June 15, 2013

God's Direction for Our Daily Living

Do you remember the popular book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?  It was a book about how a person could implement a series of lessons that would change the direction of their lives, to live in a manner that was effective for themselves personally and even professionally.

There are books like this in the Christianity category too that describe how a person can find God's purpose for their lives and they can be helpful, but not the most useful books compared to the pages of Scripture.

From Psalm 119:9-16, I had the privilege to preach this past Sunday night (June 9, 2013) at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, CT, for our evening service and the title of the sermon was, God's Direction for Our Daily Living.

It's not how should the Bible guide our lives, because it should, but how is it actively directing your life each and every day.

I welcome your comments after hearing this sermon and please feel free to share the link to this post and audio with others too, if it has been a blessing to you.

Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

March 27, 2013

What you could not do, Jesus did for you

I have been leading a small group bible study through the book of Galatians on Wednesday nights and at the end of last week's study there was a statement asking participants to list what Jesus has done for us that we could not do for ourselves.

Last week, we had observed our study of chapter two of Paul's letter that he had severely criticized Peter for his conduct that was not in step with the Gospel.  He then proceeded to explain and remind Peter, as well as everyone else that no person, in any way can be justified before God by the works of the Law and concludes verse 21 saying, "for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."  (Galatians 2:21, ESV)

So last night, as I was finishing my notes for tonight's study of Galatians 3:15-29, I went back to this statement that was at the end of our previous  study and decided to make a short list of things that Jesus has done for me that I could not do for myself.

So I began to search through the pages of the New Testament to find just a few of those things that Jesus did for me and I'm sure this list would grow quite long too, but I'd feel and cherish incredibly more grateful to God, for Jesus' death on the cross - for me.

The most obvious one to me was that Jesus has given me eternal life by being born again by the Spirit of God.  (John 3:5,7,16; 5:24)  This is certainly something I could never have accomplished on my own and no one can live eternally without Christ.

So here are 11 more that I found and then stopped because it was getting late:
  1. He has forgiven my sins because I have believed in Him, Acts 10:43
  2. He has made me a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17
  3. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18
  4. He has not counted my sins against me, but against Himself, for me, 2 Corinthians 5:19
  5. He has made me an ambassador of the Gospel, 2 Corinthians 5:20
  6. He became sin for my sake, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  7. He has made me the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  8. He has made me adopted by God, Ephesians 1:5
  9. He has redeemed me through His blood, Ephesians 1:7
  10. He has sealed me with the promised Holy Spirit, the guarantee of my inheritance, Ephesians 1:13 
  11. He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of Christ, in whom I have redemption and the forgiveness of sins, Colossians 1:14
What else from Scripture would you add, to say that Jesus has done for you that you could not do for yourself?

I think I'm going to read through the New Testament some more and see how long the list would get, to see what I am incapable to do without Christ.  How about you?

Pastor Kurt

December 22, 2012

Failed predictions and the truth of the Gospel

Yesterday was another failed attempt, for man to believe in a prophecy that never originated from God.  This was a terribly feeble attempt for man to show himself superior to God, in the false prophecy of the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar.

But yet again, God's word shall stand true until He fulfills His very own word that no one knows the day or the hour of Christ's return concerning his judgment upon the world, except God himself.

A lot of jokes were made about it too.  Some of the people I work with made light of the prophecy saying they should have called ahead, to say they weren't coming to work because it was the end of the world.  I heard one guy call his wife and say that he heard the end of the world was postponed an hour.  Like that was going to give a little more comfort to them.

When I headed out for lunch, I had the most encouraging conversation with a woman I met who sees me regularly where I like to eat.

As I sat at my table waiting for my meal, she pulled up a chair, sat down and asked what my opinion was about all this end of the world stuff, a question I hadn't expected to hear her ask and nor did I expect our conversation to go the route that it did.

December 15, 2012

Grief Counseling at The Home Depot

Early this morning at around 8:25 a.m., I received a phone call from one of the managers at The Home Depot in Danbury where I work, asking if I would be able to come in and assist with providing counseling, for anyone who wished to meet with me.

A psychologist was there from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. I arrived around 10:15 a.m., and stayed until 1:30 p.m.

I'm not a psychologist, so there is no way that I could have assisted under that capacity.  I think just about everyone whom I work with knows that I'm a pastor and this is why I was called.  To help answer any questions about the horrific incident at the Sandy Hook Elementary School the day before. 

When I arrived, I got myself situated in the employee locker room, positioning the chairs where I could sit and listen to anyone who wanted to sit down and talk about what they were grieving about.  None of the people I spoke to, or work with were directly affected by the tragedy, but they were all affected by the loss of such innocent children, which reminded many of them of their own children, or grandchildren in some cases.

One of the questions that was asked, but not really looking for an answer was this one, "How dark does someone's soul have to get to do something like this, to a defenseless little child?"

November 22, 2012

No longer a hope deferred

At the beginning of the summer this year, our hope of becoming pregnant had become a reality for us, but was only short lived.

Memorial Day weekend 2012,  my wife experienced an early miscarriage at 5-6 weeks gestation and it was devastating.

On Friday, just before the weekend began, she had a blood test done to confirm whether or not she was pregnant.  Then over the weekend, she was experiencing intense cramps and heavily bleeding that was very abnormal too and she didn't feel well for the rest of the weekend either.

Then on Tuesday, she visited the doctor and explained what had happened to her over the weekend and they recommended another blood test, to help determine definitively the experience she was having.

On Wednesday the results came back.  Friday's test was positive, but Tuesday's test came back negative meaning, Kristi was pregnant but had experienced an early miscarriage.  I was upset and I know Kristi was too, but we've both grieved about this privately.

I went to meet with my pastor, to talk about something else, only to lead with this event first.  He's counseled quite a few people who've gone through this too, some at even later stages in the pregnancy, which has made the loss even greater and for some, to question God's purpose for such to happen to them.  I know I did.

But I was greatly reassured through Pastor Phil's prayer for me that one day, I would see my child again and he encouraged me to look forward to being reunited with our child, just as David knew, he would one day be reunited with his child. (2 Samuel 12:16-23, ESV)

So, for months, even before this experience, we've been trying to become pregnant.  Increasingly becoming frustrated and yet forgetting that the time for us to get pregnant was according to God's will and His timing.

Well, finally the timing has happened and now get to look forward to a wonderful new addition to our family, which has been a deep longing in my heart that God has now fulfilled and I thank and praise Him for such a gift to be given to us.

Fortunately, Kristi has had some morning sickness, she's been very tired lately and slept more than usual too, but these are all signs of a good, healthy start to being pregnant.  Although she was terribly sick over the past 2 days, it doesn't seem that it is related to her pregnancy, but she's feeling 100% better than she was 2 days ago and thank you to many of you who were praying for her too.

Now that she's 10 weeks pregnant tomorrow, I've just been waiting to burst with the news and finally let everyone know that we're going to have a baby in June of next year!

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted to me my petition that I made to him."  1 Samuel 1:27, ESV.

This gift from God is a wonderful reason Kristi and I have to be thankful today and always.

Happy Thankgiving to all of you.

Pastor Kurt & Kristi