The pastor's job is to train and equip people in the church. It is our job to disciple to others and be a light in our community. We want to spread the word of God to those who are lost. We all need to work together to show His loves to one another and to people in our lives. People do the work of your ministry and the pastor trains the people to do the work of the ministry. We can't wait to welcome Pastor Andrew, Mariava and little Joshua to our church family in just a couple of weeks!
Living Sacrifices – Romans 12:1 & 2
In a very familiar passage of the New Testament, Romans 12:1 & 2, we are instructed to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship.” For the original readers, this must have been a shocking statement. They were well familiar with sacrifice to idols and gods as it was a part of everyday life in ancient Rome. Yet, here was the Apostle Paul exhorting his readers to picture the practice they used to do, with all of its reverence, revelry and gore, as something they themselves are doing for God. I’m glad he said, “living” sacrifices! It simply means that daily we present to God our bodies to do with as He wishes. And, that it our worship.
As someone once said, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the alter!”. I find that is true today. As we head into this week, I encourage you to take a minute or two, think of your body as a gift to God for Him to use for his purposes this week. You’ll be amazed at how God will use your gift of worship!
- Pastor Chris
I apologize for being a day late. Sometimes we don't know what is the right thing to say. Whenever we pray, we don't have to think about that. We just need to talk to God and He'll take care of us. We know that we can talk to God about anything that we're going through. The Holy Spirit will speak for us to the throne of God, amen.
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and together during our Sunday Zoom Gathering we looked at the life of Hannah and the challenges she went through on her way to becoming a mom. Hannah’s story is told mostly in chapter 1 of 1 Samuel. Chapter two starts off with a song of praise written by Hannah as a testimony to God’s goodness. In verse 1, she simply says that her heart celebrates in God Himself. Throughout the rest of the song, she highlights that God is the one who turns things upside down! He makes things that seem awful into good things. He allows proud people to become humbled. Our God is a God of opposites. He takes the hardest things we go through and brings beauty out of them. So much that if let a little time pass and then reflect on those hard times, we’ll come to celebrate Him as well.
Friends, whatever is making you “weep day and night” as Hannah was in chapter one, God is able to turn into a song like Hannah sung in chapter two. Today, take a few moments to think back on the hard things you’ve been through and celebrate how God has brought good things out of them. That’s what He does!
Today's devotional, Pastor Chris talks about grace. We know that we sin all the time, but we can never out sin God's grace. We need to confess our sins to Him and ask for forgiveness. Let us celebrate God's grace and feel blessed to be a part of His family.
Over my years of pastoral ministry, I’ve noticed something about genuine Christ-followers who have been through really tough times. They have hope. It has always been remarkable to me. There is a gentleness about them, a kindness, a hope forged in the fire of trials.
I’ve got a friend named Cal who had this type of character. As I got to know him, he was positive, kind, gentle and grounded, always trusting in God’s plan for his life. It was only after knowing him for several years did I learn that because of a tragic accident, he had spent months upon months in the hospital as a young man. That suffering, and trusting God in the process, built an undeniable and remarkable hope in him.
This week I was reading through Romans, chapter five. Verses three through five tell us that we can rejoice in our sufferings because they produce endurance, which produces character which turns into hope. The process isn’t automatic. But, if we walk in trusting faith as we go through trials and suffering, a beautiful hope in God will be the result.
So, as we are going through this challenging time, I encourage you to do what Paul suggests here in Romans, look at this time with celebration. As we trust our loving Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit will develop a beautiful, gentle, and strong hope in your life.
- Pastor Chris
For today's devotional video, Pastor Chris talks about what we should do when things start to open back up again and we could go back to worshipping together at church. During this unprecedented time, we encourage you all to be working on your relationship with God and spending more time with Him. Let us not lose sight of that once things get back to normal. He should be our number one priority in our lives.
This week I’ve begun studying my way through the book of Romans in the New Testament. It has been a while since I’ve gone through this rich, theological, and practical book in my personal study. And, as I begin in chapter one, I’m arrested by the Apostle Paul’s introduction.
In verse seven he simply writes to the recipients of his letter, “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Amazing. Right at the outset he addresses one of the deepest longings each of us has – to be loved. Before he says anything else in this rich, rich letter, he reminds his readers, and each of us who are Christ-followers today, that we are, first of all, loved by God.
The Holy Spirit wants us to know before anything else He has to say in this powerful letter that we are loved by God. We are accepted in Jesus Christ. We have nothing to prove, nothing to earn, nothing to beg, nothing to strive for in order to gain our Heavenly Father’s love. It is freely given through Jesus Christ at the outset.
Next he points to what we are created to be – saints. Not the saints of Catholic tradition, who have to do over-and-above, and perform miraculous signs to qualify. Nope, “saints” simply means that we are set-apart to God’s purposes. He has a plan for us. All followers of Jesus qualify as saints, whether we feel like it or not. It is true because God says it is true.
Today, my friends, if Jesus is your forgiver and leader, simply celebrate that you are deeply loved by the One who knows you best, and He has called you to be special to Him – a saint!
- Pastor Chris
I'm sure that many of us have plenty of questions throughout this whole pandemic. Sometimes we may think that if we ask God questions, that we're being disloyal. That's not the case at all. He wants us to go to Him and ask Him all of the questions. Again, we are going through a little weird and troubling time right now, but God is always listening no matter what. We need to keep putting our faith and trust in Him because He is in control.
We know that family is important and that we could always go to them when we have troubles. In John 1:12, it takes about becoming children of God. We are all brothers and sisters in Him and we need to put our faith in Jesus Christ. Also, in Galatians 6:9-10, let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Let us lean into the family of God because we are very blessed to be a part of it.
I miss people and that surprises me. As an introvert, I enjoy my times alone. Normally, when I’m out and about with people, I look forward to times I get to be home by myself and… just be alone with my thoughts. These days, like everyone else who works from home, I’m unable to get out because of “social distancing”. I heard someone say that this pandemic is perfect for the nerds out there because there are no sports, no social gatherings and everything is done on computer! But the truth is that we need other people. God designed us this way. He built us to be in community with others.
In Genesis chapter one when God created man, God said (recorded in 1:26), “Let us make man in our image”. Notice that God’s words are plural. He is speaking to himself in the trinity. He exists in community and designed us to be in community with others. So, the desire to connect is natural and healthy. In the New Testament, believers in Jesus are called “family”. They are brought into a community of faith. There are over 40 times in the New Testament where we are commanded to be involved in community with “one another”. This social distancing just makes the need to be with other people more obvious.
This week don’t ignore your desire to connect with others. Even if you are stuck at home, reach out with a phone call, Facetime, text or Zoom and encourage and pray for someone else. We were designed to be in community. Let this necessity to social distance ourselves highlight the opportunity to connect with others. Perhaps it will be the first time you’ve really connected with some people in a long time. And, that’s good because it is how God designed us.
- Pastor Chris
These are indeed uncertain times, but God is good. Very Good. As a church family we're walking through this devotional called "21 Days of God's Goodness" from Monday, April 13, through Sunday, May 3. Nothing is better during uncertain and challenging times to focus on God's character and goodness.
If you'd like to participate, simply download the YouVersion app to your phone or computer and sign-up for "21 Days of God's Goodness" plan. You'll get a Bible reading, devotional, and suggested prayer each day for the next 21 days. Additionally, hard copies are available from your CPC shepherd if you prefer good ol' paper.
- Pastor Chris
We have a devotional video from Pastor Chris that talks about Good Friday. About 2,000 years ago, Jesus was crucified and hung on the cross. The disciples were confused and hopeless. If you look up Matthew
27:57-60, it tells the story about Jospeh taking Jesus' body and putting it on the tomb. It was a tragic loss and we are dealing with loss during this time. Let us continue to pray for one another and be there for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
A couple of years ago, a book by Charles Duhigg called “The Power of Habit” hit the New York Times Best Seller list and stayed there for some time. It struck a nerve as people came to understand the power of our habits in everyday life. Duhigg points out that we develop habits that help us navigate life and… those habits impact us more than we know. The habits are everywhere. From brushing our teeth to driving a car we just do things without really thinking about each step. And, those habits eventually come to help define us.
One of the most powerful habits we can develop, especially in a time of uncertainty and crisis is a daily input from God’s Word. Over the years I’ve talked with may Jesus-followers who know they should spend time in God’s Word, but they just haven’t developed the habit. So, here are some tools that make it “easy” to start and maintain the habit of regular time in the Bible. It doesn’t matter which one you do, just dive in somewhere!
- Pastor Chris
YouVersion/Bible.com - (https://www.bible.com/app) – When you sign-up for YouVersion you can pick a reading plan and it will send you verses to read everyday. With over 100 million downloads, YouVersion comes in every version and platform. When in doubt. Start here.
Blue Letter Bible – (https://www.blueletterbible.org/) Blue Letter Bible is an online study and reading program that helps people not only read but study God’s word. If you want do dive a little deeper, go here.
Biblegateway.com - (https://www.biblegateway.com) – Also another solid online bible study tool.
Daily Audio Bible – This Bible-listening app features plans that allow you to listen through the Bible in a year in about 15-20 minutes a day. It also allows.
Our Daily Bread – (https://odb.org/) This little booklet is published quarterly and contains a little devotional reading for each day and with a focus verse. You can write and order one delivered to your home for free or simply order online. Large print versions are available.
Daily Devotional Podcasts
Be Still and Know Podcast:
(https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Be-Still-Know/Daily-Devotionals) A basic devotional put together by Premier Christian Radio to help
Kerusso Daily Devotional Podcast: (http://kerussodailydevotional.libsyn.com) Short daily devotionals to help you get started in God’s Word and focus on him at the beginning of your day.
Solid Joys Podcast: (https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/emqp8-6036f/SolidJoysDailyDevotional) A daily devotional by John Piper that is a little deeper than the others but very encouraging.
In today's devotional, Pastor Chris talks about the book of Hebrews. We know that Jesus is greater than anything we have in our lives. We sometimes may wonder if He is listening to our prayers. We have to pray in confidence because Jesus wants us to come to Him with our prayer requests. Let us draw near to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy. We encourage you to go to the High Priest and to continue to spend some time in prayer, amen.
Years ago I was fortunate enough to travel to England. We flew all night and arrived just after sunrise. As soon as we arrived in London we headed to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. Out in front of the palace are Royal Guard members standing at their posts. They have classic British uniforms with those tall fuzzy black hats held on with with white chinstraps. They look pretty funny, until you look at their weapons. They have modern semi-automatic rifles, sometimes complete with bayonets. And, they stand at their posts. Tourists come up and take pictures along side them and they never move. They are always watchful and vigilant. I wondered if they ever moved at all, other than marching on and off their post.
Later, I saw some YouTube videos where someone got too close to the palace, stepped over a boundary line, or got in the way of the Royal Guard on patrol. The videos showed guards suddenly shout and move quickly to warn the trespasser back, sometimes brandishing their weapon. They might look pretty harmless, but they take their job of guarding the queen very seriously. You don't want to challenge a palace guard!
This morning I was reading Philippians 4:5-7. It tells us that if we reject our worries and turn to God in thanksgiving, that "the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." The word in the original language for "guard" is the same word used for a military guard. As followers of Jesus we can be guarded by God's supernatural peace, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
How critical this is during these COVID-19 days! As followers of Jesus we get to exchange worry and fear for God's peace. Simply turn to our Father, give Him your worries, thank Him for the things you have and claim His peace for you. Then, you can have His supernatural peace, even in the midst of sheltering in place! Please lean into that today, friends.
- Pastor Chris