Friday, October 30, 2015

You Can’t Turn Back His Clock - November 1st

Messages Notes by Pastor Ewings on a sermon based on Malachi 4:1-3
Daylight savings time is an answer to prayer for all who feel like they’re not ready to face the harsh realities of a new day.  Do you appreciate an extra hour of sleep?  Many Alaskans consider daylight savings time to be irrelevant at best and a nuisance at worst.  Some feel that it isn’t worth the hassle to adjust the clocks twice a year—Alaskans don’t receive that much of a benefit due to the rapid change of the seasons anyway.  Others believe that it’s best for our economy to stay as close as possible to the schedule of the Lower 48.  No matter what your opinion is about daylight savings time, if you hope to keep up with the rest of the world, you’d better spring forward and fall back.
Until fairly recently, though, people throughout the world gave little or no thought to measuring the time of day. People simply made the most of the daylight hours, working from dawn till dusk.  In those days, most people cared little about the exactness of time. In 1790, for example, fewer than 10 percent of Americans had a clock of any kind and most of those clocks had no minute hand.  Today, it seems, you can’t escape a clock’s menacing countenance.  Its face stares at you, ticking the seconds, minutes and hours away, laughing the whole time with its steady, “tick, tock, tick, tock.” You can’t even pull out your cell phone without being badgered by a clock.  While we can’t discount the time ticking away, it seems there is a clock we often ignore: God’s time.  As we consider today especially that the Lord will come to judge the living and the dead, it’s time to consider how we’ve been spending the days of grace our God has given us. 
In today’s Bible reading, the prophet Malachi gives us an announcement from God so that we can adjust our lives accordingly. Malachi’s message is twofold: the same sun will come out but will have differing effects: the arrogant will be burned but the righteous will be healed.  The day Malachi mentioned is no ordinary day, but Judgment Day, when the Lord will return and hold a trial for every person who’s ever lived.  There won’t be time to turn back the clock, to change time zones or file an extension.  When He comes, time’s up!  As surely as the sun rises, the Son is coming.
Malachi brings to light the end of time when the day of eternity dawns and the Son of God bursts brightly upon our world. There will be those who think they are safe from the Son’s rays of glory and holiness because they’re as good as anyone else in the world.  The prophet makes it known that those arrogantly undisturbed about warnings against sinful behavior and sinful pride, will be burned. “Surely, the day is coming!” God warns then and warns now.  The Son has power to burn.
The same Son who has the power to burn also has power to heal.  The wings, or rays, of the sun of righteousness stretch over the world searching to touch the darkness of despair and bring the saving light of Christ’s love to people clouded with guilt.  What sinful pattern of thinking or behaving needs to be burned away from your life?  What heartache do you have that needs to be healed?  Look to the light of your Savior’s promises and get some more sun.  He will brighten your days on this earth and enlighten your way to eternity.

Lesson 1 - Malachi 4:1-3
Lesson 2 - Hebrews 9:24-28
Gospel - John 5:19-24

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Fourth Man in the Fire - October 25th

Message notes by Pastor Ewings on a sermon based on Daniel 3:16-28
What a dramatic story this is! Imagine three Jewish men daring to defy the most powerful ruler of the world, and daring to be different from the thousands of people in Babylon! Although this event took place over 4,000 years ago in far-off Babylon, it teaches us lessons for our lives now.
It’s important for us to learn a little bit more about each of the characters in this account.





The Fourth Man in the Fire:

While Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced the fury of the king and the furnace, you and I face fires of a different sort in our lives.  Christians should expect the furnace of persecution if they live their Christian faith openly. The world hates us, and Satan sees to it that the furnace gets stoked up seven times hotter. Of course, the three Jews could have made excuses and gone along with the crowd. Instead, they stood with one another and with the Lord, trusting God to glorify Himself either by their life or by their death. Christian, you can expect persecution, too.
God will never forsake His Own when they go through fiery trials. He may not keep us out of the furnace, but He will go with us and bring us through for His glory. When the king looked into the furnace, he saw four men—he declared that the fourth man in the fire “looked like a son of the gods.”  His words may have expressed more than he understood;  it is possible that this fourth man in the furnace was Jesus Christ. Christ walked with them; He loosed their bonds; He kept them from being harmed; in fact, they did not even smell of the fire when they came out.

These men were better off for having gone through the fire. For one thing, it gave them the opportunity to walk with the Lord and face the flames with Him. Sometimes it takes danger and trial to know how near the Lord is to us. Their experience glorified God before others and gave them the opportunity to display their faith in their day and ours.  As you face the flames and fires of the furnace in your life, know that you are never alone; the Lord is with you everywhere you go

Lesson 1:  Daniel 3:16-28
Lesson 2:  Revelation 14:6,7
Gospel:     Mark 13:5-11

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Learning from the Lepers: Gratitude & Greed - October 18th

Message notes by Pastor Ewings on a sermon based on 2 Kings 5:14-27
There are really only two ways in life that we learn a lesson: our mental faculties either acknowledge and accept what is beneficial or they recognize and reject what is harmful.  We learn to imitate what is good and to avoid what is bad.  As we seek to grow in our faith today, we learn a lesson from a couple of uncanny characters.  The Bible introduces us to Naaman, a heathen from the pagan nation of Aram, who had leprosy.  We also meet up with “the servant of Elisha, the man of God” named Gehazi who contracted leprosy.  Through the lives of these two leprous men, the Lord seeks to teach us a lesson about gratitude and greed. 
A few words about leprosy are in order.  This disease is caused by bacteria which attack peripheral nerves in the skin and in the upper respiratory tract.  It kills the body from the inside out.  If left untreated, leprosy disfigures the skin as it slowly eats away at living flesh.  If left untreated for a long time, leprosy can damage the body so badly that parts begin to fall off—like finger tips and the end of the nose and the tops of the ears and the ends of the toes. 
A few words are in order about Naaman, as well.  This man was the general of the army, but not Israel’s army. Naaman was from Aram, a country about 50 miles north east of Israel. Israel and Aram were not nice neighbors.  They regularly attacked each other and took home captives.  Naaman had acquired a young Israelite girl as a maid for his wife.  They must have been good to the young girl because when Naaman got leprosy, the girl told Naaman’s wife about a prophet in Israel who could cure him.  In the verses which precede our reading, the prophet Elisha had prescribed a strange treatment for the general: just wash in the Jordan river seven times, and you’ll be cleansed.  The arrogant warrior scoffed at such a ridiculous request:  “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” he cried.  And yet this man, after displaying both physical and spiritual leprosy, did what the prophet had said and was immediately cleansed.  His life was forever changed. 
It is then that another man steps onto the scene: Gehazi.  After hearing of Naaman’s generous offer which Elisha turned down, Gehazi was indignant.  Elisha had no wealth, only God’s Word, and did not want to do anything that would cause Naaman to think that he could buy the blessing of God.  Ah, but Gehazi, a servant of the Church, had other ideas.  He knew how to make greed look good.  While Naaman had been healed of his leprosy, the real leprosy in Gehazi’s heart was just beginning to show itself.  Leprosy of the soul kills just as surely as leprosy fn the body.
Paul writes, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  This is precisely what happened to Gehazi and what the Lord allows to happen to many who are not content. 
May we as God’s people learn an important lesson from each of these lepers.  God’s grace is completely free; there is nothing we can do to earn it or buy it.  He has made our sins as white as snow!  In thanksgiving, let us live gratefully and generously as we share the free Gospel with many.

Lesson 1:  2 Kings 5:14-27
Lesson 2:  Hebrews 3:1-6
Gospel:  Mark 10:17-27

Friday, October 9, 2015

Build Your Family on God's Foundation - October 11th

Message Notes by Pastor Ewings for a sermon based on Genesis 2:18-24
At the end of Genesis chapter one, God said that His creation was very good – that it was perfect.  The second chapter of Genesis details just how God made the perfect marriage. It was the Lord God who said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Creation was almost done, but there was something missing.  It was not good for man to be alone; that is, God’s creation was not perfect yet.  Marriage is the gift of a loving God to supply what was lacking.
Just as “not good” could be misunderstood as an understatement, when God said, “I will make a helper suitable for him,” don’t think God had in mind for Adam someone marginally acceptable.  What do you get for the perfect man?  The perfect woman.  As a suitable helper, Eve wasn’t identical to Adam; she was his complement.  God designed marriage as a beautiful interdependence between husband and wife.   
Our society, stained with sin, doesn’t always see the beautiful relationship that exists between the sexes.  There is a movement to reject any differences between men and women.  We live in a world that rejects God’s plan for everything in life, but especially when it comes to marriage—the foundation of the family. The Bible teaches that our sexuality, the differences and similarities, our spiritual equality and the different roles are gifts from a loving God.  Not only were these are a blessing to the first husband and wife, but they are a blessing to every Christian spouse today.
In these verses we find the definition of marriage: mutually commitment, freely given and freely received.  A man and a woman will leave their parents and cleave to each other.  God calls a married couple one flesh.  The unity is wonderfully expressed in sexual happiness between a husband and wife, but it doesn’t stop there.  There is a unity of life interests, most importantly that the Christian married couple shared a common eternal inheritance.  There is a caring love—Paul describes it like loving your own body—and he quotes Adam’s proposal poem as proof.  When two people have become one flesh, when there has been a mutual commitment, we can say with Christ, “They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matt 19:6).  Marriage is God’s idea.  Build your family on His foundation.

Lesson One:  Genesis 2:18-24
Lesson Two:  Hebrews 2:9-11
Gospel:          Mark 10:2-16

Friday, October 2, 2015

Go! - October 4th

Pastor Flunker will be leading our worship so there will be no Messages Notes from Pastor Ewings.  We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Lesson 1:  Isaiah 6:1-8
Lesson 2:  Romans 1:8-17
Gospel:     Mark 16:15,16 This will also serve as the sermon text.