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Pastor's Word

Choose your friends wisely

We are continuing February looking at relationships. This week I want to look at our relationship with those outside of our families, which brings us to the question. Is it okay for Christians to have a relationship with non-Christians? To answer that question we have to look at what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-15
We all have people we know who are not Christian, and do not have the same beliefs that we have. Some are good people, so it is easy to be friends and to have a close relationship with them. Paul warns against this type of friendship or fellowship. Why? Paul warns against this type of fellowship because it can be easy to slip back into our old sinful lifestyle. People are easily influenced by those they are close too. We must continually guard against this.
However, as a Christian we need to witness to those old friends so that we may lead them into a relationship with Christ. How do you do that? By allowing others to see the change that has taken place in your life. Once you enter into a relationship with Christ your life should be different. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 This change or transformation should be noticeable, and your old friends should see a difference in your life. This will allow you to witness more effectively than just the words you may speak. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Pastor Paul Cook


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Marriage Relationship is God Ordained

God created man for His fellowship, but soon realized that the man He had created needed someone to make him whole. The bible say's in Genesis chapter 2 that God took a rib from the man and made a woman. This was the beginning of a unique relationship between a man and woman. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24
 
The relationship between a husband and a wife can be challenging, but also very rewarding. Some studies show that people who are happily married actually live longer than people who are single or divorced. A happy marriage requires love, and a commitment to work through the difficulties that your marriage is bound to face. Couples that pray and worship together, I believe, stand a greater chance of surviving. Commit this week to your relationship with your spouse, and may God bless you and your marriage!
 
Pastor Paul Cook


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Make Children a Priority

With the first month of 2019 in the books we begin February looking at relationships. As adults we are busy, and we are pulled in many different directions. Sometimes we just need to slow down, and take a moment to work on our relationship with others. One relationship that sometimes gets ignored is the relationship between a parent and a child. Our children need to be higher on our priority list. Unfortunately, we sometimes let them fall down the list and allow work and other activities to take a higher priority in our lives. As parents we have an obligation to care for and love our children and to spend time with them. Parents in Jesus day understood the importance of bringing their children to Him.
 
"Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." And He took them up in His arms, laid Hishands on them, and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16

Whether it is with Jesus feeding the five thousand through the help of a young boy, or Jesus as we see in this passage encouraging the children to come to him, it is evident that Jesus loved children. It is important that we bring our children to Christ today maybe more so than any other time in history. As a parent our relationship with our children is greatly improved when Christ is in the center of that relationship. Show your love for your children this week by taking them to church and introducing them to Jesus.
 
Pastor Paul Cook


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Limitless Love

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 God is Love. His love is so great it cannot be fully comprehended. We can only imagine the “greatness of God.”

As we near the end of the first month of 2019 it is my hope and prayer that each of us experiences “the fullness of God.” In order to do that, this passage of scripture tells us that we must allow Christ to dwell within our hearts. We do that when we accept the free gift of salvation offered upon the cross. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 The gift of God’s love is limitless and available for all!

Pastor Paul Cook



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Limitless Wisdom

We live in a tech age where the answer to nearly any question is right at your fingertip. Most adults and many children carry a little pocket computer with them at all times in the form of a “cell phone.” Is this good or bad? I believe that when it comes to spiritual questions we really need to be careful what source we use for the answers. When you ask Google for answers to spiritual questions you get many different responses. Which answers are right?  Google may be a good source for some things, but when it comes to life and death questions we should be careful. If you were to ask Google “How do I get to Heaven” you may find the correct answer, but you will also find many wrong answers as well.

The correct answers to spiritual questions can only be found in scripture. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 The Bible is the Inspired Word of God and all Truth can be found in the pages of that Book. If you want to know “How do I get to Heaven” go to the God for the answer, not Google.  

Pastor Paul Cook



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Limitless Grace

Are there limits to God's Grace? Looking at Old Testament Scripture some may argue that there may be. There are many accounts of God's wrath being poured out on sinful man. An example of such wrath is in Genesis 13:10-13 when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord." I would argue that God's punishment is an example of His Love for mankind, and not limits to His Grace.

Grace is undeserved, unmerited, favor found in God's goodness toward those who have no claim on, nor reason to expect, His divine favor. The principal manifestation of God's grace has been in the form of a gift. Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Salvation is not our achievement, but it is a gift from God. That truth is made stronger by contrast. It is 'not of ourselves' and "not of works."

Salvation is indeed the most extraordinary expression of God's limitless grace.

Pastor Paul Cook



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Limitless Faith

As we start the New Year it is my hope that each one of us go into this year with limitless faith. Trusting God to see us through the good and bad that each of us are bound to face this year. Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This is the biblical definition of faith. We may not be able to see God standing with us when we face difficulties in life, but we must have faith and know that He is there.
 
Instead of facing challenges alone this year we need to call upon God to help us through the difficulties we are bound to face. Too often we try to face challenges alone.  We may know that God is there, but we want to keep Him in a box only getting Him out when times are difficult. God wants us to trust Him in the good and the bad...Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." 
 
I hope everyone has a year filled with limitless faith!
 
 
Pastor Paul Cook


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New Year's Resolutions

As this year nears an end people are already looking forward to next year. New Year’s resolutions are already being talked about, and people are making plans for the New Year. Most New Year’s resolutions are focused on self… eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, save money, find a new job, and the list goes on and on. We live in a self-centered society, and people are so focused on themselves that they even spend time taking pictures called “selfies.”

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with trying to be healthier, but our spiritual health is equally important. How many people make a New Year’s resolution to… go to church more, read the bible, spend more time in prayer, or walk closer with the Lord? Let’s try something different this year and put God ahead of self when making our resolutions!

People are busy, and it’s hard to find time to take care of ourselves both physically and spiritually. We must make an effort to take care of both. Diet and exercise are important for our physical health. Going to church and spending time helping and encouraging one another are vital to our spiritual health. My hope is that everyone would make a resolution to attend church this year. Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” I hope everyone has a Blessed New Year!

Pastor Paul Cook



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Live Like You Were Dying

What does it mean to live like you were dying? If you knew that you only had one day to live, what would you do? Unfortunately, none of us know our appointed time to die. In the book of Hebrews it says “and as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Tomorrow could be that day? Tim McGraw recorded a song in 2004 “Live like You Were Dying” after his dad; Tug McGraw was hospitalized with a brain tumor on March 12, 2003. It was revealed that he had cancer. He was given three weeks to live by the doctors. His dad survived nine months passing January 5, 2004. The message of the song was to live life with a purpose, and to live with no regrets. When my appointed time comes and I stand before the judgement seat of Christ I want to be able to say that I lived my life with a purpose and that I have no regrets. What is your purpose in life? I figured out that my purpose is more than being a good person, good pastor, or a good husband and parent. My purpose is the same as all followers of Jesus Christ, and that is to live like Jesus lived. To Love God and to share the Love of Christ daily with everyone I come in contact with. This command came from Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This isn’t always easy, but as a Christian, people are watching the way we live our lives. Live the days you have left with a purpose. Live Like you were Dying!

 

Pastor Paul Cook



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Instruction is Vital

Instruction begins in the home, and as Christians we must teach our children about the Lord. I love a church that has a good youth program or children’s ministry, but ultimately it is the job of the parents to teach their children about the Lord. The following passage of scripture was given by God to the children of Israel, but you could easily replace Israel with the word “Church.” Understanding that the church is the body of believers and not the building in which you meet. Parent’s we are the church and it is our duty to instruct our children! As you read may particular attention to verse 7.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

 

Pastor Paul Cook



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