Psalm 132 is a beautiful Psalm full of the promises of God. His promises are far greater than our attempts to earn God’s promises. On truth shines brighter than the rest: All God’s promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Amen!
There are two parts to this Psalm divided by what I think of as an awkward dance in the middle (Ps. 132:10-12). The entire Psalm is addressing the problem stated in Ps. 132:1 READ. This Psalm is for those who are suffering from hardships…trying to make it through ~ and the only answer: God’s promises.
Beautiful words that testify to the amazing nature and character of God….
God is not just able to do beyond what we ask: “Now to Him/ who is able/ to do immeasurably more than all that we ask/ or imagine/, according to the power/ that works within us”….
A woman once approached the famous preacher, G. Campbell Morgan, after he spoke: “Do you think we should pray for even the little things in our lives, or just for the big things?” In his dignified British manner Morgan replied, “Madam, can you think of anything in your life that is big to God?”
1 Cor. 15:1-11 ~ Breaking Down Barriers (Stories from Port of Hope Ministries ~ Chaplain Phil DuFrene
Whoops, accidentally ended up sideways but very good message. No written notes available. Below is a video from one of the stories Chaplain Phil tells in the sermon about the Hindu that asked if Jesus was a Muslim or a Christian. Phil gives a thoughtful and gentle answer. The video begins after the question is asked and ends with an interruption. The answer continued a few minutes later but is not filmed.
[NOTE: FB Live Video did not come out smoothly this week, not sure if it will get posted later this week or not.]
What’s the difference between Ignorance and Apathy? [anyone know the answer? It’s a common joke] “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Overcoming apathy. I’m taking liberty in today’s message. In the last verse, Eph. 3:13, Paul says “do not be discouraged...” There is a difference between discouragement and apathy. Apathy is one more step of indifference beyond discouragement. Apathy is everything discouragement is except you add an element of not caring. Apathy literally means lack of emotions…
Ephesians 3:1-6 ~ "The Riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of men" (Chesterton Quote) ~ Carl Crouse
Do you ever feel inadequate trying to explain the grace of God? Grace is fundamental to faith, yet to fully grasp and receive grace is beyond our minds… The idea of pure grace is even more fleeting for those that don’t know Christ: surely there is something we need to do! It is common for people to not feel good enough to receive God’s love! To be accepted. To be forgiven.
In seminary I had a job at the front desk of registrar’s office. Every quarter a few students would come in to see me because they got a failing grade in a class they didn’t attend. When I looked up the record and showed them they signed up but forgot to drop it, more than one panicking student shouted, “you have to give me grace because you are a Christian School….” Newsflash: Forced grace is not grace, it’s law… Our minds have a tough time grasping pure grace…we excuse ourselves secretly thinking I’m not as bad as the person sitting next to me…
When we preach about the cross of Christ we normally focus on Jesus paying the price for our sins. If I ask “why did Jesus die?” most people, including me, will describe salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Today’s scripture describes another purpose ~ Reconciliation!!!!! Togetherness… This is a BIG PICTURE SCRIPTURE and the importance of seeing ourselves in unity with the World wide Church… This Big C Church is what motivates me as a pastor… often when I am critical of myself I think maybe I haven’t spent enough time on our local church… but that isn’t how I am wired, that isn’t what I saw in my father…But I know I’m right that if more pastors/churches looked beyond the local church and how to build our little Kingdom and see the Bigger Kingdom…
Today’s scripture: the Big C Church ~ all Christians present, past and future are members… As today’s scripture begins, the word PEACE speaks of oneness/togetherness … The purpose of Jesus death is to bring literal peace between people that are so different from one another …the 1st part of today’s Bible reading is to bring peace … the 2nd part is the result: Oneness. Unity. READ EPH. 2:14-22.
There are some things God wants us to forget: past offenses from others... turn the other cheek… life is much easier when we let God be the judge and not be vengeful… Some of you are experts on forgetting!... anyone have that spiritual gift?
Some things the Lord wants us to forget! But others he wants us to NEVER FORGET. In today’s scripture Paul twice uses the word, REMEMBER (Eph. 2:1 and 2). REMEMBER is Paul’s swift kick in the pants ~ don’t forget the appointment, it’s important! .
Paul kicks us in the pants to remember our past so that we will always thankfully rejoice for our salvation. “Therefore” in Eph. 2:11 refers to Eph. 2:1-10: you have been saved by grace therefore remember what you were like. God wants us to have awareness of the great contrast of before and after. One person noted the new identity that Ephesians describes ~ He compared it to a kitten looking in a mirror and seeing the reflection of a lion….I get it… but for me, the mirror needs to be like those old triple panel department store mirrors that I used to play in as a kid when I was shopping with my mother ~ three angles….the lion is definitely reflected in one of the panels, but in the other is still a kitten. Never forget you were once a weak, helpless, dependent kitten.
If I had to choose one paragraph from the Bible to explain Christianity to a non-believer today’s scripture is it. This scripture explains basics of how a Christian sees the world.… The great contrast of the old life apart from Christ and new life with Christ.
You want a fresh start of faith in Christ Jesus? Reaffirm the foundational truths of what it means to be a Christian… EMTs often go over basic first aid practices… Mountain Rescue experts hold drills of rescue and safety techniques to stay fresh and current… as Christians in a hostile world, it is refreshing to return to the simple gospel of who we are and what Christ has done. Eph. 2:1-10 outlines the fundamental truth of what it means to be a Christian. These verses fit well into the long recognized World View questions which one way or another every thinking person has to answer:
Who am I? (where’d I come from? How’d I get here?)
What’s the problem?
What’s the solution?
Where am I going?
Survival is not enough. The Lord Jesus Christ wants you to thrive… to flourish…
The past ten years in Sumas I’ve told hundreds of people I’m proud they are survivors. The situations people make it through are astounding, sometime their own bad decisions, sometimes situations thrust upon them out of their control. I don’t know how I would make it through some of the living hell people are given…
The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to thrive… I first climbed Mt. Baker when I was 12. I wanted to say I did it. On one of the early climbs I put on sunscreen unevenly so I would have burn marks on my face so people would ask…. 2-3 trips a Summer. 4-5 years later I can still picture the aha moment when I realized what a privilege it was to be in such an amazing place. I found JOY in climbing Mt. Baker.
True or false? “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life…” ___ The full quotation by Henri Nowen: “Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
The most important way to think of ourselves is that I am loved by God. God is crazy about you. He thinks you are awesome.
A common way of thinking: “If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.” There are a 100 variations: nobody cares… God uses other Christians in ways that are more important than me… I’m boring… I’m selfish… I’m inferior… /we mask our true feelings by acting self-confident, or withdraw and hope nobody notices…
I used to enjoy listening to the stories of Herschel Wiley, long time elder/teacher here. I can hear him describing winter time back in Missouri, probably in 1930’s before they moved to Whatcom County as a teenager, cars had narrow tires, and not a lot of them in those days. In winter ruts would be formed in the snow forming a single file trek into town. Once you got settle in the ruts you barely even needed to steer… all well and good, until you met another car…
We get stuck in ruts… some of the patterns aren’t even that great, the way we treat others, they things we put up with… go through the motions with very little steering even needed, but then crisis comes and you’re rattled…
Why do we fight change? Change is the one constant of life. That’s why the wedding vows account for the unknown ~ for better for worse. People come and go. Jobs change. Loss. Gain. The children grow. The older you get the faster time marches. Today we finish story/testimony of Joseph. Genesis 50, a transition chapter. The family of Jacob, Joseph’s father, is entrenched in Egypt. I included a timeline in the hand-out today which shows the major events of Joseph’s life and how old he was [placed at very end of these notes].
Carl Crouse, Pastor
At SACC we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every Sunday the worship service includes a message from the Bible. My words are an attempt to understand and apply the Bible to our daily living. I post weekly sermons and other biblical messages on this page. May you find meaning and hope as you read through each message and seek to hear God's voice. Leave a comment to ask questions or inspire others with your insights.