April 21, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
We talk about celebrating Easter, but what are we really celebrating when we celebrate Easter? What do we understand about Easter that those early disciples did not when they first encountered the empty tomb? In this message, we learn of three things that we celebrate about Easter and the risen Christ. First, we celebrate the just and loving character of God. Second, we celebrate the salvation of sinners, which we all are, that only Jesus' death could atone for. And thirdly, we celebrate the conquest of evil and of the prince of this world who is the author of all evil. We have been set free from all that might keep us from receiving the full salvation of Christ. This is something to celebrate!
April 14, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Preparing for the Day of the Lord includes submitting. Specifically, submitting to a humble King Jesus. Zechariah helps us see this humility as a contrast to other great conquering kings such as Alexander the Great, who believed that he was the mighty king that was spoken of by Zechariah. But Zechariah also prophesied of a coming king who would be both righteous and gentle. It is easy to submit to a king who demonstrates great power in his conquests, but much harder to submit to a king who comes humbly and gently. But submit we must, and we do this by recognizing His Lordship and striving to become even more humble than He was.
April 7, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Haggai is another prophet who gives the message that the Day of the Lord is coming, and Haggai gives us reason to look to this day with celebration. He warns us to let go of the idea that days gone by were the most glorious days, but instead urges us to take courage as we look to a new day of far greater glory. Specifically, the former glory had the focal point of having a great temple for worship, but that temple was going to be replaced with a new temple that would be far greater than the old one. This new temple is Jesus and His church -- a church that is the people of God on a mission with God to bring all the nations to Christ, and this mission is not based on a building or on any other schemes of man, but only those things that are led by the Spirit.
March 31, 2019 ~ Richard Britton
Hosea’s story is scandalous. It is a scandal of grace. The book uses the metaphor of an adulterous spouse to depict Israel’s relationship with the LORD. Israel has lost their identity as a people who worship the LORD alone. They have been unfaithful to the LORD’s covenant, and will suffer the consequences. Yet the LORD will not abandon His people. Israel will still be called “children of the living God,” their story is not over. We are a part of that story. The LORD forgives us of our heart idolatry and sin. Christians are members of a new covenant that cannot be broken.
March 24, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Remembering ~ We prepare for the Day of the Lord by remembering -- remembering God's works of redemption in our lives. Like the Israelites whom God charged with failure to remember in Micah 6, a charge that He made in the presence all creation because our redemption is so closely tied to the redemption of all creation, God is concerned with our own ability to remember as well. Do you remember when God led you out of your slavery in Egypt? Or do you remember how He has turned a curse into a blessing for you? Or, how about when God brought you across the Jordan River into your Promised Land?
Our remembrance of what God has done for us,all by His generous love and grace, is what should propel us to then act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
March 17, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Loving ~ As we prepare for the Day of the Lord we also have to be loving, and not just to people like us, but to those other people too. In fact, we have to love all people, just as God does. We see this vividly illustrated in the story of Jonah. Jonah was called to bring the message of repentance to a people who were terribly wicked and sworn enemies of the people of Israel. Jonah did not want to bring this message of repentance to them, and even when he finally did, he was hoping that the people would ignore the message so that God would indeed destroy them. When the people did repent, and God did relent, Jonah was so angry he wanted to die. But this was the lesson that had to be learned; God loves all people with great compassion, and so then should we.
March 10, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Accepting ~ The prophet Zechariah reminds us that as the Day of the Lord approaches we have to accept the complete, once for all forgiveness that we have through Jesus. And accepting often means that we first have to recognize that we have a relentless accuser, Satan, who is trying to convince us that our sins have left and us dirty and unacceptable. This continuous finger pointing by Satan leaves us with a misfiring conscience that can only be fixed when we allow Jesus to pluck us, charred as we are, from the fire, and clothe us with sparking clothes of righteousness. He had paid for all our sins and it would be unjust of God to require any more payment for them. Once we accept this payment of Christ on our behalf, we have beautiful peace and glorious worship as we are able to celebrate our great oneness together, knowing that we are all acceptable in Christ forever.
March 3, 2019 ~ Pastor Gerry Koning
Repenting ~ For our Lenten season sermon series this year we will be listening to some of the words from the often overlooked Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. A common theme of these prophets is that people need to be preparing for the Day of the Lord, the day when God would set all things right through His Son, Jesus Christ. The prophet Joel reminds us that preparation for that Day requires us to repent -- to repent with urgency, with sincerity, and with assurity. Urgency stops us in whatever we are doing and turns us to the Lord. Sincerity lays out a broken heart, both individually and as a covenant people. Assurity is based on God's loving character and compels us seek the glory of God in our repentance.