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Life Lessons

The Benefits of Discipleship

By | Ministries

​We hear much about the cost of discipleship. As Jesus stated it in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” He further expounds on it in verses 24 – 28, and in a parallel passage in Matthew 10:32-39. So, Christ doesn’t sugar-coat the cost of following Him, and being one of His disciples. Yet the Great Commission clearly states that we are to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…” I recently read a devotional selection from the book titled Devotional Classics by Dallas Willard titled “The Cost of Nondiscipleship.” He pointed out that the church today has drifted to “Make converts (to a particular faith and practice) and baptize them into church membership”, and is omitting two important parts of the Great Commission. First, “the making of disciples or enrolling people as Christ’s students, when we should let all else wait for that.” Second, “we also omit the step of taking our converts through training that will bring them ever increasingly to do what Jesus directed” (“observe all that I commanded you.”)

Willard went on to point out that we are really short-changing those converts because then they experience “the cost of nondiscipleship”. He defined the cost of nondiscipleship as follows:

“Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil…it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said He came to bring (John 10:10).”

This brought the thought that these costs of nondiscipleship are actually the benefits of discipleship stated in the negative. Through discipleship we can help the converts:

​•​come to understand the “abiding peace” they have in Christ (John 14:27).

​•​They will experience “a life penetrated throughout by love” (John 15:9-13).

​•​As they go through the ups and downs of life they will develop a “faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good” (John 16:33).

​•​They will develop a “hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging circumstances” (John 15:18-21;Phil. 4:11-13; IITim. 1:12).

​•​They will have the “power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil” (I John 2:12-17; I Peter 5:5-10). 

Then they will experience “that abundance of life Jesus said He came to bring (John 10:10).

I pray that your Christian life has been more than a conversion and baptism experience, but that you have been discipled and taught “to observe (obey) all that I commanded you” If not, go to your church leaders and ask to be discipled in order that you may enjoy the benefits of discipleship instead of experiencing the cost of nondiscipleship.

Church leaders – be sure your ministry is more than making converts and baptizing them into membership. Fulfill the Great Commission in its entirety – make them disciples who follow and obey Christ with their whole heart.
Being discipled,

Gary Winters

Leviticus – Ugh!!

By | Ministries

Marty’s newest series is on the book of Leviticus. If you’re like I was, you’ve only done a quick scan of Leviticus on trips through the Bible. I mean, it’s just about blood and mildew – right? Each time I approached the book I said, “Next year I’ll read more thoroughly – or at least I’ll stop and think about what it’s saying.” And that thought seemed to keep my conscience relatively clear.

But one year when Exodus ended and I turned the page to Leviticus, I was determined to find out what the book said – since it is part of God’s Word, maybe it says something important… So I found a commentary and began studying. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. I went from knowing about it to actually knowing it. I began to see beyond and beneath the blood and mildew. The Old Testament adds to the backstory of the truths of the New Testament. It adds a richness, a fullness and provides a deeper understanding of the New Testament. And Leviticus is no exception to this.  

So instead of thinking “ugh” at the thought of Leviticus, be ready to be amazed!    


 

 

Finding the AMAZING in the GOOD

By | Ministry

What are we to make of Good Friday? Why is it called “good“? And why are we to celebrate a death? These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves as we approach this day. Heritage is committed to remembering the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and the tremendous price He paid, once for all, for our sins. On Friday night, March the 25th, Heritage will be having a Good Friday Service. We would love for you to join us in remembering the Body and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Service will last approximately one hour starting at 7pm.

Pastor C.H. Spurgeon from his sermon, “Sad Fasts Changed to Glad Feasts,” on the significance of celebrating Good Friday.

The Lord of life and glory was nailed to the accursed tree. He died by the act of guilty men. We, by our sins, crucified the Son of God.

We might have expected that, in remembrance of his death, we should have been called to a long, sad, rigorous fast. Do not many men think so even today? See how they observe Good Friday, a sad, sad day to many; yet our Lord has never enjoined our keeping such a day, or bidden us to look back upon his death under such a melancholy aspect.

Instead of that, having passed out from under the old covenant into the new, and resting in our risen Lord, who once was slain, we commemorate his death by a festival most joyous. It came over the Passover, which was a feast of the Jews; but unlike that feast, which was kept by unleavened bread, this feast is brimful of joy and gladness. It is composed of bread and of wine, without a trace of bitter herbs, or anything that suggests sorrow and grief. …

The memorial of Christ’s death is a festival, not a funeral; and we are to come to the table with gladsome hearts and go away from it with praises, for “after supper they sang a hymn” [Matt 26:30, Mark 14:26].

Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  (Luke 23:46)

Pastor James Montgomery Boice pointed out in  Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter, (pp. 99-100):

From very early in the history of the church, preachers have noted that Jesus’ last words show that he was in total control of the situation, as he had been in every moment of his life.  For these are not the words of an exhausted man, as if Jesus merely died from dehydration, loss of blood, shock, extreme fatigue, or suffocation.  Not at all.  They record a deliberate act of dismissing his spirit…

This shows what Jesus was doing on the cross, particularly in these last moments.   He was reflecting on Scripture… Four of the seven last words were from the Old Testament.  Only Jesus’ direct addresses to God on behalf of the soldiers, to the dying thief, and to his mother and the beloved disciple were not.  This means that Jesus was filling his mind and strengthening his spirit not by trying to keep a stiff upper lip or look for a silver lining, as we might say, but by an act of deliberately remembering and consciously clinging to the great prophecies and promises of God.  If Jesus did that, don’t you think you should do it too?  And not only when you come to die.

You need to fill your head with Scripture and think of your life in terms of the promises of Scripture now.  If you do not do it now, how will you ever find strength to do it when you come to die?  You must live by Scripture, committing your spirit into the hands of God day by day if you are to yield your spirit into God’s loving hands trustingly at the last.

Broken for the broken

By | Ministries

Why does God have to punish sin? Because he’s so good. Why does God want to forgive sin? Because he’s so good.” Tim Keller

On friday night, Jewish people around the world started celebrating the Passover. On the same evening Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Scripture is clear that God carefully planned the timing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The high priest’s practice of killing the Passover Lamb had been in force for hundreds, perhaps a thousand years. On Friday of the year Jesus died, the Jews celebrated Passover and killed a lamb for the temple sacrifice. Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at that same time in order to take our sins upon Himself.

This Friday,  Heritage will  celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a Church Body, remembering that it was instituted at the last meal our Savior enjoyed before His death (Matt. 26:26–29). This sacrament is central to the life and worship of Christ’s church, but, it didn’t start in the upper room and it doesn’t end with us leaving with a hymn. To understand the significance we remember what came before.. Just as our view of baptism is informed by its link to circumcision (Col. 2:8–15), so too does the link between Passover and the Lord’s Supper, which was instituted at Passover, help explain the purpose of eating the bread and drinking the wine.

At the original Passover, the Lord said the firstborn of every house would die unless the doorframe of that house was covered with the blood of a perfect lamb. That night, the Lord “passed over” the homes with blood on the door frames. God would tell the people to remember Passover for generations to come. And years later Jesus ate remembered the Passover with His disciples. He even said that He eagerly desired to eat this Passover with them before He suffered (Luke 22:7-16). Jesus was crucified as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of His sacrifice as the perfect PAssover lamb and the fulfillment of the new covenant between God and man.

Ligonier Ministries explained it this way:

“Passover was established when God rescued His people Israel from Egyptian slavery. After nine plagues did not move the pharaoh to let the Israelites go (Ex. 7:14–10:29), God sent one final plague that provoked the king of Egypt to relent temporarily and free the Israelites. This plague, the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn sons (Ex. 11:1–10), gave only a short window in which to escape; thus, the meal preceding it had to be something that could be eaten in haste. Unleavened bread was essential to the Passover as the people had no time to wait for the dough to rise if they were to get away (Deut. 16:3).

The blood of the Passover lamb was also a part of the feast. Though the people did not consume the blood, they did spread it on their door posts so that the angel of death would “pass over” their households (Ex. 12:7–13). In so doing the Israelites marked themselves off as God’s people, saved from His wrath.”

Though God elected to save the Israelites, their sin did not make them any less worthy of death than the Egyptians. But the Lord provided a way for them to escape His wrath in those days. Ultimately, this looked forward to the time when the Lord would eternally save His people from judgment. We are saved from God’s wrath by God Himself. Let us never forget the righteous character of our Creator, who, despite our sin, mercifully chooses to redeem His people.

 

Come and Celebrate the Resurrection!

By | Announcements, Ministries, Ministry

Someone has said that Christmas is essential, for it is the beginning. But without Easter, Christmas would be worthless, forgotten not long after it had begun. Easter truly is the apex of the Christian faith. It is the day in which we celebrate the wonder of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ who gave us new life. Instead of viewing Easter as another holiday, those of us who believe should return it to being a holyday. 

This coming Friday night at 7-8pm our church family will gather to remember the sober side of Easter. We will commemorate the passion of Christ as He went to Golgotha and there became the substitute for sinners, bearing the wrath of God as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. The service will be a rich tapestry of music, preaching and observing the Lord’s Supper together. Childcare is provided for children through the age of four, and we encourage families to come and remember this time together.

On Sunday Morning at 9:00am we will enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship together with a pancake breakfast in the West Wing of our facilities. After a time of prayer we will transition to our Worship Celebration at 10:30am where we will sing the songs of resurrection and hear God’s Word proclaimed that Jesus is alive. What a great time this would be for you to invite that neighbor or friend to join you for fellowship and worship! People are often eager to attend a worship service on Easter, and your invitation could be their opportunity to come and hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At Easter we celebrate a great victory! We rejoice over the unspeakable deliverance that is ours through simple faith in Jesus Christ, who conquered sin and the grave and who has set us free. This victory deserves a wonderful and jubilant celebration, and we hope that you will be present this coming Easter Sunday to celebrate with us!

Act Your Age Not Your IQ

By | Ministry

Well, some things are easier than others, am I right?
Confession #1: This  IS said to me far more than I would prefer. Maybe this haymaker has been leveled at you as well. Every single week, often more than once a week, a certain person tells me “You are ridiculous.” I’m not sure I really know what to do with that type of edification.
Confession #2:Plenty of people, are acting their IQ. This should not catch us off-guard as it does. But it does…

IMG_0132
Confession #3: Acting one’s age is no plan for success, let alone christlikeness. It’s one thing to be childish, and one more thing to be acting “oldish
Confession #4: I’ve been wondering some things… I’m telling you, some things have been rattling around in my head. Maybe we need to act a little less like our age(s) in our approach to this Easter.
Confession #5: Easter is about more than dressing up, getting your family to come to church, the lunch after, candy, eggs, or whatnot… I love how Leslie Newbigin put it:

”_They resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the proclamation of a victory. The King reigns from the tree_.”

If we fail to get to the celebration, we have failed to get to the Gospel.

A Far Side Easter - Gary Larson

A Far Side Easter – Gary Larson

So let us worship with less pretense, less performance, and less polish. Let’s be a people who are looking to the cross with overwhelming joy, and gratefulness, awe, wonder, praise, and hope. And let us leave the Pez or the pageantry to someone else. Confession #6: I am leading a subversive movement to not act your age or your IQ, but rather act like someone who was purchased at a great price and raised from the dead!!!

I can see it now, in the Children’s Ministry on Easter Sunday

The children opened the plastic eggs and they were all empty! “See, kids, because the tomb was empty”. They all wept with understanding.” @ChetChurchpain

Who Will Roll Roll Away the Stone- (Pt.2)

By | Ministry

The story goes that Carl Jung, the psychiatrist, once reflected that we are all familiar with the words of Jesus, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me.” Then Jung asks a probing question: “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be most meaningful—what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus…is you?

Have you ever thought of that question or that verse in that way? Have you been in that place?

Maybe you are there now. Perhaps you live with the fear of someone finding out “who you really are“. If you know the feeling, this passage in Mark is for you. If you have never felt this way, then you may be fooling yourself or this passage is just preparation.

Regardless, God included it for our good.

In part 1, the focus was on the stone, the obstacle, the seemingly insurmountable problem. They were worried about the stone, even asking “Who will roll it away?” There is plenty to chew on with this, but for now let’s leave it at, God was already dealing with it.

In part 2, lets feast on two words. Then let’s try to draw out the flavor and finish by savoring the ramifications of God’s great love.1

The ladies have made it to the tomb.
They are shocked to see the stone, the source of their worrying, the obstacle in their path, the embodiment of their hurt had already been dealt with.

Confused and conflicted,they go in only to fins someone’s there. And not the someone they were looking for.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” —Mark16:7

There is still so much to look at, so much to love about this passage, but for now, think with me about the significance of “but Peter”.

Peter, the Rock, but not because he felt like a champion, but rather saw himself at rock bottom.
Peter, found is his failure, his hurt, his unfaithfulness.
Don’t be so quick to relieve Peter. If we are, we will miss the beauty of the gospel in these two words.

Peter is in the depths, because he is not the man he thought he was…
Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe he had hoped he was more, but this confirms for all that he is just (fill in the blank).
This is the part of the story where we come in. Not the ladies part (that was part one). Not the Angel part (I won’t be writing that one). No… We come in at the Peter part.

Too often we come to church as the “puffed-up Peter“. We talk about our accomplishments, our memory verses, or attendance, our avoiding of certain visible sins, and the clear distinction between our morality and that of others.

Maybe we have fallen and it is known, or worse, we hope no one ever knows. The reality is we have all fallen.

image

He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!“ –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Let us see the beauty of these two words…

There is a broken man somewhere and the Lord Jesus is thinking of him. Peter is someone where thinking the one who had put his hopes in is dead and probably thinking his future and dreams and ministry were dead as well. Both could not be more wrong.

God does not excuse our sin. He deals with it. He went to the cross to pay the debt we could never pay. He knows our failings, even our faith-less-ness. And he redeems.

God rescues sinners.

I pray you will feel the weight being lifted by the God-sized crane that is the words, “and Peter”.

This crane is only operated by the master builder, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And notice what this builder chose to use for his foundation… The rock, Peter. Not because he was perfect, but to because God is perfect.

This is hope for the fallen, strength for the weak, and praise-inducing to the one who know their sin.

This is ours in Christ, but only in Christ. This freedom, this redemption, is ours as we acknowledge our brokenness before the one who paid for it.

On too many Sunday’s and in too many ways we pretend to believe we are sinners. And because of this, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven.

If this is true for you, your whole spiritual life is as one pastor put it. ”pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss”.

Today, may you hear the words of Jesus through the pages of scripture, as He says, “and Peter

What This Is and What It Means to You

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is a holiday when church pews are filled to the brim – and wonderfully so because the Easter story is Christianity 101.1. We have all sinned.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Romans 3:23


2. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.II Corinthians 5:21

3. He was buried and rose again on the 3rd day.

“…In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a livinghope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” I Peter 1:3-4

God…In His great mercy has given us 

• new birth (we were first born as human beings, we can now be born again as new creations in Christ)

• into a living hope

• through (by) the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

• into (and the result is) an inheritance* that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (who believe)

*And this inheritance is as sure and eternal as Jesus’ own resurrection life – which is why and what we will celebrate on Resurrection Sunday!

Do you want the living hope of eternal life?

If so, please contact anyone at the church office and they will pray with you and help with any questions you may have.

(405) 720-1449

Who Will Roll Away the Stone? (Pt.1)

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

““Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?Mark 16:3b (ESV)

On what was quite possibly the darkest morning of their lives, the day they thought their dream was dead, several ladies wrestled with what looked like an impossible situation. If they got any sleep it was with tears in their eyes and the question, “How could this have happened?” running laps in their minds.

In those early morning hours, when the sky was dark and their hope was darker, they put one foot in front of the other and faced their disappointment.

The tear stained cheeks.

Tired, red eyes.

The hope…

Dreams of purpose and freedom.

They laid everything on the line to follow this man. And now it was over…

Have You Been There?

What now?

How are we going to?

It may be circumstances beyond your control that led you there. When my Father-In-Law died suddenly we were spinning and somehow crushed all at the same time. It felt like we couldn’t breathe, or think, or feel anything but pain… For weeks and months.

Sin may have brought you there. The unfaithfulness of our heart that had its way with our will until we willingly followed wherever our lusts led.

You may be feeling, even right now, the stone is blocking the rest of your life.

Your heart may be crushed, your hopes and dreams may appear long gone. Like these ladies, your cheeks may be salty from the tears. Your world may be spinning and you too are wondering how life goes on.

Who will roll away the stone for us …”

In their worry and grief, weeping and aching God had already dealt with the stone and so much more.

Listen to the beautiful words of Scripture and let them wash over you, wherever you find your heart.

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.” (Mark 16:4)

Maybe You Need to Look up

May you see the hope in the resurrection. Today, fight to look up from your hurt and troubles to see this great God who is mighty to save, already at work, and merciful beyond our wildest imaginations.

Because, everyone looks better in circles

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

 

Our guess is you probably could not name all the Elders… Am I right? Well, we want to reintroduce them to you while bringing a new candidate for your consideration.

JermalHEAD

Meet Jermal Bridges.

Jermal is being brought before the church as an Elder Candidate. You will have the opportunity to confirm him at the Annual Meeting on March 6. Please get to know Jermal and his family.

He was born on an Air Force base in Japan.  Besides living in Hawaii and a couple of other states, his family moved to several different places outside the United States.  After graduating at Kadena High School in Okinawa, he attended San Diego State University before transferring to the University of Oklahoma.  He has lived in Oklahoma since then, and considers Oklahoma home.

While attending the University of Oklahoma, he began attending Everlasting Life Baptist Church in Norman.

Jermal and his precious family

Jermal and his precious family

He realized that for a long time he knew ABOUT GOD, but he did not KNOW GOD.  God was gracious and gave Jermal the faith to KNOW Him.  Jermal came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior during his sophomore year in college.

He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with three degrees: Accounting, Management, and MIS. He now works as a Database Administrator for a consulting company.   Jermal enjoys video games, superhero shows/comics, eating out, and hanging out with the family.

Jermal married his high school sweetheart Ceretta, while both of them were attending the University of Oklahoma.  Ceretta was born in North Carolina, graduated from Kadena High School, and then earned her degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma. She currently teaches at an elementary school.  She loves to teach, sing, and work on big home improvement projects. The Lord has blessed Jermal and Ceretta with three wonderful children.

Jermal is currently serving as a co-teacher in the Next Steps class during Adult Bible Fellowship.

And now for the rest of these guys…

And some of the areas they are serving.

MartyBALL

 

Marty Brown*

Teaching pastor/elder; Mission Oversight Team; co-teaches the “Next Steps” ABF class

 

 

 

Howard Geis

Music pastor/elder; teaches Senior Adult 65 & Better ABF class

 

 

RockyBALL

 

Rocky Hails*

Ministries pastor/elder; Adult Bible Fellowship; co-teaches Hope from the Scriptures class; 4Men

 

DavidHEAD

 

David Holmes

Lay-elder; teaches in the student ministry (grades 7-12)

 

 

 

Todd Jackson

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “The Potter’s Clay” ABF class

 

 

JimBALL

 

Jim Jackson

Family pastor/elder; preaching; teaches 5/6th grade Sunday school

 

 

JebaHEAD

 

Asir (Jeba) Jebaraj*

Lay-elder; co-teaches “The Potter’s Clay” ABF class

 

 

KickerBALL

 

Chad “Kicker” Kositzky

Pastor/elder working with Student (7-12 grades) & Children; occasionally helps lead music worship

 

 

WayneHEAD

 

Wayne Marley

Lay-elder; small group leader (previous)

 

 

ChipMcWHEAD

 

Chip McWilliams

Lay-elder; serves in the “Salt and Light” ABF class

 

 

JeffHEADJeff Plangman*

Lay-elder; teaches the 3 year old Sunday school class

 

 

 

ChadBALL

 

Chad Puckett

Pastor/elder working with  College; communications; Mission Oversight Team; preaching

 

 

MicahHEAD

 

Micah Rigdon*

Lay-elder; teaches in the student ministry (grades 7-12)

 

 

EricBALL

 

Eric Schrock*

Administration & Facilities pastor/elder; Finance Team; 4Men

 

 

JohnHEAD

 

Jon Sikes

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “Abundant Family Living” ABF class

 

 

RichHEADRich Smith*

Lay-elder; co-teacher in “The Launch” ABF class

 

 

 

MarvinHEAD

 

Marvin Starkey

Lay-elder; Finance Team

 

 

TEDHEAD

 

Ted Webb*

Lay-elder; teaches the 4 year old Sunday school class

 

 

*Current Governing Elders

Hello. My name is, Baader-Meinhof

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were talking about something, or learned something new, then suddenly you start seeing it everywhere? Maybe you started researching a new car, and now you are seeing them all over the place. Bet you didn’t know there was a name for this…

Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information—often an unfamiliar word or name—and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Anytime the phrase “That’s crazy, I just heard about that the other day” would be appropriate, you have met our good friend, Baader-Meinhof.
This happened to me with the Bible in at least three distinct ways. When I first started reading the Bible, I thought the whole story was about me. I would read it like a yearbook, looking for myself on every page. Then, someone told me it was really all about God and it was as If I were reading an entirely new book. Suddenly, every page was like running into Baader-Meinhof.

Later on, it happened again. I was told God’s story wasn’t just about God, but God as the foundation piece of everything. What? This took a long time to come to grips with. I remember going to the man who so patiently discipled me and literally saying, “Why have you never told me this?” My mind was blown and it is still in recovery.

I once again stumbled up a biblical Nader-meinhof when God made it clear that His love was for more than people who looked just like me. I was looking to love on some Americans in a far away place and God grabbed my heart with this truth: The Bible is all about God,He is the first cause of all things, AND His love extends to people of all tribes and tongues and nations.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, at work again and again as I have read the bible. Today, if you were to see my bible you would find it marked up with these truths on almost every page.

Matthew 20 gives us a glimpse of two guys in a situation which illustrates this for us. These two guys are blind. They could just gripe or wallow, but instead are begging Jesus for help. There is no way they could have possibly understood all the nuances of the Gospel or even faith. All we really know is that they thought Jesus could help.

“Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:31a-34 (ESV)

My prayer this morning, and by extension for you, is to ask the Lord to be merciful to us, to open our eyes, and to help us follow Him.

I hope you have a run in with Baader-Meinhof today, but even more than this, I pray your eyes are opened to this great God and what He is doing all around you.

Friends

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

“ I don’t know anyone, I don’t have any friends at church…”

  Have you ever said those words – or thought them? Friends are valuable, maybe essential to our well-being. Below are some ways ‘friends’ have been described:
• God’s ‘salve’ on your hurts and fears

• Know your ups and downs and still chose to hang out with you

• Someone I can call upon in the middle of the night with a need

• You can tell them anything and they will not repeat it

• They have the loving courage to offer correction when the other is walking outside God’s will

• Faithful in wanting to spend time together

• They make life so much sweeter

• Transparent

• They have taken the time to get to know you

• Shares openly about their own bad days

• Will pray for you NOW

These are the people we all need in our lives, but how do we get them?​

One Sunday as I sat on my back-row pew and watched the people fill the auditorium, I was surprised at how many I actually knew and could call friends. Now I’m just an ordinary ‘Jane’ at church – I have no great and wonderful talents or church position. So how did I acquire these friends? I met them while I scrubbed potatoes (surely hundreds!!) for a church dinner, while I worked as a temporary greeter, and while I helped make snacks for VBS. I also made new friends while doing data entry, making phone calls, and hemming quilts for various church ministries. Currently I’m part of a group of women who color (yes, color – like with fabric pens) labels for the Quilting Ministry. I’ve taken Bible study courses. I attend a Sunday School class (tried several until I found my niche.)

All of these jobs required only limited skills – the only real requirement was someone willing to say, “I can help. I’ll volunteer.” With each new job, each new Bible study, I have met new women who have become my friends. Say, “yes” and you may eventually end up with a church-full of friends and you’ll be able to sit on your pew and watch all your friends come in!

Every church has multiple opportunities to volunteer and make new friends. Take that first step and ask, “How can I help?”

For those days…

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

Sometimes I come to these soaring chapters and, I have to tell you, I don’t feel much like soaring. Sometimes it’s easy to recognize the triumph while other times it’s hard to see past the war. Today I am thinking about Psalm 40. The glorious passage of God in His sustaining and rescuing love. This may have been the first bit of bible I memorized.

 Don’t think for a second I memorized it as some sort of plan or discipleship group. I wasn’t raised in the church. I knew this passage because I knew good music and U2 sang it, and let’s be honest, U2 ruled my world at the time.
This Song, I mean Psalm is filled with words like “sacrifice” and “wonderous”, “lifted” and “set”. Those words of rescue and past tense… But we don’t always find ourselves there and we are not always feeling the past tense of His rescue.
This morning, after countless readings, listening, and recitings of this passage I am moved by the most meek aspects of this passage, the last verse.

As for me, I am poor and needy,

but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God!

Psalm 40:17

Please allow me to rearrange some things in this verse…

I am poor and needy

Lord, do not delay. 

BUT THE LORD TAKES THOUGHT FOR ME

YOU are my HELP and my DELIVERER.

Whether you are praying the prayers of victory this morning or struggling even to lift your head, may you remember, not the words of Bono, but of our great God. May you take comfort in the knowledge that He who is able, He who is loving. And He who conquered death, the Lord Himself takes thought for you.

Why you should care about this weekend…

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

This Sunday will be different. It will look and sound a bit different. And this is a good thing, not just for the students, but for all of us.
Every year there is a three day assault on Heritage called “Deep Impact“. It becomes a construction zone for a week. There has been a house built in the sanctuary. One year we built a 60ft pirate ship, then took chainsaws to it to make it look “wrecked“. There was a Roman coliseum, a big top tent, Dr Seus’ World, and of course, the grass…    

    
  What may be lost in all of this is how the decorations are not just for show. They are intentional and important. The Student Ministry wants each and every student to walk in and immediately think, “That is not what I was expecting.” As the weekend unfolds we want students to continue to think, “That is not what I was expecting.” And as they are confronted with the truths of who Jesus is and what He has done we want them to think, “That is not THE JESUS I was expecting.”  

Most of you will only experience Sunday morning, but know it will have been going on for 36 hours by the time the service rolls around. Students will have been through two main sessions, three other bible studies (in homes scattered throughout the city), an Amazing Race style scavenger hunt, and way too much sugar for their own good. By 10:30 on Sunday morning they will be sleep deprived, over caffeinated, and overloaded with information. And they are teenagers… They will probably be attempting to be on their best behavior, but that may not count for much by Sunday morning. Some will fall asleep in service. Some will not be listening, and still some can’t sit still and listen under the best of circumstances. 

For years the student ministry has put on this event designed to challenge young people wherever they are with the Lord.  

Construction / discipleship in years gone by

It was originally called “Disciple Now Weekend”, but we realized this was for far more than just discipleship.  

the hippie van from back in the day

 Students are encouraged to invite people who may have never heard the Gospel, who are not involved in church, or who are not walking with the Lord. We were praying for big things and asking for more than just “our kids” to be nice. We were asking God to change us in DEEP, meaningful, life-altering ways. Maybe for some, for the first time. And “Deep Impact” was born. 

As always, there will be a good number of students who have not heard the Gospel before this weekend. There will be at least one who has never attended a church service. There will be more who have no relationship with Jesus. This means: OUR ATTITUDES MATTER. 

They will hear you complaining…

They will see you walking out…

The reverse is true as well. 

They will respond to genuine-ness. Maybe not how you would like, but they will notice. 

These students are hungry to be accepted and have people who care. When they see this they will notice. 

These students will know if they are loved or just tolerated, welcomed or withdrawn from. 

While this weekend is a “student weekend” it involves all of us.  

This weekend is important because it is a dramatic change of pace and a call to follow Jesus for these students. But it is important for all of us as well. We have the opportunity to welcome these young people, to model Christ’ love for them. We, as adults, can live in front of them in a way that leads them to say, “That is not what I was expecting from grown ups.

See you Sunday…

To the Hurting in the Room…

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

I am so thankful to be a part of a church that stands for truth, for life, and God. Abortion is a horrific event each and every time it takes place, regardless of the circumstances. Like most of you, I was challenged by Pastor Marty’s sermon to stand boldly for life, I was moved to take action, and I was made aware of information new to me on the subject. 
To the people in the room hurting from this issue in ways I can not fully understand, please know you are LOVED, there is GRACE, and we as the church want to point you to real HOPE. 
I was also broken for those in the room who know first hand, the pain and the shame associated with these decisions. Too often, those who feel the most passionate about the issue of life can be the least compassionate to the people walking this road.  Immediately after washing His disciples feet, as He is giving them their marching orders, Jesus makes clear, 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

John 13:34-35

Jesus who embraced the afflicted, the shamed, the cast-offs , and the scoundrels, sends His followers out with an entirely radical weapon: love in life-altering ways. 

It is not enough for us to love the unborn. We have to love those who are making these decisions and the ones dealing with the consequences. 

You may be wrestling with the decision of abortion this very moment, or as Marty brought up, it may be something you have carried with you for years. Maybe it was your decision, someone else’s, or you felt it was pressed upon you. You need to know the Lord Jesus Christ loves us, not because we are good enough, but because His love is extravagant. And this church loves you. We are far from perfect. We will let you down. But we want to show you the Love of Christ in our lives, as well as, our words. 
Many of us know people who have experienced this issue first hand, and the shame associated with it (especially in church culture). Please know there is grace to be found in Jesus. 1 John 1:9 states, 

”If we CONFESS our sins, 

he is FAITHFUL

and JUST 

to FORGIVE us our sins 

and to CLEANSE us 

from ALL unrighteousness.”

Let me repeat a familiar refrain: God rescues sinners. 

Praise God that He does not just condemn, though all of us deserve judgment. Grace and mercy are found in Christ alone. If you are here and are struggling with the guilt and shame of past decisions, afraid of what others might think, I pray you will hear me when I say, all of us are undeserving and grace is found here. May Heritage be a place of healing for you and not a place of condemnation. 

There is also hope to be found in the Scriptures.  

 This is not the story of a sinking ship where we hold hands and tell each other of our love as we drown. This is more than just having the prison doors opened to us only to find we are miles from help and even further from a future. No, this is a story of a great God who loves more than we can comprehend. 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

This is the story of a righteous King who sits on a throne of grace.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

And this is the story of THE Magnificent Redeemer, who makes beauty from ashes. 

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Titus 2:11-14

To the hurting in the room… To those who have or are experiencing these pains… To those who may be wrestling with these issues even right now… My prayer is for you to see in our lives what is written in God’s Word: We love and stand with life, those precious babies and yours. You are loved, not because of our agreements, but because of grace and because we too are sinners in desperate need of a Savior. 

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were WASHED, but you were SANCTIFIED, but you were JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11


Glorifi-What?

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

  
We Christians often use words that can make non-Christians think we are speaking in a foreign language. One of those words is “Glorify.” – It’s used throughout the Bible and in many of our praise songs. Isaiah 43:7 says that God created us for His glory. And in I Cor. 10:31, we are told, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” Our purpose is to glorify Him. But do you know what it means? 

Could you define what “glorify” means to someone who may not be familiar with churchy talk?

In his book “Don’t Waste Your Life,” John Piper helps the reader have a clearer understanding of what ‘glorify’ means, how it applies to each of us. He compares lives that glorify God to the action of the Hubble telescope. 

“With the Hubble, pinprick galaxies in the sky are revealed for the billion-star giants they are.”

 The Hubble allows us to see the truth about the sheer magnitude of these galaxies – and so our lives should reveal the truth of how awesome our God is. That’s how we “glorify” God – as we eat or drink or whatever we do…

Why Would Heritage Give a Whole Sunday to One Family?

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

IMG_2828-2.jpeg
Some of you are asking this very question. It may be formed in other ways but the basic, nuts and bolts of it, are the same.

 

 

Why would we give an entire service to one family?


The reasoning is very simple: We didn’t. I want to share three specific ways in whichever this is true.
Every week we look to do the same basic thing: Bring glory and praise to God and lead others to do the same. Several months ago, I stepped up to the pulpit and spoke on “work“. At least that was the hook, or what most people would say it was about. But let’s be clear, it is always focused on God being lifted up and God being at the center. This is important because too often we think it is about us. We can think coming to church is about us. We can think reading the bible is about us. But the focus is not on us. It is always focused on God because it is in Him alone we find the proper perspective for life.
In just over a month we will be having our annual meeting, something of a “State of the Heritage Union“. Look for it. Start paying attention. This will be entirely about God, even as we speak about some specific things around Heritage.
This past Sunday was about one family in the same sense that Genesis is about one family. There are hundreds of lines given to the patriarchs, but if you think the story is about Abraham you are missing the point. Genesis is a God story. Looking at the life of Abraham is looking at a story of what God has done.
Every story is a God story and our God is a missional God.

If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers” — Nina Gunter

We like to compartmentalize our lives into neat categories which insulate us from things that may be uncomfortable. As pastors, our job is to lead you to the throne of grace, to the only one who can heal and redeem. This Lord Jesus has called us to take His Good News to the world. Marty quoted Hudson Taylor on Sunday, but let me throw one more in for good measure.

The Great Commission is NOT AN OPTION to be considered; it is a COMMAND to be obeyed” — Hudson Taylor

Finally, we, the people of Heritage, are a family. We weep together as our people hurt. Over the past few years we have done this with specific stories of sickness, death, and loss. There are times we celebrate as a family. Recently we rejoiced with a family over their adoption. Let us always be a body who praises God for the great things He has done and is doing in lives around us. Let us be people who rally to the hurting and gather to send out those beautiful feet of those of this larger family going to the uttermost.

Wondrously show your steadfast love

By | Ministry, Uncategorized

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
At a time when things look rough in in this world, let our hope and praise ring out to this world. 

It is too easy to read the headlines and want to run. From bombings in far off places to shootings on city streets, the news is not encouraging. And yet, God’s Word is our encouragement, our nourishment, and, at the very same time a challenge for us to live beyond this place. 

My prayer this morning comes from Psalm 17

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States and race relations seem to be boiling over in many parts of this country. There is much division and seemingly little progress. Too often we fill our thoughts and time with people who are just like us while griping about things not getting better. We, as Believers, have to be a part of things getting better for race relations. 

This morning we read of another attack, more death, and again involving children. As Believers, our first reaction cannot be formed by FOX News, but by God in His Word. Fighting all my feelings I want to respond in prayer. 

”Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Of course we want the Lord to return soon and set all things right. We, as Believers, know God will come. David prayed to the Lord in difficult days saying, 

“Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!

Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

From your presence let my vindication come!

Let your eyes behold the right! (Psalm 17:1-2

But It is a huge temptation to beg for Christ’s return out of selfish motives. My motives are rarely about the Lord being glorified, but something else, something lesser.  This morning my prayer is simply this, “Lord, Wondrously show your steadfast love,” Psalm 17:7a
Today, I will work to set my heart to the same beat as that of David, who closed this chapter with these words, 

”As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”

When you feel your life has just exploded

By | Uncategorized

There are those days, sometimes seasons, when everything around you seems to be in flames. It may be family, work, relationships, finances, or something all together different.

And we know it’s not true. Don’t we?

We know our life isn’t exploding in a million pieces all around us.

We know things can’t possibly be THAT bad.

Then you wake up and see the news that a house has literally exploded! Rational thought leaves at this point as I process the fact that a house has exploded! It turns out this is not as uncommon as you might think. Apparently houses explode for various reasons on a semi-regular basis and this is troubling and confirming of our deepest fears, that maybe, just maybe, our world really can explode all around us, leading me to worry, to fret, and to write run-on sentences.

And even in this… Even in this most extreme of irrational fears, I am comforted by God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 5 gives us this great reminder and hope.  I am emphasizing some things that stood out to me.

For WE KNOW that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, WE HAVE A BUILDING FROM GOD, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 

For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 

3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 

4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 

7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 

8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”



May you be reminded today of how great God is.

Remember this is NOT our home.

We live in a fallen world and there will be trouble, and things sometimes explode.

But we have a God with a perfect plan beyond anything life throws at us.

We are NOT Perfect

By | Uncategorized

Heritage is a group of people KNIT TOGETHER as one body to delight in God and declare His glory. Whether you are here for the first time or have been a part for many years, we hope this website will be a blessing to your soul. We are convinced life-change only happens by God’s amazing work and this is why He is the focus of everything we do in this service.

We are NOT PERFECT. No one who attends Heritage has it all together. We are in constant need of more of God, more of Jesus. And this is something to celebrate. We are able to worship God, to approach The Throne of Grace without pretense or polish. God is faithful and true to meet us as we are. God, through Jesus Christ, rescues sinners and we celebrate this fact.

Since it is God alone who changes lives, we are in a NEVER ENDING SEARCH for more of Him. And while there are nice things in this world, there is no better, more perfect place to learn of Him than in His Holy Scriptures. At a typical gathering we will pray God’s Word, sing God’s Word, preach God’s Word, and hopefully be living examples of changed lives because of His Word.

Our sincere HOPE is for you to worship God, perhaps for the first time. We want to be a place of connecting with God, worshipping Him in community, and connecting with others in ways that not only bring joy, but also bring glory to God.