Happy Father’s Day to all the men in our church family!  We are thankful beyond measure for each one of you.  My prayer is that you will be encouraged today.  May you be built up in faith as you reflect on the blessings of the Lord in your life.

Next to being a husband, being a DAD is the highest honour of my life.  I used to tell my kids that the best gift I could give them was to love their mother.  And I do!  Our little family started in the tiny coastal town of Machias, Maine, where our first, a daughter was born.  Then came three boys to finish off our little company.  They grew up and fell in love, got married and expanded our Bartlett bunch by double.  Now we are grandma and grandpa to eight wonderful little ones.  I’m a blessed father for sure!!  Now it’s a big busy family spread across the US and Canada. 

As a Christian, I come to Father’s Day with the deepest gratitude for the GREATEST FATHER imaginable.  Jesus taught us to address God the Almighty as “our Father.”  It never ceases to amaze me that the God who created the world and all that is in it reveals Himself to us as “our Father.”  He’s our greatest ABBA.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to draw us ever closer to the heart of “our Father.”  The book of Romans explains it this way (Romans 8):

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” 

You don’t have to manufacture intimacy with God because the Holy Spirit is the one who draws you into the heart of God.  You just have to listen to Him and nurture the father-child relationship that He brings in salvation.  And then model Him to all who know you.

Speaking of modeling Him, one of the great characteristics of our God is His FAITHFULNESS.  The Bible describes it as GREAT.  “Great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3).  The New Testament likewise places a huge emphasis on God’s faithfulness.  It repeatedly states that “God is faithful.”  He will do what He says He will do.  He is consistent in everything that He does.  He cannot fail.  He does not “blow with the wind” of popular narratives. 

The conclusion is obvious brothers.  We need to be FAITHFUL MEN.  Faithful to Him.  Faithful to His Gospel.  Faithful to His teaching.  Faithful to His Body, the church.  Faithful to our families, which are His great gifts to us.  And let me remind you of the words of Solomon in Proverbs 20:6: “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”  He’s saying that lots of people will leave you with the impression that they are loyal and loving.  But the truth is that a faithful friend is hard to find.  So be that loyal and faithful friend. 

I’m looking forward to digging a bit deeper with you this coming Sunday into the idea of being FAITHFUL MEN.  My text will be 1 Corinthians 4:1-5.  See you at either the 9AM or the 11AM (identical services).  This Sunday we have a little surprise for all the men. 

Happy Father’s Day,
Pastor Deric

The Earth Is The Lord’s

When Christians claim that “it all belongs to God,” we are just stating what God, the Almighty, claims for Himself.  He is LORD, owner and sovereign over all things, seen and unseen.  “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2).  The planet, the people, and everything in it, is the Lord’s.  It’s His by right of creation.  It’s His by right of sovereign authority.  It’s His by purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.  The single claim that “it all belongs to God” is one of the most prominent claims in the Bible.

Everywhere that Christians look in the world we see His steadfast, loyal love.  We aren’t naive about the evil that erupts regularly across this devil filled world.  We see it, weep with others, grieve like the rest of the world, but afterward we see the loyal love of God displayed in innumerable ways.  The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!”  (Psalm 119:64).  For every dark event, God is faithful to display His GREAT love for a broken, fallen world. 

We share this world with the mass of messy humanity.  We acknowledge its profound complexity and brokenness.  BUT “our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).  When tragedy strikes, the world curses the name of God, we invoke it.  And He binds-up our broken heart and pours in the oil of gladness.  It all belongs to God. 

This same idea was front and center in Paul’s famous sermon in Athens at the Areopagus.  “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’”

As amazing as this world can be at times, it’s badly broken.  Profoundly evil to the core.  What was created by God to be a paradise from which Adam and Eve would steward the earth, became a wasteland of tyranny, struggle, and violence.  Man’s descent into chaos is simply described in the Bible as his FALL from grace.  Adam sinned and we still follow his way of rebellion. 

That’s why Jesus came to the earth as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  He came to rescue, restore and redeem us from the curse that fell over the world because of sin.  That’s why Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 1 that, “God placed all things under his (Jesus’) feet.”  Because of the cross, Jesus is Lord of all and “it all belongs to Him.” 

This belief in the sovereignty of God releases you from the burden of worry and fear.  Allegedly, a distraught man furiously rode his horse up to John Wesley, shouting, “Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley, something terrible has happened.  Your house has burned to the ground!”  Wesley replied, “No. The Lord’s house burned to the ground.  That means one less responsibility for me.”  Wesley’s response was based on the basic belief that God is the owner of all things, and we are simply His custodians.  Stewards not owners.  How freeing! 

Blessings church family,
Pastor Deric