solomon
KEY PLACES: Hebron, Jerusalem, the temple

The Psalms

We finished the book of Psalms this week but we get to do it all over again.  Please let me know if you have some questions the second time around.  Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bethany Bullet - June 23, 2015

Mark 4 records one of the more intriguing events in the life of the disciples.

During a storm on the sea the disciples cried out to Jesus, "Don't you care that we are about to die?"

Now these words aren't the intriguing event of which I referred to earlier.  Though the cry of the disciples does indicate that they knew Jesus knew what they were going through even when asleep; they also show how the disciples believed that Jesus had the ability to rectify the situation.

However immediately after Jesus awakes and tells the storm to cease the disciples ask, "Who is this that even wind and wave obey?"

Now, if in fact the disciples knew that Jesus knew about their need and if they believed Jesus could deliver them why did they ponder, who He was to do that which they knew He could do when they went to Him?

This account is recorded early in the Gospels; early in the disciple’s spiritual formation and faith relationship to Jesus.  Had Jesus fallen on His knees, quoted an Old Testament passage about how God had exercised His power over water in the past and then asked Him to do as He had done, had Jesus even just looked up to heaven rather than staring at the sea as He said, "Quiet be still." would the disciples still have wondered, "Who is this?"

I don't think so.  This was when they really understood who He was/is; and it is a startling thing indeed to realize that the God to whom you cry is with you in your "boat".
-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, June 22, 2015

The One Year Bible, June 22nd

I am in the habit of writing smiley faces or unhappy faces in the margins of my One Year Bible to indicate a good story or a bad one. Usually they about equal each week. This week however, I had way more unhappy faces. I wrote one for each time someone killed another person or events that were displeasing to God took place. Looking back, it makes me appreciate even more the love God has for us. As a group, people keep messing up. I do every day. But God loves us and sent his son for us. It is just amazing when you stop to think that Jesus was sent to this earth in spite of and because of people like Ahab and Jezebel. On to the study.....

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament

A couple of stories I want to mention today that have parallels in the New Testament. First of all, there is a miraculous conception with the woman from Shunem. It reminds be of the story of Abram and Sari in Genesis but it also points forward to both Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Like Jesus, this child died and was brought back to life again (after he sneezed seven times…that is funny). Now I don’t want to press the text too much, but it does set a precedent that God is a powerful God and he can bring people back from the dead. Then there is the story of the poisonous stew. Elisha made sure the stew was O.K. to eat and in a fashion similar to the feeding of the 5,000 everyone ate and was satisfied and there was food left over. In an of themselves these stories show the power of God, but I think they also are a set up for what was to come in the person of Jesus Christ. Then there is the story of the ax head the floats in the water. What was that all about? Again it shows the power of God and points to who Yahweh is. One more… after Elisha dies and is in his tomb the people need to bury another person. Now in those days the dead were buried in shared tombs like caves. The Moabites start a raid on the people so they just throw the body in the tomb. It bumps into Elisha’s bones and the guy comes back to life! Now that is awesome!! God is still using Elisha to show is power long after Elisha died. I wish there was more to this story but the text just goes on to another story. Sometimes the Bible does that. It does not mean that it is not part of scripture but sometimes there is nothing else about the story. One thing that I found in reading this week was trying to keep the kings straight in my mind. What I did was look for some sort of a list and here is what I found. I hope it is helpful:

Kings of Judah and Israel

Kings Before Division of Kingdom
· Saul: First King of Israel; son of Kish; father of Ish-Bosheth, Jonathan and Michal.
· Ish-Bosheth (or Eshbaal): King of Israel; son of Saul.
· David: King of Judah; later of Israel; son of Jesse; husband of Abigail, Ahinoam, Bathsheba, Michal, etc.; father of Absalom, Adonijah, Amnon, Solomon, Tamar, etc.
· Solomon: King of Israel and Judah; son of David; father of Rehoboam.
· Rehoboam: Son of Solomon; during his reign the kingdom was divided into Judah and Israel.

Kings of Judah (Southern Kingdom)
· Rehoboam: First King.
· Abijah (or Abijam or Abia): Son of Rehoboam.
· Asa: Probably son of Abijah.
· Jehoshaphat: Son of Asa.
· Jehoram (or Joram): Son of Jehoshaphat; husband of Athaliah.
· Ahaziah: Son of Jehoram and Athaliah.
· Athaliah: Daughter of King Ahab of Israel and Jezebel; wife of Jehoram; only queen to occupy the throne of Judah.
· Joash (or Jehoash): Son of Ahaziah.
· Amaziah: Son of Joash.
· Uzziah (or Azariah): Son of Amaziah.
· Jotham: Regent, later King; son of Uzziah.
· Ahaz: Son of Jotham.
· Hezekiah: Son of Ahaz; husband of Hephzi-Bah.
· Manasseh: Son of Hezekiah and Hephzi-Bah.
· Amon: Son of Manasseh.
· Josiah (or Josias): Son of Amon.
· Jehoahaz (or Joahaz): Son of Josiah.
· Jehoiakim: Son of Josiah.
· Jehoiachin: Son of Jehoiakim.
· Zedekiah: Son of Josiah; kingdom overthrown by Babylonians.

Kings of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
· Jeroboam I: Led secession of Israel.
· Nadab: Son of Jeroboam I.
· Baasha: Overthrew Nadab.
· Elah: Son of Baasha.
· Zimri: Overthrew Elah.
· Omri: Overthrew Zimri.
· Ahab: Son of Omri; husband of Jezebel.
· Ahaziah: Son of Ahab.
· Jehoram (or Joram): Son of Ahab.
· Jehu: Overthrew Jehoram.
· Jehoahaz (or Joahaz): Son of Jehu.
· Jehoash (or Joash): Son of Jehoahaz.
· Jeroboam Il: Son of Jehoash.
· Zechariah: Son of Jeroboam II.
· Shallum: Overthrew Zechariah.
· Menahem: Overthrew Shallum.
· Pekahiah: Son of Menahem.
· Pekah: Overthrew Pekahiah.
· Hoshea: Overthrew Pekah; kingdom overthrown by Assyrians.

The New Testament

We are in the middle of hearing about the missionary journeys of Paul. I hope you found a good map to help you follow along. A couple of things about these readings; first of all Paul is following his pattern of going to the synagogue first (remember this pattern from last week?). Then he heads out to the streets and in Acts 14 we have a very famous sermon. It is referred to as the sermon on Mars Hill. Paul argues using Greek ways to the philosophers about this person called Jesus. Later on Paul uses one of the statues of the “gods” and says that this “unknown god” is indeed Jesus. Of course this gets Paul into all kinds of trouble and they people try to kill him so he flees the area. Acts 15 records a big debate on whether or not Gentiles have to become Jews first (i.e. through circumcision) before they can be Christians. Paul has a great line in the debate that seems to set the church on the right path, “But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Acts 15:11 ESV) Then James gets up and makes the decision to have a compromise and he says, “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those who turn to God.” (Acts 15:19 ESV) I think these are some wise words that we need to be heard today. Of course, because of the message, Paul and Silas end up in prison, but God turns it into a positive thing when they were able to share the message of Jesus with all in the prison, including the jailer. We find out that they all get baptized and became followers. There is a lot more to say about this week’s readings but we don’t have time here. Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bethany Bullet - June 16, 2015

In 1667 the first edition of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost was published.  It is recounts the story of Adam and Eve, how they came to be, and how paradise was lost by their disobedience. 

In Paradise Lost, John Milton also paints Satan as the picture of everything the ideal person ought to aspire to be.  He is confident, daring, resourceful, and powerful.  He is well-spoken, clever, and talented.  He is, in a word, a hero.
Milton was not out to convince the world that Lucifer isn’t such a bad guy.  Milton knew firsthand what the wages of sin meant.  He had gone blind before he ever put pen to paper on his epic poem.  The same year he lost his sight his wife died in childbirth and his newborn son died six weeks later.  Two years after this his second wife and five-month-old daughter also died. 

Milton was under no illusion about what the devil’s tyranny means for our world. Yet Milton also knew the Bible.  He knew that the devil’s tyranny would one day come to an end.

Milton was also keenly aware of our human tendency and affinity to put in the hard work to try to get out of trouble, to solve problems and to be self-reliant. 

Humanities lust for control is powerful and can dominate our thoughts and our actions.  In Paradise Lost a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” attitude is what would put Lucifer on is path to perceived success.  

Satan becomes the icon of perseverance, the embodiment of giving it all, the epitome of staying the course.  
And to sinful humanity, this sounds pretty good.  Each of us has a desire to change the world, to make it be the way we think it should be.  We each want to find deep inside ourselves the will and the power to refuse to let life be any other way.

But in our shortsighted way of thinking we have forgotten that this is what got humanity into trouble in the first place.  The devil ambushed Adam and Eve, fed them a lie of self reliance, of being like God.

It wasn’t just that Adam and Eve ate some fruit that was off limits.  It was that they believed that eating the fruit they would themselves become the source of their own, better goodness.  “You will be like God,” the serpent said.

To this day, despite all the horrors it has brought upon us, despite the sickness and death, the pain and suffering, the enmity an deception, we humans continue to idolize self-reliance as if it were somehow our one chance to find the source of every blessing. 

We seek to work @ God. In our search for self reliance from the pain, in the effort to survive the risks of death, with an inwardly curved gaze upon our pride we exhibit the same arrogance of Satan himself. 

We Work @ God in our emotions and seek to find God in our hearts.
We Work @ God in our vocations and seek to find God in our hands.
We Work @ God in our reason and seek to find God in our minds.
We Work @ God in material things and seek to find God in the world.
We Work @ God in religion and seek to find God in our churches.
We Work @ God in the idea of freedom and seek to find God in his absence. 

It is the lie that Satan wishes you to believe with all of your heart, that you can rely on yourself and therefore not need the God of the heavens. 

We scratch and scramble to discover a way out of the problems and sin of this world and into a world that is more like heaven, closer to the mark, a tighter picture of what we would have created if we’d gotten the chance to be God in the first place.

We work @ God until we are blue in the face as we attempt to lift up the broken pieces of the world in an attempt to set our world right, to line up the margins of our lives, to justify our existence and our actions.

This is sin!  And it’s not just something that we do; it is something we are thoroughly infused with.  Our hearts are rotten to the core and filled with filth.  “No one is righteous…not even one…no one seeks God.” (Romans 3:10-11) 
This is what Scripture says. 

While defending our own pious thoughts and words and deeds, we play a charade, building up man made excuses that will not and cannot save us, or change the world we live in. 

In the Apology to the Augsburg Confession the Lutheran theologians speak about this.  “Human nature has been delivered into slavery and is held captive by the devil.  He fills human nature with a passionate desire for wicked opinions and errors…we cannot free ourselves from this slavery by our own strength…we will never be able to recognize Christ’s benefits unless we understand our evils.”  (AP II 47-51)

But Paul reminded Titus that God is at work in a different way, "He saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal."  (Titus 3:5)

The true value of a Christian is not what you do, but who you are in Jesus.  When we work @ God, we will fail, but when God is @ Work, we are fully forgiven. 

The more we try to create ultimate goodness from ourselves, the more ultimately worthless we prove ourselves to be.

In true reality we are dead in our sin! Our sin has killed us.  We are unable to make our own heart start to beat again. 

Paul said it this way to the Ephesians, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins …But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:1,4,5)

You see, God places a defibrillator on our chest in the person and work of Jesus. 

He is at work to shock us back to life with something the world could never conceive of, and the likes of which no poet ever dreamed.

Jesus of Nazareth…crucified under Pontius Pilate…dead…buried…and on the third day…and there it is…thump, thump…there is a pulse.  He is alive again.  In death, life comes to us.  When His pulse stopped ours was shocked back into existence and in His life, we too shall live.

That pulse is faith and it’s not something that you do.  It’s not something that you work at.  It’s something already done to you in Christ, that wakes you up to rise from the dead. 

Bursting forth from the tomb on the third day, it is the Christ in Christianity that changes everything. 

Because of Jesus, religion is not about doing but about being done to.

Because of Jesus you are freed to never need to find God, to never need to please God, to never need to explain yourself to God, to never need to work at being God.

In Jesus, God found you. 
In Jesus, God is already pleased with you.
In Jesus, God washes you, and feeds you with himself, purging you of your sin and buying you back from the devil, himself!

Although we are never free from the imperfections and weaknesses of this life, Christ creates in you; a you that is not longer only curved inward and focused on self.

Because of what Jesus has done for you, you do not need to spend your days and your nights justifying yourself to God. 

You can stop looking at me, take a gander around, and pay attention to where you really are, at the foot of the cross.

With eyes fixed on the work of Jesus rather on our own work at finding God, your eyes are opened to see you are not the only one kneeling at the foot of the cross. 

There are other sinners here too, men and women just like you, trapped in the inbred need to justify ourselves but freed by Christ to believe that we are justified in Him.

The object of Christian faith is not simply belief but it is the person, work, and words of Jesus. 

Jesus, the man born in Bethlehem, raised in Egypt and Nazareth, testified to us as a miracle worker by secular historians. 

Jesus, who was crucified by a real-as-you-or-me Roman governor, buried in a sealed tomb, and then three days later, seen alive and in perfect health. 

Jesus, still bearing the scars, was seen after his resurrection, not just privately, but in masse by over five hundred who heard him, who touched him. 

That Jesus finds you and by his wounds we are healed.

In 1671 John Milton published another poem, called Paradise Regained; another epic poem, this time about great reversals.  It follows the story of the temptation of Jesus and how in him paradise is found again. 

It is a fitting sequel to his former work for in Jesus we have been found. Our future of separation from God was reversed and in him Paradise is found.

All of the reasons you cannot find God in heart or hands or world or religion are because Jesus is the promise that God finds you.  He’s done it before, He’s doing it right now, and He’s going to keep it up forever.  This is God at Work!  

-Pastor Seth Moorman

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