Category Archives: Jesus

THE “Warning Siren”

That was an ominous sound.

I was standing outside my home, here NW Washington earlier today, listening to the lahar siren test. It’s something that happens here on the first Monday of the month. It was very reminiscent of living in Minnesota where we had monthly tornado siren drills (during tornado season).

But this was different, because it was a powerful reminder of where I live.

You see, I live in the Orting Valley (just outside of Puyallup, WA) about 50 miles from Mount Rainier. It’s a beautiful mountain, or shall I say, an active volcano. I have read that it’s been classified as the most dangerous volcano in the continental 48 states but yet I rarely think about it as I admire it’s beauty; ominously towering over Orting. With a Minnesota tornado you can at least take cover in you home and hope for the best.

But not so with a volcano eruption here.

If and when Mount Rainier erupts, we can’t just take cover in our home, we will need to head out of town as fast as we can and get to high ground. I’ve been told we would have about 50 minutes to get to high ground from Orting. Sounds like plenty of time, but not when you consider that everyone and their dog will be trying to get out. Scary when one thinks about it, but even scarier, it won’t be long until the sound of that lahar siren recedes out of my mind and with it the warning as I go back to admiring a beautiful mountain.

But you, Christian, do you remember that there is a more powerful “warning” being sounded. I say “warning” but it is actually Gospel for those who believe.¬†Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44 (ESV) Jesus is coming and this “warning siren” is not a test. It’s sounding now, we just don’t know when Jesus will arrive.

But this doesn’t have to be scary. Mount Rainier can be scary, but Jesus is life. His return means the establishment of his kingdom here on this earth. Jesus’ return means the end of sin and death and the power of Satan. Jesus’ return means peace and joy forever more. The warning siren being sounded is the Gospel so do not fear. But, the warning siren also means that Christians cannot be complacent. If I hear the lahar siren sounding and my neighbor does not, I am going to make sure they know about it.

But what about THE “warning”?

You have heard the siren; it’s sounding, but are you telling people the Good News? Don’t let people get hit by an unexpected blast of destruction because you have “better things to do”. Get out there and proclaim the Gospel; that people may live with anxious anticipation of the return of their Lord. Don’t get so caught up in the beauty of the Lord that you miss what his return means for those who are not ready. Don’t let the sound of the Gospel recede into the white noise of your life. Hear the Gospel as a “warning”/reminder for you to be ready but also for YOU to say something to somebody. Besides, if Jesus is Good News (and he is) then why stay silent?

Jesus is coming. You may have more than 50 minutes or you my have less that 5 seconds. We just don’t know, so sound the alarm and help your neighbors get to know Jesus.

May God be glorified forever and ever. Amen

The Pastor -|—

Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2 (ESV)

Faith doesn’t make sense, but if it did make sense, it wouldn’t be faith. If faith made sense we wouldn’t need God. Faith is mysterious so that the only thing left to do is to trust God. It’s like being blind, and being OK with it, because you’re being lead rightly and loved abundantly. Faith is being blind and not fearing the darkness because you know the one with you, who sees everything, is for you. Faith is knowing with certainty, in the absence of physical and logical proof, that something is true because the one who says it’s true is infinitely trustworthy.

Faith doesn’t make sense, but that is OK with me because my faith is in Jesus Christ my Lord; my sure foundation, and thus there is nothing to fear. Jesus the Light of the world, has scattered the darkness, and thus Satan’s claim on me is null and void. Jesus the Good Shepherd, will never lead me astray. Jesus the resurrection, rose for me.

Proof?
I don’t need any.
All I need is Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

Never Undone

Jesus is my treasure.
Jesus is my life.
Jesus is my Savior.
Jesus is always right.

Jesus is mighty.
Jesus is strong.
Jesus is compassion.
All others are wrong.

Cling tightly to him;
trusting in his name.
Cling tightly to Jesus,
and your life won’t be the same.

“Why” you might say
is Jesus so great,
because faith in him
thwarts death as my fate.

And so Jesus is my treasure
and Jesus is the One,
as I trust in his name
I will never be undone.

The Pastor -|—

My Treasure

A prayer of the day I wrote for August 14 that I just felt like sharing today:

Creator God, holy Father, You are awesome and mighty, full of grace and truth. You are power and yet approachable as a child to their father. You are mighty and strong, our great champion who has won the victory over death through Jesus Christ. May we always treasure you as we cling tightly to the promises that cling even more tightly to us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

 

The Pastor -|—

Standing

I stand.

I stand condemned under the weigh of my sin,
with no logical defense to make.
I stand condemned as a violator of Your holy law,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

I stand condemned as glory-stealing,
honor-withholding sinner.
I stand condemned as an non trusting kingdom builder,
oh God.
I stand condemned.

And as I stand condemned I see my Savior,
my Lord,
my advocate,
my Jesus.

Jesus stands with me.
Jesus intercedes for me.
Jesus takes the judgment for me.
Jesus dies for me.

And…

Jesus rises for me.

I now, through faith, I stand liberated,
I stand free,
I stand hopeful,
I stand forgiven.
For Jesus, my Lord, took the weight of my sin
and made my defense before You,
oh God.

And now I no longer stand,
rather,
I fall on my face to worship You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to honor You,
oh God.
I fall on my face to praise You,
oh God…

as I stand on Your promises.

The Pastor -|—

Seed Sowing in Satan’s Face

In reading the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20, I am quickly reminded that the call and the joy of the Christian is to sow the Word of God. The joy comes from the fact we are sinners but that God offers forgiveness of our sins by His grace through Jesus Christ. And through this forgiveness, we have the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.

This is the Gospel.
This is the Good News.
This is AMAZING news!

And yet, we often see evangelism as a chore or as something to do later if we have time or something reserved for a certain committee or (and this is my favorite) it is something reserved strictly for the pastor.

Maybe this inattention to evangelism comes from the fact that, more times than not, you get beaten up when you try to seed sow. Maybe someone strongly rejects your Gospel presentation. Maybe someone tells you to keep your faith to yourself. Maybe someone argues with you to the point of exhaustion. Maybe you have been shot down too many times to count and you’re just plain tired of getting hurt or embarrassed. Whatever the case, it serves as a reminder that Satan is hard at work. Whenever you are sharing your faith or trying to present the Gospel or stand up for what you believe, Satan is right there to make life difficult. And he should because the Gospel threatens Satan.

But we must keep seed sowing.
We must keep spreading the Gospel.
We must keep telling people that there is hope.
We must keep showing people Jesus.

For when we stop, Satan wins and thus he laughs.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, seed sowing is hard but look at the bright side. If seed sowing is difficult and it feels like you are being resisted every step of the way, then maybe you’re doing something right. In that case, keep on going in the strength of the Lord and mock Satan knowing that Jesus stands with you and that Satan can not possibly win.

And that is cause to laugh in Satan’s face and praise be to God always and forever!

The Pastor -|—

Gripping the Cross

image

The hand that grips this cross
is sinful and stained,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
is holy and perfect.

The hand that grips this cross
is in need of help and rescue,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has won the victory through his resurrection.

The hand that grips this cross
falls short of God’s glory continually,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
extends grace and mercy endlessly.

The hand that grips this cross
will one day give way to death and decay,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has risen that the possessor of this hand may live eternally.

The hand that grips this cross
doesn’t always treat people as they ought to be treated,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
doesn’t treat the person of this hand as they ought to be treated.

and therefore,

The hand that grips this cross
will always cling to the promises secured therein;
thankful for Jesus, the one who died upon the cross
FOR YOU and FOR ME.

The Pastor -|—