Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"When Shepherds Don't Protect the Flock ..."

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!"
                                                                                                                                     - Acts 20:28-31

In our Christmas letter to family and friends last month I explained briefly that the year 2012 had brought some major changes in the life of Lighthouse Community Church.  I shared that Lighthouse left the Reformed Church in America and became a non-denominational congregation.  One person who received our letter asked me to explain why we left the RCA, because being part of an RCA congregation that I served previously for seven years, they had not heard anything from their leadership about what was going on in the denomination.  I have been struggling since receiving her question with what I should share.  Knowing that some will imagine my motives for writing what I am about to write, I hesitated doing so, but after reading the latest of what is happening at Western Seminary in Holland, Michigan, I feel compelled to answer the questions that have been raised as to why we left, for the reason described in the verses quoted above.

Paul was speaking to the Elders from the church in Ephesus, and he was warning them about false teachers and reminding them of their responsibility as shepherds to protect the flock that God had entrusted to their care.  To do otherwise would be to dishonor Christ and to fail in the task of guarding the flock from serious danger in doctrinal error.  Doctrine is not something only for seminary students, it is the foundational teaching of truth upon which the true Church of Jesus Christ is built (I Timothy 3:15).  If the Elders of a congregation allow false teaching to occur they are ultimately responsible for the souls of those who are led astray and deceived!  There is no greater responsibility than guarding the sheep and protecting them from false teachers.

The ultimate reasons for our decision to leave the Reformed Church in America were, 1) our growing conviction that denominationalism separates the body of Christ by placing "labels" upon truth, rather than just proclaiming, "Thus says the Lord!", and 2) the acceptance of false teaching within the denomination, shown by the refusal to discipline those who were teaching contrary to Scripture.  Ultimately, it came down to the authority of the Word of God - "Does God really say ... ?"  The latest example (but not the only one) was/is the discussion concerning homosexuality.  Since before 2006 the leadership of Lighthouse attempted to call the denomination to affirm its position (something that the General Synod in 2012 did by a narrow margin), and to discipline those who taught anything contrary to God's revealed will.  The existence of "Room for All," a group within the RCA openly advocating for the acceptance of those openly and without repentance practicing the sin of homosexuality, and their support from pastors, elders and congregations, without any form of discipline in any Classis (a regional group of congregations), including the one we were members of, made it clear that while the "official position" of the denomination said one thing, in practice, other things were and are being tolerated.... the flock was not being protected!

Believing that God calls us to protect the body under our care, those who are confessing members of Lighthouse Community Church, we proposed an overture from our Classis to General Synod again in 2010.  This overture proposed a change in the Book of Church Order that would require those who taught false doctrine to be disciplined.  This should not have been necessary if the denomination stood firmly on the authority of God's Word, for the Bible already requires the elders to do so, but since that was not happening, this was an attempt to put it in writing in the Book of Church Order.  The overture barely passed our Classis (51-48) and the response of General Synod in 2010 was to defeat the overture by a 4 to 1 margin.  The reason given was that the Book of Church Order was not the place to make such a statement, even though the previous General Synod had stated that there should not be any changes made in the Book of Church Order until there had been more "dialogue" on the subject - a dialogue that began in 2006 and had been going on for four years.

In the fall of 2010 the leadership of Lighthouse again attempted to bring the subject up and encouraged the leadership of every congregation in our Classis to withhold payments to the various levels of the denominational structure until the stated biblical position of the church was upheld through biblical discipline.  We did our best to attempt to inform the leadership of other congregations of what we had become aware of, but we were met with anger, frustration and accusations (though no one disputed the facts we presented), and following several meetings with the leadership of Classis, congregational meetings, much prayer and discussion, the leadership and congregation voted overwhelmingly to leave the denomination and to follow God's leading to become a nondenominational congregation, believing that we could serve and glorify God more completely, without the hindrance of having to explain to people why we were part of a denomination that was not standing on God's Word in all matters.

Since that time (we left our building in June, 2012, after the Classis claimed ownership of it), God has blessed in amazing ways ... but the purpose of this blog is to explain our position and to call the Elders and others in leadership in other congregations and other denominations to take seriously their responsibility to protect the flock from error.  This is not about declaring that we were right and that others were wrong.  God knows our hearts.  Our concern, MY concern, is for the sheep under our care, for brothers and sisters in Christ who are not hearing what is going on from their leaders, and for those who are seeking Christ, who are being led astray by false teaching.  There is so much that has happened in denominations like the RCA in the past fifteen to twenty years that people do not realize.  In 1996 a paper was presented and passed by General Synod of the Reformed Church in America that stated that Jesus is the only way to eternal life ... BUT, because God is sovereign, we can't say for sure that He will not save those who have not confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Following that, an overture was presented and passed that would have required every pastor to affirm that faith in Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to receive eternal life.  After much discussion, it did pass at General Synod, but it was not ratified by half of the Classes in the denomination!  Fast forward to the present, after seven years of dialogue and no conclusions regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality ... General Synod 2012 barely passed a statement affirming that the practice of homosexuality is sin ... BUT now a seminary professor at Western Seminary in Holland, Michigan, who is also an appointed General Synod professor, has written a book that turns upside down the teaching of Scripture that practicing homosexuality is sin, in the same way that lust and adultery and other heterosexual sins are sin.  The author re-interprets Scripture in such a way that monogamous homosexual relationships are acceptable and he is teaching these things to students for ministry.  Another professor, at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, has been teaching the same for many years, without any serious repercussions or discipline.  The wife of the Director of Social Witness for the RCA is the executive director of Room for All.  And where is the outcry?  Instead, the leadership of Lighthouse Community Church was charged with failure to obey the Book of Church Order in leading our congregation to vote to leave the denomination, and I was charged with disobedience to my ordination vows in failing to be loyal to the RCA.  My response, then and now, was "We must obey God rather than men!"  (Acts 5:29).

Elders are called to protect the flock!  The only place we have to stand is the authority of God's Word.  In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus spoke in His Sermon on the Mount about those who hear His Word and put it into practice.  These build their house upon the rock.  As the song says, "All other ground is sinking sand."  Too many in leadership in congregations are not protecting the flock.  In defense of some Elders, too many pastors have far too much control in their congregations and they are not informing their leadership of what is going on in the "structures" of their denominations.  Leaders and people need to be aware of these things, but it seems that many have been deceived by the "love everybody" mentality within the visible church.  True love means confronting error and sin, it means holding one another accountable, it means warning those who stray from God's truth and loving people enough to confront sin.  It is not often pleasant to do so, but it is necessary.  Not one of us is perfect and we need each other to show grace and forgiveness.  But again, grace is not a license to sin.  Leaving people who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ in bondage to sin is not love.

Paul writes to the Galatians, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. ... You were called to be free.  BUT do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:1,13).  We don't "hate" those who are living a sinful lifestyle, rather, in love we call them to repentance, to experience the freedom only Jesus can bring.  We, too, are sinners, saved by grace.  We are all in need of God's love, grace and forgiveness; but allowing people to live in known sin brings condemnation and it leads others in the body astray.  Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for our sins, and also to redeem us, to conform us to His image (Romans 8:29, 12:1-2).

There is much more that could and perhaps should be said.  If you or anyone has any questions, please email me at and I will be happy to answer your questions or to help you find the information necessary to inform others.  We know that many believers (including many in congregations in the RCA) stand with us and are committed to sound biblical teaching, but are not being informed and are not being protected by the false teaching that has infiltrated the highest levels of education and church government within their denominations.

Elders are called and appointed and empowered by the very Spirit of God and have the most serious responsibility of any people on the face of the earth, so let me end this entry with the same words with which I began ... to my brothers who are overseers in CHRIST's Church ...

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!"
                                                                                                                                     - Acts 20:28-31

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Why Churches Can't Get Along ..."

"My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me."   - John 17:20-21

Why can't churches get along?  Why can't we all just be together?  I heard someone this week on Christian radio talking about some churches in his town, four churches that were all within one block of each other and who hardly ever got together to do anything.  I thought to myself, "Perhaps there is a good reason for that ... but how does it appear to the world?"

Some who may read this blog know that Lighthouse Community Church became non-denominational last year (actually, in December, 2011).  We left the denomination that the congregation had been part of for 95 years, believing two things:  First, that God calls those who know Him to be ONE; and secondly, that denominations actually get in the way of that ONENESS, not only by sometimes straying from a solid commitment to the authority of God's Word, but also by putting up unnecessary barriers to fellowship within the body of Christ.

I met this week with a pastor of another nondenominational congregation who shared that the leadership in the congregation he serves felt the need to have a closer association with a body larger than themselves.  For the past several years they have been engaged in such an association, but now there are some "issues" even within this smaller gathering of churches and some have left that association.  And while the leadership in the congregation may experience some benefit from having fellowship with other like-minded believers, the congregation as a whole benefits little from such an organizational association.

So what are we to do?  What did Jesus pray for and how can we promote a true "oneness" within the body?  I have written about this before on this blog, but it is such a crucial subject that questions continue to be asked by many.  Let me answer the question I posed above directly, and then propose some ideas from God's Word that will, I believe, at the very least get people thinking about the importance of what Jesus prayed for and what we should be working towards.

Why can't churches get along?  Because those within the churches are not all ONE in Christ.  The biblical word for "oneness" is different than the word for "unity," even though it is sometimes translated that way.  Notice that Jesus prays, "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you."  To be "one" has absolutely nothing to do with outward, organizational unity.  Rather, it requires a oneness of mind and of heart, a oneness that arises from what Jesus talks about earlier in John 17:  "knowing You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (vs. 3), and being sanctified "by the truth; Your Word is truth (vs. 17)."  True knowledge of God through His Word, of Jesus Christ and the way of life by grace through faith is essential to the oneness for which Jesus prayed and that He calls His Church to display to the world.

When organizations like the World Council of Churches or others get together and talk about unity, they make a mockery of the oneness for which Jesus prayed.  By seeking to embrace other "religions" they deny the very truth Jesus came to this earth to proclaim and they reduce the gospel to the "example of the cross," rather than the perfect sacrifice for sin offered to all, but effective only for those who by the work of the Spirit of God put their trust in Jesus Christ alone.  The only source of truth for Christ's Church is the very Word of God, found in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments.  Any other source of authority is the word of man and it destroys the oneness of the body of Christ.

Most people go to a church today for all the wrong reasons.  Few know what the church teaches, or if they do, they have not searched the Scriptures to see if the teaching of the church lines up with what God says.  Some would probably be surprised to know what their churches or denominations really believe.  Others say, "Well, I don't agree with everything they teach, but I like the worship, or I like the preacher, or I like the youth ministry, or I like ..."  Really??  This is how you would determine where to feed your soul and to teach your children?!!

So what do we do?  We get rid of the labels and brands of churches (even "Bible-believing" doesn't always mean they believe everything the Bible says) and we begin by confessing our own sin and pride in believing we know everything there is to know.  Then - and this is the most important thing - we GO TO GOD'S WORD together!!  We pray, we talk, we share TRUTH - from God's Word.  You might ask, "Well, hasn't that been done?"  And I will tell you, "NO!"  I LONG to sit down with people who receive the Bible as the Word of God and discuss our "differences."  But most are afraid to do so.  I am currently preaching a series of sermons on "the end." - the facts surrounding the return of Jesus Christ.  For the first ten years of my ministry I didn't believe the idea of a rapture or a millennium, an antichrist and a great tribulation ...  Honestly, I just accepted what I had been taught and hadn't had time, or hadn't taken time, to study what God's Word says!  I was wrong.

Churches can't get along because people have accepted the labels of denominations without seeking the truth of God's Word.  Seminary professors and seminaries have often turned aside from biblical truth in the name of "progressive thinking" and whole denominations have followed them.  At Lighthouse, as the Bible says it should be, the Elders and all of leadership, and the people who become confessing members, are encouraged and challenged often to go to God's Word and check out what I say.  Do not accept anything simply because I say it!!  We put our whole Statement of Belief on this website because we want people to have the time and to take the time to compare what we say we believe with what is taught in the Bible, and we want people to ask questions or to express concerns if something doesn't seem right.

Peter wrote the following in II Peter 3:15-16:  "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.  His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."

Why can't churches get along?  Are you ready for this?  Because people are lazy and biblically illiterate and want to defend what they believe and their particular "brand" of Christianity without going to God's Word and being sanctified by the truth.  I am not saying that we do that perfectly at Lighthouse, but we try, and we recognize the necessity of opening our Bibles and learning what God's Word says and being able to defend it against the attacks of those who teach doctrines contrary to God's Word.

We join Jesus is praying for the true oneness of the body of Christ, of the Church, His Bride.  Where we can serve and worship with those who accept the Bible as the very Word of God, and who trust in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and life, believing that we are saved by grace through faith, being born again by the Spirit of God ... we welcome the opportunities to come together to display the love of Christ and to share the good news of the gospel.  We will not, we cannot compromise the truth of God's Word, and we call all who claim Jesus as their Savior and Lord to do the same.

There is one true Church in Allendale, Michigan, as there is in every community around the world.  This body is made up of all those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is Savior and Lord.  God knows who these are and WE ARE ONE!!  When we stop talking about "our" church and talk instead about THE Church, when we stop talking about a man-made label and talk instead about being a follower of Christ (reclaiming the name, "Christian" from those who have no idea what it means!), when we are willing to sit down together to dig into God's Word and talk about the areas where we have not come to a single understanding of what God's Word says ... then we will be used of God to bring about a true oneness in our communities that will glorify God and speak volumes to a world that desperately needs Jesus.  To that end I pray, to that end I labor, and I invite you to join me ... to join US ... for we are not alone!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

" ... for the sake of my holy name ..."

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:  It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name ...  the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.  for I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.'"   -  Ezekiel 36:22-24

Israel ... the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... "Jews," they are called by the world ...  Why is the whole world talking about Israel?  There is only one reason:  Israel's GOD!  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

As I preached the second part of a twelve-part series on "the end." this morning, I was struck once again by the reality of this truth:  we exist for the glory of God, our Creator.  All who have come to know this one true God through His Word and by the work of His Spirit within us exist for this reason, and this reason alone.  We say that, don't we?  But do we understand that ... or do we really believe that?

For the glory of God!  Five words ... we just heard the words of the angels as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the Christ:  "Glory to God in the highest!"  For the glory of God:  for His name's sake, for His honor.  Unless you believe this, unless you know this, unless you live your life for this high and exalted purpose, you miss the grandest, most excellent, exalted, glorious opportunity that can be given to any human being ... to LIVE for the glory of God!!

What does that even look like?  Has anyone ever done that?  Of course, you know someone did ... Jesus did.  How did He do it?  He was God, in the flesh.  But there's more.  Jesus did not just live for the glory of God because He WAS God.  He was also true man.  And as He neared the time when He would offer Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for all mankind, He prayed to the Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do" (John 17:4).  Jesus brought glory to God by doing what He was put here to do.

Back to Israel ... Israel was chosen by God for His glory.  They rejected Him and worshiped idols.  They rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and they faced God's judgment.  They were exiled into the nations of the world until ... until ...

Isaiah 43:5-7:  "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth - everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

Isaiah predicted the return of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the land God had promised to their fathers.  Why?  For the glory of God!  Ezekiel says it in the verses quoted above.  God will do all this not for Israel's sake, but for the sake of His holy name.  God will show Himself mighty through the "Jews," through the people of Israel.  Then the world will know that He is God, the ONLY true God, and that Jesus Christ is King and Lord.  This is what "the end" points to.  It is the culmination of God's plan to reveal to all mankind His power and majesty, His wisdom and glory.

And so the CHURCH exists today for THIS reason ... not the "church," not an organization, a hierarchical structure or a denomination ... the CHURCH -- PEOPLE who have been born again by the Spirit of God, who are united to Christ by faith and who exist for His purposes, for His glory.  And we bring Him glory by completing the work He has given us to do.  We are here to fulfill the highest and most glorious purpose of anything in all of God's marvelous creation.  David writes in Psalm 19:1:  "The heavens declare the glory of God!"  But WE are re-created in Christ to do the same.

Peter writes, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may proclaim the majesty of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (I Peter 2:9).  Chosen for a purpose ... for the glory of God.  What if we lived that way?  What if we realized that while God is faithful, while He pours blessing after blessing after blessing upon His children, while He saves us through His Son Jesus Christ, God does not exist for US; WE exist for GOD!  We have been created for His glory!!

Whatever God calls you to do, whatever He calls US to do, He will give us all we need as we accept our calling to bring Him glory.  Are you called to bear suffering?  It is for His glory.  Have you been given gifts to use to accomplish great things?  It is for His glory.  When you are challenged to persevere, to endure, it is for His glory!

"For the sake of my holy name" ...  

Tomorrow is Monday ... the people around you will know that He is Lord when He shows Himself holy through YOU, for you were created for His glory.  That's a reason to get up isn't it?!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"The more I seek You ..."

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart"  (Jeremiah 29:13).

Did you know that verse was there ... in Jeremiah 29??

Thousands, maybe even millions of people have memorized Jeremiah 29:11:

   "I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm
       you, plans to give you hope and a future."

That promise was made to Jeremiah and to the remnant and exiles of Judah and Jerusalem, who were being taken into captivity in Babylon.  God had told them that they would go into exile for seventy years as a judgment against their idolatry and rebellion against Him and His prophets.  They had not listened to His Word and had turned to other gods.  Even then there were false prophets telling the people that everything would be all right ... that judgment would not come.

It was in this context that God said in Jeremiah 29:10:  "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. ... for I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (vs. 11).  God's declaration comes to Judah in the midst of His judgment.  His promise opened a window into the future.  God was not done with these people.  Now listen to the WHOLE promise:

"I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile" (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

God speaks to a people He claimed as His own special people, but who had sinned against Him in every conceivable way.  As He speaks of the future He reveals His character and His amazing faithfulness to His promises ...  He tells those who are going into exile and those in exile that when they pray, He will listen; and when they seek Him, they will find Him.  And He promises that their exile is not permanent.  He will bring them back and will fulfill His purpose in them and through them.  History reveals that God did what He said He would do ...

And God is STILL doing what He said He would do!  The promises God made to the Jews in the days of Jeremiah, God also makes to those who are His people today through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.  We are like those spoken of in Hebrews 11 who are "aliens and strangers on earth" (vs. 13).  I think of the words of an old hymn:  "Though exiled from home, yet still I may sing:  all glory to God!  I'm a child of the King!!!"

A new day lies ahead of us ... a new year, Lord willing.  What will you do with today, tomorrow, this week, this year?  Will you memorize and quote only verse 11, asking God to prosper you and to give you all you ask, all you want, for your own pleasure, your own purposes - even for your own glory?  Or will you understand that there's more to the promise?!!

"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."  Through prayer and the reading of His Word and the work of His Spirit you can draw near to God, seeking Him with all your heart and finding Him to be all that He has promised.  In every new day and throughout the new year you can experience God drawing you to Himself as you set your heart and mind on things above, where Christ is seated at His right hand (Colossians 3:1-2).

God is "Abba", "Father," to His children.  Seek Him today.  Do not pursue the idols of this world who can bring no true joy, no real peace and no lasting hope.  Draw near to the one and only true God through Jesus, and know the depth of His love today and every day.  He will give you hope AND a future!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"the end ... begins ..."

"... that day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (II Peter 3:12-13).

This Sunday I will begin a twelve-week series of messages outlining the events leading up to and surrounding the return of Jesus Christ, as God reveals them in His Word, the Bible.  God has promised that this age will end and He tells us how it will end.  Knowing what lies ahead not only prepares us for what will happen, but also gives us hope because we know the One who works all things for His glory and for the good of those who are His children.  Understanding what the Bible says about these things strengthens our faith and motivates us to share the one message that is the power of God unto salvation ... the one message that is able to rescue people from the kingdom of darkness and bring them into God's kingdom!

I watch the news every day, not because it is so interesting all the time, but because knowing what is going on in the world continually reinforces the truthfulness of God's Word.  Some may be afraid to talk about "the end," and many speculate about it, believing that at any moment Jesus could come to "take us away!"  But the Bible says otherwise.  Jesus cannot come today.  According to the Bible, there are certain things that must happen BEFORE Jesus returns.  We will be examining those things over the coming weeks.  But what is important for you and me to understand and believe TODAY is that for those who believe in Jesus Christ, "the end" will bring about a new beginning!

Jesus said that those who believe in Him would never die (spiritually), and that those who do die (physically) would rise from the dead and would live forever (John 11).  We know that those who leave this world through death enter into eternal life, and that even our bodies will be raised from the grave.  This is our sure and certain hope, based on the finished work of Christ on the cross.  We are saved from God's judgment by grace through faith ... trusting in Jesus alone for forgiveness and life.  The same is true of the entire planet.  The destruction of this planet that lies ahead in the near future brings about a new beginning - the new heaven and the new earth.

Most people believe that we will live forever in heaven, but that is not what the Bible says.  The spirits of believers go immediately to be with God in heaven at the moment of death (II Corinthians 5), but that is not the end of God's plan.  When Jesus comes, God says that we will come with Him to earth and will reign with Him during His 1,000-yr. reign during the millennium (Revelation 20).  Then God will create - yes, CREATE, a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness, where God will live with His people forever (Revelation 21)!

This is what those who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord have to look forward to.  The "end" of this present age (Matthew 24:1-3), brings the beginning of the new world that God has promised to His people.  As we watch the signs begin to happen, the anticipation of Jesus' return and all that the Bible says will happen motivates us to be about our Father's business.  I pray that as we begin this new year, YOU will be moved by the Spirit of God to be engaged in spreading the good news and warning people of what is to come on this world.  Whether it happens in our lifetimes or not, we will all stand before God and only those who are covered by the blood of Jesus will endure God's just judgment and live with Him in this new heaven and new earth.

This world WILL end ... but for those who are in Christ Jesus it's only the beginning!!  If you live in the Allendale area, come and join us for this twelve-week series, beginning this Sunday, January 6th.  We are currently meeting at Oakwood Intermediate School, south of Lake Michigan Drive (or north of Fillmore St.), to Pierce, and west on Pierce to the Allendale schools campus ... just follow the signs!  For those unable to join us, the messages will be available here on our website.  May God use His Word to speak to each of us, whether to encourage, to challenge, or to call you to put your hope in Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ!!