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Fatherly Approval

 It is human nature to want to make your father proud of you. I don’t understand what it is about us that is so motivated by hearing our father say well done, but it is a powerful motivator in the heart of humanity even if we don’t agree with our father. In some cases, I have seen people who detested their father but still would love to hear him say that he was proud of the way that they turned out. No doubt that is the way we were created. God made us in such a way that we would want to please our parents, and especially our father. That is the reason it is so important for fathers to be pleased with good behavior and made proud over their kids walking with the Lord.
 
What if the only time your kids ever hear you say good job is when a ball is hit over the fence or the football carried over the goal line or a big deer is killed? What if they never hear a compliment because of church attendance, Bible reading, good deeds done to others or hard work? See, if the only time your kids ever hear or see you applaud them is in times of recreation and play they may start feeling like that is more important than real, down to earth, every day, rest of their lives living. Remember, your approval is a great word of encouragement and motivation to your kids. Lead them with your applause and praise to the higher things of life.

 

Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus



Gray Areas

 

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I spent the last 6 ½ years watching soccer with my (now) wife. In any sport, there are certain rules that are always called because they endanger the players or are unsportsmanlike. Other penalties are only called depending on the circumstance (or the quality of the referee). It’s not uncommon for players and coaches to push the boundaries to see how much they can get away with without getting in trouble. 
 
Children do the same thing. They’ll push and prod with their eyes upon mom or dad to see just how much they can do before getting placed in timeout. 
 
Is it possible that believers can be guilty of the same desire? I’ve seen this demonstrated time and time again as peers and church members beg the question: “Is this really sin? The Bible does not definitively say it is wrong.” We ask these questions trying to get someone to justify our way of life, attempting to push the boundaries of what we can get away with before God. We put others on trial so that they have to defend whether or not drinking, homosexuality, abortion, or tattoos are truly sins. Though some may offer compelling and biblical arguments, we seek loopholes and cling to our reasoning so that we can continue doing what we want to do.
 
However, I would like to propose another way. Since we are the ones that will have to give an account of our lives before God, we should place ourselves on trial when determining whether or not a way of thought or life is sin. Instead of demanding answers of others, let us ask ourselves a few questions:
 
  1. Is this holy? God desires that we live holy, blameless lives (1 Peter 1:15-16). As I actively seek God’s will in prayer, can I say that this is holy, righteous, and above reproach?
  2. Does this glorify God? Paul says that we should do all things to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). When I live in this manner, is God being made great in my life? Is His name being worshipped, proclaimed, and glorified through my life and by others in these moments?
  3. Can this be a stumbling block before others? If you find yourself able to answer yes to the previous two questions concerning your relationship with God, think of how your actions or thoughts may affect others (1 Corinthians 8:9). Can your decision influence someone else to make a poor decision? By continuing, may you possibly set a precedent that can damage others? Or may your testimony possibly be damaged due to others’ perceptions of you? If a lost person were to look at your decision, would it help or harm their journey to knowing God personally?
  4. Is it worth it? Maybe it’s sin. Maybe it’s not, but is this really worth risking my testimony over? Is it worth risking my family or career over? Is this where I need to plant my boots firm and fight, or will I be okay giving this up? I have only one life to live, and there are so many lost people around me that will live, die, and stand before God just as I will. In an eternal perspective, is it even worth the risk?

 

There are many other questions we can ask ourselves, but I believe this is a good start. The Bible may not exactly answer every question we may have in life, but it absolutely provides us a solid framework for discerning God’s will in how we should live. With His Spirit dwelling within us, may we all strive to live by His standards and not our own, and where we fall short, may we find rest in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.
 
Your Minister of Education and Outreach, 
Rev. Evan Alexander


Seize the Opportunity

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I think about all the fun and fury that I have had the pleasure of experiencing as a parent and can’t help but laugh as I think back at some of the things my girls got into. To be honest, I have two wonderful girls that were for the most part great but not perfect. One of challenges that all parents face is being consistent in discipline and yet making sure that the punishment fits the crime in order to teach and deter inappropriate behavior in the future. We all know that ignoring bad behavior or laughing at it is as much of a sin on the part of the parents as is the bad behavior of the child. God has called us to raise our children and to lead them away from the foolishness that is bound in their hearts as natural-born sinners. Often, parents allow wrong behavior to increase hoping that it will change without their involvement and very seldom does that ever happen. If bad behavior is allowed to go on too long it becomes almost impossible to stop as children get older. The truth is that as parents we only have a short time to influence our children. Listen to what Solomon says in Proverbs 19:18,
 

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

 
It sounds like he has been watching some parents who get weak in the knees when it comes to disciplining their children, and he is saying “Do it why there is still hope for them!” Wow! What a word for us as parents to heed. Remember; you are called to bring them up and send them out to make a difference in this world. Seize the opportunity while there is still time. 

 

Your Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus 



Honoring One Another

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The world and our country has become a very mean place. A place where people are diverse in their opinions and very willing to share their opinions no matter how hurtful they might be to others. Just this last week, I was watching a news segment that showed Vice President Mike Pence standing to give a graduation speech at Notre Dame, and as he begin to speak, many of the students that were graduating walked out to make a statement against what he stood for. As I watched what many people called a peaceful protest, I could not help but feel that this was disrespectful and mean-spirited. It seems to me that the people of this great country have moved so far away from what made us as a country so great. There was a time when we respected those that we didn’t agree with, when we loved those that had different ideas, and when we fought for the freedom of speech. Now it seems that the freedom of speech is being used to try and stifle speech, and anyone who doesn’t agree with us has become an enemy.
 

As I look at the political climate of our day, I really believe that there are many people who would rather our country fail than to see someone that they didn’t vote for have a successful term in office. As I think about all the people who fought and died for this country, all the people who have worked so hard for us to have freedom should be honored by us doing our best to make this country better. So what can I do to honor those on who’s shoulders we stand? We can pray for our country and its leaders. We can do our best to be unifiers instead of dividers. We can even treat those that we don’t agree with respect, and we can serve the Lord by serving others. The memory of those who have given their all for this people and their land deserve it.

 

Pastor, 

Rev. Wayne Marcus   



Happy Mothers’ Day!

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Most of us have mothers that have loved us in amazing ways; they are often the ones that have shown us the unconditional love that God has for us. We often take for granted the care and sacrifices that they have made for us. So today on this day that has been set aside to honor our mothers we want to say thank you for all that you do and that we love and appreciate you. Below is a story that I found that I think expresses the love that mothers have for us.

“There was a teenager who didn’t want to be seen in public with her mother because her mother’s arms were terribly disfigured.

One day when her mother took her shopping and reached out her hand, a clerk looked horrified. Later, crying, the girl told her how embarrassed she was. Understandably hurt, the mother waited an hour before going to her daughter’s room to tell her, for the first time, what happened.

When you were a baby, I woke up to a burning house. Your room was an inferno. Flames were everywhere. I could have gotten out the front door, but I decided I’d rather die with you than leave you to die alone. I ran through the fire and wrapped my arms around you. Then I went back through the flames, my arms on fire. When I got outside on the lawn, the pain was agonizing but when I looked at you, all I could do was rejoice that the flames hadn’t touched you.

Stunned, the girl looked at her mother through new eyes. Weeping in shame and gratitude, she kissed her mother’s marred hands and arms.”

 

Thank you God for our mothers!

 

Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus 

 



If You Want It; Work for It!

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What are the desires of your heart? If you could snap your fingers and have one thing happen what would it be? Quit snapping, that was a hypothetical question. Of course you know that you don’t get what you desire by snapping your fingers, nor do you get to go from one place to the other by clicking your heels together like Dorothy. No, desires are achieved based upon the actions of our walk and hard work. So when we look in the Bible and it says:

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalms 37:4).

The key words in that passage are “delight thyself in the Lord.” That is the action that leads to the reward. God will give us the desires of our heart when they are pleasing to Him. If you delight in Him, what you desire are the things that He desires.
 
 
The secret to getting what you want is to want what God is giving.
 
 
God is not into giving you the things are against His plans to bless you. Unlike the irresponsible parent that gives their children everything they pitch a fit for; God gives us what is right and pleasing in His sight. The action required to have the desires of our heart is to learn to delight in the Lord. Therefore, let us make the passion and pursuit of our life knowing and living for the Lord.

 

Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus



Be the Light

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Do you consider the world a dark and dangerous place? As I consider the happenings of this past week in our area, I am reminded of how bad things are getting even the rural areas of the Bible belt. A bank robbery, a kidnaping, and a deputy shot in what should be a quite peaceful place. The devil is upping his game as drugs and desperation are increasing around the world. It seems we need more laws, bigger prisons, and harsher punishments. Yet, all of these things have been tried and seem to be failing. Placing people who do wrong in darker more segregated places seems only to work until the next generation of desperate and deprived people takes their places of evil in this world.

So what is the answer to the dilemma of increased darkness in our world? How about light? What if we make an all-out effort to pierce the darkness with light? Jesus said that He was the light of the world and that, as we carry the light of His life into the darkness, we can be agents of change in our world. As the body of Christ we are called to be light-bearers, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who grope in darkness and search for meaning and hope in this world. Friend, God has called you and me to be the answer to the needs of this world. Everywhere we go, we ought to be sharing and showing the hope that is found in no other name but in the name and work of Jesus. I pray that together we can make a difference in this place of evil with the love of Christ. May we all go out and live with purpose as we share the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor, 

Rev. Wayne Marcus     

 



Be A Missionary

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I want to thank you as a Church for your faithfulness in giving to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. As a Church, you came together in your giving and once again met and exceeded our goal with your generosity. Our Church goal was $20,000.00 and you gave to date $23,161.27 which is a great offering and will be used to accomplish a great work in North America. Your continual mission support is overwhelming. You give but you are also willing to go and work here and abroad to ensure that we do our part to get the good news of Jesus Christ proclaimed in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the uttermost parts of the World.

I want to remind you that you are missionary where ever you go as a Christian. The Bibles teaches us that we are the ones that God has chosen to be catalysts of the Gospel. As you go from place to place, you are responsible for being so full of Jesus that the good news of what He has and is doing in your life spills over. I want to encourage you to put April the 30th on your calendar and make sure that you are planning to be here for the evening service that will start at 6:00. We will have some of our local mission groups here and will spends some time looking at and learning how you can possibly get involved in working with people here in your community to be light in the darkness for the Lord.

 

Pastor, 

Rev. Wayne Marcus  



Start Your New Beginning

 

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Have you ever wished that you could have a do over or a new start? There are so many times in my life in which I have totally messed up that I am very familiar with the desire of a do over. The wrong decision or an action taken while living with the wrong attitude can cause so much pain and hurt to so many people around us. There have been times when I have went to bed at night hoping that when I got up the next morning my life would be reset or that I could wake up thinking that the past was only a bad dream. Yet, as the day started, I would soon realize that it was not a dream but rather a harsh reality.
 
I thank God that He does give us a new start. God takes our old lives, puts them in the past, and lets us have a new start with a new power and promise to keep us motivated and hopeful. I am so glad that God can make every day a day of forgiveness as we live by faith in Him. You may feel that you have let God down and that He is disappointed in you, but that is just not so. May I remind you that God is a sovereign God, meaning that He is all-knowing? Think about it, nothing has ever occurred to God; He has never been surprised. Friend, God knew that you would make mistakes when He created you and when He saved you from your sin. God figured your failure into the payment He made for your sin. God wants you to live in joy, with hope and therefore has paid for all of your sin and given you the power to live as an overcomer. Please let Him love you so much that you experience the pleasure and peace of being loved by the true and living God who has forgiven you through Jesus Christ. Let your new beginning start today with a fresh walk with God. He loves you and wants to have a close relationship with you. Draw close to Him today, and let Him be near you.

 

Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus 



Pilgrim-Ministry

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There are only a few things more rewarding in this world than to the see how God works to change the lives of those who trust Him. To see God take broken lives, broken families, and people who have lost hope and give them a new life is amazing. The power of the Gospel is real, and when a person repents of their sin and puts their trust in Christ Jesus, He powerfully changes their life. It can make you say with the Apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the power of the Gospel.”

This Sunday, we celebrate the work that God has done and is doing through the Pilgrim-Ministry. Often we focus on those who come through the ministry and don’t seem to get it, but I think today as you hear testimonies and see some of the men who have a piece our heart as they have been a part of our Church, you will see the great work that God is doing through the Pilgrim-Ministry. We are so blessed to be the home church for this great ministry and to have these men with us to worship and work for the Lord when they are not traveling. I would also like to thank you as the body of Christ for loving on these men the way you do and investing your life in what God is doing in theirs. Please join me this Sunday in making these men and their families welcome and expressing our gratitude to God for allowing us the privilege of being part of such a great ministry.

 

Pastor,

Rev. Wayne Marcus