Pastor Jason's Blog
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February 15, 2017, 12:00 AM

Friends for the Journey

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the great joys of the Christian pilgrimage is walking it along with spiritual partners. It is important to note that we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Thus, as He exists in Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we too are called to exist in fellowship with Him and one another. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. We dare not go at traverse these paths alone.

I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the spiritual partners God has placed in my life. There is strength found in a close circle of spiritual friends that otherwise cannot be known. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” It should not be surprising to us that there is strength in numbers. Yet, sadly, many Christians deny themselves such a cadre of spiritual partners.

Tilden Edwards once declared: “Unless we are particularly heroic or saintly persons, each of us needs a relationship with at least one other person who also seeks and trusts the simple way, the Simple Presence. Such a ‘spiritual friend’ can be enormously supportive to us, and we to them… Just knowing that someone else is struggling for the simple day with you, whether or not you speak together often, is encouraging. You feel a little less alone, a little less tempted to fall mindlessly into complicating traps… When someone else knows and cares, then we pay that much more attention to what we’re doing.” I can attest I have found this true in my own life.

The Scripture tells us that David and Jonathan enjoyed such a friendship (1 Samuel 20:42). No matter what trial or temptation they faced, they knew they did not face it alone. There was one who always had their back. They knew they had in each other+ one who would stick closer to than a brother. Who is that person in your life? To whom are you that person? Christianity, after all is a religion of love; and not self-love but love of one’s brethren and neighbors in Christ.

Let us pray together: O God, you have made us for fellowship, and have given us the power both to help and harm our fellows, grant us the wisdom to know what is their good, and the ready will to help them to attain it. Heal those we have wounded, strengthen those whom we have failed, grant us all your healing grace, and make our fellowship to be your family, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

February 8, 2017, 9:23 AM

Thy Kingdom Come

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May the one thing we desire be for God’s kingdom to come and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. May nothing be more attractive and desirous to us today than knowing Christ and living in the center of His will.

I suppose this would be a good place for us to pause and consider what is that we are truly seeking first and foremost. Is the Lord, our God, the number one pursuit of our lives? Do we really want Him and what He wants? In Matthew 6:33 Jesus declared, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

When a man or woman truly abides in Christ there are many, many things he or she never wills to ask: they do not want them. And if Christ’s words are abiding in them – all of Christ’s words – you can be sure that they will not ask for a whole category of things. When Christ’s words are in the soul, a wish that the secular heart grasps after is no longer even interesting! When we truly abide in Christ, when our union with Him is complete, then His desires and ours are one. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we ought to examine where we stand today.

Glaphre Gilliland declared: “Why do we tend to seek other things first… and want God to be added later? We seek success… and want God to endorse our goals. We seek acceptance… and want God to provide the cheering section. We seek increased income… and want God to be the bonus. We seek vindication… and want God to take our side. We seek happiness… and want God’s smile of approval. We seek health… and want God to dispense an instant cure. As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, our goals change. But we don’t realize that our pattern often remains the same! We seek to be useful… and want God to bless our busy activities. We seek to be helpful to others… and want God to tag along. We seek to be spiritual… and want God to applaud. We tend to use God instead of seek Him. We want God to do our bidding more than we want Him. What percentage of our prayers are for our own comfort? To fulfill our fantasies? Where do we ask for God’s will? Isn’t it usually at the end of the prayer… as a closing benediction… sometimes almost as an afterthought? I wonder how this all wise God of ours feels about being brought in at the conclusion and asked to bless the plan? What a waste to rely on our wisdom, when God’s wisdom is available!”

Let us pray together: Grant me, O Lord, heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek you above all things, and to understand all other things as they are per the order of your wisdom. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

February 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Gracious and Compassionate

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Aren’t you glad we serve a God who is “gracious and compassionate” (Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 116:5; 145:8)? May we reflect His grace and compassion in all things! As the Lord Jesus looked upon the masses, had compassion for them, and then did something loving in response (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34), may we also look upon the broken and helpless of our world and be moved to action.

Think on this: Norman Cousins points out that the amount of cash lost each year in the United States amounts to about $75 per capita – money that has fallen out of pockets, is misplaced, and so forth. The total average annual income for most of the human occupants of this planet comes to about $69 per person. Thus, the average American loses more money each year than almost anyone else earns. There is something frustratingly itchy about these stats. We feel like scratching but don’t quite know where to find the bite. What do we do about unwanted distinctions? Do we celebrate the discovery that we have the biggest garbage bin in town? Do we congratulate ourselves on the fact that the drip from our leaky faucet in one day represents more water than the average Asian family in a drought-stricken area will drink in a month? Whatever one does or does not do about these jabbing statistics, one thing is clear… The notion that we simply have to take the world as it is doesn’t relieve the itch. So, what do we do? Perhaps we had better go on scratching – at least until we find the bite.

J. K. Warrick writes: “Today, we have about eleven hundred compassionate ministry centers around the country. On the one hand, we celebrate that evidence of the expanded practice of compassion in our churches. On the other hand, we really should have over twenty-nine thousand compassionate ministry centers, because every church should be a center of compassionate ministry and evangelism. In every community where there’s a Nazarene church, there ought to be the heart of compassion, because you cannot separate the call to holy living from the call to get involved in the world in which we live… Compassion is a lifestyle. It is not something that we do; it’s who we are. If the heart of a holy God has filled us with holy love, then it’s not simply to love him, but it is to allow him to love a broken world through us.”

Let us pray together: Loving Father, keep me from being an ineffective, ordinary Christian; challenge me to be among those who are ready to fling their lives away for Jesus Christ, to be utterly careless of what happens to me in order that He may be glorified. I pray in His name. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

January 25, 2017, 7:55 AM

God, Where Are You?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you ever felt like God was absent? There have been many times in my life when I cried out of God and yet He seemed silent? Why? Where was He when I needed Him most? Could it be He was present and I missed His coming due to my own preconceived ideas of how He ought to manifest Himself?

As I consider this reality, I am reminded of how the Lord spoke to Elijah while he rested in a cave after a great battle with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19:11-12). The Scripture tells us the voice of the Lord came to Elijah but it was not in the mighty wind, earthquake, or fire. Rather His voice came in a gentle whisper. A gentle whisper?! That seems quite unfair. Hearing such a voice would require we be extremely still and attentive. Perhaps, that is the point.

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Did you catch that? The Lord is always present even in our darkest hours. He comforts us in all our troubles. We simply need to be still enough to hear His voice, receive His comfort, and then go forth and share that same comfort with others.

Elisabeth-Paule Labat writes: “God is in fact always passing into the everyday and often colorless fabric of the life of each one of us. This everyday experience may even be the sphere into which he prefers to introduce his grace. The slightest event in our lives and the least discernable movement of his grace point to the passing of his justice and mercy into our lives and to his desire to appeal to our faithfulness and to draw us toward him. He passes in this way among us in order to fashion us into his form and likeness and to perfect us in his love. Sometimes he does this slowly and silently, acting like drops of water that take so many years to hollow out the rock, and with so much discretion that we are hardly aware of it. At other times, he acts so quickly that he takes us by surprise… If we are to perceive the Lord’s passing and be aware of its significance every time it happens, we much become very sensitive and intuitive and be quietly open to his presence and faithful to it.”

Let us pray together: Almighty God, you are ever present in the world around me, in my spirit within me, and in the unseen world above me, let me carry with me through this day’s life a most real sense of your power and your glory. Hallowed be your name. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

January 18, 2017, 8:01 AM

Holiness in the Mundane

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. As we seek to be Christlike, may we reflect the Lord not only in our avoidance of those things that are extraordinarily tempting, but also in the mundane. When Jesus Christ said that he was the Way he meant more than the Way to the Father. He was also telling us about a way to think, a way to act, a way to react, a way for all of life.

Galatians 6:4-9 declares, Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The spiritual life is first of all a life. We live as spiritual men and women when we live as men and women seeking God. If we are to become spiritual, we must remain men and women. And if there were not evidence of this everywhere in theology, the Mystery of the Incarnation itself would be ample proof of it. Why did Christ become Man if not to save men by uniting them mystically with God through His own Sacred Humanity? Therefore, if we want to be spiritual men and women, let us first of all live our lives. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surrounds us everywhere.

Abraham Joshua Heschel writes: “The problem of living does not arise with the question of how to take care of the rascals or with the realization of how we blunder in dealing with other people. It begins in the relation to our own selves, in the handling of our physiological and emotional functions. What is first at stake in the life of man is not the fact of sin, of the wrong and corrupt, but the natural acts, the needs. Our possessions pose no less a problem than our passions. The primary task, therefore, is not how to deal with the evil, but how to do deal with the neutral, how to deal with needs.”

Let us pray together: Today, O Lord – Let me put right before interest: let me put others before self: let me put things of the Spirit before the things of the body: let me put the attainment of noble ends before the enjoyment of present pleasures: let me put principle above reputation: let me put you before all else. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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