Good morning my brothers and sisters in Christ!
A thought came into my mind this morning and I absolutely can’t shake it. And it’s a good thing! “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I know that sometimes, even with the Word of God on our tongues, it’s easy to recite them, but not really give thought to them. So it was with the verse above. It’s a great statement of a daily worship we can have with Him.
As this was rolling around in my head, I thought to myself “If this is God’s day, and I’m supposed to rejoice in it, then how will I do that?” What will our day look like as we acknowledge that every minute of every hour of every day is God’s, and we are to treasure every moment?
Better stated, ask yourself: “If this is the day the Lord has made…”, then how are we going to finish that sentence:
“This is the day the Lord has made; so I will rejoice in it these ways”:
God’s peace and love upon you all as you rejoice and are glad in this is the day the Lord has made.
Yours in Christ,
Good evening, beloved in the Lord,
My first job out of college was with a company in Coldwater. They had a couple of manufacturing plants just west of Nashville, TN. I had to get down there several times a month, especially if my project was getting into production. One thing that really stuck out to me the first few times I was there was the slow pace of things. The Tennessee drawl; driving in your pickup truck about 25 mph, even on state roads; the seemingly lack of urgency for… well, for anything. As strange as it seemed at the time, driving me crazy with it all due to the frantic pace us yankees ran, it became over time rather refreshing. I began to look forward to these trips instead of dreading it as I had in the beginning.
Two questions for this evening: Are you ready for a change of pace? Are you willing to embrace a slower pace? In the world I live in, I’m finding it seriously necessary. Is our frenetic lifestyles really an improvement over the “good ol’ days”? We brag about how we are able to accomplish so much because we’re multitaskers. We fill every moment of every day. Here’s another question for you: Have you ever taken your phone with you when you go to the bathroom? No need for a show of hands. I know you have (because I have!). Waiting to see the doctor this morning for a physical, I reflexively pulled my phone out to see if anyone had texted me or if I had received any emails since I checked at home just before I left for my appointment. I had to make a conscious effort to leave my phone in my pocket. I should have just left it in my truck.
What’s happened to us these days is the perception of others and ourselves sometimes is that anything less than going 100 mph with your hair on fire is viewed as a liability. A slacker. Lazy. Unmotivated. Picture something radically different:
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul." Psalm 23:1 – 3
Do our souls really feel truly alive and healthy? Or do we need them to be restored? And I’m not talking about a weekend away where you are Facebooking/emailing/Candy Crushing all the way to the destination and then poring over your little soul-sucking wireless devices while you wait for your table. (You better not take them out over dinner! If you do, it’s seriously time for an intervention!)
What we need to is make a real effort in slowing down and letting God restore our souls. I don’t know about you, but lying down in a green pasture next to a flowing stream sounds pretty good to me! Disconnect from work when you’re at home. Turn off all electronic devices for at least an hour, and then try to make it a whole evening. It can be done and I’ll guarantee you that you will grow to anticipate this time.
Another thing, and I’ve mentioned it before, is to do a news fast for a whole day, and then try to extend that time also. Why? It’s the media’s fascination – and we buy into it – with all things hateful, harmful, and horrendous. The gorier, the shocking-er, the gossip-er the better. Do you REAALLLY care about a feud of Taylor Swift and whoever she’s been feuding with? I hope not, or you might hear the words “get a life” coming out of a loved one’s mouth.
Slow down. Enjoy life’s view. Take in the small stuff. Breathe. Dream. Thrive. Soar.
Please note that our 3rd Annual world famous chili cookoff and potluck is this Sunday. Remember there’s a wooden spoon trophy with your name possibly on it! Plus we just have a lot of fun and eat a lot of food. We excel at both of these.
Peace and still waters,
My dear friends in Christ,
Like you, I’ve been reading the stories of the mass murder in Las Vegas Sunday evening. This has shaken me to my core as to the evil that was unleashed that night. Satan makes no difference if he is sowing his death and destruction in Afghanistan, New York City, or Las Vegas. This is once again when some of us may wonder "Where was God Sunday night in Las Vegas?" I'm writing tonight to assure you that God was there. He was there in the actions of the first responders saving lives. He was there in the bravery of strangers helping one another, some even shielding others with their own wounded bodies. Do I know why God allowed this carnage? No. I'm only able to understand that He is going to use this experience to allow good things to happen; I know that's hard to believe right now. Yes, Jesus was there with a broken heart, seeing once again so much hate and pain, delivered up by the Enemy. Please remember this passage that describes the death of His dear friend Lazarus, from John, chapter 11, helping us to understand the ache of suffering and death that this brings to Him:
33 "When Jesus saw her (Mary, Lazaruz' sister) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” He asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Please pray for peace and healing of all of those affected by this now common carnage; please pray that this kind of violence is to never be seen again. Please pray that God will bring His peace to our land. Please pray for each of us, that we would be loving influencers to everyone we run into; this might be a person who is contemplating violence to others or themselves. A kind word, spoken in love and care could make all the difference to that person's life and possibly the lives of others. Hold onto the precious Word of God to even begin making sense of this all:
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" John 14:27.
Peace in Jesus our Lord and Comforter at all times,
Good evening loved ones!
I’m just chilling after a sweaty cutting of our lawn. I remember when I was a kid and my dad told me I had to cut the grass that day. No exceptions. Of course, I put it off; as it got darker, I realized my plan to wait till the next day had worked! Or did it. No, my dad made me cut the grass that night – with a flashlight!
What does that have to do with my message tonight? Pretty much nothing. I was just reminiscing about the joy of cutting grass. Come to think of it though, I thought of something as I was cutting this evening. Every other week I change the way the lawn is cut. One week it’s perpendicular to the street, the next it’s on a diagonal. (Yes, I know I’m a little uptight about my lawn.) As one makes the first diagonal cut, it’s extremely important to make sure it’s straight, because the subsequent swaths will be based on that first one. In the past, I’ve tried to make the cut by estimating I was going straight because… well, how hard could it be? As I’d turn the mower around to make the return cut, I’d see that that first cut was crazy not straight.
I’ve solved that problem, though. Before I start the cut, I’ll find an object at the end of the cut that I can focus on. No trusting my own instinct to make that first cut, no. And guess what? I’ve been cutting that diagonal so straight you could sight a gun barrel with it!
Here’s the takeaway from this story: When we try to rely solely on ourselves to get through life, it’s going to be as ugly as my first cutting attempts. We wander to the left and then the right and all the subsequent activities in our lives are aligned with that first “cut” and we wonder why the grass looks bad. Yet when we focus our eyes on the target of Jesus, the cuts will be straight! No, not perfectly straight, but right where they need to be. Please don’t try to do life with ourselves as the source of right and wrong, joy and anger, love and hate, light and dark. It gets unnecessarily messy and full of hardship. Not the “full life” that God promises us when we walk with Him: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Another verse comes to mind also: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
So the next time you see a lawn beautifully cut on that diagonal, you can remember to keep our eyes on Jesus for every area of our lives!
There's a new sermon series starting on Sunday: "Advertising Slogans that are Found in the Bible." Like this one on Sunday: "Coke (?) the Real Thing." Come on in and let the love of God and His people overwhelm you!
Here’s a Public Service Announcement from Mitzi and the Social Ministry: Fishers volunteers at the St. Mary’s Food Pantry every Tuesday and Thursday in October. We’ve had a few responses, and that’s awesome, but we still have a few left to fill. If you’re able to volunteer those late afternoons (4:00 – 6:00), let me or Mitzi know. Thank you for being the face and hands of Jesus to folks that need to see it!
Peace out, ya’ll,
The book of Daniel is absolutely fascinating. It contains some of the history of Israel’s exile to Babylon in the sixth century BC (Before Christ). It also contains prophecy of the end of the world; it is both a joy for those who trust and believe in God and a most serious warning to those who don’t know Him. You’ll discover some of the most fascinating stories found in all of the Bible: Daniel in the lion’s den; Shadrack, Meshak & Abednigo in the furnace; Daniel’s telling to the king of Babylon the meaning of the “handwriting on the wall” (yes, this is the origin of that common phrase!).
This sermon series is a bit different from the others done here at FCC. This series is unabashedly directed toward the men. Men can sometimes be the “forgotten strength” of the church. Many times, since the women most often outnumber the men in any given congregation, the messages naturally are not overtly geared for the men. With that in mind, this Daniel sermon series is titled “Men of God.” What does it look like to be a man of God? How do we become men of God? What are the challenges?
The series will look at some of the most important qualities of a man of God:
8/6/2017 Series introduction to Daniel
8/13/2017 Men of bravery Daniel 3:16 – 18
When the three friends stand firm in not renouncing their faith, even in the face of certain death!
8/20/2017 Men of integrity Daniel 5:22 – 23
Daniel tells the truth to the king when no one else will. True integrity begins with holding on to the truth no matter what!
8/27/2017 Men who lead Daniel 6:1 – 3
Daniel is placed in a high position of authority to lead the king’s country, even though he is kind of a prisoner at the same time. The pressures of leadership can seem overwhelming at times, but the man of God stays the course in truth and example!
Join us for this powerful Daniel series, as we walk with the Lord and discover more of His life giving truth for our lives.
Good morning! And a beautiful morning it is! These are the days that I stand in awe of how amazingly and powerfully God has created the world, and in particular our little corner here in the Saint Clair area. I was taking a long walk this morning along the boardwalk, and I noticed something shiny on the ground and reached down to pick it up. “Hey! I found a quarter! Cool!” (I still get excited about finding money on the ground, especially quarters.)
Has this ever happened to you? You bend down to pick it up, and what’s the very next thing you do? Of course! You look around to see if there are any more coins. Like someone is going to “breadcrumb” their way around by leaving a path of quarters to find their way back!
Of course, this got me thinking. It can be tough sometimes to talk with strangers and engage them in friendly conversation if we’ve never done it or if it’s seriously out of our comfort zones. But just like finding that first quarter, it gets a lot easier, and if you’re like me, you actually look for folks to strike up a conversation! This drives Mitzi and the boys crazy if we’re trying to keep a schedule.
I’m convinced that this is how our FCC church will grow, as well as the church in the world. So what if you don’t know them! There’s always something that you share in common with them. I stopped yesterday morning to pet two dogs whose owners were walking and then sitting on a bench. Guess what? I saw them in the very same spot this morning! They remembered me and we chatted and I got my “dog fix” for the day. How cool is that?
Let’s remember one thing here: It’s not our job as Christians to bring someone to faith. Let me repeat that: It’s not our job as Christians to bring someone to faith. Things of faith, like this especially, are too huge for us to even try to take responsibility for! That is the Holy Spirit’s job: to take that situation; that conversation with someone; that helping to carry something for them as they struggle with it; that simple befriending; and make His good and perfect will to be done in their lives as He holds out the truth of God’s love. When we look at it honestly, our “job” in all of this is pretty simple. The Spirit’s job is much much harder. That’s why God has given Him that role.
God’s blessings to you all this week and receive the peace of God that goes far beyond our thoughts or imaginations,
A blessed morning wish to you all!
Last evening, Cameron and I were shooting baskets in the driveway. He’s become a pretty good player! Anyway, he found his “spot” on the court that he was really able to drain it. Then he got so comfortable with his “spot” that he started to try shooting with his eyes closed. He didn’t do so well, obviously. And I said to him, “You just have to keep your eyes open to see the hoop!”
What an interesting thought for this Passion Week. Even though most of us have seen many, many Good Friday’s and Easters, each year is a brand new celebration to praise God for His unending love and grace for the world through His Son Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s easy to go through life and this week in particular with our eyes closed to it all. It’s not to say that we don’t acknowledge these days, but it can get rather rote and somewhat meaningless for us. The way to overcome this? Keep your eyes open! Keep them open to the power over sin that Good Friday brought – every one of our sins were forever taken away through His sacrifice in our places. Keep them open to the power over death that Easter brought – by faith in these most holy acts by God we have eternal life! How can we ever go through life with our eyes closed ever again?
The apostle Paul wrote this for us: "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." He's saying "God, even though I can't keep my eyes open to Your love, send Your Spirit to wash over me that I can continually know You better as I constantly try to wrap my brain and heart around all that You've done for me!"
So you can remember as you plan the rest of your week, Good Friday worship will be at 7:00 pm. Easter celebration is at 10:00 (normal worship time). It’s all going to be so cool!
We are still looking for volunteers to help with the Adopt-a-Highway eventthis Saturday at 8:00 am. With enough folks helping, we should wrap it up at noon and have some pizza. Come on out! It’s beautiful outside and it helps to improve our area, and people will continue to see Fishers as the church who is doing this work.
I’d like to also get together Saturday evening at 7:00 pm for a short Easter vigil. We’ll simply pray that our Easter worship will be blessed and that the seats would be fill with Spirit-driven folks who want and NEED to hear the Easter message of God’s incredible love for them. Powerful enough to give His only Son unto death, yet also powerful enough to raise Him from His death.
My Good Friday and Easter morning love to you all,
Good morning and happy Thursday!
About this time each year I get itchin’ to dig in the flowerbeds around our home. The coming Spring brings an anticipation of renewal and new life to our outdoor surroundings. If you need to find me on the weekends, I’m usually outside weeding and pruning and planting.
I receive seed and plant catalogs toward the end of winter to further the anticipation that all of this will bring. My favorite catalog is from a company called David Austin Roses. This gentleman and his family have spent their lifetimes developing English roses. Sometimes roses are chosen for their type of growth: a climber or a bush; scent: some stronger than others, and with different types; color of course: beautiful shades of pinks, yellows, reds; disease resistance: many times roses are susceptible to nasties like “blackspot,” which is a fungus that can eventually defoliate the entire rose plant if not corrected. Newer roses are bred specifically to be resistant to such diseases.
The rose grower will separately grow what is called “root stock” plants that have been developed to be especially hardy and strong. They will at the same time grow the desired rose as described above. At the right time, the root stock plant will be harvested so that only the roots and base of the plant are kept. The new rose plants will then be similarly harvested, only their branches are left. Then, they will graft the two plants together: The beauty and other unique qualities of each variety with the strength and vigor of the root stock. They come together to become breathtaking and hardy roses that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Here's how God puts it for us as we take this example from the garden into our personal spiritual lives:
“But some of these branches from Abraham's tree--some of the people of Israel--have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God's special olive tree.” Romans 11:17
God is telling us that we are now part of His chosen people, with His “ingrafting” of us, into the “whole plant” – the sturdy base (God’s original promise of love, faith and eternal life) along with the uniqueness of the rest of the plant. You see, with the foundation of everything that is God along with the differing colors, scents, growing types etc., we have become an amazing garden of faith along with all the rest of the plants that uniquely combine to form His church. Remember that the next time you drive by our house or if you simply take the time to enjoy the beauty of a rose!
Here’s a reminder for you all, that we are continuing our Genesis sermon series this Sunday as we will wrestle with the thoughts that we all have about hearing God’s voice. Does it still happen today? How can I hear Him? Why should I hear His voice? I believe that everyone will enjoy and benefit from this study of the Word of God. I hope and pray that I will see you on Sunday.
Peace in Jesus Christ,
Good morning all,
I sit here in front of the computer trying with all my strength to not go to an online news site. It’s been part of my morning routine for quite a long time now. I then complain (usually to Mitzi) that “I’m not a morning person.” Could it be because I let the toxicity of the daily news affect me? I was reading an article this morning (online of course), that asked the question: “Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business.”
Kind of makes you think, eh? Are we letting this negativity and useless information fill your heart and mind? Did you see whose gown Charlie XCX wore to the Grammy’s? (No, I didn’t watch the Grammys and no I don’t know who Charlie XCX is). There’s the old computer programming saying that goes “GIGO” – Garbage In/Garbage Out. It really shouldn’t surprise us, then, that our thoughts, moods, and actions are many times motivated from these useless things. God speaks to us in the same way: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 and one of my favorites in all holy Scripture: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
That last verse tells us of course, if we’re to think on those things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent and worthy of praise, then we’re to not ingest the things that are NOT we’re to think on those things that are honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent and worthy of praise It’s pretty simple, but hard most times to put into practice. Here’s the deal: Please don’t start your day with the news (my advice would be to take a week’s “fast” from it and see how you do. I bet you’ll find yourselves in a better place mentally, emotionally and spiritual. Hey, if something is important enough for you to know about, it’ll get to you in some way.
Here’s the deal part 2: Replace your morning news fix with an online daily Biblical devotion, that typically includes God’s Living Word for your day. And… please don’t use your smartphones to get your fix of negativity.
A dear friend shared with me this morning some pictures that absolutely made my morning. I dare you to look at them without smiling!
Peace in Jesus our Lord and Savior,
This week we’ll begin our new sermon series called “Messy Grace” that is based on the book by the same name.
If you’d like to see a snippet of the author Caleb Kaltenbach describe it, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XJ-WKMjLps
In his message of how the church can wrestle with one of the issues of our 21st Century culture – homosexuality – we get to see how far-reaching God’s grace and holiness is.
Yesterday I was enjoying my morning devotion time – just me and God – awesome. Reading Ephesians, Paul the guy who wrote it, said: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1). I jotted this thought down: What would we “fill-in-the-blank” if we were to make it ours: “… to the saints who are in (your town), and are ______________ in Christ Jesus” ?
It’s easy many times, to read this in the Bible and see it only referring to some abstract group of people somewhere else in a place we’ve only heard of in the Bible. But we absolutely have to understand and remember that God gave us His Word to tell each of us His love and grace for us of course, but then the next part of it is to “see us” in those words also. So, how would you fill that blank above? “believers”? “compassionate towards others”? “strugglers”? Please take some time to pray over this little challenge and if you’d like, email me back and share our thoughts.
Don’t forget the Super Bowl get-together at our house on Sunday. Let’s gather here around 5:00-ish for lots of fun and watching the Falcons destroy the Patriots!
His peace upon you all,
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization