February 5, 2018 | The primary purpose of the church has always been to bring lost people to Jesus
Do you have someone in your life that does not know Christ?  I’m sure you do.  I know that I do.  Think about this person for a moment.  Think about your relationship with them.  How much do you love this person?  Is there anything you wouldn’t do to help them out if they needed it?  

Hypothetically speaking, if this person needed financial help, and you had the money that could assist their need, would you give it to them?  Do you love this person that much?  

Or perhaps the need were more severe, and this person was in need of a blood transfusion that would be life saving — and your blood type was a match for the blood needed — would you donate some of your blood for this person?  Do you love them that much?  

So you love this person so much you’d willing sacrifice financially to help them.  You would even give your own blood to save their life.  But the problem we’ve addressed is that they do not yet know Jesus and the eternal hope that is found when you know Jesus.  So consider for a moment: how does it make you feel when you think about their eternal destiny?  Does it make your heart ache to think they are living apart from Jesus and the hope of eternal life?  Do you get a sense of urgency that it’s vital that you do whatever you can to bring this person that you love into a relationship with Jesus?  

James wrapped up his letter with this thought in James 5:20“Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

Jesus made it a point to emphasize the reaction in heaven when the lost are found during His parables in Luke 15:10 — “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When we talk about eternity, you do understand that there is more at stake than simply helping someone get by for today or even a few more years?  Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that the very reason He left heaven for earth was so He can “seek and to save what was lost.”  This is Jesus’ mission statement … this is the very reason Jesus was born and the ultimate reason He surrendered His life to die on the cross.  

And as Christ followers (the word “Christian” literally means “little Christs” or ones who follow Christ), we have the same mission and purpose as Jesus.  It has always been the plan of God for the Church to carry on the work that Jesus began.  The church does not exist to entertain it’s own people.  The church’s purpose has never been to cater to the preferences of its members.  We have a responsibility to minister to one another; however, the primary purpose of the church has always been to bring lost people to Jesus.  We cannot lose sight of that.  

And that’s why we’re asking the question throughout the month fo February: “Who’s Your 1?”  Throughout this month we will learn how to identify who in our life needs to hear about the hope that knowing Jesus offers and we’ll discuss how to best share that hope with them.  God placed you in a relationship with that person for a divine purpose.  He loves you so you can share His love.  Who’s Your 1?  Identify them.  Begin praying for them.
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Ashton
 
January 29, 2018 | God cares about the condition of your heart
The Bible has much to say about the importance of the condition of your heart. The “heart” is mentioned more than 1000 times in the Bible; and 99% of the time it is not referring to the cardiovascular system of pumping blood throughout your body. When the Bible mentions your “heart” it is likely referring to the “inner self” — the emotional, mental, psychological, moral, spiritual parts of our being.

God cares about the condition of your heart. In Psalm 24:3-4 we read, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”

The state of your heart matters to God. The Bible warns us to avoid a double heart (Psalm 12:2), a hard heart (Proverbs 28:14), a proud heart (Proverbs21:4), an unbelieving heart (Hebrews 3:12), a cold heart (Matthew 24:12), and an unclean heart (Psalm 51:10). That’s why David asked the Lord to “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23).

Jesus had an encounter with a group of religious leaders who were critical of His disciple’s religious observance. They were not practicing ceremonial washings, which the pharisees believed were essential to being right with God. In response Jesus said in Matthew 15:7-9, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”

Your behavior and actions are important to God as well, but everything you do flows from your heart (Proverbs 4:23; Luke 6:45) ; much like the condition of your well determines the quality of water that you drink. It doesn’t matter how many filters you place between your well and your faucet, if the well is contaminated, your water will be contaminated. The solution to a contaminated well is to fix the well. And the solution to a sinful heart is for God to fix it.

That’s what Jesus came to do. David prayed in Psalm 51:10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Hebrews 10:22encourages us to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Jesus declared in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

The condition of your heart is vital to the Christian faith. If you’re struggling with sin, behavior modification will not solve the struggle. Check your heart. Renew your heart before the Lord. And trust that God is faithful to forgive you of your sins. The promise of 1 John 1:9 affirms this truth — “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
 
In Christ,
 
Pastor Ashton

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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