“Peace and Hope”

Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Great Commission

The Commissioning of the Disciples

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Memorial: Look back, but move Forward

Look back, but move forward!
A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person (photo Lincoln)
or a historical (photo Iwo Jimi), tragic event.
Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects (photo Rushmore) or works of art such as sculptures, (photo Christ) statues or fountains and parks.
The most common type of memorial is the gravestone (photo Gravestone) and there are memorial plaques.
Do you stop at Historical markers (photo Placerville)
alone the road? There are 114,735 in America.
(Side of the road, photo) cross, flowers.
The greatest memorial of all is the cross. (photo) Normandy

Memorials help us look back and if we use the lessons of the past, to move forward.
Anonymous quotes on the subject:
• “The past is like using your rear view mirror in your car – it’s good to glance back and see how far you’ve come; but if you stare too long, you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.”
• “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”
• “Don’t let yesterday . . . take up too much of today.”
• “You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”
• “Sometimes God closes doors because it’s time to move forward. He knows you won’t move unless your circumstances force you. Trust the transition. God’s got you.”

The disciples were going through a tough time too.
After Easter they were living in fear behind closed doors.
They lived in fear and in limbo lockdown. Just like us.
But they had these encounter with Jesus and they moved on. During those forty days, let’s look what happened.
Acts 1:1-11
1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.
3 During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive.

So what does the Bible say about 40?
The flood lasted 40 days.
40 years Moses fled Egypt.
40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai.
Exodus lasted 40 years.
Jesus fasted for 40 days.
Lent is 40 days.
Passover to Ascension is 40 days.
40 days is Biblical number for a time of purification.
40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.

And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them,
“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.
5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.
10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.
11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven?
Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

What started in fear moved to instruction and then to Commission.
The Disciple, learner became an Apostle, a messenger.
Look back, learn and move forward to act.

What have you learned: “Live life and do the best you can.”

Christ promises us that everything works together for the good for those who love God. Romans 8:28

“We have the most creative, forward-thinking, adaptive, innovative, progressive Leader the world has ever known, and He has been with the organization from the beginning. In fact, He started this global enterprise and has served as its Leader through countless challenges and changes.” Chuck Swindoll

Happy Anniversary!

WE CELEBRATE 95 YEARS AS A CHURCH TODAY!  

Exodus  12:14-15  “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord — a lasting ordinance.

Ex 12:24-28    “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.  When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.    And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’    then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.    The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

  1. To most, a building
  2. To some, denomination or organization
  3. To some, their group at the church building
  4. It is all this and more

WHO WERE THOSE WHO STARTED OUR BUNCH?

  1. A group of people who loved God and chose to become Nazarenes
  2. They agreed to the Nazarene doctrines and polity
  3. They chose to accept the Nazarene code of ethics
  4. They accepted the mission and purposes to walk with God and reach new people to do the same
  5. They committed to support the church financially, participated in its mission to spread the “Good News” to the community, and endeavored to grow in their faithful walk with God every day
  6. We are still accepting the same challenges today and committing to faithfully serving God daily

 

THERE ARE TWO THINGS THAT COME TO MIND ABOUT OUR CHURCH

SOME THINGS SHOULD NEVER CHANGE;  SOME THINGS WILL ALWAYS CHANGE;  WE NEED TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE 

  1. SOME THINGS ARE TO NEVER CHANGE!
  2. God is Almighty and it is HIS church and we are HIS people
  3. God loves and cares desperately about ALL His people
  4. God wants to be our life’s traveling Partner
  5. God has a plan for our life and He is the center of it
  6. God’s Word never changes
  7. God will honor and fulfill his promises
  8. We are ALWAYS powerless to meet our every need
  9. God wants his people to WANT to serve him because they love him and trust him
  10. The message and mission of our church to faithfully serve God; obey his commands; and love people must never change

 

  1. SOME THINGS WILL ALWAYS CHANGE
  2. Our journey will ALWAYS be a challenge; sometimes up, sometimes down
  3. There will always be changes in the people make up of a church
  4. The commitment level of a church is constantly in flux
  5. Yesterday’s blessing is a great memory but it will not be adequate for today’s challenges
  6. Our programs, methods, art forms, will constantly change (not the mission nor the message)
  7. Music will change; it always has
  8. Our facilities will need to change
  9. The way we dress will change;
  10. Our communication devises will change (technology)

Restoration

Restoration

Mustang – my Dad did something right. (photo)

John 21:15-19

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

17A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

18 1 tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go.

But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”

16 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God.

Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

Jesus met His disciples on the beach (photo -Jesus by fire) where He had already prepared breakfast for them. This scene must have stirred Peter’s memory and touched his conscience.

Surely Peter was recalling that first catch of fish and even the feeding of the 5,000 with bread and fish.

(photo -Peter by fire) The “charcoal fire” would remind him of the fire at which he denied the Lord.

Peter messed up by the fire in the courtyard. (John 18:18) Peter denied the Lord three times at that charcoal fire. Peter needed restoration. And Jesus could provide it.

(photo – Jesus w/ Peter)First Jesus loving allows Peter to dry off, get warm, satisfy his hunger and enjoy personal fellowship. All this before his spiritual needs are dealt with.

This is a good example for us to follow as we care for God’s people. Certainly the spiritual is more important than the physical, but caring for the physical can prepare the way for spiritual ministry.

It is good for us to remember the past; all of us have taken things (and even people) for granted and we have things to confess. We all need restoration.

Remember the Good old days – we could go to a restaurant, a sporting event, a play, we could go to church!

The virus is keeping us from these wonderful things today. But it is much worse when we cannot enjoy real life because of something else that blocks our way, SIN!

Peter followed Jesus for three years and he sinned.

We follow Jesus and sometimes sin too.

When we mess up, and sin, we need restoration too.

The Path to Restoration

  1. Confess the sin in prayer to Jesus.

Peter and the Lord had already met privately and no doubt taken care of Peter’s sins. Luke 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 state that Peter had a meeting with Jesus on Easter Sunday.

The Path to Restoration

  1. Do you love me?

The key issue is Peter’s love for the Lord. This is the key matter for us today. Do I love Jesus?

CharChar -” I love you” and then “I love you more” and then “I love you to the moon” and then to “infinity and beyond”!

Jesus asked Peter “do you love me more than these?” The question probably meant, “Do you love Me—as you claimed—more than these other disciples love Me?”

 

Peter had boasted of his love for Christ and had even

contrasted it with that of the other men.

“I’m ready to die for you.” (John 13:37)

“Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert

you.” (Matt. 26:33)

These statements tell us that Peter thought that he loved

Jesus more than the other disciples loved Jesus.

Peter did love Jesus and was not ashamed to admit it.

He did later die for that wholehearted belief.

The Path to Restoration

  1. Serve. Feed my sheep.

Both the lambs and the more mature sheep need feeding and leading, and that is the task of the spiritual shepherd. It is an awesome responsibility to be a shepherd of God’s flock!

We toured a little last week. We made the rounds of some of the flock. (Sorry if we missed you)

I loved going to some of our people’s homes and seeing them. Several said: “We see you”, but I got to see them. We drove the Mustang and we saw many of the kids and gave some rides. It was great!

The enemies want to destroy the flock, and the shepherd must be alert and courageous.

1 Peter 5:2

2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.

 

The Path to Restoration

  1. Follow.

Pastor’s cannot lead without following Jesus.

All of us are asked to give our lives to God.

We DIE to ourselves and live for Jesus.

When a person has settled the matter of death, then they

are ready to live and to serve!

We can only follow Jesus if we follow all the way to death

and new life.

Romans 6:13

13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body (total self) as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

Restoration: Symbol of hope, renewal of faith. Confess, Love, Serve, Follow

That Mustang is a symbole for me of somthing good that my day did. This helped Restore my relationship with my dad. Jesus restored me and helped restore my relationship with my dad.

Jesus restores Peter. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. He lived the rest of his life for Jesus. He died for Jesus because that day on the beach, Jesus restored him. He can restore you.

Lockdown Limbo

  • Lockdown Limbo

Everything has changed. In a matter of days our world changed. • Lockdown! (photo – baby) Shelter in place without going crazy. Now what? Limbo!

  • (photo – Christ in Limbo, Bosch) The idea of “limbo” origi­nated in some Roman Catholic traditions that a soul dwells in a state of Limbo between heaven and hell after this life.
  • Limbo of the Patriarchs (photo) is seen as a temporary place or state of those who died in the friendship with God but could not enter Heaven until the redemption by Christ.
  • Limbo of the Infants (photo) is applied to children who die before being baptized.

The church has stepped away from the theory of Limbo as recently as April 2007.

Perhaps one idea of Limbo comes from Matthew 27:50-53

  • 5° Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.
  • 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
  • The earth shook, rocks split apart,
  • 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.
  • 5’1 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

These chosen saints who resurrected after Jesus arose on Easter Sunday began to walk around the Holy City. What a trip it would have been to see people who were dead for ten or hundreds of years cruising around Jerusalem!

Notice they rose from the dead the moment Jesus died and waited until Sunday, after Passover, to enter the city.

  • A 2nd view of limbo is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
  • an intermediate or transitional place or state;
  • a state of restraint, confinement, neglect or oblivion; “The graduate was in limbo for a while, trying to decide what to do next.”
  • a state of

I feel like I am in limbo today. Lockdown limbo.

Are you in a state of limbo? Uncertainty?

Now what? What do we do while we are waiting – in limbo?

That was a question for the disciples.

It was after Easter and before Pentecost.

They had followed Jesus three years.

They expected great things: A Kingdom of God, the removal

Roman oppressors, and to Rule this new Kingdom.

Then Jesus died and with Him their hopes and dreams.

But He came back. Now what?

  • John 21:1-14
  • ‘Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it
  • 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin). Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other
  • Simon Peter said, “I’m going

We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

  • At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.
  • He called out, “Fellows (boys), have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied.
  • Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!”
  • So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
  • 7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”
  • When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.
  • The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore.
  • When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
  • “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said.

 

  • So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
  • 12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said.
  • None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
  • 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.
  • 14This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
  • When you are in Limbo – go fishing.

But you won’t catch anything without Jesus’ help.

Gone fishing. Back to the familiar, returning to his old occu-

pation.

Why? Did he not have anything better to do?

Was he in Limbo?

Had he given up his preaching commission.

Maybe Peter needed money.

Whatever his reason for fishing, he didn’t catch any.

Some say that God would not bless him with a catch.

But wait, He does.

When you are in Limbo…

  • Go fishing for God.

Peter had been called to be a fisher of men. So are we.

  • Luke 5:4-11

1 Jesus said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your rwts to catch some fish.”

  • 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
  • 6And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!
  • 7A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
  • 8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.”

 

  • 9For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. ‘° His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
  • Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!”
  • And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Peter was called to fish for people.

When you are in Limbo..

  • Recognize Jesus gives you success.
  • Another time, in Matthew 17:27, Peter is told to go fishing to meet a need, to pay his taxes. Jesus tells him:
  • “So go down to the lake and throw in a line.
  • Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin.
  • Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

When you are in Limbo . .

  • Great success comes with God’s help.

They caught 153 large fish.

Peter was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught Just as before, when they follow Jesus, they have great success. So will you.

Ask God to guide you out of Limbo and into doing something for Him. He’ll make it great.

Joe – care provider, Paradise fire prayed, witnessed to her. Ruth – neighbor planting her garden. “I was looking for some­thing to do and this is it”

Many stories of running errands. If nothing else – Pray!

  • Ephesians 5:1-2

‘ Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

  • 2Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.
  • He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Do you Believe?

Do you believe?

Between Easter and Pentecost we find people struggling to believe. I like evidence, proofs, on which to base my beliefs.

I had an early crisis of belief. Greenwood Boys’ club.

(photo, team) I sold stuff to play sports. Boxes of chocolates, M&M’s, Candy Bars.

I had to believe in what I sold to sell well.

When I was a kid you could get a candy bar for a nickel. Big ones for a dime.

Then came the $1.00, big candy bars. Tough sell. (photo World’s Finest, kids) How could I sell $1 candy bars, even if they were the World’s Finest and they were pretty big, for a dollar!

World’s Finest Chocolate’s history (photo, Edmond Opler) traces back to 1908, when founder Edmond Opler, Sr. went to work at 12 years old to support his family after his father died. He had faith he could do something great. He believed. In 1949, Ed pioneered chocolate product fundraising with the World’s Finest Milk Chocolate.

(photo, box of candy)

I learned to believe in those candy bars. At first, a hard sell. But everyone has $1. No making change.

People bought the candy bar because they wanted to help me play sports at the Greenwood Boys Club and they wanted to get rid of me from their doorstep or office.

I sold hundreds of candy bars at my mom’s office building in downtown Seattle. In sixth grade I won the contest for the most sold. I really believed.

In chapter 20, John describes the responses of people confronted with evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. They generally reacted in one of four ways:

  1. Some believed with direct evidence.

Mary was confused and doubtful at the tomb until she saw the risen Lord with her own eyes.

Mary spoke to angels and to Jesus himself. He called her by name. Jesus knows your name too. But we don’t live in that special time between the resurrection and ascension, but Mary did.

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

She was blessed to see and speak to the Lord directly.

  1. Some believed with indirect

Peter and John responded to the initial report with curiosity, and skepticism when they viewed the empty tomb and saw the grave wrappings, they wondered if He had risen.

John 20:8-10

Then (John) went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. “‘Then they went home. John went in to the empty tomb and he saw and believed. What did he see? Nothing! It was empty. Indirect evidence helps people believe. Later they too became eye witnesses.

  1. Some were slow to believe even with direct evidence. They initially responded to the Lord’s presence with fear and then slowly accepted the reality of His resurrection.

Last week, Pastor Sean talked about Thomas, who was slow to believe. John 20:26-28

Eight days later the disciples were together again, awl this time Thomas was with them.

The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before. Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you, he said.

17 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

2R “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

 

  1. Some believed without evidence, indirect or direct. Some believed based on the promises of Old Testament Scripture, the predictions of Jesus, and the testimony of credible witnesses.

John 20:29

Then Jesus told him (Thomas), You believe because you have seen me.

Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” Wait, you can believe without seeing.

believe in the Effel Tower (photo) although I have never seen it. I’ve seen pictures, I know people who have seen it. So I believe too.

Jesus never questioned the need for evidence in matters of faith. He offered “signs and wonder” to validate His identity and to authenticate His message.

However, He was selective in His use of tangible evidence, because He knew that no amount of proof will satisfy a skeptic. During His public ministry, Jesus rarely used “signs” to convince unwilling hearts.

Instead, Jesus offered tangible  evidence to willing  hearts to add confidence to their trust.

Note that after rising from the dead, Jesus appeared only to believers. If His followers doubted His resurrection, it was not because they doubted the truthfulness of His claims; they merely thought His resurrection was too good to be true.

Therefore, Jesus welcomed their belief, while tenderly offering evidence to build  their confidence  in the truth. Pastor Sean said that Jesus did not criticize Thomas for his doubt, but welcomed him and helped him overcome his doubt with faith and evidence.

He will do the same for you!

Jesus instead praised those who believed  in His resurrection without  much need for proof.

 

Faith and evidence are not unrelated in the spiritual life of a

Christian.

Without faith and belief, evidence is meaningless.

I like to think of it this way:

Refusal to believe + Evidence = Confusion

Willingness to believe + Evidence = Confidence

Whenever I encounter a skeptic—someone who demands evidence before belief—I avoid offering proof of anything. (I have wasted enough time on pointless debates.)

Instead, I focus on the real issue at hand: sinfulness and the need for the Savior. When a lost person comes to terms with his or her sinfulness—genuinely so—belief is their next logical step.

Trust  in God must come first; then evidence is helpful. Then, ironically, they believe and find great comfort and confidence in the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection. May it be so for you.

Do you believe? (photo)

Beacons of Victory

Join us for an encouraging message from our Associate Pastor Sean Carpenter. Today’s Pastor Sean is speaking to about John 20:24-31 and is entitled SCARS: Beacons of Victory.