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Pastor's Point - June 2022

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Dear Church Family,

I just want to begin by sharing with you all how much I love our church family!! On May 22nd I celebrated being the pastor of our church for sixteen years. The time has flown by! I have seen my kids raised, married, and living on their own. I have seen God’s hand of blessing on our church as He has faithfully seen us through all kinds of seasons of life
together. I have watched children in our church grow up and start their families and serve faithfully here at Oakhill. These are just some of the things that really cause me to pause and think about the years of ministry together. Early on in my ministry I began signing all of my letters with, “I love you and I love being your pastor.” That is still true and will never change! From the bottom of my heart, I want you to know that as long as God leaves me here, I will serve and love with my whole heart!!

In my sixteenth year of ministry with you I must say that we are living in unique and strange times. Pandemics, supply chain shortages, runaway prices on food, electricity, and gas, strife, and turmoil in our country, and runaway confusion over things that once were not that hard to understand. We see all around us the devaluing of life, gender confusion, a lack of moral standards, and the death of absolute truth. In the middle of all of this we need to do a few things.

Pray
Instead of being overwhelmed with what is coming at us, we need to humble ourselves and pray.

Allister Begg states… “Prayer is an acknowledgment that our need of God’s help is not partial but total… Yet many of our church prayer meetings have dwindled in size and influence. Ultimately, the explanation can be traced to spiritual warfare. If, as the hymn writer says, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees,” then we may be sure that he and his minions will be working hard to discredit the value of united prayer. The Evil One has scored a great victory in getting sincere believers to waver in their conviction that prayer is necessary and powerful.”

I am more convinced than ever that we need to spend more time in concerted prayer. It is in praying to our great God that we can know His will, find direction, and live in God’s peace and rest. We need this like never before!!  The second thing I believe we need to do is…

Prioritize
We must live in these unique and strange times by prioritizing our lives. We must live for God’s glory and have as our aim to glorify Him in every aspect of our lives. It matters how we live. There are choices that we must make. There are limited amounts of resources that God gives to each of us. And we are going to need His wisdom as we consider how we manage our time, talent, and treasure. As prices spiral upward, we need to consider how we use the money that God gives us. We will need to prioritize what we spend our money on. As life gets more hectic, busy, and confusing we need to consider how it is we will use our time and our talents. Randy Alcorn states… “If God was the owner, I was the manager. I needed to adopt a steward’s mentality toward the assets He had entrusted – not given – to me. A steward manages assets for the owner’s benefit. The steward carries no sense of entitlement to the assets he manages. It’s his job to find out what the owner wants done with his assets, then carry out his will.” We can best do this when we reference back to our first topic and make our whole life a matter or prayer, asking God to what He would have us Prioritize, and then carry out his will.  And we do all of this for God’s glory and our good. Let’s pray and prioritize like never before and watch all that God is going to do!!

I love you and I love being your pastor!

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spare Change - June 2022

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What is the scariest passage of scripture in the Bible?  R.C. Sproul said it is Matthew 7:21-23 in a sermon called "Build on the Rock".  Read this passage and see if you agree.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

This passage tells us that not everyone that claims to know Jesus is a believer.  This is certainly a scary passage.  Just claiming allegiance to Jesus is not enough.  Just knowing His name and who He is not enough.  Even doing works in the name of Jesus is not enough.  This strikes deep at the concept of assurance.  It begs the question, “How do I know that I am saved?”

Jesus is addressing false Christians in Matthew 7:15-27.  From this text we can learn what a true believer is and what it is not.  From this passage we can ask ourselves four
questions and know for certain if we are saved.

1. Is my faith rooted in the gospel?
The implication in this passage is that false Christians are not rooted in the true gospel.  They know some things about Christianity and even do things that make them look like Christians; however, in this passage they are called workers of lawlessness which means they never really believed in the true gospel.  If you believe in Jesus like it says in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10,13 then you have nothing to fear.

2. Do I bear good fruit?
In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus says that you will recognize the false prophets by their fruit. They may look like all the other believers at first but if the product of their faith is rotten fruit, then you can know for sure they are not true believers.  Those of us that are true believers, while not perfect, will reflect the good fruits of the faith like evangelism, discipleship, obedience to Christ, spiritual disciplines, walking in the spirit, etc.

3. Is my life built on the Word of God?
In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus shows us another way to know if we are a true believer.  True believers will hear God’s Word and build their life on it.  This means they learn it and apply it to their lives.  It becomes their foundation for living.  When we do this, we can face any storm or trial of life and survive.  False believers will not be able to stand when hardships come because their life was not truly built on God’s Word.  

4. Does Jesus know me?
Finally, in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus keys in on something very important.  He says the defining factor of a true believer is not whether we claim to know Jesus, rather it is whether Jesus knows us.  The gospel draws us into a relationship with Jesus.  Yes, He is our Lord, but the relationship goes even deeper.  He is our everything!  It truly is a relationship built on the gospel.  The outworking of that relationship is love.  Jesus loves us and we love Him. This love is displayed in how we learn, obey, and follow Him.  If we truly have a relationship with Him then He knows us and we have no need to fear.

Matthew 7:21-23 can be the scariest passage in the Bible, it serves as a warning for all those that call themselves believers.  Those of us that have trusted in the gospel of Jesus for salvation have nothing to fear. Keep following Jesus and doing the things He has commanded us to do.  For those that might be thinking, “I might be a false believer”, it is not too late. Turn to Jesus today for salvation.  Cry out to Him, He will hear you, and save you today.  Then this passage will not be so scary but rather a constant reminder of the grace and mercy of God.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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