Jesus and Hanukkah

Dear MLC Friends,

 

Yesterday we went to an event called “Chanukah Wonderland” sponsored by Chabad Jewish Community Center of Folsom and billed as “The largest Chanukah Event in the Sacramento Region.”

 

Our three-year-old granddaughter got her faced painted, made a “dreidel” bracelet, and put together an electric menorah. There was a kids’ contest for the best homemade menorah, including one made from tiny vodka bottles!


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Dear God, Bless This Mess!

Not so long ago two of our young grandkids from NC, Layla and Jackson, invaded our peaceful home. As soon as they touched down, we sprinted around the house to kid-proof the lower shelves. It was the first reality check of what was to come: teething cries, stinky diapers, scattered toys, peanut butter smears on white draperies, and piles of clothes and dishes. A week later, I was still pulling Cheerios out of the sofa. Meal time required a fire hose to clean up–well, not quite, but you get my point.


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New Sermon Series

A New Sermon Series Begins Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts is a historical account of how the resurrection of Jesus changes everything through the birth of the First Century church!

In Acts, the gospel expands through weakness, opposition, and persecution. Hostility and suffering did not foil the spread of Jesus’ Gospel; rather, they only fuel it.

Why should we study this wonderful Book of Acts?

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Pay It Forward

Dear MLC Family,


You have a role in God’s plan for the church—the very same one described by the Apostle Paul. After reminding Timothy to never be ashamed of the Gospel, Paul tells him in to “pay it forward.”

2 Timothy 2:1-2—“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (If you missed it, that’s four generations!)

Pay It Forward is the title of a film drama released in 2000 which introduced the term “pay it forward” into the American vocabulary. The film is set in Las Vegas and chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney’s launch of a goodwill movement known as “Pay It Forward.”

When Trevor begins seventh grade, his social studies teacher gives the class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s plan is a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan “pay it forward,” which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying the favor back.

Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, along a branching tree of random acts of kindness.

Why did Paul challenge Timothy to “pay it forward”? Because, like us, he has a job to do. He was a living beneficiary of Paul’s ministry, a recipient of the Gospel message and, therefore, charged to deliver it to others.

“And what you have heard from me
in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men
who will be able to teach others also.”

Paul says Timothy should entrust the Gospel message to “faithful” men. That means Timothy has to take the time and commit the energy to invest in these men, check their heart, and nurture them in the faith until they can be trusted to carry the truth of the gospel. In other words, instead of paying Paul back, Timothy must take the gift and “pay it forward.”

The essential first step in becoming a disciple is to receive the Gospel message ourselves. The second part of the process of discipleship is passing what we discovered along to someone else.

We are certainly called to come to church on Sunday morning and be nourished by the word of God, but what happens to our bodies if all we ever do is eat? We become obese and unhealthy, and if we do it long enough—it can kill us!

Likewise, in our spiritual walk, if all we ever do is come and receive, we will be unhealthy and sick. The only way to be healthy is to use what we have been taught, and that means passing it along to others!

We’re not truly a disciple unless we share what we’re learning with others. Get it, then give it away—and experience the joy God longs to give you! It’s the only plan that can truly accomplish Trevor’s assignment—“change the world.”

Blessings,
Pastor Steven


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What Is Jesus’ Top Concern?

Are you like me and never noticed a significant part of Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep?
 

“So (Jesus) told them this parable, saying, ‘What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!”’” Luke 15:3-6


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Hurting for the Things That Break God’s Heart

 

I recently read an article by Ed Stezer, director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College, about change. In part, he said:

People hurt for their preferences when there’s change. But part of the role of pastors and church leaders is to help people hurt for the right things. When people don’t get things their way, it hurts them. That shouldn’t surprise you. But, instead, leaders have to help them hurt for the things that break the heart of God.

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Living for the Invisible

Living with Kingdom values requires a radical new perspective on life. Perhaps the first big step is adjusting our perspective to live for the invisible.
Let’s face it, life is hard! Obligations, responsibilities, expectations, duties, and all the stress that goes with them often doesn’t add up to the “abundant life.” The mundane and monotonous nature of life sometimes makes us feel like it’s not worth getting up out of bed.
 
Solomon, known as the wisest man who ever lived, hit the nail on the head in the book of Ecclesiastes. He had absolutely everything the world has to offer and a relationship with God, but he used one word to describe the emptiness we still feel:
 

“All is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2).

But Solomon also helps us understand the reason why we feel this emptiness. It’s because we are eternal beings temporarily trapped in time. Godly discontentment is built into our genetic structure because “(God has) set eternity in (our) heart” (Ecc. 3:11).


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