Pastor’s Pennings

Proclaiming Jesus

May 20, 2020

Good morning Fellow Believers,

In last Sunday’s message we learned that the believer is called and equipped to proclaim these three things. Proclaim judgement, the glory of God, and the truth of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus teaches this to His disciples after His resurrection and before his ascension.

He said to them, go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 (NIV)

How do ordinary messengers proclaim something so glorious?

There are some key verses we need to have an in-depth knowledge of in order to share Jesus with someone. Having this knowledge will enable us to teach these simple truths to people who simply do know the truth.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)

Unbelievers don’t realize that the sin in their lives causes a separation between them and God. Sinning confirms our status as sinners, and sin cuts us off from our holy God. Furthermore, sin leads to death, because it disqualifies us from living with God, regardless of how great or small each sin may seem. Sins are deadly, but sinners can be forgiven.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NIV)

The result of sin is not just physical death, everyone dies physically, believers and nonbelievers alike. This refers to eternal separation from God in hell. This is the wage that a person receives for his or her rebellion against God. Those in hell will find no comfort in the truth that they have been given exactly what they wanted. The unbeliever’s decision to reject Jesus is really their decision to pay the penalty for their own sins.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:21 (NIV)

Salvation is available to anyone. Unbelievers should know that forgiveness of sins, which cause separation between them and God, can be forgiven. There is no need to pay the penalty for our own sin. The very reason Jesus died on the cross was to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. Any person who calls on the name of the Lord will be forgiven and saved for all eternity. Access to God, for all people, is available, but only to those who call on His name in faith.

Forgiveness and salvation only come through Jesus Christ.

May God richly bless you today,

Pastor Dennis

Declaring the Glory of God

Good morning Elbridge Community Church,

To declare the glory of God is to put all things in their proper place. Chaos and struggle are always the result of humanity trying to gain glory for ourselves. God alone is worthy to receive glory. God alone was made to be above all else. And God alone can handle the weight of receiving glory.

So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31 (NIV)

We were made to declare the glory of God. We were made to proclaim through word and deed the majesty, splendor, and worthiness of the God of heaven and earth.

Proclaiming God’s glory to the world always begins by taking a look at our own hearts. We struggle to declare that God is above every other name if we’re still on the throne of our hearts. Declaring God’s glory starts with our own humility. It begins with living a life of sacrifice to the one who’s given up everything for us.

When we remove ourselves from the throne of our own hearts, we are set free to magnify Jesus. Here are a few things we can do to proclaim the glory of God.

  1. Meditate on the glory of God. All His attributes that make Him alone worth of glory. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to place God on the throne of your heart and live for his glory.

    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

  2. Ask yourself these questions, is Jesus enthroned upon every part of your heart today? Are there any areas in your life that you are living for your own glory, to build your own kingdom?
  3. Ask God how you can declare his glory on the earth today. How can you live to see Jesus lifted up and seen for who he truly is?

God doesn’t want glory to satisfy some selfish need. He knows that he alone can handle a throne. He alone can handle adoration and worship. And when he is magnified it is absolutely the best thing for all of creation. It’s for this reason Solomon writes in Psalm 72:19,

Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

May the prayer of Solomon be our prayer today as we seek to glorify God in all we do.

May the grace and peace of God the Father be with you all,

Pastor Dennis

Judgement

May 18, 2020

Good Morning Saints,

Judgment is found in the teachings of the Lord Jesus. This topic is found in both his teachings and parables. He spoke of a day of judgment for the people who lived in His day. In another place, Jesus spoke of a final judgement of unbelievers.

But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. Matt 11:22

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matt 25:31-33 (NIV)

Jesus also spoke of a future judgment of the nations. Undoubtedly, Jesus taught there is going to be a future judgment of unbelieving humanity. This separation of sheep and goats is the judgement as to weather a person has been marked by the Holy Spirit unto salvation or if a person has not followed Christ in this life thus leading to damnation. Things are different for each group.

And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. John 5:27-29

These verses speak only about a future event, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Every person will be resurrected when the Lord returns, with one of two results: one will be life, the other will be judgment. God grants eternal life to those who have come to the Light and have believed in Jesus Christ. But God will judge and condemn those who rebelled against Christ by refusing to come to the Light.

God’s judgment has already come upon them and will be completely executed by the Son of Man after the resurrection.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. Rev 20:11-12 (NIV)

The spiritual dead will be judged according to what they have done in their sinful state. This judgement is the judgement of eternal damnation.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Cor 5:10 (NIV)

Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. 1 Cor 4:5 (NIV)

These passages reveal Paul’s emphasis on the judgment seat of Christ. Judgement to us in America means that you go to court and are found guilty and receive a sentence for your crime. This will happen for unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ is where you go before him and based on His evaluation of your life receive the rewards that His grants. Notice that Paul says each man’s praise will come to him from God. God gives rewards to the victors; We know that He won’t condemn us for our sins at that point, because

Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Thus, the purpose of the judgment seat of Christ is to examine a Christian’s total life. We will be rewarded for the deeds we have done.

God bless you and keep you.

Pastor Dennis

Humility

May 15, 2020

Good morning Elbridge Community Church,

There are two kinds of humility mentioned in Scripture

False Humility

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. Col 2:18 (NIV)

Whether it’s in our manner of dress, our speech, or our behavior, anything that draws attention to you and away from Christ is displeasing to God. And is false humility.

True Humility

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

Truly humble people are not offended easily they also don’t fight back; they turn the other cheek. And yet their humility is not cowardice, for true humility requires courage. It makes us willing to take a lower place than we deserve, to keep quiet about our merits, and to bear slights, insults, and false accusations for the sake of a higher purpose. True humility doesn’t make you think less of yourself; it just makes you think of yourself less.

The story is told of a man who entered a contest to see who was the most humble. When he won, he was given a badge of merit, but then he wore it and was disqualified!

Pride disqualifies us from enjoying the favor of God. That’s why we need to remind yourself regularly. Everything I am, I owe to God; everything I have, came from God. To Him be all the glory.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV)

Scripture gives this warning to believers; an inflated pride has no place in a believer’s life. This is especially significant in light of Paul’s teaching. No one is better that the other we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all dependent on God’s mercy for our salvation, thus there is no room for pride. Any such pride would undermine the oneness vital to the growth of the church. That is why Paul says in Colossians3:12.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:12 (NIV)

Divine humility is the opposite of pride. It is confidence in God, not self. It was the walk of Jesus, and it can be ours if we choose.

Contrary to some beliefs, true humility is not passive, pathetic, or weak. Rather, it is divinely powerful. Humility honors God, and God, in turn, honors us when we exercise it according to His plan. If we humbly yielded to Him, we receive His supernatural power, favor, rewards, strength, provision, love, grace, mercy.

May the favor of God be with you.
Pastor Dennis

Garbage In – Garbage Out

May 14, 2020

Good morning Friends,

There is a simple principle that says when you put garbage into your mind and life, garbage will come out. When you put good things into your mind and life, then good things will flow out. Your mind matters and what you put into your mind will ultimately make the difference between peace or distraction.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Phil 4:8-9 (NIV)

God’s promise to us in verse 9 is that when you think of these things, the “God of peace will be with you.”

People of peace are people who have learned, with God’s help, to control their mind. They regulate what goes in and peace prevails. Others choose to put garbage into their mind and garbage naturally comes out.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

When scripture instructs us to no longer conform to the pattern of the world what does this mean?

Christians are called to a different lifestyle than what the world offers with its behavior and customs, which are usually selfish and often corrupt. Christians are to live as citizens of a future world. There will be pressure to conform, to continue living according to the script written by the world, but believers are admonished to not give in to that pressure.

But refusing to conform to this world’s values must go even deeper than the level of behavior and customs, it must go to the transforming of the way we think. Believers are to experience a complete transformation from the inside out. Our enemy makes it quite easy to put garbage into our mind. TV, the Internet, multimedia outlets, even the magazines and books we read are full of violence, sex, inappropriate language, negativity, and the list goes on. And this change must begin in the mind, where all thoughts and actions begin.

We begin the process of guarding our mind by censoring with we watch, listen to, read, and view. It is a deliberate action we as Christians take to keep our focus on Christ.

Push Negative Thoughts Out
One tactic that successfully positive people have is to ignore and reject negative thoughts that enter the mind. It takes about 30 seconds of dwelling on a thought for it to enter our deeper consciousness. You can train your brain to reject these thoughts, stopping them before they can take hold. Release those thoughts from your mind and do not allow them back in.

Make Time for Positivity
It is a given that if you surround yourself and your life with negativity, you will end up in a bad place. Make time in your free time to do things that build you up spiritually. This can be reading a good Christian book studying scripture, prayer. Anything that keeps our focus on God is a good distraction from negativity.

Your mind is a powerful source of help and positive energy. Give your mind and thoughts over to God’s power and you’ll begin to think the thoughts of our Lord and live with the peace from above. Let’s not waste your precious life with less than what God has to offer. Heed this advice from Him in Romans 12.

The grace of God be with you all.
Pastor Dennis

Power of Words

May 13, 2020

Good morning Friends of Elbridge Community Church,

Have you ever been on the receiving end of life-giving, encouraging words? Maybe, at other times, someone has spoken cruel or unkind words to you, are these words lodged in your brain, bringing you sorrow each time you recalled them? We’ve all heard the phrase “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” In my mind, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

Many people bring blessings into their life through the words they speak and the way they speak them. And others bring troubles and problems by the words they speak. The words we speak and the way we speak them is what it means in Proverbs where it says the tongue has the power of life and death.

Words are powerful. We’ve all, no doubt, been wounded at some point by careless, unkind or mean statements. We have at some time in our lives spoke unkind careless words. Their effect on our lives, even years later, is undeniable. The impact our words have on others cannot be overstated. One small comment or remark can make the difference between building a relationship up or tearing it down. We have the power to either encourage or destroy others with our speech.

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Proverbs 15:1 (MSG)

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)

The Bible speaks extensively about the power of words, especially positive ones, and warns about the dangers of careless ones. I think that a great lesson to be learned is the old saying, think before you speak. This will allow us the time to think about how to say what we want to say and to rethink if we even want to say it at all.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

Believers should continually verbally remind each other to turn away from sin and to stay focused on Christ. People cannot live as Christians in a vacuum. Christians need each other so that they don’t become deceived by sin and hardened against God. Speaking words of encouragement into someone’s life can and will greatly strengthen their relationship with you and our God.

Let us strive to remember the power of our words and their impact on those who hear them. Think twice before making a negative statement, and instead find a way to pass along an encouraging word today.

May God richly bless you in all your endeavors.

Pastor Dennis

Actions Speak

May 12, 2020

Good morning Fellow Believers,

There are a couple of old adages you have probably heard, actions speak louder than words, and words are cheap. So, when it comes to our faith, if our words and actions are saying different things, we should examine our actions for the truth.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.  James 2:18 (NIV)

There are some who consider faith and good deeds to be separate and alternate expressions of Christianity. James responded with a challenge: I can’t see your faith if you don’t have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds. The two cannot be separated without ceasing to be alive. Faith lives in the action it generates; actions require faith to gain a particular meaning. Faith cannot be demonstrated apart from action. Faith is within us; it can only be seen by the actions it produces through us.

Anyone can profess faith, but only action shows its genuineness.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Talk is cheap, so just saying we love each other is not enough. Faith not accompanied by love for others is worthless. Love should be shown by actions.

Jesus, the son of God, lived his earthly life in perfect integrity. His words and works were always saying the same thing. He was the incarnate Word of God who always did what was pleasing to the Father.

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.  John 8 :29 (NIV)

Jesus was not on his own mission to gain glory for himself; he had come to fulfill the Father’s will by dying on the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross exhibited his absolute submission to the Father’s will.

Being the founder and perfecter of our faith, he showed us how faith works. Jesus’s trust in the Father was constantly being proclaimed through the things he did.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Jesus, our example, perfectly finished his race. Because he stands at the finished line, Christians should keep their eyes on him, looking away from other distractions or options. Faith, by its very nature, produces action. It’s intrinsic. Each of us is wired to feel and act in accordance to what we believe to be true. We cannot help it.

And this is a universal human phenomenon. Every human being lives by faith. Because of this our actions reveal what it is that we believe.

May the grace of God bless you today.

Pastor Dennis

Thoughts

May 11, 2020

Good Morning Saints,

It is easy for our thought to get pulled into our everyday activities. With our active lifestyles and the fast pace world we live in, keeping our focus can be difficult.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:1-3 (NIV)

Paul starts this chapter with the word since, what does this mean? Well, we have received new life from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result of this we do not need to struggle and work to attain that spiritual life, as the false teachers were trying to tell the church in Colossi, we already have new life! What remains is to work out its implications in daily life. Because we had been raised, we have a clear responsibility to Christ, who has raised us.

First, we must set our sights on the realities of heaven. The Greek word for “set” means to seek something out with a desire to possess it. Many other religious teachers stressed “heavenly things” also, but Paul was appealing to the highest reality of all, the exalted Christ.

The believers must take their focus off the world and turn it to Christ. Christ’s who is seated at God’s right hand reveals his power, authority, and position as both judge and advocate. The Colossian believers already had experienced this exaltation, they were born again, they needed to set their sights on heaven so that they would live out their lives on earth as citizens of heaven.

Letting heaven fill our thoughts means concentrating on the eternal rather than the temporal, letting our thoughts dwell on Christ. We are to focus on the Lord Jesus.

Thoughts can influence actions, so if the believers would place their thoughts above and not only here on earth, their actions would please God. The things on earth refers to the legalistic rituals, the false methods used to achieve holiness, and even to the basic principles of the world described in Colossians 2. But how were they to fill their thoughts with heaven? Paul had explained this in another letter.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil 4:8 (NIV)

What occupies your thoughts? That’s a challenging question and one we should not ignore. In many ways, we are what we think. If our thoughts are focused on the concerns of this world, we will become like the world. But if our minds are set on the things above, in other words, where Christ is, we’ll become more like Him.

The point isn’t merely to think about heaven but to think on Christ, who is in heaven. When we do this, changes will start to take place.

  1. We will gain an eternal perspective. Instead of being distracted by trivial things and discouraged by hardships and pain, we’ll be devoted to living for Christ.
  2. Things of the world will lose appeal. The more aware we are of Jesus, the less we tolerate sin, because we know it doesn’t fit us anymore.
  3. We’ll realize our security is in Christ. Right now, we are hidden with Christ in God.
  4. We look forward to a glorious future. When Christ is revealed, then we will be revealed with Him in glory. Even when everything looks dismal, we have a reason to hope because our time here is short compared to eternity with Christ.

Your beliefs determine your perspective on life, and that will shape our priorities and attitudes.

God bless you as you and keep you.
Pastor Dennis

Giants of Faith – Day 5 Rebecca

May 8, 2020

Good morning Friends,

Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. The servant hurried to meet her and said, Please, give me a little water from your jar. Drink, my lord, she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking. So, she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Gen 24:15-20 (NIV)

Rebekah choose to be generous even when it required hard work and sacrifice. Note, Rebekah’s generosity was not an impulsive decision but a deliberate one. Her generosity flowed out of who she was. This act of kindness was a significant sign to the servant of Abraham. God had indeed answered his prayer and had shown kindness to Abraham in directing him to the chosen wife for Isaac.

Generosity is at its core, a lifestyle, a lifestyle in which we share what we have, (time, talent, treasures) as a demonstration of God’s love and a response to God’s grace.

This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And who made it disappear. 1 John 3:16-17 (MSG)

These verses give an example of how believers can help those in need with their worldly goods. Seldom will believers be called upon to experience martyrdom for another. However, every day we will face needy people whom we ought to be willing to help if we have the resources to do so; most people have more than they need.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7 (NIV)

The Christians generosity is a decision of the heart. Even though Paul was the one appealing for their generosity, he was careful to give the Corinthians enough time to think and to pray about how God wanted them to respond. Paul didn’t want anyone showing generosity reluctantly or in response to pressure. Paul knew that God looks at the heart and not the level of our generosity; he looks at the giver and not the gift. One who gives cheerfully out of a sincere gratitude for what God has done, is the type of giver God cherishes. God multiplies their gifts beyond measure.

True Christian generosity is an act of obedience. As we behave generously, we find that blessings will follow, and we’ll see God’s faithfulness in meeting needs through us while supplying our own need. Our generosity flows out of our faith in God and our gratitude for what he has done for us.

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Pastor Dennis

Giants of Faith – Day 3 David

May 6, 2020

Good morning Friends and Family,

King David was, without a doubt, a faithful man. Men were willing to follow him even before he was king, and even when he was on the run and had to hide in the desert. God referred to him as “a man after my own heart”, which is some of the highest praise anyone gets in the Bible. Let’s take a look at David’s life to see what we can learn.

So, he asked Jesse, are these all the sons you have? There is still the youngest, Jesse answered, but he is tending the sheep. Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives. So, he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, Rise and anoint him; he is the one. 1 Samuel 16:11-12 (NIV)

To be a faithful believer requires patience.

David was anointed as Israel’s king when he was a boy, probably in his early teens. But he was 30 before becoming king of Judah (which was just part of Israel) and 37 before he was named king of all Israel, as promised. At least twice, David had a clear opportunity to kill Saul, taking the throne, and considering the circumstances it could have been considered self-defense. But David didn’t. He knew that God was in control and trusted Him enough to wait on His timing. These life experiences led him to write,

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Now Jesse said to his son David, Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. 1 Samuel 17:17-18 (NIV)

To be a person of faith requires humility.

So, you’re a lowly shepherd boy, and you’re chosen as king by the guy who’s in charge of such things. What do you do? If you’re David, you go back to taking care of sheep. When David does get called up to the palace, instead of demanding the throne, he works as a servant. He performs music for the king whenever Saul demands it, like a human iPod. When his dad asks the anointed king to serve snacks to his older brothers, he serves snacks to his older brothers. David was humble. He knew that, even as king, he was still just a servant of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Again, David’s experiences led him to pen these words,

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 2 Samuel 7:18 (NIV)

David is an example for us here. He offered the Lord what the Lord longs to find, a humble heart, a loving heart totally given to Him. David placing all its trust in God. All believers can look towards the example of this king who, with all his weaknesses, was a passionate, humble, patient man. A man of prayer, a man who knew what it meant to seek God in difficult situations and to praise Him as he went through these same situations.

The Lord be with your spirit and may God’s grace be with you,

Pastor Dennis

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