“Everything Is The Lord’s – Part 1”

Scripture teaches that everything on earth is the Lord’s because He is the Creator of all things (see Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 45:18). Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 10:26 where he indicates that both the earth and everything in it is the Lord’s. As a result, everything that we have is provided to us by God. The house we live in, the food we eat, are all things that are ultimately from God.

 

If all things are God’s, then we are stewards of everything He has provided us. In the Bible, a steward is someone entrusted with managing something. This is typically seen in managing something like a household. In Luke 12:42, Jesus tells of a faithful manager who takes care of what he has been given responsibility for. This is contrasted with the unfaithful manager who doesn’t take care of what he has.

 

As followers of Christ, we are to be good stewards of the time and resources that the Lord has provided us. James 4:14 reminds us that we are like a mist that vanishes after a little while. Jesus teaches us that we are responsible for how we use our talents (Matthew 25:14 – 30). As a result, we need to manage the time the Lord has given us, determined to use it for His glory rather than always indulging in the flesh.

 

Let us pray and consider if we are spending our time wisely, seeking to use the time to grow spiritually in our relationship with the Lord.  

 

Pastor Steven



Bible Reading in New Year

New Years is a time when many people come up with numerous resolutions for things they would like to do in the New Year. Often times Christians will look to commit to reading the Bible more. However, sometimes help is needed to maintain a good Bible reading schedule.

Below are a series of links that provide a wide variety of Bible reading plans. Perhaps you will find one that works for you.

Back to the Bible = http://backtothebible.org/bible-reading-plans

Lifeway = http://www.lifeway.com/Read-The-Bible/Readers/c/N-1z0zf8aZ1z1244x?intcmp=RTB-Overview-Nav-BibleReadingPlan-20170218

Crossway = https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans/

No matter what you use, I pray that you will seek to read your Bible every day in 2018.  

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

Blessings,

Pastor Steven



Christmas Hymns – Gospel of Luke

“Christmas Hymns – Gospel of Luke”

 

During the Christmas season, I always enjoy listening to various Christmas hymns. Hymns like “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” are filled with rich meaning as you hear and read the lyrics. The Bible also has several hymns of praise in relation to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us the account of the birth of Jesus. Both provide us with many unique details that help us better understand the birth of Christ. One unique thing that Luke includes is four poetic hymns in the birth narratives of Jesus and John the Baptist. If you are looking for something different to read this Christmas, I would suggest that you read and study these four hymns.

 

Gospel of Luke

Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)

Zechariah’s Benedictus (1:68-79)

Angels’ hymn to the shepherds (2:14)

Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis (2:29-32)

 

If you take time to read, pray, study, and reflect on them, you will be greatly blessed this Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas.

 

Pastor Steven



Leaving the Splendor of Heaven

“Leaving the Splendor of Heaven” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

 

There are many reasons why I enjoy Christmas time. One of those is that it allows time to reflect on various aspects of Jesus Christ. For example, Christmas provides a great opportunity to look at the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. When I say pre-existence, I am referring to the fact that before Jesus was born, that he existed as the second Person of the triune God.

 

There are many Scriptures that remind us of Jesus’ pre-existence with the Father prior to his birth (ex. John 1:2-3; 17:5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:16-17). In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he provides them with the example of Christ’s incarnation as a reflection of grace showing its true love for wayward humanity. Paul uses the term the “grace” of Jesus Christ as the means by which he gave up his own heavenly glory to meet humanity’s greatest need. Humanity’s greatest need, of course, is forgiveness of sin.

 

In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul reminds the Corinthians that Jesus was “rich” in his pre-existence with God, but for the sake of the lost became “poor” to accomplish salvation. Christ would assume the role of a servant to fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus left the splendor of heaven to take on the form of a man in order to atone for the sins of mankind on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

As we approach Christmas, my prayer is that we not take lightly the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord came and faced humiliation and rejection to bring our redemption. It was through his humility that salvation came to us.

 

Take time this Christmas to reflect on Christ daily. Because on Christmas day was born the only Savior of the world, and his name is Jesus Christ the Lord.

 

Blessings,

 

Pastor Steven



“Give Thanks In All Circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

The Bible uses the word “Thanksgiving” as early as Leviticus 7:12, and is used approximately 35 times throughout Scripture. Were you to include every variation of “thank,” it would be approximately 170! Reading the New Testament, you will discover that it is used most often in Paul’s letters. Paul follows Israel’s tradition of returning thanksgiving and praise to God for all of His blessings in their lives (ex. Psalm 34:1; Ezra 3:11).

In Paul’s letters, thanksgiving is often returned for the things the Lord has done in the past such as our salvation (Colossians 1:12 – 14). In other places, his prayers reflect thanksgiving and a call for believers to reflect the same attitude (Colossians 4:2).

In Paul’s closing to the church in Thessalonica, he reminds them to rejoice, to pray, and to give thanks in all circumstances. In other words, they are to be thankful in both the good and bad situations that come their way. There is no event or circumstance too bad for a Christian because the Lord is always superintending for them (Romans 8:28). God’s will for those in Christ Jesus is a heart that overflows with thanksgiving.

To forget to return thanksgiving is to forget the Lord’s blessings. My prayer for you is that you will take the time to pray and to give thanksgiving to the Lord during Thanksgiving this year. No matter if times are good or bad, those in Christ have many reasons to return thanksgiving.

This Sunday, 11/19/17, we will be coming together to simply return thanks to the Lord. Come and join us! Everyone is welcome.

Blessings,

Pastor Steven



The First Days of Jesus

The First Days of Jesus

It is now November, and before too long it will be Christmas time. Several people have asked me for recommendations on devotional readings for Christmas. I thought I would put this into a blog post should anyone be interested. The below are suggestions that you might find helpful in keeping your focus on the birth of our Savior during the hectic season ahead.

Matthew 1:1- 2:23

Luke 1:26-2:21

John 1:1-18

Galatians 4:4-5

1 Timothy 1:15-17

Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1

Micah 5:2

As for a specific book/devotional, I cannot recommend “The First Days of Jesus: The Story of the Incarnation” highly enough. I had one of the authors as a Professor in seminary, and he was excellent in teaching on the life of Christ. What I love about the book is that it is biblical, Christ-centered, but not watered down. You will learn, grow, and rejoice in the birth of Christ as you read it. It also has a great Christmas reading plan.

Be sure to check it out =

https://www.amazon.com/First-Days-Jesus-Story-Incarnation/dp/1433542781

I pray that these suggestions will help you retain focus on Jesus during Christmas.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

Pastor Steven



The Lord’s Supper – Hallel Psalms

The Lord’s Supper – Hallel Psalms

This weekend we will be observing the Lord’s Supper during the morning service.  When we observe the Lord’s Supper we are looking back at the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and looking forward to His return (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

One thing we want to avoid is to approach the Lord’s Supper without having taken time to reflect on the Lord’s sacrifice.  Jesus shed his blood on the cross to bring about our redemption and provide for us eternal life.  Below are a few scriptures that you can use to read and reflect on as we approach Sunday.

Isaiah 52:13-53

Luke 22:7-23

1 Corinthians 5:7-8, 11:17-34

One additional suggestion is to read and to reflect on the Hallel Psalms.  The Hallel Psalms are Psalms 113-118.  The Hebrew word “hallel” means praise and is the word that we get the familiar “Hallelujah” from.  These six psalms were either read or sung when the Jews celebrated the Passover.  They would use Psalms 113-14 before they ate the Passover meal and then 115-118 after the meal.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus and the disciples finished the Passover meal, that they all “sung a hymn” (Matt.26:30; Mark 14:26).  Most scholars suggest that it is very likely that Jesus, being a very devout Jew, used the Hallel Psalms at this time.  Reading Psalm 118 in particular is interesting to read in light of Jesus betrayal and crucifixion that would occur hours later.  Psalm 118:22 is also quoted later in Matt. 21:42 and Acts 4:11.

May the Lord bless you as you take time to read and reflect this week on our Lord’s sacrifice.

Blessings,

Pastor Steven 



True Peace

True Peace (Selected Scriptures)

This past weekend, we began our new sermon series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  In the greeting, Paul invokes both grace and peace on the church at Philippi.  Grace is the undeserved favor of God that He extends to sinners through Christ.  The result of God’s grace is peace.  Paul has the Hebrew word for peace in mind, shalom, which refers to wholeness and overall well-being.

Usually, when we think of peace, we have something different in mind than what the Bible means by this.  For example, a person typically determines whether or not they have peace based on their present circumstances.  If everything is going well, then they would say they are at peace.  If things are not going well, then they would say that they have no peace.  The Bible, though, refers to an altogether different peace.  This peace is always present and not based on external circumstances.

First, the Apostle Paul recognizes that the ultimate source of true peace comes from God.  This is something seen in the Old Testament (ex. Numbers 6:26).  Second, Paul recognizes that in order for a person to have true peace, they must be reconciled to God.  Theologians refer to this as justification.  The word “justification” simply means “to justify” or “to declare righteous.”  The Lord declares you righteous when you place your faith in Jesus Christ for your sins (Romans 5:1).  When you trust in Christ as your Savior, God declares you righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Paul understands that when we have been justified we now have peace “with” God (Romans 5:1).  Our position before God is now one of peace.

Finally, after we have peace “with” God we then experience the peace “of” God (Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 13:11).  It is the peace of God that Paul later exhorts the Philippians to experience as they lift all their prayers to Him.  When they do, they will have the “peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

My prayer is that you have the true peace that only God provides to us through Christ Jesus.  If you do not have true peace, the Bible teaches that by faith in Jesus Christ we are declared righteous before God (Romans 3:21-26; 5:18-19).

The God of peace be with you all.

Pastor Steven      



The Seven Beatitudes of Revelation

The Seven “Beatitudes” Of Revelation

This Sunday evening we will return to our series in the book of Revelation.  We will be looking at the second of the seven churches in Revelation.  The second church is Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11) and deals with the persecution of the church.

When we began the series I mentioned that Revelation uses “seven” many times.  For example, there are seven churches just as there are seven seals, bowls, etc.  One that can be overlooked is the seven “Beatitudes” in Revelation.  The first “beatitude” is in Revelation 1:3 and promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and keep what is written in the book.

Several of you have asked for a list of the seven “Beatitudes”.  Below is a list of them for you to reflect on.  May the Lord continue to bless you as we seek to not only read and hear His Word but to keep what is written in it.

Revelation 1:3 – Who read, hear, and keep what is written in the book.

Revelation 14:13 – Who die in Jesus.

Revelation 16:15 – Who watch and wait for Jesus.

Revelation 19:9 – Who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 20:6 – Who are in the first resurrection.

Revelation 22:7 – Who keep the words of this book.

Revelation 22:14 – Who have had their sins forgiven.

Look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.

The grace of the Lord be with you all until then.

Pastor Steven



185 Years – Celebrating God’s Faithfulness

This Sunday New Hope Baptist Church will be celebrating 185 years of serving Christ.  I was recently given a document that provides a brief history of New Hope.  One area that I continually thought of while reading the document was God’s faithfulness. 

This Sunday we will take time to pause and remember how faithful the Lord is to His people.  As we take time to celebrate this weekend, below are just a handful of verses that remind us of the Lord’s faithfulness.  Take a few minutes to reflect on these as we approach Sunday. 

Everyone is welcome to come join us this Sunday as we celebrate and gives thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness over the past 185 years.  I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.

Blessings,

Pastor Steven

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Psalms 36:5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalms 89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD,  with your faithfulness all around you?

Psalms 119:90 Your  faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it  stands fast.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new  every morning; great is your faithfulness.

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the  fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and  he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But  the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against  the evil one.

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.