Pastor Hal

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Wait . . .

When Andy and Billy were young boys my mother would always send them Advent calendars.  The calendars had some spiritual thought for each day as well as a piece of candy.  You can probably guess why they enjoyed the calendars?  Yes, the candy.  Calendar or candy?  It isn't just a memory for me of our boys, it is the challenge I have to face every year at this time.  I want to be a calendar man living in a candy world.  Advent is about waiting and longing for the promise of God.  In Luke 2:25 we read about a man named Simeon who plays a part in narrative about Jesus being presented in the Temple.  He is described as one of a number of devout Jews who were waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The consolation of Israel was our Lord.  I think it is hard for many of us to see Advent as a time of waiting because we look back to a historical event that has already transpired.  Here is a suggestion:  Use the Advent season to be reminded that we are waiting for the second Advent of our Lord.  In Acts 1:11 the angels spoke to the disciples immediately following our Lord's ascension back to glory.  They told them, "This Jesus will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven."  Loved ones, we are waiting, we are anticipating..........How are we using this time?  Are we just going after the candy of each day or are we recognizing that the calendar is counting down and focusing on the spiritual/biblical principles we need to focus on?  According to the scriptures godly waiting consists of the following:  Holiness, worship and prayer, meeting together, being a witness in our community, and looking for Christ's return.  Come Thou Long Expected Jesus is the cry of God's people today!  Our Lord has promised to return and we long for the day.  God help us to be people of the calendar and not the candy.  Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again! And so we wait.....

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

Thanksgiving Lesson

The 100th Psalm is a very familiar portion of scripture to many people.  It is often referred to as the "Old 100th."  It is a great 5 verse lesson about thanksgiving and I'd like to share a few thoughts with you from the passage with the hope that God would grant us a heart of Thanksgiving......... 1.  A heart of thanksgiving starts with the knowledge of God, vs. 3.  The Psalmist says, "Know that the Lord Himself is GOD."  In Isaiah 40-48 we read over and over again how God himself says, "I am God and there is none other."  We are thankful people because of the certainty of the knowledge that God is God, and that he is God alone.   2.  A heart of thanksgiving is a heart that gives thanks TO God FOR who he is and for what he has provided. vs. 4.  Over the next few days you'll hear numerous people saying what they are thankful for....don't be afraid to ask them, "To whom are you thankful for what you have?"  That pushes them to understand that real thanksgiving transcends stuff and points us to who the Apostle James describes as the giver of every good gift. 3.  A heart of thanksgiving blesses God for his attributes and his actions, vs. 4,5.  God is good.  God is a God of lovingkindness.  God is faithful and will continue to be for all eternity.  God does what he does because God is who he is.   I was once challenged with a thought that I have used to challenge others.  Here it is:  If we only had our Lord and nothing else would he be enough?  I'm sure the temptation for all of us is to immediately answer with a loud resounding, "Yes! Amen!"  So before we do, or perhaps after we do, just stop and think for a minute.  I want to be able to yes and I know you do as well.  It is easy to think about the things we need but Matthew 6:33 says that if we seek God's kingdom and his righteousness that the things we need will be granted to us.  That is God's promise to us.  So if we have the Lord we have everything and that is truth.   May the Lord grant you a very special time of thanksgiving this year.  If you're travelling we pray God's speed to you and likewise to those who will have family travelling to be here.  God cause us to be thankful most of all for His Son and our salvation, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

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