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

October 9, 2012

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Local Church

It is a humbling privilege to know that someone is praying for you and pastors frequently hear this from members of their congregation how they are praying for them, for strength, wisdom and a growing, deepening love for Jesus Christ and His Church.  I'll never take those prayers for granted either and how grateful I am to hear that there are people praying for me and the other pastors I work with.  It truly is humbling.

The Apostle Paul, I'm sure, had others praying for him, but we often read in his epistles how he prayed often for other churches and their leaders.  It's a model that the local church can put into practice immediately too.

On Sunday evening, September 30th, I had the privilege to preach from 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 that described that very habit of the Apostle Paul.

In this sermon, the following points are identified:
  1. The Gratitude of His Prayer
  2. The Discipline of His Prayer
Then there are three things that the Apostle Paul is specifically thankful for with regard to this local church:
  1. Their work for Christ
  2. Their love to serve Christ
  3. Their persistence of hope in Christ
These three things that Paul is thankful for, relate to the 3 cardinal graces of the Christian life: Faith, Hope and Love.  1 Corinthians 13:13.



May this be an encouragement to you and the pastor(s) of your church and if we may have the privilege to pray for them, please let me know.  We would love to pray for them.


Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

October 6, 2012

RADICAL: Day 3, WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE



We've been conditioned to expect not only having our cake but eating it too.  Nowhere is this more visible than in our commitment to our possessions.  Despite the warnings over and over in Scripture about the danger of wealth and money, as well as exhortations to give freely and sacrificially, we continue to find any way we can to justify our excess.

Materialism, maybe more than anything else,  stands in opposition to the call to follow Jesus.  It certainly did for the potential follower in Mark 10 who has come to be known as the rich young ruler.
  • Read Mark 10:17:31.  Does this man seem as though he genuinely want to follow Jesus?  Why or why not?
  • Does Jesus' response surprise you at any point?  Why or why not?
  • If a man like the rich young ruler had come to you asking a similar question, how would you have responded?  Why?

This guy was young, rich, intelligent, and influential.  He was a prime prospect for the Kingdom, eager and ready to go.  If we were in Jesus' place, we might have been salivating at the opportunity.   Think about what a guy like this with all his influence and prestige, could do.  It's a no-brainer; we have to get him in.

Unfortunately, Jesus didn't have the personal-evangelism books we have today that tell us how to draw the net and close the sale.  Rather than leading him through a simple prayer, Jesus gave him something else to do: "You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow Me. (Mark 10:21)
  • Why do you think Jesus responded this way 
  • What does the young man's ultimate reaction reveal about the way he felt about his possessions?

Jesus is nothing if not consistent.  It's the same call He issued throughout all the Gospels to His would-be disciples: "Come, but when you come, leave everything else behind."

But let's not neglect the second half of Jesus' invitation: Come, follow Me (v. 21).  Jesus wasn't just calling the man away from his treasure: He was calling him toward greater treasure.  This is very important because if we aren't careful, we can misrepresent these radical calls to abandonment and think Jesus doesn't want the best for us.

On the contrary, Jesus loves us so much that He's unwilling for us to settle for less than the best.
  • Reread the previous sentence.  Where do you see that principle at work in the story of the rich young ruler?
  •  At what point did Jesus love the man in verse 21?
  •  Why is that significant?

Jesus looked at the man and loved him.  It was from this love that Jesus gave the call to radical abandonment.  Jesus wasn't trying to strip this man o fall his pleasure.  Instead, He was offering him the satisfaction of eternal treasure.  Jesus was saying, It'll be better not just for the poor, but for you as well when you abandon the stuff you're holding on to."

Read Matthew 13:44.  How is the truth of this parable similar to the story of the rich young ruler?

Notice in this parable that the finder of the treasure didn't begrudgingly sell his property.  Instead, he recognized the true value of what he had found and in joy sold everything he had.  Why?  Because he had found something worth losing everything for.

This is the picture of Jesus in the Gospels.    He is someone worth losing everything for.  If we walk away from the Jesus of the Bible, we might be richer on earth, but we sacrifice eternal life and riches.  However, when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to Jesus' radical invitation, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing Him.


THE QUESTION IS WHETHER
 WE REALLY BELIEVE HIM TO BE WORTH IT.

October 3, 2012

RADICAL: Day 2 - A CALL TO DIE



What if Jesus was serious?

It’s a haunting thought isn’t it?  The implications are staggering.  They shake the core of what we think we believe as Christians.  The truth is that people in many parts of the world take Jesus’ words seriously.  People abandon their families and careers.  They have to when they’re threatened with persecution and mistreatment.  They’re living the truth of Luke 9.

  • Read Luke 9:57-62.  Record what Jesus claimed was the cost of following Him. 
  • How do we misunderstand these words of Jesus when we don’t take them literally?

 Three men approached Jesus, eager to follow Him.  It would have been an evangelist’s dream.  All that was left for Jesus to do was to walk through the Roman Road or lead them in a sinner’s prayer.  Right?

But in surprising fashion.  Jesus seems to have tried to talk them out of following Him.  To the first man Jesus said to expect homelessness on the journey ahead because followers of Christ aren’t guaranteed that even their basic need for shelter would be met.  To the second man Jesus said there’s a higher priority than even the closest familial relations.  To the third Jesus said being in a relationship with Him requires total, superior and exclusive devotion.

Become homeless.  Let someone else bury your dad.  Don’t even say good-bye to your family.

  • What do you imagine the response would be if such a sermon were given in a North American church today? 
  • Read Luke 14:25-35.  In one sentence what was Jesus’ core message in this teaching?
Jesus never sugarcoated His message.  He didn’t play it down in order to gain popularity.  He never glossed over it in order to increase His influence.  He alswyas told people the truth.  But even after two thousand years we’re still trying to find loopholes in the cost of following Christ.

That’s the whole point of Luke 14:25-35: to consider what we’re getting into before we do.  Following Jesus isn’t meant to be an add-on to real life, whereby we can do other things and follow Jesus too.  The call to follow Christ is the only thing.  It’s all or nothing.
  • Read Luke 9:23.  Why do you think Jesus chose the image of the cross to describe following Him?
This verse takes counting the cost to another level.  In fact, for Jesus’ original audience the teaching would have been even more scandalous.  We lose some of the impact when we read it today, but for the original hearers the cross wasn’t a bumper sticker or a piece of jewelry.  It was a mark of shame and death.  Crucifixion remains the most brutal form of execution ever devised. 

Jesus was calling His followers to pick up an instrument of torture to follow Him.  If someone was carrying a cross through town, nobody wondered where he or she was going.  There was no hope left for them.  No dreams.  No aspirations.  No hope of escape.  Their fate was sealed.

That’s what Jesus compared the Christian life to.  It’s first and foremost a call to die.
  • What parts of life are you still clinging to? 
  • If you took seriously the call to die, what are some practical ways your life would have to change?
Carrying the cross has a finality to it.  It’s about giving up any claim on your life.  That’s what it really means to call Jesus Lord.  It means  He is your Master and your King.  He has ultimate ownership over you, and that ownership transcends your desires, perceived needs and dreams. 

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

HAVE YOU REALLY COUNTED THE COST?

October 1, 2012

RADICAL: Day 1 - FOLLOW ME

Yesterday began our first DVD study session of David Platt's book RADICAL and I was challenged from reading just the first chapter of the book as well as from session 1 of the DVD.

One of the resources that we'll be utilizing throughout this study will be the study guide, which has just a few pages of thoughts, recommended passages to read from the Bible and questions to answer as well.

Since our study guides weren't available to be distributed on Sunday (mostly my fault), I decided to type those pages each day and send them to our small group and then I thought, why not share it with my blog too.  So, I will.

Each day this week, I'll post what we've been given to follow up on for our next study.  I realize that those who are reading these posts aren't part of the small group, but maybe through what we are being challenged with, you may be too and maybe you'll want to see this curriculum offered at your church.

So here is DAY 1.  FOLLOW ME.

Picture the scene with me. It’s a clear day out on the lake. Two brothers are fishing, and the catch is good. They already know this is going to be a good day, and they’re excited about totaling up the final catch at day’s end.

They hear someone talking to them from the shore a short way off. They shield their eyes from the sun and cock their heads to listen. They’re able to distinctly make out the two words that would change the rest of their lives:  “Follow Me.”

Read Matthew 4:18-22. Why do you think Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him rather than believe in Him?


  • How are following Jesus and believing in Jesus linked together?
  • What did abandonment require for the early disciples identified in this passage?
“Follow Me.” These two words contained radical implications for the lives of the disciples. In a time when the sons of fishers were also fishers, these men would have grown up around the sea. Fishing was their source of their livelihood and all they had ever known. It represented everything familiar and natural to them.

That’s what Jesus was calling them away from.

Look back at the passage again. What, specifically, did these men have to leave in order to follow Jesus? List those things udner LEFT BEHIND. Then list udner WHAT IT REPRESENTED those things that are represented by what they left.

LEFT BEHIND





WHAT IT REPRESENTED





By calling these men to leave their boats, Jesus was calling them to abandon their careers. When He called them to leave their nets, he was calling them to abandon their possessions. When He called them to leave their father in the boat by himself, He was calling them to abandon their family and friends. Ultimately, Jesus was calling them to abandon themselves.

The men were leaving certainty for uncertainty, safety for danger, and self-preservation for self-denunciation. Let’s put ourselves in the positions of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if you were the one stepping out of the boat? What if you were the potential disciple being told to drop your nets? What if it were your father asking where you were going?
  • Put yourself in the boat that day. How do you honestly think you would have responded?
  • What would have been the most difficult part of following Jesus in that moment? Why?
  • Do you think most Christians have had to leave much to follow Jesus? Why or why not?
This is where we need to pause to consider whether we’re starting to redefine Christianity. We have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. But slowly, subtly, we have reduced following Jesus to the idea of following Jesus.

We do this in all sorts of ways. We rationalize Jesus’ demanding teachings: “Of course, Jesus wasn’t actually telling you to abandon your family. And of course, He wasn’t really saying to leave everything behind to follow Him.” While it’s true that Jesus didn’t – and doesn’t – require everyone to leave their father and the occupation to follow Him, He does require absolute obedience and commitment. Rather than joyfully embracing His call, we have the self-serving tendency to water it down to be theoretical sacrifice and hypothetical abandonment. We want to follow a Jesus that doesn’t require anything of us.


  • Have you ever rationalized like this when reading Jesus’ words? Do you remember a specific occasion?
  • Why do you think we do this?
In essence, we’ve redefined Christianity. We’ve given in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist Him into a version of Jesus we’re more comfortable with. It’s a Jesus who’s OK with our materialism, fine with nominal devotion that doesn’t require any sacrifice, and please with a brand of faith that requires attendance on Sunday but no real commitment in day-to-day life.

But I wonder if I could help you push through the haze of self-justification and ask a simple question as we study the words of Christ together:

WHAT IF HE WAS ACTUALLY SERIOUS?

September 29, 2012

RADICAL Small Group Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, we begin launching 12 new small groups of studies with approximately 162 people meeting in one or more small groups.

Those groups will meet either at the church, or in one of our group leaders' homes.  Our complete list of small groups can be viewed on the church's website that is also a downloadable PDF.

I've chosen to lead a small group based on Pastor David Platt's book, RADICAL. In the book, he challenges the reader to take a close look at their own lives and consider what it means to forsake everything for the Gospel.

I'm especially proud of my wife because she was supposed to have a small group study of only 4 women, but I encouraged her to consider leading a small group at the church this fall.  Well, 4 women turned into 22 and this is the first time she'll ever lead a small group of that size.

The women will be participating in Beth Moore's study, Breaking Free.  Here is a promotional video regarding their study.



I have already been greatly challenged by the first session of the RADICAL DVD, as well as from reading the first chapter of the book.  I can only imagine how the rest of the book and the discussions that will be fostered from the DVD sessions will impact, not only myself, but those that have signed up for this study.  For each of our other groups too, I am hopeful that everyone will come away with a deeper, more enriching experience of knowing God and Jesus Christ His Son and the fulfillment of His will for their lives.

We're all going to be challenged greatly through David Platt's teaching about RADICAL Christianity because I don't believe that there is anyone, anyone who is a genuine Christian, wants to live complacently and not live with a greater purpose with which they can serve God, for the rest of their lives.

If you seriously think about it, when it comes to the Gospel, what part of it is optional for us to live by? 

The video below is a promotional segment of the study.  The curriculum can be purchased from LifeWay and the book, RADICAL is available as an eBook, hardcover or paperback.  Check with your favorite bookseller to make your purchase.

August 26, 2012

Only One Way


John 14:6

A person may go to heaven-

without wealth
without beauty
without learning
without fame
without culture
without friends

But no one can go to heaven without Christ.

Author unknown

August 23, 2012

Sunday Evening Sermon: Are You Feeling Too Weak to Pray?

On Sunday evening, August 12th, I had the privilege to preach at our evening prayer service.  Romans 8:26-27 (ESV) was my selected text, which says,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
E.M. Bounds said, "Prayer is a wonder power placed by Almight God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results.  The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and His ability to fulfill those promises."

I hope that this sermon may be helpful for anyone who feels they just don't have the strength to pray, or who has a hard time finding the right words to pray and yet realize there is a strong and helpful partner that is always with the believer to help them, when they pray.

The audio file can be heard from the podcast tab by selecting the sermon titled, Are You Feeling Too Weak to Pray?  (Duration: 30:17)

 
Faithfully in Christ,

Pastor Kurt

June 3, 2012

The enemies of the cross are those...

The “cross” was the instrument of death on which the Redeemer died to make atonement for sin. As the atonement made by Christ for sin is that which especially distinguishes his religion from all others, the “cross” comes to be used to denote his religion; and the phrase here means, that they were the enemies of his religion, or were strangers to the gospel. It is not to be supposed that they were open and avowed enemies of the cross, or that they denied that the Lord Jesus died on the cross to make an atonement. The characteristic of those persons mentioned in the following verse is, rather, that they were living in a manner which showed that they were strangers to his pure gospel. An immoral life is enmity to the cross of Christ; for he died to make us holy. A life where there is no evidence that the heart is renewed, is enmity to the cross; for he died that we might be renewed. They are the enemies of the cross, in the church:
  1. who have never been born again;
  2. who are living in the indulgence of known sin;
  3. who manifest none of the peculiarities of those who truly love him;
  4. who have a deeper interest in worldly affairs than they have in the cause of the Redeemer;
  5. whom nothing can induce to give up their worldly concerns when God demands it;
  6. who are opposed to all the unique doctrines of Christianity; and,
  7. who are opposed to all the special duties of religion, or who live in the habitual neglect of them.
It is to be feared that at all times there are such enemies of the cross in the church, and the language of the apostle implies that it is a proper subject of grief and tears. He wept over it, and so should we. It is from this cause that so much injury is done to the true religion in the world. One secret enemy in a camp may do more harm than fifty men who are open foes; and a single unholy or inconstant member in a church may do much more injury than many men who are avowedly opposed to religion. It is not by infidels, and scoffers, and blasphemers, so much, that injury is done to the cause of religion; it is by the unholy lives of its professed friends - the worldliness, inconsistency, and want of the proper spirit of religion, among those who are in the church. Nearly all the objections that are made to religion are from this quarter; and, if this objection were taken away, the religion of Christ would soon spread its triumphs around the globe.
 
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, Philippians 3:18

May 29, 2012

Is This the Testimony of God in Your Life?

Recently, while following my bible reading plan for the year, I read 1 Timothy, chapter 1 and verse 16 really made me stop and think a bit about what Paul was addressing to his young protege and the likely concern he had about some of the most difficult people he was trying to win to Christ.
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16, ESV
As I read this, I noticed these 3 characteristics that the Apostle Paul felt were certainly undeserving for him, especially since he was such an opponent of those following Jesus Christ.  They are, I believe, intended to be an encouragement to us regarding some of the most difficult people who think they don't deserve to be saved by God at all.  But we are examples too, for them to see that God's mercy, grace and forgiveness is as effectual for them as it is for us.

1) God's Mercy - Received
The display of God's mercy involved a light so bright that it caused Paul to be blinded only for a short period of time. Jesus didn't strike Paul dead while on his way to Damascus because he was on his way to persecute and arrest Christians.

Look over your life and examine the times when sin was willfully present and God did not cause you to suffer a sudden death only to then find yourself immediately in His presence to face His judgment. Those times may be too numerable to mention, but God's mercy is infinitely greater.

Have you received God's mercy? How grateful are you for His mercy?

2) God's Perfect Patience - Displayed
This example of patience is unlike anything that we could humanly conceive. Imagine the span of time in Paul's life that God remained unchanged in His attitude toward Paul. It's astonishing!

Only a perfect God could exemplify such a level of patience that would never change and all because of the acceptable atonement of His Son for the sins of Paul, for the sins of the world.

Our only example of the perfect patience of God that can be seen today, is each day that is set before us and the 24 hours that it is made of.

How often have we not acted like God in this respect? I know I'm guilty. Are you? How will you reconcile this?

3) God's Example of Salvation - Seen
Paul was willing to allow himself to be used as an example, to show any person that regardless how opposing or distant they may be to God, He is willing to show how great and merciful He was through Paul's life.

How merciful has God been, even today that it should cause us to be in awe of the greatness of these characteristics of God!

The Christian is the recipient of these good things about God and should exemplify them as much as possible to those around us. Sadly though, sometimes we don't and we need to seek the forgiveness of others, which thereby becomes an example of God in our lives that is seen by others.

The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.  Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly alive in your life?  How much do you admire and praise the grace of God our Savior and the forgiveness of your sins?

For myself, not enough, I dare say. Not enough.

May 25, 2012

I confess to live and die in this faith



The Last Will and Testament of John Calvin.

In the name of God, I, John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva,...thank God that He has shown not only mercy toward me, His poor creature, and...has suffered me in all sins and weaknesses, but what is much more, that He has made me a partaker of His grace to serve Him through my work...I confess to live and die in this faith which has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than His predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded.  I embrace the grace which He has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ and accept the merits of His suffering and dying, that through them all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg Him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer,...so that I, when I shall appear before His face may bear His likeness.  Moreover, I declare that I endeavored to teach His Word undefiled and to expound Holy Scripture faithfully, according to the measure of grace which He has given me.

John Calvin died at age 54 on May 27, 1654, in the arms of Theodore Beza, his successor.  Looking back on Calvin's life, Beza concluded:

Having been a spectator of his conduct for sixteen years, I have given a faithful account both of his life and of his death, and I can now declare, that in him all men may see a most beautiful example of Christian Character, an example which it is as easy to slander as it is difficult to imitate.

It is appropriate that Calvin's last words - "How long, O Lord?" - were the words of Scripture.  He literally died quoting the Bible he preached, having expended himself in the work and will of God, faithful to the very end.

From the book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin

In The Expository Genius of John Calvin, Dr. Steven J. Lawson delves into the practices, commitments, and techniques that made John Calvin, the great Reformer of the sixteenth century, such an effective preacher during his long pastorate at Saint Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Lawson identifies thirty-two distinctives of Calvin s preaching, providing comments from Calvin s writings, quotations from Reformation scholars, and examples from Calvin s own sermons to reinforce his points. In the end, Dr. Lawson finds in Calvin a strong model for expository preaching and calls on modern pastors to follow the Reformer s example.

May 3, 2012

TAPS: Marine Corps League Member - Frederick P. Johannsen, Verplanck, NY

The Chaplain of the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League, regrets to announce the death of LIFE Member - Frederick P. Johannsen of Verplanck, New York.  He died on Monday, 30 April 2012.

He is survived by his wife Molly Johannsen, his son Einar Johannsen, brother Dennis Johannsen, sister Peggy Anne Hennessy, daughter in law Melissa Johannsen, and four beautiful granddaughters, Kami, Paige, Emma, and Maggie.

His obituary is listed here.


Pastor Kurt Michaelson

Chaplain, Westchester Detachment
Marine Corps League

May 2, 2012

TAPS: Arnold Edson, Major, USMC (Ret).

The Chaplain for the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League, regrets to announce the death Arnold Edson, Major, USMC (Ret).  He passed away on 1 May 2012 and was a resident of New Rochelle, New York.

Edson is a World War ll veteran who served in Guadalcanal, Saipan, and various other locations too.

He was a LIFE Member of the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

A Jewish Memorial Service is scheduled for Sunday, 06 May 2012 beginning at 1415, at Friends Meeting House, 133 Popham Road, Scarsdale, NY.


Pastor Kurt Michaelson
Chaplain, Westchester Detachment
Marine Corps League

April 24, 2012

TAPS: Marine Corps League Member - Robert P. Reisman

The Chaplain for the Westchester Detachment of the Marine Corps League, regrets to announce the death of Robert P. Reisman of Eastchester NY, Corporal, USMC, on April 24, 2012. He was 89 years old.

Marine Reisman had been a member of the Westchester Detachment for at least ten years and attended a number of their functions.

Corporal Reisman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on March 21, 1941, and was discharged on September 12, 1941 in order to return home to assist his family, which was still suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. He re-enlisted on October 10, 1942 and was followed into the Marine Corps shortly thereafter by his two younger brothers, where the three of them served in action against the enemy in the Pacific Theater of War.

Marine Reisman participated in the Battle of Tinian in 1944. In 1945 he witnessed the take-off of the Enola Gay as it began its mission to drop the first Atomic Bomb on Japan. He was discharged on December 10, 1945 with the rank of Corporal.

Arrangements are as follows:

Wake
Date - Thursday, 26 April
Time - 1400-1600 & 1900-2100
Location - Bennett's Funeral Home, 824 Scarsdale Avenue, Scarsdale, NY.

Funeral
Date - Friday, 27 April
Time - 1030
Location - Church of the Immaculate Conception, 53 Winter Hill Road, Tuckahoe, NY
Interment - Gate of Heaven Cemeter, Valhalla, NY

All Marine Corps League members and Veterans are encouraged to attend the wake Thursday evening.


Semper fi in Christ,

Pastor Kurt
Detachment Chaplain
Marine Corps League

March 31, 2012

The Challenge of Learning About Theology

I thought this was funny video of how learning theological doctrines can be quite the mental challenge, but it shouldn't be.

The video was found on the media section of the Preaching Today website and is produced by Brian Christopher Productions.

March 5, 2012

God may be seasoning you as a vessel of mercy

"The vessels of mercy are seasoned with afflictions, and then the wine of glory is poured in." ~ Unknown

Ray Comfort once told me, "God usually breaks a man before He makes the man."  My pastor's wife is recovering from cancer surgery and started her chemotherapy treatment today.  She picked out a cute wig to wear when her hair falls out.  She is sharing her thoughts and feelings with all of us as a church body through email.  Her amazing husband Rex is courageously leading his bride through each day, comforting her, providing for her, and protecting her from a thousand scary thoughts and feelings.  As a couple, they inspire thousands through their faith and courage.  I recently asked Rex if he would fill in for me as teacher at my church Marriage and Family class.  Due to this new trial in his life, Rex shared with more unfiltered honesty, joy, and wisdom about loving his wife and raising his children than ever before.  The men in the room raved all week about what they had heard that night from this seasoned mentor.  Tenderness of heart, genuine humility, wisdom, and compassion are the bold flavors that develop in the hearts of those whom God has seasoned with affliction.  Through Rex and Sherry, God is pouring out the fine wine of his glory for the rest of us to enjoy.  If you are experiencing trials and affliction right now, have you considered that God may be seasoning you as a vessel of mercy, to be filled with a new glory to be poured out for the blessing and healing of others?

~ Kirk

The story above is from Kirk Cameron who shares his thoughts in a weekly email that is sent out from the ministry of Living Waters.  The photo is not the couple mentioned in this story.

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled,  Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report , which is  about how much the persecutio...