I've noticed something about myself as I get older, I love salt. Growing up I always remember seeing my mom put salt on everything, and not just a little bit. I would give her a tough time, but now that I'm older, I do the exact same thing. I love the flavor that it brings out in the foods. To me, food without salt just tastes bland.
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares Christians to salt. You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Jesus has just told us that we are to be the flavor of God to the world. It's been said, people will base everything they believe about God through Christians before they dive deeper themselves. We see this with the woman at the well in John 4. It is no long because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world (John 4:42).
They started out believing because of the woman, they tasted Jesus in her, and then they came to know Him and base their lives off their own beliefs.
In 2019, Pewresearch did a study and found that 70% of Americans identify as Christian. That's nearly 3/4 of the country. That means that nearly 3/4 of the American population should be adding the flavor of Christ to our civilization. Dallas Willard in his Spiritual Disciplines writes that adding just 1/4 pound of salt to a pound of meat would definitely be noticeable.
But is that the true case? Are we, believers in Jesus Christ, actually allowing for the flavor of Christ to be noticed in our lives? Let's not just talk about Christianity as a whole, but lets get personal. When you are out in the community, are people experiencing the love of Christ in your life?
What flavor are you?
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses it's saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet (Matthew 5:13).
Have you ever been in a fight? It doesn't necessarily need to be a physical altercation in which there is harm desired, but any form of fight? Wrestling, horseplay, sparring, debating? In most cases, a good match has solid moves from both sides. Sometimes, in organized matches, it might go to the judges. Usually, even if there is a declared winner, the losing side might come out of it feeling like they made some solid impact in a couple of areas.
There is a story in the book of Acts in which we see an altercation, but it is clearly obvious who won the fight. Paul has been going around preaching the name of Jesus, and it has come to the point that even handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul's skin were taken to the sick, and their ailments were healed!
Hearing about this, some of the Jews wanted this same power, and so they found this man demon possessed.There were seven of these men, all trying to cast out the demon. They invoked the name of Jesus, and even of Paul. This didn't phase the demon possessed man, and instead he leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:16). Is there any doubt who won and lost that fight? I don't know of anyone who leaves a fight with all their clothes gone, and feels like they won.
But there is a moment in this story that I want to highlight and focus in on. The Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims" (Acts 19:13). Look next at the response of the demons. Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you? (Acts 19:15).
These demons didn't know who these guys were. They wanted the power that Paul was using, but they didn't have the power within them. So here's the point, are you known by the enemy? Usually those who are most known are most dangerous. I desire that the enemy knows my name, and cowards in fear because of the advancement that is being made for the Kingdom of Heaven. But it's not about who I truly am, but rather Who is in me.
May the enemy say of you, I know Jesus, and I recognize YOU! This is done by not sitting back and taking a hands-off approach, but by viciously going on the offensive. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a kingdom that sits idly by, but one that is constantly on the move, advancing to Jerusalem, Judea, and all nations.
You may not be called to all nations, but you are called to your neighborhood, your workplace, your school, your community. Let's make our names known to the enemy, but only because of THE NAME that we proclaim, the name of Jesus!
This weeks article comes from Curt Zahm
Can a bad day be an Unexpected Gift?
Do you ever have a bad day. It seems those that are closest to you get to see the worst side when you're having a bad day. It’s a mood that has no fuse but the slightest spark will set you off like a bomb. Well I had a day like that recently, and I found myself frustrated and angry.
So I’d had a long week and it was only Wednesday. Trips and travels all over, helped a friend with a bad situation, and bills are due. Usually on a Wednesday I’m finishing up a message for our Wednesday night group, and things just weren’t falling together. To top it off I had just gotten a new truck and one of the doors got stuck and wouldn’t open. I picked up the kids from school at 3:00 and on the way home they were singing so loud with the radio I couldn’t hear myself think. Now to put this in a different light I should have been happy that my children were singing God’s praises, but just then it hit me. I’m selfishly angry.
Psalm 61 starts, “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
When we get in theses situations the best thing to do is to focus back on God, and I start with prayer. Obvious first step, but absolutely necessary. As I prayed I felt God lift me back up into Joy. All the things that I had been worried about I realized were provided for. The bills were paid, I had reliable transportation and a full tank of fuel, and my friend was where he needed to be by God’s grace.
Isaiah 66:13 “For thus says the Lord: …. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”
When we find ourselves drifting into anger and frustration, its hard to remember to find our focus on God. But when you can, you’ll find a loving Savior ready to comfort his child. Remember to keep God first in your focus and you will have joy in all that you do.
I would direct you to Psalm 61 today. Read it through and dwell on the God who hears and provides.
Welcome to America, the land of the enslaved and home of the busy. Not necessarily the phrase that we have as our motto, but probably just as true. Fact is, you might be too busy that you see this and have skimmed past everything already. That's the truth of what I do a majority of the time, skim through stuff because I'm ready to get to the next thing.
We are a busy people, and honestly, it's our own doing. We have work, activities, school, extra-curriculars, clubs, projects, trips, families, meetings, meals, the list could literally go on and on. And a lot of times, that's what we try to fit in a 24 hours period, not just a week.
America it seems, has this notion that "if you aren't doing something, you're lazy". We honestly start to take pride in how busy we are. It becomes a trophy. When was the last time you told someone "I've just taken a couple days to regroup, gather myself"? I honestly can't remember. Instead, it's usually "man, I'm just busy doing the next thing". Having blank spots in the calendar brings on nervous ticks almost, as if I'm not measuring up.
Can I be real honest right now? If you said no, stop reading, because I'm going to be. I believe that the busyness that we have is actually a sin. I believe that we say yes to too many things, and we miss out on one of the most important things in life, rest.
Look at the life of Jesus. Yes, there were times of being busy. The man was famous, having crowds of 5,000 men alone come to Him. Constantly healing, constantly preaching, constantly caring for people. Exhausting stuff. You think your schedule is crazy, dealing with your own issues is one thing, Jesus dealt with everyone else's issues. That's truly exhausting.
How is it that we are able to continually do the work of Christ? The Holy Spirit compares the Christian walk to a marathon more than any other analogy about the pace. The thing with marathons, they're long. They're exhausting. They take a toll. There are three important things necessary for completing a marathon: 1. Proper nutrition 2. Proper training 3. Proper rest.
For the Christian marathon, our nutrition is feeding ourselves the things of God, found in His Word. Our training comes from that Word, as well as continually pushing ourselves a bit further in our faith. And our rest comes in taking the time to be refilled on God. Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God". When was the last time you actually sat still and dwelled on God? Not just for a couple of seconds, but truly sat still before God and focused on Him?
I want to finish up with a challenge: stop what you're doing, and spend 5 minutes in complete silence dwelling on God. Direct your thoughts. Already I can hear your thoughts, "I don't have time to do that." We all have the time, other things can wait, are we just willing to see the importance of it?
Take out your phone, set it to Do Not Disturb, start a timer for five minutes, and focus on the presence of God.
"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
We hope you are still training for Talent Night! It's next Sunday, September 26 at 6:30pm, followed by homemade ice-cream!
We are having our Men's Retreat the first weekend in October (Friday 1st - Saturday 2nd). It will be located at the church. You are welcome to come for the evening and camp, or come and go home and return in the morning.
We are looking for volunteers for the Harvest Party on October 31st. Ross & Charla King have come up with a great idea as well as having a trunk-r-treat. If you're able to help, please let Ross or Charla know.
Revival is coming in November! Dave Bycroft is going to be presenting the message. Dave was the lead pastor at Tyro Christian Church for forty years, and is now preaching at a Christian church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Have you ever heard of Nicolaus Copernicus? Unless you're a science major, this name may seem unfamiliar. But, the discover that he made is one that we still live by to this day. Up until the 16th Century, everyone believed in a geocentric system, in which the earth was the center of our system. But, in 1514, Copernicus presented a different view, a heliocentric system, in which the sun was the center of our system, and everything revolved around it.
In truth, this is the same way in our spiritual lives. You see, before you placed your faith in Christ, we lived in a self-centered life, where everything we desired, we fulfilled and gave in to. "If it feels right, do it" is a common mantra of this view.
"For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness..." Romans 6:19
This is how we were, we were seeking how we could glorify our own bodies. We made ourselves lord of our lives, and everything we did was for our own personal glory. We were conceited, selfish, prideful, greedy, jealous, and so much more. Everything that was done, was done to promote self.
But there came a time in our lives, or a time that I pray if you have not experienced yet you will open yourself up to, in which Christ took over our hearts, we surrendered to Him, and made Him Lord of our lives.
In that moment, we went from self-centered to Christ-centered. "Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness." Romans 6:13
Here's the thing about a Christ-centered lifestyle, it changes how we view the purpose of our lives. It changes how we go through difficulties, how we interact with our neighbors, how we spend our money, our time, and our efforts.
The reason is because it takes us from thinking that everything in this life is about us, and realizing that everything in this life is about Christ, and for His glory.
"I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25
"everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made." Isaiah 43:7
"The people whom I formed for Myself, that they might declare My praise" Isaiah 43:21
Paul came to this realization as he was writing his second letter to the Corinthians. We don't know what it was, but he had some form of ailment, or thorn, as he called it. Maybe it was the severity of the beatings and lashes that he received, never fully recovering (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Maybe it was that he never regained full vision from the blindness after receiving the revelation from Jesus (Acts 9:1-18). Maybe it was a spiritual matter, continually struggling with the same temptation over and over (Romans 7:15-25). Maybe it was something entirely different. But what we do know is that Paul pleaded and begged with God three different times to remove it from him. A self-centered view would hate God for not healing him, but that's not what Paul has, he is Christ-centered. "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
God has called you for His glory, and when we truly realize that it is all for His glory, it changes our view of everything.
The temptation is to be self-centered, but we are called to be Christ-centered.
May God be glorified in our lives this day, and every other, until He calls us home!
One of my favorite movies is 13 Hours of Benghazi, which recounts the heroic efforts of the men who fought to defend the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. It was a handful of men against an entire militia, and for an entire night, they fought the combatants off, defending and protecting their fellow countrymen until they could make safe passage to the airport.
There is one part in the movie in which I always enjoy. During the night, while the men are defending the compound, a bus pulls up in the distance and you see the militia begin to move a massive bomb inside of it. The American's, seeing something going on in the bus, decide to unload all firepower on the bus, and it detonates the bomb, massive explosion. The part that always hits me is that immediately after this happens, the actor portraying Dave "Boon" Benton says, "that was meant for us". It's a part that I always enjoy hearing, and to be honest, I don't even know why, but it does.
But it does make me think of something else, the statement that Boon made, that was meant for us. The penalty that Jesus Christ paid. The price that He paid, the suffering, the shame, the weight of the sin of all mankind, the whipping, the flogging, the humiliation, the agony, the nails, and ultimately, the moment where God turned His back away, that was meant for us.
That was the price we were supposed to pay, but He paid it for us. Jesus, not out of obligation, but out of love, willingly went to the cross.
John 10:18 -- "No one takes [My life] from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord."
God, not out of obligation, but out of love, gave His Son for us.
John 3:16 -- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life."
Jesus took our place on the cross, so that we can have a place in heaven. Jesus took our debt of sin and nailed it to the cross, so that we can have an inheritance forever. Jesus took our shame and addiction, and gave us joy and freedom.
Isaiah 53:4-6 -- "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned -- every one-- to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
In other words, that was meant for us, but Jesus took it upon Himself.
Sue Long's Memorial Service is tomorrow, Thursday, August 26th, at 10:00am (Visitation) and 11:00am (Memorial Service). Located at DERFELT'S BAXTER CHAPEL.
Bill Richard's Memorial Service is Friday, August 27th, at 1:00pm (Visitation) and 2:00pm (Memorial Service). Located at Center Christian Church. We will be providing a meal for the family at 12:00pm, and if you can help please contact Mila Jaeger (620-762-0451)
Tomorrow, August 26th, is the Back-to-School Rally. If you would like to come join us at our tent and hand out goody-bags, we would love to have you. Setting up around 4:30 and will be finished around 7:30pm.
The Junior High has an event coming up in September, the OCC Get-A-Way. This is an overnighter at Ozark Christian College. Sam Eddington has information if you need to contact him (620-762-2817)
Talent Night is still coming up, make sure to keep practicing your special talents! September 26th.
We are already preparing for our Harvest Party this year. It will be October 31st at the Church. We will be collecting candy soon for it as well as looking for volunteers to help with the Trunk'r'Treat.
If you're like me, you have a tough time with names. Even after learning someone's name, it's always a struggle to recall it back to memory. And once I've learned someones name wrong, it never goes well after that.
Many times we will see someone around town or at an activity, and though we recognize their face, the name evades us. We usually converse with them with the common "hey man", "you too, dude", "talk to you later, buddy", hoping to never have to try and decipher what their name is.
And one of the reasons for this is because we don't truly know them. We know who they are (somewhat), we know what they look like, but we don't know them, on a personal level.
The other day, I was reading in 1 Kings 13. Jeroboam is king of Israel after the nation splits, and he has built altars. 1 Kings 13:2 says And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: 'Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name.... This stuck out to me, because Josiah didn't come to the scene for nearly 300 years later, yet God called him by his name.
This is how it is with us. You may not be known by celebrities, politicians, or even a large crowd for that. You may feel that your life is full of minor events, never rising to prominence. But here's the thing, the Creator of the universe knows you by name. Not only that, He knows the number of hairs on your head. He knows the days of your life. He knows your comings and your goings, your risings and your sittings. And He cares about you.
No matter what today brings, ups, downs, surprises, or mundanes, find your joy in this fact, that you are known by God Almighty. Known on the deepest level, He even knows your darkest secrets, and He loves you the same.
I encourage you to take a moment to read Psalm 139, and see the great love that God has for you, His child.
This Sunday, August 22 at 5:00pm is a wedding shower for Peter Westervelt and his soon to be bride Jayci!
Next Thursday, August 26 from 5:00pm-7:00pm is the Back-to-School Carnival in the Columbus City Park. If you want to help, let Andy know.
Don't forget to keep practicing your talents for our talent night, September 26th!
In 1776, the Revolutionary War was taking place. America was fighting for its independence from British rule. Being ready for attack at any minute, there was a group of men who were designated as “minute men”. Their job was to “be ready at a minutes notice”.
The reason? They knew that war was coming. They knew that they needed to be prepared. They knew that their freedom and the freedom of their families depended on it.
Here’s a thought though, what if they never prepared for battle?
We are told in Ephesians that we are in a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
We don’t get to choose when this battle takes place, and honestly, it is always going on around us. But we aren’t left without any weapons to fight this battle.
Paul goes on to list the weapons we use: Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)
We aren’t just left to fight this battle without any weapons, God has granted us with the weapons we need. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4).
So we are in the battle, we have the weapons, but how is our training? How are we actually going about mastering these weapons that we have?
Many people have the sword, but do we know how to wield it? And this sword is not just the Bible. The Greek word for written word (the entire Bible) is Logos. That’s not the term used here when we are told that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God (logos of God).
Instead, Paul uses a different word, rhema. This word is used in the sense of having a word from the Holy Spirit at the moment that you need it. Jesus in the wilderness is a great example of this. Three times Satan tempted Jesus, and three times Jesus responded with a rhema, a specific passage from God’s Word to go on the attack.
Jesus knew the importance of not just knowing the Bible, but truly knowing the Bible and memorizing it, because He knew the battle was going to come. We know the battle is coming, and is already here, but are we preparing for it? Because it’s not just our freedom from sin and death that is at risk, it’s also the freedom of our families, friends, and loved ones as well. Take time this week to make yourself battle ready.
Upcoming Events at Center
August 26 is the Back-to-School Carnival in the Columbus City Park. We will have a tent set up and will be passing out goody-bags as well as having a game for the kids. If you would like to help out with this, let Andy or Curt know.
September 26 is our Talent Night and Ice Cream Social. Make sure that you are practicing up on your talent. Let Janice know if you are performing, or sign up on the sheet in the foyer at the church.