10 Years Ago

Coming up in less than a week is the 10 year anniversary of Sept. 11th. For this generation it is a day that will be forever ingrained in our minds. It is a day that we will always remember and a day that we will always remember what we were doing and the place we were at. As for me I was getting up and getting ready for the day and I just turned on the morning news. The first image I saw was a plane flying into the World Trade Center and I thought it was a dramatization. Then the horrific news came across the TV, it was a real event! Horror gripped my heart and sorrow overwhelmed my soul all I could do was sit in a state of shock for a few minutes. I watched with shock as the news rolled in and accusations were made. After a while of watching TV I turned it off and went straight to my knees and prayed to God! I prayed with great tears as our nation had suffered great loss and we were very vulnerable.

Just after that day our nation was longer no anti-God. Our leaders were begging people to pray and ask God for help. How ironic was that? A nation that was striving to throw God out of everything now needed that very same God for help. It was a sight to see our nation for a few weeks turn and recognize God. Churches were filled, people were praying and a nation was united. unfortunately the excitement died down shortly after 9/11! I believe 9/11 happened for a reason, there was a purpose behind that horrific event. But did we respond in the right manner? It has been 10 years since 9/11 and is America the better for it? I have to say I don’t think so. We have turned from God again but this time with even greater vengeance. God is no longer recognized by many of our leaders, God is now just one of many gods that we seek after. Jehovah is no longer the TRUE God in the eyes of many people. Our nation had a wake up call 10 years ago but did we really wake up or did we just arouse for a moment and then roll over and fall asleep again?

As we approach the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 I ask that true believers would use that day to cry out to God in prayer.

II Chronicles 7:14 – And if my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Let us as true believers humble ourselves and fall at the feet of the throne of grace and beg God for our nation. Ask God to help America turn from its wicked ways, ask God to forgive America for our great and grotesque sins, ask God to send a revival, ask God to heal our land from our spiritual drought. We have a great nation but a nation is only great when it seeks God! Pray for America to turn back to God. May God have mercy on America!

Pastor Chris

Listen Up

Nehemiah 8:3c – …and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

What a wonderful phrase we have here in the scripture. It says that people listened with an attentive ear to the scripture! Now this wasn’t just for a short sermon, no way, this went on for the entire morning! As Ezra read from the book of the law the men and women of Israel stood and listened for at least 4 hours while the law was read. Can you just envision that scene. A group of tens of thousands of people standing at attention while the man of God reads from the Word of God! What a scene to picture in our mind.

That got me thinking, what would it take for us today to want to do that? I mean really how many of us would stand while a pastor preached for 4 hours? If we are honest after 45 minutes or so we would be looking at our watches wondering when the pastor was going to wrap it up so we could head home and eat some lunch. It amazes me that they craved the Word of God so much they were willing stand and listen for 4 hours. Not just listen but paying attention and gaining knowledge.  That really brings shame into my life because I complain when a service goes more than 1 hour! I pray that I would crave the Word of God with more zeal and be willing to eat it up every time the Scriptures are opened. May we all desire to listen attentively to the Word of God when it is spoken aloud by the man of God.

Because of the Cross,

Pastor Chris

Moving a King’s Heart

Ezra 1:1-2 – Now in the first year of Cyrus King of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

How amazing and awesome in that? We see here that God used a pagan king to do the will of the true KING! God has a plan in place and He can anyone He desires to accomplish His will. That is amazing!

God is so powerful that He moved the heart of a pagan king to build the temple again in Jerusalem! Not only that but this king also let those who wanted to go and build free to do so and he gave them money and resources to build this temple. WOW! God is amazing! This just shows us that God is always in control and that He is sovereign, meaning God’s will, gets accomplished.

Now, if God could move a king’s heart back in the Old Testament can He do so now? The answer is absolutely. Nothing is impossible with God.  Today more than ever we need the hearts of our leaders to be moved by God. Our leaders today have fallen into a deep pit of sin and despair. They have left common sense and followed the almighty dollar. They have turned evil into good and good into evil! The leaders of today have left God in the dust and have followed after their own lustful desires. But, God can still move their hearts!

 It is going to take us as believers coming together and taking a stand. We must stand in the gap for our leaders. We must lift their names up in prayer on a daily basis, we must pray for their hearts to changed by God, we must pray for God to intervene, we must lay our leaders at the feet of God’s throne. We must always confess the sins of our nation! Our nation is heading down a wrong path and we must repent! We as believers need to come clean and confess our sin as well as the sin of our nation! Ask God to cleanse our nation from: hate, pride, bigotry, selfishness, arrogance, tolerance, homosexuality, lust, and spiritual blindness. Let’s ask God to move a king’s heart! There is still hope because God is still in control!

Pastor Chris

How Long?

Psalm 13:1 – How long will thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Have you ever felt this way before? Have you ever felt like God had forgotten about you? What kind of emotions did you feel? Anger, Wrath, Sorrow, Disappointment, Anxiety, Worry, Doubt, Frustration! These are just some of the emotions we might feel when we think that God has forgotten about us.

But the question comes to mind, ‘Does God forget about us?” The answer is NO WAY! Look at what Hebrews 13:5b says, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ As a child of God we are never forgotten or forsaken. God is always thinking about us! God knows all that goes on in our life. God is always there in our life.

So, why then do we at times feel like God has forgotten about us? Simply put we are the one’s who left God. We walked away from His presence and probably did not realize it until some time later. What might this? First thing to check is un-confessed sin. How long have we gone without confessing to God our sin! We sin every single day and yet many times we will not ask God for forgiveness. Why? We might forget or think it’s no big deal but it is a huge deal. Sin always separates! Sin will separate an unbeliever from God forever and sin will separate a believer from a close relationship to God. We must confess our sin to God so we may have a close walk with Him. Look at I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Get clean so we can get close to God. The next thing we should do is check our trust or faith. Are we trusting in God or ourself? Do we say we trust in God but in reality we just trust ourself? We must be willing to put all our trust in God; when times are good and when times are bad, we must trust in God. Too may times we don’t fully trust in God and that drives us away from God. We will trust God when things go well and everything is sunshine and lollipops! We will cry out God is GOOD! But what happens when a trial hits or difficult times rock our world? Do we still trust God? Many times we don’t, we start to think, ‘What can I do about this?’ We lack that trust in God during all events in our life.  Take a look at Proverbs 24:10 – If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. 

We may cry out and ask God why He has left but has He? Let’s make sure that we have not left God! Let’s confess our sins and trust in Him during all events that come into our life. God is good all the time, even during the darkest days!

Pastor Chris

Forever?

From the eyes of man forever seems like a fairy tale or maybe even a distant dream. We have a hard time wrapping our mind around the word forever. Why? Because we have finite minds they are limited by time and space which makes it difficult to grasp forever. But, according to the Word fo God forever is a real term with real consequences.

Psalm 9:7 – But the LORD shall endure forever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

As we can clearly see, the LORD, Jehovah the self-existent, eternal, creator of all things will endure or last forever. God will never cease to exists! Why? Because He is God and being God He is eternal, He has no beginning and no ending. God will always exist contrary to popular belief. What an amazing and wonderful God we have, the God we can serve will endure forever. That means that God is the same today as He was many years ago. Just think the God that Bible characters worshipped in the Old and New Testament is the same God that we worship today! He doesn’t change and He won’t die, He will endure forever.

God is also preparing His throne for judgment. Why? Because it is appointed unto man once to die and then judgment. Rest assured the judgment of God will be righteous and just, He will not take bribes and He will not be deceived! What exactly are we judged on? We are judged on this one thing, what did we do with God’s free gift of salvation? God through Jesus has given mankind the opportunity to enjoy a free gift of salvation and enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven forever.  We can accept the free gift by admitting that we are a sinner and we need Jesus to rescue us or we can reject this free gift. But, when we stand at judgment those who have accepted the free gift of salvation will live forever with God and Jesus forever in heaven and perfect bliss. Those who have rejected the free gift will be judged as guilty and will suffer separation from God forever in eternal flames and damnation.

There is an amazing God that endures forever! The question is, do you want to spend eternity with Him or without Him? I encourage you to take the time and accept His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Forever is real, where do you want to spend forever?

Pastor Chris

Standing in awe!

Psalm 4:4a – Stand in awe, and sin not:…

To stand in awe literally means to quiver or shake, it also means that we recognize the greatness which God possesses.  Have you ever stood in awe of something? Maybe it was on a vacation and you saw a beautiful scene of nature, maybe it was watching someone do an amazing feat, maybe it was the time you looked up during the night and saw all the stars, planets, and distant galaxies! As you stood in awe how did you feel? Overwhelmed, excited, dumbfounded, proud, insignificant? These are all emotions that come into play when we stand in awe.

So what exactly do we stand in awe over about God? How about we start with the fact that God is self-existent! No one created God, He has always been. How about the fact that God is eternal, He has always existed and will never cease to exist! What about the fact that God is the creator of all things. All that beauty you look at in the world was created by God; oceans, grasslands, volcanoes, glaciers, trees, wildlife, deserts, rivers, canyons, reefs, etc. WOW!  How about the fact God is all-knowing. That’s right God knows all things perfectly! Check out this fact, God is all-powerful! Maybe you might like this better; God is the giver of life! Or how about the fact that God gave man-kind His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for our sin debt! Need more? Okay, how about the fact that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved and enjoy eternal life in heaven! This list could keep going on and on and on and on.

There is an amazing God out there who loves us, cares for us and wants us to know Him personally! Why, because He created us after His very own image. So today take the time to stand in awe of GOD!

Pastor Chris

The Waiting Game

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

As Americans we hate to wait. Why? It takes too long! We want everything now or more like five minutes ago. Waiting can be hard work, but according to this verse waiting is a good thing.

We are told first and foremost to wait on the LORD! Waiting here means that we have a confident expectation in the LORD! We must have confidence that God will do a work in our life, so we wait not with doubt but with a quiet assurance that God will do something. It will take patience but remember God will work in our life.

Next we are to have good courage. Good courage refers to the fact that we must be courageous. We must be courageous as we wait upon the LORD. This courage does not come from ourselves but from the confidence that God will work, it goes hand in hand.

As we wait and show our courage then it says God will strengthen our hearts. Not referring to our physical heart but to our emotions, feelings and thoughts! God will fortify our inner-self so that we will not waver as we wait for God to work in our life!

Then we are told one last time to wait on the LORD. Don’t grow weary in waiting! God will work in your life have patience, draw strength from the Word of God and have a confident expectation in God. The LORD is promise keeping God. So, don’t faint or grow impatience, be assured God will work!

Pastor Chris

My Prayer

Romans 10:1 – Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

What a wonderful verse and what compassion Paul had for his fellow people. Paul had one desire, to see the Israelites get saved! This is the same man who took the gospel to the Gentiles because the Israelites would not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Yet down deep Paul still wanted his nation of people to get saved.

What about us? Do we have this same desire? We might dream of foreign missions and want to give money and support to foreign lands but do we still desire for our fellow American’s to get saved. Let’s switch one word in the verse and make it personal.    Romans 10:1 – Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for FORT CALHOUN, BLAIR, NORTH OMAHA is, that they might be saved.

Is that our heart’s desire? Do we really pray to God and ask Him to save those people around us? It’s easy to pray for souls overseas because we don’t know them personally and we see pictures that bring tears to our eyes. Look around there are people who need Jesus right here where we live! Fort Calhoun, Blair, North Omaha, Arlington all need JESUS! Let’s pray for the salvation of people in our area!

Because of the Cross,

Pastor Chris

The Struggle Within

Romans 7:15 – For that which I do I allow(understand) not: for that I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Have you ever felt this way in your Christian walk? I know that I have! It seems like a constant battle, because there is a constant battle! As a child of God we have a continual battle on our hands. On the one hand we have our old sinful nature that wants to rebel against God and focus just on self! On the other hand we have our new nature that is spiritual and wants to serve and glorify God. The problem? We at times do the things we don’t want to do. We might lash out, we might get angry quickly, we might harbor bitterness, we might be jealous, we might battle with little faith and we hate all those things yet it seems like we do them all the time!

This is the struggle within, we battle between our old nature and our new nature! It is a battle each and every day. The good news is that you are not alone every child of God faces this battle, the bad news every child of God faces this battle! No matter how long you have been a child of God you will have a struggle between the two natures.  There will be times when you have put down the old nature and your new nature is in total control and then there will be times when the old nature creeps in and wins a few battles. To be honest that is what drives me crazy, when I know the old nature has reared its ugly head.

How can we overcome the struggle within?

1) Realize that all Christians have this struggle you are not the only one. So many time when the old nature comes we think we are the worst person alive because we allowed the old nature to win a battle. Your not the worst person in the world, we all have struggles and times when the old nature comes out. The key is to get back up and try again. Do wallow in self-pity, repent and try again!

2)Renew your mind! The mind is a terrible thing to waste, so don’t waste it on the trash of this world! Fill your mind with Godly items and thoughts. Remember to hide God’s word in your heart!

3) Feed the new nature! When the battle begins to rage within you the nature that has been fed the most will win. Why? Because it has the most strength. You want your spiritual nature to win feed it more! Your new nature needs more food than just on Sunday morning! Feed your new nature some spiritual food and just see who will win the next battle.

Pastor Chris

No Strength!

Don’t you just hate that feeling when you get sick and you have strength to do anything! All you want to do is crawl into a ball pull the covers over yourself and sleep the whole day, because your strength is gone. I hate that feeling, I feel helpless and I hate feeling helpless.  The cure is rest and some medicine but what happens when you have no strength spiritually? 

Romans 5:6 – For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Do you realize every person is spiritually weak! Why? Because were born with a sin nature thus we a spiritually weak. But thankfully God had a plan to give us strength, that strength is found in Jesus.  When we had no strength meaning we can not find a way to get into heaven and be in God’s presence on our own. Nothing we could ever do would appease God and allow us into heaven. Be good; There is none righteous, no, not one; Work enough; Not of works lest any man should boast; Everyone goes to heaven; You must be born again.  We as humans have no spiritual strength that can get us into the presence of God. We are WEAK, but thankfully Christ is not.

Christ is not WEAK He is all-powerful, PRAISE GOD!!! In due time Christ died for the ungodly, that would be me and you by the way. At the exact right moment in the course of history God the Father sent Jesus (cf. John 3:16) into this world. Why? To provide us a source of strength. Without Jesus we are nothing, we are just filthy rags in the sight of God. Yet, with Christ we  become joint-heirs to all that Christ has: fellowship with God the Father and eternal life in heaven! What a deal, Christ came to make the weak strong. Christ wants you to become strong. How? By accepting what He did for you. Accepting Jesus as the true Son of God and asking Him to be the Lord of your life. Maybe yu already are a child of God then as Jesus to re-new the joy of your salvation. Get back that spiritual strength. Why be weak when we have Jesus for our SAVIOR! Let the strength of Christ fill you today!

Pastor Chris