Voting this Election? Yes, of course.

OK, I know there is much to debate about this election.  And I know that many Christians are bewildered.  Well, let me just say that while we still have the right to vote, we Christians should Vote!  If not, then whose worldview will be heard the most?  

There are many candidates in this election, and many state and local issues are at stake. We who have worldviews formed by the Word of God and His Spirit within us, ought to educate ourselves and vote in a way that glorifies God and loves our neighbor.  I wrote an email to our church family today, and I will copy it here.  Thanks for reading...and praying.  Remember, Christ will still be King on November 8th and 9th (and next January too)!  Come, Lord Jesus.

Good morning church family and friends,

On Sunday, October 2nd, we heard about the CarePortal Ministry during our Missionary Moment.  The Elders agree that this could be a valuable community ministry which will potentially reach many with the love of Christ.  Diane Bachman is our Point Person for this ministry and she wanted you to read this email before this Sunday:

Hi everyone,

Our church has chosen to support CarePortal's ministry. We will be joining a nationwide ministry helping those in need in our community, and El Paso County is the first in Colorado. You are welcome to check it out further at careportal.org

So if you'd like to join in this ministry, please turn in your name and email address this Sunday on the Note Card that will be provided in Sunday's Bulletin. You will not begin to be notified until November 14th. We will get a request from DHS and will forward it out through the email list. DHS will let us know if our church will deliver whatever is requested, directly to the family or to DHS.

If you have any other questions, please let me know. I look forward to seeing how God will use us to bless those in need in our community. All He asks is if we're willing to step out in faith. You can also email Diane at:  bachs4.db@gmail.com

Praying with you,

Diane

Also, this past Sunday I referred to the Colorado Voter Guide (Blue Book) which details all the state Amendments and Propositions which will appear on our 2016 Ballots.  It is important that we as Christians voice our godly worldview by voting.  There are many issues that will affect Christians in terms of religious liberty, the value of human life, etc... and our voices matter.  I have copied and posted a few links below to help us educate ourselves on these key issues and party platforms for the 2016 election.  I also included a link to a good article from Desiring God about voting as well.

While we know that Christ is our King, and we await the full experience of His Kingdom when He returns, we must live and bear witness to the world today. We are called by God to be His living and breathing witnesses to people everywhere who walk in spiritual darkness, blind to His glorious truth.  Let us not be ashamed of our Biblical convictions as we humbly share His love and truth with them.  One way to do this is to vote our convictions which are formed through our understanding of God's Word.  May His righteousness be treasured in our hearts and on our ballots. Please visit these links prior to voting.

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cga-legislativecouncil/ballotblue-book

National Issues:   http://downloads.frcaction.org/EF/EF16I163.pdf

EXCELLENT READ:   http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/you-cannot-vote-your-conscience

Here's an excerpt... 

For Love of God and Neighbor

A proper, biblical understanding of the conscience should lead Christians in the opposite direction. Instead of washing our hands of the hard work of making difficult decisions, we should be eager to give voting its due diligence and offer up our leanings against the law of God for evaluation. The Christian’s conscience is tethered to God’s law. That means that the conscience always speaks to the summary of God’s law: love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37–40), which is a helpful grid to consciously consider for any election: Which vote (or no vote) will be the truest expression of my love for God and desire for my neighbor’s good?

For His glory and our witness to the world,

Pastor Tom

  For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, (Acts 17:23-27 ESV)

THIS is also a good read for Colorado voters:  http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/29964

Posted on October 12, 2016 .

March Madness?

WOW...are you caught up in all the March Madness?  And I'm not referring to NCAA basketball.

 

I'm referring to all the political madness we have witnessed in March...and February...and....you get the picture.  While I have no desire to inflame you one way or the other about politics, as your pastor I feel obligated from time to time to present a theological perspective on our duty as citizens of America...and citizens, more importantly, of Heaven.  

 

If our little embassy of God's Kingdom at MHC is like many others across our land, people shows signs of being infected with March Madness.  While basketball upsets are common these days, we in Christ's church are not called to be upset with our neighbors or fellow believers.  So, in the Spirit of peace and thoughtful reflection, may I urge us to be charitable with those who may view the upcoming election a bit differently than we do? May we remember that while we have a duty to vote as citizens, our true citizenship is not of this world, and we are to lay down our lives (which includes our mouths and keyboards) for our friends and "Love our enemies" with Gospel truth and grace?

 

In that Spirit, I offer a thoughtful article from Christianity Today...I will reference it briefly, Lord willing, in tomorrow's sermon.  Please do not take it as a personal rejection or endorsement of any candidate.  I have chosen in my role as a pastor NOT to publicly endorse any candidate or party.  Yes, I used to teach American Government and majored in it in college with the youthful aspiration to complete my military service and run for Congress back in North Carolina...but then God.  God changed my heart, my "wants", and called me to lay down my life for the God-centered Gospel...to spread a passion for Him, not man-centered politics.  So while I will vote and cast my ballot as I always do for the person I believe will best lead our country with moral clarity and personal integrity (as well as Constitutional integrity), as your pastor, I say vote your Spirit-led personal convictions.  (You may want to come back and re-read that sentence AFTER you read this article below!)

 

As our church covenant declares, "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.  Amen."

 

Enjoy this thoughtful article and reflect on what being an "Evangelical" Christian means today:

 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/theology-of-donald-trump.html

 

Grace and Peace in Christ together!

 

Looking forward to worshipping the Lord Jesus tomorrow with you on Palm Sunday,

Pastor Tom

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8 ESV)

Posted on March 20, 2016 .

Are You Saved?

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. (Psalm 101:3a ESV)

I debated writing a 101:3 fighter email to just the men of the church or whether I should just send it out to the entire church...so I did both through this Blog. ;o)

Good morning all...are you fighting the good fight of faith....or are you experiencing a rough week, month, life?  And your faith feels forced, hypocritical, or downright gone?  Are you saved? 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 ESV)

 

You don't hear that said much anymore.  "Are you saved?"  "Have you been born again?" At least that directly.  Our salvation is not based on a prayer we said a decade or three ago and it's surely not based on my spouse's faith or my parent's faith.  I guess sooner or later we all have to inspect the fruit in our lives...you know what I mean...the spiritual fruit.  

 

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8 ESV)

 

So, I guess we are are fruit-inspectors...of our own lives most importantly. We need to stop comparing our walk with another's walk. Look at the log in our own eye, right? So, what do you see...when you look at the fruit trail in the path behind you? Last month? Last year? Last 30 years?

 

Has there been a growing humility?  A growing sacrificial life?Laying down your life for your wife?  your family?

 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:13-14 ESV)

 

You are not a friend of Jesus if you don't obey Him...and long to trust Him, and prove to be His disciple...bearing much fruit (of the Spirit living in you)....so if you're not a friend of the Lord Jesus, do you know Him? Does He really know you?

 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:16-17 ESV)

 

Do you love Him? Do you love your spouse? You will love (read sacrifice your life for) your bride if you know love Jesus. You can't "do your own thing" and claim to be a Christ-follower...if you insist in this brief life to follow yourself, I guess you're be a "self-follower" then? Deadly.

 

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2 ESV)

 

So, you have a choice. If you know God, you follow Him. If you don't know God, you follow self. And you may be cut off...for eternity. Do our decisions reflect the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the world in our lives? Today.

 

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19 ESV)

 

Or does it? How are we being salt and light TO the world? TO our families. If we aren't, maybe we aren't that salty because we care so little about knowing and pleasing God. Oh, I know we all have a lot of head knowledge...but that can just PUFF UP the pride that lurks in our hearts and will indeed destroy us. Does your knowledge of God produce a hatred for indwelling sin? ...if not, well, your knowledge is deficient and your heart may be very far from the God you think you know? A heart that has been transformed by the living God makes decisions on a regular basis that prove to others a real change has happened...by God's grace through a living faith in Christ. Fruit.

 

Love. Joy. Peace. You know the rest...oh, that list ends with self-control. Let's not forget that one. If you feel out-of-control, get help. Quickly. Call me. Call an Elder. Call a brother in Christ who loves you enough to tell you the truth and pray with you and hold you accountable.

 

Hear Christ...obey Him...and JOY...His Joy...will return to your life and you will bear good fruit...to eternal life:

So Jesus said to the Jews (and to us) who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32)

 

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)

 

The question remains....are you saved? Your fruit is a good sign, one way or the other. It's really a life or death question. Pray. Seek God. Repent. and Believe the Gospel...follow Christ...this day.

 

Joy in Christ...freedom in Christ...misery in human pride,

Pastor Tom

He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)

Posted on October 23, 2015 .

Eating for Joy!

May 5, 2015

Eating produces joy?  I suppose it depends on What you eat!

Has the Lord seemed near or far to you this past week?  Have we become bogged down in the muddy waters of earthly sin and indifference to One who can clear the fog of "busyness" and brightly burn off despair with joy and faith?  Yesterday, I read Jeremiah 15:16...check this out:

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV)

Need to know the power of God in your life today? Eat the Word. Devour His truth. Relish His grace. Digest His ways. Walk in them.

Jeremiah 15 concludes:

Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the LORD. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21 ESV)

Fellow Christ-followers, let us battle indifference and anxiety by wielding the Sword of the Spirit this day. The Word of God pierces us, cleanses us, and propels us to engage the world (and our families) with the love and grace of God.

Onward Christian soldiers...for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the LORD!

For His glory and our joy in Christ,

Pastor Tom

 

Posted on May 5, 2015 .

Fighting Cultural Decay with you!

Church family,

I wrote an email earlier to the men of our church....many thoughts were swirling around.  The LOSTNESS of the world is overwhelming at times, isn't it?  Evil exists.  But it will not win.  In two weeks, Lord willing, I will preach on Living by Faith, not Despair.  We are not called to anxiety or despair....we are called to fight the good fight of FAITH...and I believe FAITH in God's Future Grace! (2 Cor 9:8) Let's wield the sword of the Spirit and cast our anxieties on Christ.  Let us press on toward the goal for the prize....because there is still work to do here. 

I am concerned about what we watch...the heart of my 101:3 email to the men is about not putting anything worthless before our eyes.  That includes books and movies which pull men and women (and boys and girls) away from following Christ well.  Let us guard our hearts and minds and eyes and ears in Christ Jesus.  The pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).  Let's agree with Jesus.  Let's make purity our passion.

This is what I wrote earlier today...a bit rambling, but the point will be clear at the end.

 

My pastoral heart is heavy this morning with the weight of man's depravity. This is not a time for the faint-of-heart or the casual Christian. ISIS atrocities. Lack of leadership.  Cultural rot and spiritual complacency.  

 

Where are the men who lay down their lives for their wives...and for truth...Biblical truth?  Well, I believe we have many in our church!  Praise God. We must fight the unbelief of covetousness and greed and despair daily.  The Lord is all over my heart and mind.  Pray for me that as I prepare and as I herald His truth that the Spirit of God would lead our church family to be bold witnesses to the grace and truth of God.  

 

I saw an Ad recently about a new movie based on a book entitled "50 Shades of Grey."  I had heard that the book was horrible, yet very popular, especially among women in our country.  This week I read an article about the upcoming movie, and felt that I should pass it along to you...and as spiritual leaders, perhaps God will use this article to help someone in your family (wife, daughter or other relative) or perhaps your circle of co-workers or friends.  The cultural decay is fostered along by ungodly books and movies like this one.  How can we fight the good fight of faith?  On our knees, praying for God to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,  And by informing ourselves what filth is out there and combating it with Biblical truth...a Biblical worldview.  

 

Here's the article...read it and weep...and then pray to be filled with God's Spirit as we lovingly and boldly and humbly and spiritually lead our families and church in following Christ.

 

We Christian men are called to protect women, not abuse them.  Christ died for His Bride.  So ought we.

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thoughtlife/2015/02/how-50-shades-of-grey-harms-women-jesus-saves-them/

 

Come Lord Jesus,

Pastor Tom

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. (Psalm 101:3-4 ESV)

 

Posted on February 4, 2015 .

Veterans Day 2014

Veterans Day is a special day.  I was born one week before Veterans Day into the Air Force on a military base in Japan.  I have always liked Air Force blue.  My dad was an enlisted man who worked hard through the Air Force ROTC program at USC (that's South Carolina..the first USC) and became an officer in the mid-fifties.  He served in many different roles in and out of the military, but I knew him best as "Dad."  A humble man who loved our country and loved serving in the military...most days.  None of us liked it when he flew off to Vietnam, but we prayed more and longed for his return. By God's grace, a rocket missed him one morning but destroyed his hut.  We missed him at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we trusted that he would return to us, and he did.  I respected him and wanted to please him.  He was my father - a role which defined him as a role-model for his three sons. He loved the freedom we have in America, and I dutifully watched the news with him many nights.  He told me one day that he thought it would be a good thing for me to apply to the Air Force Academy.  "Yes Tom, you want to go to college, Well, they will pay you to go to college there. And you can serve your country."  Or something like that.  I admired him and took his advice.  And God had a plan for me.  I used to dream about going all over the world, as I sat in my room wondering what to do with my life. 

The Air Force was certainly a ticket to get out of my little country town with three stop signs and two gas stations. One was run by a buddy's family from church, and it had a huge ditch beside it that I tried to jump on a mini-bike one Sunday afternoon.  That same Sunday afternoon I was supposed to be baptized at another Baptist church that evening. Ours didn't have a baptistry...what kind of Baptist church doesn't have a baptistry? The church WITH the baptistry was off Half-Hell road. I'm not kidding. As a prideful, sinful kid I was more than halfway there until God got my attention!  (I am thankful for the World War II veteran preacher...Pastor Greear from Philadelphia who came to our tiny church and preached the Gospel faithfully when I was 11.)  Well, back to the ditch.  I tried to jump the ditch with the small mini-bike and well, landed a bit short and flipped over the handlebars.  I was baptized that night...as I hobbled down into the baptistry with a badly bruised knee. At least my soul was healed a few weeks earlier, but it would take a bit longer for my knee to be healed. I didn't learn my lesson about dirt bikes, though...and later my collar bone would suffer a worse fate than my knee. God allowed me to to feel both the pain of my bad decisions and the horror of my sin early in life. Too many to list here. Praise God for his saving grace!

So, I left my idyllic rural upbringing and headed to Colorado in 1982.  I was nervous, but I knew my mom and dad were praying for me daily, and I actually felt God answer their prayers often.  Mom said that “I could do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens me.”  I believed mom, dad, and God.  My hair almost disappeared, my jeans became a uniform, and I soon became a man. I actually liked the discipline.  I loved saluting the flag. Marching was cool, most days.  I didn’t like the yelling, but I prayed more.  Now MY uniform, not just my dad’s, had “U.S. Air Force” stitched on it.  I was where I was meant to be.

And I took an oath that was stitched in my heart.  It went like this, “I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.”  At 18 years old, I realized that my initial joy of being a cadet was a serious joy.  A Commitment.  I had joined a new team.  Was I ready to give my life for my country?  I took the oath, but I never dreamed that I may really have to give my life.  This was the 80s.  Ronald Reagan was President.  No one would mess with America! 

Well, the last stanza of the Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct goes like this, “I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”  When I first spoke those words, I never dreamed that the Code would never leave my heart.  

I did see the world.  I did see the horror of war. And through it all, I trusted God.  I knew that He was in control of my days and my future.  I also discovered that a lot of people who curse God when all is well, seek Him when the bombs are falling and shots are flying by their heads.  I knew that life was short for some, and I wondered how many really trusted God. Seemed to me that it was a vital question to get right, if indeed life was short and eternity was long.

My obsession with eternity (and God) led me to honorably resign from the Air Force in 1991.  I still loved the Air Force, but God had called me on another mission, and I had to trust Him….again. And again.  My father, whom I loved, was not happy with me for resigning my commission to go to seminary.  I respected my father, but I had to joyfully obey my Father in heaven.  For three years I had prayed and sought counsel and fought many battles trying to know God’s will.  Pastor Dale had told me “Tom, if you can be satisfied doing anything other than being a pastor, you should do it.”  I love Dale to this day.  He was right.  Pastor John later confirmed this truth by saying to me "God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him."  Nothing and No one satisfied me more than God and His promises.  I knew my calling.  Life.  And eternal life.  With Him.  Wow!

I have many passions in life…but none compare to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and His will for my life.  Being a shepherd has been the most trying “vocation” I have ever had, and most satisfying.  Going and making disciples as a soldier in Christ’s kingdom demands one to embrace suffering souls, yet always rejoicing in the midst of the trials. That’s not just my calling, however.  It is yours.  Every Christ-follower is called to “Go and make disciples”…here, there, and everywhere.  

Yes, I believe that life is war.  Disciple-making requires a wartime mentality…spiritual battles are raging every day, people are wounded, faith wanes, and yet, God calls us to faithfulness.  “Fight the good fight of faith.” “Do not be anxious about life”  “Do not fear.” “Blessed are you who are persecuted for my Name’s sake.”  “The Lord is our Helper.” “Walk by faith.”  “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  “Come Lord Jesus.”  And we press on in the trenches.  Onward Christian soldiers! 

Do you know a Veteran?  Thank him or her.  I thank my father, my father-in-law, as well as my grandfather and my great-grandfather for their service to our country. Thank God for all those who are willing to lay down their lives that others may live!  Sounds like a Christian to me.

For His Glory and OUR JOY in Christ our Lord...forever,

Pastor Tom

Acts 20:24

PS   I did not want this "Veterans Day Letter" to be all about me, but I know I shared some of my story with you.  Please forgive me if this appears to be too much about me.  As a laymen, I always wanted to know more about my pastors…but they usually talked and preached about God more than themselves – PRAISE GOD!  So, I write a few tidbits from time to time to help you know your shepherd a bit better.  We pastors are people too – with a real history.  And my history is a huge testimony to the grace of God. And by the way, my dad is now very glad that I am a pastor!  He is my dad...and also a brother in Christ.

I am grateful for all who have served our country and our Lord.  Please remember, we church members wear the “uniform” every day…we are identified as being on His team…we are His church.  We all have a story, some scars, and have experienced oceans of His grace. Thanks for reading this short story today, and remember…God shed His grace on thee!  Trust in Him.

ribbons.jpg
Posted on November 11, 2014 .

Growing for God's Glory!

203.  That's how many souls came to MHC this past Sunday.  A record for the new MHC which was launched in Sept of 2011.  We have over 100 active members now.  Lots of guests lately and many people are in the membership process! We do not have nor desire "inactive" members, which is an oxymoron anyway.  

We are Actively seeking to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever!  Where did I get this vision for life, for His Church, for every day?  The Bible.  (and also a pastor friend who showed this to me from the Bible...more from him later.)  God created us for His glory (Isaiah 43:7).  We are commanded to Delight in God (Psalm 37:4).  Yes, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).  So in ALL we do church, we are to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  As He increases, we decrease. (John 3:30).  As He increases in our affections, sin decreases...the desire to sin is killed.  And Hebrews 12:14 makes our striving against sin most critical...as God threatens Hell to those who pursue sin regularly. We walk by faith in the promises of God as we daily step heavenward..  The reward awaits.  Hebrews 10 and 11. And then there is Romans 8 - perhaps the greatest chapter in the Bible. Why?  By the truth it contains, and it is God-breathed.  You can hear a summary below.

This Sunday you will hear how I arrived at this passion to glorify God in all of life.  This view of reality wonderfully stunned me in 1997, and I have never recovered. It's how God led me to pastor MHC.  It's why I remain here. I was introduced to some godly men who would later emerge as my heroes in the Christian faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).  Here is a clip from one of them.  I pray that I will be as lovingly true and faithful when I am 68 years old.  I met him when he was 51.  I will be 51 in a month.  Oh, to so desire God and hunger for His truth, His Word.  

We are growing for God's glory AND our joy in Jesus Christ.  We want to be a mile deep, not a mile wide and an inch deep. We want to disciple all the Lord brings our way.  We are disciples and disciple-makers.  This is our calling. This is our joy.  So, come join us in our joyful pursuit of finding satisfaction in the promises of God, not the world around us. We are disciples.  We are Christ-followers. Oh, and here's Pastor John, my "pastor", if you will.   

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/when-god-himself-speaks-to-you

Click on this link above.  Read.  Listen.  Feast.  Meditate.  Pray.  And then Live.  For God's glory.  And your joy in Christ.  Today.  And forever.

Amen.

See you Sunday, Lord willing!  

Pastor Tom

Acts 20:24

 

 

 

growth.jpg
Posted on October 3, 2014 and filed under church.

Heaven is Real...for the Bible tells me so!

Heaven is for real.  So is Jesus.  Every word He ever spoke is real (true).  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!  

The Bible tells us God's truth (John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). As we head into this Passion week, let's remember that life is all about knowing God and treasuring Christ, now and forever.  Resurrection Sunday is almost here.  Christ is Risen!  He has prepared a place for us Christians...where we WILL see the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4)...that's HEAVEN!  And we do not need a 4 year-old to tell us that heaven is "for real".  Jesus told us that in the Bible.  He told the great doubter, Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed." (John 20:29)  Heaven will be all about the glory of God.  The Bible declares that in many places.  So, while good, wholesome movies can be "good" they also can be quite misleading about Biblical truth.  I listened to this brief message (under 5 minutes) from Pastor David Platt this morning, please check it out.  I agree with him on this wholeheartedly.  Heaven is for REAL, because the Bible tells me so.

http://mattcapps.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/david-platt-on-heaven-is-for-real/


heaven
Posted on April 14, 2014 .

Praying for God's Power

Dr. John Piper is a hero of mine.  His writings and his life have inspired me often.  This morning I read another article that helped me tremendously.  Why?  Because he is always God-centered, Bible-saturated, and Christ-exalting!  He points me/us to God.  He exudes faith in the power of God and His word.  I needed this.  Do you?  Here is what I read:

I love strength. I love the word “mighty,” as in “Mighty Woman of God,” and “Mighty Man of God.” I love to hear that “Moses was mighty in his words and deeds” (Acts 7:22), and that Apollos was “mighty in the scriptures” (Acts 18:24).

I love it when Paul says, “Act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13), or, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10), or, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1).

But make no mistake, the pursuit of this might is not the path to human power and pride. It is the path of ceaseless warfare with your own self. The greatest power in the world among human beings is the power not to sin. The power of holiness and love.

So if you are up for it, would you join me in these 15 prayers that you would be a mighty man of God or a mighty woman of God?

  1. Lord, make me so mighty in wisdom that I know and taste that the height of might is childlikeness (Matthew 18:4).

  2. Lord, make me so mighty in war that I defeat every impulse in my soul that destroys peace (Hebrews 12:14; Romans 14:19; Matthew 5:9).

  3. Lord, make me so mighty in my hardness against bitterness that tenderness of heart is not destroyed by wounds (Hosea 11:8; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 3:8).

  4. Lord, make me mightily unbending and inflexible in my Christ-exalting resolve to bend and become all things to all people that I might save some (1 Corinthians 9:22).

  5. Lord, make my trunk and branches so mightily tough and impervious to wind and drought that I never cease to bear the fruit of gentleness (Galatians 5:23; James 3:17; 1 Peter 3:4).

  6. Lord, make me so mighty in serpentine discernment that I see every opening for dove-like love (Matthew 10:16).

  7. Lord, make me so mightily unmoved by the sting and deceits of injustice against me that I may feel and show the miracle of undeserved compassion (Luke 10:23; 15:20; Hebrews 10:34; 1 Peter 3:8).

  8. Lord, make me so mightily unyielding to the enticements of selfishness that from my heart kindness forever flows (2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12).

  9. Lord, make me so mightily unresponsive to the honeyed lure of self-pity that I may have ever-replenished resources to return good for evil (Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9).

  10. Lord, make me mighty with ruthless courage to cut off my hand at every trace of greed that I may be content with what I have (Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5).

  11. Lord, make me mighty with happy thoughts of child and wife and King to tear out my eye lest I betray their trust and lose the purity that sees my God (Matthew 5:8).

  12. Lord, make me so mighty against the powers of self-justification that I never lose the humility to repent and weep for my sin (James 4:9; 5:16).

  13. Lord, make me so mighty in resisting the bait of frenzied productivity that I never cease to enjoy the still waters of prayer and your sweet presence (Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 46:10; Luke 10:42).

  14. Lord, make me so mighty against the deadly undertow of self-reliance that I am never ashamed to trust your arm, like a child with his father, in every breaking wave (Psalm 37:3, 5; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 2:20).

  15. Lord, make me so mighty in seeing and mighty in savoring the promises of your sovereign grace that in all my sorrows I might never cease to sing your praise (Matthew 5:11-12; Acts 16:25; 2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:13).

Thank you Pastor John.  To God be all the glory!

Posted on March 11, 2014 .

2014 - Really?

OK, it has been way too long since my last post.  Can you say busy pastor, the flu, and busy, busy again?  Pastors who care love their flock and love to feed their flock a consistent diet of the Word. I am preparing for Sunday at the moment. I read a good blog from Al Mohler, Prez of our Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and thought we all would profit by reading it.  So, my blog post is Southern's blog.  I hope you enjoy it.  Theology is good, especially good theology!  Pastor Tom  Driven by Acts 20:24.

 

http://www.sbts.edu/blogs/2014/01/15/part-2-the-pastors-calling/

Posted on January 17, 2014 .

Clearing the Fog

fog.jpg

The fog this morning reminded me that some men walk around in a fog of what to do help their relationship with their wives.  We courted them years ago.  We pursued them. And one day she said "Yes!".  The wedding was awesome, and 10, 20, 30 years later, we are sometimes not sure how to keep loving our wives daily....the fog of jobs, kids, responsibilities and stuff, etc...blind us to the beauty right in front of us...this morning.  Waking up beside the woman God graciously provided is a covenant joy!

I read this article early today...made me see more clearly how thankful we should be for our wives...and mostly for God.  He opened our eyes to lasting love.  Perhaps some of these things will help you walk in the light of His love...and delight in the wife of your youth.  Enjoy....

http://www.challies.com/articles/18-things-i-will-not-regret-doing-with-my-wife

Maybe you do all of these or only some.  But we all can do better.  Let us love well.  Like Christ.  And give up our lives for our wives.  That is a clear mission for today. 

Because we love our bride as Christ loves His,

Pastor Tom

 

Posted on October 29, 2013 .

The Winds of Change

The Holy Spirit.  I was reminded this morning that God is God, and we are not.  Oh, I know, you would never think of yourself as God, but unfortunately, many people live as if he or she is the center of the universe.  Ever wonder how someone can be so self-centered one day, and then, something happens in life, and BAM! he is others-centered, perhaps even God-centered. This change is not natural.  It is supernatural. 

You can't think or plead or cry your way into this change...this life of faith.  The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, draws self-centered people out of the darkness of their mirrors and into the light of the Son.  Oh, I know that thinking and praying and pleading and crying may accompany the weight of sin's recognition, but the change happens miraculously.  The Spirit draws one into the light of Gospel Truth...Jesus Christ. The Wind blows where He wills...and redeeming light dawns.  Remember the words of the old hymn... 

 

         I know not how the Spirit moves,

         convincing men of sin,

         revealing Jesus through the word,

         creating faith in him.

 

I love that truth...that Spirit. He points us to life.  To Christ.  Today when I am out in the wind, I am going to remember the breath of God.  God, who is my life, my breath, and thank Him for the Wind that pushed me into His forgiving and gracious arms.  Oh, to repent and believe the Gospel.  Thank you Holy Spirit for revealing Jesus through the Word, and creating faith in me.  

wind.jpg
Posted on October 15, 2013 .

October already...Leaves and Lives

October 2, 2013.  Already?  It is going to snow in Colorado this Friday...at least that's what "they" say.  The trees are beautiful.  The leaves are stunning.  Seasons are changing. The clock is ticking.  Life is short. Eternity is long.  My thought life leads here so often, and I wonder why.  Perhaps it's because God has called me to pastor one of His churches.  True.  But I thought like this before I was a pastor.  Every one of us has 24 hours, but some days I think I only have 22.  You?  So, if we all have the same amount of time, we need to make the most of that God-given time.  "Time gets away from us" too often.  Let's spend time each day with God.  And with our families.  And with God's people. And with people who need the Lord. 

I was going to read and study this morning while I had my old van worked on.  Four people sat near me in the waiting room during the few hours...and God allowed me to spend time with them. The Spirit led me to casually share my life, my faith, and my church with them.  None of them were rude to me, and all four seemed pleased to have the chat...just passing the time, ya know.

I thank God for time.  And seasons.  And life.  And leaves.  And lives.  Let's spend time loving God and loving others by spending time with them. Especially those within the church.  You encourage others in the church with your presence and with your godly living.  Let's spend some time together this Sunday.  Looking forward to seeing you church!  Time to go for now.  Bye. 

 

fall.jpg
Posted on October 2, 2013 .

September Floods and the Mercy of God

It is Monday, September 16th.  I woke up today in a state of cold, misty rain after several days of flooding rains here in Colorado.  While the area around our home and church is relatively safe compared with those in Northern Colorado and in some mountain communities, I am reminded that life is short and hard and many are suffering.  I am also reminded that eternity is long. Eternity, like the present, can be intensely joyful or devastatingly horrible. It matters whether you know God or not. 

So, widespread flooding can cause folks to curse, or to worship, God. He is Sovereign and good, even, no especially, when life is hard.  Many ignore Him day-to day, until tragedy strikes...and then some want to blame him. They have no clue Who He is. We pray and weep and serve in the power of Christ's Name to awaken man-centered, earth-glorifying souls to rivet their attention and allegiance to their Creator...and Sustainer. 

What will cause people who love the present so much to think about the future...their eternal future?  A Flood?  An earthquake?  A Fire?  An illness?  Don't wait until a disaster strikes to know and love the grace and mercy of God.  He loves in the midst of the storms. The Bible teaches this over and over, so let us treasure God's Word together in the church...so that others may know and glorify God...in good times and in hard times.    And let us pray:

Pray (I copied and pasted  and slightly edited this last section from a Blog post by Dr. John Piper after he wrote a blog about another catastrophe in the world.)

And let us pray that in this catastrophe the Lord fulfills two purposes:

  1. That Christians repent of worldliness. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
  2. That Christians in Colorado and around the world would step forward with extraordinary, sacrificial love to show more clearly the mercy of Christ who laid down his life in the midst of the Father's judgment. The suffering and death of Jesus Christ for the sin of the world is the one place where empathy, aid, and answers meet. He invites everyone to come for all three.

O how fragile this life is. The world, and all its life-sustaining processes seem so sure and solid. They are not. One thing is sure and solid:

Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).

Ps  The sun is beginning to come out today in Colorado.  Let's Worship the Son of God!

 

 

Posted on September 16, 2013 .

The Spirit of September

OK...that was my attempt at a catchy title, but as we launch into September and school and fall ministries, etc... I wanted to talk with you about the leading of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit.  The third Person of the Trinity. He is often neglected by evangelicals...conservative Bible-believing Christians, and I feel this inattention must be addressed.

But Pastor, surely there are more pressing church issues to address!?  Perhaps there are, but if we do not walk by the Spirit, we will try to accomplish everything and anything in the flesh.  We are to glorify God, not man.   

2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  1 Corinthians 2:2-5

Oh, may that be our daily bread. Lord, we need a demonstration of Your power, poured out in the lives of your people through the Spirit! Jesus said that the Spirit will glorify Him (see John 16:14).  As Christians, Christ-followers, may we glorify God as we daily are filled by His Spirit to do His will.  This will bring joy to us and glorify His Name in our church.

Breathe on us, Holy Spirit.  Looking forward to Sunday morning when we will take a Biblical look at the Spirit.  Let's prepare out hearts and minds. 

Grace and peace and power in Christ, 

Pastor Tom

 

Posted on September 3, 2013 .

Treasuring God's Word

memorizing-scripture.jpg

Last week I wrote down several verses that I should have memorized by now.  These verses are God's Word.  I remembered many of them, but a few I have memorized in KJV, some in NIV, some in NASB, and now most in ESV.  Yes, those are different English translations of the Bible.  The progression of the versions equates to my own journey with God's Word.  I now study, read, and preach from the English Standard Version (ESV).  The ESV study Bible is phenomenal, by the way! Check it out at www.esv.org 

So, I have been convicted to once again make it a daily habit to treasure God's Word.  You'd think every pastor is doing that, but the time demands can sometimes overwhelm daily schedules, so many do not.  I cannot let myself fall into the "I'm too busy to read or memorize God's Word today" syndrome. So, today, I publicly commit to treasure God's Word in my life every day.  I need His Word. Like I need water.  I desire Him and His wisdom over anything else.  I need to feed on the Word and then feed the flock.    

My verse today is Psalm 119:11.  I will also challenge my church to memorize at least one verse a week. I plan to put this verse on the screen this Sunday, where we will then say it together.  Why?  The church grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord by knowing His Word...then we live it out as we soak in it throughout the day/week.  The Word creates and sustains the church, not vice versa. 

Lord, help us to treasure You and Your Word as if our lives depended on it.  They do.

 "I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11

Posted on August 19, 2013 .

Busy? I need the Word of God

Life is SO busy.  This, that, and the other thing needs my attention.  Now!  One day recently as I was going over my mental checklist for the day, I had to STOP and pray.  Intentionally stop and ask God to help me.  I was overwhelmed with details.  "Yes, pastor, that happens when you move, close down two other jobs, and have a million things that demand your attention."  I realized that I was hungry and needed to STOP and PRAY and READ.  God's Word reminds me that nothing compares to Christ and living in His grace and peace and joy and hope.  I hit PAUSE and read this from Titus 3, as if the Apostle Paul, no, God was talking to me,

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (ESV)   AH....truth!  Re-focused.  Justified.  Grace.  Hope.  Eternal Life. 

Busy?  You need the Word of God to satisfy your hunger...and refresh your/our busy lives!   

biblegrass.jpg
Posted on August 6, 2013 .

Father, Glorify Your Name

In last Sunday's sermon we saw in John 12 that God will glorify His Name.  And we saw that God gets the glory when we obey His will, just like Jesus when he pondered the cross, "But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father glorify your name."  God has glorified it in the death and resurrection of his Son, the Son of Man, the Savior of all who will believe.  The Gospel is Good News!  Christ came to save sinners and sanctify the saved.  May we pursue our joy in Christ, because when we do, we glorify God.  To obey is to believe and to believe is to obey. God is truly most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

"The Gospel of Jesus Christ confronts and challenges the modern world with the statement that it alone has the answer to all man's questions and the solution to all his problems. In a world that is seeking a way out of its tragedy and its troubles, the Gospel announces that the solution is already available." – Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Amen.  Looking forward to this Sunday in John 12 where we will look at the crowds' question to Jesus, "Who is this Son of Man?"  Hope to see you here.  9:15am for Sunday School and 10:30am for Christ-centered Worship. All for the glory of His Name!

Pastor Tom

Posted on August 1, 2013 .

First Entry!

Good morning!  This is my first Pastor's Blog.  Michael Springer has helped me and "encouraged" me to write blogs for our new website-to-be.  For this I am grateful. I will therefore begin my blogging with one of my life verses, John 3:30. 

"He (God) must increase, but I must decrease." 

Sounds a bit ironic as I start a blog, and therefore increase my presence on the web!  Hmmm.  But He (God) knows my heart, and He knows that I write and speak and live for His Glory and not my own.  So, if you find yourself treasuring Christ more after reading this blog, then come back sometime soon for another post.  If not, don't waste your time here.   

Our church is growing.  Why?  Christ is lifted up here.  God's Word is treasured here.  This is a place of grace...real grace, not cheap grace.  God's grace and love and truth are taught and modeled at MHC.  Need a fresh start?  Come join some other pilgrims who realize that we need God's grace every day.  He will not disappoint you.   His grace is sufficient.  Treasure God today.  ALL for His glory and our joy in Christ!

Decreasing for His Increase,

Pastor Tom

 

 

bible-reading-guy-782907.jpg
Posted on July 22, 2013 .