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Verse of the Month - Jan 2018

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Blessed be His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory!  Amen and Amen!  (Psalm 72:19 ESV)

We all live our lives for a name.  The question that all of us must answer is whose name do we live for?  Because of our broken sinful hearts, our propensity is to live for our own name, glory, and little kingdoms.  The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans explains that we traded the glory of God for the glory created things (see Romans chapter 1).  Paul goes on to say that we are self-seeking and do not obey the truth (see Rom 2:8).  This is the state of humanity, and because of our sinful nature, we end up striving towards our own rule and reign while living for the glory of our own name.  

In Psalm 72 we see the prayer of Solomon asking God to empower the royal dynasty of King David.  Solomon in this psalm is proclaiming the promise that God had made to his father David.  In this, God promised that He would establish a house through David’s offspring.  This house would be built for God’s name to establish his everlasting kingdom (see 2 Sam 7:12-16).  This psalm of Solomon reveals that God’s promised offspring would rule in justice and righteousness (vv. 1-4) throughout future generations (vv. 5-7) with dominion over the whole earth (vv. 8-11).  This future King would rule with compassion towards the needy while gaining prosperity for His throne (vv. 12-17).  When this promise is fulfilled and this kingdom is fully established, then all the peoples of the earth will acknowledge and give rightful honor to this King’s name.

Enter into the story Jesus who was born through David’s line to be the promised King.  Yet in an unlikely way, this King didn’t come to live in a palace or to eat from a silver spoon, but humbly emptied Himself to be oppressed for the oppressed.  Jesus served us in our deepest need so that the weak might be made strong.  Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, He was highly exalted (see Philippians 2:1-11)  For all those who receive this King, and believe in His name, He gave the right to be the children of God (see John 1:12).  King Jesus has now been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  In that authority Jesus has given His followers a new mission to make disciples, baptizing them in His name (see Matthew 28:16-20).  For you and me as believers living on mission, we too are able to join in the celebratory shout of Psalm 72 and cry out, “Blessed be His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory!  Amen and Amen!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

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Verse of the Month - Dec 2017

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But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.  (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

Christmastime and the season of Advent is my favorite time of the year.  The sense of wonder and anticipation fills the air through various smells, sounds, and sights.  For the church, this season transcends the temporal and calls our attention to the eternal.  It is a reminder to us that Christ has come and will come again at the fullness of time.

The Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 4 explains the culmination of the promise found in Genesis 3:15.  After sin, guilt, and shame entered the world through the sin of Adam, God foretold of a promised offspring from Eve who would crush the head of satan.  The crushing of satan’s head would break the curse of our slavery to sin and death.  In verse 4, Paul points out that Christ was not slow in His first coming, but rather came at the perfect time.  In other words, God had set the stage perfectly for you and me.  In the keeping of His promise in Genesis, God sent no mere man, but remarkably His only begotten Son.  This God-Man who was under the law, kept and fulfilled the law by walking in perfect obedience to the Father.  Then in verse 5, the Apostle describes the result of this kept promise.  In Jesus, our redemption is achieved.  We see here that through Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Father, an obedience that would ultimately lead to the cross, we are redeemed and adopted.  At the core of Advent is the reminder that the light of men, Jesus, shone into the darkness, and the darkness failed to overcome it (see John 1:1-5).  

The season of Advent is a chance for us to once again reorient our hearts and minds upon the beautiful truth that Jesus came as our atoning sacrifice so that we might forever live in the awe of our Heavenly Father.  The joyous seasonal smells, sounds, and sights are only a shadow of the substantive truth that around 2,000 years ago on the hill of Calvary was the smell of death, the sound of forsaken cries, and the sight of our pierced Savior.  May our hearts and minds rejoice that the same Savior who endured the cross so that we might receive adoption of the Most High King, will one day return again.  In this promise, we who are his children cry out by the power of the Spirit that has been sent into our hearts, “Come Lord Jesus, come!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

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