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Bulletin Blurbs

In continuing our study of modern idolatry, one of the biggest idols that we as people struggle with today is the idol of nationalism. Now before I go any further, I want to make something abundantly clear, I love America. I pray and give thanks for her every day. But often I put trust in America that should be bestowed in God alone. When things in the world become tumultuous, I turn to the U.S., not God, for peace. When I hear of wars and rumors of wars, I look to the government for security, and not God. I allow my nation to be my hope, my trust, and my stay. Have you experienced this too?

This view of our nation tends to damage our Christ-like vision of others as well. We begin to categorize people as “us” and “them”, based on what our nation does. Whereas Christ tells us to love our enemies (in effect telling us to live enemy-less), the world tells us to fear or despise them. Instead of looking at North Korea, Russia, Iran, etc., as places and people in need of Christ, we look at them as “enemies”. If you voted for a different candidate, watch different news shows, or disagree on my stance of the national anthem; you become an “enemy”.

But this is not what Christ desires for us. This world is not our home, our citizenship is in Heaven, so we are just ambassadors here. Let us put our trust in God and God alone. May we as people begin to look through the cross, not the media for answers. I pray that our eyes are fixated on the stripes of Christ’s back and not only the ones on the flag.

~ Bishop

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Good morning!

Once again, I’m happy that all of you are here this morning! As you read this, I am likely in Henderson, Tennessee for the annual FHU Lectureship. I look forward to seeing you in person again this time next week! It’s always an encouraging thought to know that, though I’m 716 miles away, we’re both worshipping the same God on the same day. Though we’re apart, we’re all part of the same family.

It’s hard to believe we are already a month into this New Year. It seems like every February, I have that overwhelming feeling that time really goes by too quickly. I want to express what we discussed last Sunday at our youth devotional. Often in our New Year, we discuss new beginnings and how, if the last year was not our best, we can “turn over a new leaf” this New Year. Well, now we’re 1/12 into the year 2014, and my guess is we’ve all fallen to a sin or temptation at some point. We’ve all proved that we aren’t perfect. Luckily, God does not measure time in years, months, weeks, etc. like we do. We always have the opportunity to change for the better.

David, after being confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, wrote the 51st Psalm. In verses 10-12, he prays this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

We, like David, can and should pray this prayer. Unfortunately, we are imperfect. We have a Heavenly Father who understands that, and sent his perfect Son to die for us, so that we have a chance to come back to him, have our hearts made clean, and have our spirits renewed, not at the start of each new year, but whenever it is needed. Isn’t it a blessing to be a child of God?!