Good News! For God’s Glory!

GOOD NEWS! The Gospel brings salvation. The Gospel is for everyone who believes. The Gospel is lived by faith. The Gospel is the power of God.

Last Sunday, we discussed our faith as Christians, highlighting what distinguishes us from other major world religions—the Gospel of Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus boldly declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This statement draws a clear line in the sand, yet it carries an inviting message—the Gospel of Jesus beckons everyone to cross that line.

The Good News of Jesus reveals our true nature: we are people in desperate need of salvation, yet simultaneously deeply loved by a just and merciful God who rescues. And Better News, our rescue isn’t contingent on our efforts but rather flows from the boundless grace and the free gift of God through the completed work of Jesus. Furthermore, the Best News is that, through His generous gift, we now live a life empowered by His Spirit, intimately connected to God.

As Paul writes in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good pleasure.” In this Good, Better, Best News, what shines through is that every aspect of it is centered on God and devoted to His glory. If God does all the work, then He gets all the glory.

The essence of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, lies in the transformation from a sinner who once chose a path of death and destruction to a believer and follower of Jesus, who is the Lord and King over death. In His profound love, He traded our death for His life and empowers us, through His Spirit, to live it out with unwavering faith.

To God Be the Glory by Fanny Crosby

To God be the glory, great things He hath done. So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life our redemption to win, and opened the life gate that all may go in.

[Chorus: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice.
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son. And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.]

Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, to every believer the promise of God.
The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

[Chorus: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice.
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son. And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.]

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done. And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son.
But purer, and higher, and greater will be our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

[Chorus: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice.
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son. And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.]

Missed Sunday’s message on the Gospel? Watch here…

Pickles & Baptism

Baptism holds profound significance in the life of a believer and Christian community. However, as with any act of worship, it can sometimes lose its depth and become a routine and ritualistic practice. In the familiar, we may inadvertently overlook the immense power and transformation that baptism represents.

An interesting analogy comes from Nicander, an ancient Greek poet who used the culinary art of pickling vegetables to illustrate baptism’s importance. He used the Greek word “bapto” to describe dipping the vegetable into boiling water and “baptizo” for leaving it permanently immersed in vinegar. This connection is intriguing, especially considering that every occurrence of “baptism” in the New Testament uses “baptizo.”

Nicander’s use of these words vividly portrays a spiritual truth. Though you may have once been “bapto’d” or dipped into water, the reality of baptism is that when you embraced faith in Christ, you were permanently immersed in Him. Christian baptism is not a one-time event but an ongoing state of being surrounded by Christ like a vegetable forever enveloped in vinegar. And just as a pickled vegetable takes on the essence of the vinegar, our baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus immerses us in His life, transforming us to be more Christ-like than our former selves. This transformation is not brought about by the physical act of baptism itself but by a life of faith in Jesus, empowered by His Spirit.

In Romans 6, Paul asks, “Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Paul is not preaching the need for baptism to already dunked people. Instead, he’s encouraging them to remember its reality, even as they may be struggling with sin. He is pointing them to the truth that they are immersed in Christ; in this, they can find the power to overcome and live in faithful obedience to Him. So when you see a jar of pickles, remember baptism is not just a dip but an eternal immersion of one’s life, forever united with Christ.

Love of God

Our thoughts and attitudes toward God shape how we approach Him. If we see Him as distant or judgmental, our approach becomes hesitant, half-hearted, or filled with fear and shame. Thoughts and attitudes shape our perception, and even if they don’t align with the truth, perception becomes our reality. That’s why Jesus calls us to reset and approach God with child-like faith, free from worldly wounds and distrust. We must let go of false perceptions and embrace His tender care.

In this reset, we go back to the basics: God is love. As Christians, we learn this from the beginning, hearing it in verses like “For God so loved the world…” or singing, “Jesus loves me; this I know…” By resetting to the reality of God’s unchanging, unconditional love, we can confidently approach Him. We come to Him with openness, vulnerability, and the belief that He desires a personal relationship with us.

Let’s hit that reset button and embrace child-like faith. Reflect on God’s love by reading and listening to the hymn below. It was discovered partially written on the walls of an asylum and beautifully speaks of God’s limitless and never-ending love. His love surpasses changing kingdoms and cultures as He seeks out His children in the highs and lows to welcome them home.

by Frederick Martin Lehamn

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

O love of God, how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song

When mortal time shall pass away
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
When men who here refuse to pray
On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race
The saints’ and angels’ song

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

God of Mercy

“Because of the Lords faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

As the name suggests, the book of Lamentations in the Old Testament might be a bit of a downer. But even amid all the despair and confusion, a glimmer of truth and hope emerges. Right in the middle of this book, we find a powerful declaration of God’s faithfulness.

Amidst great distress and sorrow, the author boldly proclaims the unwavering faithfulness of God. Despite circumstances that could have consumed His people, is the recognition that it is through the Lord’s loyal love that they are not destroyed. God’s love is an unceasing source of provision, protection, and preservation. Moreover, God’s compassion is new every morning. His mercies are not depleted or exhausted. Instead, each day brings a fresh outpouring. No matter how challenging yesterday may have been, we can wake up to the assurance that God’s faithfulness accompanies us into a new day.

The faithfulness of God is not contingent upon our circumstances or our faithfulness to Him. It is rooted in His unchanging character and steadfast love. His faithfulness endures because of who He is, not what we have or haven’t done. In times of abundance and scarcity, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, God stands with us, faithful in love and mercy.

The same God who remained faithful to His people in the past is the same God we can trust today. His faithfulness is the anchor for our souls, grounding us in hope and sustaining us through life’s storms. Let us embrace the truth of God’s faithfulness. May we meditate on His Word and recall His past faithfulness. As we do so, let us trust Him, knowing His faithfulness will guide us, protect us, and lead us into a future filled with His goodness and love.

God of Glory

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory, as the water covers the sea..” Habakkuk 2:14

What exactly is glory? It’s a concept that can be challenging to grasp. Glory is a captivating display that commands attention and admiration from others. When I think of glory, I’m instantly reminded of the joyful scenes of bath time with children. Those carefree moments when they skillfully evade the towel, gleefully darting through the house, dripping wet and unrestrained. In these instances, they authentically express their true selves, showcasing their unique and remarkable glory for all to witness.

Glory is often revealed in fragments, much like stepping into a teenager’s bedroom. The state of the bed, the pictures on the walls, the scattered clothes, decorations, and the lingering scent all reflect the occupant’s essence. Even in their absence, you can gain insight into their identity through the expressed glory of their personal space. Though not exhaustive, these elements provide an accurate representation, enabling you to begin understanding them through their unique glory.

Interestingly, in Hebrew, the word for “glory” (kavod) is linked to “heavy” or “weighty” (kaved). This connection suggests that glory possesses substance and significance beyond mere abstraction. Just as something weighty commands attention and respect, glory carries a similar weight, deserving reverence and honor. It is not fleeting or superficial but infused with depth and substance.

Take this week to reflect on the weighty glory of God. Seek intimate and authentic revelation from Him. Contemplate the substantial aspects of God’s glory as they manifest in your life and the lives of those around you. Express gratitude for His self-revelation through His glory and ask Him to use you as a reflection of His glory to others.

Missed this past Sunday’s message on the Glory of God? WATCH HERE

God of Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

In various religions and cultures, people worship and rely on multiple gods. Each god is associated with specific needs or desires. For example, they would seek favor from the rain god and the harvest god for fruitful crops or pray to gods of war or sea for success in battle. They even turned to fertility gods or goddesses for the blessing of a child. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through and seems exhausting.

However, in Christianity, we experience a significant shift. Our faith centers around the worship of a single God who encompasses all aspects of life. Throughout Scripture, the Bible reveals that the God of the Old and New Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is the one and only God. This God created heaven and earth, reigns as the King of the Universe, and His name is Yahweh. He is the God of everything.

That’s why the apostle Paul, recognizing this truth, asks the God of hope to also fill his readers with joy and peace. Paul understands he doesn’t have to go to three places to find hope, joy, and peace. He can find it all in the One True God. And here’s the amazing part: God is so generous that Paul can boldly ask for overflow. This overflow means that hope, joy, and peace can abound to be shared with others.

So, when you’re in need today, look to God for everything you require. Remember, you serve the God of everything. Need patience? He’s your God. Need love? He’s your God. Need wisdom and insight? He is your God. Need forgiveness, companionship, energy, grace, mercy, or comfort? He’s your God. You can ask Him for whatever you need and even request the overflow to share His blessings with others.

Missed this past Sundays message? WATCH HERE