Reasonable Faith

September 21, 2018
Peter Nelson
Christianity issues a call to faith—to put your trust in Jesus Christ for life, even eternal life.  But note:  Christian faith is reasonable.  The idea of “blind faith” or faith being contrary to rational thought—that’s a sloppy caricature and, quite simply, a false depiction of the biblical concept of faith.  There’s a vital logic that undergirds true faith. Consider the drift of Hebrews 11—all those stories of believers who lived “by faith,” trusting God in the victories and afflictions.  The point is to urge readers also to rely on the ...

Remembering Which Way's Up

September 20, 2018
Peter Nelson
As we continue to examine the key biblical footings on which our church stands (by means of the current sermon series, “Walking in the Truth”), let me encourage you to read and reflect on our GBC Statement of Faith.  It’s a very helpful summary of Bible teaching, and reading it (whether on your own or with family / friends) can help you keep your bearings amidst the bombardment of loud messages in today’s ever-active media. And here’s another way to review the key truths of the Christian faith:  get to know the New City Catechism.  This ...

Children's Sunday School Summary September 16, 2018

September 17, 2018
Lori Herson
Last week, kids learned that God created people to live with Him in a perfect relationship forever. This week, kids learn that Adam and Eve enjoyed all that was good in the garden of Eden. The Lord gave them only one restriction: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and the punishment for disobeying was severe: “You will certainly die” (Gen. 2:17). Before the fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed a loving, two-way relationship with God. The garden was a true paradise. God filled the garden with good gifts so that they ...

Soul Food

September 14, 2018
Peter Nelson
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). More to be desired are they [i.e., God’s words] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10). The Word of God is a priceless gift we have in our hands:  do you cherish it?  Do you go to the Scriptures for soul food?  Do you study and meditate, do you listen to the Lord and respond in prayer?  Is the Bible sweet to you—is it treasure?  There is more to the Christian life than joyfully ...

Adult Sunday Classes

September 12, 2018
Peter Nelson
This coming Sunday we'll return to our regular schedule with Sunday School for all ages at 10:00 a.m.  And this includes a number of great study-and-discussion electives for adults.  Come join us as we explore God's Word and encourage each other on the journey of following Jesus!  Here's the line-up: Family Foundations, Family Life Center:  “Onward”—a video discussion series from Russell Moore about engaging the culture without losing the gospel, looking at our Christian presence in a secular society.  Leader Team:  Fraziers, ...

Theological Superstructure

September 07, 2018
Peter Nelson
We’re into a sermon series on “Walking in the Truth,” which includes a review of our church’s Statement of Faith (see link on this page).  You might say we’re inspecting our “super­structure.”  At home we all want sturdy floor joists and rafters; with­out them the house collapses.  So too, there are truth structures which are foundational for Christian faith and life. We get a feel for the urgency of holding fast to God’s truth from the Apostle Paul’s final farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20.  He reminds these church leaders, “I did ...

Which Books Belong in the Bible?

September 05, 2018
Peter Nelson
We've started in on our journey together "Walking in the Truth." And, first things first, last Sunday I was stressing that God's written revelation, the Bible, is our primary and necessary source of saving truth. Now when it comes to the Bible, we cannot be nourished spiritually without truly feeding on the Word (i.e., God's truth doesn't get into our hearts and minds by osmosis).  We need to study Scripture--individually, and with others. Bible study involves observation, interpreta­tion, and application.  The starting point is always ...

A Circular Argument?

September 01, 2018
Peter Nelson
Tomorrow we begin a sermon series on our core beliefs, “Walking in the Truth.” And right off the bat I’ll be emphasizing our statement about Scripture—here it is (from our GBC Statement of Faith): “The Word of God. We believe all Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the verbally inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, complete as the revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the supreme and final authority in all matters to which they speak.” So we’re starting with this assertion about the Bible.  But maybe ...

Dropping Anchor

August 31, 2018
Peter Nelson
Today we begin a sermon series that asks, “What do we believe?”  Or put it this way:  “In this day of slanted stories, polarized politics, fake news, and ‘true for you but not for me,’ how can we make sure we really know where we stand when it comes to our essential message?”  Or this way:  “Where do we put down anchor in today’s raging sea of deception and spin and incessant online blabbering?” Let me ask the question by quoting Scripture:  How do we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature ...

The Journey Home

August 24, 2018
Peter Nelson
One of the highlights of my summer was reading Pilgrim’s Progress and discussing it weekly with a group of Goshen brothers.  John Bunyan wrote his remarkable allegory about the Christian’s journey home to the Celestial City in 1678.  His writing has that old English feel, and yet it is so very timely and relevant today. A few of major themes in this classic spiritual travelogue are:  1) The book—guid­ance from God’s book is all-important for staying on the path.  2) Temptations to “go back” keep popping up—to turn away from Jesus and seek ...

College-Age Sunday School

July 06, 2018
David Thomas
The college-age Sunday school class has spent the summer studying the wonderful book of Hebrews, a book with no dull moments! We've looked at the many features of this book that make it unique in the New Testament. It's not exactly a letter, not exactly a sermon, the author and audience are never identified, and yet it unpacks the Old Testament in a way that no other New Testament book attempts, showing one unified story: Jesus of Nazareth is superior to angels, Moses, Joshua, the high priests, the covenant sacrifices, and everything else! In ...

Anthony Bourdain Brought Me Closer to Jesus

June 15, 2018
Pete Manni
This blog entry is from a Facebook post written on 6/8/2018... It’s taken me a while to put into words how I’m feeling after hearing the news that Anthony Bourdain took his life this morning. My initial reaction was to throw my phone across the room as I saw the headline. I actually cried out so loud that my family came running into my room! My heart broke and tears began to form (and still are). Why would he do this?! Suicide?! Really??!! WHY???!!! Anthony Bourdain had a deep impact on my life. He was a catalyst for my love of food and ...

Written So That You May Believe

June 07, 2018
Peter Nelson
As John wraps up his Gospel, twice he mentions that he could have written more about the life of Jesus: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:30-31).  “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (21:25)....

Children's Sunday School Summary June 3, 2018

June 06, 2018
Lori Herson
This unit we will be talking about God’s plan for Paul, who had devoted his life to preaching the gospel and planting churches, in a frightening and dangerous position. As Paul’s third missionary journey came to an end, a prophet named Agabus warned him that the Jews would seize him in Jerusalem and hand him over to the Gentiles. (See Acts 21:10-11.) But Paul did not hesitate, knowing Jerusalem was exactly where God wanted Paul to go. Paul returned to Jerusalem and was seized by a group of Jews who wanted to kill him because of the go ...

Further Up and Further In

June 01, 2018
Peter Nelson
The seventh and final novel in C. S. Lewis’s classic “Chronicles of Narnia” is The Last Battle. In this story, the children from our world who’d been magically whisked off to Narnia finally enter “Aslan’s Country”—the endlessly glorious world of the new creation (i.e., heaven!).  And once there, the great lion Aslan, “the Lord of that place,” joyously urges everyone to come “further up and further in.”  The children and the fantastic creatures who join them run through fields, up mountain slopes, even up waterfalls.  All is vast and radiant.  ...

Love Is the Way

May 25, 2018
Peter Nelson
Ever since the Royal Wedding last week, I’ve been mulling over that exuberant sermon from Rev. Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church.  It’s been the talk of town—along with Meghan’s dress, celebrity sightings, and all those hats.  Curry jolted the formal pomp-and-ceremony atmosphere.  He said: There’s power in love.  God is love.  Love is the way.  Love will change the world. That’s about it.  Now there’s some truth in those words, of course.  So what’s not to like about two billion viewers hearing a church ...

Children's Sunday School Summary May 20, 2018

May 21, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul had written a letter (1 Corinthians) addressing several sins that were being tolerated in the church at Corinth. The letter had been a risk. The Corinthians may have rejected Paul, but they did not. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to celebrate what God had done in the church and to call on them for help. The church in Jerusalem was in desperate need of help, so Paul was collecting money from the other churches on their behalf. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to be generous. He told them about the churches in Macedonia. Macedonia was an area ...

Dual Citizenship

May 18, 2018
Peter Nelson
Belonging to Jesus means living in two worlds.  On the one hand, we settle into 21st century North America.  We work and go to school and do business in our local communities, rubbing shoulders with people of various backgrounds and beliefs.  What’s more, we obey the law of the land, pay our taxes, and strive to make a positive con­tribution for “the greater good” of humanity here and now. On the other hand, all who follow Christ make their true home in another world—under the eternal reign of God today and in the new heavens and new earth ...

Children's Sunday School Summary May 13, 2018

May 16, 2018
Lori Herson
Paul knew that following Jesus is difficult. After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life was turned upside down and he was never the same. Paul spent the rest of his life struggling and suffering to advance the very gospel that he had denied and fought against before his conversion. Paul was in prison when he wrote his letter to the believers at the church in Ephesus. Paul knew firsthand that the life of a believer is a battle—an ongoing fight. But Paul didn’t see life as a fight against the Romans, those who had thrown him in ...

Urgent or Important?

May 11, 2018
Peter Nelson
Long before the iPhone and “push notifications” and pathological multitasking and the addictive flitting of our eyes from one screen to another, back in the day when you went to the local library to learn a thing or two about Ebola or cholesterol or eschatology, all the way back in 1967 Charles Hummel wrote a booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent. It was timely then.  And it’s really timely now. Frenzied busyness results not from having too much to do, but from confusing the urgent with the important.  When we fail to set and keep ...

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