FIX YOUR HOPE

Isn’t HOPE a mysterious word?  Oxford dictionary defines it as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”  So according to these folks it’s a feeling or desire.  Can hope ever be a certainty?

There are things that are universally hoped for.  We hope that the weather will be nice for outdoor celebrations.  We hope that our children grow up to be more than us.  We hope for peace and the end of hunger in our world.

Some hope is more individual.  We may hope that a loved one recovers from a specific illness.  We may hope our marriage survives a rocky period.  We may hope we can keep our home. Maybe we are hoping to meet that special someone. 

Are you hoping for something that is lacking in your life?  Most of us are.  We feel an emptiness somewhere inside that is indefinable.  We turn many different ways, hoping to fill that void, hoping that this time we’ll feel better.  We hope that one more drink, one more joint or fix, one more hook-up, one more…..

None of these hopes work.  But there is a hope that is a certainty.  There is a hope that is guaranteed to fill that void, make us whole and give us the ultimate gift of eternal life.  When we fix our hope on Jesus, everything changes.  It begins quietly, but immediately.  New life is poured into us, our eyes open to who we have been and who we can be.  Our hope becomes rooted to the most solid foundation in the universe.

If this is something you have been hoping for, please join us Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. in the sanctuary at 864 W. Hwy 190, Cove.  Pastor Ann will be speaking to us about fixing our hope! 

We will be recording live on Facebook and posting later in the day to YouTube if you can’t join us in person. 

***PLEASE NOTE*** Gov. Abbott has signed orders that we must all cover our faces while in public buildings as well as situations in which we cannot social distance.  PLEASE WEAR YOUR FAVORITE FACIAL ACCESSORY.  We are considering a contest related to masks. Let us know what you think.  

HOPE IN THE LORD

In this strange time our world is going through we are all hoping for something.  Some are just hoping that this period will pass quickly and that life will return to the way it was. Some are hoping they can get through their economic difficulties without losing all they have worked for.  Some are hoping this time will give them an opportunity to change their life. 

Now, today, is an excellent time to hope for life changing experiences. 

Isaiah 40:31 tells us “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”  We need strength during this time, but we need His strength every day.  Hope in Him happens when we choose to follow Him through the good times and the rough times.  Hope in Him, lifts life’s burdens

This is definitely something we need to hear and do right now.  If you don’t yet know the LORD, we would encourage you to join our family this Sunday morning at 9:00 or 10:40 a.m. to hear Pastor Ann’s message of hope and how that can carry us to the end.

We will be livestreaming on Facebook and her sermon will be available on YouTube as well, if you are unable to join us in person.

Our Faithful Father Abraham

Fathers are extremely important to God.  The word father is used 145 times in the NASB version of the Bible.  One hundred forty five times.  One of His first Commandments is to “honor your father…” (Deuteronomy 5:16).  In our culture, we have set aside a special day each year to do this. 

Again and again, our attention is directed toward fathers, their role in our lives, what is expected of them and how we are to treat them.  What may not be so obvious at first glance is that all these references point us to our Heavenly Father. 

In Deuteronomy 6:5, Moses tells us, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  The only way to truly do this is to make every day of our lives Father’s Day.  We will reap the benefits of His love in amazing ways if we are willing to do this.  That’s His promise to us in the remainder of the verse I quoted above.  It says, “…that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you…” (Deuteronomy 5:16)  

Moses had a great example to follow.  Abraham followed YWHW from his home in Ur (near Babylon if you look on a map) across to modern Israel and down into Egypt before he returned to the land God promised to his offspring (Israel).  Now the interesting part of this story is that during all this following where God led him, Abraham had no children.

God didn’t bless him with lots of children.  He gave him 2 sons in his old age.  The Bible tells us that Ishmael was born 13 years before Isaac and that Sarah was 90 when she bore Isaac.

Abraham’s faith in God was passed to his son Isaac who became the father of the Israelites.  Ishmael fathered other peoples of the middle east. 

Abraham stands as testimony to all fathers everywhere.  His steadfast faith in God’s promise in Genesis 12:2 “I will make you a great nation” resulted in the founding of the Israelite line.  In Genesis 12:3 he was told that “in you all families of the earth will be blessed” and so we have been through the birth, life and death of Abraham’s descendant, Jesus.

As the verses in Deuteronomy indicate, when fathers’ follow Our Lord they are able to lead their own children in God’s path, “that [their] days may be prolonged and that it may go well with [them].” 

Please join us Sunday morning at 9 or 10:40 a.m.  Pastor Ann will be bringing fathers a special message this weekend that will enrich families. 

We will be livestreaming on FB at approx. 11:00 a.m. and will have video posted to YouTube as soon as possible (for those of us who don’t do facebook). 

HOLY

Holy is a word that has fallen out of use in our society.  Well, except for the occasional “holy-moly” “holy cow” or something along those lines.  So most of us don’t give much thought to what it would mean to be Holy.

According to Christianity.com editorial staff, “Time, space, objects and people – all can become holy if they belong to God.”  This is because God is Holy.   Holiness comes from God.  It is a gift from Him to us. 

Holiness requires us to step away from our sins and onto His path.  This sounds impossible, improbable, difficult, threatening, and completely foreign to much of our culture’s current beliefs.  In Leviticus 19:2 God told Moses and the people of Israel that “You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”  He was setting them apart and He continues to set people apart today.

It is God’s desire to have a relationship with us.  We need to consider the seriousness of entering into this relationship with God.  Jesus has provided a doorway, but we need to realize that not everything can be carried through that door.  If we are hanging on to our sins because we like them or feel like they are no big deal, we won’t be going through Jesus’ door.  We won’t become holy. 

To become holy we must open our eyes to see our sins, then open our hands and release our sins. To be holy with God means to be wholly with God.  There is no middle road.

Please join us Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. or 10:40 a.m. in the Sanctuary at 964 W. Hwy 190 to hear Pastor Ann give us this rich message from the LORD.  We will be on Facebook live-stream at 11:00 a.m. or you can watch her message later on YouTube.

AWARENESS

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” —Psalm 139:23

A couple of years ago, I was using the library at the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. I had spent a great deal of time there as a grad student and was fairly familiar with the area. After I had finished my research, I got into my car, told my GPS my next location, and headed on my way to MidAmerica Nazarene University. I drove carefree as I loudly sang, enjoyed the scenery, and continually pushed aside this little feeling that kept creeping up telling me I was going the wrong direction. Whether it was my distracted thoughts or the overly-trusting part of me that never argued with the little GPS voice, I don’t know; I simply kept driving.

As I drove, I passed by sights like Worlds of Fun, and I still remember thinking to myself, “Wow! I didn’t realize this place was so close to Olathe!” At this point, if you are familiar with the Kansas City area, you know that I am driving in the absolute wrong direction.

After I had been driving for about 25 minutes, I heard the familiar voice of my GPS informing me I would arrive at MNU in less than five minutes. Five minutes later, I learned the fun fact that MNU has a campus in Liberty, Missouri. I had inadvertently driven 40 miles in the opposite direction from where I was trying to go. I laughed about it then, and I still laugh about it now.

However, more than being just another experience that reconfirms the fact that I am horrendous with directions, it has also become one of my favorite Holy Spirit teaching moments in my life. You see, as I listened to the GPS with every turn, I followed mindlessly and lacked intention. I aimlessly traveled and was shocked when I ended up in a place that was far from my original goal. What did I expect would happen?

The same is true with our lives. When we are distracted and listen to whichever voice is currently the loudest, we arrive at places in life we never intended. The psalmist’s cry to have God search every part of his being is a cry that is dripping with intention. This cry reveals a person who desires such closeness with the Father and who knows this only occurs in a relationship marked with intentionality and humility.

I wonder if there is an area in your current reality that is characterized by complacency.

If there is, what would it look like to cry out to the Father, to the One who delighted in you as you were being formed in the womb, and ask Him to bring new awareness and growth to your life?

Prayer for the week: Father, You know every detail of Your children’s lives. Would You search us and transform us so that we can grow closer to You and be the people You’ve called us to be.

Sarah Fredricks is Associate Pastor at Living Hope Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas, USA.

Written for Coffee Break.

Day 49 WAIT

Today is the 49th day of counting the omer! And tomorrow is Shavuot/Pentecost! It has been an exciting journey, getting ready to see what great things that God has in store for us!

As Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure, He gave them one last command. “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the Gift He promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5 NLT) Notice that this was not a casual statement or simply a request. This was a command. They had a choice, but as far as Jesus was concerned, it was a command. And they all obeyed His command.

Besides the fact that they had to be in Jerusalem through Shavuot, why else would you think that Jesus told them to stay there until they received the Gift? Perhaps verse 8 of the first chapter of Acts gives us the answer. “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

There was a specific reason why Jesus told them to wait, and that was so that they would be empowered to be witnesses. Jesus knew that if they were not filled with the Holy Spirit, they would not have the courage to endure the persecution and death that was coming. They would not be able to remain faithful to Him when they were being thrown to the lions, burned at the stake, starved, beheaded, or persecuted in any other way.

It is the power of the Holy Spirit that provides everything needed to make it through extreme times. It is also the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to stay true when nothing is challenging us, and life settles into a sweet little normal rhythm. At either end of the spectrum, it is easy to let go of the most precious Person in life, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. On one end, we are terrified; on the other end, we are lulled to sleep. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and intimacy with God that we will be able to endure.

There was urgency in the voice of Jesus that day as He spoke for the last time to the disciples. And He would say the very same thing to us with the same urgency in His voice. “Wait until the Father baptizes you with the Holy Spirit.” May we take His words as a command and ask the Father to send His Holy Spirit and fill us over and over again, empowering us to go everywhere and make disciples!

Pastor Ann

May 30, 2020

Boldly seeking; Boldly connecting; Boldly Discipling

The PURPOSE OF PENTECOST

The purpose of Pentecost

by Board of General Superintendents | 29 May 2020 Image

BGS pentecost letter

We have been on a journey from Easter to Pentecost. The first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus is the birthday of the church. The events of that day are vividly described in Acts chapter 2 and reveal the purpose of Pentecost through the powerful images of wind, fire, and tongues.

Wind is descriptive of power. Fire is descriptive of purity. However, it was not power for the sake of power or purity for the sake of purity—it was power and purity given to do something. That purpose is revealed in the image of tongues: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (Acts 2:4).

The last words Jesus said to His first disciples are known as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”  (Matthew 28:19-20). Yet, how were they going to do that? They did not have the power, courage, or passion for that assignment. They needed something they did not have to fulfill the missionary mandate given by Jesus: they needed a gift. Therefore, Jesus gave them this promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

It is interesting that in all three of these Pentecost images, there is a reference to speaking or hearing. They “heard” the sound. They were given the gift of language to proclaim. Even the flames of fire looked like tongues. This is no accident. The Church was born to give witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives the Church a voice to share the gospel to every generation, even to the ends of the earth. 

God does not pour out His Spirit to make us a holy huddle—God moves on His Church to make us a mighty army. Pentecost gives us the passion to care, the power to speak, and the boldness to move out. Pentecost is what purifies us, sets our hearts on fire, and enables us to communicate the unquenchable love of God and the restoration of all things through Jesus, who is making all things new. 

Not even a global pandemic can prevent the purpose of Pentecost from being fulfilled. Let us be a church on mission, empowered by the promise of the Father, purified by the sanctifying Spirit, and boldly proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

–Board of General Superintendents

To view a video devotional of this message, click here.

Day 47 HUNGER AND THIRST

Today is the 47th day that we have been counting the omer.

Shavuot was and is the last spring Feast of the Lord. It was one of the three Feasts in which all the Jewish men were required to be in Jerusalem each year. It was a time when God gave gifts to His people.

The first Shavuot, Yehovah gave the gift of His commandments. He wanted them to know how things were done in His Kingdom. He had just asked Israel to be His bride, and they had agreed. So He gave them the wonderful gift of His commandments. He wanted them to be different from all the other nations because they loved Him and belonged to Him. They would demonstrate through their lives the original plan that Yehovah had when He created the world. Unfortunately, before they had been engaged to God for forty days, they turned their backs on Him and began worshiping other gods. However, He continued to provide for them.

On the Shavuot that occurred ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, God gave another gift. He poured out His Gift upon the disciples, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit.  Now Yehovah had not only told His bride how things were done in His Kingdom, but He had also given His Spirit to them so that they would be able to live according to His character out of a heart of love. No longer would it be difficult to keep His ways. Now their hearts would be soft to Him and they would long to know Him even more.

God has given us His commandments. Jesus boiled them down to two. We are to love the LORD our God with all our hearts, souls, and strength, and we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In His Kingdom, that is the standard. He baptizes us with His Holy Spirit so that we are continually drawn and empowered to reflect His character. The truth is that we must be intentional on a daily basis, to grow in our intimacy with Him if we are going to be prepared to be His bride. It is one thing to say that we are part of His Kingdom, but it is quiet another thing to be so in love with Him that we want to be in His Presence all the time. The greatest life is promised to those who have that deep love for Him!

What will we choose? Will we struggle and frequently be unsuccessful in keeping Him first in our lives? Will we find ourselves routinely drawn away from Him because our focus is on ourselves? Or will we ask Him and allow Him to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and nurture that relationship so that our hearts are continually yearning to know Him and be in His Presence? May God help us to hunger and thirst after righteousness, for Jesus promised that if we do, then God will fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Pastor Ann

May 28, 2020

Day 46 Nearing Refreshing

Today is the 46th day that we have been counting the omer.

It is almost Shavuot! We are almost there! Just three more days of counting the omer. The next day is Pentecost! I do hope that you can sense the excitement in the air today. And I hope that the excitement continues to build until we reach our goal on the 50th day!

What was the purpose of Yeshua pouring out the Holy Spirit and baptizing the disciples on the day of Pentecost/Shavuot? According to John chapters 14, 15, and 16 the Holy Spirit is to be our Counselor. He is the Spirit of truth and will guide us into all truth. He will only point us to Yeshua and will teach us all things, connecting the pieces together that Yeshua taught. The Holy Spirit prays for us because sometimes we do not know what to pray for. Jesus says in John 16:8-11 (NLT) that the Holy Spirit also comes to “convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in Me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.” All these are essential responsibilities of the Holy Spirit.

But there is something more that Jesus knew would be required. The Holy Spirit could do all those things, but if humans were to be the physical instruments, continuing the mission of Jesus after His departure, those humans were going to need more than just their own abilities and memories of experiences with Yeshua. Memories fade with time and human abilities will not complete the mission. Therefore, Jesus commanded His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 NIV) The New Living Translation says, “fills you with power from heaven.”

It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that the Kingdom of God will be expanded on earth. Nothing else will do. It is not by charisma or eloquent speech or powerful personalities that the Kingdom will be expanded. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit!

Are we ready for a fresh outpouring, a fresh baptism with the Holy Spirit? May it be so today!

Pastor Ann

May 27, 2020

Day 44 THE HOLINESS TRAIL

Today is the 44th day that we have been counting the omer.

Have you ever been walking down a trail and suddenly the trail splits? Maybe you were not expecting it. You try to see around the next corners to determine which way to go. There are no signs posted, and you do not want to get lost. Neither direction, as far as you can see, gives you a hint about which one you should take. I have been there, and despite the beauty and tranquility of the trails, a question always arises in my mind about which way I should take.

I think that is something like what the children of Israel came to in Deuteronomy 11. And as Moses laid it out for them that day, they had a choice to either follow God and receive the blessing or follow other gods and receive the curses. “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing, if you listen to the commands of Yehovah your God that I am giving you today; and the curse, if you don’t listen to the commands of Yehovah your God, but turn aside from the way I am ordering you today and follow other gods that you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)

In the verses above, notice that Moses told them that he was setting a decision before them “today”. Every day, continually, we have decisions to make regarding our relationship with God. Each day and throughout every part of the day, we have the opportunity and responsibility to make choices that impact our relationship with the King of kings.

Today I am wanting us to look at a higher choice than simply choosing a blessing or a curse. I want us to see that God gives us the choice to come up even closer to Him than when we first believed. Which trail brings us toward that goal? I will tell you that the trail is the one called “Holiness”. Intentionally choosing to seek the Lord daily, listen intently, and follow His ways radically, brings us to another split in the trail. There, we have the opportunity to commit ourselves totally to Him and ask that Yeshua, Jesus, baptize us with the Holy Spirit even as He baptized His disciples on the day of Pentecost almost 2000 years ago. It is certainly not the easiest trail to walk on. It will bring us to places where we must build an altar and give God things that hinder us. As we walk with Him, He shows us things or areas of our lives that we never saw before, things that cause Him pain. It requires a dedication in the strongest terms possible. However, the rewards are the highest, for it brings the greatest intimacy with the Holy One of Israel!

Are you ready to choose the trail of Holiness?

Pastor Ann

May 25, 2020

HAVE YOU RECIEVED? Day 43

Today is the 43rd day that we have been counting the omer.

I’m reminded today of an account we find in Acts 19:2-6 (CJB). Paul has just arrived in Ephesus and met with a few disciples. “He asked them ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to trust.’ ‘No,’ they said to him, ‘we have never even heard that there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit.’ ‘In that case,’ he said, ‘into what were you baptized?’ ‘The baptism of John,’ they answered. Paul said, ‘John practiced a baptism in connection with turning from sin to God; but he told the people to put their trust in the one who would come after him, that is, Yeshua’. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Yeshua; and when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; so that they began speaking in languages and prophesying.”

These folks were followers of the teachings of God and were conducting themselves in a righteous manner. They were keeping the commandments and had turned away from their sins against God. Now Paul entered the picture and discovered that although they were really good people and were trusting in God, they had never heard that the Messiah Yeshua had come. He asked them a huge question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to trust?” Another translation (KJV) wrote it this way, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

I think this is the question that God wants us to ask ourselves today. Jesus told His disciples to stay put in Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit so that they would be empowered to do the will of the Father. So many times, we find ourselves spiritually anemic, not having the power or maybe even the desire to accomplish what Jesus commanded us to do. Sometimes we make excuses for ourselves saying that it is not our personality to do or say certain things about our relationship with God. And certainly, God gave each one of us our personalities so that we are able to reach individuals that no one else would ever be able to impact. But if we take that to the extreme and allow it to be the door behind which we hide, then we must examine ourselves to see if we really have been changed inside. Probably none of us will ever be a second Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, or any of the other great preachers of the past. However, that does not relieve us of the responsibility to be intimately involved in our Lord’s command – “Go and make disciples.” But we must know that it is not through our own power or ability that the expansion of His Kingdom is accomplished. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit! That is why it is so critical for us to completely surrender ourselves to God and ask Him to come cleanse us and fill us with His Holy Spirit! There really is no other way to do the work except through His power!!

As we expectantly look forward to Shavuot (Pentecost), I hope that the thing that has steadfastly stuck in your mind throughout these weeks of counting is that you want to have such a relationship with our God that you are excitedly carrying out His commands and looking forward to His soon-coming. I hope that your intimacy with God has blossomed into a beautiful reflection of Him. Ultimately, this is only possible through the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives!

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

Pastor Ann

May 24, 2020

Day 41 HOLY SPIRIT POWER

Today is the 41st day that we have been counting the omer.

Luke 24:49-53 (NLT), “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, He blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the temple, praising God.”

Acts 1:8-11 (NLT), “’But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’. After saying this, He was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see Him. As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday He will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!’”

Jesus had done all He could do to ensure that the disciples were convinced beyond any possibility of a doubt that He was alive. He had meals with them; He continued to teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven. He connected the dots for them from the prophets and through all the writings found in the Old Testament. He proved to them that He was the Messiah and would return to be the King over all the world. He knew all the persecution that would follow. He knew who would be the first to die for proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah. And, He already knew who will be the last to die for faith in Jesus. For 40 days, He worked diligently to confirm His Father’s truths to them. He knew that they would be put on the witness stand and would have to be convinced beyond convincing that what He had told them was true. And now, He was leaving.

He commanded them to return to Jerusalem and stay there until they were baptized by the Holy Spirit. He did not ask them if they wanted to do that. He commanded them to do it. According to Jesus, it was essential, not optional. He knew that despite the fact that He had just spent 40 days confirming and reconfirming, teaching and reteaching, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the critical piece that would be required if they were going to ready to be put on the witness stand of the world. He knew that the methods that would be used to bring about their deaths would require the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if they were to stand firmly. So He commanded them to stay in Jerusalem.

If it was essential for them, it is essential for us. More believers are dying for their faith today than at any time throughout history. We in the United States have not been persecuted like those in the rest of the world. But as we come down to the end of this age, it would not surprise me if we begin to see terrible persecution. Will we be ready? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to stand! This was His last command, the last thing on His mind before He left. We must not ignore this command. It is ESSENTIAL.

Pastor Ann

May 22, 2020

Call to Duty

Memorial Day is a unique holiday.  Every year it gives Americans an opportunity to reflect on the cost of answering the call to duty.  Whether you or someone you know is military, a first responder, or even a parent you recognize what that means.  When you respond to that call the outcome is not cut and dried.  You don’t know that all will end well.  There is no guarantee that everyone will survive to tell the tale.  When the call to duty is answered sometimes people die. 

Now I know some of you are saying, “REALLY? A parent?”  Yes, really.  Parents have a duty to their children that exceeds the call of our country or our community.  As a parent, protecting one’s child is the primary call.  Does that mean a person will die because they are a parent?  No.  But it does mean that if they love their children as God planned they are willing to die for them.  

God knows this price and understands this call to protect His children.  Jesus paid the ultimate price when He answered the call to protect all of God’s children by accepting responsibility for every sin ever committed.  He took that burden with Him to the cross.  By nailing those sins on the cross, Jesus protected us from eternal death and provided us the opportunity for eternal life.

We need only step out in faith.  Our call to duty is to believe that God is.  That Jesus is His son who died for us.  Our call is to faithfully proclaim our belief in Him and follow Him all the days of our lives.

If you are hungry and want to know more, PLEASE join us in the parking lot at 964 W Hwy 190 this Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.  Pastor Ann has a special message she’ll be sharing with us that you don’t want to miss.

For those of you unable to join us please check us out on FB livestream at 9:20.  You can also find us on YouTube and at our website: www.covenazarene.org

Day 40 ASCENSION DAY

Today is our 40th day counting the omer.

In some places, today is called Ascension Day because 40 days after Jesus rose from the grave, He ascended from earth to heaven where He “sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Mark 16:19 NLT). Jesus had been with His disciples teaching them about the Kingdom of God. Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time after His resurrection, “the majority of whom are still alive, though some have died.”

What a day that must have been for the disciples! They had been following Him through all the days of ministry and had been so elated when they discovered that He really had risen from the dead. To have Him there with them for another 40 days must have been the icing on top of the cake! But now they have come unknowingly to the day that He would leave them, never to be physically seen again in their lives. Jesus took them over to Bethany, just a bit less than 2 miles from Jerusalem. There He finished reinforcing the most important things about the Kingdom of heaven. Suddenly, His feet started lifting off the ground! Maybe it was slow at first, but He just kept going up and up.

I do not know how long they stood and watched Him ascend. Evidently it was long enough for two angels to come and stand among them. They were probably still looking up when the two angels began talking to them. “You Galileans! Why are you standing, staring into space? This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 CJB) I do not know what the disciples were thinking as they walked back to Jerusalem. Perhaps they were mulling over all the events in their minds. At some point, they remembered what the angels had said, “This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.” They had so much work to do to proclaim to all the world that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, but the promise was forever in their minds – He’s coming back just like He left.

We most certainly would have been right with them staring up into the sky and outer space. Our thoughts and emotions would have probably been a very mixed bag. But as we stand here, almost 2000 years after He ascended, may we never forget that He will return in the same way that He departed. May we be so convinced that He will soon return that we will work harder than ever before to expand His Kingdom using all means possible! And, may God help us not to be caught flat-footed when He returns.

Pastor Ann

May 21, 2020

HIS PRESENCE on Day 39

Today is the 39th day that we have been counting the omer.

The fourth chapter of Joshua has a very interesting statement found at the end of the crossing of the Jordon River. Twelve men have just picked up stones from the middle of the riverbed and brought them to the west bank. Joshua tells the people, “In the future, when your children ask, ‘What do you mean by these stones?’ you will answer them, ‘It’s because the water in the Yarden was cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yehovah; when it crossed the Yarden, the water in the Yarden was cut off; and these stones are to be a reminder for the people of Israel forever.’” (Joshua 4:6b-7 CJB)

The statement that jumps out to me the most is, “It’s because the water in the Yarden was cut off before the ark of the covenant of Yehovah; when it crossed the Yarden, the water of the Yarden was cut off….” Stop for a moment and read that verse again. Notice that the water was not cut off because of Joshua, it was not cut off because of the priests. The water was cut off because of the ark of the covenant! I do not know how long Joshua thought about what he was going to say, but what he did say was very profound.

His statement reinforces to us today the fact that it is not by might nor by power that things are accomplished, but “it is by My Spirit says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” (Zechariah 4:6 NLT). If we ever get to the place that we think it is by human strength, force or ingenuity, our plans, or our great brainpower, we will fail. The Presence of God is what stopped the water in the Jordon just as His Presence stopped the water in the Red Sea, opening both so that the people could cross on dry land. Oh yes, people had their roles to play. Moses had to hold up his staff; Joshua had to give the order; the priests had to step into the water and stand firmly, but it was God’s Presence that commanded the water to move out of His way!

And it will be the same for us today. We will see Him work as we do exactly what He says. We cannot make it about us. It is simply us doing what He tells us to do. It is not about us doing something that we have thought up. It is about Him! My challenge to us today is that we carefully listen to Him and follow Him precisely. This requires an intentionally intimate relationship with the God of Heaven’s armies. Then, we can expect Him to show up and demonstrate His power and majesty to all who will have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Pastor Ann

May 20, 2020

SUNDAY MORNING

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow morning, July 12th, in the Sanctuary. Just a reminder that we DO have to wear masks, so please cover your face with something appropriate.

Service will begin at 10:45 sharp with worship led by Vickie Smith.

See all y’all in the morning!