I have been watching a video of the 50th anniversary of our church. It was held in September of 1990. A video recorder was set up and taped by Art Hunsberger as they had a potluck (of all things) and a service celebrating all the past pastors and ministries of the church. Some things never change. I saw many of our people who still attend to this day and many who have passed on. Everyone was 30 years younger. It was good to do the math and figure out the age of people at the time. There were lots of stories and fun moments to celebrate.
What a great heritage this church has had. Many will not remember the people of our past but we definitely feel the effects of their sacrifice and love for God’s church. I think of the verse found in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
We all give and serve as unto the Lord. Every life we touch, every ministry we serve in, every class we teach, it is all for the glory of God. We should be grateful for the people who served in our past and keep the story of faith alive by recalling the wonderful things the Lord has done throughout the years. I have said it several times, but I am thankful for a church who loves all families and I can say for me, who loves my children and has given them a great church experience.
It reminds me of a song by Casting Crowns entitled, “Only Jesus.”
Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But Jesus is the only name to remember
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done
'Cause all that really mattered
Did I live the truth to the ones I love?
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever?
I purposely did not mention names because we are all about leaving a legacy of Jesus and not ourselves. All the trophies will crumble but all that really matters is the truth that we lived out. Was my life a proof that there is only One God and did I show that He was irresistible?
It doesn’t stop me from thanking the Lord for specific individuals who got out of the way and let God minister through them. There is a long list of people from our past and today that have impacted many people by their selfless ministry. I want to someday be able to say along with Timothy that I have fought the good fight and have kept the faith through it all. Oh, and by the way, thank you for how you love God with all of your heart and serve Him without abandon.
This Sunday we will celebrate our graduates as they get ready to start a new chapter in their lives. We are going to celebrate 8 High School graduates and around 9 College graduates. What a great group of young people. Each one will receive a gift from our church and be reminded that God loves them and cares for their direction in life. I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
Last Sunday we announced a campaign that will go through July. We have been updating our Family Life Center and celebrating all the ministry that has happened over the past 21 years. Can you imagine with me how many lives have been impacted over these past 21 years? There have been multiple Upward Basketball games, youth and children events, crusades, dinners, services, not to mention all the parties for families of every age. We have been blessed to be able to use this facility for the building up of souls. I think of the verse in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Sometimes the biggest impact is in the smallest gesture and not the biggest event.
For the next few months we are going to be giving toward our Family Life Center in order to complete the whole project. The goal is to collect $54,000 through the month of July. If just 54 families would give $1,000 then we could move past the green carpet and put a gym floor down that will withstand the spills. Some may be able to do a little more or a little less. Whatever the case, let’s work together. We’ve often said that the stains on the floor is a reminder that we use the building for many events. I don’t know about you but some of those stains would be good to see go. By the way, if you are partial to one of them then we could make sure we set it aside for you. Ok, maybe not.
Do what you can and help us reach our goal as we pray for an open door to see another 20 plus years of ministry to families.
What a great day on Sunday as we celebrated the many babies in our church through Baby Day. To think that we were able to dedicate 8 and be blessed with 5 more new births through the month of September. Thank you for being the type of church that supports our families and their ministry to their children. I know that Vickie and I have been so grateful over the years to raise our children in this great church.
I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday as we honor the members who have passed away this past church year, and continue the series, “What We Need from the Cradle to the Grave.”
Joy in Jesus!
And He (Jesus) answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” Matthew 19:4-6.
Graduation is in the air. For the next several weeks our local High Schools will be graduating seniors who are ready to move to the next chapter. There will be many parents with mixed emotions, sitting in the audience, watching what their grown children walk down the aisle before they move into adulthood. It is a necessary day but it is also a reminder that time is moving by fast.
Many couples choose to get married during this season of the year. According to the Bible, it’s a big deal. Genesis talks about it being between a man a woman, and Revelation closes with a wedding between a groom and a bride. There is no way around it, this ceremony of the two becoming one is the foundation of the family God intended from the very beginning. Neither the male nor the female can fully represent all there is about the image of God. We may be created by God and are individual, but we express the fullest image of God when the two halves of humanity complement each other and become one.
This is significant to look at – especially in our world of gender equality to the point of losing our identity as male and female. Bear with me for a moment.
In Genesis 2:18, it states that it is not good for man to be alone. We naturally think that God created male and then He needed to create female to complete the two. Yes and no. When you go directly from the Hebrew, it says, “It is not good from humankind to be at one.” In other words God was saying it is not good for humankind to live in solitude. When adam, or humankind was split apart, we ended up with male and female. I know what you are thinking, “What about the rib?” Good question. The word rib does not appear in the ancient Hebrew text. The word that is there is tsela. It is translated half or side. Don’t miss the significance of this next sentence. Instead of God creating Adam and taking his rib to create Eve, the text says that God created humankind, observed that it was not good for humankind to be alone, so God took a side or half of humankind and created a female (Eve). What remained was male (Adam). In other words, the whole (humanity) that was created in the full image of God (with both the strength of masculinity and the tenderness of femininity) is now the two complimentary halves of humanity: male and female.
One of the reasons for the strong sexual attraction of males and females to each other is the desire for the two halves of humanity to come back together (undoing the splitting of the adam) and reuniting male and females as halves to make the whole, now reflecting the full image of God. That is why the enemy of our soul is attacking this culture with confusion on this matter. If satan can erase the fingerprint and image of God from our foundation, then he will erase the burden of proof and have people believe in partial truths. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.” If that were said today it would say, “What I have defined, let no Supreme Court ever redefine!”
Let’s not forget the ultimate Marriage found in Revelation. Remember, God did not borrow the imagery of groom and bride from marriage. It is actually the opposite. The real Marriage is the one at the culmination of history, the Marriage of the Groom (Jesus) and the Bride (the Church). It takes place at the end of time as we know it. With earthly marriage we are only getting the appetizer before the main course. Earthly marriage is only a glimpse of the true Marriage. I don’t know if we can fully grasp it all. Paul states that it is a profound mystery in Ephesians 5.
So the next time you are at a wedding, think of the image of God expressed in the male and female coming together in this covenantal relationship called marriage. It is a ceremony celebrating a glimpse of the image of God. It matters to God and thus should matter to us. Looking forward to the reception…
Enjoy the beautiful day today as we see the season transition to something we can be out in.
Joy in Jesus!
As I was praying this morning, I was reminded of how big our God is. He wants to lead and guide us to places He wants to minister today. Have you spent time listening and resting in the Lord in order to get in the right frame of mind for God to work through you?
There have been days when I was totally distracted and too busy to see the things the Lord was trying to show me. Ok, yesterday I was immersed in a project that totally rearranged my priorities. When you walk away from things like that, you realize that even though you finished it you are still consumed by it. It is almost as if you need to reboot.
So this is for me more than for you. God desires to do an awesome work today. He will open doors that were not open before. The door that opens is meant for you to walk through. Be attentive and seize the moment He has designed just for you. Trust the Lord who wants to lead you to fruitful days filled with his Spirit. Be faithful and fruitful where God leads you.
Take the time to read the following verses and pray for a willingness to participate in what God is doing all around you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
What a great Mission’s Weekend we had. Paul Jetter did a wonderful job relaying the story of Cuba and the impact God is having on this world area. Continue to pray and seek the Lord as to what He wants to give through you to Global Missions this year (Faith Promise). There may also be some who want to join us for our next Work and Witness trip to Cuba in 2020. We will be sharing details in the weeks to come.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. There will be a small gift for all the mothers who attend services this weekend. Be sure and remember to thank the Lord for our mothers.
May God show you new and fresh ways to serve him today.
Joy in Jesus!
I was looking around during worship on Sunday and I was thinking of the story of each person my eyes came across. It was as if the experiences and victories were flowing out like words on a page. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with joy as I saw many people worshipping the only One who could have ever done such a miracle. We are so blessed to walk this journey of life along with the people God has brought together in this place called Findlay First Nazarene. God continues to do a great work in and through us.
This year we have baptized 31 people. There is a part of me that says, “There are many more to come.” To think of the many stories of victory that we have heard during these services. I love the fact that we have our children join us as we celebrate New Life through baptism. I couldn’t help but see our District Superintendent taking pictures of the great atmosphere that we are experiencing every Sunday.
I want to thank all of those who have helped during Camp ReVamp in recent days. It was a joy to see so many people come together to work on our church and family life center. It is really looking good. Just a few more projects to complete and we will see it ready for many more ministry opportunities.
I have been reminded this week of the beginning days of the Church of the Nazarene. The very first organizational service that occurred on October 20, 1895, “It was with holy awe and sacred thanksgiving that they waited and plighted themselves anew, to Him who had so lovingly called them to each other. They at once began to tell the old-new story and to seek souls to Jesus Christ.” They were asked to leave that location on Main Street in Los Angeles due to “their earnest prayers and triumphant songs” after only 4 weeks. They moved to another location down the street and to a few others before finding a more stable location a few months later.
We are blessed to have such a wonderful facility to meet in each week. It is in this place that we are seeing old and new stories come together to form a brand new work among generations to come. I don’t think we will be asked to leave due to our earnest prayers and triumphant songs, but if we did – we are staying because we are not renting as the very first church was at the time.
One of the other parts of our history that is still a vital part of our church is how we impact the world for Jesus Christ. This Saturday night we are going to meet in the Family Life Center for our Missions Focus we call Faith Promise. It will begin at 5:30pm with a delicious meal with a Cuban flare. Paul Jetter will be speaking to us about World Missions and specifically about what God is doing in Cuba. We plan to take a trip to Cuba in 2020. Come and see our Kinderchoir perform and enjoy a night of seeing how we are impacting over 160 world areas for Christ. It will be a great weekend to celebrate God’s provision.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene