Sunday, December 30, 2012


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Good Morning Friends of Faith!

We come now to the last Sunday of 2012.
The year has certainly had its share of thrills, spills, and chills.  We could not have forseen all that transpired.  And certainly, looking into the year that is coming--we know that if history is any indication, there will be many twists and turns, mountains and valleys, on the road ahead.

With the ending of a year, and the beginning of a new year it is good to pause and reflect on our blessings, our successes, and those areas in our lives that need to improvement.  A journal or a notebook are valuable helps to write down where we have been, what we have learned, and what we hope to achieve in the year ahead.

Author Os Guiness, has observed that it is in times of crises we are forced to asked, “What should we do.”  He notes that deeper crises prompt the thoughtful to ask, “Where are we, and how did we get here?”  But, it is in the deepest hour of crises that we are confronted with that most fundamental of all questions, “Who do we think we are?” 

The palavering self-esteem crowd suppose that we are who we think we are.  But those who are honest and truthful confess that knowing ourselves is most difficult, if not impossible.  What then are we to do?  To whom shall we go?  Ah, we look to Him who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” 

The question that matters most is not “who do we think we are?” but “who does Christ know that we are?”  Those who are wholly His are holy.  Present yourselves today to be a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him!  Make 2013
your greatest year for Him!


“The day after Christmas would normally have been a quiet day in Washington D.C., above all on Capitol Hill.  But December 26, 1941 (71 years ago) was different.  It was only nineteen days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and both the Senate chamber and the overflow gallery were packed to hear British Prime Minister Winston Churchill address a joint session of Congress.

With the Capitol ringed by police and soldiers, the lectern bristling with microphones, and the glare of unusually bright lights in the chamber for the film cameras, Churchill started his thirty minute address with a light touch  “If my father had been an American,” he said, “and my mother British, instead of the other way around, I might have gotten here on my own.  In that case this would not have been the first time you would have heard my voice.”

Churchill then rose to his central theme.  Britain was standing alone, but reeling.  Most of Europe lay prostrate under the Nazi heel.  Hitler was well on his way to Moscow.  Half of the American Navy was at the bottom of the Hawaiian harbor, and there was little or no air force to rise to the nation’s defense.  He therefore delivered a stern denunciation of the Japanese and the German menace, and warned about “the many disappointments and unpleasant surprises that await us” in countering them.

At the heart of the prime minister’s address was a famous question to his listeners in light of the Japanese aggression: “What kind of people do they think we are?  Is it possible that they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?”

All crises are judgments of history that call into question an existing state of affairs.  They sift and sort the character and condition of a nation and its capacity to respond.  The deeper the crisis, the more serious the sifting and the deeper the questions it raises.  At the very least, a crisis raises the question “What should we do?”  Without that, it would not amount to a crisis.

Deeper crises raise the deeper question “Where are we, and how did we get here?”  Still deeper crises raise the question Churchill raised, “Who do other people think we are?”—though clearly Churchill saw the ignorance in the Japanese mind, rather than in his hearers’.  But the deepest crises of all are those that raise the question, “Who do we think we are?” when doubt and uncertainty have entered our own thinking.

This last question poses a challenge and requires a courage that goes to the very heart of the identity and character of those in crisis, whether individuals or a nation.  Only in a response that clearly says and shows who they are can they demonstrate an answer that resolves the crisis constructively and answers history’s judgment by turning potential danger into an opportunity for growth and advance.

History is asking that question of America now: What kind of people do you Americans think you are?”   We are now nearly eight decades after the Great Depression, seven decades after Pearl Harbor and World War II, four decades after the tumultuous and influential sixties, two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bipolar world, one decade after September 11 and in the midst of two of the most revealing and fateful presidencies in American history.   

The sifting of America has come to a head, and the question, “Who are you?” or “What kind of people do you think you are?” or “What kind of society do want America to be” is now the central question Americans must answer.

Another time of testing has come.  Another day of reckoning is here.  This is a testing and a reckoning—let me say it carefully—that could prove even more decisive than earlier trials such as the Civil War, the Depression and the cultural cataclysm that was the 1960s.  As citizens of the world’s lead society and leaders of Western Civilization you Americans owe yourselves and the world a clear answer at this momentous juncture of your history and international leadership—a moment at which an unclear answer or no answer at all are both a clear answer and a telling symptom of the judgment of history.” 

BRITAIN’S PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL asked, “What kind of people do they think we are?”

OS GUINESS asks “What kind of people do we think we are?”

JESUS asked, “Whom do you say I am?”
Matthew 16: 13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Ultimately it is our answer to our LORD’S question that determines our identity, our personality, and our destiny.

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?…DETERMINES OUR IDENTITY for it is our faith in Him that delivers us from the kingdom of darkness into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  Praying for the Christians at Colossae the Apostle Paul rejoices: 

Colossians 1: 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? -- DETERMINES YOUR PERSONALITY – the very expression of your character, your-self.   Christ will have nothing to do with half-hearted, half-measures.  He demands all of you.  Our response to His demand determines our behavior, our traits, our persona. 

When asked why my mother in law is so careful about living the Christian life one lady explained, “Oh, she’s a Christian through and through!”

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? –DETERMINES OUR DESTINY!  There will be no Christ-haters in the City of God.  There will be no Christ-deniers in the City of God.  There will be no almost-persuaded in the City of God.  There will be no half-hearted Christians in the City of God.  There will be none without splinters in their hands—for Jesus invites, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


In thinking about the wonderful miracle that we are celebrating, that “God so loved that He gave!” and that “unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord!” I am captivated by the eternal and temporal consequences of Christ’s coming.

In Christ we are saved from the chains of fear.  In Christ we are saved from the dominion of fate.  In Christ we are saved from the guilt of fault.  Oh what a Savior!

Indeed fear, fate, and fault would have sunk our ignorant, sinful, guilt-ridden souls into perdition but JESUS CAME!  And He came for you!

The heathen despair and languish under the mistaken notion that there is no hope.  It is hard for them to imagine that there is a way for their worldly circumstances to improve or their eternal destiny to change.  They suppose that fate has shut them in, shut them out, and shut them down.  BUT JESUS CAME!  And He came for them.  And He came for you!

In the Christmas Carol, “Angels from the Realms of Glory” we often neglect this powerful verse.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

He came for you!  He came to be your Savior.
Change your mind and accept Christ.
Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


As the heartbreaking news of the school tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut filled the airwaves we couldn’t help but cry.  My wife is a school-teacher.  My mother, my brother and my sister-in-law teach.  My grandmother was a teacher.  This hit home.  And it it hit hard.

Truthfully there are many mornings that I have driven my daughter to school and breathed out a prayer for her safety as she entered the school. Last Friday, a young man armed with incredible fire-power took the lives of 20 innocent children and several adults before shooting himself. We are living in trying times. In thinking about this young assassin and others who have recently perpetrated similar mass murder in schools, movie theaters, and street-corners, we are struck by their similiarities.

Powerlessness.  These assassins are weak in character, weak in moral conviction, and weak in confidence.  Years of pretending to be a hero proves corrosive and corrupting to their understanding of realities--spiritual and temporal.

Spiritlessness.  I’ve yet to hear of one of these mass murderers who loved the Lord Jesus and was faithful to the House of God.  Christ has been excluded from their homes. He has been excluded from their schools.  He has been excluded from their communities.  And finally excluded from their hearts. Men without Christ are capable of unspeakable atrocity.

Eternitylessness.  A new word I know.  But how else can we describe a generation that thinks that they can act here without consequence in the world to come?  Those who reject God will finally be rejected by God.  Eternity is long.  God is not mocked. Whatsoever we sow we reap.

He came for you!  He came to be your Savior.  Change your mind and accept Christ.  Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


THIS SUNDAY EVENING, 6:30PM IS OUR CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PROGRAM, “HUSH! THERE’S A BABY!” Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, Immediate Family and Friends will all want to see this great presentation.  WE HAVE SOME DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS COOKIES for everyone after the program.  Bring your camera’s! Check-in on Facebook!  A great evening!

Our hearts have been heavy with the news from the elementary school in Connecticut.  Our love and prayers go out to the dear families who have lost children and loved ones.  

This tragedy is a stark reminder that this nation, our community, our families, and each one of us, urgently need the Savior!  It is Jesus who saves us from our sins.  It is Jesus who delivers us from the power from sin and the tempter.  It is Jesus who brings righteousness, peace, and joy.  We need Him now more than ever.  I pray that you and your family will make Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior.   Then be here this Sunday for two wonderful services!

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep,
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men!
By H. W. Longfellow

Monday, December 10, 2012


Some points we referenced in our message last evening at FCC.


There are a number of good questions to ask yourself if you are in a conflict situation

  1. Have I fueled this conflict by my own pride, stubbornness or defensiveness?
First, there will be true humility. The King James uses the lovely phrase “lowliness of mind.” This is a word that in classical Greek meant to grovel before someone else. Paul takes this negative word and elevates it into a Christian virtue. In this context it means to have a proper estimate of yourself so that there is no need for self-promotion.Someone once asked St. Augustine, “What is the first mark of true religion?” “Humility,” he replied. “And the second mark?” “Humility.” “And the third mark?” “Humility.” True religion always begins with humility because unless you humble yourself before the Lord, you can never be saved. The proud go to hell because they will not bend the knee to Jesus Christ. Only the humble can ever be saved.
  1. Have I contributed to this conflict by hurtful words, aggressive tactics, or by twisting what really happened?
  2. .Have I refused to give someone the benefit of the doubt and instead concluded that I know what the motives of another really are?
  3. Have I hindered reconciliation by my bitterness, evil thoughts, or stubbornness?
  4. Am I acting like I have no responsibility for the problems that exist?
  5. Am I guilty of resisting God by refusing to extend forgiveness and seek reconciliation
  6. Am I guilty of perpetuating this conflict by my laziness?
  7. Am I waiting for the other person to make the first move and thus violating Paul's command to do everything that we can do to be reconciled?
It is amazing how fast reconciliation comes in a situation if people honestly are willing to admit and address their responsibility in a conflict situation. As we look at our own hearts and attitudes we are taking a step toward reconciliation.

the following is found at:


Respect the relationship more than winning the argument • (Rom. 15:2)
Enlist Scripture as the final word • (2 Tim. 3:16)
Concede to each other the benefit of doubt • (Rom. 12:10). Believe and hope all things • (1 Cor. 13:7)
Only speak the truth in love • (Rom. 8:6-8; Eph. 4:15)
Never gossip with those not involved in the situation • (2 Cor. 12:20)
Consider one another with respect, love and dignity • (Eph. 4:32; Col 3:13)
Involve other people only when agreed upon and absolutely necessary • (Pr. 25:9; Mt. 18:15)
Let each other have the opportunity to be heard • (Pr. 18:2, 13; Jas. 1:19)
Earnestly work together until the conflict is resolved • (Rom. 12:18; Phil. 2:1-4)
Desire God’s glory • (Jos. 22:5; 1 Cor. 10:31) and the testimony of His church as the highest goal • (1 Cor. 6:7; 10:32)


  1. Go to God in prayer (Eph. 6:18)
    1. Ask God to search your heart (Psm. 139:23-24)
      1. Confess your sins to God (1 Jn. 1:8-9)
      2. "Take the log out of your own eye" (Mt. 7:3-5)
    2. Ask God for humility (Jas. 4:6)
    3. Ask God to help you love the individual (Mt. 5:44-45; Rom. 12:9-10, 21)
    4. Ask God for wisdom (Jas. 1:5)
      1. Correct perception of the situation
      2. Knowing when to go (Ecc. 3:1, 7), what to say (Pr. 15:28) and how to say it (Pr. 15:4, 28; 16:21)
  2. Go to the individual in private (Mt. 5:23-24; 18:15)
    1. Pray together before the meeting begins (Jas. 4:2)
    2. Review and agree upon the "Rules of Engagement"
    3. Come to a mutual agreement on the exact issue of conflict
      1. Deal with one issue at a time
    4. Ask each other to specifically express personal concerns
      1. Confess any necessary sins (Pr. 28:13; Jas. 5:16)
      2. State a plan of repentance to prevent the sin from reoccurring
      3. Make restitution if necessary (Lk. 19:8)
      4. Forgive one another (Mt. 18:21-22; Eph. 4:32)
    5. Mutually determine specific steps necessary to resolve the conflict - be realistic
    6. Restore the peace with others who may have been adversely affected (Eph. 4:3)
    7. Enlist accountability from others if necessary (Pr. 11:14)
    8. End the meeting in prayer (Jas. 5:16)
  3. If the conflict still cannot be resolved:
    1. Seek a mediator (objective outside individual(s) who can hear both sides and offer solutions — (Pr. 11:14)
    2. Seek an arbitrator (same as above, only now the individual(s) offers a binding decision to settle the conflict to be agreed upon by both individuals in conflict — 1 Cor. 6:4)
    3. Seek a witness (most likely one from above) and initiate/continue the process of church discipline (Mt. 18:16-17)


  • Assume you know all the facts. Never pass judgment without hearing the other’s side of the story (Pr. 18:17)
  • Betray confidential information to "bolster" your case (Pr. 11:13)
  • Wait for the other person to initiate the resolution process (Mt. 5:23-24)
  • Compromise the Word of God to resolve a conflict (1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 4:1-4)
  • Minimize sin (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:15)
  • Try to read the other’s mind or expect the other person to read your mind. They may be unaware that their actions were wrong and/or hurtful (1 Cor. 13:7)
  • "Unforgive" that which you have previously forgiven someone (Jer. 31:34)
  • Vilify the person. Odds are, they are not as evil as your mind has concocted them to be (Tit. 3:3)
  • Justify your wrongs by the repeated use of blame shifting, excuses and "but" statements (Lk. 14:18)
  • Expect sinless perfection in the other (Rom. 15:1)
  • Take time to cool off and pray (Pr. 29:20)
  • Pursue genuine peace as soon as possible (Rom. 14:19; Heb. 12:14)
  • Control your spirit. Especially be slow to anger (Pr. 12:16; 15:1; 16:32)
  • Keep your emotions in control, but still be sure to express your feelings.
  • Overlook insignificant offenses (Pr. 19:11) unless they are:
    • Dishonoring to God
    • Damaging to the relationship
    • Hurting or might hurt others (including the offender)
  • Trust God for the results, ultimate justice (Rom. 12:19) and His work in the other’s life
  • Attack the issue, not the person (Gal. 5:15; Jas. 4:1-3)
  • Ask Questions. Questions soften the blow and stimulate thinking (Jn. 21:15-17)
  • Reaffirm your love for each other and all that you have in common (Phil. 2:2)
  • Forgive on the basis of one’s statement (1 Cor. 4:5)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


From the Sunday Bulletin at FCC, Sunday, December 9 2012

Today is the second of the four Sundays known as the Advent Season in the Christian
Calendar.  Advent means “Coming” and speaks  of our Lord’s Birth.  Our theme this year is both Scriptural and popular Carol lyric, “Oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy!”

Have you heard of the “War on Christmas?”  Several years ago school calendars replaced “Christmas Break” with “Winter Break.”  Recently retailers have instructed their clerks to wish shoppers, “Happy holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”  The Governor of Rhode Island now insists that the traditional Christmas tree be called a Holiday Tree.  The name of Christ is being systematically removed from the public square.

Others have seen the threat of crass materialism and debt-ridden gift-giving that crowded Christ out of His rightful place as the reason for the season.

Historically, some Christians feared that the celebration Christ’s hallowed birth might trivialize or minimize the spiritual significance of the day.  Others feared that Christmas would become a ritual rather than a remembrance of the Savior.

So from the left and the right, from the unbelievers to the true believers, Christmas has had its share of critics, cynics, and censors.

Yet the significance of this day will never be lost on those of us who know the Savior who was born on the first Christmas day.  This Savior is worthy of our highest praise.  He changed the world forever.  He changed our lives forever.  And, because He came, He changed our forever forever.

 He came for you!