June 22, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“For it is God who works in you to will and to do for His good pleasure”  Philippians 2:13

I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse.  It’s incredible to me to think that God would desire to work in me.

Let’s put this into perspective.  Suppose a very wealthy, famous person, meets you and decides that he or she wants to become your mentor.  They promise to teach you the skills they have learned and they guarantee that if you will cooperate with them there is nothing to stop you from being successful in everything you do, and in addition, all your needs would be met.  You will never have to worry about anything ever again. Would you take the opportunity?

I’ll bet, if we’re honest, we would all be tempted to entertain such an arrangement, but (if you’re like me) we would have to get over one hurdle first.  We would want to have an answer to this question:  Why me?  I’m nobody special.  What’s the catch?

Beloved (to use the Apostle Paul’s words), hasn’t this already happened to those who have repented of their sins and call Jesus Christ Lord?  God, your Creator, has poured His life into you when you trusted in His Son.  He is the living water in your soul.  His Holy Spirit lives in you, He works in you, ok, He’s mentoring you right now, enabling you, so that, according to His will, you can do what He’s asked you to do, all to His good pleasure.  And the promises?  He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5).  All your needs will be met (Matthew 6:28-33).  He will be your guide in life (Psalm 32:8).  And of course, the life changing transformation of being made into the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-30).  Ok, let’s keep going…Romans 8:31-39 sums it all up for us.  This is incredible stuff! I hope you take the time to mediate on these verses and bow your heart in thanksgiving to the God who gave it all.

Now, I know, there are times when we can feel God working in us, and it’s great!  Then there are times, especially when we feel like we’ve blown it, that we don’t feel it.  But let me assure you, either way, if you have Christ, then He’s working in you.  The good times when you feel His pleasure are a gift from Him. The times when you’re not so sure, whether He’s being silent, or maybe even letting you feel conviction because of some indwelling sin, that’s a gift from Him too. What we need to do is learn to respond to Him at all times with thanksgiving. And, in the case of it being conviction, be willing to repent. He is willing and doing in you, according to His good pleasure.  And that’s a better deal than any famous person could ever offer you.

Here’s a song I love to listen to and sing along to.  I hope it blesses you.

With Christian Love,
PF

June 16, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Therefore God also Highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name: that at the name of Jesus, every  knee will bow in heaven, in the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”       Philippians 2:9-11

In last Sunday’s message, we spent a considerable amount of time considering the two words that kick off verse 9 of Philippians 2.  Those words: “Therefore God”.

Those two words are cemented in the character of God.  They tell us that God is responding to something.  In Philippians 2, we saw that God is responding to Christ’s humility.  How He did not consider Himself as better than us, although He had every right to.  Instead, He made Himself of no reputation and became a servant.  Therefore, God highly exalted Him.

The second place we saw those same words was in Romans 1.  Only this time, God was responding to man’s prideful rebellion.  How man, in his sinful state, rejected the knowledge of God and refused to worship Him as God, but rather worshipped and served himself.  Therefore, God gave them up.  He gave them up to their own sinful lusts.  Sad, but true.

You may remember why this is so.  It’s because God, even though He is rich in mercy, will never deny Himself nor His word.  God is faithful to all His promises.  And when sinful man refuses to humble himself before God, God will respond according to His character and His word, and that’s bad news for that kind of man.  But the opposite is true as well.  For the man who will humble himself before God, God’s faithful promise is that, according to His character and His word, He will lift him up.  Oh, how awesome are His ways!

I don’t know where you are while you’re reading this.  You could be busy running after kids.  You could be on your lunch break at work.  You could be sitting in your recliner after a long day at the office.  Maybe you’re standing in the grocery checkout line.  You could be anywhere, in the middle of anything, just stopping for a moment to read an email.  But whatever you’re doing, let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus.  Who, although He is the Alpha and the Omega, although He is the bright and morning star, although he is the second person of the eternal Godhead, He traded it all because we needed Him to.  And because of that, God has highly exalted Him.  How wonderful is the thought that we can, through the strength given to us in Christ, serve others with the same mind-set.  Are you willing?

With Christian Love,
PF

June 9, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


““Negli ultimi giorni”, dice Dio, “verserò il mio Spirito Santo su tutti gli uomini. I vostri figli e le vostre figlie faranno profezie, i vostri giovani avranno delle visioni e i vostri vecchi dei sogni. 18 Sì, lo Spirito Santo scenderà su tutti quelli che mi servono, uomini e donne, e tutti faranno profezie. 19 Farò cose straordinarie lassù nel cielo e prodigi giù sulla terra: sangue, fuoco e nuvole di fumo. 20 Il sole si oscurerà e la luna diventerà rosso sangue, prima che venga il giorno del Signore, giorno grande e glorioso! 21 Allora, chiunque avrà invocato la pietà del Signore, sarà salvo!”.
                                                                                                            Atti 2:17-21

No, your computer isn’t bugging out and your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  I am. (Hahahaha).  You may recognize the above scripture as Acts 2:17-21.  That’s what it is in Italian.

Now, if you have never read or spoke a word in Aramaic (which was most likely the language Peter was speaking), and were able to read or hear the passage with complete clarity and understanding, then you would have experienced what the Roman visitors in Jerusalem experienced on the day of Pentecost.  It truly was the miraculous gift of tongues being poured out from the Holy Spirit.

It wasn’t some unknown strange language folks were hearing, they heard the message of the Gospel in their own language.  God was making a new thing, the Church.  And He wasn’t going to let the language barriers stop Him.  He’s still adding to His church today.  And thanks to Him for His help and gifting, the Bible has been translated into over 1200 languages.  Thank God for the work of Bible translators.  If it weren’t for their faithful work, we would not have the Word of God in our language!

If languages aren’t a barrier to sharing the Gospel, what is?  What stops us?  Fear?  Insecurities?  Lack of willingness?  Stop and ask the Lord to point to the thing that is stopping you from faithfully sharing the Gospel. Then let us repent and start sharing with His help.  He will continue to knock down barriers if we are willing to enter into the war zone.

May God bless you as you love Him and others.

With Christian Love,
PF

June 1, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  John 8:32

Memorial Day has come and gone, and the summer season is upon us.  We are blessed by the sacrifices made by those who wear our military uniforms.  As we were reminded on Sunday; “all gave some and some gave all”.  Freedom is such a great blessing, but it is always costly.  That’s what makes it so precious.  Not that it comes with a host of benefits (which I enjoy), but that it costs so much to procure it and to keep it.
Here's freedom according to the scriptures.  Christ died for sinners according to the scriptures.  He was buried and He rose again according to the scriptures.  Costly?  Absolutely.  Physical torment, emotional torment, death, the full wrath of God.  All inflicted on the sinless perfect Lamb of God.  Costly.  But it’s the true Gospel.  And knowing the truth, embracing it, and letting it impact every part of our lives sets us free.

Thank God for the freedom He gives to those who will put their trust in Him.  Their sins are gone.  New life has come.

Here’s a song to enjoy.  

My Freedom Hymn by Austin French

With Christian Love,
PF

May 25, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“(He) became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Philippians 2:8(b) NKJV

He became obedient to the point of death.  Death had no claim on Him.  Death had no claim on any of us until sin entered into the picture.  Once that happened, all of humanity began to slide into an unwanted grave.  And because death gripped our first parents (Adam and Eve), we bear the marks of that death and follow after them obeying the sinful desires of our own humanity, all the way to the grave.  Death’s unwanted grip on us shows up in sickness, accidents, suicides, wars, famines, murders, or just plain old age as our frail human bodies give out.  Surely, what God said to our parents, ‘In the day you eat of it, you will surely die!”, has been proven to be true.

But, as I said, death had no claim on Jesus.  It never did. Until He became obedient to it.  He made the choice to give up His life and face the full fury and wrath of God the Father to pay the price for sin.  Not His sin, for He had none. But our own sin.  Our lies, our lusts, our pride, our meanness, our hatred of what He calls good, our greed, our rejection of Him as our LORD and GOD.

“I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”  “No man takes My life, but I willingly lay it down.” (John 10:11, 18)

Now, it wasn’t just any death. He wasn’t stoned for sin.  He wasn’t thrown off a cliff for sin (although a few tried), no, He was crucified.  He was hung on a Roman cross which was reserved for the worst of the worst criminals.  It was designed to bring the maximum amount of pain for as long as the body could stand it before death would set in through suffocation. And this was after His body was torn to shreds from a Roman flogging.

Yes, He willingly became obedient to death in this way so that you and I could live.  Through His death, our feet can be taken from the slippery slope of the grave and hell and placed on the solid rock.  Death and hell were robbed that day.  They expected all of mankind to perish eternally in its stinging grip.  But that’s not going to happen!  All who come to Him in repentance for salvation will be saved.  His death was enough.  Nothing else is needed.  The perfect Son of God, the spotless Lamb of God has come to take away the sin of the world through His death on the cross. The question becomes now, where are you standing?  Are you still on the slippery slope of death and hell waiting your turn to plunge into eternal darkness and misery because you have not repented and believed?  Or are your feet on the solid rock, placed there by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, waiting for the Lord of heaven to call you home?

 He became obedient to death, even death on a cross.  He now commands everyone, everywhere to repent of sin and believe.  Will you be obedient to Him?

Here’s the song for the week.  Because of what Jesus has done for us, He has given us an eternal hope.  Hope has a Name.  His Name is Jesus.

May the Lord bless you as you consider these truths.
With Christian Love,
PF

May 18, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“but He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of man.  
And being found in appearance as a man…”
Philippians 2:7-8(a) NKJV

We’ve spent a few weeks now in Philippians 2, specifically in verses 5-8.  It is filled with important Christian doctrine, and we’ve been learning a bunch of fancy words that define that doctrine.  Words like preeminence, condescension, incarnation, and hypostatic union.  We’ve even learned about the tetragrammaton!  All of these words point us back to the fact that God, in His infinite mercy and compassion joined Himself to human flesh and dwelt with man.
           
His purpose wasn’t just to say ‘hello’, but He did what He did so He could do what He promised.  He promised He would send a redeemer.  A redeemer that would make a way for sinful mankind to come back into fellowship with Him.  Imagine the surprise of heaven and hell when they found out who that redeemer would be!  The Son!  The second person of the eternal Godhead came with all the attributes of God and joined to human flesh, sharing all the attributes of humanity.  That act alone speaks volumes about His love for you and me.
       
     I hope that you can spend some time reflecting on everything we’ve been learning together.  The thrice Holy God, joined Himself to human flesh, abandoned His reputation and became a servant.  A servant to His Father and a servant to us.  He wouldn’t stop until the work was finished.  And it was finished at great cost to Him.
           
 His act of love demands a response from us, His creation, on so many levels.  First, we need to bow before Him, repent of our sin and receive the forgiveness He purchased for us with His own blood.  Second, we stand with Him and allow His Spirit to conform us into His image.  An image that reflects His glory through holy living and sacrifice through serving.  Third, we need to tell His story.  Don’t keep it to yourself.  This world needs to know what He did for them, and that they are accountable to Him, just as those who have embraced Him are.  That’s our mission!  Preach the Gospel, make disciples.

Here's a song from Michael Card.  I like to think of this artist as a musical theologian.  His music has been a blessing to me over the years.  I hope you enjoy ‘The Final Word’.  There are 2 selections.  The first one sets us up for the second.  Take the time to listen to both.

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.
With Christian Love,
PF

May 11, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…” Philippians 2:6 (NKJV)

Hello, my name is ….

We’ve all had to wear a name tag at some point in our lives.  Their purpose is straight forward; to tell those around you your name. Your name is special.  Someone had to think about it before they gave it to you.  And it has a meaning too.  My name means “happy man”.  I think it fits.  I’m happy (most of the time).

It’s no surprise then to find out that God has a name, and that His name has a meaning too.  In the Scriptures, we see the reference to Him as the all-powerful God (Elohim) in Genesis 1:1.  We also find that one of His names, which is not pronounceable, is YHWH, from which we get Yahweh, the One who brings being into being (Genesis 2:4).  And we also learn of another name, one that He wished to be remembered by; I AM that I AM.  He is the self-existent One, who always was and always will be (Exodus 3:14).

I think out of all the Names given to and used by our Lord Jesus, none made the religious leaders angrier than when He referred to Himself as “I AM” (John 8:58).  By taking that Name for Himself, He inferred that He was the self-existent One, the One who brings being into being, He was God, present in the flesh.
 
Jesus referred to Himself as the I AM 7 times in the scriptures.  I list them here to reminds us of their importance.

John 6:35 – I AM the bread of life. Bread brings physical nourishment. Jesus brings spiritual nourishment through salvation and forgiveness. Psalm 107:9 says “He fills the hungry soul with good.”


John 8:12 – I AM the light of the world. Light is essential to life and growth, and it dispels darkness. Jesus illuminates our path and brings us life and spiritual growth. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

John 10:7-9 – I AM the door of the sheep. Doors are used to enter a place. They are the way in. Jesus is the way into heaven. He is the way to salvation. Only a thief tries to enter through a window. We must enter through the door.

John 11:25 – I AM the resurrection and the life. Jesus declares that He is the winner. He has defeated death and the grave. He proved this when He raised Lazarus from the grave and He Himself came out of the grave in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20. Jesus is alive.

John 10:11-15 – I AM the good shepherd. Shepherds are responsible for the wellbeing of the sheep. They are the sheep’s protectors from wild animals and other dangers. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep. The sheep live because the Shepherd died.

John 14:6 – I AM the way, and the truth, and the life. He is way to God the Father, He defines truth and declares truth about Himself, us, and the world we live in. His truth brings freedom. (John 8:32) He is the life eternal. There is no life outside of Him.

John 15:1-5 – I AM the true vine. Any branch cut off from the vine withers and dies. We need the vine’s nourishment so that we can bear fruit. The fruit of Galatians 5:22-23 – Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Take some time and think about these.  Which of these speaks to your specific need today?  Our Lord is the great I AM.  He is the self-existent One.  He is the One who brings being into being.  He’s enough for all of us in any situation.  I hope this brings you encouragement today.

May God bless you as you love Him and Love people.

In Christian Love,
PF

May 4, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for He (Jesus) taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”
Mark 1:22 (KJV)

When I started studying the importance of Christian Doctrine, I was surprised to find how many times the word in used in the New Testament.  The number is 50.  50 times doctrine is referred to.  That’s a lot.  And, if it’s referred to 50 times, that’s 50 times we should consider what it is referring to.

We learned on Sunday that Christian Doctrine is important for 4 reasons.  There are probably more, and I encourage you to think about these, and if you can think of another reason, send it my way. (I’m always looking for ways to enhance my sermons!)

We learned that Christian doctrine is important because it summarizes the truth taught in God’s Word.  It doesn’t replace God’s Word, it summarizes it.  And that alone gives us a reason to memorize it.  I know for me; it helps my understanding of things when they can be summarized.  Maybe you’re that way too.

We learned that Christian doctrine is useful for relaying truth from one generation to another.  I remember as a kid having to memorize the Apostle’s Creed.  It was not something I wanted to do, but my Sunday School teacher made me do it.  How thankful I am!  I know there any many flavors of the Apostle’s Creed, depending on which denomination you attend, but on general principal, it has helped me communicate the truth of the Bible to my children.  I encourage you to memorize it and pass it on.

We also learned that Christian doctrine promotes the health of the Church.  Unity has been a point Pastor Rick and I have been thinking, praying, and preaching about.  And that’s because it’s important for us all to be of the same mind and heart.  A house divided against itself cannot stand. (Jesus said that).  Christian doctrine helps us see and worship the same God.  It’s important to understand that when we say “God”, we all mean the same one!  That’s not guaranteed in our culture anymore.  Hopefully, (and I believe that we do), we all worship the same God.  The One and Only true God revealed in the Scriptures.

Finally, we learned that Christian doctrine gives us Godly principles to live by.  For instance, we believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He said so.  Does that impact our behavior?  It should!  He’s the way to the Father.  We should follow Him.  He’s the truth.  We should tell the truth.  He’s the life.  We should emulate what He does since He is life.  All doctrine should influence our behavior.  Can you think of one that doesn’t?  If you do, let me know.

In our next installment of messages on Philippians (Lord willing), we will zoom in on an important doctrine.  Is Jesus God?  Join us on Sunday and find out!

I can’t leave you without a song to sing.  Here’s this week’s selection.  (Maybe I should have been a DJ!)

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
PF

April 27, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”              
Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV)

Lowliness of mind.  We don’t use the word ‘lowliness’ much anymore.  I looked it up to make sure I had the correct understanding of the word.  The dictionary said it is the noun form of ‘lowly’.   Thanks.  That was helpful.

Ok, now I’m into this.  What’s the definition of ‘lowly’?  There are 7 definitions to choose from!  (I’m rolling my eyes again.) Let’s see if any of them fit.“
  • “not lofty or grand” -   probably not
  • “low in order, value or esteem” – no
  • “having or being of low rank in hierarchy” – don’t think so
  • “low in scale of evolutionary development” – really? (eye roll)
  • “humble in manner or spirit.  Free from self-assertive pride” – BINGO!

Let’s stop there!
I think ‘free from self-assertive pride’ best fits the Greek word used (which is a really long word) – which is translated into English as “humble”.  Go figure!

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in (a mind that is free from self-assertive pride),esteem (regard) others better than yourself.” 

No wonder we don’t use the word lowliness very often.  The flesh doesn’t like it.  We’d rather forget it and think of ourselves as better than everyone else!

Last Sunday, Pastor Rick gave us 4 ideas on how to grow in humility. A) submit to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, B) Think about the Gospel, C) learn from trials and failures, D) Consider the example of Jesus.  All great things to do.  Which one strikes a chord with you?  They’re all important.  I think I’m going to focus on B (think about the Gospel).

When I think about the Gospel, I’m reminded of God’s love and compassion for sinners.  I’m reminded that because of the Gospel, I can bring all my sinful tendencies to Jesus, and He can give me victory over them.  I’m reminded that it takes God’s grace for me to be able to do anything with the right motives, therefore, who am I to judge another?  When I think about the Gospel, there’s no room for self-assertive pride.  Just grace for others.

A mind that’s saturated with self-assertive pride is deadly to relationships.  It causes unnecessary feuds and hurt, and it always leaves those caught up in its web empty in their soul, looking for the next thing to boast about.  Lowliness of mind is definitely the better way.

The other phrase that catches my soul is ‘esteem others better than yourself’.  The Greek for ‘better’ is hyper-echo.  (I added the hyphen to show that it’s actually 2 words in the Greek.)  ‘Hyper’ is above, and ‘echo’ is to hold or possess.  Put the words together and we get the idea of considering others holding a position above us.  In short, it has to do with submission.  It’s submitting ourselves to the needs of others.  Just as Christ submitted Himself to our need of redemption.  He was (is) without a doubt above us but yet, as we will see in the coming weeks in Philippians, made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.   He esteemed us better than Himself.

As we go about our Father’s business, let’s not forget the to rid ourselves of self-assertive pride and submit ourselves to the needs of others.  It’s God’s way for His children.  Let’s commit to it. For our own spiritual health, and the health of our church.

Here’s a song to encourage you to lift your eyes to the Lord.

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
PF

April 20, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!”  
Luke 24:5-6 (NKJV)

I’ve always been taken back a bit by the question “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  Maybe because it’s filled with so much certainty and grace.  The ladies didn’t come seeking someone who is alive.  They came to anoint a dead body.  They came to say their final good bye’s to the One they thought would be their Messiah.  They came with heavy hearts, not hearts filled with hope and expectation.
               
 But isn’t that just like heaven?  Bursting on to a scene with hope and life!  Meeting people at their point of despair with words that bring joy.  Never criticizing because of unbelief, but fanning the flicker of small faith so it can become a blazing fire for God’s glory.  The women may have been seeking a dead body, but the truth is, someone who was alive was seeking them!
               
 I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in heaven as the Father told His messengers what to expect from the ladies and how to respond to their unbelief.  What a great question!  Why do you seek the living among the dead?
             
  And although the question is directly related to the Resurrection of the Son of God, it has indirect application as well.  Because the question can be asked of us in the 21st century too. Why do we seek for the things of life among the things which can never give life?  Why do we seek life from stuff?  Why do we seek life from power?  Why do we seek life from fame and fortune?  Why do we seek life from …..?  Why do we seek the living among the dead?
               
Jesus had something to say about this.  He said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6).  The world spends its days in futility seeking life in all the wrong places from all the wrong things.  All the while, the Resurrected Son of God stands ready and able to impart real life to those who respond to His grace.  Let’s make sure they know where to find life.  And, by all means, let’s abandon our own pursuits of seeking life among the dead stuff of the world.

Here’s a song someone shared with me.  I hope you enjoy it and that it causes you to reflect on the One who gave His life for us.

May God bless you as you love God and love people.

With Christ’s love,
PF

April 14, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)

The Triumphal Entry of Messiah into Jerusalem marked the beginning of our Lord’s week of passion.  Not only was His method of entry foretold, some believe that the exact day of His entry was also.  One calculation goes like this:

In Daniel chapter 9, we’re told that from the day the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem, 483 years later the Messiah price would arrive.  King Artaxerxes gave the command in Nehemiah 2. Biblically we know exactly what year this was (Jewish month of Nisan of Artaxerxes’ 20th reigning year) and from historical Babylonian records we’re told that this command was given on March 14, 445 BC.  483 years later, which was 173,880 days, (483 x 360 days/year in Jewish calendar) King Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  That date was April 6, 32 AD.

Now, whether this is correct or not, I don’t know.  A simple google search will yield other dates as well.  But isn’t it interesting to know that both the method and day were prophesied?  The LORD God had planned long before the first Palm Sunday to send His Son to the Jewish people as their King of Peace.  And He told us that He was coming, and when He was coming, so they could be prepared.

And do you know what else He told us?  He’s coming again!  Only there are no dates or times mentioned, only an admonition to be ready.  So, be ready.  Just like the first prophecy of His arrival was fulfilled in due time, so will the prophecy of His second coming.

We know from the Biblical account that the Messiah was rejected by His people when He came.  We learned on Sunday that the rejection boiled down to a ‘Wants verses Needs’ issue.  The people wanted a conquering King to defeat Rome.  But what they really needed was a conquering King to defeat sin and death.  And that’s what He did!

As we prepare our hearts for the Easter week, culminating on Resurrection Sunday, let’s not forget that He’s coming again.  And when He does, He will usher in the final phase of our salvation!  And so, we will forever be with the Lord!

Here’s a song from one of the pioneers in modern Christian music.  They helped me move from the world of secular rock to Christian rock, and really, I never looked back.

Feed your soul!

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

April 5, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him,
but also to suffer for his sake;”  Philippians 1:29 (KJV)

Suffering.  How on earth can it ever be a good thing?  It almost seems crazy to ask that question.  I mean, suffering and good in the same sentence looks and feels unnatural.  Who has ever heard of suffering producing something good?  God.  That’s who.

There’s a spiritual component that is usually overlooked when we talk about suffering because often, our reference point begins and ends with us.  We look around and see hunger, disease, homelessness, and persecution and usually do two things.  First, we blame God.  How can a good God allow….?  We stand in judgment over God, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t a good idea.

Second, we try to fix it.  We throw money at it.  We try to educate ourselves out of it.  We somehow think we can put an end to it.
After all, if God isn’t going to fix it, we will!  Sure, we will.  Someday. (I’m rolling my eyes again).  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to eliminate suffering.  Compassion demands that we do something to help our fellow man that is suffering.  So, do good, by all means.  My point however is, don’t miss the spiritual component.  Let’s look at suffering through the lens of what is a good God up to by allowing those He loves to experience suffering.

For the Christian, suffering is an invitation to grow our faith. That’s why He tells us to ‘count it all joy’ when you face trials of many kinds (James 1).  Why? Because we’re being perfected, and that’s a good thing.  For those who specifically suffer for bearing the Name of Christ, well, God calls it a gift, graciously given, a favor.  Why?  Because somehow suffering and the resurrection are connected (Philippians 3:10-11).  So, all Christians will experience this on some level.  But remember, the Christian never walks through anything alone because there is fellowship with Christ when we share His suffering.

Even for the one who doesn’t know Christ, suffering is still an invitation to come to Him.  And it’s an opportunity for those who do know Christ to bring love, compassion, and the Gospel to those who are hurting.  God doesn’t waste anything.  He’s the only One who can take what man means for evil and turn it around for good.  He’s the only One who can take what sin has caused and make something that can benefit our soul.

Suffering.  How on earth can it ever be a good thing?  Well, maturing faith, closer walk with Christ, opportunities to do good and bring love compassion and the Gospel to those who need it.  All these things are good things.  Brought to us by …. Suffering.

Here’s our Easter anthem.  Listen and learn it so we can sing it out together on Sunday.

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF) 

March 30, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Only let your conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)

“Conduct.”  That funny word in the Greek where some translators recorded “conversation”.  But it has more to do with citizenship than it does speaking.  And so, with the use of this word, the Apostle Paul capitalizes on the cultural norm of Greeks and Romans and their relationship to their community, their ‘polis’, to instill in these early Christians what should be the cultural norm of a Christian to Christ, the Gospel and the Church.  As the citizen presented themselves in a manner that honored the ‘polis’, so too Christians should present themselves in a manner that honored the Gospel of Christ.

The more I reflect on this idea, the more I feel the hope that is in the Gospel.  You and I both know how we’re supposed to live and conduct ourselves, but we also know how badly we can fall short. But remember, we’re a part of a new city – the heavenly city.  We’re already citizens there and someday our conduct will be perfectly aligned with the King’s.  He promised.  It will be as natural as stripes on a zebra! Until then, let’s do as the Apostle Paul said.  Let’s stand firm in one spirt, one mind, contending for the faith (conviction, persuasion) of the Gospel. If we’re all doing this, should one of us trip and fall down, the rest can help get us back up.  After all, we are the church!

The Gospel.  The heaven sent, preached, global, peaceful, powerful, eternal, hope filled, message from God. It’s the solution for what ails the world.  Let’s spread it around!

Here’s our Easter anthem.  Listen and learn it so we can sing it out together on Sunday.

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

March 23, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”  
Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)

I am good at many things.  Does that sound boastful?  You should have bells and whistles going on in your head right now!  Ok.  Let me correct that statement.  I think I’m good at many things.  That is of course until reality sets in, and I find that only a fool opens his mouth when he has nothing to say.

Do you know what I’m good at?  Nothing.  Nothing, that is, except what the Lord enables me to be good at.  How can a dead man be good at anything except being stinky? (Sorry for the imagery).  Isn’t that what we all are?  Dead people brought back to life by the power of God?  So where is the boasting?

You may say, “I know plenty of people who don’t know Jesus who are good at particular thing.”  I do too.  But what I don’t know is the whole picture.  “Good” is a relative term and it encompasses all facets of the subject, such as talent, motive, correct timing.  Maybe they are better at a particular task than I am, or you are, but let’s reserve the word “good” for God, because He’s the only One who’s truly good in all facets of all things that matter.  And the fact that we can do anything well at all is because God has brought us to life and by His grace enables us to perform well.

I don’t want to seem pharisaic and like I’m putting laws around laws around God’s laws just so I don’t break any.  But I find that guardrails are necessary as I navigate the roads of life because, I’m so prone to driving off the road.  So, yes, I’ll say it again.  Guardrails are necessary.  One guardrail I want installed in my heart is to keep the perspective of being ‘good’ at anything tempered with the realization that is only ‘by God’s enabling grace.’  That keeps me from becoming boastful.

We learned on Sunday the one thing we can be boastful in.  The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The nature of that cross brought on Him a curse from God, it was evidence of the rejection of men and delivered Him to endure mockery.  But yet, His death on that cross brought us life.  Boast in that.  That’s the only thing really worth boasting in.

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

March 16, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  
Philippians 1:18 (NKJV)

Who remembers the hit TV show from the 50’s “This is your life”?  Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be surprised with a visit from family and friends that would help tell their life story.   It was very popular.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to know about a celebrity’s life? (Ok, I’m rolling my eyes again!)

This is where my imagination goes wild.  What if… what if the Apostle Paul was a guest celebrity on that TV show.  I can hear the host announcing it now; Mr. Apostle Paul, THIS is Your life!”  I wonder who they would get to tell his life story.  Would his Rabbi be there to tell us what a great student he was?  Would his parents be there to clue us in on what kind of kid he was?  I wonder if any Christians from Jerusalem would share how he had them arrested and beaten for their faith because he was such a zealot for Judaism.  I wonder what the Apostle himself would add.  I bet I can guess.

“All of it I count as rubbish!  Do you want to know about my life now?  Let me tell you.  “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!”
               
We were reminded on Sunday that we need to internalize the truths of who we are in Christ.  That’s what Paul did.  He recognized that his life now belonged to Jesus Christ, and that defined his life.  He understood that faith in Christ led to fellowship with Christ which ultimately led to following Christ.  And follow, he did.  He died because he followed. And the very next breath he drew was on heaven’s shores.

How about us?  If we appeared on the TV show ‘THIS is your life’, who would tell our story and what would they tell?  Would our story end up with ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain’?  Can we personally own that verse?  Here’s a simple test:  Have you placed your faith in Christ?  If so, are you cultivating fellowship with Him through prayer and studying His word?  Have you made it your life mission to follow Christ?  Is He the first on your mind when you wake up?  Is He on your mind as you drift off to sleep?  If so, then you understand the grace of God that has brought you this far.  And you can confidently proclaim with the Apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

For those who aren’t quite there yet, you can jump right on in!  Put your trust in Christ.  Grow with Him in fellowship and make a decision to follow Him.  You will find that if someone asks about your life, by God’s grace you can answer “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Here's a blast from the past.
David Cassidy/Shirley Jones - This is your life - Bing video

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

March 9, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
Philippians 1:18 (NKJV)

The world is in turmoil.  That may be an understatement.  It’s not out of control.  It never is.  Our sovereign Father has a plan for moving us closer and closer to the day of Christ’s return, and part of that plan, evidently, is letting humanity experience the turmoil our sin causes.  And through it all, He’s working.

The Apostle Paul experienced turmoil during his days too.  Humanity’s sin was as real and deadly back then as it is today.  And what was his answer?  Preach the Gospel.  What was his joy?  Knowing the Gospel was being preached.  Whether in pretense or in truth, it didn’t matter; all that mattered was that the Gospel was being preached.

Pastor Rick’s opening question on Sunday was very thought provoking.  “What is the most important thing happening in the world?” There are a lot of important things happening, but what is the most important?  Answer:  God is adding His people to His Kingdom through the message of the Gospel. (Thank you, Pastor Rick.)  I’m sure the Apostle Paul would answer that question in his time the same way.  Was Paul’s imprisonment the most important thing?  No.  Was the persecution the believers were experiencing the most important thing?  No.  What was?  Getting the Gospel out among the people.  Letting the Gospel, which is the power of God, bring those who will believe to salvation.  What could be more important than that?

What if I had the ability to give you the opportunity to do one thing that, without question, can change the world for the good.  Would you take the opportunity?

Well, we’ve all been given the opportunity.  Share the Gospel.  It’s the one thing we can do that without question can change the world for good.

Here’s a song from yesteryear.  Its message is still beautiful.
How Beautiful - Bing video

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others (and share the Gospel).
With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

March 2, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Philippians 1:9-11 (NKJV)

I had a great English teacher in 7th grade. She taught me how to diagram a sentence. I hated the class at the time.  I mean who wants to sit in class as a 7th grade boy and diagram sentences?  Not me!

Well, I chuckle now when I read passages of Scripture, mostly from the Apostle Paul when the sentence seems to go on and on.  I often think, “man, I’d flunk diagraming this one!”  Like in Ephesians 1 for instance, verses 3-6.  In the Greek, it’s all one sentence!  But wow, what a packed sentence it is!  The same is true for the verses we studied this past Sunday.  What a jammed packed powerful sentence!  And I love the way it starts; “And this I pray”.

Prayer can be that way too.  A sentence that seems to go on and on, depending on our emotional state, our thought processes or just our personality. And the beautiful thing about that is that our Lord can diagram those sentences perfectly!  He knows exactly what we’re trying to communicate.  And He’s moved by our prayers.  He loves when we pray, especially those prayers that come from deep down in our heart.  And He loves when we pray for each other!

This past week, we saw an example of how to pray for one another.  I trust that by now you have taken the time to put some of what we learned into practice.  If you haven’t, now is as good a time as any.

Pray that together that our love for God would abound more and more in the knowledge of Him and in discernment on how best to love each other.  Pray that we would have a keen discriminating mind to select the best things today over the better.  And pray that we would remain blameless and not offensive to Him or to each other as we labor together to see a lost word redeemed for the Glory of the Father!

And don’t worry too much about running on and on in your sentences.  Jesus created the English language (or whatever language you pray in) and can diagram your sentences perfectly.

And don’t forget to pray for the situation in the Ukraine, Russia and for our brothers and sisters suffering around the world.

Here’s a song to bless you:
Kari Jobe - The Blessing (Radio Version/Audio) ft. Cody Carnes - YouTube

In Christian Love,
PF

February 22, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
(Psalm 82:3, NIV)

What’s your definition for the word ‘Hero’?  It’s a word that’s thrown around a lot these days. The first definition I ran into from Merriam-Webster was “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability”.   OK.  I’m rolling my eyes right now.

When I think of a hero, I think of someone who sacrifices something of great value for another.  I mean a real person helping another real person without any promise or need of repayment.  Someone who runs toward trouble to help those in trouble.  That’s a hero, in my book anyway.

If we take Psalm 82:3 to heart, that qualifies as heroism.  It’s something we’re all called to.  And since it’s the LORD telling us to do it, we should be looking for ways to be obedient.

Barnabas Aid gives us a practical way to defend the weak and the fatherless.  Especially among those of the household of faith.  Persecution among believers in Christ is a real thing and as fellow believers (in a biblical fellowship), we need to uphold their cause.  It’s the right thing to do.

Thank you to our Mission board for finding and recommending Barnabas Aid to us so that we can partner with them in upholding our suffering brothers and sisters.

This week, instead of a song, I’m including a link from Barnabas Aid’s website for you to read.  It’s just one of many needs that you can personally be involved in meeting.  God bless you as you consider it.

Christian Schools in Pakistan: Your Donation Gives Christian Children Happiness Now and Hope for the Future | Barnabas Aid (barnabasfund.org)

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.
With Christian Love,

Pastor Felix (PF)

February 15, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix

“I Thank My God “ 
Philippians 1:3 (NKJV)

“Thank you.”  “You’re welcome.”  Two simple sentences we’ve learned in kindergarten.  For some of us, even before. The first expresses gratitude.  The second expresses grace.  Together, they display a humility and softness toward one another.  When used in sincerity, these words have life in them.  So simple.  So effective.  So easily forgotten.

As important as these words are toward each other, can you sense the emptiness of the soul that has forgotten these words?  Especially when we forget them in relation to our heavenly Father and all He has done for us in Christ.

The Apostle Paul made it a practice to keep his heart in a thankful position.  He knew the vital importance of humility and grace in his life toward others and especially toward God.  He was thankful for his brothers and sisters in Philippi.  He was thankful for their fellowship and he was thankful for their partnership with him in the proclamation of the Gospel.  As a result, he could face the hardships of a Roman prison with joy.

Having an unthankful heart is like allowing a thief to enter your home and take that which is most precious to you.  It will rob your peace, your joy and your rest. It breeds bitterness and strife and in the end brings us to spiritual bankruptcy.  Can I overstate its poison?  I don’t think I can.

Do you find your heart leaning toward being unthankful?  Then I can assure you that you are focusing on the wrong things.  Cry out to God for forgiveness and ask Him to help you in this area.  And when He does, because He will, don’t forget to say “Thank you”.

Here's a song I’ve been blessed by lately.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Song in the Night – Shane and Shane
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prtwusf_9Co


May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

February 9, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix


“Sir, we wish to see Jesus “
John 12:21 (NKJV)

I feel for folks who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  I think it’s because I struggle with it at some level. I don’t know if this counts, but have you ever had a discussion with someone only to be distracted by something either on their clothes, or in their hair or …. Worse?  It takes a lot of concentration to ignore the little thing to pay attention to the big thing, which is the conversation you are supposed to be engaged in!

In general, I hate distractions.  They are like a buzzing fly on a summer day that just won’t leave you alone.  The “Certain Greeks” in our passage weren’t knocked off course by distraction.  They knew what their end game was; they wanted to see Jesus.

It’s only Wednesday, and already I’m tempted to focus on the distractions of this week instead of being about our Father’s business.  I can’t let that happen.  And neither can you.  Our work is too important to allow the noise of sin, hurt, confusion, self, or whatever to distract us from the task at hand.

What if we just surrendered and ask the Father to help us see Jesus?  What if we rejected the distractions swirling around us and looked up with intentional eyes?  What difference do you think that would make in our homes, office, school, church?

O Father, we want to see Jesus!  Help us, O God, to focus on the One who truly matters above all else. We want to be about you and your work, not our own.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

This week, we’re attaching the Scripture list we used on Sunday for you to read and meditate on.  May the Lord bless you as you dwell on his word!

Here's a song I’ve been blessed by lately.  I may have shared it before, but it’s worth another listen.  So, take a listen and let me know what you think.

Psalm 90 (Satisfy us…)– Shane and Shane

May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.
With Christian Love,

Pastor Felix (PF)




Scriptures shared by
 Pastor Felix & Pastor Rick
during Communion Service



February 2, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday
- From Pastor Felix



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2 (NKJV)


Grace and peace.  Only God can give Grace and Peace as described in the scriptures.  Grace – love, charity, unmerited favor.  Peace – the calm assurance that although all hell would come against you, God is still in control and His presence brings comfort and rest.

Which do you need today?  I need both.  For sin within me rises and demands to be my master.  It can be quite intimidating.  But the truth is I belong to another.  We belong to another.  Sin is not our master, we have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  And although sin may shout at the top of its hell fueled lungs, there is a quiet whisper that says, ‘follow Me, for sin is not your master’.

Have you looked in the mirror and called yourself ‘saint’ yet?  Saints are those who have been washed by the blood of Christ and have a new master.  We are slaves of Christ now, set free to live, to love and to do good.  Slaves of Christ are saints in Christ.

So, ditch the old master and cling to the new one.  You will find an abundant supply of the Grace and Peace your heart yearns for.
We’ll be sharing communion together this week.  Here’s a song that can help prepare our heart.


In Christian Love,
PF

January 25, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday
- From Pastor Felix



The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to Him.”
Psalm 24:1 (NLT)


Look around.  Everything that has been created belongs to the LORD.  It’s true today.  It was true yesterday.  It was true in the Apostle Paul’s time, and even before that.  As the great Apostle traveled around what is known today as western Turkey and further west into Macedonia, he was proclaiming a message from God.  And that message is the same message that you and I have been entrusted with.  Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again!

On the cross the LORD was redeeming what has always belonged to Him; the human soul.  He is “buying back” that which rightfully belongs to Him.  And through that act of love we are made right with Him forever!

Lydia was one of the founding members of the church in Philippi; but not until the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.  As we ask the Lord for boldness to proclaim that same message, let us also pray that He would open hearts to heed that message.

Here's a song I’ve been blessed by lately.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Halleluiah Christ will come again – Shane and Shane
May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

January 19, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday
- From Pastor Felix



Behold!  The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  
John 1:29(b)


I’m kind of a nature buff.  I find that the beauty of a sunrise or sunset somehow speaks to my soul.  I guess I’m reminded of the sheer magnificence of our Creator!  How great and awesome is He!  As I’m writing this, another part of nature is doing what it’s supposed to do.  The winter winds are whipping across the black top scattering any debris that would dare to lie there and defy it.

That’s what happened to our sin.  It is taken away by the Lamb of God.  Even the most stubborn sin stain that would defy the grace of God is simply blown away never to be remembered by God again.  All because the Lamb of God came into the world and took away the sin of the world.

Meditate on that for a while.  My earnest prayer is that this truth will help you to love Him more.  And as you love Him, ask Him to help you love others like He loves you.  For, that in a nutshell is His Great Expectation for us.

Here's a song I’ve been blessed by lately.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Psalm 90 – Shane and Shane
May the Lord bless you as you love God and love others.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)

January 11, 2022

Thoughts From Sunday 
- From Pastor Felix



O LORD our LORD, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth!  
Psalm 8:1


As I write this, the outside temperature is 19 degrees.  Remaining puddles have frozen solid and the air is so crisp it almost hurts to breathe deep.  There are a few pockets of snow left as a reminder that all of nature is resting now.  Winter.  It’s upon us.  Welcome winter.  A time for quiet reflection.  A time to make resolutions.

For the Christian, resolutions are a blessing.  Decisions made to move us along in our spiritual journey.  But remember, resolutions are DEFINED by grace.  It is only by the grace of God that we can change anything at all.  And that’s because He’s at work IN us as we abide IN Him.  Resolutions take COMMITMENT.  Unless we are serious about the changes the Lord shows us we need to make, change won’t come.  “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” should be engraved on our lips and in our heart.  And finally, resolutions require SURRENDER.  We know the things we ought to do and with a humble heart we surrender to the One who has eternal pleasures at His right hand.  If we do these things we will be blessed.

Here's a song I’ve been blessed by lately.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Only There – Shane and Shane

May the Lord bless you as you consider these truths and resolutely serve Him.

With Christian Love,
Pastor Felix (PF)