Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 20, 2020

Thought For The Week January 26, 2020

It’s here!  This week will be my last Sunday as pastor of our great church.  This has been the best experience in life that I could have imagined.  Who would have thought that someone like me would get to share life and act as the shepherd to such a great group of people as you?  God has been so, so good to all of us.  Look what He has done and how many lives He has touched through our church.

I began last week to reminisce about the path Lilia and I have been on for nearly 25 years.  It actually covered many years before the last 25, so I’ll try to finish the story here.

After being called and joining the staff of Christian Chapel, I served under the leadership of Pastor Steve Dyer for four years.  During that time we saw Christian Chapel grow to well over 100 people, until we were able to buy our current property on Salem Road.  The Lord showed us many miracles, not the least of which was the purchase of our initial facility from Children’s Hospital.  It was a modular structure and required about a year’s worth of sweat equity from the congregation before we could move in.  I learned a lot about drywall, deck building, and concrete during those twelve months.  We moved in the first Sunday in December in 1993.

Within a few months the church had grown to where it was necessary to begin holding two services on Sunday.  We saw many people saved, discipled, and added to ministry leadership.  By the fall of 1994, the church was thriving and everything was running smoothly.  It was about that time that the Lord called Pastor Dyer to return to Oklahoma and plant a church.

He shared this with me and asked if I would consider following him as pastor.  My first thought was, “No way!”  I didn’t think I could do all the things a pastor needed to do.  I felt totally inadequate to the position, but agreed to pray about it.  For the next few months, although no one but knew of the plan except for Steve and me, God began to speak in ways that were unmistakable.  People would pray prophetically who did not know of my prayer.  Speakers would talk about exactly what I was praying.  Then came the clincher.

On January 1, 1995, Pastor Steve and I and two others traveled to Toronto, to attend services at the Airport Vineyard where a tremendous move of the Holy Spirit was occurring.  The first night, I went forward for prayer with this fleece, “God, I am 700 miles from home.  No one here knows me from Adam.  If you want me to be pastor of Christian Chapel, have the person who prays for me, tell me.”  When God gets challenged, He always answers.  The lady who came to pray for me laid her hand on my shoulder and said, “There is a call of pastor on your life!  God has given you a shepherd’s heart.”  That’s about all I remember, though she said some other things related to my prayer.  I couldn’t deny that God had called me.  So I agreed to be a candidate to serve as pastor and in June 1995, the church voted for me to serve in that capacity.

I found out that all the things that I thought I couldn’t do, God can and does do!  Since 1995, I have met and made friends with some of the most wonderful folks in the world.  Many of them have moved on to other states or even other parts of the world.  I have seen babies and small children grow up to be adults who love Jesus.  I even got the privilege of officiating weddings for some of those “kids”.  I have worked with amazing people as paid and volunteer staff at our church, many who have continued in ministry in various places around the country.  Because of the transient nature of our city, we get to train and prepare lots of people who God then moves on to do ministry somewhere else.  We are a sending church.

We have also been privileged to support numerous missionaries in every part of the globe.  Some we have supported since before I came to the church, others we have connected with over the years.  Our church has joined or organized around 15 short term missions trips since I’ve been here.  I got to go on at least eight of them myself.  If you want a life changing experience, go on a missions trip.  You will never be the same.

In 2003, we began a campaign called Seize the Dream, aimed at expanding our facility to accommodate a vision of growing and planting churches.  Christian Chapel actually planted two churches directly in 1999 and 2000, and we were indirectly involved in planting two others.  After much delay due to bureaucratic policies, we broke ground in 2008 and moved into our current worship center in 2010.

But the dream is yet to be fulfilled.  We have not found the way to keep growing so we can keep sending people out.  This is one of my biggest disappointments.  But I believe the dream is still there and our church will reach the lost in greater and greater ways under the new leadership.

As I prepare my last sermon and plan to empty my bookshelves to make room for Pastor Dustin, I can say will all sincerity that the love and grace shown me and Lilia from our church has been over the top.  I have made so many mistakes (don’t we all) but you have been gracious and continued to support the vision and calling of God here.  Lilia and I love and will continue to love everyone in our church and, by God’s grace, we will continue to serve alongside you following our new pastor as we see the dream realized together.  Let’s all commit to our mission of Making Jesus Known and be the congregation that turns our community upside down!  Just a thought.

God bless you all.  With all the great stuff available to read, you are so kind to read my musings. That is a great encouragement.  Please do the same for Pastor Dustin.  I can’t wait to see what is ahead for all of us.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 20, 2020

Christian Chapel Assembly of God Calendar of Events

New Pastor Installation Service!
On Sunday, February 2, Christian Chapel will host an installation service for Rev. Dustin Pinto, who was elected on December 8, to serve as the next pastor.  The Potomac Ministry Network Superintendent, Rev. Frank Potter will speak that morning and preside over the installation of Pastor Pinto.  Please join your church as we welcome our new pastor.

Farewell Luncheon For Pastor Conant
Sunday, January 26, immediately following Sunday service.  Everyone is invited to being something to share with others and stay to enjoy the fellowship and food. 

New Series By Pastor Dustin Pinto
On Sunday, February 9, Pastor Dustin will begin his series, “Pioneer”.  You will not want to miss these initial messages which will set the stage for the next few months.  Plan to be here every Sunday in February!

Sunday Morning Schedule
Study Groups (adults/teens) at 9 AM
Young Ambassadors (children 3-11) at 9 AM
Worship at 10:30 AM
Nursery for children age 2 and under
Children’s Ministry for children age 3 through 6th grade. Children will be dismissed after singing to a service tailored to their age groups.

Life Groups
Life Groups are back in session.   If you need help connecting with a group, find Peter Graves and he will help you find a place to land.

Zumba
Ladies Zumba every Tuesday, from 6-7 p.m.  All ladies are welcome regardless of level of fitness.  You will love the friendship and real workout.  For more information please contact Jean Crabb at 757-427-9371 or email ccagvb01@gmail.com.

Christian Chapel Membership
If you have been a regular at Christian Chapel we are grateful for your fellowship and ministry participation. Being regular, we encourage you to apply for official membership with this local body. The standard of membership is actually pretty simple:
1. Show evidence of being saved by trusting in Jesus Christ (John 1:12)
2. Show evidence of a consistent Christian life by practicing Christian disciplines and avoiding obvious sin as a lifestyle.
3. Fully agree with the tenets of faith in our By-laws (the 16 Fundamental Beliefs of the Assemblies of God).
4. Be willing to regularly support the church financially according to your ability.
To become a member simply fill out an application and hand it to pastor Tom, Doug, Cheryl, or one of the deacons or staff members. Thanks again for you commitment to this local church and Making Jesus Known

Sunday Morning Growth Groups
Sundays: 9-10 a.m.  Small groups designed to learn Bible truth and application in a
setting that is non-threatening, friendly, and suited to every taste.  We currently have groups for everyone: age 3-11, Teens, Adult Men, Adult Women, and Adult Mixed.  These groups help individuals grow in bible knowledge and application so that we can better Make Jesus Known in our everyday life situations.

RISE Student Ministries – Christian Chapel Youth
RISE, a group for teens, ages 12 to 18 meets every Friday from 7 pm to 9 pm., to teach our teens to live for Christ in their current context and prepare them to live as Christian adults when that day comes.

Website.
Check out our new website at http://www.ccagvb.com. Please tell us if there is anything we can do to make our website better.

On-Line Giving
You can now make donations on our website and even designate your offerings. Just go to the website and click on “Giving”. You’ll find the on-line giving link at the bottom of that page.

Christian Chapel Email
Please address for all church coorespondence to ccagvb01@gmail.com.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 20, 2020

Bible Reading for January 27-February 2

1/27      Genesis 25, 26 Matthew 18:1-20
1/28      Genesis 27, 28 Matthew 18:21-35
1/29      Genesis 29, 30 Matthew 19
1/30      Genesis 31, 32 Matthew 20:1-16
1/31      Genesis 33, 34, 35        Matthew 20:17-34
2/1        Genesis 36, 37, 38        Matthew 21:1-22
2/2        Genesis 39, 40 Matthew 21:23-46

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 15, 2020

Thought For The Week January 19, 2020

In just a few weeks I will turn over the keys to the executive washroom to Pastor Dustin Pinto, the man I believe that God has called and anointed to be the next pastor of Christian Chapel.  As the day approaches my feelings are kind of bittersweet.  While I kind of look forward to no longer carrying all the weight of pastoral ministry which is always joyful yet often stressful, I am wondering what it will be like not to get up every Monday with the goals and responsibilities that come with the territory.  I’m sure the Lord has called me to this time and that He has a plan for me in retirement, so I will rest in that knowledge and look forward to great things.

As I leave the position of lead pastor, I will discontinue the weekly emails of my thoughts.  I will continue to maintain my blog where I will likely post less frequently.  If you want to continue to follow my meager offerings you can find me at www.pastortomvabeach.com.

In considering how to wind up the weekly offerings, I thought I might reminisce a bit about the path Lilia and I have been on for nearly 25 years.  Will you indulge me a little?

We both came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1977, after living as far from Him as one could be all of our lives.  While both of us had religious roots, neither knew anything about what it meant to really know God’s love and have our sins forgiven.  Then Jesus came in!  From that moment, our lives changed dramatically.  The major sin connections that held us were broken (alcohol, sexual addiction, gambling, selfish ambition, etc.).  The Lord filled us with a desire to get to know Him and to be with His people.

Not many know this but since 1977, we have attended only five churches.  Only twice have we left a church in the area where we lived to go to another church.  Three of the church changes were because the Navy transferred us from one place in the world to a completely different place.  May I say that I attribute nearly 100 percent of our spiritual stability and assurance to the fact that we have never sought a church to please our needs and, instead, asked the Lord where He wanted us.  Once we knew that, we just stayed there, through thick and thin.  I believe that we have learned how faithful God is by camping out under the umbrella of His faithfulness.

We came to Christian Chapel in 1987, in one of the local church moves.  I was transferring from a ship to a shore assignment and we felt the Lord leading us to find a place where we could serve.  At the time we were in a very large church and were finding it difficult to connect in any area of ministry.  When we found Christian Chapel and prayerfully discovered God was leading us here, we went immediately to the leadership of our church to ask for their blessing.  We have been here ever since.

When we came to the church, we never dreamed that some day we would serve as leaders.  While I knew that God had called me to someday enter vocational ministry, I thought the only pathway was to attend Bible college, get educated, and then find a place to serve.  How many know that God doesn’t have only one path for those He calls?

In late 1988 and through 1989, when Christian Chapel experienced some very difficult problems during which most of the people left the church.  Lilia and I got caught in the middle of some conflicts that were not our making which involved people on both sides that we had grown to love.  It was very intense and, at one point, I cried out to the Lord to let me leave the church because the stress was too much.  Well, you can guess, He said, “No.”

We stayed, not knowing really what else to do but to love people and serve, and God brought us and the church through the storm.  The founding pastor decided it was best for the church if he left and let someone else take it, even though I never felt that the conflict was his doing.  With the installation of the new pastor, the church began to grow again and things started looking up.

During those years, as a member of the church I got to serve in many different roles.  I lead the youth group for a couple of years, I preached (badly) a few times, I served on the deacon board, I provided transportation for the youth Bible quiz team, I taught adult Sunday School, and I even worked in the nursery on occasion.  What a thrill it was to see new people coming to Jesus and being added to the church and being able to serve them in whatever way I could.

It was also during those years that I experienced the loss of close family members for the first time in my life.  Within one year one of my brothers met an untimely death in an amusement park ride mishap and a few months later my dad passed away due to cancer.  In my first 20 years of Navy service I had never needed to request emergency leave, now within a few months it happened twice.  I can say with certainty that the Lord sustained me through these difficult times.

As 1990 dawned, I began to see Navy retirement looming on the horizon and made plans to follow my ministry calling and go to Bible college.  With a depressed real estate market we felt it would be good to list our house early so we wouldn’t be held up needing to sell.  Well, the house sold in three weeks, so we had to move into a rental.

During that year, I worked closely with our pastor, discussing and dreaming about the calling to ministry.  After learning of my heart’s desire, he challenged me to pray about forgoing Bible college and joining the Christian Chapel staff as the associate pastor.  He helped me find alternative paths to obtain the education necessary telling me that I would learn more about ministry doing ministry than I would sitting in a classroom for four years.  After a season of prayer, I know that the Lord called me to serve here.  So on March 31, 1991, I retired after 23 years of Naval service, and on April 1, 1991, I refired as the associate pastor of Christian Chapel.

I will share some more of the journey in next week’s edition.  Until then, have you ever sat down and counted all that God has done to get you where you are today?  If not, maybe you can do that this week and you can share some of that with me.  I’d love to hear it.  Just a thought.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 15, 2020

Christian Chapel Assembly of God Calendar of Events

New Pastor Installation Service!
On Sunday, February 2, Christian Chapel will host an installation service for Rev. Dustin Pinto, who was elected on December 8, to serve as the next pastor.  The Potomac Ministry Network Superintendent, Rev. Frank Potter will speak that morning and preside over the installation of Pastor Pinto.  Please join your church as we welcome our new pastor.

Farewell Luncheon For Pastor Conant
Sunday, January 26, immediately following Sunday service.  Everyone is invited to being something to share with others and stay to enjoy the fellowship and food.

Water Baptism
Sunday, January 19, during the Sunday service.
If you have trusted in Jesus Christ and have not been baptized in water, this is your chance.  Contact the Christian Chapel office at 757-427-9371 or Pastor Tom at 757-650-8788 or pastortom.ccag@gmail.com.

Sunday Morning Schedule
Study Groups (adults/teens) at 9 AM
Young Ambassadors (children 3-11) at 9 AM
Worship at 10:30 AM
Nursery for children age 2 and under
Children’s Ministry for children age 3 through 6th grade. Children will be dismissed after singing to a service tailored to their age groups.

Life Groups
Life Groups are back in session.   If you need help connecting with a group, find Peter Graves and he will help you find a place to land.

Zumba
Ladies Zumba every Tuesday, from 6-7 p.m.  All ladies are welcome regardless of level of fitness.  You will love the friendship and real workout.  For more information please contact Jean Crabb at 757-427-9371 or email ccagvb01@gmail.com.

Christian Chapel Membership
If you have been a regular at Christian Chapel we are grateful for your fellowship and ministry participation. Being regular, we encourage you to apply for official membership with this local body. The standard of membership is actually pretty simple:
1. Show evidence of being saved by trusting in Jesus Christ (John 1:12)
2. Show evidence of a consistent Christian life by practicing Christian disciplines and avoiding obvious sin as a lifestyle.
3. Fully agree with the tenets of faith in our By-laws (the 16 Fundamental Beliefs of the Assemblies of God).
4. Be willing to regularly support the church financially according to your ability.
To become a member simply fill out an application and hand it to pastor Tom, Doug, Cheryl, or one of the deacons or staff members. Thanks again for you commitment to this local church and Making Jesus Known

Sunday Morning Growth Groups
Sundays: 9-10 a.m.  Small groups designed to learn Bible truth and application in a
setting that is non-threatening, friendly, and suited to every taste.  We currently have groups for everyone: age 3-11, Teens, Adult Men, Adult Women, and Adult Mixed.  These groups help individuals grow in bible knowledge and application so that we can better Make Jesus Known in our everyday life situations.

RISE Student Ministries – Christian Chapel Youth
RISE, a group for teens, ages 12 to 18 meets every Friday from 7 pm to 9 pm., to teach our teens to live for Christ in their current context and prepare them to live as Christian adults when that day comes.

Website.
Check out our new website at http://www.ccagvb.com. Please tell us if there is anything we can do to make our website better.

On-Line Giving
You can now make donations on our website and even designate your offerings. Just go to the website and click on “Giving”. You’ll find the on-line giving link at the bottom of that page.

Pastor’s Email
Please address all email to: pastortom.ccag@gmail.com

Christian Chapel Email
Our new email address for all church coorespondence is ccagvb01@gmail.com.  Please discontinue using ccagvb@verizon.net and change to the new address.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 15, 2020

Bible Reading for January 20-26

1/20      Job 30, 31                    Matthew 13:31-58
1/21      Job 32, 33                    Matthew 14:1-21
1/22      Job 34, 35                    Matthew 14:22-36
1/23      Job 36, 37                    Matthew 15:1-20
1/24      Job 38, 39, 40               Matthew 15:21-39
1/25      Job 41, 42                    Matthew 16
1/26      Genesis 23, 24 Matthew 17

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 6, 2020

Thought For The Week January 12, 2020

As we begin the New Year, many new things are about to happen.  My tenure as pastor at Christian Chapel will come to an end at the end of January and our new pastor will take the helm to lead the church into the next new adventure of serving the Lord together.  I am excited and full of hope for a glorious future for our church and community.

The General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Rev. Doug Clay, recently sent us three areas for which he is specifically praying for 2020.  I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the year than to share these requests so that we all can pray together.  Let me share his thoughts in his own words.

“There are three things that every Assemblies of God church represents.  Those three things also align with three prayers that I believe God has laid on my heart for this Fellowship as we enter a new year and a new decade.

“As we enter 2020, we’re quite possibly looking at one of the most divisive elections in recent American history.  Globally, societies are divided on issues such as immigration, race, economic policies, and even the state of our planet itself.  My prayer for 2020 is that we keep the pathway to faith in Christ totally free and clear from stumbling blocks of our own making.  Our citizenship is different.  Our calling is higher.  The condition of one’s soul is more important than the label of the political party they wear.  I ask you to join me in prayer in these specific areas in 2020:

”1. A SPIRIT-EMPOWERED CHURCH.  “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)  If there ever was a theme verse for the Assemblies of God, this would be it.  The verse appeared on the masthead for the Pentecost Evangel during the Great Depression, World War II, and some of the greatest crises our nation has seen.

”The message has always been clear.  We aren’t a people who depend on favorable circumstances.  Our hope is not in our own might, nor in political power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.  As we enter into yet another divisive political season for the U.S. in 2020, may we be known as people of the Spirit — not people of the donkey or the elephant.  May our churches be known for being houses of prayer, fully dependent on God for the sake of our nation.

”Thank you for believing with me that Assemblies of God churches would be thoroughly led and directed by the Spirit.  Pray that we would see a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our communities.

 “2. A BIBLE-ENGAGED CHURCH.  Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands. (Psalm 119:66)  We are facing a crisis of good judgment.  Trusting God’s commands and growing in biblical knowledge will have an immediate effect on our judgment and how we approach our daily lives.

”Rather than passively complaining about a lack of judgment and moral clarity in our society, let’s make our churches outposts of hope delivered through God’s Word.  An Assemblies of God church is a church that values Scripture and creates intentional pathways of Bible engagement for people of all ages.  Dr. Tobin Perry says, ‘Faithful preaching of the Bible will never sit comfortably with a particular persuasion.  No political party or ideology completely lines up with the Bible.’  Biblical accuracy is our goal, not political correctness.

”Join me in prayer that the hearts of children, teens, and adults will be turned to the Bible.  Pray that as hearts are turned to God through His Word, that our society will see the impact of good judgment.

3. A MISSIONS-PARTICIPATING CHURCH.  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)  God has blessed the Assemblies of God with remarkable growth.

In 1914 when delegates in Chicago committed the AG to ‘the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen,’ how could they have imagined that 106 years later the Fellowship would span 255 countries, territories, and provinces?  How could they have imagined nearly 70 million people across the planet who would be part of the Movement?

”Now is not the time to relax.  Our mission is nowhere near complete.  When Jesus shared the Parable of the Lost Sheep, He was challenging us to not be content with those who have come to faith, but to continue seeking the lost.  Assemblies of God churches actively participate in missions through praying, giving, and sending.

“Join me in prayer for our missionaries throughout the world that they would have increased effectiveness this year.  Pray for our churches that they will increase their efforts in giving to support missionaries.  Pray that many people this year will hear God’s call to reach our nation and the nations of the world as missionaries.

”By 1931, the Assemblies of God had already codified its position as an apolitical institution with regard to missions and global affairs.  The statement was reaffirmed in 1976, saying, ‘We cannot permit our testimony among the nations to be compromised…We affirm further our policy to remain nonpolitical in character in all our missionary outreach.’  As Chuck Colson writes, ‘When the church aligns itself politically, it gives priority to the compromises and temporal successes of the political world rather than its Christian confession of eternal truth.’

”What really matters…is that we not let the systems of this world divide us and let God continue to grow His Church as a Spirit-empowered, Bible-engaged, and missions participating Church that will enter 2020 with purpose.  That’s the kind of Church that is built on the Rock of Jesus and even the gates of hell cannot prevail against it!”

Will you join our superintendent and me as we pray for a real revival in 2020 and beyond?  What a way to launch the year and the new pastor into the year!  Just a thought.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 6, 2020

Christian Chapel Assembly of God Calendar of Events

Next Pastor Elected!
On Sunday, December 8, Christian Chapel unanimously voted to elect the next pastor.  His name will not be posted on-line until his current leadership makes it known to their church..  Praise God for what He has done and will do in the future.

Farewell Luncheon For Pastor Conant
Sunday, January 26, immediately following Sunday service.  Everyone is invited to stay and enjoy the fellowship and food.

Water Baptism
Sunday, January 19, during the Sunday service.  If you have trusted in Jesus Christ and have not been baptized in water, this is your chance.  Contact the Christian Chapel office at 757-427-9371 or Pastor Tom at 757-650-8788 or pastortom.ccag@gmail.com.

Sunday Morning Schedule
Study Groups (adults/teens) at 9 AM
Young Ambassadors (children 3-11) at 9 AM
Worship at 10:30 AM
Nursery for children age 2 and under
Children’s Ministry for children age 3 through 6th grade. Children will be dismissed after singing to a service tailored to their age groups.

Life Groups
Life Groups are back in session.   If you need help connecting with a group, find Peter Graves and he will help you find a place to land.

Zumba
Ladies Zumba every Tuesday, from 6-7 p.m.  All ladies are welcome regardless of level of fitness.  You will love the friendship and real workout.  For more information please contact Jean Crabb at 757-427-9371 or email ccagvb01@gmail.com.

Christian Chapel Membership
If you have been a regular at Christian Chapel we are grateful for your fellowship and ministry participation. Being regular, we encourage you to apply for official membership with this local body. The standard of membership is actually pretty simple:
1. Show evidence of being saved by trusting in Jesus Christ (John 1:12)
2. Show evidence of a consistent Christian life by practicing Christian disciplines and avoiding obvious sin as a lifestyle.
3. Fully agree with the tenets of faith in our By-laws (the 16 Fundamental Beliefs of the Assemblies of God).
4. Be willing to regularly support the church financially according to your ability.
To become a member simply fill out an application and hand it to pastor Tom, Doug, Cheryl, or one of the deacons or staff members. Thanks again for you commitment to this local church and Making Jesus Known

Sunday Morning Growth Groups
Sundays: 9-10 a.m.  Small groups designed to learn Bible truth and application in a
setting that is non-threatening, friendly, and suited to every taste.  We currently have groups for everyone: age 3-11, Teens, Adult Men, Adult Women, and Adult Mixed.  These groups help individuals grow in bible knowledge and application so that we can better Make Jesus Known in our everyday life situations.

RISE Student Ministries – Christian Chapel Youth
RISE, a group for teens, ages 12 to 18 meets every Friday from 7 pm to 9 pm., to teach our teens to live for Christ in their current context and prepare them to live as Christian adults when that day comes.

Website.
Check out our new website at http://www.ccagvb.com. Please tell us if there is anything we can do to make our website better.

On-Line Giving
You can now make donations on our website and even designate your offerings. Just go to the website and click on “Giving”. You’ll find the on-line giving link at the bottom of that page.

Pastor’s Email
Please address all email to: pastortom.ccag@gmail.com

Christian Chapel Email
Our new email address for all church coorespondence is ccagvb01@gmail.com.  Please discontinue using ccagvb@verizon.net and change to the new address.

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 6, 2020

Bible Reading for January 6-19

1/6        Genesis 16, 17 Matthew 5:27-48
1/7        Genesis 18, 19 Matthew 6:1-18
1/8        Genesis 20, 21, 22        Matthew 6:19-34
1/9        Job 1, 2                        Matthew 7
1/10      Job 3, 4                        Matthew 8:1-17
1/11      Job 5, 6, 7                    Matthew 8:18-34
1/12      Job 8, 9, 10                  Matthew 9:1-17
1/13      Job 11, 12, 13               Matthew 9:18-38
1/14      Job 14, 15, 16               Matthew 10:1-20
1/15      Job 17, 18, 19               Matthew 10:21-42
1/16      Job 20, 21                    Matthew 11
1/17      Job 22, 23, 24               Matthew 12:1-23
1/18      Job 25, 26, 27               Matthew 12:24-50
1/19      Job 28, 29                    Matthew 13:1-30

Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 17, 2019

Thought For The Week December 22, 2019

Due to the hectic nature of the holidays, this will be my last installment until after the New Year.  I trust that you will have a happy, hopeful, peaceful, and joyful Christmas celebration.  I am posting for you consideration an article written by Greg Laurie, author and pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a multi-site church serving over 15,000 believers in California and Hawaii.  His article is entitled, Is Jesus at home in your heart? 

“In 1954 Perry Como released his single with the now-familiar lyrics, ‘Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, ’cause no matter how far away you roam, when you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, for the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.’  I don’t know what comes to your mind when you think of the word home.  But for many years of my life, the first 17 years effectively, I didn’t really have a place I would call home.  We lived in houses.  We lived in apartments.  And we lived with other people.

“I came from a broken home.  My mother was married and divorced seven times, and she was always going from husband to husband.  So I moved from California to New Jersey, then from New Jersey to Hawaii, and from Hawaii back to California again.

“My mom was always out every night, so I never knew what it was like to have a family meal.  I went out and got my own food at the same restaurant.  And I always ordered the same thing: a hamburger, a vanilla malt and french fries.  When I told my friends what I ate every night for dinner, they said, ‘Man, you’re living the good life.  We wish we were living your life.  We have to go home, sit at the table with Mom and Dad, and eat horrible vegetables.  And you’re eating a hamburger and french fries with a vanilla malt!’  But I secretly wanted their life.  Sometimes I went to my friends’ houses and had dinner with them.  I didn’t even like the food they ate, but I wanted to be in a family setting.  It was so alien to me.

“One Christmas memory that stays with me was…when my mother was passed out from a night of drinking.  The house smelled of stale smoke and alcohol, and we had one of those white artificial trees with a light that slowly turned and changed different colors.  Some funky song played in the background.  As I sat there looking at that tree and looking at my mother, I thought, ‘It’s got to get better than this.’

“And it did get better than that.  When I met Catherine and we got married, it was the first time I knew what a home was.  We didn’t have a fancy home.  We had threadbare furniture, some of which came from the Salvation Army.  Then we had two sons.  And Cathe and my boys became home for me.

“I’ve been in a lot of homes over the years.  I’ve been in the homes of very wealthy people and in some very humble homes as well.  I’m a chaplain with the police department, and one day they called me to the luxury home of someone who had committed suicide.  It was a perfectly decorated home with an ocean view.  It was seemingly everything a person could want in life.  But it was a house, not a home.  Then I thought of the time when I was in Ethiopia for a pastor’s conference.  A local pastor invited us to his house, which had dirt floors and no real windows.  They had a fire burning inside the home, which filled it with smoke.  He prepared a modest meal, which for him was a precious gift to us.  That house was a home.

“When Jesus walked this earth, you could say that he was technically homeless.  He said, Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head (Matthew 8:20 NLT).  In Heaven Jesus had the greatest of all homes.  For example, Jesus told His disciples, Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1–2 NLT)

“Jesus left his home in Heaven to make a home in our hearts.  Maybe you’ve heard someone use the Spanish expression ’Mi casa es su casa,’ which translates ‘My house is your house.”  When you become a Christian, this becomes reality.  Jesus doesn’t merely want to stay in your home as a guest; he wants to own your home.  Sometimes we feel reluctant about this because we’re afraid.  We think God will mess up everything and ruin our lives.  In reality he will make it better.

“Robert Irvine, the host of the television show Restaurant Impossible, knows how to fix restaurants that are failing.  Restaurant owners will ask him to help, and he’ll come in and basically say, ‘Look, I’m going to change this place.’  Sometimes it requires a lot of construction and modifications.  But when he invites the owners back for the big reveal, they’re always excited to see the results.  The mess they couldn’t fix was transformed, because Irvine knew what he was doing.

“That is what happens when Christ settles down in our lives.  He might do a little demolishing.  He might remove a few things.  But then he replaces them with something so much better.  You won’t miss them.  Just wait for the big reveal, and let the Lord have his way in your life.

“Jesus was born so that we could be born again.  Let him be at home in your heart.   As the Christmas hymn says, ‘Let every heart prepare him room.’  Will you prepare room for him today?”

There’s no need to expound on this.  Jesus had to lie in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn.  Let’s make room for Him in our hearts at Christmas and every day.  A thought for Christmas time.

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