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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:33 AM
    1. The Setting: By Jesus’ Design
    John 8:1-2

  • Three Wise Men, Three Gifts
    Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:00 AM
    Already one week into the New Year. Christmas has come and gone. There are plenty of items in stores to buy at discount prices to pack away for next Christmas. But the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th, which we commemorated this past Sunday, Epiphany, is the most important part of the season; the celebration of Jesus being revealed to the world. The story of the Wise men, which only the Gospel of Matthew records is a story of mystery as found in Matthew 2: 1-12, for it presents questions we cannot answer. Where did they come from? We don’t know for sure but we do know that the Bible presents it as a simple, straightforward story of some Wise Men who seem to come mysteriously out of the east to pay homage to the new born king, and then just as mysteriously they are gone. How many were there? We really aren’t sure. How did they know to follow the star? We are not told.
    The first thing we do learn about the Wise Men is that they were willing to step out in faith and follow wherever God led them. Scholars suggest that the Wise Men of the east had ample opportunity to know the Old Testament’s prophecies. Think for a moment. They were called Wise Men! They were going on a journey, but they really didn’t know where they were going. They were not sure how long they would be gone. And once they got to their destination, they were going to worship the king. But what king? They did not know. Down through the centuries men and women of faith who have been willing to respond to the call of God have heard voices of doubt and discouragement again and again, and yet they continued to believe in God to continue on their faith journey. God was leading these searching Wise Men to Jesus-and He continues to do the same thing today. God always initiates our desire to search for Him, and His desire is that it always ends with us bowing down and worshipping His Son. Matthew 2:11b, says, ‘Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and of myrrh.” Gold, one of the rarest and most expensive metals, representing the wealth and power of a king. Gold pointed to His majesty-for He is King. Frankincense was used in the temple worship of the Lord. He is truly God born in a human body. Frankincense pointed to His deity-for He is God.
    Myrrh, a kind of perfume made from the leaves of a rose, but when mixed with vinegar, it became an anesthetic. After a person died, myrrh was used to anoint the body and prepared it for burial. 
    A star led these Wise Men to Jesus and they worshipped Him when they found Him. They gave precious gifts that pointed to His majesty, His deity, and His humanity. May we find that same truth when the Holy Spirit knocks on the doors of our hearts, and may we worship Him when we come to the cross.
    Darlene Novotny
    Interim Pastor
    First Christian Church

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2019 12:00 AM
    I remember reading a story about American football coach Vince Lombardi’s incredible sense of focus. Apparently, one time he was so focused on football that he walked out of the locker room without his pants. He forgot to put on his pants!
    I doubt it ever occurred to anyone to say, “Hey Coach, remember to put your pants on.” Sounds like silly counsel for a grown man. Getting dressed is an elementary concept, after all.

  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018 8:00 AM
    The gift of the First Christmas was not wrapped the way the world expected either. The Jews wanted a mighty warrior with a sword in one hand and a king’s crown on the other. But instead, God sent his greatest gift- an innocent, defenseless, vulnerable baby, wrapped in cloths, not wrapping paper. Unfortunately, because God came to us wrapped in a human body and not on his majesty and glory a lot of people at the first Christmas missed him. The gift was not wrapped as they expected. There was no special welcome, no special preparations, no grand entrance and in fact there wasn’t even room for him in the inn, nor a real bed to sleep in. The Son of God was wrapped in rags and lying in a manger, a feed trough. How many things do we miss because we overlook them because it doesn’t look the way we wanted? Just imagine focusing on the wrapping paper from a Christmas gift and treasuring the wrapper and missing it and throwing away the gift. How crazy would that be?! 

  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018 8:00 AM
    Exercise is good for the body, mind and soul!  As I write this, I have just finished taking a refreshing long walk with my wife.  Exercise has served me well over the years, when I have taken the time to exercise.  I have continually found it to be a rewarding and refreshing experience.  But, when I have gone long periods without suitable exercise, my health has always deteriorated, always!

  • Count On It
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018 8:00 AM
    In November of 1974, the United States having already experienced shortages of gas, and even toilet paper faced another crisis; a sugar shortage. This was horrible timing for the holidays as our Christmas traditions included the ever-present cookie, fudge or whatever favorite your family enjoyed. As a boy, this was monumental because every year my dear grandmother would spend hours making each of her grandchildren a “goodie” bag filled with her wonderful creations. As this heavy burden weighed on my mind, we went to visit my other grandmother for Thanksgiving. Grandma Hood lived in the area of where Branson Missouri now stands, and there was a small grocery store we would visit as supplies ran low. Imagine my surprise when we approached that little store, and the sign in the window read “Sugar-On Sale!” 

  • Sugar Beets In The Dark
    Tuesday, November 27, 2018 5:00 PM
    Back in my late 20’s, I would sometimes ride my bicycle to work. It was a little more of a challenge when the shift started an hour or two before sunrise. My wife needed the car, so it was either get there by bike or get there on foot. No, the bike did not have headlights; and, no, I did not use duct tape to secure a flashlight to the handle bars. But there were street lights for stretches along the way. 

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2018 10:23 AM
    The chaos of the Christmas shopping season begins this Friday. People will race around frantically to make sure everything is prepared. Gifts will be wrapped, trees will be decorated, ornaments hung, lights strung, desserts baked, cards sent, events attended, and memories made. And, before we know it, the chaos of the season will have come and gone. We’ll cleanup the wrapping paper covering our living room floors feeling a little conflicted, as we’re both sad and relieved that Christmas is over. 

  • What Is Our First Calling?
    Tuesday, November 13, 2018 2:52 PM
    Have you read Mark 3:13 before? I have read and re-read this verse, but not with the same intensity as I have read it recently. The verse says; “And He goeth up into a mountain, and He calleth unto Him whom He would;and they came unto Him.” The Lord called them to Him, not a task or a trip or a ministry. He called them unto Him. Why? He wanted to instill the message in them that was to be presented to the world.  He wanted to build a secure foundation in them for the work He sent them out to do. He wanted to empower them with the Holy Spirit. He wanted them prepared for whatever they might meet out there where He was sending them.

  • Listening?  Just listening?  Uh, I’m not so sure about that!
    Tuesday, November 6, 2018 4:09 PM
    “Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”  (Psalm 51:16-17 “The Message” translation)

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