February Article – Pastor Greg

Often, we wonder if we are making an impact on those around us. Do my simple contacts with other people really make a difference? As believers in Jesus Christ, we are challenged to be light and salt in a world that needs both (Matt. 5:13-16). We are cautioned to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).

Proverbs 15 tells us that a gentle answer turns away wrath, and a soothing tongue is a tree of life! But what about those brief interactions throughout the day? Do they really make much of a difference in the big scheme of things? I would like to share a story about how a simple response changed the course of a life – mine.

I grew up in a Christian home and had received Christ as my Savior at the age of thirteen. I attended church with my parents and was a “good” kid. I had never gotten into trouble nor experimented with those things that were deemed wrong. During the beginning of my junior year at the University of Maine, I made a series of decisions that affected my walk with God. I felt that Christianity was boring, and I wanted to explore the “fun” side of life…

I began to spend much more time with those who looked forward to the weekend and the ensuing times of drinking and carousing at local bars and the occasional house party. I jumped in with both feet. I enjoyed the drunkenness and the perceived freedom I was experiencing as I gave myself with abandon to the party life. This went on for about three years. In 1987 I graduated from the University of Maine and returned home to begin working for my Dad in the family jewelry business.

…to be continued in March’s issue!

December Article

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Matthew 16:18 

We’ve taken a year to examine us, the church. We are an amazing body of Christ that is called by Him to unity for the commissioned task to take the Gospel into all the world. His Word has been instructive these months, as we’ve seen the body in many facets. These topics have included: obedience, responding to the head, caring for one another, fulfilling our role, abiding in Him, and responding to the Good Shepherd.

Above, in the statement of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel, Peter may be a “small stone,” but he will be numbered among all who compose the church, built on these “bedrock” truths:

First, Christ Himself, who has died and rose again for our deliverance.

Second, the profession of faith Peter utters (16:16) that is a testimony of all who will trust in Jesus.

Third, the directives of the Lord given for His disciples, the very Word of God, for our growth in grace and knowledge of Him.

So we continue now, into a new year with all its joys and valleys. The mission for us does not change with the times or the calendar, so remain steadfast. The challenge for us still is that of unity in Christ, and avoiding compromise with the world that distorts the gospel and disrupts our fellowship with the Master. His heart was for His body to reach this world with the message of salvation (John 17), and Jesus knows that only by our Spirit-filled care for one another will the world truly see and believe in the Christ who has come.

I bid you peace and purpose in the coming year.

November Article

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  Galatians 6:10 (NASB)

In our “full house” years, the Lord was gracious to provide strength and unity we needed to parent. We reminded ourselves—usually her to me—that they would not be home, forever. We pulled together, intent to do life in the Lord, for our family.

Paul uses the “family” analogy to remind the church of our relationship. With similar challenges, we are an extended family. The Spirit-fruit Paul describes in Galatians 5 shapes us to live with one another.

Contemplate this today, where marriage, and family as the first institution under God, have been redefined and perverted under mankind’s smug enlightenment. “Family” is fluid and disposable; abandonment now common for perceived grievances, or the cultural permission for “personal fulfillment” as a chief value. Speak of parental responsibility or marriage roles: elicit scorn.

“Doing good” to all is not the easy thing. It is grace that allows you to keep loving and serving, when days are long and rewards few. When you’re tired. When no one notices, cleans up, or gives you the night off.

What is true in family is true in the family of God: You won’t always have opportunity to live Christ before them.

There are quiet places, without family. No noise, mess, or sticky fingerprints. These rooms could pass for mausoleums, not homes. With unexamined lives, some dying congregations now fit this description.

But family, God’s way, needs Spirit-power. The home and the church call for your greatest efforts, energy, and focus. This is the evidence that God’s ways are right, and good.

After all, if your own family is neglected, your testimony to “neighbors” about Christ is essentially disqualified.