Blog

God’s Books

January 18, 2019
Peter Nelson
Since God has written “two books” (i.e., the book of nature and the book of scripture—as I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon on Psalm 19), how are we to understand the relationship between them?  Is it sufficient only to have access to one or the other? Romans 1:18-21 asserts that all people have an awareness of God’s existence—and more, of his eternal power and deity—through the witness of nature.  Creation gives evidence of a Creator.  This is true for everyone (Psalm 19:3-4).  So asking if we need to have access to God’s “book of nature” ...

Practical Praise

January 16, 2019
Peter Nelson
"Doxology for Life" Messages on the Practical Vocation of Praise Winter 2019 There’s nothing more practical than getting your head and heart centered on GOD.  All those how-to talks and life-hack lists will fall flat if you’re not, first and foremost, practicing “doxology.” Doxa is the Greek word for glory.  And doxology is a prayer of praise to the glory of our Awesome God.  Whether you sing it or say it, rest on it or walk in it, doxology is the very practical task of aligning your life with what matters most—and with the One ...

Pray for the Church in China

January 16, 2019
Peter Nelson
Friends, as we pray for our own church and ministry this month, let’s also make sure to call upon the Lord on behalf of our brothers and sisters in China. In recent months the Chinese government has been intensifying its crackdown on churches, detaining pastors and demolishing buildings.  There is an aggressive campaign to rein in and domesticate Christianity, and believers in Jesus who are not willing to revise their faith to exalt communist, secular state ideals are suffering greatly. Take time to read a leading Chinese pastor’s ...

Lift Up Your Eyes!

January 11, 2019
Peter Nelson
Last Sunday I preached about “Prayer Uunleashed” based on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  I especially focused on how we’re taught to plead with the Lord that his name would be “hallowed”:  “Father, cause your name, your character, to shine brilliantly in this dark world; bring it about that your honor would be praised, loved, trusted and revered; cause all to see your greatness as the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” But I’m concerned—especially as I look in the mirror!—that we often settle for small, earthly prayers that ...

Children's Sunday School Summary January 6, 2019

January 07, 2019
Lori Herson
Last week, kids learned about Moses’ birth and his calling. God had a plan to rescue the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. He chose and called Moses for the task and allowed Moses’ brother, Aaron, to help him.   Moses and Aaron faced a huge obstacle in leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and his name was Pharaoh. Pharaoh did not recognize the Lord’s authority: “Who is the LORD that I should obey him by letting Israel go?” (Ex. 5:2) Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord, but all of this fit into God’s plan to reveal to ...

14 Ways to Sabotage Your Prayer Life

January 04, 2019
Peter Nelson
The beginning of a new year is a great time to take stock of where we stand in terms of prayer.  So, in keeping with C. S. Lewis's inverted approach in The Screwtape Letters (click here for a sampling of quotations from Screwtape), allow me to recommend fourteen ways to sabotage your prayer life: Pray only when you feel like it.  Disregard any fanatic ideas of praying “day and night” or “without ceasing.” Try to impress God with pious prayer performances so that you can win maximum spiritual credit. Pray publicly with an eye to ...

The Danger of Dabbling

January 04, 2019
Peter Nelson
There’s still time!  It’s not too late to make a New Year’s start on read­ing the Bible.  Our two-year plan is available in the lobby and online, and Day One is January 6. If you take this road, you’ll read two chapters each weekday and one a day on weekends.  And you’ll move back and forth in the Bible—so that the long foundation of faith in the Old Testament and its fulfillment in Christ are both kept in view as you go.  (For other reading plans, consider these options.) If you’re motivated to read the Bible, I don’t need to say more.  ...

Children's Sunday School Summary December 23, 2018

December 27, 2018
Lori Herson
We took a break from the chronological journey through the Bible this past Sunday to focus on Christmas. From the moment sin entered the world, its consequences were obvious. God’s people were separated from Him; they did not enjoy the intimate relationship with their Creator for which He had created them. People were affected by sickness and pain. Corruption spread quickly throughout the earth. The situation seemed hopeless, yet God did not leave His people without hope. It was into this hopelessness that God spoke. Hundreds of messages ...

Not By Bread Alone

December 20, 2018
Peter Nelson
With 2019 just around the corner, this is a great time for every follower of Jesus to start (or recommit to) a pattern of daily Bible reading.  And don’t just read.  Reflect, meditate, re-read, make notes, journal, use study helps (the ESV Study Bible is excellent), pray the Word, and apply what you learn personally and in community. And that means being intentional:  If you don’t plan to dig into Scripture, it will not happen.  So mark out quality time in your daily rou­tine to get into God’s presence in this way, and ask the Holy Spirit ...

Children's Sunday School Summary December 16, 2018

December 18, 2018
Lori Herson
Last week, kids learned that God had a plan for Joseph’s suffering. The land of Egypt enjoyed seven years of plenty before a famine struck, just as Pharaoh had dreamed. During that time, Joseph gathered all the excess food and stored it in the cities. The famine was severe in every land, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to everyone who needed it. Jacob and his family lived in Canaan, and Jacob sent his sons to Egypt for grain. Jacob still felt the sting of losing Joseph. He did not allow his youngest son, Benjamin, to go for ...

Infant Holy, Infant Lowly

December 14, 2018
Peter Nelson
During last Sunday’s message I asked if you found it odd to be going through the Book of Job during Advent.  After all, the speeches of God in Job 38-41 strongly emphasize divine transcendence—that the Lord, the Creator, is vastly “beyond us,” even shrouded in mystery. God drives home the point that Job’s knowledge and abilities are miniscule compared with the magnificent reach of divine sovereignty.  He does this with a barrage of questions:  Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (38:4).  Can you send forth ...

Children's Sunday School Summary December 9, 2018

December 12, 2018
Lori Herson
Jacob grew up in strife with his twin brother, Esau. He spent many years away from his family to avoid Esau’s anger. God spoke to Jacob in a dream and reaffirmed to Jacob the promise He gave to Abraham and Isaac. Finally, God called Jacob home to the land of Canaan. God blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel.   Jacob had 12 sons. They would become the leaders of the tribes of Israel. But Jacob’s favorite son was Joseph. Joseph was the son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife, and Jacob didn’t hide his favoritism. He gave Joseph a gift ...

Light Momentary Affliction

December 07, 2018
Peter Nelson
Our journey through the Book of Job is raising important, sobering questions—for example, about a link between suffering and sin (do those who suffer “have it coming”?), about the type of safety God does and doesn’t promise us, and about whether our relationship with God boils down to a “contract” under which we claim a right to bounty and blessing (do we love God or just his gifts?). And all such questions prompt us to examine our expectations.  For example, do we imagine that life as we know it will just go on and on and on?  Of course, ...

Digital Scripture

November 30, 2018
Peter Nelson
What would you say are the gains and losses that come with reading a digital Bible—that is, reading Scripture online or with an app on your phone?  “Gains and losses” is good way to put it; it’s a complex issue. Book lovers should remember that God’s Word is not paper and ink, but rather the words in their context as revealed by God through the human authors of the biblical writings.  So there’s nothing inherently sacred about printed pages over against electronic screens.  Plus, the power of digital tools to help us find resources and ...

Children's Sunday School Summary November 25, 2018

November 26, 2018
Lori Herson
Jacob found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. After stealing his older brother’s blessing, he fled his home to escape Esau’s anger. He spent time with his uncle Laban, got married, and fathered many children. Overall, Jacob prospered. God blessed him, but Jacob’s time with his uncle Laban did not end well. Laban’s sons accused Jacob of taking their father’s wealth. God was with Jacob and when He told Jacob to leave, Jacob did not hesitate. He gathered his family and all of his possessions and headed home to Canaan with Laban in ...

Christmas at Goshen

November 21, 2018
Peter Nelson
Friends, here's an overview of December events at our church: December 1, Women’s Christmas Tea, 11:00 a.m., with guest speaker Cara Blondo December 2, 1st Sunday of Advent, Worship, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m. December 2, The Hope of Christmas, all ages combined in FLC during Sunday School for Advent Celebration, 10:00-10:45 a.m. December 8, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. December 9, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Worship, 8:30 & 11:00 a.m., Sunday School for all ages at 10:00 December 11, Young Adult Christmas Party, Nichols ...

Happy Thanksgiving

November 21, 2018
Peter Nelson
This Thanksgiving weekend, let me affirm the practice of expressing horizontal gratitude—that is, to each other.  It’s fitting to convey appreciation to one another, whether for large or small kindnesses. Speaking of which:  I am so thankful to you, my Goshen family, for all the ways you encourage and support and challenge me and partner with me in this wonderful venture of being the church! Plus, there are many reasons to be grateful to our families and close friends for their loving presence in our lives.  Also, I’m thankful to ...

Children's Sunday School Summary November 15, 2018

November 20, 2018
Lori Herson
When Isaac and Rebekah sent Jacob away from his home in the promised land of Canaan to escape the wrath of his brother Esau, Rebekah expected him to be gone for a few days—just until Esau calmed down. (Gen. 27:44) But days and then weeks and then months passed; Jacob was with Laban for twenty years. (Gen. 31:38) Before Jacob left home, Isaac blessed him and instructed him to find a wife among his relatives. And that’s what Jacob did. On his way to Laban’s house, God appeared to Jacob at Bethel in a dream and gave Jacob the same covenant He ...

God With Us

November 16, 2018
Peter Nelson
What does it mean that God is with us?  If we say, “God be with you,” or we pray that the Lord would “be with” a loved one, what are we really getting at? God’s presence with his people is a glorious fact:  he will “never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5); in fact, you can’t escape his presence (Psalm 139).  Although Jesus departed bodily, through the Spirit he remains with us “to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).  Knowing that the Almighty is with us gives us reason not to fear but be at peace:  “Fear not, I am with you…” (Isa 41:10).  ...

Children's Sunday School Summary November 11, 2018

November 13, 2018
Lori Herson
Jacob and Esau were rivals before birth. They struggled in the womb, and Jacob was born grabbing onto Esau’s heel. Even though he was younger, Jacob convinced Esau to sell him his birthright for some stew. When Isaac was old and blind, the time came for Isaac to bless Esau. With the blessing came the privilege afforded to the firstborn—leadership over the family. With Rebekah’s guidance, Jacob deceived his father and stole his brother’s blessing. In his anger, Esau planned to kill Jacob. Rebekah sent Jacob away to her brother Laban until ...

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