04/02/2017 – A New Name – Making Me New

Speaker: Michael Larrabee
Summary: Genesis 17:1-22, Genesis 32:22-31, John 1:42, Matthew 16:18, Acts 13:9, Revelation 2:12-17
We look at the different places in the Bible where God assigns men new names. From Abraham, a name of blessing, that special name that Jesus gives those who overcomes.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)

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03/26/2017 – Encountering Jesus – Making Me New

Speaker: Michael Larrabee
Summary: John 4:3-27 She thought it was just a chance encounter, a stranger sitting at a well, but little did she know that her life was about to forever be changed as she encountered Jesus and He spoke to her true need. It was chance encounter by her planning. It was a divine appoint in Jesus’ grand design.

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05/08/2016 Pressing for Deliverance

Speaker: Michael Larrabee
Summary: Matthew 15:21-28 On this Mother’s day we are looking at a powerful example of a mother’s love and faith that transcended every barrier between her and deliverance for her daughter. She did not come with a privileged back ground, nor was she encouraged to press on, yet she preserved in spite of everything to become a shining example that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.

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Wisdom Regarding Conflict

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
~ Proverbs 11:9

A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
~ Proverbs 11:13

What we do do with what we know is more important what we know. It is rare Christian that takes the Bible seriously in all things. For instance if you discover a transgression regarding someone else in the church what do you do?

a.) Go to your friends and tell them about under the guise or possibly the genuine desire for council?

b.) Go to God in prayer seeking His direction?

c.) Go tell the pastor and expect him to deal with it?

d.) Go to the person directly and speak with them?

Obviously, if you are a Christian you know that option “b” is correct, but after prayer what is the next, correct Biblical step? The answer is “d”. Even if it is something that has to be brought to the pastor’s attention you can appeal to the person first so that you may go to the pastor together. This approach may not work and may not even be likely to work, but in doing so you are giving God the opportunity to build and restore relationships. One of the titles of the devil is “The Accuser of the Brethren.” Bringing accusations is not the churches business. Our Lord is a healer and by proxy so should the church. It is true that there is need to identify illness that treatment may be administered, but we most stick to God’s prescription if we are to expect His help.

So why is it so often that the transgressor is the last person that is often addressed in such matters? It is cowardice, in short. Most of us have strong distaste for conflict and we let our own safety and comfort zone dictate more what we are going to do rather than what we know should be done. So as a result we tend to revert to pack animal tactics, attempting to gain safety in numbers. But the only real safety is found doing things God’s way, so He might intercede on our behalf. And this is going to take courage. Moses had courage when he went to see Pharaoh, but he had the assurance that he was in God’s will.

Also, there is a whole lot of things that no one else needs to know or be concerned with, especially if you are the offended party. You can choose to conceal your own hurts feels and forgive. Love has to be our guiding principle here. Think about it, because love has to also do some pretty tough things at times. Paul had the Corinthian kick a fellow out of the church, and that too was an act of love. First, it was act of love for the sake of God’s reputation. Secondly, it certainly was an act love for the influence and atmosphere of the church.

We can choose to build or we choose to destroy. We can choose govern our actions by what is right or we can go with what is comfortable. James says “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6) We would do well to think and pray before let it loose.

 

God Bless You,

Pastor Mike

You Push the Clock Around

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. ~Proverbs 6:10-11

“There is never enough time”, and “I am so busy” seems to be a common anthem of the modern age. It has almost become some weird badge of honor, where grown ups gather around and recite day planners, trying to “one up” each other. Once upon a time it was predicted that due to technology we would all have copious amounts of free time. Well, I think the futurist have missed the boat on this one. We have a thousand different inventions that are supposed to save us time and make our lives easier. There are fast food restaurants and drive thru pharmacies. The highways where I live raised the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph. So where is all this extra time that we were supposed to have?

There has been twenty fours in the day for as long as we have recorded history. This is a troubling thought when you realize you have just as much time in the day as anyone else has ever had. This means Thomas Edison did all his inventing in twenty four hours. Martin Luther King Jr. lead the civil rights movement on a twenty four clock. Spurgeon prepared sermon after sermon with only twenty four hour days.

How is it that we seem to struggle to accomplish just the basic things in life? I wonder if it could be that we waste more time than we realize and fail to prioritize our lives? For all those wonderful time saving inventions of the current century, we have a thousand other things designed to rob us of time. Whether it is the television set, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the internet in general, there is a multitude of things designed to steal away our time in little bits. Be honest, how much value do these things add to our lives? What is the benefit? We read so much in the course of a day now, but know so little. We may communicate with dozens of people, but are we really developing relationships?

Then there is the never ending list of extra activities which we engage in or enroll our children into. Each commitment seems benign because it is an hour here and another there, but pretty soon the list just keeps expanding until we become some weird neo-nomad traveling from place to place all day long. We finally return to the base of operations to park the car and sleep before we awake again to repeat the whole process again. But in such a lifestyle, is it fair to say we are truly awake?

In the first verse here, I think we should take special note of the word “little” which is used three times to describe how someone wastes away their time. It is easy to identify the things in life that eat up large amount of our time, like work. But the thing is, we have to work because each of us has got a painful need to eat. The large things in life that take up our time are often the things that have to be there, but it is the mountain of other small things that we loose track of.

This is the design of the enemy to distract and over burden the church. It is the enemies design to keep you sleep, going through a million senseless actions half awake. In many cases this is the best plan to mitigate the potential power of God’s chosen people. Napoleon, hundreds of years ago, was examining a map of the world and he traced the borders of a nation on the map and turned to his generals. He told them, “Here lies a sleeping giant. If she ever harnesses her natural resources and people power she will shake the world. Here lies a sleeping giant, let her sleep.” The nation he outlined was China and we are just now beginning to see the stirring of that giant. But I believe the devil has also drawn a line around the church here in America and says, “There lies a sleeping giant, let her sleep.”

For the most part the church has slumbered. With a little folding our hands we have grown spiritually poor. We have all this great mass of Christian literature at our finger tips, but the masses in our churches have slept. We sleep through meals and grow spiritually week and malnourished. Those who have gained some knowledge have not spent the time to gain the experiential knowledge, rather reciting dead facts, which have not become realities in their lives.

Just as with labor, or finances, or up keep of a home, a little folding of the hands and a little sleep when it comes to spiritual matters will bring poverty, but the worst of it, is that it is not simply a physical state, but it is your soul. We need, we must take our spiritual growth seriously.

First, we need to identify if we really have a time problem. There are many people that don’t a time problem, they have a time wasting problem. Basically this means: if you have time for entertainment, you have time to read and pray. Christ is standing at the door and knocking and if any man will open the door, He will come in and sup with him. That door is the cover of your Bible. We need to experience Jesus in the Bible.

Secondly, we need to prioritize our life. If you don’t have time for church because you are engaged non-work activities, I can tell you right now, you have a prioritization problem. What is the most important thing you can teach your kids? The answer is, to love God. But here is the deal, how you spend your time is going to either confirm what you telling them, or it will tare it down. One of the obvious and fundamental ways we demonstrate to our kids and to the world at large our commitment to Christ is through Church involvement. And I do mean involvement. Going, is a good start, but it is only a start. The church is described as a body. There are several parts of a body and this is true, but each part preforms a function. Now, what function are you fulfilling in your church? We need to make being a functioning part of the church a priority.

Finally, we need to be willing to sacrifice. If you have truly over extended yourself, you are going to need to make some cuts. It might even be as extreme as taking a different job. But remember what Jesus taught about this: “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, but loose his soul?” It might be something simpler, like cutting out a sport and hanging out with friends. Again, how you choose to spend time will say more about your commitment to God than anything else.

Will we sleep away this life and discover the possibilities of grace that we forfeited when we pass from this life or will we take this bull by the horns and choose to push the clock around, instead of letting it push us around?

 

God Bless You,
Pastor Mike

05/03/2016 Proverbs 3:11-12

11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:

12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. ~Proverbs 3:11-12

Ever wonder why other people seem to be able to get away with just about anything, while you, on the other hand, can’t seem to get away with the smallest transgression? Believe it or not, if this is a description of you, the Bible says you are blessed. One of the principle means by which God demonstrates His love towards you is that He corrects you and the more vigilant in His correction the more He is delighting in you.

There is a clear warning here, because we are all human and our default setting is a disdain for correction. The author is admonishing us to accept God’s correction in our lives, recognizing it as His expression of love. We desperately need correction if we are going to be what God has called us to be. Correction can come in many shapes in forms. With the promise of Romans 8:28 we become aware that God is actively working ALL things for our benefit, for the purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ. This phrase “conform us to the image of Christ” should ring bell with us, because it points us back to creation when God said He was going to create mankind in His own image. God, in a sense, is herding us back to meaningful existence, to live within the grand, fulfilling, and joyful purpose we were created to enjoy.

Those two words “ALL things” means that God has a large highway with many lanes by which He may bring correction into our lives. There are times He may use civil authority, or the loving correction of a dear friend, or a passage within the Bible, or a sermon, or even the harsh accusation of an enemy. Truly “ALL” things means all things. Part of Christian maturity is coming to a place where we are receptive to correction by whatever means God chooses to speak to us. We should be a reflective people, ever striving to be responsive to the nudging of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, looking learn, desiring to change, and yearning to reflect the image of our Creator, our Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As was mentioned in the beginning, God’s correction is not act of anger, but an act of divine love for His children. This point is worth repeating, because in the middle of it we may not feel like we are being loved on. We may feel we are in God’s proverbial dog house, but in reality we are securely held fast within His loving arms. There is no shame here, only God’s love for us and an assurance that He is watchfully at work in our daily affairs. It is God’s declaration of ownership and affection. He is saying to all, “This one is Mine, I must not let him stray.” Many of us due to imperfect parents may have a warped view of correction, but God is perfect and as a result His correction comes with the distinct purpose of building and blessing you. There is no vengeance or spite mingled with administrations and He takes no pleasure in your discomfort. He is simply doing what He must, so that He might bring you into His best, and ultimate purpose for your life. He desires to bring you to the exact center of His will, which is the perfect center of His blessing.

Take heart Christian God truly loves you!

God Bless You,
Pastor Mike

01/10/2016 Count the Cost

Speaker: Pastor Mike
Summary: The audio on this cuts in and out. We are working on resolving audio issues. The sermon is good enough to hear.
The text is Luke 14. We are challenged to count the cost. The gospel call has always been a full exchange. It demands the entire man, with nothing in reserve.

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12/27/2015 Pressing Forward

Speaker: Pastor Mike
Summary: The New Year’s sermon for 2016. Forgetting those things behind us and pressing forward to new heights we are pressing on in 2016 to see Jesus glorified.

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