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Pastor's Meditations, Uncategorized

The Best Place to Be

I’ve always been a home-body. I prefer it to any other place.  Perhaps you feel the same way.  So leaving home some 16 years ago was no small thing for me.  (March 17, 2004). However if it meant following Jesus, then I was good with that.  Home is anywhere with Jesus… right?  I sincerely pray you feel the same way.  If you can’t say that with any amount of confidence, then this message is for you…keep reading!  If you can say that with confidence, keep reading anyway, it just may be that our Lord will move you from the comfort of your home to His mission in the world.

For many individuals, the government’s telling them to “stay home,” is met with resentment.  Maybe it’s our independent spirit or the possibility that “home” isn’t what it used to be.  Perhaps “home” isn’t cherished in the same way it once was.  Or perhaps we have allowed our homes to be infiltrated with the world; so much so that home is no longer the safe haven it was meant to be.

Have you really thought about your home recently?  What makes your home special to you?  Is there room to make it an even better home?

They say home is where your heart is, so it would seem that our yearning for home is somehow tied to our heart’s desire.  According to the Bible, our heart’s desire is connected to our relationship with Jesus.  To know Jesus, is to love Jesus.  Perhaps that’s a reason why the home is no longer considered a sacred place.  It has become a place where Jesus is recognized but hardly idolized.

I suggest that as we continue to be told to “stay home’’ we consider anew what characterizes our homes.

The barn where my sheep live is 170 feet long; the other day as the cold strong north winds outside were blowing in some subzero temperatures, there was a party going on inside the barn.  The sparrows had been forced inside the barn by the cold blustery winds outside.  But it didn’t seem to matter much to them!  They were inside the barn, and they were having a party!!   They were singing loudly!!! Loud enough that I’m pretty sure God could hear…  I can’t tell you exactly what they were singing, but I can tell you that God heard and He understood!

Let’s suppose that amidst all the uncertainties of the times we’re living in, regardless of inconvenience etc. we ceased our complaining, and used our homes to draw near to Jesus like never before. What if being forced from what we’ve grown accustomed to, only made us praise God a little louder?

What if the world would see… and hear…and what if our Lord would truly bless us as we took our home-based praise into the corona-weary world?   What if your house…our house became a lighthouse focused on praise?

John 1:14 (NIV) 14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word “dwelling” here is literally “tent.”  God set up his tent among us…His home.  We may have various amounts of “feelings” about our homes, and the stability they offer.  God comes to us through His Son and sets up his tent within us. Emanuel—God with us—now the Holy Spirit lives in us.

God is saying to us, find YOUR HOME in ME.  You can leave what’s normal to you, because anywhere Jesus is Lord, you can be at home.  You can leave your home and still thrive.  When we welcome Jesus into our lives we discover that home really is wherever Jesus is.

I invite you to new thoughts about your home.  Perhaps this is a good time to start something new.  Like the birds in the barn, praise can raise and drown the sounds of the storm outside.

Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)  1  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  3  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Psalm 66:1-20 (NIV)1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth! 

2  Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!

3  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.

4  All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.” Selah

5  Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!

6  He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot– come, let us rejoice in him.

7  He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations– let not the rebellious rise up against him. Selah

8  Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;

9  he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

10  For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

11  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.

12  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

13  I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you–

14  vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.

15  I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams; I will offer bulls and goats. Selah

16  Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.

17  I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.

18  If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

19  but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

20  Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Let us Pray,

Lord of heaven and earth, from the mouths of infants You have ordained praise. We praise you for You have made us, You care about us, and You have redeemed us.  Thank-you for each person who reads this, may they find reason to give You praise this day.  May You so move in our hearts and our homes, that we do more than survive this pandemic, may You help us to see as You see, and so equip us for Your purpose and for Your glory.  Guide us through these anxious times, that we may come forth as gold.  All praise and honor to You, in Jesus victorious name we pray.  Amen

Love and prayers,

Pastor Duane

Uncategorized

Advent 2019

Beginning November 24

Christians aren’t immune from the stress and busyness that mark our culture at Christmastime, so “From Humbug to Hallelujah” really says it all. The transformation in the life of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s classic tale “A Christmas Carol” can be the real experience of people this season, thanks to the power of Immanuel… “God with us!”

Uncategorized

AS ONE Worship in Oak Park

 

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On Sunday, July 15, nine congregations from around Minot will meet in Oak Park to worship together as God’s people.

The featured speaker is a former Muslim from Iran. He will be sharing how God changed his life and how He is working in the Muslim people.

Here’s the details:
When: Sunday, July 15, 10:00 AM
Where: Oak Park Band Shell
Pot Luck Lunch afterwards.