Remember the Future

March 23, 2018
Peter Nelson
The other day I sat down to read the Apostle Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians.  And I was struck by his repeated attention to Jesus’ “coming.”  That is, to the Lord’s future appearing—the Second Coming (see 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:2, 23).  Paul served and taught and wrote and lived with a grand anticipation of the Day of the Lord. Is that how we live—today, in 2018?  Does the looming, awesome, climactic appearing of Jesus tower over our daily duties and our dreams of tomorrow?  Are our decisions about career and relation­ships and ...

Faith in Action

March 16, 2018
Peter Nelson
The first words of Jesus reported in Mark’s Gospel are these:  After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (1:14-15).  The gospel message says, “Repent and believe.”  The coming of God’s reign through Jesus issues a call to humanity:  trust and turn; turn and trust.  Repent and believe. Faith and repentance are two sides of one coin.  We cannot turn TO Jesus in faith without turning FROM other “gods” ...

The Nearness of God

March 09, 2018
Peter Nelson
Imagine having a degenerative nerve disease that causes chronic pain and burning in your arms, and renders you so weak you can’t button your own shirt.  That’s the predicament of Dave Furman, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai and author of the new book, Kiss the Wave:  Embracing God in Your Trials. “Kiss the wave”?  The title comes from Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century English preacher who suffered intensely from rheumatism, gout, kidney problems, and depression:  “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of ...

Children's Sunday School Summary March 4, 2018

March 06, 2018
Lori Herson
Peter—one of Jesus’ original disciples—had grown up in a culture where the Jews believed that God only cared about them, not the Gentiles or non-Jews. Most of the Jews looked down on the Gentiles and refused to even associate with them because Jews believed Gentiles were unclean; Gentiles didn’t live the right way to please God. Any Jew who did associate with Gentiles did so at the risk of being ridiculed by his own people. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God shared with Peter that He loved not only the Jews, but the Gentiles as ...

Ancient New Testament Manuscripts

March 02, 2018
Peter Nelson
In John 8:1-11, Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees who bring an adulterer to him for punishment, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then, after the accusers relent, he says to the offender, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” But if you look carefully, our Bibles include editorial notes indicating that John 8:1-11 has only tenuous manuscript support.  That is, as ESV editors state, “The earliest manuscripts do not include John 7:53-8:11.”  Best, then, to depend on other Bible ...

Children's Sunday School Summary February 25, 2018

February 27, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul’s third missionary journey was unlike his first two because he didn’t set out to plant churches. Instead, his mission was to encourage and strengthen existing churches. Paul wrote letters to the churches, but he knew some guidance was best given in person. Paul’s journey began when he traveled to the city of Corinth. To make a living, Paul was a tentmaker. Paul became friends with two other tentmakers in Corinth: a man named Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. In his business dealings, Paul was able to share the gospel with many people. ...

To God Be the Glory!

February 23, 2018
Peter Nelson
On February 21, Billy Graham died at the age of 99.  He commented in advance on his own passing:  “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead.  Don’t you believe a word of it.  I shall be more alive than I am now.  I will just have changed my address.  I will have gone into the presence of God.” The secular take on Graham’s life goes like this:  “He filled stadiums and counseled presidents.  The man had charisma.”  The focus is on him.  The NY Times said, “Mr. Graham spread his influ­ence across the country and around the world ...

The De-Conversion Playbook

February 16, 2018
Peter Nelson
A couple weeks ago Jen Hatmaker went on the Peter Enns podcast to promote her revisionist reading of the Bible.  She and Enns and other “progressive” voices urge us to agree that any­thing the Bible says against homosexual activity was “culture bound” and does not apply to our lives here and now.  Hatmaker would have us believe, therefore, that Christian, Bible-based marriage must not be limited to male-female pairs; same-sex marriages are blessed as well. Michael Kruger, President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North ...

Children's Sunday School Summary February 11, 2018

February 15, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul was back at the church of Antioch in Syria. The church had sent out Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel to Jews and Gentiles in places like Lystra and Derbe. Then they returned to the church of Antioch. Some time passed, and Paul wanted to return to some of the cities he visited on his first journey to see how the new believers were doing. Silas accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey. The pair traveled through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging believers and strengthening churches. The number of believers in the churches ...

Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2018
Peter Nelson
This is an extraordinary moment:  The last time Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday coincided was in 1945.  What’s more, it also feels like a strange convergence.  We just don’t tend to think about romantic love and the trek of self-denial leading to the cross at the same time.  But maybe we should. Remember of the vision of marital love in Ephesians 5:21-33, with both husband and wife following the lead of Jesus and “dying to self” and living to love and bless each other.  Among other things, the Bible teaches that true love seeks joy in the ...

Personal Faith and Communal Life

February 09, 2018
Peter Nelson
Last Sunday I said that believing in Jesus is not just for groups or families or congregations.  It’s about individual hearts:  every man, woman and child.  Each one of us must respond to Jesus indiv­idually; we can’t just hang onto our parents’ religious coattails or “go with the flow” of our social networks.  Christianity involves personal faith. John 3:16 underscores this point:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” That word, “whoever”—it’s ...

Children's Sunday School Summary February, 4 2018

February 07, 2018
Lori Herson
The church in Antioch praised God for His grace to Paul on his first missionary journey. Though Paul and Barnabas were strongly opposed in some places, many people heard the gospel and believed. Paul and Barnabas took the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. But a problem arose when some Christians began saying that the new followers of Jesus—the Gentile believers—needed to obey the Law of Moses in order to be right with God. Paul and Barnabas debated this issue with other church leaders in Jerusalem. They met together to answer a tough ...

Wired to Worship Greatness

February 02, 2018
Peter Nelson
Just two days until Super Bowl Sunday in America—that most sacred of high holy days.  Last year 111 million people in the US paid homage to the great ones by watching the game on TV.  And this year, of course, we Eagles fans have a special interest the grand athletic contest. And let me add:  I’m a big sports fan.  I get all caught up in the com­petition, whether it’s football, hockey, tennis, golf (etc.).  Like last Sunday at about 6:30 a.m. when Roger Federer defeated Marin Cilic in five sets to win the Australian Open (I watched while I ...

Children's Sunday School Summary January 28, 2018

January 29, 2018
Lori Herson
Jesus’ followers preached the gospel in Jerusalem, and the good news spread to places like Judea and Samaria. More and more people believed, and new churches began as both Jews and Gentiles began to follow Jesus. Barnabas went to Antioch—a city about 300 miles north of Jerusalem—where he brought Paul to help teach the believers. The church in Antioch grew. It was in Antioch that the disciples first became known as Christians. (See Acts 11:26.) The Holy Spirit told the believers at the church in Antioch to send out Paul and Barnabas to ...


January 26, 2018
Peter Nelson
The New Testament message about Jesus is stated in dualistic terms:  either we’re for him or against him; either we follow him on the road to life or abandon him to take the path of destruction.  There’s no half-hearted, half-way response to Jesus; lukewarm religion nauseates him (Rev. 3:16).  John’s Gospel brings this out:  with Jesus it’s light vs. darkness; sight vs. blindness; truth vs. lies; freedom vs. slavery. In John 3 it’s crystal clear that new birth is necessary:  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see ...

Children's Sunday School Summary January 21, 2018

January 23, 2018
Lori Herson
Saul was no stranger to religion. He grew up in a religious household. He was a devout Jew who was born in Tarsus (Phil. 3:5) and inherited his Roman citizenship from his father. So when people began talking about this man named Jesus and claiming that He was the promised Messiah, Saul was defensive. Saul believed strongly in the Jewish faith of his ancestors. He violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. (Gal. 1:13-14) He dragged believers from their houses and put them in prison. He approved of the stoning of Stephen, the ...

The Wonder of God’s Grace

January 19, 2018
Peter Nelson
Being a Christian is not about what we deserve.  If it were, it would be terrifying.  The Bible and experience teach us that we’ve all shaken our fists at the Lord in stubborn rebellion (e.g., 1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:10-20, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10).  Defiance against the Holy God is an infinitely heinous crime deserving of an infinitely intense punishment.  And that is terrifying! In our culture we’re used to operating on the basis of deserving:  the grades we get, trying out for the team, getting a pro­motion, qualifying for a loan, ...

Children's Sunday School Summary January 14, 2018

January 16, 2018
Lori Herson
The apostle Peter preached and taught boldly after Pentecost. Jesus had commanded His followers to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Acts 10 shows us how God made clear to Peter that the gospel is for everyone—not only the Jews but also the Gentiles.  The story begins in Caesarea (SESS uh REE uh), the capital city in the Roman province of Judea. Cornelius, a Roman centurion, lived in Caesarea. Like many of the people in Caesarea, Cornelius was a Gentile; however, he did not worship the Roman gods. Cornelius worshiped the one true God, ...

Back to School

January 12, 2018
Peter Nelson
I grew up going to Sunday School.  Every week our family went to church in time for Sunday School.  After class my sister and two brothers and I would converge in the “foyer” (we never called it a “lobby,” or a “narthex” for that matter) to find my parents and go get situated in the sanctuary for worship.  Sunday School was a fixture in my early relationship with God. But it wasn’t limited to children:  my home church had classes for everyone.  There was no point in time when a church-goer “outgrew” Sunday School—perish the thought!  From ...

Upward Basketball and Cheerleading

January 11, 2018
Upward Staff Team
Goshen church family - are you wondering where most of West Chester will be hanging out this winter? I will tell you - right here in our church gym! How do I know that? Because this season over 600 basketball players and cheerleaders are registered for our Upward program! That means that those players, their parents, grandparents, and siblings will be here in our gym. God is bringing our entire community right here into our building! Are you worried that you’re going to miss out on the fun and the blessings that come with loving our ...

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