Favorite Verses

1. John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2. John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

3. Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...

4. 2nd Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnes...

5. Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."






From the Pastor's Desk

“God Is Our Refuge” - Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle
Suggested Scripture Reading: Luke 10: 38-42

The mistake Martha makes is such a subtle one - and we are so susceptible to it as well-intentioned believers.  We get busy doing the things we think we should be doing for God, and neglect the art of actually listening to him.  As a result, we may end up becoming more impressed by our service than by his goodness.  We may fall back into legalistic attitudes rather than joyfully living in grace.
There are times when we will be called to act.  We are reminded many times throughout the Scriptures that faith without actions is dead.  But if it is our intention to serve Jesus, we do well to stop and slow down long enough to hear him.
Psalm 46 opens by referring to God as a refuge.  God goes on in this Psalm to say to his people, “Be still and know that I am God.”
When Jesus called out to people, he said that he would provide them with rest - that his burden was light.  He was going to show them a new way - the way of grace - so different from the way of law that they were living by.
Some time ago, I remember reading a short reflection by a Christian woman who related a time in her life when she could sense that God was near, and she was certain he wanted something from her, and so she kept putting him off.  After all, she knew herself to be a sinner, and doubtless God wanted to correct her or tell her something that she should be doing but wasn’t.
The days and weeks went on and her awareness of God did not diminish.  Finally she could ignore God no longer.  Exasperated, she came to him in prayer and asked what he wanted.  What he wanted was to give her something - she instantly felt his love and peace and was reminded of his grace.
I can relate to her experience.  Sometimes when I have been neglecting my relationship with Jesus, I get to feeling guilty and overwhelmed by the feeling I’m letting God down.  That makes me less willing to spend time with him.  But when we return to Him in prayer, when we hear the gospel again, we are reminded that our God is a refuge, not a labor camp.  He is the source of our strength.
It was Mary, not Martha, who was becoming stronger in service that day to our Lord.  Jesus had to remind Martha that only one thing is necessary for life - and that is our connection with God - with Jesus.
In His Grip,



From the Pastor's Desk:

-Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” -Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
Where is “The Kingdom of Heaven”? Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven has come near, but my vision must be poor, because most days I’m not seeing it. Instead, what I see around me is the kingdom I expect to see - the same kingdom I saw yesterday. It’s a kingdom that runs on gasoline and wealth and power and popularity. It’s a kingdom of noise and busyness and anxiety. It can be happy and filled with pleasures, but it can also be dreary, weary, and sad. Here in America, we find our kingdom filled with stuff, but somehow more stuff doesn’t bring more peace.
Maybe Jesus was telling the people that He [Jesus] was near - and where Jesus is, there is the kingdom of heaven. I could go with that, because I have never known peace like the peace that comes when I’m being intentionally present to Jesus. When you have a dear friend with you throughout the day, it makes things brighter. But I can’t see Jesus. And as to feeling Jesus’ presence - well, sometimes I do, but more often than not I don’t. I’m usually under the illusion that I am alone (despite the fact that I’m surrounded by the miracle that is life).
Perhaps some things are hard to see - not because they’re far away - but because they’re so incredibly close. How often do you see your nose during the day - when not looking in a mirror? Is it possible that we can’t see the kingdom of God because there is NO distance whatsoever between us and God? That divide has been conquered - Christ and His Kingdom are literally at hand.
If you feel far from God - if you have a hard time seeing or feeling God’s kingdom and presence - you’re not alone. But Jesus doesn’t strike me as a liar. His voice has always sounded like the voice of a true king, calling us to turn from the insanity that constitutes so much of our “visible” kingdom.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”



From the Pastor's Desk:

“Everything New”
-Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
-Revelation 21:5 (NIV)
Some days it’s really hard to get out of bed. In the winter, we can be especially reluctant to leave behind the soft warmth of pillows and comforters and rest in order to put our feet on the cold floor and get going.
Now, you have probably had a day or two when you wake up like a child on Christmas morning. But those other days? You wake up and are met by a weight of stress or fear or regret. You have to face the grind again. You have responsibilities and people who are depending on you. Or perhaps you don’t, and you struggle to find a reason to get out of bed at all.
Have you ever fantasized about waking up as a brand new person, with a brand new life? Have you ever fantasized about being able to leave behind the baggage that is at the foot of the bed as soon as that morn-ing alarm goes off?
Well, that is actually what Jesus wants for you, too. I know it’s hard for us to wrap our poor broken minds around this fact, but Jesus is utterly in love with us, and wants to free us from that baggage and make us new. That’s what the cross is all about. At the cross, Jesus invited all of our sin to be unloaded on Him, so that He could do away with it and give us a new start.
In Christ, we are completely forgiven, and the process of sanctification begins. Though our debt has been cancelled by Christ, we don’t miraculously change overnight and wake up without the scars and the habits and the mess. Sanctification (being made new) is a process, and it requires some faith on our part.
So, when we get up in the morning, and it’s really hard to get out of bed, where does our mind go? All too often, I start thinking about myself - my shortcomings - the things I have to do. It’s all Matthew. It’s surviv-al. I am my own boss, and my boss is terrible.
But right at hand is the Shepherd, and His words are life and peace and helpful. The Shepherd is not like me - not an anxious little manager, but an incredibly loving visionary who will accomplish his goal of making all things new - of making things the way they were always meant to be. And all too often I ignore Him, and let the boss dominate the conversation.
Hush! Listen! Jesus says “I am making all things new.” Jesus is not going to demolish the building, He’s going to restore it to its original luster and design. That’s you. You’re the One God wants to make new. He’s not going to turn you into someone else, He’s not going to remove you from this world altogether (at least, not yet). That’s what He wants to do, at least, if you’re willing to trust Him to do it.
So - will we give Jesus the first Word in the morning, and the last Word at night, and hear Him throughout the day? His voice is much more pleasant, healing, and helpful than the static I usually listen to. And, no matter what I may feel like, I can trust that God is at work behind the scenes keeping His promises - and renovating us.



From the Pastor's Desk:

December 2016
She is pregnant, unwed, and very uncomfortable. He is anxious, clinging desperately to his faith in God in the midst of a nightmare situation. The road before the young couple is terrible. There will be no inn availa-ble to them; no relatives willing to surrender a bed to these black sheep of the family. There is no light but a distant star; no hospital, only a feeding trough in a cave. In the midst of the judgment, the uncertainty, the pain, the fear, and the loneliness, Christ is born to Mary and Joseph, and the world's long wait for the Messi-ah is over.
This is certain: Jesus didn't come in the midst of an ideal situation. God didn't wait for the world to be a won-derful place before he entrusted us with His Son. Into the mess, into the fray, into the filth came the baby Savior. God's love... it's reckless, isn't it? Good thing He's God! Otherwise this plan never would have worked!
We look around today, more than two thousand years later, and things are still messy. As always, we face an uncertain future, and the world is still plagued by conflict and war. Then, we look within, and find conflict and war within us. We are not who we want to be. We get frustrated with our failings and with the failings of others.
Yet all of this didn't stop Christ from arriving in Bethlehem those years ago, and it does not prevent His work-ing in our lives today.
Advent is a time of preparation. We’ll probably do a little decorating and do a little cleaning in anticipation of guests and visitors. But our homes will never be spotless; our spirits will not be perfect by Christmas. Soon-er or later we will realize that we cannot earn Christ's blessing; we simply invite Him to come. Not later. Not “tomorrow.” Now.
God's not afraid of the dirt and the doubt and the darkness. He never was, He isn't now, and He won't be tomorrow. What are we waiting for? Pray to Him now. Worship Him now. Receive Him now. There is no place He can't brighten. He is all a burning love and a joy. What do you need more than Him?
Come in, Jesus, into the mess and the nightmare. Please, come once again into the lives of broken and fearful people. Please, enter into our darkness and despair, and be born in us.
Thank You, God, for showing us how far You will travel, and how much You will give.
Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear friends.
In His grip,



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